Patterico's Pontifications

8/28/2014

SWATting on Video

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:08 pm

Here’s an interview with a gamer who was SWATted:

His job is playing video games? OK.

Putting that to one side, I feel your pain, buddy. Here’s what makes this especially interesting: he was streaming his game when it happened. So you can watch the cops burst in.

Here’s the video. Fast forward to about 6:30:

Thanks to B.W.

“We Don’t Have A Strategy Yet”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The president admitted to the world today that we don’t have a strategy yet to fight ISIL.

“My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room.

The president promised to consult lawmakers on the strategy, “in part because it may cost some money,” and Congress holds the federal purse strings. But he repeatedly declined to commit to seeking a vote authorizing expanded military action in either Iraq or Syria.

“I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in,” he said. “But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Here is video:

Spokesliar Josh Earnest tries to explain it away by lying:

Earnest quickly scheduled an appearance on CNN during which he argued Obama was simply referencing the U.S. options against the Islamic State in Syria — not in Iraq.

The president [was] asked a specific question about what approach he was going to pursue when it came to possible military action in Syria against ISIL. That was the specific question he was asked and the president was explicit that he is still waiting for plans that are being developed by the Pentagon for military options he has for going into Syria,” Earnest said.

But Spokesliar Josh Earnest lies badly. Here is the transcript of the question and answer:

QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in and we’re — that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.

Yeah, Spokesliar Josh Earnest, the specific question he was asked was: “Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?” If you’re going to lie, lie better than that.

Meet the Man Who Has Nothing to Hide (But Not Really)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about a man who supposedly has nothing to hide:

When someone debating privacy says, “but I don’t have anything to hide,” I am immediately suspicious. “Would you prove it by giving me access to your email accounts,” I’ve taken to replying, “along with your credit card statements and bank records?” Not a single person has ever taken me up on that challenge–until now.

Arizona resident Noah Dyer emailed me about an anti-privacy project he is promoting. I replied in my usual way. And to my surprise, he sent all his passwords.

“I have given you the things you’ve asked for, and have done so unconditionally,” he wrote. “I’ve given you the power to impersonate me. I request that you do not take advantage of me in this way, though I have obviously not made that desire a precondition to sharing the info with you. Additionally, while you may paint whatever picture of me you are inclined to based on the data and our conversations, I would ask you to exercise restraint in embarrassing others whose lives have crossed my path … Again, I have not made your agreement to that request a condition of sharing the data. I don’t think I have enough money that you would bother to take it or spend it. Look forward to talking more and seeing the article!”

“Wow,” I thought. “How reckless to give this access to a complete stranger!” Then I logged in to his email.

It’s an interesting piece with an interesting premise. Dyer turns out to be a self-promoting narcissist who got a divorce because he decided it was important to be able to sleep around — including, apparently, with several married women. He gave Friedersdorf complete access to all his passwords, which means he unilaterally decided that there would be no privacy, not just for him, but for anyone else who had ever entrusted him with anything private.

Although Friedersdorf repeatedly claims that Dyer has “nothing to hide,” he clearly does — because, for some reason, he doesn’t seem to want to give his bank and email passwords to the world . . . just to Friedersdorf. Dyer is active in comments to the article and I have asked him to post his passwords publicly. So far he has not, and I don’t expect that he will. (Nor should he.)

As best as I can tell, Dyer defends this by explaining that in his utopia, nobody would have any privacy, so if you stole something, everyone would know. In our imperfect world, however, he has to behave differently. Of course, in my utopia, self-promoting narcissists would not exist, so there would be no Noah Dyer to begin with. (Utopia, I’ll remind the reader, means “nowhere.”)

Dyer is trying to fund some Kickstarter campaign:

[I]f his ambitious Kickstarter, “A Year Without Privacy,” is funded, “I will walk my talk. You will see every minute of my life for a year. You will see every email, every text, every Facebook message and any other communication that I receive. You will see my bank account transaction and balances. You will see everything I eat and all the exercise I do … If I do have sex, it will be documented as a matter of fact, not with any specific intention to arouse or otherwise manipulate the viewer.”

Ladies, the line to have sex with this guy on camera for the whole world to see starts right over there!

I doubt he will be giving out his passwords to the entire world, though. Because the guy with nothing to hide, as it turns out, still does have plenty to hide — at least in the real world.

Money Can’t Buy You Love, But It Sure Can Buy You Water – Even In A Drought

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:10 am

[guest post by Dana]

As Californians are now in the third year of a drought, now a Stage 4, economizing water has become a way of life for many.

But all things being relative, while some in hard hit towns like the immensely wealthy enclave of Montecito may appear to have made water-saving measures a new habit as evidenced in cutting water usage almost 50%, they are still using what anyone would consider copious amounts of water – even if they have to pay to truck it in:

Many mornings, just before 7 a.m., a large tanker truck pulls up to the grand gates of Oprah Winfrey’s 40-acre estate in Montecito, California. Inside is neither merchandise nor produce – just water.

A year ago, Oprah’s annual bill from the Montecito Water District was just shy of $125,000. This year, it is less than half. Like many in this wealthy enclave, Oprah has cut back on her consumption of district water. That said, her property has its own wells and a small lake and, according to neighbors, there are the trucks.

These days, tankers can be seen barreling down Montecito’s narrow country roads day and night, ferrying up to 5,000 gallons of H20 to some of the world’s richest and thirstiest folks.

Unfortunately, gorgeous Montecito has the misfortune of being located where there is less available water than any other part of the central coast as a nearby aquifer only reaches a small portion of the community. And because of the severity of drought in the community, heavy fines are levied for those who overuse. And some residents appear more than willing to pay:

In May, 837 defiant—or careless—residents coughed up $532,000 in penalties, or a collective overage of about 13 million gallons of town water. The beachfront Biltmore Four Seasons was whacked with a penalty of $48,000 for using about one million gallons over its allotment in April, while a nearby private home sucked up a $30,000 fine for the month for guzzling an extra 750,000 gallons. The district receives about 30 appeals a week. Those who do not pay their bills receive shut off notices— and about 400 were sent out in the last year. The Montecito Water District, which is particularly discreet about its patrons, admits it will rake in close to $4 million in fines this year.

But for those who understand that money talks, water is still plentiful.

Does it really matter if the wealthy pay for water to be brought in? Truck drivers make a living off the demand and the lush rolling lawns remain emerald green. Win-win. Well, it just might matter. The water they are trucking in doesn’t come from an endless source. It comes from the nearby town of Carpenteria. Charles Hamilton, general manager of the Carpinteria Water District, worries:

Carpinteria, one of the country’s top producers of avocados and flowers, is an agricultural wonderland for good reason. The town sits on an immense aquifer that Hamilton describes as a “geological treasure,” amply providing for its residents and thousands of acres of agriculture.

Every well in Carpinteria, however, draws upon its aquifer — like so many straws in a glass. If water continues to be siphoned from these wells to cash in on Montecito’s plight — and if the winter rains do not come — Hamilton frets that even its great aquifer will be threatened.

Meanwhile, 190 miles away from Montecito, the small rural town of Porterville has run out of water. The wells are dry.

“We received direction early last week from county administration to come out and conduct an emergency operation. We distributed 15,552 gallons of drinking water to the community,” said Andrew Lockman, manager of Tulare County Office of Emergency Services. “At this time, it is all funded under the county’s general fund.”

Many residents of East Porterville are now relying on a 5,000 gallon tank of non-potable water. The tank is provided by Tulare County and is located in front of Tulare County Fire Department Station 20.

Perhaps the rich and famous of Montecito might send word to turn those water trucks northeast.

You can also read here about the latest lawsuit in California between farmers versus Indian tribes, environmentalists and fishermen over the federal release of water to aid residents salmon.

–Dana


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