Patterico's Pontifications


Simone Biles, Gymnast Extraordinaire

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Take a moment and consider the amazing Simone Biles :

[Simone] Biles delivered a history-making share on the final day of the World Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, breaking the record for the most world medals earned by a gymnast, male or female, in winning the 24th of her career — a gold on the balance beam.

Then, after the equivalent of a lunch break, she returned to the arena and won another gold — this one, on floor exercise, with a routine that included the stunning, triple-twisting, double somersault that she alone has successfully landed in competition and extended her record-setting world medal tally to 25.

Upon concluding her final routine in what is likely her final world championship, the 22-year-old Biles seemed to take a dramatic pause on the tumbling floor as cheers rained down from the capacity crowd.

But she was simply too exhausted to stand up and walk off, she explained afterward, utterly sapped from 10 days of competition in which she left no doubt that she is history’s greatest gymnast.

“I just couldn’t breathe, honestly,” Biles said after collecting her breath and regaining her smile. “I just couldn’t move, I was so tired. [I felt like], ‘I’m going to stay here because if I come back up, I’m literally going to be breathing like a dog!’ ”

Here is Biles in the Floor Exercise All-around final:

(Note: Despite stepping out of bounds on an over-exuberant tumbling sequence, Biles scored 15.133 points — well ahead of her nearest competitors, who included fellow American Sunisa Lee, 16, who took silver (14.133) in her world championships debut. Russia’s Angelina Melnikova (14.066) took bronze.)

Congratulations to an incredible young woman!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


President Trump Suggests Kurds Deliberately Releasing ISIS Militants To Draw U.S. Back Into Syria

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Given U.S. troop withdrawal last week, it seems inevitable that Islamic State affiliates and supporters would begin to escape their confines during the ensuing chaos:

More than 800 suspected IS detainees escaped the Ayn Issa camp in northern Syria on Sunday, Kurdish forces said in a statement, five days into Turkey’s military incursion into the region.

Jelal Ayaf, co-chair of Ayn Issa camp, told local media that 859 people “successfully escaped” the section of the camp holding foreign nationals. He also said that attacks were already being carried out by “sleeper cells” that had emerged from inside the camp, which holds IS prisoners, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and families or affiliates of IS fighters. While some of the escaped could be recaptured, he described the situation in the camp as “very volatile.”


[F]ive ISIS militants successfully fled from Jirkin prison in Qamishli. Turkish shelling was blamed for their escape.

After Fox News anchor and a co-host of Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade continued to criticize Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, Trump suggested that Kurdish forces may be deliberately releasing ISIS militants as a way to regain U.S. support and presence in northern Syria:

Meanwhile, the Kurds have turned to Damascus and Russia for help in pushing back Turkish forces:

Kurdish troops turned to the Syrian government and Russia for help Sunday, according to a Kurdish military official, in a move that could increase Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Syria, deal a substantial blow to the Kurds’ ambitions of independence in the region, and be seen as a win for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds, who were longtime partners with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS. The decision also sets up a potential clash between Turkey and the Syrian government and raises the possibility of a resurgent Islamic State group.

“Nobody supports us. This is why we made an agreement with the Russians and the Syrian government,” said Ismat Sheik Hassan, a Kurdish official who leads the Kobani Military Council.

Mazloum Abdi, the commander in chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, wrote in an article for Foreign Policy on Sunday that “we know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them.”

“But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” he said.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


ABC News Broadcasts Footage of Gun Show Demonstration and Tells Viewers It Is Turks Attacking Kurds

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:55 am


Are you distrustful of coverage of what is happening now in northern Syria between the Kurds and the Turkish army? You have good reason to be.

ABC aired supposedly shocking footage Monday morning purporting to be from the front-line battle between the Syrian Kurds and the invading Turks. The only problem is that the footage appears to come from a nighttime demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.

After seeing a comment from Wojciech Pawelczyk, I began making some calls. As of this writing, it appears that this video is a hoax, and ABC has pulled it down.

“We are still investigating,” a representative for the gun range told the Washington Examiner Monday, adding the images aired by ABC “looks to be” from the Kentucky property.

“As of right now,” the spokesperson added, “it seems to be our footage.”

A spokesperson for ABC conceded it made a big mistake.

Here is the tweet that prompted the story:

The best part is how this will be used to “prove” that any story about the carnage in Syria is Fake News. Going forward, literally any story that documents what the Kurds suffer, as a result of Trump’s going off script on a phone call, will be dismissed by intellectually lazy and partisan Trump superfans.

Which may be exactly what was intended by whoever passed the video on to ABC News. It makes me wonder whether Trump superfans — or more ominously, people working for Erdogan — were involved. It’s a tactic that folks attempted to use on me during Weinergate: target the principal source reporting unfavorable information, and feed them fake similar information that you can later reveal to be fake. (It didn’t work on me during Weinergate, but they tried.)

So let’s keep our eye on the ball. Who passed ABC News the video? And who stands to benefit from stories about Turks slaughtering Kurds being treated as a hoax?

Yes, laugh it up, but be wary about being manipulated. The fact that ABC News fell for the Knob Creek hoax is funny — but there could be dark forces behind this. Forces even darker — if you Trump fans can imagine this — than ABC News.

Which does not let ABC News off the hook. If anything, the fact that they might have been manipulated by people seeking to take attention off the Turkish massacre should make them more careful, and makes this lapse even more shameful.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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