Yay awesome! Coachella expands into a multi-week endeavor
2weekends of hot, sweaty people dancing to tunes in the desert source
» The lineups stay the same, though: The Coachella fest, which has earned itself many imitators since it started in 1999 (including a retooled Lollapalooza!), will offer music fans options for the next festival go-around. They pretty much need to: This year’s event sold out in six days, despite the fact that over 90,000 people bought tickets. The bands will sign on for two weekends, not just one, so don’t worry about missing anyone.
"Wisconsin board approves recalls against GOP, but not Dems" — I work part-time for one of the towns in SE Wisconsin, so I’ve been keeping an eye on this. I can tell you that there’s been efforts by those of us against Walker to screw up the petitions to recall the Democrats. Nothing formally organized, but we figure the more invalid signatures, the better it is for us. So for example, I actually live in Illinois, and the Kenosha area gets a lot of Illinois visitors (people who work up here like me, belong to organizations, and there are a lot of family members spread over the two states. You just get an Illinois resident to sign the petition — using their IL street address and a Wisconsin city & state. I’ve also heard at least one rumor of getting convicts to sign!
Like I mentioned, I never saw any organized effort to screw up the petitions, just a lot of very angry Anti-Walker people talking about good ways to do it. So I suspect there will be a lot of those names being thrown out.
(I’m old enough to remember Dick Tuck — so I love this.)
“We just ask that they stop making faces while he’s testifying.”—Lauren Kaeseberg, defense attorney for Rod Blagojevich • Complaining to the presiding Judge James Zagel that the prosecution team was making faces and having animated discussions during the testimony of ex-Governor Blagojevich. The defense’s argument would seem to be that the prosecution, who directly face the jury, might be swaying opinions with their reactions. Prosecuting attorney Reid Schar said he’d be mindful of it, but that he didn’t believe they had been making any unusual faces during the testimony — Judge Zagel, similarly, agreed to “watch the government very carefully,” but said he didn’t notice anything. source (via • follow)
Wisconsin board approves recalls against GOP, but not Dems
sixWisconsin GOP Senators will face recall elections, following Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) approving the signatures collected by Democratic activists
threeWisconsin Democratic Senators may or may not face recall elections, as the same GAB stated that they’re not ready to approve the signatures collected by GOP activists source
» So, what’s going on here? Basically, the GAB’s decision means they believe the signatures collected by Democrats, in the aftermath of Gov. Scott Walker’s nationally spotlighted union-busting effort, are legitimate. The Republican signatures, however, “have raised numerous factual and legal issues which need to be investigated and analyzed,” the board says. This is likely to ignite a firestorm of accusations about political bias, favoritism and so forth — the Democrats likely see this as a major boon, as they’ve argued fraud on the GOP’s petitions. We’re inclined to sit tight and see how this plays out, but today’s events, suffice to say, don’t favor the Wisconsin GOP.
Egyptian general says female protesters got "virginity checks"
"Not like your daughter or mine": An Egyptian general, speaking on condition of anonymity, has alleged a heinous violation of the women of Egypt, though he doesn’t see it that way. The general admitted that during protests on March 9th, the military performed “virginity checks” on women. The reason? “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place. None of them were.” It goes without saying that this rationale is nonsensical, disgusting, and beneath the contempt of a modern civil society. General Mamdouh Shaheen has denied these charges. source
» SFB says: This is new. Engadget has a press release if you’re curious. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a WHO-affiliated group, made the specific report. If anything else, this certainly makes things more interesting.
Bryson is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, a California-based energy company. He also has an extensive background in environmental issues, having co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and served on a United Nation’s advisory group on energy and climate change.
If confirmed by the Senate, Bryson would replace outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whom Obama recently named as his next ambassador to China.
Key economic indicator: Homes see double-dip in prices (uh-oh)
bad The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home pricing index, a key economic indicator which compares home prices in the top 20 U.S. markets, fell heavily in March compared to a year earlier.
worse The numbers confirm a double-dip in home prices (below April 2009’s previous nadir), which could spell bad news. Does a double-dip in home prices mean a double-dip for the overall economy? source
“We’re friends. And I don’t consider her a competitor … I think there’s enough room for a lot of contenders. And I think there’s no question in 2012, the Republicans will field a wide bench of contenders against President Obama. And I think the comparison will be very favorable.”—Rep. Michele Bachmann • Trying to offer a retort to the idea that she wouldn’t be able to run for president if Sarah Palin were to run, presumably because the politicians are so similar that they’d hurt one another’s chances in 2012 (though Bachmann, let’s be honest, has a lower profile). “I compare myself to Barack Obama. Not to any of the other Republican candidates,” she claimed. Bachmann, who benefited in her 2010 run from a Palin endorsement, was on various news programs this morning. source (via • follow)
» SFB says: Actually, if you read their paper on the process, it notes that they actually vectorized the images, which is a different beast entirely from filters, and is more akin to the “Adobe Live Trace” process used in Illustrator (which is mentioned in the paper), except with better results. It’s a different process that doesn’t use the upscaling that prior technologies/algorithms used. — Ernie & Seth at SFB
Hey, if it means that TwitPic won’t try to dostuff like this anymore, we’re all for it. But then again, we don’t like the way Twitter’s encroaching on services that built themselves on the back of the Twitter platform. Seems wrong.
“At a time when the GOP is playing games with the debt limit, a member of the Supreme Court is refusing to recuse himself from matters he has a financial interest in, and middle class incomes are stagnant, many want to change the subject. I don’t. This was a prank, and a silly one. I’m focused on my work.”—Rep. Anthony Weiner • Trying to draw a line in the sand on this whole Weinergate story, which has certainly gotten a bit crazier over the past day. The Atlantic Wire has a roundup of the story, which has gotten to the point of farce. CNN also got Weiner on camera today, where he seemed at least a little annoyed to be taking the questions. But ultimately, though, this piece of evidence (grabbed by Soup) is the strongest against Weiner doing anything wrong. Also, has anyone noticed how Mediaite has kinda gone crazy over this story? We love the site and everything, but they got a Photoshop expert to analyze the photo. A bit much, eh? They’re not the only ones, but you know what, we’re going to leave this mess alone for a while. The EXIF data is good enough for us. source (via • follow)
eightLibyan Generals defected to Italy today, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry
100+ Libyan soldiers accompanied their generals, who met with Italian intelligence agents in Tunisia source
» This comes the same day that South African President Jacob Zuma is meeting with Gaddafi to try and negotiate a cease-fire between him and rebels. Will these defections spur a change of heart in Gaddafi, convincing him to finally relinquish power and allow his crumbling regime to die? Probably not, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed just in case.
“While the drugs screwed me up in a lot of ways, they improved me in certain others. I’ve never been good with numbers, but when I was on crack I could do math really, really well. I became a fucking whiz at calculus. But I also became kind of psychotic, unfortunately.”—Courtney Love • In an interview with TheFix.com [h/t: Andrew Sullivan]. source (via • follow)
“They’re going to come out of the woodwork. This is like Christmas for a phony.”—Former U.S. Navy SEAL Don Shipley • Speaking to ABC News about fraudulent “war heroes” seizing the opportunity of Memorial Day for a little beginning-of-summer fakery. A couple of ABC reporters, Lee Ferran and Vic Walter, have reported that the incidence of people lying about serving in the military has gotten much worse since the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of SEAL Team 6. It’s also reported that five people have been charged with claiming to be medal winners, or illegally wearing military service medals in 2011. We’ll admit, we had no clue it was illegal to wear a service medal that you didn’t earn, but beyond the legality of it, we think we can all agree — this is a disgustingly manipulative, lowly brand of fraud to be perpetrating. source (via • follow)
WikiSecrets The title of a PBS Frontline documentary, which examines the massive cache of classified materials exposed by WikiLeaks, as well as the detained Bradley Manning. It’s been viewed as unfavorable to the organization.
Tupac lives! The fraud story the folks at PBS found splashed on their website, after hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks and Manning attacked the site. As it turns out, he’s been living with Biggie in a house in New Zealand all this time! source
“He lived normally until 2002. Everybody came by to pay their respects… He was not the type of person to sit around and do nothing.”—Ratko Mladic’s friend, Aleksandar Mihailovic • Revealing that his former neighbor, the suspected war criminal for whom he built a house, lived a fairly normal life in Belgrade between the end of the Bosnian war and 2002, when he disappeared without a trace for nearly nine years. Mihailovic (a real-estate magnate) paints a picture of a man engaged with his community — one who liked telling stories, eating at restaurants and playing soccer. He, however, spoke with the blessing of the Mladic family, emphasizing in no uncertain terms that he came out on the side of the former general. “Everything that happened followed the fall of Srebrenica,” he said. “Do you think a person of such capability, such professionalism, would allow what is undeniably a horrible crime?” source (via • follow)
This Memorial Day, we remember our fallen soldiers. Many have died in combat, but increasingly, for off-duty members of the National Guard and Army Reserves, soldiers are dying by their own hands. Nationally, the number of those who’ve committed suicide has nearly doubled from 80 in 2009 to 145 last year.
“So, a guy who has been building exactly this narrative for months turns out to be the one and only unique retweet of the picture in question? Just as Rep. Weiner’s cryptic hashtag about the Seattle time zone is reason to raise reasonable flag of suspicion, so too is this.”—Mediaite’s Colby Hall • Who noticed the same trend we did with the Rep. Anthony Weiner saga yesterday — that the guy who retweeted the Weiner thing (which took place nearly half an hour before the BigGovernment post first went up) appeared to be going out of his way to build up a narrative that suggested a saga like the one that actually happened weeks before it actually did. The person who was targeted by the rogue tweet wrote an exclusive statement for the New York Daily News where she noted the same thing — that this specific Twitter user harassed her. We think that this evidence suggests strongly that Weiner’s Twitter account was hacked, rather than Weiner sending the rogue tweet himself. The user’s tweets are suddenly protected, but not before a number of people noticed the trend.
Amid divisions, Israel investing lots of money to improve Jerusalem
$100million to keep Jerusalem an “undivided capital” source
» Israel’s long-term plan: While Obama continues to push Israel to return to their 1967 borders, Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu has plans for the capital, now a single piece thanks to the Six-Day War, which changed those borders. ”The city was united 44 years ago,” he noted, “and we returned to our ancestral lands. Since then Jerusalem has flourished.” The multi-year package would increase funding for tourism, education grants and also give bio-technology companies incentives to work in the long-divided city.
I have no questions; I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your latest post on Anthony Weiner. I thought you went about in exactly the right way, particularly noting your bias at the very beginning. I think keeping biases in mind in the best way to try to approach things from an analytic point of view. I should, of course, admit my bias as well and say that I also sincerely hope there is no truth to this scandal. So, thank you very much :)
» SFB says: Thanks for the comment. We know that tackling the Weiner story might be a little tough considering the guy has a big fan base among the left, but the analysis at least offers something to go by, instead of just denying it out of hand. I’d like to think that even if something goes against our own political lean, we at least air it out. I think it’s important to note that the guy who first retweeted Weiner’s tweet had been looking for a way to hang the guy out to dry for a long time. I err on the side of Weiner getting hacked (it’s too perfect not to be), but there isn’t any firm proof of it. — Ernie @ SFB
“Whatever was done in Srebrenica, he has nothing to do with it. His orders were to evacuate the wounded, the women and the children and then the fighters. Whatever was done behind his back, he has nothing to do with that.”—Darko Mladic • Defending his now-under custody father, Ratko Mladic, from allegations that he led a mass murder of thousands of Muslims — men and young boys — during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia. The massacre, one of the deadliest in Europe since WWII, has led to the elder Mladic to disappear from the public eye for nearly two decades before his capture last week. Investigators say that any denial of his involvement in the case is a delaying tactic to buy the notorious Serbian general more time. source (via • follow)