ERIC CANTOR’S INSIDER TRADING KABUKI DANCE: Let’s Call it the Beltway Hokey Pokey

Guest post by Sara For America

Back in 2012, Eric Cantor dazzled us with his STOCK Act Hokey Pokey. Today he is going to teach us how to do this clever dance game.

Background

To start, you will need a piece of important legislation drafted to make members of Congress, their families and staffers adhere to the same standards as other Americans. In this case, the STOCK Act; a bill that prohibited insider trading by Congress based on non-public information gained in their role as lawmakers. Both Democrats and Republicans agreed that passing this law would help restore confidence in government, because Congress was making money hand over fist by exempting themselves from securities laws applied to the rest of us. (I know, that’s horrible, isn’t it?)

Step One

Listen to all the pros and cons about the STOCK Act so you can decide how best to approach it without angering your base (that would be Wall Street).


You put your ear in, you take your ear out, you put your ear back in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!

Step Two

Pay particular attention to what your Wall Street buddies, and other deep pocket lobbyists think you ought to do. (Pay particular attention– with hand outstretched.)

You put your hand in, you take your hand out, you put your hand back in and you shake it all about! You do the hokey pokey and your turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!

Step Three

After all the other members of Congress agree on the details of the bill, you show up when nobody is paying attention, and submit a new version that has a loophole hidden in it. This loophole allows Congressional family members (including yours) to trade on insider information, which basically defeats the whole purpose of the bill. This is a pretty sneaky move, so in this step, put your hands on your hips and gloriously emphasize the big hip twist! Tweak it, baby!

You put your hip in, you take your hip out, you put your hip back in and you shake it all about! You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!

Step Four

Now, just hang tight and see if anyone notices. Be careful when turning your back to the other dancers in this move; it’s best to keep looking over your shoulder at all times, while not losing balance. Go on about the business of being re-elected (while never agreeing to debate).

You put your backside in, you take your backside out, you put your backside in, and you shake it all about! You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!

Step Five

When someone does notice, in this case CNN, and sets off a media firestorm, this is where you go all in. It’s as if the Hokey Pokey is in control of you now!! The moves are unintentional, they just happened, and how ludicrous to suggest there was something sinister going on otherwise! (This is a good place to try out your Indignant Face.)

You put your whole body in, you take your whole body out, you put your whole body in, and you shake it all about! You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!

Final Step

Just wait and things will blow over. They always do!

You do the hokey-pokey!!! You do the hooooooo-key-pokey! You do the Hokey.Pokey …..That’s what it’s all about!!

There now, you are a Hokey Pokey master too! Aren’t you proud of yourself?

That’s what it’s all about!

Note: Once you have mastered the dance, you won’t need this specific song. But the song is pretty fun.


Read more at Sara For America

Doug Ross @ Journal

Crowd-sourcing website Tomnod.com lets users search for missing flight

Writing at eWeek, Chris Preimesberger describes the latest crowd-sourcing approach to finding MH370

In the unusual case of the missing Flight 370, [mapping firm] DigitalGlobe is gathering as much human-created data as possible through the crowdsourcing model.

“On Tomnod.com, any person can go and just look at photos in the grid, and you’re supposed to flag anything that looks interesting,” Hardman said. “The problem is, humans can see lots of things, but they might not always be the right things. For example, someone may see something they think is unusual, but it’s really just some floating garbage or a whitecap wave that may look a little suspicious.

“So what [DigitalGlobe] does is get the input of many thousands of people, run it through big data filters on the back end that say things like: ‘Are there areas of the Indian Ocean where a lot of people have flagged an item of interest?’ They then do cluster analysis on that. Then, experts in search-and-rescue may say, ‘There’s a hot spot, go fly over this.’”

As of 2 p.m. Pacific time March 15, the free-to-use Tomnod.com site indicated that 421,338 photos — each showing an area about 1,000 to 2,000 feet wide of the Indian Ocean — have been produced and entered into the analytics engine… “I don’t know what size grid that ends up being, but it’s a wide, wide area of the western side of the search,” Hardman said.

As of March 15, the search was still on, with many thousands of human eyes — and a very high-powered photo/data analytics engine — trying to solve the mystery of the missing airliner.

Rather than using brute force crowd-sourcing, the U.S. Navy has an excellent track record of employing a diverse team of experts to find the lost:

…naval strategists have been unraveling lost-at-sea mysteries as far back as the U-boat battles of World War II, and perhaps most dramatically in 1968, when an intelligence team found the submarine Scorpion, which sank in the North Atlantic after losing contact under equally baffling circumstances. “The same approach we used with Scorpion could be applied in this case and should be,” says John P. Craven who helped pioneer the use of Bayesian search techniques to locate objects lost at sea.

… forecasters draw on expertise from diverse but relevant areas — in the case of finding a submarine, say, submarine command, ocean salvage, and oceanography experts, as well as physicists and engineers. Each would make an educated guess as to where the ship is, based on different scenarios: the sub was attacked; a torpedo activated onboard; a battery exploded. Craven’s work was instrumental in the Navy’s search for the missing hydrogen bomb that had been lost in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain in 1966 and this is how Craven located the Scorpion. “I knew these guys and I gave probability scores to each scenario they came up with,” says Craven. The men bet bottles of Chivas Regal to keep matters interesting, and after some statistical analysis, Craven zeroed in on a point about 400 miles from the Azores, near the Sargasso Sea. The sub was found about 200 yards away.

One can only hope and pray that the plane is found and that the passengers are safe.

Hat tip: BadBlue Tech News

Doug Ross @ Journal

Former PM Ariel Sharon passes away at 85: Let’s be praying for his family and friends.

arielsharon“Ariel Sharon, Israel’s eleventh prime minister, passed away on Saturday afternoon at the age of 85. He had been in terminal condition since a “dramatic deterioration” late Thursday afternoon, hospital officials said,” the Times of Israel reports.

“That’s it. He’s gone. He went when he decided to go,” Sharon’s son Gilad announced at Sheba Medical Center, at Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv.

“Ariel Sharon has passed away,” said Professor Shlomo Noy, spokesman for the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, outside Tel Aviv. ”He was considered to be in a state of minimal consciousness, with ups and downs in his medical condition, and minimal non-verbal communication.”

“On Saturday afternoon, Noy said, Sharon’s heart stopped,” the Times noted.

Excerpts:

  • Sharon was one of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures. As one of Israel’s most famous generals, he was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders. As a politician he became known as “The Bulldozer,” a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done.
  • As defense minister, he led Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and was forced to resign the post after a commission of inquiry found him responsible for failing to prevent the massacre by Christian Phalangists of Palestinian refugees in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila camps.
  • A prominent hard-line voice over the decades, he was elected prime minister in 2001.
  • In mid-2005, he directed a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, ending a 38-year military control of the territory. It was a shocking turnaround for a man who had been a leading player in building Jewish settlements in captured territories.
  • He bolted the Likud party soon after and established the centrist Kadima party, where he was joined by Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni. He appeared on his way to an easy reelection when he suffered a severe stroke in January 2006. His deputy, Olmert, took over and was elected prime minister a few months later.
  • Sharon had a first, small stroke in December 2005 and was put on blood thinners before experiencing a severe brain hemorrhage on January 4, 2006. After spending months in the Jerusalem hospital where he was initially treated, Sharon was transferred to the long-term care facility at Tel Hashomer Hospital. He was taken home briefly at one point, but was returned to the hospital, where he had been since.


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