Colorado in play.

“Wow! You’d have to be high to re-elect a guy like that.”

That is comedian Bill Maher’s take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign to win a fourth term in a suburban Denver district. Smoking marijuana is legal in Colorado but even stone-cold sober political analysts – from Charlie Cook to Larry Sabato – have called this race a toss-up, giving Coffman an even chance of winning.

The importance of the race to the national parties is evident in the heavy money, over $10 million by one estimate, that was raised by June. It is possible that a huge $25 million will flow to Coffman and his opponent, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, before Election Day. Much of the money is coming from Washington and both parties’ congressional campaign committees.

Plenty of jobs out there?

These aren’t menial or “dead end” jobs. They typically pay between $50,000 and $90,000 a year and with benefits the compensation can climb to $100,000. That’s rich in most nations.

Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, one of the nation’s largest temporary employment agencies located in Oklahoma City, places more Americans into jobs than just about anyone. With nearly half-a million hires a year he tells me, he can find a job for “any American with a strong work ethic and can pass a drug test.” He also estimates that the worker shortage – those with skills to fill available jobs – “is at least one million and probably higher than that.”

Why is it so hard to fill these jobs?

Back to school.

How do they think of these things?

You don’t see a lot of malware for iPhones or iPads.

One reason for that is Apple’s strict control over what you’re allowed to install on your own device.

So it’s intriguing to see an iOS malware analysis in specialist threat research publication Virus Bulletin (VB).

The malware, which Sophos products detect as iPh/AdThief-A, was apparently created with the express purpose of conducting online ad fraud.

… According to VB, that’s exactly what AdThief does, waiting for you to click on someone else’s ad with someone else’s affiliate code, and then putting the crook’s affiliate code in there instead.

Something tells me it will look a lot like Linux.

With Russia pushing to end its government’s dependency on Microsoft’s Operating System, it is perhaps not surprising (especially following the various raids that have been undertaken) that another BRICS member, as Reuters reports, China could have a new homegrown operating system by October to take on imported rivals such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday. A spokesperson stated, China hoped domestically built software would be able to replace desktop operating systems within one to two years and mobile operating systems within three to five years.

Smaller, better , more sophisticated – and scarier .

Going to Mars.

Galileo still having problems.

The European Space Agency (Esa) says the latest two satellites for Europe’s version of the American GPS satellite navigation system have not gone into the correct orbit.

However, it says the fifth and sixth satellites launched from French Guiana on Friday are under control.

The agency is examining the implications of the anomaly. …

… Arianespace declined to comment on whether their trajectories could be corrected, the AFP news agency reports.

After years of delay, Galileo is now finally moving towards full deployment.

This is a truly nasty organization.

Video footage of seven Lebanese soldiers held captive by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) was released Sunday, one day after a video of policemen and troops detained by the Nusra front was circulated online.

LBC displayed the video on their website, showing the seven Army troops stating their names and ranks.

The video was delivered to the Lebanese government by the Committee of Muslim Scholars, which recently stepped back as mediators for the release of the abducted security personnel.

I don’t think that this can be a relaxing vacation.

Iron Dome Becomes New Tourist Outing

Despite the threat of rocket attacks, Israelis hate to cancel their Shabbat outings. While some stayed home, others refused skip a Shabbat out with their families. And that is how the missile batteries of the Iron Dome became a draw for local tourists.

Video in English at the link.

If you need something fouled up, these are the people to go to.

Even while Congress is in recess, it has found a new battleground for mud slinging: Wikipedia.

A string of controversial edits on the online encyclopedia caused one House Internet Protocol (IP) address to be banned three times this summer, most recently for a month.

Transparency advocates say that’s a depressing signal of Capitol Hill’s inexperience with the world’s sixth most popular website. Without any clear guidance on how to interact with the site, some staffers have turned to flame wars and anonymous trolling.
“We need to figure out what our relationship is with Wikipedia and at this point we just don’t know,” said Yuri Beckelman, the deputy chief of staff for Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.).

Advocacy groups from both ends of the political spectrum have tried to fix that by meeting with staffers to discuss ways to use the online encyclopedia as a reliable tool to spread the word about legislative efforts, lawmakers’ priorities and goings-on in Congress

There’s a lot of work to do.

Good idea II.

Tesla Developing 500-mile Graphene Battery?

A report from China’s Xinhua news agency claims that Tesla is working on a new graphene battery that could almost double the range of the Model S to some 500 miles. This follows up on Musk’s assertion that Tesla could offer a 500-mile battery “soon”, but only if it makes financial sense.

Good idea.

Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most fuel cell vehicle run on hydrogen made from natural gas. Now scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in this device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.

The ‘in your face’ president.

Groups that closely follow regulations are expecting the Obama administration to continue issuing controversial rules through the midterm elections, despite the political risk it could pose for Democrats.

With time running out on President Obama’s second term, federal agencies are hitting the gas on a number of regulatory initiatives that are central to the White House’s “go-it-alone” agenda.

The pace of rulemaking is a stark contrast from the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, when the flow of rules came screeching to a near halt.

The expectation that the gears of the regulatory process will keep moving highlights how the president’s desire for a second-term legacy sometimes conflicts with the short-term political considerations of congressional Democrats.

Yet another hot spot.

Two people were killed and seven others injured early on Saturday in heavy firing by the Pakistan Rangers on the Border Security Force posts near the international border in RS Pura sector in Jammu district, police said.

“Two villagers, identified as Muhammad Akram and his 13-year-old son Aslam were killed and seven people including Akram’s wife, his three children and a BSF constable were injured in heavy firing by the Pakistan Rangers in Jodafarm village of RS Pura sector today (Saturday),” a senior police officer told IANS.

All the injured people have been shifted to the Jammu Medical College for treatment.

“Firing by Pakistani troops is still on. The BSF (Border Security Force) has started retaliating,” the officer said.

Reports from the area said the Pakistan Rangers were using heavy weapons to target BSF posts.

Is China disguising itself as Belgium to buy US government bonds?

Strange things are afoot in Belgium. Since Jun. 2013, the country of 11 million has doubled its holdings of US Treasury securities. This buying has overlapped with the 541 days during which Belgium lacked an elected government.

This sudden Belgian zeal for US government debt has bumped up its holdings up to about 70% of its GDP. But economists at the Federal Reserve have a hunch that it’s not actually Belgium that’s been buying. In a recent paper (pdf), the Fed’s Carol Bertaut and Ruth Judson link Belgium’s “sporadic sizable increases” to a buyer outside Belgium.

Seeing the trouble Spain is in, I probably would have done it as well.

That’s if I had some money to hide.

IT IS not the narrative that Catalan separatists hoped for as they face a stand-off with the Madrid government over a planned independence vote in November. Instead of a debate about evil Castilian conquistadors, their cause has been overshadowed by a scandal over a fallen hero, Jordi Pujol, who served for six terms as leader of Catalonia.

Four weeks ago Mr Pujol admitted that his family had hidden money in Switzerland for the past 35 years. “We never found the right moment to declare it,” he said breezily. The confession comes at an awkward time. Mr Pujol’s hand-picked successor as head of his Convergence and Union (CiU) group, and Catalonia’s current leader, Artur Mas, has promised a referendum on November 9th. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, will ban it. Separatists hoped this would swell their ranks. But now all the talk is of the 84-year-old Mr Pujol, a political giant in his region.

The man who set Catalonia on a path from no self-government to an annual budget of €25.5 billion ($33.9 billion, about half of Ireland’s) liked to be called “president” or “the most honourable”. A foundation bearing his name specialises in ethics. In 23 years as president until 2003, he became a master at persuading Catalans that they were victims of Madrid. The battle cry of the independence campaign is that the rest of Spain steals Catalan taxes and wastes them on lazy southerners. Now Mr Pujol himself has been found hiding his own stash of cash.

I had never given this much thought.

It’s not enough.

Paycheck for Terrorism: $5,300 for Suicide Attack

Pretty good read from Sharyl Attkisson.

Arrest in Great Britain.

A teenager planned to carry out an attack on a soldier or a member of the Government, a court heard today.

Muslim convert Brustchom Ziamani, 19, was arrested in East London on Tuesday with a rucksack containing a knife and hammer wrapped in an Islamic flag, it was alleged.

Wearing a black Call of Duty t-shirt and dark tracksuit bottoms Ziamani, of Camberwell, south London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning charged with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Aww geez …Just when you thought it was save to go back into the water.

Thanks to effective vaccination, polio is considered nearly eradicated. Each year only a few hundred people are stricken worldwide. However, scientists are reporting alarming findings: a mutated virus that was able to resist the vaccine protection to a considerable extent was found in victims of an outbreak in the Congo in 2010. The pathogen could also potentially have infected many people in Germany.

How to defend against ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.’

Vulnerable Democrats are finding ways to tout ObamaCare in an election cycle where the unpopular law was expected to be a liability for their party.

We can only hope.

Does Congressional Gridlock Lock Up K Street?

The UPS hack.

It appears that the malware was on the stores’ point-of-sale (PoS) registers, similar although not necessarily related to the attack on Target in late 2013.

UPS said that the network intrusions occurred between January and July of this year, and malware on the networks of the 51 affected stores (around 1% of the company’s 4,470 franchise locations) was eliminated as of 11 August 2014.

Lost customer data included customers’ names, postal addresses, email addresses and payment card information.

UPS notified customers via its website, although the company said it “does not have sufficient customer information to contact potentially affected customers directly.”

So sorry

After so many data security incidents at retailers in the past year, from Target to Neiman Marcus, Michaels, and just recently P.F Chang’s and Supervalu, you would hope that the industry should be getting better at preventing attacks.

At the very least, companies should be figuring out how to effectively notify impacted customers.

A statement on 20 August from The UPS Store CEO Tim Davis makes it clear that he is taking responsibility for the data breach – including two words that we don’t often hear from CEOs: “I apologize.”

It’s unfortunate that UPS wasn’t able to reach out directly to affected customers, but the company seems to have done a good job of getting the word out on its website and giving customers the information they need to determine if they were victims.

Instead of firing them, they fired at them.

Hamas executed 11 of the organization members who were suspicious of cooperating with Israel

Video at the link.