"How do you spell that? I dunno, 'Jeh?'"

Last Week in Weird

With thunderous applause

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past few months, it’s that you just can’t trust them Russkies. I turned my back on them for one minute, and bam! They stole all of my elections. If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you’re sick and tired of having your precious, hard-earned elections stolen by the Reds, but what can you do about it? Nothing, that’s what! Oh, if only someone from the government were here to help!

Citing increasingly sophisticated cyber bad actors and an election infrastructure that’s "vital to our national interests," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is designating U.S. election systems critical infrastructure, a move that provides more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from tampering.

Well, I feel better already! Thank God for "more federal help!" Transferring security duties to the federal government always ends well for everybody. I’m sure we can rely on the Department of Homeland Security to keep our elections safe from the dread forces of international outlawry at least 5% of the time, just like its stellar performance in the field of air travel.

We can be extra-sure our elections are safe because they’re held in November, which is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. No, that’s true.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp, who is a member of the U.S. Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group run by DHS, is among those who have opposed the designation. Testifying in September to a House Oversight subcommittee, Kemp said more federal oversight could make systems more vulnerable and could make protected records more accessible.

When Johnson discussed the likelihood of the designation in a conference call with state officials on Thursday, Kemp called the action "a federal overreach into a sphere constitutionally reserved for the states." According to a copy of his comments released by his office, Kemp told Johnson on the phone that "this smacks of partisan politics" given the dwindling days left in the Obama administration.

Why, this smacks of treason! Lock this man up at once! Clearly there could be no problems whatsoever with federalizing the election system. In particular, I can’t see how there’s any conflict of interest involved in placing the Department of Homeland Security — an executive agency answerable to the president — in charge of presidential elections.

If there’s one thing we can rely on, at least, it’s that the federal government excels at information security. I’m pretty sure the Russians could never hack anybody connected to the executive branch!

How’d that get in here? The Russians have hacked my web site! Guards!

Red dawn

Apparently hacking all the elections isn’t enough for our Soviet enemies. Now they’re even hacking our beloved retro video games. Is there no end to their monstrous depravity?

The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition / Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System has been around for a little while, is still no doubt loved by its owners and is still tricky to find in stock. Of course, as it’s a game console it’s also had modders and hackers having a go at getting into the back-end to add more games; it seems that they’ve now succeeded.

There seem to have been two breakthroughs at a similar time, one out of Japan and one out of Russia, which is nice and contemporary if nothing else. There’s a subreddit for modding the NES Mini – because of course there is – and the solution from the Russian hacker seems to be more readily adopted. [Emphasis added by hackers]

Apparently your humble narrator isn’t the only one who thinks it’s weird that the NES Classic Edition doesn’t come with Tetris. It is a bit ironic, though, that the Russians are apparently hacking for capitalism:

Amazingly, the creator of that video is trying to sell units that have been modded on eBay, so Nintendo’s no doubt going to shut that down rather quickly.

Some people have a much lower standard of amazement than I do. Or maybe he’s just surprised because everybody’s spent a solid year telling him that it’s still 1968, the Cold War is still going on, and the Soviet Union is still a thing, and it’s just unusual to see them commies taking an interest in the free market.

Spring break

Taking a few moments away from our breathless, death-defying coverage of the sheer terror of Russian hackers, we turn now to the increasingly-idiotic world of higher education, where we find students at the University of London demanding that the school’s philosophy curriculum be modified to remove all those horrible white men.

But now students at a University of London college are demanding that such seminal figures as Plato, Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell should be largely dropped from the curriculum simply because they are white.

These may be the names that underpin civilisation, yet the student union at the world-renowned School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is insisting that when studying philosophy ‘the majority of philosophers on our courses’ should be from Africa and Asia.

Well that just makes sense. What do some old dead white dudes know about philosophy, anyhow? It would definitely be better to kick those people out and bring in a slate of African philosophers like… ah… well, I’m sure there are positively tons. I just haven’t heard of them because of racism.

Entitled ‘Decolonising SOAS: Confronting The White Institution’, the union’s statement of ‘educational priorities’ warns ‘white philosophers’ should be studied only ‘if required’, and even then their work should be taught solely from ‘a critical standpoint’: ‘For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called "Enlightenment" philosophers wrote within.’

Two points to make here, and then we’ll turn it over to laughter and swear words. First of all, studying white philosophers is required. Sorry, kiddo, but you can’t claim to know anything about philosophy without reading lots of old white dudes. Maybe it doesn’t seem fair and balanced, but that’s just the way history has unfolded. You’re free to take a different subject if you don’t want this one, but do try not to hit your gigantic deformed head on the doorframe on your way out.

Second, I’d like to take a closer look at one line of this statement:

For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called "Enlightenment" philosophers wrote within.

That sentence is a disaster. "In which… wrote within?" Perhaps our good friend Ali Habib should spend less time studiying revolutionary Marxism and more time studying basic English sentence structure.

Speaking of Marxism

M’verygoodfriends over at The Successes of Socialism will be overjoyed to hear about this one. Apparently, the Red Cross has declared a "humanitarian crisis," and has mobilized and deployed tremendous resources to help support the crippled medical infrastructure… of the United Kingdom. To quote chief executive Mike Adamson:

The British Red Cross is on the front line, responding to the humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services across the country. We have been called in to support the NHS and help get people home from hospital and free up much-needed beds.

The British government, of course, is downplaying the whole affair. It’s not a crisis! Sure, people can’t get into, out of, or served in any hospitals, but that’s just one of those things, right?

Keith Willett, director of acute care for NHS England, rejected Mr Adamson’s description of the situation.

He said that "on the international scale of a humanitarian crisis, I do not think the NHS is at that point"…

"Clearly, demand is at the highest level ever. But also our planning is probably more comprehensive than it has ever been.

"In many ways this is a level of pressure we have not seen before and the workload that the NHS is being asked to shoulder in terms of medical treatment and personal care is very high.

"There are several reasons for that. There is the winter and many more people have breathing and heart problems, but we know it is also very difficult at the moment and social care and community services are not able to react fast enough to free up beds to keep up the flow through hospitals."

See? It’s not the government’s fault at all! Demand spiked because it’s winter, which is apparently an unforeseeable problem. How could the government be expected to know when winter is coming? Should they consult their crystal balls? Be reasonable! Also, since things in the UK are not (yet) as bad as they are, say, in Aleppo, it’s clearly not a crisis.

Predictably enough, the reaction from the British government and media is to blame the problem on insufficient socialism. The government just doesn’t have quite enough power and money to make this work. Just a little bit more! That’s all it’ll take! Just a little bit more.

Because, as we all know, Venezuelan medicine is the envy of the world.

Last Week in Fake

Mark Dice nails this one. The only thing I have to add is that it’s impossibly juvenile that CBS’ anchorbot actually said "the n-word."

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