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Israeli Election Thread

Ongoing with the latest developments from Israel’s parliamentary elections today
LGF • Views: 26,890

Many eyes around the world are directed today towards Israel, where 5,883,365 eligible citizens poured into more than ten thousand voting stations to determine the identity of the country’s next prime minister and the make-up of its government coalition.

With polls now closed, it is estimated that 71.8% of eligible citizens voted in this election, representing the largest turnout since 1999.

Initial exit polls made public at 22:00 Israeli time (16:00 EST), have presented a close competition between the Likud, headed by current PM Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Zionist camp headed by Yizhak Herzog, with both parties essentially tied with 27 projected knesset seats each; The newly formed Arab list, a coalition between four Israeli-Arab parties, has made history and secured its place as the third largest party in the country with 13 projected seats; Yesh Atid, headed by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, is the forth largest party with 12. Given the close results, analysts are predicting that the final election results will probably not be known before Thursday.

Despite claims by Netanyahu, who called on his supporters to arrive in large numbers due to “a significant Arab voter turnout”, no unusual turnout was noted among votes in the Israeli-Arab sector.

Earlier today, the Likud was forced to admit it distributed an edited tape of former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, now running at the head of his own party, Kulanu. The tape, which made use of a two-year-old recording from when Kahlon was a Likud member, was used in election calls, misleading voters into believing that Kahlon was supporting PM Netanyahu. The Likud was banned from using the tape and was fined 20,000 NIS by the court.

Some photos from today’s trip to the election booth (disclaimer: this writer is a dual US/Israeli citizen, and as such is eligible to vote while in Israel):

“It’s us or them” - a Netanyahu poster found on many streets & billboards across the country
A Zionist Camp poster featuring Tzipi Livni
My thankfully nearly-empty voting station; To the left: a poster identifying the 26 (yes, twenty six!) parties citizens may vote for
“We are all Kahlon” - posters for the former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon’s ‘Kulanu’ (lit: ‘all of us’) party
Volunteers amid “Now We Win - Now We Replace” posters seen at a booth set up by V15, an organization advocating for a new Israeli government
Shas election posters: “Father is gazing from above” - because what really says elections more than a poster of a recently deceased religious leader looking down from heaven, quoted saying “fulfill my will!”…

Russian Opposition Leader Nemtsov Shot Dead in Moscow

LGF • Views: 30,486

Russian Liberal politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated across the street from the Kremlin today:

He was shot four times late on Friday night, not far from the Kremlin in the center of Moscow. Police cars blocked the street where he was shot. An ambulance was also nearby.

“Nemtsov B.E. died at 2340 hours as a result of four shots in the back,” an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said by telephone.

Nemstov was a long time Putin critic. He was shot on his way home from conducting a TV interview. He had been scheduled to be part of a major anti-war rally on March 1st
More: Russian Opposition Leader Nemtsov Shot Dead in Moscow
————
More of Nemtsov’s background:

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (Russian: Борис Ефимович Немцóв; 9 October 1959 - 27 February 2015[1]) was a Russian statesman and liberal politician, a co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS political party, one of the leaders of the Solidarnost movement and an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.

Nemtsov was the first governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (1991-97). Later he worked in Government of Russia as Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. In 1998 he founded the Young Russia movement. In 1998, he co-founded the coalition group Right Cause and in 1999, he co-formed Union of Right Forces, electoral bloc and subsequently political party. He was elected several times as Russian parliament member. Nemtsov was a member of Congress of People’s Deputies (1990), Federation Council (1993-1997) and State Duma (1999-2003). He also worked as Vice Speaker of the State Duma and the leader of parliamentary group of Union of Right Forces. After a split in the Union of Right Forces in 2008, he co-founded Solidarnost. In 2010, he co-formed coalition For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption (was refused in registration as party). Since 2012 Nemtsov has been co-chair of Republican Party of Russia - People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.[2][3]

He was a candidate of physico-mathematical sciences, was as an author of several publications criticising the Putin administration, and was an active organizer and participant of Dissenters’ Marches, Strategy-31 and rallies «For Fair Elections»

———

——-
Putin is of course deeply concerned

Putin is already floating his own theory of what happened, according to Dmitry Zaks of AFP:

#BREAKING #Putin thinks #Nemtsov killed by hired assasin, views it as a (political) “provocation”: #Kremlin spokesman Peskov via state TV
- Dmitry Zaks (@dmitryzaksAFP) February 27, 2015

Less than an hour after Nemtsov death was reported, Putin entered into the controvsery around his death in a second way. Putin is “taking personal control of the investigation into Nemtsov’s murder,” according to a Kremlin spokesperson, someting that will not be reassuring to Putin’s opponents.

—-

Obituary from Radio Free Europe

Boris Nemtsov, A Russian Political ‘Golden Boy’ Who Battled Putin, Dead At 55

Once dubbed the “golden boy” of Russian politics in the media, Nemtsov was later named first deputy prime minister by Yeltsin, a move that many interpreted as the Russian leader’s bid to groom his heir to the Kremlin.

After Yeltsin handed over power to Putin, who was elected president in 2000, Nemtsov became a vocal critic of the new Russian leader as the Kremlin moved to stifle critical media outlets and launched a campaign against wealthy Yeltsin-era oligarchs who refused to toe the government’s line.

Nemtsov served as a deputy in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, during Putin’s first term. He lost his seat in 2003 parliamentary elections that saw the pro-Kremlin party United Russia seize an overwhelming majority.

In the ensuing years, he led an array of liberal-minded opposition movements and parties, and authored reports accusing Putin’s government of massive corruption.

In 2013, Nemtsov released a report alleging that officials and businessmen had stolen up to $30 billion in funds earmarked to finance the 2014 Winter Olympics in his hometown, Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“It is obvious that Putin’s friends are running the preparations for the Olympic Games,” Nemtsov told RFE/RL at the time. “It is also obvious that one is reluctant to put his own friends behind bars. However, we cannot look at all this passively because the scale [of their activities] will only grow bigger. The embezzlement they are presiding over is not just some kind of children’s game but a real threat to Russia’s national security.”

Tech Note: A Regular Expression to Extract the ASIN Product Code From Any Amazon URL

So much fun it must be ASIN
LGF • Views: 26,156
Image via Shutterstock

Every once in a while I come up with a bit of code that might be useful to other programmers, and here’s one of those bits — a regular expression that extracts the ASIN product code from almost any Amazon product URL, including URLs from non-US Amazon stores. (It doesn’t handle pages of search results or other index pages, however.)

I use this at LGF to rewrite links to Amazon and add our affiliate ID to the link, so if someone clicks the link we get a small percentage of the purchase price when they buy something.

This code used to be a series of regular expressions that matched each type of URL, but I was looking at it this week and realized it might be possible to condense the whole process down to just one regex. And after extensive testing, I think I may have gotten pretty close to a universal Amazon ASIN extractor. (I searched Google, and couldn’t find anything this good online.)

In this PHP code, I used the x modifier to let me split the regex across multiple lines with comments and indenting. I also used ~ for the regular expression delimiter so all the forward slashes don’t need to be escaped. These two steps make the code much more readable, but if you use this regex with a language that doesn’t allow you to change the delimiter you’ll need to insert a backslash before each forward slash.

(Notice that I used non-capturing groups for everything except the ASIN product ID.)

<?php
$regex = '~
	(?:www\.)?				# optionally starts with www.
	ama?zo?n\.				# also allow shortened amzn.com URLs
	(?:
		com					# match all Amazon domains
		|
		ca
		|
		co\.uk
		|
		co\.jp
		|
		de
		|
		fr
	)
	/
	(?:						# here comes the stuff before the ASIN
		exec/obidos/ASIN/	# the possible components of a URL
		|
		o/
		|
		gp/product/
		|
		(?:					# the dp/ format may contain a title
			(?:[^"\'/]*)/	# anything but a slash or quote
		)?					# optional
		dp/
		|					# if short format, nothing before ASIN
	)
	(B[A-Z0-9]{9})			# capture group $1 contains the ASIN
	(?:						# everything after the ASIN
		(?:/|\?|\#)			# beginning with /, ? or #
		(?:[^"\'\s]*)		# everything up to quote or white space
	)?						# optional
~isx';
?>

Here’s a bit of code that puts this regex to work and inserts our affiliate ID into the reconstructed link:

<?php
$text = preg_replace($regex, 'www.amazon.com/dp/$1/?tag=littlegreenfo-20', $text);
?>

And here’s what this regular expression looks like when condensed down to one gnarly line:

<?php
$regex = '~(?:www\.)?ama?zo?n\.(?:com|ca|co\.uk|co\.jp|de|fr)/(?:exec/obidos/ASIN/|o/|gp/product/|(?:(?:[^"\'/]*)/)?dp/|)(B[A-Z0-9]{9})(?:(?:/|\?|\#)(?:[^"\'\s]*))?~isx';
?>

If you run this regular expression against the following URL:

http://www.amazon.com/Man-High-Castle/dp/B00RSGFRY8/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1421879835&sr=1-1&keywords=the%20man%20in%20the%20high%20castle

You end up with this:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RSGFRY8/?tag=littlegreenfo-20

Some Words on the Sentencing of Barrett Brown

No hero
LGF • Views: 24,453

Barrett Brown, who occasionally posted in our LGF Pages section a few years ago, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for transmitting threats, being an accessory to hacking charges, and interfering with a search warrant.

There’s already an outcry against this from the libertarian “hacktivist” community, who are trying to paint Brown as a hero of free speech, unfairly imprisoned by the government.

I knew Barrett Brown through phone conversations and email before he got involved with the hacking of Stratfor, and for a while I thought of him as a friend — but man, was I ever wrong.

Long story short, some of the things he posted at LGF were criticized by our commenters and Barrett went absolutely nuts about it, in a classic ultra-narcissist reaction. He blamed me for the criticism (ironically, one of the comments he was most upset about said he was risking getting in trouble with the FBI), and began a secret campaign to hack Little Green Footballs (causing a DDoS attack at one point) and poison my reputation by revealing private emails between him and me to none other than far right anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller.

Barrett Brown is no hero of free speech. He’s a vindictive, vengeful thug.

I don’t wish ill on Brown, despite the horrible shit he pulled on me. But it makes me sick to see him praised as a free speech icon, when he plotted to out my private information and hack my website. That’s the real Barrett Brown, not the glamorized image his followers are trying to push out there.

UPDATE at 1/22/15 2:21:51 pm by Charles Johnson

Below is a link to a leaked chat log from 2011 in which Barrett Brown discusses his plots against LGF and me personally, spews homophobic, racist and antisemitic slurs, and all kinds of other nastiness.

Related

Guess Who’s Been Arrested Again

America’s favorite responsible gun owner
LGF • Views: 27,148

George Zimmerman is currently in jail in Seminole County Florida on aggravated assault charges, with domestic violence and weapon enhancements. Also, he’s not eligible for bail, which on top of the weapon and domestic violence upgrades is a really bad sign. Edit, Update 1: Zimmerman has now seen the judge and is being held on a $5000 bond.

This picture is difficult to masturbate to.

Update 2: We now have a bit more of the story. Seems Zimmerman lost his temper and the weapon the assault refers to was a bottle of wine.

Judge John Galluzzo gave few details of the incident, but said a wine bottle was involved and that the alleged assault happened at Zimmerman’s home. Prosecutors questioned whether substance abuse treatment was needed, but the judge said that didn’t seem to be a factor.

After the brief hearing, Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, told the Orlando Sentinel (tinyurl.com) his client was arrested after allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend several days ago.

Zimmerman, who wore blue scrubs and handcuffs, appeared calm during the brief hearing. At one point, he laughed and joked with an officer as he signed paperwork.

Although the incident didn’t involve a firearm, the judge ordered Zimmerman to surrender any weapons out of an abundance of caution.

News like this calls for some quality old school Was (Not Was)

Youtube Video

Happy New Year!

An open thread as we start another trip around the Sun
LGF • Views: 34,506

In Times Square they’re preparing to drop the ball, and here’s an open thread to ring in the new year at LGF. I wish all of our readers the very best in 2015!

A Post-Christmas Recovery Open Thread, Featuring HMSTR

Rodent punks
LGF • Views: 22,808

YouTube

You could never fully steal the show when you’re followed by the blown-out spectacle of Sun Ra Arkestra’s Tiny Desk Concert. But the opening act kept jumping on the piano and nibbling on the set, literally pulling up the carpet and leaving “presents” on the floor. How could we not have them back? Did I mention they’re hamsters?

Joni and Nash — first names only, please, like Madonna and Cher — are HMSTR. Certainly not the first band to count rodents among its members, but at least they refuse to release a punk album with no punk to be found. “Snow Day” is HMSTR’s first single, a twee-as-all-get-out holiday pop-punk song by virtue of having “snow” in its title. After what sounds like digital snowflakes, the song unleashes a one-minute snowball fight with the fuzziest Tiny Desk destroyers we’ve ever seen.

You can download “Snow Day” from HMSTR’s Bandcamp page. Happy holidays! — LARS GOTRICH

Our End-of-the-Year Subscription Special: Ad-Free Subscriptions 25% Off!

Go ad-free for less
LGF • Views: 29,807

For this Christmas and New Year we’re offering a special discount on our ad-free subscriptions, that automatically turn off all advertisements at LGF when you’re logged in. For a limited time, one-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95 — a savings of 25% off the normal price. An ad-free subscription lets LGF run much faster, since the ads are never loaded by the browser at all. And well, let’s admit it, it looks a lot better too.

(Note: to make the subscription process fully automatic, you should already be signed in to an LGF user account when you click the Subscribe button.)

By special request, we’re also accepting gift subscriptions for LGF members this year, but since our subscriptions are managed by PayPal and they don’t actually support this with their system, we’ll need to set it up manually. So instead of using the Subscribe button to send a gift subscription, use the Donate button (below), make the donation for the subscription price, then in the space provided in the PayPal form for a message, let us know the LGF username the subscription is for, and we’ll set up the account manually for one year of ad-free access.

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 Frank says:

You can't always write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say, so sometimes you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream.