Sunday, January 31, 2021

The mice just keep on playing....

India: Pro-Iranian Terrorist Group Takes Responsibility for Friday’s Israel Embassy Blast

An online message reportedly posted by the jihadi group said: “By the grace and help of Almighty Allah, soldiers of Jaish-Ul-Hind were able to infiltrate a high-security area in Delhi and carry out an IED attack. This Allah willing is the beginning of a series of attacks that would target major Indian cities and payback in kind to the atrocities committed by the Indian state.”

Indian investigators also recovered a letter at the scene claiming the blast to be a revenge for the death of Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian terrorist mastermind who was killed in a January 2020 U.S. drone strike outside Baghdad. The note also mentions Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the man known as “the father of the Iranian bomb,” who was gunned down last November near Tehran. Fakhrizadeh was a high-ranking member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S. designated terrorist group.

So why wait for over a year to retaliate for a 2020 US Drone strike? Why not retaliate while the people responsible for assassinating's a terrorist were still in power? Could it be that they prefer to take advantage of a 78 year old codger who's "handlers" are putting a lid on his days sometime between lunch and his afternoon nap? 

Biden has only been President for a few days and already we have unrest in the former Soviet States, regions around China, and the Middle East. But have no worries. Biden has a plan, that will include an executive order that requires all foreign terrorists to officially recognize all 52 genders, make sure that 30% of all terror acts are carried out by minorities, as well as a mandate for all terrorist to wear two masks while committing their acts of terror.

Joe Biden will make sure that all Terror acts are committed in the most woke fashion possible.

All the news of the day !

Nearly 40,000 Americans die of Covid since Biden sworn in. He promises sincerely that he has no plan and can do nothing! 

Joe Biden’s Presidency is Already Worse Than Imagined
“On policy, it’s Obama 2.0 but more woke and on free expression it’s more like East Germany than the United States.”

This is what happens when you are a tyrant 

Meanwhile Biden cancels construction of the southern border wall

The Purge Deepens, Literary Agent Fired Merely For Having Parler and Gab Accounts
“The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency was distressed to discover this morning, January 25th, that one of our agents has been using the social media platforms Gab and Parler. We do not condone this activity, and we apologize to anyone who has been affected or offended by this,” De Chiara wrote. “The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency has in the past and will continue to ensure a voice of unity, equality, and one that is on the side of social justice.” 
“As of this morning, Colleen Oefelein is no longer an agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency,” De Chiara’s Twitter thread concluded.

Biden Rewards Pipefitters Union For Endorsement By Destroying Members’ Keystone XL Jobs

Los Angeles Mayor Gets Vaccination Ahead Of Schedule
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is certainly younger than 65. And he isn’t a healthcare worker. But the mayor is on the front lines of the pandemic response, according to aides. So Garcetti, who turns 50 next week, received a COVID-19 vaccination last Thursday

Joe Biden tells us twice that his goal will be to vaccinate 300 Americans by the end of the summer! Twice!

In the same speech he claims we have 400 million vaccines on hand right now, apparently just sitting around waiting. That would be a few hundred million new vaccines just since he became President?

Joe Biden Takes Failing Up to an Unprecedented Level

When I found out some weeks back that Andy Slavitt was being brought in by Joe Biden to be a top COVID advisor, all I could do was chuckle. This was a guy who has been consistently wrong for the entirety of the pandemic, including projecting over one million deaths. His Twitter feed presents itself as the ravings of lunatic, and his proclamations on things like lock downs and mask usage have been shown to be evidence free garbage.
How dumb do you have to be to fall for the Nigerian prince scam?

So Dumb It’s True: BLM Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

An actual professor offers that heterosexuality is tragic

All in the Family: Mad Maxine Waters Has Given Over $1M in Campaign Cash to Daughter

“They do their business and I do mine. We are not bad people.”

Indeed they do. And then some. Those are the words of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in 2004, in reference to a report by the Los Angeles Times that found various Waters family members had pocketed a total of more than $1 million over eight years from businesses and campaigns with a connection to the congresswoman.

UPDATE: Hunter Biden Still Owns Stake in Chinese Venture Capital Firm That Acquired U.S. Stealth Technology

Manchin and Harris at odds
But U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was surprised by the Harris interview in his state, claiming no one from the administration had called him to discuss the appearance, WSAZ-TV of Huntington, W.Va., reported.
The communication gap was a departure from the national “unity” theme that Harris and President Biden have promoted, he suggested. “We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together,” Manchin told the station. “That’s not a way of working together.”

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Want a simple explanation of the impeachment argument?

Yes, we know that there was no insurrection by any legal standards.
Yes, we know that President Trump didn't incite anyone by any legal standards.
Yes, we know we wouldn't stand a prayer in hell of convicting him in real life.
Yes, we know we don't have to votes to garner a guilty verdict.

But we are Congress and we can redefine both the term insurrection and the term incitement to whatever degree we need to in order to make it fit our silly article of impeachment. 

GOP Tenney extends here lead over Brindisi in NY 22

 Lead increases to 122 votes overall with limited ballots left to rule on or count

When you are behind in a close race you generally want all of the ballots you can counted. But in this particular case, this logic seemed to backfire on Brindisi and his team. They had originally identified sixty plus ballots (mostly Democrats) who appeared to have had their ballots rejected because of problems with their registration that was done at the DMV. Had the judge ruled these ballots valid, it would have put Brindisi into the lead.

The judge did rule that these ballots must count, but also ordered a review of all of the rejected ballots to see if others fell into this same category. What they found was that over 1000 ballots had been rejected due to issues with their registration at the DMV, who had failed to properly process them. After a full review of those ballots, Tenney picked up 93 votes. 

What happens next is up in the air. The judge ruled against Brindisi on several issues which would have included an additional 284 ballots being counted.  Whether there was enough there to overturn the results is not known. He did rule in Brindisi's favor in some cases, but those were areas where the ballots had already been included in the original count. Brindisi had already filed an appeal even before the judge had ruled, so it's technically not over. 

But at this point, it would appear that the Republicans will have picked up another seat, provided there are no Congressional shenanigans from Pelosi and gang refusing to seat Tenney. 

Iowa 2 Congressional challenge update - Current seated Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks put in a request to dismiss the House challenge made by her opponent Rita Hart. The argument (which applied to the rules in this case) suggest that Hart should have gone to the Iowa court to make her appeal, rather than the House. The rules in place that allow Congress to review and possibly overturn elections has fairly clear language that the appeal is only to take place after all legal recourses at the state level are completed. In this case, the argument is that Hart refused to make an appeal to the Iowa courts, thus forfeits the right to make this sort of challenge.

The bigger political issue at this point probably makes it harder for Pelosi and gang to unseat Miller-Meeks (who voted to certify the Biden win). As Democrats continue to argue that Congress has no place to challenge election results, some even calling for the resignation and removal of those who did, it would seem blatantly hypocritical for them to literally use their power to overturn a certified election result in one of their own races. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

When the cat's away part III

Israel Warns Lebanon of ‘Extremely Significant Couterattack’ if Hezbollah Attacks
Israeli military chief has warned neighboring Lebanon of an ‘extremely significant counterattack’ if Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist militia uses the country to launch attacks against Israel.
“In the face of these threats, we will respond with an extremely significant counterattack that will include targeting rockets, missiles and weapons, whether in open areas, or adjacent to and inside buildings,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief Aviv Kochavi said.

With all the focus and energy on what Trump was "tweeting" about on a particular day or what "sources close to the White House" were making up as they went along, people forgot about how the actual country and world were doing.

While the media ignored news about a variety of peace agreements in the Middle East that led to multiple people nominating Trump for Nobel Peace Prizes, it didn't stop the fact that things were more than just relatively quiet. Not only in the Middle East, but in most of the world. In fact, Trump is the first President in our lifetime not to have escalated conflicts, started a war, or otherwise 

But just in the past couple of weeks we have seen Putin decide to start arresting political opposition and protesters, we had China setting new policies about shoot first and ask questions later regarding ships in disputed international waters, and now we are back to Iran causing problems in the Middle East again. 

Seems like a strange coincidence that all of this started back up within days of Biden being sworn in as President.

What is going on in the stock market and did anyone commit crimes?

So the story over the past few days have been about Reddit, Gamestop, hedge funds, and a company called Robinhood. The story is a bit confusing, convoluted, and hard to follow, possibly because it's hard to believe that it happened the way it did. For purposes of this discussion, we will concentrate on Gamestop stock (even though a few others were involved).

But to simplify it

  • A bunch of hedge funds short sold Gamestop stock, believing that the price would go down and they could buy it back cheaper. Gamestop was in trouble and many thought bankruptcy might be in the cards. While Gamestop was suffering, any massive sell off will also generally reduces the price, meaning that to some degree these hedge funds were manipulating the stock price in order to profit.
  • A bunch of individual investor got together on Reddit (the social media tool) and garnered a plan to buy the stock en masse that the hedge funds had sold, thus driving the price back up. The idea of course is quite simple. The hedge funds had already sold stocks that they didn't technically own (the definition of short sale), meaning they are required at some point to buy them back. 
  • To be fair, Gamestop had also garnered some additional financing to keep themselves temporarily viable. But the increase in stock price was (again) as much in part because of the large amounts of buying and the massive need for the hedge funds to sell quickly, as it was because of good financial news.
  • As the price went up (rather than down) these hedge funds were losing money on a massive scale because they had short sold on a massive scale (estimates were that they literally short sold more shares than existed). Eventually many stock trading companies (such as Robinhood) suspended the ability to buy or sell Gamestop, thus preventing the hedge funds from losing even more money than they already had.
At the end of the day, the hedge funds were probably manipulating the market a bit and may or may not have technically broken any laws.  Meanwhile, the people who got together on Reddit were also manipulative, but technically did nothing illegal either. They just decided to buy this particular stock after some good financial news, while also taking advantage of the fact that so many shares had been short sold. The most questionable action in all of this probably comes from Robinhood and other trading services who suspended trading on Gamestop, which appears to have been done "solely" to protect the hedge funds. Many question what authority they had to make such a call?

Who really knows if any one did anything illegal here. We may or may not see charges or anything else come from this. But it does expose some problems with how easy it is to manipulate stocks and cause people to gain or lose massive amounts of money in a very short period of time.

Liberals demand that half of conservatives follow QAnon

But can only offer a handful of actual examples of anyone really following it?
Definition of gullible : easily duped : easily fooled or cheated especially : quick to believe something that is not true. 

The issue here for liberals is that they want to believe in a good vs evil world where only their view points are considered good, and everyone else's are bad.  This is why you have mainstream liberal views on one side versus what is always described as extremist alt-right views on the other.

For example,  any alternative to Twitter will be automatically defined as a platform for the "alt-right" extremists. Parler, Gab, you name it. If a platform is unwilling to flag a President standing by a flag as "offensive content" then it must be alt-right or possibly even QAnon. 

The reality is that conservatives in 2021 are much more like the conservatives from 2011 or 2001 than liberals from 2021 are like liberals from 2011 or 2001. Liberals would like you to believe that they have created a "new normal" of liberal ideas and that those who do not follow them are the extremist. You want border security, your a racist. You don't believe that there 37 different genders or take issue with biological men competing on women's sports teams and you are genderphobic. You still go to church and believe it god, well then you must be several different things that end with "ist". 

Ultimately if you cannot be otherwise defined by liberals, you become part of something like QAnon. At the end of the day it's a combination of gullibility, fear, and flat out bigotry against viewpoints that differ from theirs. Such a combination makes them think and believe really really stupid things.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Wow... I mean.... just wow!

Now out in the open...

Roberts refused to take part in the impeachment trial

There were some who were trying to play this out as if the Democrats "chose" not to ask Roberts to preside, and that they preferred to have one of their own presiding over the trial travesty. But Schumer and others have revealed that Justice Roberts simply did not want to take part and refused to do so. Some are not too happy about it.
Even Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) voiced objection to Roberts sitting out the trial last week amid concerns that he would do so. “That is his constitutional duty. I can’t imagine why a Supreme Court justice would not do his duty,” the liberal pol said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which plays a critical role in the impeachment process, also hoped Roberts would attend. “I think he should because it will be a straightforward, simple trial. I would think that the chief justice lends the dignity and seriousness it requires,” he said, noting that he was “not required by law to do it.

Yes, certainly having the Chief Justice preside would add some dignity and seriousness to the situation. As it stands, the lack of a Chief Justice certainly means that the event will be anything from dignified or serious. More to the point, the Chief Justice made a conscious decision to "not" add credibility to this event and in doing so undermines the seriousness of it. 

All of this strongly suggests that the Chief Justice does not believe that the impeachment trial is "either" dignified or serious. His refusal to preside should have been taken as a hint by Democrats to end this fiasco before it starts. 

Sources: Democrats still plan to drag out impeachment to distract from the disappointing start to the Biden presidency.

So we all understand that impeachment is dead on arrival in the Senate. There is no chance that Democrats can get a conviction and nearly 50% of the caucus doesn't believe that the trial is even constitutional to hold. By all accounts, this will come across as a futile and petty act by Democrats, likely souring many moderate voters who would much rather just "move on" and look forward. Moreover it has actually embolden many Republican politicians to stand up for what is right and keep the avid Trump supporters happy and supportive. 

So why would the Democrats risk looking futile and petty while simultaneously unifying their opposition? To distract from the Biden Presidency, of course. Which so far, has been nearly universally seen to be a disappointment. Not sure if the disappointment was "expected" or if the fact that many of the new Biden (old Obama) policies are not as popular as certain people would have expected. Consider:

  • Even the NYT and WaPo have been questioning the rollout of the vaccine, citing what appears to be a very unaggressive plan to improve only marginally from what the Trump administration had already put in place. Biden's response of "c'mon man" just doesn't cut it.
  • The statements Biden made about not being able to change the trajectory of the virus runs counter to his campaign promises. He campaigned that he would make robust federal orders to build on the lock downs, mandates, and other measures to not just slow, but also stop the spread. Within a week of being in office, he then concedes that there isn't really anything he can do to slow (much less stop) the virus. This hasn't gone over very well. It looks like a huge campaign lie (because of course it was).
  • Meanwhile, Biden supposedly fuming that liberal Governors are doing the opposite of what he campaign on, by deciding to suddenly reopen. This is also leading to many many Americans questioning (very legitimately) whether or not the lockdowns were ever medical or if they were always political.
  • The decision to shut down the Keystone pipeline seems undefendable. It was one thing to prevent it from starting, but to shut it down a couple years before it would be completed appears little more than a move for spite. This not only cost Americans thousands of jobs, but even people you might suspect would be on his side are pointing out that the cost to the environment will be worse if the oil is being delivered by other means. Biden has gotten nothing but negative press regarding this. The recent concept that these workers can all start building solar panels is insulting and silly at the core. This was a bad mistake that looks like illogical vengeance.
  • Same goes for the executive orders putting a stop to the building of the wall and stopping the deportations. These liberal issues are simply not a popular as they were a while back. The amount of people who want "open borders" has dwindled and people have learned to embrace that border security is good for everyone, including immigrants. These orders have gotten luke warm response from his supporters and rapid opposition from many others. 
  • Suddenly an international scene that appeared to be steady and mundane, has become chaotic and dangerous. We have seen moves made by Russia, China, and now Iran that all appears to be designed to destabilize things in those regions. The one thing that Trump didn't get much credit for was how boring the international scene was over the past four years. Rather than wars and skirmishes, we had peace and peace agreements. 
  • Meanwhile Joe Biden has been setting records for the most amount of executive orders. After spending four years criticizing Trump as being some sort of "dictator" these EO are basically not defendable. Already one of them has been stopped in it's tracks by the courts. 
  • The other questions regarding the executive orders is what will come next? Most of the larger goals that Biden campaigned on would require big legislation that will require Republican support. But impeaching the President, signing bad executive orders, and basically making no attempts to be unifying, there is little chance that big legislation is in the cards. 
Overall this has not been the start that Biden would have wanted, nor is it the start that many people expected.  I would say this might be because of a surprising number of liberal journalists are not just sucking up and applauding everything being done like it's the greatest thing since jelly beans. They appear to be doing some actual critical thinking and actual reporting. If one is honest, then this has all been pretty disappointing. 

So liberals will attempt to go back to putting the attention back on Trump, hoping that the public will not pay attention to the struggles of the new President and his Administration. 

Heads explode within the teacher's unions

CDC Makes The Case For Schools Reopening
Data from K-12 schools that reopened for in-person instruction in the fall show little evidence that schools contributed meaningfully to the spread of COVID-19, according to a new article published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

The overview from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, authored by three of its scientists, represents the clearest view yet of the facts behind what has become a heated debate over when and how schools should reopen.

Meanwhile, like 99% of all liberals.... teachers across the country REFUSE to listen to science and instead have been threatening strikes, refusing to go to work, and otherwise acting as if they are better than those people within the country that "are" currently working.  

The CDC report says data from reopened classrooms show that "the type of rapid spread that was frequently observed in congregate living facilities or high-density worksites has not been reported in education settings in schools.
Meanwhile, evidence mounts of the social, emotional and academic toll remote learning has taken on children, especially in already vulnerable, low-income communities.

In other words, the teachers don't give a bigger rip about the students that they are looking to teach. There is no apparent risk of Covid, but there is a tangible negative effect for the Students who are distance learning. I should know, as I have a Senior in High School that is averaging about 7-8 on-line classes a week (and that is supposed to be full time). It's to the point where he barely has incentive to get up in the morning. He will have a class at 10:00 and then nothing till 1:30. Many times the meetings show full or the link won't work and it's a struggle even get logged in to "distance learn". 

At the end of the day, liberals just refuse to listen to science. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What's good for the goose is good for the gander!

Judge Blocks Biden’s Freeze On Deportations
A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium on Tuesday, stalling the administration’s early immigration reform goals.
The freeze, an executive order signed by President Biden alongside a stack of other first-day executive orders, was blocked by US District Judge Drew B. Tipton of the Southern District of Texas…
Tipton argued that Texas had proven, “that it pays millions of dollars annually to provide social services and uncompensated healthcare expenses and other state-provided benefits to illegal aliens such as the Emergency Medicaid program, the Family Violence Program, and the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

I certainly hope that the Judge in question was a Trump appointee! It would certainly be nice to see what comes around go around. That being said, President Obama had plenty of executive orders shot down by the court, that were shot down for legitimate reasons and shot down for good. Perhaps Biden is also overstepping.

But for four years, these liberal Obama appointed Judges did little more than stall Presidential orders and even laws, inevitably being overturned at higher court levels. Sometimes the same groups would see their lawsuits rejected by higher courts, only to turn around and refile them under slightly different pretenses in different jurisdictions, just to get another liberal district court Judge to provide them with another injunction that was sure to be overturned. It was the political and legal game of whack a mole. 

Would you believe that NY 22 congressional race is still being counted?

But the vote count of Tenney leading Brindisi by 29 is still standing for now.

From what it would appear, there was some votes (approximately a thousand votes) that were rejected due to the fact that the voter was not registered. But apparently these voters had believed that they had registered with the DMV during other transactions, but these registration applications were never actually processed. This all, coincidently, took place in one county, a county that almost split down the middle (with Tenney the Republican winning 50-48). 

So the Judge has apparently ruled (from what I can gather) that if it can be shown that the voter did register before the election, but that the DMV simply did not process the registration, that these votes must be counted. That seems to make sense. 

However, the Brindisi camp originally sought to have 69 voters that they identified (mostly Democrats) added to the count and then actually fought against any recanvassing of the additional voters that might have been affected. But that plea was rejected for obvious reasons and apparently any rejected votes from voters who had their registration held up by the DMV will be counted. 

Still no actual word on when this will be complete, but the Judge in this case has more rulings to make on other votes that are pegged to take place later in the week . Once that is complete, all the votes are counted, all of the rulings have been made and a final vote count is presented. 

Then it will be time for the appeals process. Hopefully it is completed by next November when the next election is slated to be held.

Now we know that impeachment is an exercise in futility. Why follow through?

Just five GOP senators vote Trump impeachment trial is constitutional
The Senate sent a strong signal Tuesday that there are not nearly enough votes to convict President Trump in an impeachment trial when only five GOP senators rejected an effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to declare the looming trial unconstitutional.
The Senate voted 55-45 to set aside Paul's motion, with all but five GOP senators siding with Paul. GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) voted with Democrats to table Paul's point of order.

So this will go down as Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House falsely accusing a President of crimes for purely partisan reasons. 


The first impeachment was a blatant political act so that the could call Trump an "impeached" President during the campaign. A recent survey came out that showed that a majority of Americans could not even define what crime that the President was accused of in his first impeachment. I mean, could you? Without looking it up?

In this case, Democrats have openly admitted that the goal would be to make sure they can officially prevent Trump from running against Biden (or whoever) in 2024. They are barely hiding the fact that they know they do not have a chance of proving him guilty of anything. It would be more campaign fodder if Trump were to actually run again.

Moreover, it's clear that in neither case that they were not only short the amount of Senators that they needed to find him guilty, but that they were short the amount of Senators who actually believed that a crime has been committed or that an impeachment trial was even necessary. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Apparently liberals believe that liberal politicians are reopening because things are getting better?

I guess it's better than the truth, huh? That liberal politicians are hypocrites who are now concerned with the economy because we have a new President?

(Keep in mind that we were shut down through most of the spring and summer months)

in case you were wondering...

Patrick Leahy "is expected to preside" over the political stunt!

Roberts will not preside over "impeachment" trial!

We can bicker and argue over whether or not this was a decision by Democrats to not officially ask Roberts, or if Roberts had made it clear that he was not going to preside over this sham. But the truth is that the trial will be seen as notably less serious without the Chief Justice being involved. 

Constitutionally the Chief Justice "must" be the person who oversees an impeachment trial of the President and for good reason. The appearance of a politician running things, making rulings, and such doesn't just "look" political, but it is is at the very core political. This is especially so when the Senator presiding is a member of the opposition party. 

Obviously the fact is that Trump is a private citizen at this point in time and not a President. Obviously there is still a debate as to whether the political impeachment process (especially since it clearly no longer involves a requirement of actually breaking a law) should extend to a private citizen. Private citizens are subject to several constitutional rights laid out in the Bill of Rights. 

Holding a trial of a private citizen without due process and for something that isn't a crime is very likely against pretty much everything the Bill of Rights stands for. It's clear why there will be no real "Judge" involved. No real judge would want anything to do with it.

The great twitter purge continues?

I had another 280 followers who had their accounts suspended over the past 24 hours

I always do some spot checking and have yet to see anything other than conservative tweets and conservative retweets. No QAnon content, calls for violence, or even much mention of election fraud (which apparently just bringing up can now get you banned). Here is one example.

screen print of recent tweets

I went through several of these (as I often do when I see this sort of purge) and for the life of me I cannot see what caused this particular user to be deleted. I suppose there is a chance that with so many people using the trains process to follow and follow back thousands of users, that Twitter is banning accounts that "follow" certain accounts... even if they are not interacting with them or posting anything themselves that is not within Twitter guidelines. 

Is it "project Veritas" that is causing the issue? They are supposedly now defined as a "right wing" group who some claim "edits" video that they say exposes liberal issues? They were responsible for those undercover abortion videos that showed the abortion clinics agreeing to sell fetus parts as well as exposing some dishonest (if not illegal) ACORN activity. Certainly just a mention of a company that still exists (and has not been found to be doing anything illegal) couldn't have driven that...

could it?

But otherwise I have no good explanation for why 90% of these accounts are being suspended (and eventually banned). It would seem like they are just following through on purging their entire platform of conservative voices. It's probably just a matter of time before I find myself suspended and banned for not being a liberal.