Top Headline Comments 3-10-14
This story amused me greatly.
Senate Democrats will hold a "talkathon" on global warming tonight into tomorrow. No doubt they're desperate for some media coverage on anything other than the economy, Obamacare, national security, and foreign policy.
Poll: a Democratic firm finds (PDF) Rep. Cotton up over Sen. Pryor 51-42% among definite voters. 46-46% among likelies.
Obamacare will accelerate income inequality, says . . . union.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast: [ RSS] [On iTunes] [Download Latest Episode] [Ask The Blog]
Overnight Open Thread (3-9-2014)
Because Salon writer, Randa Jarrar, thinks it's horrible and racist that non-Arab women dare to belly dance as she declares in this article:
Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriation.
...Women I have confronted about this have said, "But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on." These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I'm sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It's not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you're not appropriating someone else's.
Apparently 'appropriation' is the latest crime-du-jour on the left which seems to be the act of engaging in an art form originally developed by someone who doesn't look like you. Which is to say your skin hue and ethnic background determine which artistic genres you are allowed to engage in. A more perfect definition of artistic racism would be hard to come up with. But then the Left is ever creative with defining their racism away and discovering new race crimes that you're guilty of.
Which leads to this: HuffPo Writer: Republicans Can Never Not Be Racist
And this: Mexicans Almost as Racist as Republicans
Essentially the bargain that any president, I think, strikes with the American people is: "you give me this office and in turn my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you." And the American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you've got a job to do.
...And so how I think about it is that you don't make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice, that trade off, that bargain and I think that what's difficult and important for somebody like myself who has a wonderful forbearing wife and two gorgeous young children is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices with you," he continued. "And that is a profound decision that you don't make lightly.
Well the 2006 Senator Obama that is. Meanwhile President Obama is on his third vacation of the year. Plus it's also always wrong to reject a qualified presidential appointment...unless you're Senator Obama.
Has there ever been a president with such an amazing hypocritical gap between his pre-election rhetoric and his post-election behavior as this one?
So NYC has banned the indoor use of e-cigarettes and LA is considering banning them from public areas and businesses despite the fact that they consist of only water vapor, flavoring and nicotine and pose no known threat to anyone.
And the FDA says they will consider e-cigs as a tobacco products - even though they contain no tobacco.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that it intends to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way that it regulates tobacco products, but the devices actually don't contain tobacco-only nicotine.
Why? Mostly likely a combination of not really understanding what e-cigs are, the reflexive desire to ban things they don't like, and the hunger for more taxes.
But at least e-cigs don't pose the grave deadly threat that third-hand smoke does.
"The Ukraine is WEAK, it's feeble, I think it's time to put a hurt on the Ukraine"
Advocates such as Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who co-sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, said the plan is about more than just saving energy. Markey actually issued a press statement proclaiming: "In addition to the benefits of energy saving, less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, daylight saving just brings a smile to everybody's faces." I'm not buying it.
Redistributing daylight is the kind of zero-sum game that underlies the liberals' vision of the world. The hour of daylight in the evening comes at the expense of the morning. At least it is in fact only a zero-sum game.
So Rachel Canning, 18, of Oak Park, NJ didn't like living under her parents' rules and ran away to live at her best friend's house. And now she's suing her parents for child support, medical bills, college expenses and legal fees.
It's a long involved story but my conclusions thus far are that 1) she's an extremely selfish and spoiled girl, 2) her parents were possibly too lenient but seem like normal loving parents, and 3) there's something very odd about the best friend's wealthy attorney dad bankrolling her lawsuit. So far the judge doesn't seem to be buying her arguments.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [405 comments] 'Vic' [56.85 posts/day]
2 [404 comments] 'Flatbush Joe'
3 [385 comments] 'MWR, Proud Tea(rrorist) Party Assault Hobbit'
4 [366 comments] 'Nip Sip'
5 [340 comments] 'thunderb'
6 [302 comments] 'willow'
7 [296 comments] 'Insomniac'
8 [292 comments] 'RWC'
9 [283 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
10 [278 comments] 'Mike Hammer'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [127 names] 'Adam' [17.83 unique names/day]
2 [54 names] 'The Political Hat'
3 [48 names] 'phreshone'
4 [39 names] 'andycanuck'
5 [38 names] 'Islamic Rage Boy'
6 [34 names] 'Nip Sip'
7 [34 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
8 [31 names] 'rd'
9 [29 names] 'Frumious Bandersnatch'
10 [28 names] '18-1'
The group. Yeah.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Corporal D. Carey:
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Spaced-Out Challenge: Messier Marathon Mega-Thread (Part 2)
[We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Open Thread down page, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic. Enjoy!]
Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge! Whether you have a question about equipment, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly astronomical journey.
This week, we continue our beginner's guide to the Messier Marathon, the best nights for which are coming on Saturday, March 29th, and Sunday, March 30th. We stopped our hunt of Charles Messier's “nuisance nebulae” around Midnight, leaving our galaxy for island universes beyond. Now, it's time to go straight into the heart of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Tiny smudges of light, some fuzzy, some with faint arms, but all right before your own eyes: a view at the grandest of scales we can see. Come, let me show you.
Part One of our Messier Guide can be found here.
Overview Map pops out here: View image
At Midnight, the Virgo Galaxy cluster is riding high, giving you an excellent opportunity to pick off a massive number of Messier objects, and to enjoy some of the finest galaxies in that or any catalog. The brightest stars- Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus- are joined by a brightening Mars, so use these as your anchor stars, and align your map above accordingly.
Messier 53: A(nother) Globular in Coma Berenices.
Coma Berenices is a faint constellation susceptible to light pollution, but from your dark sky location, its magnificent star cluster and faint main stars are plainly visible. Looking to your south, and about midway up from your horizon, it forms an upside-down L above Virgo. Aim your binoculars at the southernmost main star Ithe brightest in the small constellation), and you'll notice a small, fuzzy patch of light: the globular cluster M53, an ancient cluster of over 100,000 stars about 65,000 light years distant.
The Black Eye Galaxy (Messier 64)
About a binocular's FOV north and west of Alpha Coma Berenices (the star you used to find M53) lies the striking galaxy M64. The Black Eye gets its name from the striking dark band of absorbing dust in front of the galaxy's bright nucleus, visible in most telescopes from a dark site.
The Suburbs of the Virgo Cluster
Beneath downtown Virgo are two contrasting galaxies in the Messier catalog.
A beautiful small spiral, M61 was initially mistaken for a comet by Charles Messier, but was cataloged as a nebulae after it hadn't moved over several observations. It has been relatively active: six supernova have been observed and cataloged since frequent observations began.
One of the brightest galaxies in the cluster, this giant elliptical galaxy was erronously thought to be more massive than M87 (see below). While it can't claim that brag, it is still a monster, stretching a full 60,000 light years wider than our own Milky Way. This is one of the easiest galaxies to see because of it's brightness. Averted viewing can help bring out the faint fuzziness enveloping the very bright core.
Another reasonably bright one in the cluster, M85 is a lenticular galaxy populated by older yellow stars. A faint hazy blob in small telescopes, don't let it's appearance fool you: this galaxy is at least 25% larger than our home.
One of the most beautiful spirals in the Messier catalog, it is another bright member of the Virgo Group. Lord Rosse mentioned it as one of his 14 spiral nebulae in 1850. It isn't hard to see how it earned the designation of being a "grand design" spiral. From a dark site, amateurs can see the central regions of this galaxy as a faint elliptical patch in small telescopes or good binoculars. Under very good observing conditions, suggestions of the inner spiral arms can be glimpsed in 4" telescopes or larger, and more of the "grand design" can be teased out with an 8" dobsonian.
Fainter and thus a bit tougher to see, this edge-on spiral is best found by hopping from star 6 Com. It's dust-filed disk obscures most of the nucleus.
Another nearly face-on spiral galaxy, M99 boasts the record for the highest receding velocity speed, moving through the cosmos at over 1200 kilometers a second. Some star formation regions can be teased out with larger dobsonians.
Messier 84, Messier 86 & Markarian's Chain
Markarian's Chain is a “string” of galaxies discovered by it's namesake to have the same proper motion through the cluster, and is anchored on one end by M84 and M86. It's fainter members really pop out in scopes of at least 4” of aperture. Lying right smack between Vindemiatrix in Virgo and Denebola in Leo, I've used the chain as a starting point for observing all of the Messiers in this section. Take your time and see how many you can actually spot beyond the obviously bright Messiers. Can you see the “eyes” ?
Messier 87 lies at the heart of the cluster, as well it should: this monstrously massive elliptical galaxy is one of the largest known. It's supermassive black hole spits out a relativistic jet of plasma that poses a challenge all it's own for owners of very large dobsonian telescopes- many have claimed visual observations of it!
The trio of Messier 84, 86, and 87 are bright enough to spot with even crappy binoculars, so long as you are observing from a dark sky. Amateur Jeremy Perez shares his sketch and thoughts on these three:
The broad stretches of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies are a real treat telescopically, but what does it look like through binoculars? And not just any old astronomy-grade binoculars, but really crummy ones? Well, I and my twenty dollar laughing-stock 10x50 binoculars are happy to say that you can indeed enjoy these galactic poofs on a bino-budget. But you'll still need a dark sky on your side.
Drawing a bead--and a crick'd neck--on the heart of the cluster slowly revealed two soft patches that are the bright galaxies, M84 and M86. M86 was the brighter of the two, and appeared more strongly concentrated at its core. It was also hard to miss the soft glow of M87 as it hugged a nearby eighth magnitude star. With some patience, a much more elusive smear appeared east of M86 from the combined light of NGC 4435 and 4438. I also noted a soft glow due south of M86 that turned out to be the unresolved glow of a grouping of stars in the area.
So, what can I say? If your current choice of binoculars gives you just a wee touch of shame, but you've got a dark sky to play with, go ahead and grab those dogs, and a pack of ice for your neck, and give some Virgo galaxies a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised.
A stunning spiral galaxy for small telescopes, as the sketch above shows, the classic swirling shape is unmistakable. If many of the other galaxies seem underwhelming in your smaller instrument, aim for the one that never disappoints.
From stunning and bright we switch to a far more difficult object for the amateurs, but rewarding to cross off your list, M91, one of the fainter galaxies in the cluster and one of the faintest of all the Messier objects.
One of the larger spiral galaxies in the cluster, M90's tightly-wounded, bright arms appear to be devoid of star formation.
Arguably one of the most circular elliptical galaxies easily visible by amateurs, some compare it's appearance to smaller globular clusters, but don't let it's compactness fool you: it's at least a billion times more massive than our most impressive globular.
A barred spiral, small telescopes show only its bright nucleus, giving it an elliptical appearance. Under good conditions, 4-inch scopes or better reveal an oddly shaped halo enveloping the core. Hints of the bar structure begin with telescopes of about 8" of aperture.
Messier 59 & 60
Slightly flattened and less massive than M49 or M87, Messier 59 is still an impressive elliptical galaxy with more stars than our own. It's close proximity to M60 means both can pop into view at very low power.
A monster lies within the bright, giant elliptical galaxy M60: HST observations have revealed an object with a mass 2 billion times that of our sun, likely a supermassive black hole that could eat the Milky Way's lunch several times over.
Don Machholz compiled an excellent star/galaxy hopping sequence for all of these galaxies for his Messier Marathon Observer's Guide, if the map seems too condensed to plan your own hop. Remember to work at low power in your telescope, or mount your binoculars for additional stability, and dive in:
From Denebola (Beta Leonis), go 0.3 deg N and 6.8 deg following (E) to star 6 Comae. From here go 0.5 deg preceding (W) to find M98.
From M98 go 0.5 deg S, 1.2 deg following (E) to M99. [It is near a mag 6 star]
From M99 travel 1.0 deg following (E), 1.4 deg N to M100. [2 mag-6 stars point to it from 6 Com]
From M100 go 0.6 deg following (E), 2.4 deg N to M85 and faint NGC 4394 (10' E)
From M85 sweep 5.3 deg S to find M84 and M86 in one field, together with a number of fainter NGC galaxies including NGC 4388; 15' NE of M86 is the interacting pair NGC 4435/4438.
From M86 go 0.6 deg S, 1.1 deg following (E) to M87.
From M87 go 0.2 deg N, 1.2 deg following (E) to M89.
M90 is 0.3 deg following (E), 0.7 deg N of M89.
From M90 travel 1.2 deg preceding (W), 1.2 deg N to M88.
M91 is situated 0.1 deg N, 0.8 deg following (E) of M88 - same low-power rich-field.
From M91 sweep 0.6 deg following (E), 2.7 deg S to M58 [situated east of and near a mag 6 star]
From M58 go 0.2 deg S, 1.1 deg following (E) to M59. In the same field should be M60 (0.1 deg S, 0.4 deg E) with its fainter companion NGC 4647.
From M60 travel 3.4 deg preceding (W), 3.5 deg S to find M49; from M49 go 2.0 deg preceding (W), 3.5 deg S to M61.
In small instruments, these may appear as lumpy patches of light. But thanks to our understanding of the universe, we now comprehend (or try to) that each is much like our home galaxy, filled with black holes, comets, pulsars, gas clouds, suns, moons, and planets. The next time you walk on a beach, consider the sand beneath your feet. Now imagine our sun as a grain of sand. At that scale, our Milky Way would be a sand castle five stories high (if all of the suns were packed together, which we know is certainly not the case). As impressive as our own backyard may be, there are more stars in the galaxies beyond than there are grains of sand on Earth. Our home is a speck too small to even imagine, in a star field too smushed to resolve, in a galaxy barely discernible for an intelligent being on the other side of the universe.
If you've followed this guide successfully so far, congratulations: you've knocked out over a third of the Messier objects, with the Spring and Summer targets rising up in the last part of our guide.
Remember, tonight is also the relaunch of COSMOS (this version featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson), which will air at 9pm on FOX and all non-news FOX channels (FX, FXX, etc), the latest trailer of which you can see here:
The full Beginner's Buyer's Guide, our Comet Guide (featuring additional grab-and-go telescopes), and any other edition you're looking for can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments. As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theoneandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com, or tweet me @conartcritic.
If you have any more questions about your new optics, feel free to ask below. Until next time, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!
On March 23rd, we finish our Messier Marathon Guide. See you in a few Sundays!
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For your non-astronomy needs, here's a fresh open thread, one that can handle billions and billions of comments.
Sunday Travel Thread: Outta Time Edition [Y-not]
Good evening, Traveling morons! For those of you not in Arizona, Hawaii, or the Navajo Nation -- did you remember to set your clock forward for daylight savings time? Inspired by this horrible event, today’s theme is “G-D It I’m TIRED So This Is What You’ll Get And LIKE It!”
Seriously, though, I am really wiped out after a couple of late evenings last week and spending most of yesterday afternoon in the garden. So I apologize, but the thread will be a little bare bones today.
Today’s thread is brought to you by The Days of Our Lives opening sequence:
Via Gizmodo, a neat map that shows How the Time of Sunrise and Sunset Varies Around the World.
Time zones are strange old things, especially the way they prescribe one time to thousands of miles of land mass—so this visualization shows which parts of the world experience unusually early and late hours of daylight as a result
If I’m reading this map correctly, they’re saying that my location gets sunrise a little late, but the sun stays up longer. Sadly, I haven’t been able to zoom it up well enough to tell with certainty. Moreover, our house’s placement relative to the mountains may negate the effect to some extent. I confess I’m more of a morning person, so I guess I’d be better off in Greenland!
On a related notefrom xkcd, “Now” lets you visualize the current time anywhere in the world at any given moment in time that you check it. Kind of fun.
Last week when I was thinking of today’s topic, I decided to focus on travel destinations that are known for seasonal festivals and events, mostly because that’s a type of travel that I really enjoy myself. Well, I have a lot of links, but not much energy to assemble them into a coherent post… but, what the heck, l’ll put the links out there for you all to enjoy at your leisure.
A favorite type of festival at Casa Y-not are arts festivals. We love them, whether they be elaborate week-long affairs or just small ones in our local home town. Heck, we even liked the one that Lafayette, Indiana held each year in May. ‘Not sure I’d travel to attend it, but if you’re in the area it is definitely worth a visit.
One of our favorite arts festivals will be held next weekend in Scottsdale.
We’ve been several times and it never disappoints. The weather is fantastic, the art is top-notch, the venue is lively but comfortable (not too crowded), and there are great food and music options as well. Plus, it coincides with Spring Training, so we can double up on our activities. I highly recommend this festival, especially for couples – wives can enjoy the festival and husbands can catch some baseball.
It's many months away, but another one that we really enjoyed (also in the Southwest) is held in the Fall in Taos, New Mexico. It’s been several years since I’ve been (our schedule tends to explode in the Fall), but my recollection is that it was a wonderful event and the scenery in the area is spectacular.
Other arts festivals held around this time of year (to which I have not been) include: the Spring Arts Festival in Santa Fe next month (I have been to Santa Fe and it’s well worth the trip if you’re artsy) and the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts next weekend. There are many more, mostly in warm weather locations at this time of year. Here’s a list of West Coast arts festivals, for example.
A second major type of festival that many people enjoy are music festivals. We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about the South by Southwest (aka SXSW) music festival that is happening now in Austin, but did you know there’s also a South by So What? festival in Grand Prairie, Texas? It’ll be held next weekend. If you’re in Florida, you might want to check out Hard Miami in a couple of weeks. Or go to this site to find a music festival near you.
The third major type of festivals that many people love are Food and Wine events. When we lived in Chicago the big thing to do was to go to Taste of Chicago in the summer. We did it one year and were so appalled by the crowd size and the horror of walking on several inches of rib and chicken bones that we never went again – but some people love it. A little more our speed might be the Palm Desert Food + Wine Festival which is held later this month. (Palm Desert is nice, but I haven’t been to this festival.) Of course, the Phoenix area has numerous festivals during the winter and spring months.
Perhaps the most unique festival I ran across while researching is the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. Held in mid-April in the bustling burg of Waynesboro, Virginia, this festival combines fly fishing with food and drink. Sounds kinda fun!
Finally, the festival-going globe-trotters amongst us might find this listing of festivals around the world of some use.
Do any of you have recommendations of great festivals going on this Spring?
A couple of more Spring festivals of note, courtesy of our commenters:
Via Margarita DeVille:Spoleta Festival, MAY 23 — JUNE 8, 2014 in CHARLESTON, SC
Via stace: Fiesta San Antonio, April 10 - 27, 2014
To wrap up, how about a few silly quizzes to entertain you?
Via a site called Best Trip Choices, here’s a travel “personality” quiz to identify your travel style. I came out as a “Mid Venturer,” aka a “Pioneer”. (Any of our Utah or LDS morons should get a chuckle out of that given that I’m in Utah now!) The quiz seems reasonable in terms of travel style identification, but the trip choices it offers based on that are pretty lame, imho.
Via BuzzFeed (yeah yeah, I know) here’s a completely silly quiz to help you identify what kind of vacation you should take. I got “An Inspiring Retreat.” OK. I guess it beats “Dumpster Behind the Tattoo Parlor.”
Probably the best of the quizzes I found in terms of identifying meaningful vacation ideas, is this one courtesy of Tripzard.
How’d you all do?
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Interpol: More "Suspect Passports" On Malaysian Flight Than At First Thought
This is all via @rdbrewer4.
An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more "suspect passports" that were being further investigated.
In addition to the two they've Reuters:
"The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.
More of the story (most of which you probably already know) here.
The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper cited Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam's army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It was found in waters about 56 miles south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.
"From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane," Tuan said. Thanh Nien said two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.
An authority told Reuters that it was too dark to be certain the object was part of the missing plane, and that more aircraft would be dispatched to investigate the site in waters off southern Vietnam in the morning.
Possibly a terrorist attack, though so little is known now this is speculation:
[A] former intelligence official told Fox News that the information about stolen passports from two adjacent European countries, combined with recent warnings for flights to the United States about the risk of possible shoe bomb attacks, is concerning
Those passports were from Italy and Austria, and were stolen in Thailand.
As you know, as of this moment, the plane is flat-out vanished. As remarkable as it seems, there is a precedent for that:
There is a precedent for a modern jetliner to fall from the sky while "in the cruise" and lie hidden for months, according to CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest.
On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447 was en route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris when communications ended suddenly from the Airbus A330, another state-of-the-art aircraft.
It took four searches over the course of nearly two years to locate the bulk of flight 447's wreckage and the majority of the 228 bodies in a mountain range deep under the ocean. It took even longer to find the cause of the disaster.
A plane is at its safest point when it is cruising.
Food Thread: Technique: Why It's Important (CBD)
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I am doing double-duty as cook and nurse -- there is flu in Chez Dildo! (I rock the outfit however, so there is that silver lining. You know how much white stockings cost in my size?). But I haven't been able to poke around the cooking section of my local bookstore, looking for inspiration, or just something to plagiarize.
I have been thinking about the difference between recipes and technique. Most people with reasonable hand-eye coordination and a well-written recipe will be able to cook that recipe with minimal trouble. The problem is that many recipes assume too much or, even more frequently, just don't make perfect sense.
In my experience, the venerable (hah) NY Times food section recipes are often just rough guides, and occasionally will be off significantly. A year or so ago they had a recipe for sourdough rye bread that was missing a few cups of liquid. And that's were an understanding of technique would help. But most people reflexively assume that if it's published then it's going to work as described. And yes, I made that mistake, and had to add more and more starter liquid and water until it looked like a manageable dough. Had I been firmly grounded in baking technique, my first reading of the recipe would have yielded a snort, a laugh, and a loud, "Ah, the idiots are at it again!"
Technique is nothing more than a general understanding of what happens to ingredients when they are treated a particular way. Most of us are reasonably proficient in grilling technique -- what happens to a piece of steak of x thickness on a fire of y temperature over z time. No recipe can cover all of the variables, but with that simple technique, we can grill anything.
The trick is to find good recipes, and divine the underlying technique. And once you know the technique, you really don't need a recipe. And then you will be a real cook.
This was really driven home to me by a friend of mine who is a superb bartender. I won't call him a mixologist because he thinks that's an asshole term, to be used only to describe pompous hipsters with delusions of grandeur. And if I called him one he might stop making me smoked bourbon old-fashioneds, and that would ruin my life.
But...he once explained that there are some basic ratios (basic technique) for cocktails, and if you stick them you'll be okay. And bartending is just cooking, but (mostly) without heat.
3 oz. Evan Williams Bourbon (Or any reasonable quality bourbon)
½ oz. Dry Vermouth
½ oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
½ oz. Cointreau
Stir in lots of ice
Strain into cocktail or lowball glass
Garnish with a twist of lemon
This, as the name suggests, is not a Manhattan, but it’s damned close, as well as being damned good.
Try it with Rye Whiskey for a spicier, slightly less sweet drink.
Close it up
Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD]
And the burning question of the day: Are Eva Mendes' feet really that big, and more importantly, does it matter?
*Correction courtesy of Bertram Cabot Jr.
Gaming Thread 3/9/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Glad last week is over.
• New Watch Dogs trailer and release date (May 27th)
• Are you tired of the Batman games yet? Well,, Rocksteady announced their next one titled Arkham Knight. At least this is a strictly current gen game and isn't coming out for the 360 and PS3 I guess.
• So Xseed announced that they're bringing over Akiba's Trip 2 this summer under the title Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed for the PS3 and Vita. It's a brawler where you strip girls and guys down to their underwear trying to root out vampires and then beat them senseless.
• New clip from the upcoming SOMA, the new game from Frictional Games (Amnesia and Penumbra)
• What happens when you give up caring about balance in fighting game? You get Ultra Street Fighter IV Ediiton Select
• So apparently Microsoft was at CPAC trying to drum up some business for targeted political ads on the Xbox dashboard. This wouldn't be the first time that MS has gotten political on the Xbox as the past 2 elections, they had GOP and Democrat based gamerpics (I rocked a Palin one in 08) and they did have a Frank Luntz wet dream of streaming the political debates and made it interactive.
• Kenji Inafune announced his next totally not a MegaMan clone game titled Azure Striker Gunvolt
• New Dragon Age Inquisition trailer showing off environments
• Why anyone would want to reboot Shaq-Fu is anyone's guess but at least they're not using their own money as it's a IndieGoGo project
Finally made my way through Out There and got the bad ending. I really dig it but after awhile, you really wish there was a bit more to it as there is a limit in how many times you can sit through doing the same three tasks over and over again (drill planet, buy upgrades and move to new solar system). Sure it looks pretty in a 60's pop art look and the random events help to add a little spice but it becomes a bit boring.
Been playing this music based FPS that is currently in Alpha which I can't talk about since it's NDA to all hell which kinda sucks as there is quite a bit of interesting stuff going on in it.
DARK SOULS 2 (360 & PS3) - Oh how I hate that the PC release isn't coming till next month but I have to make due. At least for the first half of the year, this is the biggest release IMO. This is pretty much a direct sequel to the first game and it looks so damn good. It's a third person action-rpg and you will die a lot. That being said, it's FROM so expect some FPS chugging and questionable looking assets for the console versions.
TitanFall (Xbox One & PC) - Well, Microsoft is banking pretty damn hard on this being a huge hit that moves some consoles. As someone who has played in the alpha and beta, it's a ton of fun that is really only hampered by the fact that the game is pretty ugly (even downsampled from 4K on a PC doesn't make it a looker). The campaign mode should be interesting as wrapping a narrative that they're trying to aim for around some standard online multiplayer matches is a concept that is relativily new. 360 owners get it in two weeks.
Yoshi's New Island (3DS) - If you're not tired of the glut of platformers from Nintendo, they're gonna stuff another into your piehole. At least this one has a different art style than all of the Mario games from the last year and no eardrum splitting crying from Baby Mario.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky (PS3) - Never really got into the Atelier series but it has it's fans. The series main focus is all about item crafting and this one is no different. The game is split into two so you can choose which character to play as.
That's it, catch me on Twitter
Close it up
AOSHQDD- The Special Congressional Election in Florida (CD13)
We are just two days away from the special election between Republican David Jolly and onetime Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink. Let's go through a quick breakdown of the district, past voting results, and how I see the race as it stands two days before the final decision.
First, C. W. Bill Young served as Congressman in this increasingly-Democratic swing district for decades, easily surviving redistricting with much of his original district well contained within CD8, then CD6, back to CD8, then CD10, and most recently CD13. While he carried the seat easily in 2012, Mitt Romney lost it to President Obama by about 1.4%. Two years prior, these same precincts voted for Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in the senate race and Alex Sink over Rick Scott in the gubernatorial one. The district has voted for a Republican Presidential candidate three times in the last 30 years: 1984, 1988, and 2004. Casting “moderate” votes and pulling in the pork, Young built off of the slight Republican registration advantage in the district and kept the seat safe for the GOP, easily winning every single re-election.
With his passing in 2013, the seat instantly became a toss-up, and, with the entrance of well-known Democrat Alex Sink, lean Democratic per most analysts. As the weeks have passed and mail-in returns have rolled in, that analysis looked solid: Republicans enjoyed high single-to-double digit advantages in the mail-in returns for the 2012 and 2010 contests, but only a 2-point edge in this special election. Early in-person voting trends Democratic, and it has, giving the Democrats a current advantage (as of Saturday night) of about 230 votes.
The spending in the race has been astronomical: over $12 million has been devoted, mostly by outside groups. A grab bag of PACs have so far spent $4.9 million for Jolly, $3.7 million for Sink, while the candidates themselves have raised $1.2 million and $2.7 million respectively, giving Sink the slight edge in this metric. Ads have gone beyond the saturation point: the average resident of the district is being bombarded to the tune of over a hundred a day.
However, there has been a late “surge” in mail-in returns that have some Republicans hopeful of an upset: the mail-ins (again, as of Saturday night) now break five points in the Republicans' favor, spreading three points in a week. If that trend can continue, it may hit the magic number needed for Jolly to squeak out a win (I peg that number at 7%, since polling has shown an unfortunate number of Republicans (1 in 6) voting for Sink).
Any considerable edge in the mail-in vote will make a big difference, because a sizable majority of the total vote will have been cast before Tuesday: the current tally of mail-ins and early votes is now over 120,000 and we are forecasting a total vote of under 200,000 (special elections for Congress have exceeded that number only twice in the last decade). Assuming another 10,000 mail-ins and early ballots are cast, that means less than a third will be on Tuesday. If Republicans enter Tuesday with a net 5-6% edge in 2/3rds of the vote, you can see how it would be hard for Sink to finish the winner.
As we have seen in other close house races, a monkey wrench has been thrown in this one, hampering Republican efforts. Senator Rand Paul is reaching out to voters to help candidate Jolly neutralize a threat from Libertarian Lucas Overby, who has been polling between 4 and 7% of the vote. Overby has no conceivable shot at winning, so he has become a spoiler in Republican efforts to hold the seat: I project Sink with a 3-5 point lead as of today (barring, again, that “surge” sustaining through Tuesday), making his “small” share of the vote substantial.
So what should you take away from all of this? If you live in FL-13 and haven't already done so, MAIL IN YOUR RETURN if you have one. If you are an outside observer, understand the fundamentals of the race (party breakdown, past electoral preference, campaign spending) favor the Democrat, Alex Sink. Again, I see her winning by 3-5 points, but keep an eye on the early vote tallies by party from Pinellas County. Lastly, we will have live coverage of the returns on Tuesday night, the first crowd-sourced demonstration of AOSHQDD since 2012, so I encourage you all to tune in as we watch the first of many head-to-head contests in midterm 2014. JohnE, after being heavily medicated, is working furiously on the site and graphics. It should make for a fun night, regardless the result.
Gun Thread (3-9-2014)
Facebook, Instagram & Guns
Moms Demand Action!!11! and receive ... this? OK. Whatever.
Facebook and its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram Wednesday announced new policies aimed at stemming online sales of illegal guns.
The social media platforms have agreed to remove reported posts that evade gun laws, restrict minors under the age of 18 from viewing posts about firearm sales and provide education to better inform law-abiding sellers of guns.
Here's NRA-ILA's response.
Dana Loesch's thoughts on a Ben Carson POTUS candidacy
Gun rights isn't an "issue." It's a freaking civil right.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 8, 2014
Yeah, there are lots of policy issues we can discuss and debate the details of, but Carson's statement that people's second amendment rights should be conditional based on where they live is a deal breaker.
Gun Of The Week
Gun Of The Week - Answer
That's the S&W No. 3, Third Model, in .44 Russian.
I've seen a bunch of stuff flying around the Interwebs about pushback on Connecticut's "assault weapons" registration scheme re police refusing to enforce the law. None of it is sourced worth a crap, and I won't link it here. But I'll keep looking.
Hickock45 On The GOTW
If there are topics you're interested in seeing in the gun thread, please send them to AoSHQGunThread at gmail. You can also send them to me on Twitter at @AndyM1911.
The owner's manual for your concealed carry permit: The Law of Self Defense
Celebrate America's firearms heritage: participate in Project Appleseed.
Close it up
Nothing to See Here [Y-not]
Via the Jawa Report,
Tragedy: Iranian Grad Student at Georgia Tech Dies
Nothing to see here folks. He was just making Molotov Cocktails in his apartment. You know, normal stuff at Georgia Tech:
Go over to the Jawa Report to read the whole thing.
Commenter JPS cautions that the news reporting may be way off in saying that the student was making molotov cocktails. Unfortunately, nothing very definitive seems to have been published to counter the media reports, but I did find this statement:
"We have worked closely with other law enforcement agencies during the investigation of this tragic incident," Robert Connolly, interim police chief for Georgia Tech, said in an emailed statement. "The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation."
Also, per the AP:
Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane's doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.
It's still early days. Keep praying for survivors.
Commenter Ricardo Kill provides this update, suggesting that the wreckage is not from the missing Malaysian Air flight:
SEPANG - The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has denied that the debris found near Vietnam's Tho Chu Island was from of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 airplane.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said authorities have confirmed that the objects spotted floating in the sea about 100km south-southwest off the island did not match the body of the missing aircraft.
Let's hope that the subsequent investigation is thorough and not hampered by political correctness.
Food Thread: Special Addition -- Beer: A Primer [Beerslinger & CBD]]
Chronicles from a Beerslinger
The next installment of that beer odyssey thing...
"64oz. to Freedom"
Okay so it's a rip from Sublime's '40oz. to Freedom' album, but that doesn't fill my growler, so 64oz. it'll have to be. Feel free to play the album along with the writings herein. It was, after all, my muse.
Can there be a better way to enjoy this first balmy weekend in what seems like millennia to many of us, than with some far from serious beer banter?
I'm not bragging when I state I am an epicure, just sayin'. That now said, I do not in any way proclaim to be a connoisseur, and without fault in my beer tastes. Tastes, after all are subjective; and sometimes mostly, arbitrary. That's where your comments come in. I'll insert a fancy science video to embolden my claim, (and make me feel a little scientific on a Sunday morning), that all tastes are unique and singularly subjective. 'Cause I ain't got no time for conflicting points of view.....I step into the great unknown...
Okay so they focus on smell & sex in this study, but this can be relevant to your time here since your sense of smell is the centerpiece to your tastes. This study could also be a good tie in to WeirdDave's human harvesting tutorial in his and Y-not's Gardening thread yesterday...as can beer.
So, gettin' on with it, a fellow Moron suggested, "just stick with the basics man, you know? Styles..." Seemed kinda dull to me at the time, but I'll give it a swig...but I gotta focus on one or two in particular, just to get the writing going. Plus..It's that Lenten season time and I feel the need to bear alms by enlightening others, even if just for one lost beer soul. (It also gives me an excuse to drink beer.)
Don't take these unassuming beer styles for granted. This beer deserves R-S-P-C-T! I used to drink lagers only when I didn't want to get into trouble, alas, in my (somewhat) wiser years I've learned, trouble always finds me. So I figure, why not? YOLO as the hipsters a little late to the game are sayin'.
Not to be judgmental, (I'm only human after all), but I find the majority of lager drinkers tend to prefer the volume of beer that they can consume in a session over the alcohol by volume content of the beer itself. You can work out the math on that one. And if you can't, you might just fall over. If that happens, do NOT go back for more! Cameras are everywhere and making an ass of oneself is poor enough, doing it on camera makes it epic, so as an advisor (and for tax reasons), I need to insert this public service announcement...
When it comes to lagers I lean toward the Black Lagers, Imperial Lagers and hoppy Lagers, sometimes referred to as IPL's or Imperial Pale Lagers. What I'm trying' to say right here is that we have a lot of hybrids these days. Relish in it! Be thankful for these feats of innovation. It is capitalism, at it's best, that has allowed such yeasty, hoppy & malty beverages to flourish to new heights, and hypes.
I just so happen to be a capitalistic thinking, beer minded advocate. Only in a capitalistic society do we see people going to great lengths to make things greater; cash into money, coffee into cola, cola into energy drinks, whiskey into anesthesia, dirt brown marijuana into super green hybrid strains sold by our government, coke into crack cocaine, oxycodone into heroin, heroin into a better high with a mixed in pain killer - (on the black market sometimes known as the Ace of Spades, mind you!), a million dollars worth of debt into a trillion, (okay so that's not so much a capitalist model), and brewing mediocre beer into a gorgeously crafted beer with bountiful body and breadth. Anyway, I think you catch my drift. Especially if you're standing in close proximity.
In my quest to find a liking for Lagers, I stumbled upon an Imperial Pale Lager, (IPL moving forward), that I really like. IPLs strive to be, as the name implies, hoppy lagers...with a higher alcohol content. Whenever you see the word 'imperial' you can bet your ass the alcohol content will be higher than in the more traditional styles. So drinker beware.
Hoponius Union by Jack's Abby Brewing is the one that floats my IPL boat right now. I don't have a fancy picture for it. (I broke the bottle.)...and my boat is inflatable. It's got hops and it's got dankness going on. I am, at heart, a hop head, so this beer has my name all over it. Wow! I never thought I'd say that about a lager! Maybe I should file for a name change to beerlager? Nah, that could be taken out of context.
OK, I guess I have to pair it with food now....no pressure.
I'm reaching a little here, but I kinda think I'd definitely enjoy this beer more with a pig foot! Bessie really said it better....
India Pale Ales. Unlike the lager above, this is an ale. Brewed at a higher temperature, they offer more flavor. An India Pale Ale is what the letters mean for those that need a little 101'ing.
Gonna go Jai Alai here on you britches. Cigar City, Tampa FL.
Jai Alai offers a citrusy flavor with a hint of pine. Think western hops infused with the pines of the eastern shore. Bold upfront, but invitingly smooth at the finish which gives her a gracious dash of easiness, allowing for clarity in taste and thought.
Yes, I agree, there are a lot of fine IPAs out there. I've been spoiling myself with Bear Republic's Racer X straight outta the tap. Then there's Stone, Ballast Point, Weyerbacher, Bell's, Firestone, and many other fine breweries making just as good an IPA. But I had to zero in on one that was readily available in the cellar.
Doesn't Play well with Friends....
Switching gears to a Russian Imperial Stout
Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night, Imperial Stout. First mistake was over chilling this beer. It came out of the frigidaire like a frozen chocolate mousse cheesecake that just needs some time to sit out. A dessert beer? A goodnight beer. An "I might just get laid" beer. Outta Akron, Ohio, home of the Rubber Bowl & the Good Year Blimp Factory. This beer is heavy and light. Full of great contrasts, it is solid.Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night Imperial Stout won't disappoint.
9.7% ABV, so Lookout!
Because I got a late start and I got other shit to do, although I'd rather keep doing this, I guess it's time to close it up....don't forget to turn your clocks forward....=
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 03-09-2014 [OregonMuse]
Yes, This Is English
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread. For non-book related discussions, please use Andy's open thread below. Thanks.
Ye Fyne Olde Wordes
Author Mark Forsyth likes to write about old words that are no longer in use, but perhaps should be. This article lists a few of them, and I was surprised how many of them describe aspects of the moron lifestyle. For example, an "ultracrepidarian" described as "somebody who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about." I guess that's more hoity-toity than 'blowhard' or 'ignoramus'. Or, "fudgel", a verb which means "pretending to work when you're not actually doing anything at all." And then there are the snecklifters, who "poke their heads into a pub to see if there's anyone who might stand them a drink."
In other words, morons.
These and other lost words are discussed by Forsyth in his book Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language.
I'm still looking for a word with a definition that means something like: "a person with (at best) mediocre ability and accomplishments who have nonetheless obtained a high status position because others are greasing the skids for them."
Like this new kid, Ronan Farrow, whom ace wrote about earlier this week.
Or, for that matter, Barack Obama.
Last Words of Famous Authors
Here is a little mix-and-match game. Try to figure out who said what without Googling. Winners get a "Get Out of the Barrel Free" card, good for one formatting screw-up.
1. Emily Dickenson
3. George Bernard Shaw
3. Henry David Thoreau
4. Washington Irving
5. Edgar Allan Poe
6. Dylan Thomas
7. H. H. Munro (Saki)
a) "Put that bloody cigarette out." (immediately after which he was killed by a sniper's bullet)
b) "Well, I must arrange my pillows for another weary night! When will this end?"
c) "Lord, help my poor soul."
d) "I've had 18 straight whiskies... I think that's the record."
e) "Sister, you're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die."
f) "I thank the guiding providence and fortune of my life: first that I was born a man and a Greek, not a barbarian nor a brute; and next, that I happened to live in the age of Socrates."
g) "Let us go in; the fog is rising."
h) "Moose. Indian."
In Thursday's foreign policy thread, moron commenter 'HR' inquired:
Totally serious question: Can anyone recommend some good (by which I mean "not using the 'Marxist-feminist lens' or Zinning it all up") historians to read about Russian history?Here are the recommendations from the Horde:
Posted by: HR needs a beer at March 06, 2014 12:18 PM (ZKzrr)
Paul Johnson's Modern Times
A History of Russia by Riasanovsky, which is claimed to be the standard. The linked copy is way expensive, but you can get used copies for considerably cheaper.
Anything by Richard Pipes is good.
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk is a start.
Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie is an accessible, easy read that gives a nice bit of context for modern Russia. Also recommended is Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Those are from the Horde. I just finished Child 44 this week (good page-turner) which is set in Russia during Stalin's reign of terror. Here are the books that author Tom Rob Smith listed in the afterward that helped him understand those perilous times:
Man Is Wolf to Man by Janusz Bardach, and Kathleen Gleeson
Also, Anne Applebaum’s 'Gulag' and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 'The Gulag Archipelago'.
For general historical background:
Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and Shelia Fitzpatrick’s Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s.
(Note that there's nothing here by the Zinn/Chomsky crowd.)
Regarding Russian police procedure, Anthony Olcott’s Russian Pulp: The Detektiv and the Russian Way of Crime went into detail not only about the justice system itself but also literary representations of that system.
Boris Levytsky’s The Uses of Terror: The Soviet Secret Police, 1917-1970 was invaluable when it came to understanding, or at least trying to, the machinations of the MGB.
Finally, Robert Cullen’s The Killer Department: Detective Viktor Burakov's Eight-Year Hunt for the Most Savage Serial Killer in Russian History provides a clear account of the real-life navigation into the crimes of psychopathic murderer Andrei Chikatilo.
Of all of these, Smith says, "I cannot recommend any of these books highly enough."
Dave Barry has read the execrable '50 Shades of Grey' so you don't have to. And, not only that, he has written a take-down review worthy of P.J. O'Rourke. That's the good news. The bad news is that he wrote it for the execrable Time magazine. So you have to go there and give them traffic to read it, and thus help them delay their withering death by attrition and neglect, which I've been wanting for a long time. Oh, well. I can't figure out what to excerpt from Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey, so you'll have to just read the whole thing yourself.
And on a related note, according to the Lost Angeles Times, the execrable 'Fifty Shades of Grey' trilogy has topped 100 million copies in worldwide sales.
I'm weeping now.
Can A Bestseller Book Be Bought?
Meaning, can you buy your way onto the bestseller lists? According to this investigative article in World Magazine,
Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.
Apparently there's a marketing company, ResultSource Inc. (RSI), that claims to be able to do this for you. What RSI does is organize a network of buyers that make purchases at locations which are "likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list."
Mars Hill also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk.
Is this ethical? I don't know. On the one hand, RSI is clearly trying to game the system on behalf of its clients. On the other hand, who cares? This reminds me of those stupid quiz shows scandals of the 50s, which resulted in congressional hearings, and federal legislation. Really? C'mon, it's a game show! It's entertainment. It's as authentic as professional wrestling. Everybody knows that.
And who, really, is being hurt?
Of course, the other aspect to this particular case is that it's a church that's doing this, and for Christians, there are other considerations. If I were a tithing member of Driscoll's church, I'd probably be asking the leaders questions as to what they hoped to gain by purchasing this doping-the-horses marketing plan, and is this really a wise use of church funds? $210,000 is a lot of money to be throwing around, and maybe it could be put to better use.
The Granddaddy of Urban Myths
In New York City in 1964, a 29-year-old woman named Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was stabbed to death in three separate attacks as 38 bystanders stood around and watched and did nothing. The NY Times called it "a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing social change." This sensational case provoked an anxious outcry and launched a sociological theory known as the "Bystander Effect."
I remember finding a link (now lost) some time ago that debunked a lot of the Genovese murder story, so some information has been out there, but now author Cook has researched and written
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America. It is not true that there were 38 bystanders who watched Genovese murdered and it is not true that nobody came to help her.
Another "tell" from this book is that Genovese was a lesbian. OK, I never knew that. But I have no idea why this is important. The man who killed her was a standard-issue psychopath and his selection of victim was pretty much random. I don't know how her sexual preference contributes to the story. But under the new rules of public discourse, I guess I'm supposed to applaud now.
Something Else I Did Not Know Until Now
The Oscar-winning movie '12 Years A Slave' is based on Solomon Northup's autobiography of the same title. Various inexpensive Kindle versions are available.
The title reminds me of this old classic anti-cult book, 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness. Hee hee, I'd like to see them try to make THAT one into a film.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (3-08-2014) - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
CDR M is still trying to recover from his big Oscars party of last week, so you’re stuck with me. I warned him against drinking raspberry Sparkletini, but did he listen? Noooo. Truth be told, I think he’s still skeeved out by the sight of these two cuddling at a pre-Oscars party:
The recent discussions of Ronan Farrow, he the award-winning journalist, master of such pieces as this interview with Miley Cyrus, has brought another incident to mind. The fawning over Farrow, despite his lack of genuine accomplishment, is quite something to behold, with members of the leftist-elite, including no less than Hillary Clinton, fawning over him like fools. It is this desire to be associated with any semblance of Hollywood royalty that led some who should have known better to invite a complete stranger into their homes, offering both money and shelter in exchange for proximity.
Before Will Smith, there was David Hampton. In 1983, in a long-running con that would later inspire Smith's role in the 1993 film Six Degrees of Separation, Hampton inveigled his way into the lives of New York City's upper crust by pretending to be the neglected son of actor Sidney Poitier. Hampton would hang around the Columbia University campus, getting unsuspecting people to house him, give him money or otherwise help him. Hampton even once reportedly showed up at the home of actress Melanie Griffith, where he stayed up talking until 4 a.m. with actor Gary Sinise. Hampton would often go to restaurants and pretend that Poitier was meeting him just to get free meals and lavish attention, only to later act as if he had been stood up. But Hampton's undoing came when he was caught by Osborn Elliott, former Newsweek editor and dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, in Elliott's home in bed with another man. Elliott alerted authorities and the jig was up. No charges were pressed, but Hampton was forced to pay $4500 back to people whom he had swindled and stayed with.
Hampton continued to scam for the remainder of his short life and eventually died alone, of AIDS, at the age of 39. His greatest success having been to mock the “limousine liberals”, the white elites of New York City.
Slow clap, Ronan Farrow. Slow clap, indeed.
The AFL-CIO would like to shame you for the use of the word “thug”
Golly gee. I feel so bad about it now. In addition to thugs, the unions are manipulative little poops as well.
A few nights ago there was a fantastic link to a graphic which demonstrated the enormity of space. It was awe-inspiring and left me feeling utterly inconsequential. This perspective is just as interesting and mind-boggling and shows our place in both the macro AND the micro universe. I can’t embed the graphic so CLICK HERE to view it. Scroll all the way to the left to really get the full picture.
Glass half full. I don’t feel quite as tiny now.
First there was the bleeding armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias, now comes a frighteningly realistic cake in the image of a yellow python. The detail on the head is remarkable. The fourth image is particularly freaky.
Massachusetts takes action to outlaw upskirt photos by perverts but only after the outrage over one such perv who escaped completely scot-free.
The Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday overturned a lower court's ruling against Michael Robinson, 31, of Andover, who was arrested in August 2010 by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police for allegedly using his cellphone to take pictures up women's skirts. In an eight-page ruling, Justice Margot Botsford wrote that a female passenger wearing a skirt or dress is “not a person who is ‘partially nude,’” referring to so-called Peeping Tom laws protecting people from being photographed or recorded when nude or partially nude.
Remember this face, ladies. He argues that violating your privacy is his “constitutional right”:
Knitters Gone Wild: A Vancouver, WA woman has taken knitting to a whole other level of silliness, knitting cozies for turtles and snails. Be sure to click the Etsy link to view her complete line.
Russia states that they have successfully tested an ICBM. Moron Cool Czech has detected something askew.
It’s an Intercontinental Ballistic Montblanc!
I challenge you NOT to see a pen now.
Rocket cats of war: A 16th century German document has revealed what appears to be a plan to unleash the cats-of-war and I can’t help but giggle. As a cat owner I feel quite certain that this scheme would not have advanced beyond the testing phase.
Tonight’s ONT brought to you by: ‘OMG! Look at the size of those feet!’
Please feel free to send any complaints or commendations to me at Twitter: Nied's Dead Horse
Close it up
Presidential Nominee Poll/Open Thread (CBD)
This mirrors the poll that is running on Drudge right now. It might be interesting to see how the Horde differs.....
No Accounting For Taste - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
You can steal a nation's wealth but you cannot steal good taste.
It looks like Donald Trump vomited all over the place.
Speaking of ostentatious, this is Denzel Washington's California home:
Saturday Car Thread 03/08/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse & Countrysquire]
Good afternoon my lovelies.
Let’s get to it.
I’m not in the least bit worked up about this. It’s a shame but the colleges had an agreement with Chrysler and abuse of that agreement cost Fiat millions. Further, the college admits that there is little educational value in the car. Then, there’s this little bit of wackiness:
“It’s like the day Kennedy was shot,” Norm Chapman, automotive technology professor at SPSCC, said. “No one will forget where they were when they heard the news.”
Get some perspective, dude.
An old story, but a good one: A 102-year old man owned the same car for 78 years: A 1928 Rolls Royce.
The science is settled! Marijuana contributes to deadly car crashes.
Not so fast…
Is pot really to blame for these accidents? Unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in the bloodstream for weeks after it has been consumed -- possibly affecting driving skills, possibly not. (Consider this: CNN found that Washington's limit of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood wasn't nearly high enough to negatively impact driving.) The study's authors caution that their findings don't indicate that the drivers were impaired from pot at the time of their accident, only that they had used pot sometime in the recent past.
Beware Mother's bearing scientific "data".
Lifestyles of the rich and infamous:
It seems that "Wow!" means the same thing everywhere.
Beauty of the week:
I can only think of a couple cars introduced in the last dozen or so years which are worth as much now as when they were new, and neither are getting cheaper. The incredible Ford GT is one, and the BMW Z8 presented here is the other.
While it’s hard to argue with the opinion that the Ian Callum designed Aston Martins are the most beautiful cars of this generation, I feel the Z8 deserves the spot at the top. While BMW’s goal was to build a car that looked like a modern day 507, and it did capture the grace of that car, the proportions and aggressive stance made it something of a modern Bavarian 427 Cobra. And there’s not a bad line on the car, it’s wonderful from any angle, an achievement very few cars can claim. From the retro interior with the banjo steering wheel, to the neon taillights, I love everything about it. Plus, it powered by the 4.9 liter V8 from the E39 M5, so it’s got that going for it. Simply superb.
Cruising tune of the week:
For the Moronettes:
For the Morons:
And a bonus pic:
Close it up
Saturday Afternoon Yard and Garden Thread: Q Branch Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]
This thread brought to you by SPIDER ROBOT LAMPS!!! :
Good afternoon, morons and moronettes! Welcome to your Saturday Gardening Thread. Today’s “topic” is gardening trends and gadgets. To get in the mood, put on your tux, light a cigarette, and pour yourself a dry martini (shaken, not stirred).
The Home & Garden Show season is in full swing, which is to say that it seems to be nearly over in much of the country. However, our local show is this weekend, so it only just now hit my radar. Never having been to one of these shows before, I didn’t know what to expect. So armed with my trusty camera phone and the $10 admission fee, I headed off to the show on Friday afternoon. The sacrifice it required for me to mix and mingle with the Great Unwashed Masses inside a hot, chaotic convention center when I could have been enjoying a beautiful Spring day was considerable, but what can I say? I’m a giver!
I arrived shortly after the three-day event opened. The venue was large, noisy, and poorly ventilated. It took me about an hour and a half to walk up and down all of the aisles too look at all of the booths, stopping at a handful that interested me.
Upshot? It was much more of a “home” than a “garden” show. So my dreams of having tons of content for today’s post were quickly dashed. I did find the mix of displays to be “interesting”. In addition to the usual home improvement contractors, there were a few cheesetastic crafts booths, a bunch of cookware displays (and demos), numerous chiropractors, one baker (I bought a loaf of pumpernickel bread from them), MANY MANY mattress displays, even MORE booths hawking sheets, some financial planners, and a couple of crematoria and mortuary booths! Sadly, the crematorium one was not directly adjacent to the barbecue display – THAT would have been comedy gold!
Out of hundreds of displays, there was one unique one displaying prototypes of a hydroponic wall system. The idea is that you’d mount this self-contained unit on a wall in your house. The inventor claimed that using this system you can grow several heads of lettuce (or whatever plant you choose) each week. (There is also a light fixture, but they had not gotten that set up yet so it’s not in the photo.) Anyway, it was the most unusual thing I saw there so I thought I’d share it with you:
I gotta say, there is a certain appeal of having a wall-mounted system for growing herbs, if it actually worked and was attractive. I’d rather have that than potted plants cluttering my kitchen window sill.
If you are interested in attending one of these shows, here are some resources to help you find where and when they’re being held: Listing of home and garden shows in North America, courtesy of one of the trade show organizations and a searchable database of home and garden shows courtesy of FestivalNet.
So aside from Killer Robot Spider Lamps, what are the hot trends for your garden this year? According to the Lawn and Garden Retailer magazine, here are some of the things to look for 2014. (You’ll note how on-trend this blog is – we hit the first one right out of the gate!)
1. Ground Up: Recycling food scraps and creating compost is the new recycling.
2. Super Foods, Super Models: Edibles are going to the next level with foodies growing everything from quinoa to dandelions in straw bales and keyhole gardens.
What’s a “keyhole garden,” you ask? Well, it’s a type of circular raised bed with an active compost pile in the center. The keyhole refers to a notch in the structure that extends to the center of the bed for access to the compost pile.
Keyhole gardens were popularized in Africa, but work very well in other hot, dry climates. They can also be quite attractive:
Make sure to follow the link to read more about these cool garden structures.
Back to the trends list,
5. Bee-neficials: It’s all about the bees this year. Bees are at forefront of environmentally aware consumers’ minds, inspiring them to plant native, pollen rich flowers, trees and veggies to provide safe shelters.
Don’t we have a few bee-keeper morons and moronettes here? If there’s enough interest, we can devote a post to this topic. I admit, I know nothing about bee-keeping. Courtesy of Popular Mechanics, here’s a quick primer on getting started keeping your own bees.
9. Young Men Get Down and Dirty: Big surprise here: young men 18-34 are spending $100 more than the average gardener. They are grilling, growing their own hops for beer, and taking the kids out to play in the dirt.
I guess this makes sense, although I’m not sure I’d classify a 34 year old as “young,” despite my advanced age. It’s also a good excuse to post this picture of a somewhat older man getting “down and dirty” for the moronettes:
(BTW, Mike Rowe is popular with older ghey dudes. Don’t ask me how I know. shudder)
Finally, per the gardening trends report
11. Fingertip Gardens: Gardens go high tech with mobile apps and technology.
I found some great lists of high tech garden gadgets at Mashable and Urban Gardens. A lot of these gadgets are designed to remind us to feed and water our plants, so I guess I’m not the only forgetful gardener out there!
To wrap things up, this week my Blog of the Week is not really a blog, per se, but the Utah State University Cooperative Extension site. It’s really quite good. In addition to gardening and agricultural information, there’s also quite a bit on food preservation and storage, which I think is of interest to some of our morons. If there’s one thing Utah is known for, it’s PREPPERS!
And now for the comedy stylings of WeirdDave!
(Please note: it should go without saying, but this post is a work of satire, as are most of my gardening posts. SAT-IRE. Google it. Then read Swift, Jonathan “A Modest Proposal”. Then lighten up, Francis)
Today we’re talking about gardening gadgets. There are any number of labor saving devices that one can deploy to make their gardening life easier, but one in particular comes to mind. It is endlessly efficient, yet be warned that it can be difficult to work with. You can get many, many years of productive use out of one, and in fact it is a generational tool. Properly treated, it is a tool that will in the fullness of time produce other tools that will make the toil of your twilight years immeasurably easier. Acquiring one, however, is not for the faint of heart, and care and maintenance is a full time job in and of itself. I am talking of course about a kid.
A kid is the perfect gadget to make your gardening life simple. Properly utilized you can support one on just a small portion of the food that it raises, leaving the lion’s share of the harvest for your enjoyment. Kids also enjoy working outdoors with their hands and have a primal connection with the soil. Put a kid to work in your garden and it will be grateful for being given a purpose in life.
The hard part about deploying a kid in your garden is acquiring one. Kids are literally everywhere, so you would think it would be easy just to pick one up without anyone missing it. Such is not the case. The quaint kid dealer, operating out of a rusty Dodge van with the traditional “Free candy” logo is a thing of the past. Kids are able to bite and scratch so it’s hazardous to attempt to harvest a free range one from a local playground, and other people value their children for the work they do in their gardens, so they tend to keep a weather eye on them. No, the way to go is to produce one yourself, but I warn you, the process is daunting.
The first thing you need to produce your own kid is a woman (this guide is written from a male perspective. I have no idea how, or even if, women think). Women are all over the place, they’re the ones with the bumpy things on their chests. In order to produce a kid, you must find a likely woman ( Pro-tip: not all women can produce kids. For best results find one between the ages of 18-40 ). Once you’ve located a woman, you must approach her. Your approach should be tailored to the woman you chose. With younger women, a conversation about vampires and werewolves works well. Women over 30 are more likely to respond to overtures featuring feelings, approval of nesting behaviors and an admiration of something called “knick-knacks”. A longing to “make a good home with someone” and a desire to “love unconditionally” can enhance your appeal. Once you find a good woman, the wooing commences.
Wooing is a very complicated subject that is probably beyond the scope of this guide. There are plenty of very informative resources available online, Google them. The end game here is to convince a woman to mate with you, and that’s where the horror begins. I am presenting this information here in a clinical manner. We are gardeners, we pit our wit and ability against the unfeeling anger of Mother Nature. Our calling is not for the faint of heart, and as distasteful as this section may be, I ask you to find the nerve inside yourself to absorb the information with a stout heart. I ask this not lightly because in order to produce a kid of your own, you must engage in.......sex.
At some point after you have located a woman and wooed her, you will find yourself alone with her, probably in a bedroom, and the two of you will disrobe. Standing naked before each other, it’s time for the sex to begin. Observe the woman. Notice that while you have a proud pee pee, she does not. Do NOT feel sorry for her lack, and most especially do not point it out to her, it’s not her fault, nature made her that way. Reminding her that she doesn’t own a willie will only lead to bad feelings. The first thing you have to do is make your pee pee stand up. Stroke it gently and tell it how much you like it. Flatter it. Soon enough it will become interested and stand up tall and proud. You’ll be able to look right at its hole and it will look back at you (true fact: this is where the phrase “seeing eye to eye” comes from). Ask your wooed woman to lie down. Here’s where it gets ugly.
If you examine the nest of hair the woman has between her legs, you will find that there is an opening there. You must (shudder), put your pee pee into this opening. Once it’s in, slide it out, but unfortunately not all the way. Push it back in (I know, I know). Do this again. And again. Keep doing it until a warm feeling envelopes you and your pee pee does something like peeing (pro tip: It’s NOT peeing. Do not pee at this point or most likely you’ll have to start all over again finding another woman. If she doesn‘t demand this, forget gardening, your life is about to become a carnal hell from which you won’t escape. Word to the wise). At this point it’s traditional to say something meaningless, “You were great, baby” usually suffices. Now you wait. If you’re very lucky, within a few months your woman will start to make a baby out of food. You’ll know this is happening because she’ll start to glow and put on weight, plus when you come home she’ll greet you with a drawn gun and a demand for pickles and ice cream. (pro tip: Get them for her. For God’s sake, get them for her. Immediately) If you’re not lucky you’ll have to do the “sex” thing again until it takes. 9 months later your very own kid will arrive! Now you can start training him or her to garden for you. This process takes some years and really should be the subject of another post.
I apologize for the graphic and horrifying nature of this post, but if you want the ultimate garden gadget there really isn’t any other way to get it. I know the process described herein is distasteful, but the results are well worth it. My hope is that the garden labor saved by utilizing a kid will, in time, more than compensate for the terrifying method that is required to get one.
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Saturday Thread for Non-Gardening Discussions [Y-not]
For those of you not interested in gardening.
Tragically, a Malaysian Airlines jet has gone missing.
Flight MH370 vanished at 18:40 GMT Friday (02:40 local time Saturday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, where it was expected at 22:30 GMT.
The aerial search has been halted for the night, but sea operations continue.
No wreckage has been reported by the airline, but Vietnamese planes reported seeing oil slicks in the sea.
Per my twitter feed, the flying conditions were reportedly near-perfect.
Prayers for the missing and their loved ones.
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Why Wendy Davis Was Doomed From The Start In One Image
Warning: your margins will hate you for reading on.
[Update - Andy]: ... or maybe not. Click on the map to view full-size.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread
Good mornin' all.
This is a really touching piece by Ron Suskind on his son's autism and Disney. As the dad of a very affected 10-year old, it really resonated with me.
It also reminded me how much I despise the asshats who abused Disney's disability pass and forced them to change the program.
Which, in turn, leads to this piece by Jonah Goldberg on "hidden law".
Overnight Open Thread (7 Mar 2014)
You'd think making a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline would be easy, especially when a new poll says there is overwhelming support for it. In fact, Keystone XL would only swell U.S. pipelines by 0.033 percent.
The first U.S. pipeline to transport oil started carrying crude from Coryville to Williamsport, Penn., in 1879. In the intervening 135 years, the continental USA became interlaced with 2,600,000 miles of these steel tubes. And how many more such miles would KXL add? A grand total of 852. That’s an increase of 0.033 percent, or the rough equivalent of delivering an extra faucet to the plumbing department at your local Home Depot. Believe it or not, this microscopic change in America’s pipeline profile fuels this massive controversy.
Funny Animal Videos With Appropriate Music
Canadian guilty of sexual assault after piercing condoms. So is it sexual assault when a woman purposely skips taking her birth control pills so she can get pregnant?
Explosive, spectacular car crash. With a very nice soundtrack.
Otter vs Honey Badger
Otter attacks alligator and kills it. Oh yeah, bring on the Otter vs Honey Badger pay per view special.
I know, it is a Mother Jones link but one could apply what the article say to how liberals think in regard to global warming, financial policies, politics, etc. No matter how hard you try, you can't change an anti-vaxxer's mind.
you might think it would be of the utmost importance to try to talk some sense into these people. But there's a problem: According to a major new study in the journal Pediatrics, trying to do so may actually make the problem worse. The paper tested the effectiveness of four separate pro-vaccine messages, three of which were based very closely on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself talks about vaccines. The results can only be called grim: Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents' professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents' intent to vaccinate.
Of note, the guy that did this study was the one that did one on "conservative" subjects and how they refused to believe a "truth" about George W. Bush and continued to believe the "lie". Did they not think to question liberals too?
I'm sure Obamacare will cover this. Scientists build orgasm machine for women.
During the operation, a patient would remain conscious so that a surgeon could correctly pinpoint the right nerves to fit the electrodes in a patient’s spinal cord. Then, a signal generator would be connected which would be most likely implanted under the skin of a patient’s buttocks.
Stuart Meloy, a surgeon at Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, N.C., came up with idea by accident.
“I was placing the electrodes and suddenly the woman started exclaiming emphatically,” he said to Newscientist. “I asked her what was up and she said, ‘You’re going to have to teach my husband to do that’.”
So, um, where exactly was he placing these electrodes?
Tonight's ONT brought to you by Presidential uniforms:
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International Day of Women Open Thread
It's the International Day of Women.
This probably isn't being noted widely on the right, but we're proud at AoSHQ that we have a fairly big population of female readers.
And we don't take the time to acknowledge that enough, and thank the ladies for gracing us with their wit and ideas.
So I thought I would rectify that with a Pictorial Essay to thank the Women of AoSHQ for just being You.
You've earned this, ladies. No need to thank me in advance.
Now go out there and Be Somebody.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Matthew Continetti
Matthew Continetti, Editor of the Washington Free Beacon (the Nation's Leading Anti-Clinton Publication™; poised for global expansion) joins Ace and John for the debut of our revolutionary Chill Groove Infotainment Format.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Essential reference: Charles Krauthammer's In Defense of the F-Word
Questions & comments here: Ask the Blog
Open thread in the comments.
McCain: My Good Friend Ted Cruz Should Apologize to My Other Good Friend Bob Dole
Ted Cruz named the Republicans' three most recent losing candidates -- Dole, McCain, and Romney -- as having failed to stand on principle, which then, he suggests, caused them to lose.
McCain asks, rhetorically (and arguably demagogically), if Bob Dole had failed to "stand on principle" on "that hill in Italy" in which he lost his limb defending the country in World War II. He wants Cruz to apologize to Dole, but not, he says, to himself or Romney.
If I try to give McCain a break here, here's how I do it. Both sides of the RINO/TrueCon war have insults for the other side that drive the other side crazy.
RINOs hate it when you suggest they're "cowards" who "lack principle" or "the will to fight." I've gotten that a lot myself, and it is, as intended, quite personally insulting.
On the other side of it, RINOs have their own disparagements of TrueCons -- starting off with the suggestion that they're crazy, that they lack sophistication and don't understand politics, are overemotional, and so on.
So while I think it's a bit of stretch for McCain to claim Cruz was claiming Dole shirked his duty in World War Two (come on, he said nothing of the sort), I can guess that what rankles McCain here is this frequent messaging that RINOs, such as himself, are "cowards." Cruz's formulation -- that these men failed to "stand on principle"-- doesn't explicitly make the "coward" argument, but it does suggest it.
On McCain's side, of course, he has called Tea Partiers "hobbits" and other terms of disparagement. And in his call for an apology to War Hero Bob Dole, he's not-too-covertly reminding the audience that Ted Cruz didn't serve.
There are several real arguments going on in the conservative movement. Most of these have to do with real things -- policy, tactics.
I think what the party is doing, wrongly, is attempting to dodge the actual arguments by resorting to personal-level attacks.
Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Rather than engaging and arguing about the stuff that actually divides us, we're attempting to hide these arguments (which everyone knows we have) under a cover of personal attacks.
Which are in fact worse and more embittering than just having the argument we're trying to avoid.
Arguments about ideology and tactics are not exactly pleasant, but there is, at least, a small bit of detachment from them, on a personal level. If I argue with a commenter about X position, the fight could get edgy and hot, but at least we're arguing about something other than one another's personal value.
Once something gets personal, forget about it.
This is why I say this is all backwards. We're avoiding a fight (which could be productive and clarifying) on the actual issues (which do need to be discussed) by instead resorting to personal stuff and argument-by-categorization.
That is, rather than discuss the actual issue, we tend to simply categorize the position -- "RINO," "buying into the left's premises," "crazy," etc. -- and let the categorization do our arguing for us.
But this isn't an especially useful way to discuss things, just tossing disparaging labels at each other or each other's positions.
I've given up, personally, deciding what position I support based on how "conservative" it's alleged to be, or not to be. The party is in a state of flux. When Rand Paul can be applauded for advocating a fairly isolationist position at CPAC -- imagine such a thing in 2003 -- I think it's clear we're in a rebuilding, and reconsidering, and rethinking period.
There is no point fighting that, and no use trying to avoid it. And it doesn't advance the ball any by calling things either "RINO" or "crazy" based on 2004's now-obsolete definitions.
We should decide which ideas are part of the core of conservatism based upon how true and useful those ideas are rather than resorting to how true and useful and idea might be according to how "conservative" someone says it is.
Oh, and let me say this about the unending Cruz/McCain feud: They should insult each other honestly. I think honesty, even in insults, is better than dishonesty.
Here is what Cruz plainly thinks about McCain: That McCain is essentially a Democrat, who values the opinions of liberals (especially liberal journalists) far more than those of conservatives. And we all seek to please those we think the most highly of. And so McCain is consistently critical of conservatives. He flatters liberal sensibilities in hopes they will flatter him in return.
And here is what McCain plainly thinks about Cruz: That he's a charlatan who's offering people looking for Big Wins the illusory promise of a Big Win, that he's conning people, that he's not being "straight" with constituents. That he's undermining Republicans to advance his own personal political position.
Now, a fight between McCain and Cruz in those terms would be ugly. But at least it would have the benefit of being an honest fight, not this bullshit we have going on right now.
And one more thing: "Moderation" in the Republican party is currently a slur because no one at all speaks up for it. Everyone claims to be The Most Conservative Possible, Ever. Except for a few people, like Collins and Kirk, almost everyone claims to be the Most Conservative, and claims to think the Most Conservative always wins.
Moderates plainly do not believe this. And it does them no credit that they pretend to believe it while plainly not really believing it.
And if they want to make a bit of moderation -- as McCain clearly has in him -- not a term of disparagement, they have to speak up in favor of it, and explain to people why they think moderation is not always some kind of sell-out position.
You know, I used to fight this characterization myself. People would say I was a moderate or not as conservative as they are, and it really used to bug me. I felt like I was "losing" the race. I mean, someone says he's more conservative than I am; I can't let that insult stand.
But in fact, look: In the wild west, there's always gonna be someone faster than you, and there are in fact going to be an awful lot of people further to the right than any particular person.
We're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou precisely because we're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou.
If McCain believes that some people are too conservative, then why does he not just forthrightly say so, and make a case for a Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft brand of conservatism?
Why continue this endless posturing over the game show Quien es Muy Macho? ?
If he thinks it's a silly game, he should say so. I'd respect him more for that.
I really think this system we've developed where all our actual debates are either sublimated or squelched is a bad one. All that ends up happening is that what should be discussed on an ideological plane winds up becoming personalized trash-talk, and everyone feels lied to, because no one's being straight with each other.
Newsmax Plans a "Kinder, Gentler" Right-Leaning Television Alternative to Fox
The founder of the conservative media company Newsmax is planning to launch a cable TV network to compete with Fox News, but not quite the same. Christopher Ruddy wants to launch Newsmax TV later this year, and is billing it as a “kinder, gentler Fox” that will be “more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.”
Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile of Ruddy notes that he himself isn’t a Republican and is “more moderate” than you might expect from the head of Newsmax. But Ruddy thinks there’s room in the cable landscape for a conservative competitor to Fox News, which hasn’t been done effectively to date.
It's a good idea. Fox would benefit from some competition, in terms of quality, though of course not in terms of ratings.
As far as Newsmax's suggestion they'd be a "kinder, gentler" Fox, I take that largely as brand differentiation, seizing upon Fox's perceived weakness (or at least its weakness as divined by critics). I'm not sure how serious they are about that.* End of the day, controversy and argument seems to be good for ratings.
Beck's Blaze TV, a commenter tells me, is being picked up by cable stations, too.
But I think this is for the good. More voices, not fewer. In addition, any Fox competitor would actually help to mainstream the idea of actually reporting fairly on conservative positions -- right now Fox is essentially ghettoized, by being all alone in offering a fair take where conservatives are more than props or punchlines. Multiple stations with the same basic mission takes them all out of the ghetto.
* Hmm: If "kinder, gentler" is a code for female-skewing, that would be a more interesting attempt at brand differentiation. Conservative-leaning women are probably an underserved market, as conservative media, generally, skews male in tone.
At least it seems that way to me.
For example: Why hasn't Fox launched a "View" clone? (Or have they already and I just didn't know about it?)
Every other channel has a View clone. Why not Fox?
Obama Misspells "Respect" (RSPECT); CNN's Palace Guard Immediately Begins Making Excuses
“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her,” Obama said to the general laughter of the audience....
CNN was quick to cover for Obama’s misspelling. Ashley Banfield said Obama just “wanted to throw us all, see if we were actually all paying attention.”
John Berman then said, “I get hot flashes whenever people spell on TV because I can’t spell. I would misspell ‘respect,’ so I have sympathy for him.”
Berman asked if people would “be making a bigger deal out of this than we are,” if it were, say, Dan Quayle who misspelled a word. “Is this liberal media bias?” he said.
No, not at all.
Ashleigh Banfield's defense is preposterous. If Obama were making some kind of joke, he'd elide the second e in "respect" (because that's the one Aretha Franklin famously elides with the p, doing a combined pee-ee sound), not the first.
But the High Exalted Precious must be defended against all slurs against his potency.
Of course, this is not the most egregious media story of the day. It's not even close.
IThe image showed a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an unusual angle. The AP’s original caption on the photo said they were reciting the organization’s “creed” during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas.
It took the AP several days to acknowledge their error. But by then, the unfortunate comparison to Nazi Germany had spread on the Internet faster than Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
“New Trail Life scouting group excludes gay kids & they do a ‘Sieg Heil! Style salute,” tweeted Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service.
And that’s exactly what it looked like.
“It looks like some kind of German salute that was used during the Nazi period,” Stemberger told me in a telephone interview.
The photograph ran last Sunday in newspapers across the nation and generated hundreds of angry emails and some threatening telephone calls to Trail Life headquarters.
But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.
The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.
“It really misrepresented what was going on,” Stemberger told me. “There are children involved and that made it more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.”
So AP caught a group of kids slowly lowering their arms from straight up to down by their side, shot the picture in the mid-point, knowing it looked like the Sieg Heil Salute -- and also knowing it wasn't that at all -- and then took days to delete the deceptive photo.
Good God. They just framed kids as Nazis and then defended their doing such.
They claimed to the WaPo's Eric Wemple that the picture was accurate enough, by AP's standards.
All because Trail Life doesn't permit gay scouts.
Are You Going to Believe the White House Reporter Pool or Your Lying Eyes?
The official WH pool report indicates Obama spelled RESPECT correctly. Hmmm— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 7, 2014
CAC's Senate Forecast: GOP In Driver's Seat to Win Senate
He begins by noting five "firewalls" Democrats are counting on to stop a wildfire, each set back a little deeper into Democratic territory than the last.
Most of the firewalls are now on fire.
However, as of March 2014, the GOP has locked away two races, closed in on a third, well on their way with two more, and slight favorites in yet two more, giving the Republicans room to make an effective push into more purplish territory. They are fiercely contesting an open race in Michigan and now an incumbent in Colorado, and are threatening to do so in Iowa and New Hampshire. The higher they raise their maximum potential gains, the lower the number of races the Democrats can afford to write off. Despite the slacking off in Virginia, this remains a challenging map for those left-of-center.
As of today, the Democrats are in deep trouble. We aren’t forecasting a landslide win for the GOP — eight months is a lifetime. But with the second firewall already burning and Republican advancements into states they failed to win in 2012, they may be well on their way.
Rick Perry's CPAC Speech
If you don't have time for the eleven and a half minute speech, you can take Allah's advice and skip to 10:00, for his closing ninety seconds.
It's a decent speech. (I'm a jaded critic on speeches, so I tend not to get too excited about them.)
Perry Version 2014 seems to be fighting the ghost of Perry Version 2012. He's much more energetic in this speech than he was in any of the debates. (But of course people tend to be more energetic before friendly crowds.) One can speculate about his reasons for the nerd-cool choice in spectacles.
Another thing he's doing is projecting optimism, hope, and buoyancy, which is of course the advice given to practically any candidate. He also takes time to praise his fellow Republican governors, including, notably, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, both of whom are considering a run for the nomination themselves. So he gets some Nice Guy/Good Guy points. (Notably absent from his list of successful Republican governors: Chris Christie.)
As most readers know, I jumped on the Perry train big-time in 2012, seeing him -- on paper -- as not only the best candidate among the crowded (and uninspiring) 2012 field, but just a good candidate in any cycle. His economic portfolio was/is solid -- Barack Obama hasn't presided over the creation of many jobs in America, but Rick Perry can account for nearly half (48%) of those jobs that Obama wishes to take credit for. (Oh, and Perry's jobs were actually created, not "saved or created or funded" or which "positively impacted" people.)
Of course, there is the candidate on paper, and then there is the candidate under the hot lights and pressure.
As @rdbrewer4 notes in the side bar, Perry says that his 2012 back surgery played a large role in his unpreparedness for the campaign.
In an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," Perry said he learned a lot from his 2012 campaign experience when he exited the primaries early on.
"I won't have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement," says Perry, of the next possible run for the White House.
When he announced his presidential bid in August 2011, Perry said he felt invincible, telling himself: "I'm 61 years old, I'm bulletproof, I'm 10-feet tall, I can do anything."
But 2012 was "a very humbling experience."
"Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But that’s not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure? How do you pick yourself up and go forward?
Surely that did have a lot to do with it -- but how much? Perry was plainly unprepared to discuss federal policy and issues in any kind of detail. In fairness, most governors, for whom federal matters are not a day-to-day job (as it is with dummy senators like Biden and Obama), usually cram from a briefing book on such things before their run; plus, most candidates get to begin their runs by stumbling along in low-prominence venues where few people notice them screwing up. Later they get more comfortable and commanding, hopefully.
Perry's back surgery -- maybe combined with an arrogant "I'm Superman, I don't need to study" attitude -- plus his extremely high-profile entry in the race, allowing for no confidence building minor events before his announcement -- probably did result in his general lack of intellectual preparedness. What accounts for his complete lack of political strategic preparedness -- informing a debate hall full of bright-red conservative primary voters that those who oppose in-state tuition for illegal alien children "have no heart" -- I have no idea, but of course judgement is impaired along with mental sharpness when someone's run down.
As someone who's frequently run down -- and not feeling mentally sharp -- myself, this all makes sense to me.
But... I need to see proof that the page has turned from Perry's near-disastrous 2012 run.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm open to Perry, but he does have to show me he's on the ball and has thought more seriously not just about the general principles of conservatism but the practical application of them at the present moment. (For example, on reforming entitlements.)
He speaks (as he always has) forcefully enough on general principles of conservative philosophy and governance; my concern is that details may again be his undoing.
But if they're not -- if he takes his time off to hit that briefing book and study it like he's about to take the SATs -- then he'd be a good candidate.
He says 2012 was humbling, and that the mark of a man is not how he fails, but how he picks himself back up. Which is an incontrovertible sentiment. So I'm watching to see how he's picked himself back up.
NYC DeBlasio Takes On His Most Implacable Foe: Children
Success Academy is run by Eva Moscowitz, someone hated by the teachers unions and the left. So of course she must be destroyed, and if there is some collateral damage in the form of children, so be it. Such things happen in war.
What a small and politically vicious man New York's new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn't like charter schools. They are too successful to be tolerated. Last week he announced he will drop the ax on three planned Success Academy schools. (You know Success Academy: It was chronicled in the film "Waiting for Superman." It's one of the charter schools the disadvantaged kids are desperate to get into.) Mr. de Blasio has also cut and redirected the entire allotment for charter facility funding from the city's capitol budget. An official associated with a small, independent charter school in the South Bronx told me the decision will siphon money from his school's operations. He summed up his feelings with two words: "It's dispiriting."
Some 70,000 of the city's one million students, most black or Hispanic, attend charter schools, mostly in poorer neighborhoods. Charter schools are privately run but largely publicly financed. Their teachers are not unionized. Their students usually outscore their counterparts at conventional public schools on state tests. Success Academy does particularly well. Last year 82% of its students passed citywide math exams. Citywide the figure was 30%.
These are schools that work. They are something to be proud of and encourage.
We close with a little red meat because there's something in this story—frightened children, cold political operators—that gets our blood up.
In this move more than any so far, Mr. de Blasio shows signs he is what his critics warned he would be—a destructive force in the city of New York. When a man says he will raise taxes to achieve a program like pre-K education, and is quickly informed that that program can be achieved without raising taxes, and his answer is that he wants to raise taxes anyway, that man is an ideologue.
And ideologues will sacrifice anything to their ideology. Even children.
There's a lot more at the link.
De Blasio’s rally in support of a higher tax on wealthy New Yorkers was not specifically targeted at education, but across town, Andrew Cuomo joined Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz at a different rally promoting charter schools. Although de Blasio downplayed the significance of the charter rally, it’s a big deal. Moskowitz is his chief opponent in the charter school co-location fight. Indeed, de Blasio specifically mentioned the need to reduce Moskowitz’s influence as a reson for the policy shift, and Moskowitz has responded with plenty of harsh words of her own. By appearing at the rally, Cuomo effectively endorsed de Blasio’s biggest rival. And he’s not just a silent partner; he spoke forcefully about the need to protect charter schools. . . .
More at Mead, who calls NY state the chief battleground in the war on charter schools, where their fate will be determined in a struggle between the liberal coalition's moderate/liberal wings, and its leftist wing -- the tail that now actually wags the dog.
What Liberals Think Vs. Reality
What our old friend Oliver Willis thinks when he sees Mitch McConnell walking on stage with a rifle.
@NoahCRothman we're not in the damn stone ages. most americans live within quick response sphere of police. they dont need armed response.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 6, 2014
Official legal position of New York City: Cops have no obligation to protect an individual being attacked by a guy with a knife.
What "explanatory journalist" Sarah "Gosnell is a local crime story" Kliff thinks about ObamaCare's lousy poll numbers.
It would be bizarre if a majority of people thought Obamacare helped them. It doesn’t touch the vast majority of insurance.— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) March 6, 2014
Reality: Obama said his plan would, "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
Reality based community guys!
Friday Morning News Dump
- Obama, Solipsist
- Democrats Filibuster An Obama Nominee
- The Tyrant In The Gray Flannel Suit
- Few Uninsured Signing Up For Obamacare
- De Blasio's Numbers Already Cratering
- Harry Reid's Two Minutes Of Hate
- National Crisis Averted: Obama Going On Vacation After All
- Republicans Just Want To Be Left Alone
- Bitcoin Firm CEO Found Dead
- Not Sure Why, But Issa Apologizes To Cummings
- It's Time To Increase The Size Of The House
- Senate Control Could Decide Opportunities In Tennessee
- Texas Down To Six Abortion Clinics
- Bad News, The New Hoverboard Is A Hoax
Follow me on twitter.
Top Headline Comments 3-7-14
Programming note: I'm doing another segment of Huffpost Live's "Legalese It! with Mike Sacks" this afternoon around 3:15.
The Congressional Black Caucus calls for Rep. Issa's removal as House Oversight chair. Let me tell you what's not going to happen . . .
At what point do Democrats start admitting that the best thing that could happen on healthcare is to start from scratch? The report from McKinsey is only 9 pages and most of it is graphs. Definitely read it.
Mayor de Blasio's approval rating drops to 39 percent just two months after he took office. Such fickle beasts, New Yorkers.
This? I liked it:
Here's Mitch McConnell's gun picture - What's yours? pic.twitter.com/dpJCMOdufE— Wash. Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 6, 2014
Loving this one right now.
Have a great weekend.
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (3-6-2014) - Screwed Down Hairdo Edition
As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out unlike your family, friends, or neighbors the government cannot love you. Nor can the government love other people on your behalf. That's one reason why de Tocqueville believed that America's 'mediating institutions' based on voluntary, personal interactions were so critical to its success.
But the left only believes in and trusts government:
In the view of the left, there are only two entities that matter: the individual, and the state.
...This desiccated vision of society is in direct contrast to what Alexis de Tocqueville observed as being the genius of the American experiment. He celebrated the countless ways in which Americans interacted with and influenced the public square through what later came to be called "mediating institutions"-churches, civic societies, fraternal organizations, and innumerable other voluntary associations that served not only their members, but their communities as well. These institutions, he said, were the backbone of American life, and the primary bulwark against the kind of tyranny that had long dominated Europe.
When the left views American society, it simply doesn't see these institutions, or worse, dismisses them as reactionary and obstructive of "progress." They are viewed purely as expressions of private interests, needs, or desires, and at best of no consequence to the real work of improving the country, and at worst positive hindrances to be caged or, if need be, destroyed.
And this story from MN where a soaking wet high school girl in a bathing suit was forced to stand outside barefoot in sub-freezing weather by teachers during a fire alarm is a classic example of how big government and its rules end up robbing average people of their basic human decency and making them behave like monsters. The girl is okay thanks to the help of her classmates but suffered some frostbite to her feet.
"My father had taught me to be nice first, because you can always be mean later, but once you've been mean to someone, they won't believe the nice anymore. So be nice, be nice, until it's time to stop being nice, then destroy them."
But as my mother also taught me when you're a teacher - or really anyone in a position of authority - you always start out super-strict, demanding and merciless and then slowly loosen up once the ground rules have been established. Of course both of these pieces of advice are correct in their own circumstances.
However, today it was revealed that it was Italian and French pilots who were scrambled to escort the plane into land and the Swiss played no part in the mission.
The Swiss pilots were alerted to the problem at 4.30am but are only operational in normal office hours - not before 8am.A Swiss airforce spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP: 'Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend. It's a question of budget and staffing.'
Just remember that this entire military-style raid was to question someone suspected of credit card fraud. And no I wouldn't consider this a 'knock and announce' entry where a reasonable person could make it to the door to meet the police.
As you can see from the video, the knock and announce today is largely a formality. The original purpose is gone. From the perspective of the people inside, there's really no difference between this sort of "knock and announce" and a no-knock raid. (The covering of the officers' faces is also troubling, though also not uncommon.)
...Ross says he didn't hear the police announcement until after one officer had already attempted to kick in the door. Had that officer been successful, there's a good chance that Ross, the police officer, or both would be dead. The police department would then have inevitably argued that Ross should have known that they were law enforcement. But you can't simultaneously argue that these violent, volatile tactics are necessary to take suspects by surprise and that the same suspects you're taking by surprise should have known all along that they were being raided by police. Well you can, and police do, and judges and prosecutors usually support them. But the arguments don't logically coexist.
Look the police can either have 'knock and announce' raids with reasonable time before entry or they can have 'surprise' raids - but not both. And if they go with surprise, I'm willing to acquit anyone who acts against them in reasonable self-defense.
Because your gas is too cheap. And because they can.
Members of the military are no longer allowed to march along with the Boston Marathon. Because safety.
Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That's the word from Runner's world:A decade long tradition will be missing from this year's Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered "unauthorized participants."Muslims don't have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we'll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.
Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.
As Roger Ebert pointed out one time the Deltas were really proto-hippies - far more than they were ever future cogs in the investment-banking establishment industry.
But they did vote for it and enabled this famous selfie:
There was a time when actors and actresses let themselves age naturally, and looked all the more better for it. Katharine Hepburn, as far as I could tell, never had work done and her pretty features are still intact in On Golden Pond, which was released when she was 74. Mae West also resisted plastic surgery, showing off her face and neck to whoever asked to prove she had no surgical marks. Instead, she shunned the sun, staying indoors during the midday hours and drawing the shades in her apartment. Eva Saint Marie is 89 and was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning this week, claiming that she never had anything done to her face--and I believe her. She still looks stunning and completely natural.
Based on women I've known who have gotten plastic surgery you seem to get the best results when you have light work done that mostly restores what you used to look like. But go too far and you start getting the allergic reaction/tranny-burn victim look.
Yahoo group. That is all.
The group thingy. And the middle class.
And my Twitter spew.
Tonight's post brought to you by when Putin met Reagan:
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Close it up
Here Are Some Words and Graphs Open Thread
Only one in ten of the uninsured who qualify for Obamacare have bothered to sign up for it. Seems like a pretty good reason to take away everyone else's insurance.
Obama, for his part, thinks Obamacare is working exactly the way it should.
Completely unrelated I'm sure, but Bobby Jindal thinks it's time to revisit our assumption that Barack Obama is a smart man.
At Sarah Hoyt's place, a guest post about the science-fiction community's descent into busybodying, witch-hunting intolerance.
From @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar, @charlescwcooke notes the downside -- for Democrats -- of a filibuster-free world. They had to kill the nomination of that Adegbile character themselves. There was no Republican filibuster which would allow them to hide.
From @tsrblke, Volokh considers one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, and when I say it's one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, I really mean only that it's a post appearing at Salon. When you're drowning in a sea of stupid, you really can't parse out the relative heights of stupid-waves.
Also from @rdbrewer4, scientific proof that nothing's funny if you analyze it to death.
One of the coolest things of the day comes from @comradearthur, who links this tour of the solar system, which is -- for once -- in proper scale.
Your usual depiction of the solar system cannot display distances to scale because the distances between planets are so enormously huge the planets would be smaller than a single pixel and hence invisible.
Well, this link aims to show you what Douglas Adams meant when he had the Hitchhiker's Guide define space's size in this way:
“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space. "
And it defines infinity thus:
Infinte: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real "wow, that's big," time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we're trying to get across here.
It's a neat link. I'd like to tell you the first billion kilometers are the hardest, but in fact the solar system is relatively action-packed with planets in the first billion kilometers. It's the last four and a half billion kilometers where you start to get a sense of what "empty space" really means.
So that's why they call it that.
Thanks for help on the Hitchhiker's Guide quotes to Mike in the Hinterlands.
A Scientist Publishes Her Notes for an Upcoming Talk on the Causes and Implications of the 17 Year Global Warming Pause
You should know going in she's not firmly against global warming theory. But she is honest enough to confess that the theory, as currently understood, is wrong, at least in important details, and she's willing to "go there," at least in a speculative way, and consider the possibility that the theory is wrong in the main as well.
She seems extremely skeptical of last year's spin that the ocean is "hiding" huge amounts of heat by some unexplained mechanism.
She does seem to see some plausibility in another theory, the "stadium wave" theory, which isn't terribly surprising -- the Stadium Wave hypothesis is her own pet theory.
One of the most controversial issues emerging from the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is the failure of global climate models to predict a hiatus in warming of global surface temperatures since 1998. Several ideas have been put forward to explain this hiatus, including what the IPCC refers to as ‘unpredictable climate variability’ that is associated with large-scale circulation regimes in the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar of these regimes is El Niño/La Niña. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
A new paper published in the journal Climate Dynamics suggests that this ‘unpredictable climate variability’ behaves in a more predictable way than previously assumed. The paper’s authors, Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry, point to the so-called ‘stadium-wave’ signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a ‘wave’ propagates through the audience. In like manner, the ‘stadium wave’ climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo.
The stadium wave hypothesis provides a plausible explanation for the hiatus in warming and helps explain why climate models did not predict this hiatus. Further, the new hypothesis suggests how long the hiatus might last.
But this seems to me a pure speculation. She's offering a possible explanation for how various forces come together (well, they nearly conspire) to push temperatures down (which then offsets, I guess, the increase in temperatures predicted by Global Warming theorists).
We are very far from "The Science Is Settled" when we're still thrashing about for the best speculation as to why temperatures aren't rising as predicted.
You can't say "the Science is Settled" and then propose the speculation that maybe the ocean is "hiding" heat by some unknown mechanism (and hiding it, by the way, in some place we can't actually find or measure), or the speculation of a chaotic system that self-organizes towards a cooling tendency.
Either of these speculations may turn out to be true -- but at the moment, they are mere speculations, which not only aren't proven but are still in fairly early stages of theorization.
That is, they're still pretty half-baked. They're hardly past the brainstorming phase.
A theory is as strong as it its weakest proof. Global Warming now relies, unavoidably, not only on mere speculations, but on speculations people can't even agree upon (in a "The Speculation is Settled" sort of "consensus").
This reduces all of global warming theory to the level of mere speculation.
Fox News Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low of 38%
Just thought I'd say that before the trollz.
Although other polls have had Obama below the 40% mark, this is the first time FAUX NOIZE!!! has had him below that level.
Fifty-four percent disapprove. Before now Obama’s worst job rating was 40-55 percent in November 2013. Last month 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved (February 2014).
Approval of Obama among Democrats stands at 71 percent, near its 69 percent record low (September 2013). For independents, 28 percent approve, which is also near the 25 percent all-time low among this group (July 2013). And approval of Obama among Republicans hits a new low of five percent.
Overall, a 59-percent majority thinks the White House has mostly failed at creating jobs, up from 52 percent who said the same in October 2012. Likewise, 56 percent feel it has failed on growing the economy. That’s also up from 52 percent.
The poll goes on to note a major loss of support on his handling of foreign policy, which, you know. I'm sure that doesn't exactly shock you guys. Although many of you may be shocked to learn that some Americans noticed he was screwing up big time.
In other polling news, the Washington Post now finds support for gay marriage at the 59% mark, with 34% disagreeing, and with half of all respondents saying that a right to gay marriage actually exists in the Constitution.
You know, I used to -- I used to not link polls like this. I know they are unpopular and even accused of being "trolling" or posted in aid of the leftist agenda.
But it's important for people to know what the facts actually are. The fact that support for gay marriage is at nearly 60%, while opposition is down to 34%, doesn't prove anyone's right on this point, nor that anyone is wrong. As they say, the Truth makes a majority of one.
But very often people seem mystified as to why their representatives are not prioritizing their policy preferences to the degree they liked.
And I think sheltering people from stuff like this -- cocooning them, as the New York Times does -- is simply a bad practice, which leads to misunderstandings and a skewed notion of what the actual political reality looks like.
And this poll is not an outlier -- Pew found that support for gay marriage had jumped to 53%, not quite as high as the WaPo now finds it, but above 50%. (Pew also finds that more people oppose SSM, 41%, than the WaPo.)
Pew also finds that most of the country supports gay marriage. Except in the South... which splits perfectly on the question.
Today, majorities of Americans in the Northeast (60%), West (58%), and Midwest (51%) favor allowing gay and lesbians to legally marry, while Southerners are evenly divided (48% favor, 48% oppose).
This isn't a winning issue anymore, which doesn't mean people are required to counterfeit their preferences.
But the other parts of the agenda regarding the stigmatization of homosexuality: Those are now simply radioactive. Those will have to be jettisoned, at least on a political level.
Most People Don't Realize How Far the Ground Has Shifted on This: Interesting take-away from Allah-- see the graph about how many people accurately say that gay marriage gets majority support in polls.
Only one group, those strongly in favor of gay marriage, say so. (In their case, it's either because they're very interested in the topic or are, like most people, just assuming that most people agree with them.)
Only a small fraction of those opposed to gay marriage know this particular polling result, somewhere between 19-22%.
When, Exactly, Did the Science Fiction Community Become a Pack of Braying, Censorious Scolds?
Jonathan Ross is a television host well-loved in Britain because their talent pool is small and they don't know any better.
No just kidding he's fine, I kind of like him. Most Americans will know Jonathan Ross, if at all, from accidentally leaving on BBC America after Doctor Who ends, or by searching for Doctor Who interviews.
I barely know the man's work at all but the thing that puts me off him, a bit, is that he's so ingratiating and ass-kissy with his guests. I get the need to ingratiate oneself, but he goes too far for my tastes.
This is actually germane to this story. I'm not entirely wasting your time.
Jonathan Ross was asked to host this year's Hugo Awards, science fiction's most prestigious awards. I made that last part up. When I say "most prestigious" I only mean "I've heard of them."
Why was he asked? Well, in addition to being a host on TV shows every single day (in Britain he's as ubiquitous as Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends from the Philip K Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), he's also a science-fiction fan. He reads comics, he writes comics. He went to Comic Con last year as a guest of fanboi fave rave Neil Gaiman. He apparently hosted the Eisner (comic book) Awards there and did such a good job they immediately invited him back for next year's duties.
Plus, he's married to a science fiction writer -- a woman named Jane Goldman, who has herself won the Hugo Award. The very show he was to be hosting.
So let's be clear: He has a reason to respect the Hugo Awards, if he didn't already. If he suggested they were trivial or stupid, he would hear about it from his wife.
The perfect host, yes? Kismet, no?
Because his hiring sparked a Nerd Rage in the sci-fi community -- including among sci-fi writers and those in charge of other aspects of the Hugo Awards show. Their main complaint was that he is "controversial," meaning, I guess, that as a comedian, he has told some mean jokes. They objected not so much to jokes he had told before, however, but, in a science-fiction timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly sort of way, to the jokes they feared he might tell in the future, while hosting the show.
Let me repeat: this guy is no Ricky Gervais. I don't know him all that well, but if you define "edgy," one picture that will not appear next to that definition is Jonathan Ross' face.
And apparently it's caused a huge Twitter rage, with lots of attacks on the anodyne Ross.
At Loncon’s request, [Neil] Gaiman asked Ross to take the stage at this year’s Hugos. “I think Jonathan would have been an excellent host,” he told me. “One of the things Jonathan is great at is making a room full of people feel comfortable. To be a Hugo host you need to be genuine, funny, respectful – and he is respectful, while still being cheeky. Jonathan would do it better than I did. And he agreed to do it for free because he is SFF family.”
Despite this, a vocal contingent resorted to petty name-calling on the Internet. Does calling someone a “grating fatuous bellend” not count as bullying if your subject is famous? I call bullshit. Does saying horrible things about someone because you think they might possibly say horrible things about you make you the better person? In this tirade about insults and slights, nasty bullies with little self-awareness recast themselves as the victim.
“What was peculiar about the attacks was they had constructed an ad hominem straw man to attack, who was sexist, sizeist, hates women and likes making everyone feel bad,” said Gaiman. “It doesn’t bear any resemblance to Jonathan. While he has occasionally said things that make you go ‘Oh god, your mouth opened and that thing came out’, he is a consummate professional.”
(Regarding the “sizeist” accusation, here’s what Ross’ teenage daughter Honey Kinny tweeted to Seanan McGuire, the most vocal of the Twitter pitchfork mob: “I was horrified by your outrageous and unfounded assumption that my father would ever comment negatively on a woman’s body. I’m Jonathan’s overweight daughter and assure you that there are few men more kind & sensitive towards women’s body issues.” When I emailed asking McGuire to pinpoint a moment in which Ross had ever made a fat joke, I got no reply.)
A "bellend," by the way, is apparently the glans. Yeah, I had to look that one up myself.
Ross agreed to do host the show for free, because he's sci-fi family (through his Hugo Award winning wife).
But nah: Let's attack him mercilessly and get him fired because being cruel to strangers is how we prove We Matter.
So now Jonathan Ross is fired, and the Hugo Awards will find some unobjectionable, totally-into-sci-fi host like, I don't know, Sarah Silverman.
Thanks to @slublog.