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September 02, 2014

Joni Mitchell Isn't a Happy Woman


I wouldn't post this, because, seriously, who cares about Joni Mitchell?, except reading Ed Driscoll's piece triggered an internet memory.

Joni Mitchell is, as you might expect, a soul so sensitive to suffering that she despises humanity. (Whatever.)

But this caught my eye: She suffers from Morgellons disease.

Morgellons is constantly morphing. There are times when it's directly attacking the nervous system, as if you're being bitten by fleas and lice. It's all in the tissue and it's not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I've been sick all my life'.


'There's a lot of lethargy with my illness. I'm fatigued', she laments. And the medicines she was taking gave her brain fog, adding: 'My creative energy went into survival and into furnishing the interior of the house [in British Columbia]'.

Her increased irritability and intolerance she attributes to Morgellons.

Here's the thing, though:

Although many people claim to suffer from Morgellon's Syndrome -- in which tiny little parasites, often claimed to resemble black or white fibres, burrow into the victim's skin -- medical authorities are fairly certain that the disease, while real in a way, is in fact a delusion.

There are no tiny fibre-like parasites burrowing into you. Yes, you have a sickness, but the sickness is the mental delusion of thinking you have tiny parasites burrowing into you.

Wikipedia documents the possibility that this might be chiefly an internet-transmitted form of viral delusion:

Morgellons patients usually self-diagnose based on information from the Internet and find support and confirmation in online communities of people with similar illness beliefs.

In 2006, Waddell and Burke reported the influence of the Internet on their self-diagnosed Morgellons patients: "physicians are becoming more and more challenged by the many persons who attempt self-diagnosis on-line. In many cases, these attempts are well-intentioned, yet wrong, and a patient's belief in some of these oftentimes unscientific sites online may preclude their trust in the evidence-based approaches and treatment recommendations of their physician."...

Vila-Rodriguez and MacEwan said in the American Journal of Psychiatry that the Internet is important in spreading and supporting "bizarre" disease beliefs, because "a belief is not considered delusional if it is accepted by other members of an individual’s culture or subculture."

The LA Times, in an article on Morgellons, notes that "(t)he recent upsurge in symptoms can be traced directly to the Internet, following the naming of the disease by Mary Leitao, a Pennsylvania mother." Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied the Morgellons phenomenon, states that the "World Wide Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and it (Morgellons) seems to be a socially transmitted disease over the Internet." According to this hypothesis, patients with delusions of parasitosis and other psychological disorders become convinced they have "Morgellons" after reading Internet accounts of others with similar symptoms.

I'm not a doctor and I can't say if "Morgellons syndrome" is a real thing or not, but people who are doctors seem pretty convinced that it's not.

Enough people have frantically gone into their doctor's office complaining of tiny fibre-parasites that if these parasites actually existed, we would know about it by now.

And what does this have to do with Joni Mitchell?

Well, people often say a leftist outlook makes people miserable. That may be true, but I think that the more important thing in this relationship is that tormented, miserable people frequently seek out a politics -- a philosophy, a religion -- that gives meaning to, and thereby redeems, their own pain.

And that politics is leftism.

Posted by Ace at 07:34 PM Comments

NYT and BBC Both Cover Rotherham Rape Gangs, But Not So Much Their Government Protectors


Note the news of the headline: I am treating the NYT's and BBC's willingness to cover a major news story as if it is itself major news.

Which it is.

So let's see what they say when they bother to report stories they really don't want to.


ROTHERHAM, England -- It started on the bumper cars in the children’s arcade of the local shopping mall. Lucy was 12, and a group of teenage boys, handsome and flirtatious, treated her and her friends to free rides and ice cream after school.

Over time, older men were introduced to the girls, while the boys faded away. Soon they were getting rides in real cars, and were offered vodka and marijuana. One man in particular, a Pakistani twice her age and the leader of the group, flattered her and bought her drinks and even a mobile phone. Lucy liked him.

The rapes started gradually, once a week, then every day: by the war memorial in Clifton Park, in an alley near the bus station, in countless taxis and, once, in an apartment where she was locked naked in a room and had to service half a dozen men lined up outside.

She obliged. How could she not? They knew where she lived. "If you don’t come back, we will rape your mother and make you watch," they would say.

At night, she would come home and hide her soiled clothes at the back of her closet. When she finally found the courage to tell her mother, just shy of her 14th birthday, two police officers came to collect the clothes as evidence, half a dozen bags of them.

But a few days later, they called to say the bags had been lost.

“All of them?” she remembers asking. A check was mailed, 140 pounds, or $232, for loss of property, and the family was discouraged from pressing charges. It was the girl’s word against that of the men. The case was closed.

Okay, so on the facts of the crime, they're reasonably complete and they seem accurate enough.

But how about on the crime behind the crime?

Here's where the NYT finally addressed the "uncomfortable dimension" of the issue:

It has highlighted another uncomfortable dimension of the issue, that of race relations in Britain. The victims identified in the report were all white, while the perpetrators were mostly of Pakistani heritage, many of them working in nighttime industries like taxi driving and takeout restaurants. The same was true in recent prosecutions in Oxford, in southern England, and the northern towns of Oldham and Rochdale, where nine men of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan origin were given long prison sentences in 2012 for abusing up to 47 girls. Investigators in Scotland have reportedly uncovered a similar pattern of abuse.

Sexual abuse of children takes many forms, and the majority of convicted abusers in Britain are white. But as Nazir Afzal, the chief crown prosecutor in charge of sexual violence and himself of Pakistani heritage, put it, "There is no getting away from the fact that there are Pakistani gangs grooming vulnerable girls."

That's about all the NYT has to say about the "uncomfortable dimension." It then goes back to treating this as if it were, well, a #LocalCrimeStory, rather than one of serious socio-political dimensions where some perpetrators were let off scot-free -- and some victims were left to be further abused -- out of pure racial considerations.

In fact, earlier in the piece, the NYT dismisses the very serious political fallout from letting girls be repeatedly raped over a course of a decade as "partisan finger-pointing."

Erm... I rather think the police-sanctioned mass rape of young girls might be a situation that merits a little fixing of blame.

"Partisan finger-pointing" is what the NYT calls it when a political party they are sympathetic to is entirely responsible for a great and terrible disaster. (Here, the Labour Party of Britain.)

The BBC seems to avoid this angle entirely (at least in this clip), as if the story about how such a thing could have been permitted by government authorities for so long is a minor one.

They realize that such questions have "uncomfortable dimensions" so they don't ask them, and just talk about the crimes themselves. (Only a victim's lawyer broaches this question directly, late in the clip.)

There is more to this report than the clip below, I'm sure, but from what I see, they don't address the major questions much at all.

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Posted by Ace at 06:49 PM Comments

Armond White: Our Culture Became Split Into Two Americas in 2004


Interesting essay from White, though others make some points against it (with varying degrees of merit).

Decades of Hollywood’s and the news media’s chasing after uneducated youth, fostering an undiscriminating market (disguised as populism), have finally paid off with a culture in which nothing is learned or remembered. Nothing is valued past opening weekend, and the cultural fragmentation that sorts moviegoers by age, political proclivities, race, and gender cannot be mended by taste or education. All entertainment now reflects our political division.

How did we arrive at this abyss?

Think back ten years: In the spring of 2004, there was the media’s lynch-mob excommunication of Mel Gibson and his film The Passion of the Christ, soon followed by the Cannes Film Festival's ordination of Michael Moore’s anti–G. W. Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. These events proved the effectiveness of pre-release hype, furthered acquiescence to cultural authority, and discouraged social unity. This was a moral, aesthetic, intellectual, and political shift -- a break and a decline.

Through these two films, religion and politics -- topics one had never argued about in polite company -- became the basis for categorizing moviegoers as members of factions. Beliefs and positions calcified. Passion became a red-state movie, and Fahrenheit became a blue-state movie.

That turning point may also be where the canard of calling for a "conversation" (about race, sex, violence . . . take your pick) began. The need for such "conversation" stemmed from the disorienting wallop of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Pundits collectively responded by saying, "Nothing is the same," which meant that people whose livelihoods were made on directing popular opinion were irreparably hard-hit. Self-absorbed, they lost their ability to think straight or fairly. Ironically, post-9/11 "conversation" (essentially, "Let me set the terms for you") started with a priori conditions that prevented most people from reacting to Gibson's and Moore's movies with anything like independent thought.

Attacks on Gibson's film had begun several months earlier, with The New Yorker's smear campaign besmirching the filmmaker's character. This tipped off the liberal press to torpedo the film’s upcoming release and alerted them that the film deserved no respect as a work of art or expression of faith...

Blunt attacks on sensitive matters formed a pattern of intolerance from media normally expected to be cautious and respectful (even when not fair). Journalistic ethics were trashed, and formerly assumed rules of public dialogue and cautious conduct fell by the wayside. Even worse, reviewers' hostility had a disturbing air of anti-religious bias; their snide rejections incited a mean collective contempt that deepened schisms in our ongoing culture war.

Meanwhile, White writes, they were happy to excuse the various deceptions in Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 as forgivable in the context of a Larger Truth.

I don't know what the hell to make of Armond White. When I first began reading him (musta been about 15 years ago), I thought he was a Black Radical Cranky Deliberately-Contrarian Film Critic.

Now that I see he has a strong, if idiosyncratic, conservative strain in him as well, I see him as a Conservative Radical Cranky Deliberately-Contrarian Film Critic.

His piece is worth reading, but he links his summary of the most political films since 2004. Very often with Armond White, I do not know if he and I saw the same movie. He seems to go out of his way to say things which are completely unsupportable:

2) The Dark Knight (2008) used the Batman myth to undermine heroism, overturn social mores, and embrace anarchy.

What? Are you on crack? First of all, the Nolan Batman films presented Batman as squeakily-ethical creature, a man forever questioning what is Good. He was not the bent psychotic that came into vogue in the 80s and 90s, but rather the most upright Lawful Good Paladin you could want. Superman is frequently called The Big Blue Boyscout. In Nolan's films, Batman was The Big Black Boyscout.

As for "undermining heroism" -- what? Because the film attempted to address, in an exploratory, questioning way, how far we should go as far as surveilling society in order to protect it?

Because Batman lies at the end and takes the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes?

What a strange sort of "undermining heroism" -- Batman's sacrifice is deliberately and unambiguously Christ-like. I could see attacking the film for stealing Christ's Salvation and giving it to a made-up comic book character (by Batman's sacrifice, Harvey Dent's sins are redeemed; Batman takes on all the sins of Gotham into his person, because he's the only one strong enough to bear them), but not for "undermining heroism."

I could go on about "embracing anarchy." White does know Joker was the Villain, right? He knows Batman actually defeated the Joker by resisting and proving false the Joker's evangelizations in favor of chaos, right? *

9) Knocked Up (2007) -- Judd Apatow's comedy of bad manners attacked maturity and propriety.

You lost me at "everything you just said." Does White understand that flawed characters often begin as flawed, then mature through a movie to become less flawed? And that the character at the end of the movie is supposed to be the one we admire, not the one at the beginning?

Yes, in Knocked Up, Seth Rogan begins as a pot-smoking, jobless, aimless, footloose fratty manboy who has no interest whatsoever in being a father.

But the film shows, get this, the actual likely biological consequences of casual sex (to wit, a pregnancy). Which is something that many cultural critics on the right frequently urge. The physical act of sex does not end when the violins go up and the lights go down; very often it takes another nine months to gestate.

And Seth Rogan ultimately gets a job and proposes marriage to the woman he's fathered a child with.

Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Because it's what a Man does.

I don't understand what planet he's living on to claim this film "attacks maturity and propriety." Seems like the entire film is specifically about championing those things (well, mostly the maturity part, but, by inference, the propriety part as well).

I don't see how White can claim that Batman "embraces anarchy" and Knocked up "attacks maturity" unless it is his position that a film that shows any bad behavior, even to criticize it, is guilty of glamorizing bad behavior.

But how could he believe this? This is the most base, dunderheaded sort of "criticism," of the kind that got the book The Giver banned for supposedly "promoting" statist control and forced euthanasia. (Spoiler alert: the book begins in a statist, euthanizing society but the hero, get this, rebels against it and shows it to all be a horrible lie.)

It's like he just goes out of his way to be Completely Wrong half the time.

Sonny Bunch has his own thoughts about the essay.

One thing I would say: the criticism that this cultural schism didn't really start in 2004 is just silly. White speaks of 2004 being a watershed, a turning point, an inflection point, not of it being the very first sign of a bifurcated culture, ever. I think it's wrong to claim he means that, then criticize him for "cultural amnesia" in making the error that he didn't really make. (He does however seem to err in claiming the calls for a "national conversation about X" started in 2004; as Jesse Walker points out, that phrase began in the nineties with Clinton's call for a "national conversation on race." But maybe that's just Armond White inserting something into his essay which is Completely Wrong, so that you remember you're reading Armond White.)

* By the way, I didn't even like this movie that much. I was myself a contrarian, far preferring the first "Batman Begins" and finding the Dark Knight too long, too overblown, too serious, too dark, and too.... insistent upon itself.

But promoting anarchy and undermining heroism? Good Lord no.

If anything, the film was far too pro-tangerine. Parts of the plot barely even made any sense due to this pro-tangerine bias.

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Posted by Ace at 05:51 PM Comments

Ad Targets Red State Democrat "Puppet Senators"


An ad against Mark Pryor (but which I imagine is a template ad which can be used against other Democrats) ties Pryor to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, even as Pryor attempts to claim distance from those figures.

It's making a point I've long tried to make: These Red State Democrat Senators are permitted to posture as reflecting their more-conservative electorate, while actually supporting the full progressive agenda jot-by-tittle.

On the occasional tough vote, people like Pryor will be allowed to cast an arranged vote against a progressive bill, but only because the caucus has corralled enough votes in favor of it to guarantee its safe passage and thus liberated a few Senators to cast a harmless tactical vote which will appeal to their constituents.

When the caucus needs Mark Pryor's vote -- as it did on Obamacare -- of course he delivers it with gusto.

It's like Tex Watson trying to "distance" himself from Charles Manson.

A little over-the-top in some parts, but maybe some will appreciate that.

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Posted by Ace at 04:50 PM Comments

Jen Psaki Psplutters and Pstutters For Three Minutes Trying to Explain Why Obama Won't Say That We Are at War with IS (Or Even That IS Is At War With Us)


Obama's psokesmen exist, of course, in that Orwellian sort of fashion, in order to obscure information rather than reveal it.

Meanwhile, intelligence sources are telling the press that they warned Obama about the increasing danger of IS for more than a year.

President Obama was given detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of the Islamic State as part of his daily briefing for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer, a former Pentagon official told Fox News.

The official -- who asked not to be identified because the President's Daily Brief is considered the most authoritative, classified intelligence community product analyzing sensitive international events for the president -- said the data was strong and "granular" in detail.

The source said a policymaker "could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad."

Incidentally, read further in the article and you'll see that the President never asked for additional information about IS. He read the daily briefings (or the White House claims he did, at least), but apparently had no further questions he wanted to ask anyone about.

You know, the way curious, intellectually-lively people never ask questions about important and interesting things.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 04:02 PM Comments

National Institute of Health Study: Yes, a Low-Carb Diet Is More Effective At Weight Control, And Also Results in Fewer Cardiac Risks


One day there will be a book written about this all -- how a "Consensus of Experts" decided, against all previous wisdom and with virtually no evidence whatsoever, that Fat Makes You Fat and you can Eat All the Carbohydrates You Like Because Carbohydrates Are Healthy.

This never made a lick of sense to me, even before I heard of the Atkins diet.

Sugar is a carbohydrate. Indeed, it's the carbohydrate, the one that makes up the others (such as starches, which are just long lines of sugar molecules arranged into sheets and folded over each other).

How the hell could it possibly be that Fat was Forbidden but SUGAR was Sacred?

It made no sense. A long time ago I tried to get a nutritionist to explain this to me. "Eat more fruit," the nutritionist said.

"Fruit," I answered, "is sugar in a ball."

But the nutritionist had an answer. "That is fruit sugar," the she told me.

"Fruit sugar," I responded, "is yet sugar."

"But it's not cane sugar."

"I don't think the body really cares much about which particular plant the sugar comes from."

"Sugar from a fruit," the nutritionist now gambited, "is more natural than processed sugar."

"They're both natural, you know. We don't synthesize sucrose in a lab. There are no beakers involved."

"Well, you burn fruit sugar up quicker, so it actually gives you energy, instead of turning into fat!"

"Both sugars are converted into glycogen in the body. There can be no difference in how they produce 'energy' in the body because both wind up as glycogen. I have no idea where you're getting any of this. It sounds like you're making it all up as you go."

"This is Science," the nutritionist closed the argument.

Eh. It's all nonsense. Even cane sugar contains, yes, fructose, or fruit sugar, and fruits contain sucrose, or cane sugar.

It's just that fruits contain something like 60% fructose to 40% sucrose, and cane sugar contains them in the opposite proportions. (I'm just sorta guestimating here, guys.)

Again, I don't see how sugar is rendered Magically Healthy simply because it comes from an orange rather than a cane.

The Science Was Settled on this point, however. A Consensus of Experts agreed.

The Government pushed this Consensus of Experts on the country, and food makers eagerly began taking fat out of their products, because Fat is Bad, and replaced that Fat (you have to replace it with something) with Healthy, Muscle-Building, Figure-Keeping Sugar.

And then we all got really, really fat.

People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.

The findings are unlikely to be the final salvo in what has been a long and often contentious debate about what foods are best to eat for weight loss and overall health. The notion that dietary fat is harmful, particularly saturated fat, arose decades ago from comparisons of disease rates among large national populations.

But more recent clinical studies in which individuals and their diets were assessed over time have produced a more complex picture. Some have provided strong evidence that people can sharply reduce their heart disease risk by eating fewer carbohydrates and more dietary fat, with the exception of trans fats. The new findings suggest that this strategy more effectively reduces body fat and also lowers overall weight.


Many nutritionists and health authorities have "actively advised against" low-carbohydrate diets, said the lead author of the new study, Dr. Lydia A. Bazzano of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. "It's been thought that your saturated fat is, of course, going to increase, and then your cholesterol is going to go up," she said. "And then bad things will happen in general."

By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass -- even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity.

While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.

Hopefully we'll see another Atkins Craze so people start making low-carb snacks again.

By the way, speaking of low-carb products-- did you Low-Carbers enjoy Dreamfields pasta? Did you ever think, "There's no way this can be 'low-carb,' it's so good, it's just like regular pasta!!!"?

Well, if you did: you were right.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:09 PM Comments

Islamic State Beheads American Journalist Steven Sotloff; Names the Next Beheading Victim to Come


Terrible, obviously.

If only social media didn't exist, we wouldn't be troubled by this "messy" world of ours.

Posted by Ace at 01:57 PM Comments

Major Hack Reveals Stolen Pictures from Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Possibly Many More Women


Including some women that aren't even celebrities-- but who someone wanted to see naked, and was willing to commit a crime to do so.

This is a major story, I think, which will wind up not just being about criminal invasion of privacy, but about how much we're sharing with this thing we call "the internet" without even knowing it.

On Sunday, a 4Chan user (or, more likely, a group of users--details are still unclear) added another entry to the site’s troubling litany when, after some haggling for Bitcoin payments, he or she uploaded a large cache of celebrities' private images, including nude photographs of the actress Jennifer Lawrence and the model Kate Upton.

The leak made it to the link-sharing site Reddit around dinnertime, where it found an audience in the hundreds of thousands. It also found a name--the Fappening...

By midnight on the East Coast, the Fappening subreddit had become one of the fastest-growing subreddits of all time. At any point on Sunday night, upward of a hundred thousand people were searching through 4Chan, Reddit, and the image-hosting site Imgur for the stolen content.

A list was also published of still-to-come hacked pictures of other starlets -- "hundreds" of other celebrities' private pictures and data, supposedly.

The scale of Sunday's leak, and the suggestion that there may be hundreds more images and videos to come, suggests something new.

Authorities do not know how the phones were hacked, but they are currently investigating two possibilities-- an exploit of Apple's iCloud, or an exploit of their "Find My Phone" app.

The New Yorker suggests that people just aren't aware of how insecure "private" data actually is:

Most discreet people know not to upload nude photos onto the Internet but are unaware that a photograph shared privately, through a text message or e-mail, is hardly private at all.

This is all high-profile enough to have drawn an FBI probe, and Jennifer Lawrence says (through a lawyer) that she'll be pursuing this "outrageous violation of privacy" herself as well.

Excerpted at Hot Air, Jessica Valenti makes the obvious point that looking at stolen pictures is itself a (smaller) violation of the victim, and then gets into the victim-shaming thing:

There is an obsessive tendency in American culture with elevating women--young, beautiful women, especially---to celebrity status just to bask in their eventual fall. There's also a tendency in American culture, meanwhile, to shame women for their sexuality. So I would not be surprised in the days ahead to see arguments as to why this is somehow the fault of the celebrities whose phones were hacked--that these women took the pictures, that they were posing, that generating publicity is part of their job.

I actually would be surprised to hear such an argument made in the actual media.

But I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in comments areas.

I've thought about this issue a lot, actually. We keep hearing this claim from feminists -- and others, too. That to advance a "lesson to be learned" from someone's setback is itself "victim-shaming" and punishing and stigmatizing the victim further, and that victims should be supported, not denigrated by statements along the lines of "And here's what you did wrong."

Whenever someone says something like "Young girls should not drink much, if at all, at fraternity parties, to reduce the risk of sexual assault," someone will say that's "victim-shaming," and it's the boys who should be told not to sexually assault women, not the girls who should be taught to always keep their wits about them.

The reason people keep arguing about this, and probably will argue about this forever, is that all parts of this argument are true. Girls should be told that they need to act as if they're in hostile territory when surrounded by young men, whose ardor may eclipse their morality. And boys should be told that there is no excuse for the latter.

And simultaneously, anyone's setback does afford people the opportunity to learn a lesson from that setback. There is an old saying that wise men learn from others' mistakes, whereas fools learn only from their own. (Although it's actually unclear if fools even learn from their own mistakes.)

But it is also true that any time someone looks at someone else's misfortune, and just glibly says "Well if you hadn't had done X you wouldn't have suffered Y," there's an air of judgment and smugness in the statement. After all, usually it's entirely obvious advice. A kid who jumps into too-shallow water and becomes paralyzed for life has, after all, probably given pretty significant thought to the notion that if he hadn't had dived head-first, he still would have the power to walk. Reminding him of his obvious life-changing error is a bit dickish.*

On the other hand -- there are plenty of hands here -- one can't just think of the immediate victim, either. Sure, "victim shaming" -- or simply learning a lesson from the victim's misfortune -- is emotionally painful for the victim himself. It adds insult to injury.

But then, there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who are not yet victims, and who can still avoid becoming victims -- is it really kind to avoid speaking about matters of prudence and precaution that could spare them a horrific result, just to avoid giving offense to a single person?

I don't know. All of these things, I think, are simultaneously true, and whether you come down on the "offer prudent cautions" side of things or the "never victim-shame, always just offer maximum support" side depends on where you prioritize and rank the different imperatives at play.

I do think, though, that even people who subscribe to the "words of wisdom" side of the ledger can and should avoid any hint of a smug tone in their advice -- the sort of "This would never happen to me, because I'm too disciplined and smart for that" sort of self-aggrandizement.

About 15 years ago (everything in my life is now, at a guess, "about 15 years ago") there was some self-help guy or some social "scientist" who advanced the idea that women and men communicate for different reasons. Men, the theory went, tended to be more practical and more interested in some sort of resolution -- so they favor "here's what you can do to avoid this in the future" statements, and not talking too much about the setback already suffered.

Women, on the other hand, are more interested in receiving (and offering) emotional support for the present setback, and aren't really looking as much for Lessons Learned for the future.

So, the theory goes, women and men tend to talk past each other.

I think there's truth in this, and it's not really just women and men who are different in this respect. I think most people have both urges inside of them; the question is just which is more pronounced, and that can vary according to when you ask them.

Even a man who generally favors the "Let's learn this lesson from this" sort of approach probably doesn't want to hear that when he himself is fresh from the wound of a major setback. In that moment, he probably would prefer the "womanly" approach of emotional comfort, and might get pretty angry if you start giving him a List of All The Things He Did Wrong.

Just something to think about, I think. I think these questions where there really is no answer at all -- or multiple contradictory answers -- are pretty illuminating.

At any rate, without wishing the shame the victims here -- for whom I have great sympathy -- I would say that the Age of the Candid Selfie must end. I make no moral judgment here; honestly, I'm in favor of this kind of personal sexual expression.

But the technology is not up to the task of personal erotica -- it permits you to take the pictures, but does not permit you to keep the erotica personal.

If people want to continue to take naughty pictures, they should probably move to a more old-school technology, like the Polaroid Instamatic.**

* I should point out that saying such a thing to the actual victim's face would be a bit dickish, but most people would never say it to the victim's face. Their emotional intelligence would inform them that such a statement would be poorly-received, and a bit cruel.

Which brings up another question: If people online aren't saying "And here's what Jennifer Lawrence did wrong" to her face, but are simply talking amongst themselves, as people will do (people like talking about other people, after all), is that also dickish?

It is the stance of the "never victim shaming" folks that the same rule should attach in both instances -- whether you're talking to Jennifer Lawrence personally, or talking about her, in relative private, in a comments area she will almost certainly never read.

I guess, on this point, I find that "never victim shame" people to be in the wrong: There are very different rules about what you say to a victim and what you might say about the victim.

In the first case, emotional support is paramount and prioritized over all other things.

In the latter case, not so much. In the latter case, other priorities may need to prevail.

If I ever, for some reason, had the opportunity to talk to Jennifer Lawrence, would I offer her my theory that she should have used a Polaroid?

No. I wouldn't share that with her. I wouldn't bring this incident up at all, and if it somehow came up, I would only say "That's so horrible, I don't know why people do these things."

But does that mean, out of fear of "victim-shaming" Lawrence, I shouldn't say, generally, "Look, don't use your cellphones for 'private' erotica. It's not private at all"?

This conflation of what one should say to the victim personally and what one should say about avoiding victimization generally is a major error in thought that needlessly confuses an already-complicated issue.

** Actually, to avoid just "shaming the women," I should say that no men should any longer ask for cellphone naked selfies.

There was a time when that might have seemed like harmless, sexy fun. But it's not. It puts the woman (or the dude, too) at too much risk of future exposure and humiliation.

It's just not ethical to ask someone to run that kind of risk, especially at a time when they're probably not thinking about consequences. (People rarely think about future consequences during sex or sexy talk.)

Posted by Ace at 12:51 PM Comments

ICYMI: Islamists Take Over US Embassy in Tripoli, Throw Pool Party for Allah


Yesterday's news, but in case you didn't see it.

To be clear, the Islamists didn't drive US personnel out, not exactly. US personnel deserted the compound when the local circumstances became too dangerous... primarily because of Islamist militias.

But now the Islamist militias say they've "secured" the compound -- on our behalves, thank the dears -- and heck, if you're kindly securing US sovereign territory for the US government, who can begrudge you a little pool party?

An Associated Press journalist walked through the U.S. Embassy compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.

A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week, a day after it has seized control of the capital and its international airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia was in the compound before his troops took it over.


They shot a video of the pool party and posted it on YouTube.

In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy's residential annex, though she said she couldn’t "say definitively" since she wasn’t there.

"To my knowledge & per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked," she wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate. State Department officials in Washington also declined to immediately comment.

Note there is some question about who we left guarding the Embassy in our absence -- was it US troops, or hired locals? And how were those guards ejected?

It's possible this Dawn of Libya actually is safeguarding the embassy, more or less. (Or at least it's possible it's safer in their hands than other hands.)

But it's pretty incredible that a US embassy has been taken over by militias, in a country the US fought a war limited full-spectrum kinetic action to "liberate."

And it's pretty incredible that the US response is to pretend these things away, once again giving the press the "Nothing to see here, folks, move on" treatment.

They are not interested in managing foreign policy -- they only care about managing domestic news.

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Posted by Ace at 11:46 AM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 10:39 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 9-2-14

—Gabriel Malor

Gah. September.

ICYMI, on Friday a district court judge halted a portion of Texas' abortion law HB2 that requires abortion clinics to meet hospital operating standards. This is the same judge who was later smacked down by the Fifth Circuit for ruling unconstitutional a portion of HB2 that requires abortion docs to have admitting privileges. As before, Texas has said it will appeal the ruling. HB2, if you will recall, is the law that launched Wendy Davis to national prominence.

Sin City 2 dropped out of the top 10 at the box office in only its second week of release. Screwing up a movie with that cast, plus Eva Green topless, is a special kind of fail.

Red states are slowly accepting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Morgan Stanley analysts' "best guess" is the S&P 500 could rally for five years, reach almost 3,000.

On Obama's patent weakness: "You could almost hear the eyes rolling inside his Cabinet, not to mention in European capitals."

The last of the Great Escape tunnelers, Wing Commander Ken Rees, has died. Godspeed, Wing Commander.

AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:45 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (9-1-2014)


Donna Brazile: Obama Doesn't Have Time to Deal With All You Dumb Hillbillies

Because if you want the president of the US to have an actual strategy to deal with the spread of IS, you just might be a redneck.


Apparently this is how the Obama administrations views its critics:


White House: "We Respect the Rule of Law"

Well Mexican law that is.

If You Enjoyed What They Did to Your Dishwasher Detergent, You'll Love Obama's Plans For Your Dishwasher

In the future people will walk around with permanent access to high speed internet and the full breadth of human knowledge available at a glance but all the toilets, dishwashers, light bulbs, and washing machines will work worse than the ones you could buy in Sears circa 1960.


USA vs Russia: Good Samaritan Edition

For all its faults the US is still very much a high trust society where people will stop and help strangers in distress. And amazingly enough this all happens without a federal Department of Good Samaritanism encouraging and monitoring it.

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Posted by Maetenloch at 09:18 PM Comments

Spaced-Out Challenge: Finding Uranus

—Brandon Finnigan


Uranus as imaged by Don Banfield/Cornell University/Palomar Observatory

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, I'll show you how to find the butt of solar system jokes, perfectly positioned in the sky under Pegasus. So grab your optics, step outside, and I'll show you where to look!

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Posted by Brandon Finnigan at 08:05 PM Comments



Posted by rdbrewer at 07:33 PM Comments

Emergency Content Thread: Just the (wrong) punchline [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Sometimes when Gingy and I aren't busy overseeing our vast empire of syphilitic weasels, we play a game we call "That's now how any of this works". Well, that's not quite true. I like to play the game, Gingy mostly groans and covers her eyes, I dunno why.

The way "That's now how any of this works" works is this. I'll blurt out the punchline to a well known joke, but I'll get it wrong in such a way that it makes the joke either nonsensical or better yet, convey the opposite meaning than that which the joke requires. The trick is that you have to come up with a punchline that would have the same basic meaning as the correct punchline in a different context. For example "That was no lady, that was a self propelled lawn mower" is gibberish, but "That was not just any lady, that was my wife" completely inverts the meaning of Henny Youngman's famous joke. Here are some other examples:

Yarrrr, it's steering my me nuts

Telephone, telegraph, mention it to a girl

The waiter looked in the dictionary and found "Panda: a giant marsupial living in Central Asia that dines on shoots and leaves"

That's when the conductor realized that the symphony was almost over, the sheet music was tied down and the bass section was drunk


You don't have to tell the joke (although you can if you want to), just the mangled punchline.

So Horde, what have ya got?

Posted by Open Blogger at 06:00 PM Comments

State Department Hikes Fee To Renounce Citizenship Amid Record Number Of Renunciations

—Gabriel Malor

The State Department's new fee schedule will become effective on September 12. It includes a five-fold increase in the cost to renounce citizenship.

The fee for individuals to renounce U.S. citizenship is jumping to $2,350 as of Sept. 12—more than five times the current charge of $450.

The U.S. State Department, in its explanation for the increase, said that documenting a renunciation is “extremely costly” and requires a minimum of two intensive interviews with the applicant as well as other procedures.

The fees charged for a number of other services, such as “fiance(e) visas” and employment-based visa applications, increased far less than those for renunciation and in some cases declined.

There was a record number of renunciations last year, and this year the number is expected to be even higher. For example, there are so many people already scheduled at the consulate in Toronto the wait time for new applicants (renunciates?) to start the interview process has been pushed into 2015.

I understand that State Department has little control over the policies driving renunciation, but let's not kid ourselves about what this is about. Individuals and businesses of means are fleeing the United States' punitive economic policies. Hiking the exit fee isn't going to stop that; this is just a way to wring one last penny from them while they're on their way out.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 04:34 PM Comments

Labor Day Thread: Burgers and Ice Cream Edition [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Someone last weekend asked for a thread about the best places to get ice cream. It's the end of summer, so why the hell not? And for added measure, let's toss in a discussion of the best place to get burgers. Good end of summer, Labor Day weekend fare.

First ice cream...

The folks at Food and Wine have created a list of the top cities for ice cream. It's in one of those annoying slide show formats, so here are a few highlights from their list (and you can click thru for the full monty):

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Posted by Open Blogger at 03:00 PM Comments

Labor Day Words Of Wisdom From Mike Rowe



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Posted by Andy at 02:04 PM Comments

Fun With Twitter Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Over in the Twitterverse...

A really silly ad from the Dems. One gets the feeling they might not have prepared in advance for Perry to look so good in that mugshot.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 12:45 PM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 09:02 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (8-31-2014)


Quote of the Day I

"A moral response to this behavior might involve those officials, among others, hanging from lampposts. The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines."

-- Glenn Reynolds on the official cover-up of 16 years of systematic sexual abuse of children by Pakistani men in Rotherham, England

Quote of the Day II

"The scale of the sexual exploitation revealed in the Jay inquiry is shocking, but let's avoid racial stereotyping."

-- The Guardian attempting to ignore the central fact behind the Rotherham sexual abuse and the driving force behind its cover-up by officials.

The Price of Beef Hits an A New High

The average price for all types of ground beef per pound hit its all-time high -- $3.884 per pound -- in the United States in July, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

...Five years ago, in July 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.147, according to the BLS. In those five years, the average price has climbed by $1.737 per pound--or almost 81 percent.

burgergrill23 beefalltimehighjuly

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Posted by Maetenloch at 10:41 PM Comments

Labor Day Edition of the Travel Thread [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

I was going to do the Sunday Travel Thread on ice cream shops, per the request of a moron last week, but I decided to shelve that in favor of a Labor Day Weekend themed thread.

A brief history of Labor Day:

When did Labor Day begin?

The modern holiday is widely traced back to an organized parade in New York City in 1882. Union leaders had called for what they had labelled a "monster labor festival" on Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to Linda Stinson, a former historian for the Department of Labor (the idea for a general labor festival may have originated in Canada, which today also celebrates "Labour Day" on the first Monday in September). Initially that morning, few people showed up, and organizers worried that workers had been reluctant to surrender a day's pay to join the rally. But soon the crowds began flowing in from across the city, and by the end of the day some 10,000 people had marched in the parade and joined festivities afterward in what the press dubbed "a day of the people."

When did it become an official holiday?

The practice of holding annual festivities to celebrate workers spread across the country, but Labor Day didn't become a national holiday for more than a decade. Oregon became the first state to declare it a holiday in 1887, and states like New York, Massachusetts and Colorado soon followed suit. Under President Grover Cleveland, and amid growing awareness of the labor movement, the first Monday in September became a national holiday in 1896.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:36 PM Comments

Food Thread: Fire Is Our Friend Edition [CBD]

—Open Blogger

Many thanks to Y-not for covering for me last Sunday!

One of the advantages of knowing an excellent bartender is that occasionally he will let his hair down (that's just an expression...the dude is as bald as a ping-pong ball) and pull out the silly stuff he did in his youth.


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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:00 PM Comments

Gaming Thread 8/31/2014

—Gang of Gaming Morons!

Some big news the last week. Probably the biggest is Google didn't end up buying Twitch because of anti-trust concerns. Amazon did end up buying it though for a cool $970 million in cash (not including payroll and other costs).

Though I still don't see Twitch being even close to worth that, still not bad for starting off as ghetto section of JustinTV.

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Posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:17 PM Comments

Saturday Car Thread 08/31/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse & KBDaBear]

—Open Blogger

Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Saturday Car Thread.

I blame Comcast.

The Brooklyn Bridge, under construction.

I don't see any handrails there.

Co-blogger, RD Brewer, sends along this terrific article from Supercompressor which ranks all of the Bond cars:

Sure, you know all about James Bond's enduring affinity for Aston Martins and Lotuses that are just as lovely under water as they are on the road. And if you're a hardcore aficionado, you likely know that 007's first cars were actually old Bentleys, back in the days before Sean Connery gave a face to MI6's top man.

It should go without saying that a scientific ranking of all of Bond's cars is absolutely impossibl -- and besides that, it's boring -- so what follows is a thoroughly subjective list of every significant car that Bond drove, rode in, chased, or was chased by.

And, as all our rankings tend to be on this site, it is correct.


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Posted by Open Blogger at 12:00 PM Comments

Open Thread: Feel-good Story of the Day [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

With all of the bad news these days, it's nice to find a news item that can restore our faith in humanity and make us feel good to be alive.

This is just such a story:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 10:44 AM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-31-2014: Shake, Rattle, and Roll [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger

Napa County Library After Earthquake

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required.

Ah, Thread of Book
Peacefully great
With mood subdued
With pace sedate

Or lurkly look
Leisure learning
Thread of Book

Thanks to moron "mindful webworker" for posting this fun poem in last week's comments.

Another thing I like about the book thread is that I can come back to it after 8 or 12 hours and there may be new comments posted. On last week's thread, for instance, the comments extended into the evening, even to the next day. It takes a long time for the book thread to die.

Quake Damage

Last Sunday's earthquake in Northern California really did a number on the libraries in Napa, my old stomping ground:

"There is lots of work to be done -- lots of shelving to do! We are closed, but we hope to get back with you as soon as possible with the doors open," says director of Napa County Library Services Danis Kreimeier in a video posted on the system's Facebook page. "Be safe, take care of yourself, and we'll see you real soon."

All Napa County libraries were closed Monday for cleanup.

More On Superman

Last week, I mentioned that a pristine copy of Action Comics #1 was put up for auction on eBay. Guess how much it sold for:

An original Superman comic, sold for 10 cents at a West Virginia newsstand in 1938, was purchased at auction Sunday night for $3.2 million, making it the most expensive comic book ever sold.

I wondered how it survived for so long in such good shape:

Purchased off a newsstand by a man from West Virginia in 1938, the comic book was stored in a cedar chest “at high altitude” for four decades. When the man died, a collector purchased it from his estate.

The 3.2 million auction price far exceeding earlier purchases:

The previous record for a comic book was $2.1 million, for another Action Comics No. 1, sold by the actor Nicolas Cage in 2011.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:44 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning.

The original Morons?

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:12 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (30 Aug 2014)


Happy International Bacon Day!

This week in pictures: Strategery Edition.

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Posted by CDR M at 09:53 PM Comments

Open Thread for Your Scrolling Pleasure [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

That one was getting hard to scroll.

Here's a new one I call "Serenity Now."


Heading south on I-15 in Utah

Posted by Open Blogger at 05:22 PM Comments

Saturday Politics Thread: Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

College football season is fully underway this week. (Yes, there were some games last week, but this is the weekend the Big Dogs started playing.)

Tonight, the Wisconsin Badgers (14) will be meeting the LSU Tigers (13) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (I have no idea why they're playing in Houston.)

Coincidentally enough, this game involves three states whose Republican Governors should be considered amongst the top contenders for 2016. So let's use that as an excuse to talk about them.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 03:14 PM Comments

Weekend Headlines [CBD}

—Open Blogger

Austin brewery rolls out ultimate 99-pack of beer

Texas school district arms teachers for upcoming year

Why Israel Defeated -- But Didn't Crush -- Hamas
This is interesting, but there are some assumptions made that are illogical.

United Nations peacekeepers reportedly fleeing across border into Israel
Why do they bother giving them weapons?

Reason #43,949 why government is bad
First they came for our vacuums.....

Ferguson isn't about black rage against cops. It's white rage against progress.
[Multiple Trigger Warning: stupidity, racism, vile patronizing, reflexive leftism....]

Prof dresses as robot to protest Iowa's 'sexist,' 'homophobic' pink locker room

Posted by Open Blogger at 02:00 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread: Writer's Block Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Good afternoon and welcome to your Saturday Gardening Thread!

Today's thread is brought to you by Billboard's Top 100 Songs of 1962, which happens to be the year I was born. Here's Number 69, "Cindy's Birthday:"

Take it away, WeirdDave:

OK, got no clue what to write about today. None. Zero, Zip, Nada. I tell ya, I got nothing. So I plugged "Garden" into DuckDuckGo and scrolled way down, then started to look for interesting stuff.

What garden is complete without a geodesic dome? Not yours, I'm sure, and at the link you can buy one for only 499 €, whatever the hell a "€" is. I'd be worried that Pauly Shore would show up.

Here's a site called The Gay Gardener. There's lots of helpful tips there, but I haven't found yet how being gay affects your garden, unless you're doing in your garden what you should be doing in your bedroom, in which case I'd suggest investing in a geodesic dome with an opaque cover (see first link) if you have neighbors.

Moving on, since we're getting close to Halloween, perhaps a nice, creepy scarecrow is in order. At the link you can get ones with faces on them, although the fact that they feature a picture of one of their products with crows sitting on it makes me question how effective they are. The faces are a nice touch, if you put one out front instead of in the garden I'm sure you'll give one or two trick-or-treaters nightmares. Still not sure about crow nightmares.

If you find yourself in Iceland, you should definitely visit The Elf Garden. Why? Well, their webpage has a picture of a cat looking at a rainbow sign captioned "We are here". Isn't that enough? We are here. Much better than "How to cook forty humans" I suppose. These people seem to have the intersection of elves and gardens nailed, AND they featured a performance by "the extremely funny Teenagers, Arnor and Oli." Book your tickets now before their voices change, their "Elves and faeries and goblins, oh my" routine won't be nearly as funny in a bass voice.

I got quite excited when I noticed a link to Eden's Garden, I thought God had barred mankind from that place for eternity. Turns out it's an aromatherapy store. I looked, but couldn't find any ValuRite scented oils or essence of Ewok, so it might not be our kind of place.

Hey, here's a website about bugs. They tell you which bugs are good bugs that fight bad bugs that are bugging your garden. Garden Insects. They promise that their bugs can beat up your bugs, and even provide a link to where you can order bugs online. Shopping for AtC has never been easier. Buy now, Christmas is just around the corner.

Finally, we find a link to Michelle Obama's garden. "Today, the garden is planted, tended and harvested by Mrs. Obama, White House staff, the National Park Service and visitors." Sure. I'm willing to bet that one of those listed does just a teensy bit less work in the garden than the others. Call it a hunch. There's more: "Inspired by the First Lady's passion for healthy living and healthy eating, people across the country have revisited the American tradition of starting a vegetable garden at home." Actually Madam First Lady, Americans are "revisiting" the "tradition" of starting a veggie garden because WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY FOOD DUE TO YOUR HUSBAND'S LOUSY ECONOMIC POLICIES.

* mic drop *

Weirddave is out.

And now from your co-hostess, Y-not:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 01:05 PM Comments

College Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

Or as I like to think of it, sharp cheerleader elbows.


Texas A&M (21) kicked the snot out of South Carolina (9, for now) on Thursday, 52-28 at SC. I giggle now that the whole SEC gets to hate A&M as much as I used to. Enjoy all that, SEC! They're yours now.

Also this is kind of funny, a South Carolina furniture store offers to pay off furniture loans if A&M beats the Gamecocks by more than 10 points.

I just put this in here so I could say "Gamecocks"

They use insurance for this kind of thing, kind of like win a car with a hole in one at a golf tournament. Still, heh.

Boise State didn't do well at Ole Miss (18), a 35-13 loss. Arizona St also beat somebody.

Top Ten action today (and tomorrow, Baylor (10) plays SMU on Sunday in their brand spanking new McLane Stadium and I will be there, yo), all times EDT:

UCLA (7) and Virginia at noon

Ohio St. (5) and Navy, noon

Alabama (2) and West VA, 3:30pm

Arkansas and Auburn (6), 4pm

Oklahoma (4) and Louisiana Tech, 7pm

FSU (1) and Oklahoma St. (33), 8pm

Oregon (3) and South Dakota, 10:30pm

Also Michigan St. (8) beat Jacksonville St. last night, 45-7

That's all.

Posted by Dave In Texas at 11:30 AM Comments

Southwest Ohio Moron Meet-up Trial Balloon/Open Thread(CBD)

—Open Blogger

trial balloon.jpg

I had a mini-meet planned for SW Ohio last week as a reward to myself for moving a brat into her new house, but had to abort because 20-year-old college juniors are horrid, lazy, stupid, ungrateful difficult.

Intrepid Southwest Ohio Moron speedster1 has created an e-mail address for those in the area:
swohmome at mail dot com

Obviously this includes Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky. So shoot him an e-mail if you have any interest in meeting like-minded folk.

Posted by Open Blogger at 11:05 AM Comments

OT Thread-Clearing Out The Browser Tabs Edition [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

I don't really feel like doing politics today, so I'm going to feature some links and memes from back in the day. I know in internet terms that means last Tuesday, but I've been online for a long time. When I first wandered online, using my Atari ST series computer, the internet wasn't a superhighway, it was a cow path. In 20-plus years of browsing, I've bookmarked and saved a lot of crap, call it a potpourri of poop, or maybe a cavalcade of crap. Now, if I can just get this 5 1/4" floppy drive to interface with Windows 7....

Here's one of the first RPGs I remember playing. It's not quite the grandaddy of them all, but it knew the granddaddy when he was still in school. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:15 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning.

Oh, and then there's this:

Yes. That is paparazzi taking photos of..... a puppet. I suspect from the audio that there might be drugs involved.

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:24 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (29 Aug 2014) - Under The Influence Edition


Evenin' morons. I'm back with this abbreviated ONT. I blame the pain killers.

Continue reading

Posted by CDR M at 09:54 PM Comments

Music Thread


So y'all's can write about whatever you like, musically. I'll just write a little bit up here because I wanted to write something about this anyway.

Lately -- I think because it's the 25th anniversary of Kick, or something -- I've been fascinated by INXS.

One of the cable channels has on a two-part docudrama about INXS' rise and fall. The first half is all rise -- formation to Kick -- the second is all fall, from Michael Hutchence being sucker-punched and knocked out cold in Hong Kong (did you know that?) which gave him a nasty change of personality (prone to rages) and robbed him of his sense of smell and taste, to his ultimate suicide in Sydney.

The docudrama is produced by INXS, so it gets very superficial about certain things they probably don't want to talk about. Like, Tim Farris, the band's leader, got married relatively early. Did he cheat? The movie does not say yes or no. It never shows him cheating; it just sort of shows him around semi-dressed girls during the band parties.

I'm not into these movies for such prurient stuff but the film has this tendency to set something up and make you curious, and then completely ignore the obvious questions you'd have about it.

Youngest member Jon Farriss, the drummer, got arrested for drugs at one point. There's an implication in the film he was actually dealing to help the band make rent. But... the film never says. He just gets out of jail because he's a minor, and no one ever mentions it again.

The most compelling character in the movie is... the manager, Chris Murphy, who comes across very well and very central to the band's success.

The other characters in the movie are Michael Hutchence.

Pretty much just Michael Hutchence. And his girlfriends.

Occasionally you see Tim Farris and Andy Farris and sometimes Jon Farris. Kirk Pengilly has a couple of lines, and Garry Gary Beers is almost entirely absent from the movie until the last ten minutes. When he confesses that he's begun seeing a woman besides his wife, in a scene that really showcases...

Michael Hutchence.

The film has almost no "how the song was written" material at all. There's one famous story that when Listen Like Thieves was about to go out to the record company, Chris Murphy listened and said, "I don't hear any hits."

So Andy Farris wrote a song in about a day, and Hutchence wrote the lyrics, and the band recorded it in like three takes, and it became their all-time greatest hit (at that time). That was "What You Need."

The movie just completely skips over that. I have no idea why. Especially because "What You Need" directly led to Kick -- the entire album of Kick is designed to sound like What You Need. What You Need was different from everything else on Listen Like Thieves, and everything they'd done before.

So this one song, written and recorded in a single day (or day and a half), changed their whole sound, made them superstars, and spawned, basically, an entire album.

But the movie ignores all of that.

It does reveal a few interesting things. Their first manager found God and decided that he could only manage Christian bands. He tried to convince INXS to become a Christian band. They briefly considered doing so.

Another interesting thing was when the label heard Kick for the first time, they hated it so much that they offered the band one million dollars to write and record an entirely new album. They said it was too black, and they couldn't sell INXS to black radio, being white and all.

It made no sense, either: Seriously, "Kick" was just "What You Need" in 12 different parts. "What You Need" was their biggest hit. Ergo, any executive who's interested in hits should have said, "Cool, it sounds like your biggest hit. Let's push this out there."

But they absolutely hated it.

The band had to go behind their back to release it.

So you probably know what happened next.

It's a decent docudrama, as far as these things go, just... superficial.

But diverting enough.

Anyway, here are a few of their better songs.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 07:54 PM Comments

The AoSHQ Amazon Store

Top Headlines
The Newest American Hero!
"Turn that off, I don't know what it is."
"It's a cell phone."

Post names Frederick J. Ryan Jr. as new publisher
"[A] former Reagan administration official who was part of the founding leadership team of Politico, a primarily digital news organization that competes with The Post on political coverage.... The departure of Weymouth, 48, ends eight decades of Graham family leadership of The Post...." Related. [rdbrewer]

Pentagon’s experimental Phantom Swift X-Plane contract secured by Boeing
Odd looking plane that hovers and goes fast. [rdbrewer]

Mallory Millett: Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives
This is a must-read. Via @rsmccain. [rdbrewer]

Video: Brawl in traffic
Just another night in Russia. [rdbrewer]

Collect Space: Dog spacesuit among artist's Soviet space artifacts being auctioned [rdbrewer]

The Conversation: Move over Iceland, Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea is the volcano to watch [rdbrewer]

Rotherham child abuse scandal: South Yorkshire Police starts probe
Over 1400 children raped. "Meanwhile, Labour has suspended four members in the town, three of them councillors." Labour. More from the New York Times, including an ugly story of police coverup. [rdbrewer]

Wachau, Austria

Ron Fournier: The Summer of Obama's Disconnect
"Wow. That was some summer. The Islamic State that President Obama dismissed as 'JV' proved to be a virulent varsity – gobbling up gobs of the Middle East, beheading an American journalist, and threatening the United States. Russia invaded Ukraine. Ferguson burned. Obama shrugged." Via @GabrielMalor. [rdbrewer]

Daniel J. Mitchell: Lower Tax Rates vs. Targeted Tax Credits
"Since this meant I was wading into a fight between so-called reform conservatives (or 'reformicons') and traditional conservatives (or 'supply-siders'), I wasn’t surprised to learn that not everyone agreed with my analysis." Via @TheH2. [rdbrewer]

Remember Dungeon Master?
Free download. [rdbrewer]

Kevin Williamson: What to Do about Wages?
"The Left sees inequality as a cause of economic facts, not an effect of them.... The Left thinks that inequality is not a mere measure of relative incomes or wealth but something that does things in the world, something that acts...." Via Monty. [rdbrewer]

Quin Hillyer: Obama, Outed: If Only
"Just resign already. Go. Be gone. Vamoose. Get out of our lives. More important: Stop endangering all of us with your self-indulgent vacations and self-absorbed dithering, along with unconstitutional domestic power plays while the whole world burns." [rdbrewer]
Christina Hoff Sommers, Time: 5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die
"MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work." [rdbrewer]

Lounge Kitty
TNW: This could be the Apple iCloud flaw that led to celebrity photos being leaked
"On Monday, a Python script emerged on Github... that appears to have allowed malicious users to ‘brute force’ a target account’s password on Apple’s iCloud, thanks to a vulnerability in the Find my iPhone service." [rdbrewer]

Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande Among Celebrities Exposed in Massive Nude Photo Leak
The quote that caught my eye: "Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this." What are these services and, I assume, social media doing holding onto your stuff after you've deleted it? Can we get some ironclad privacy legislation now? Make that a felony. [rdbrewer]

"We don't care if you deleted your shit. We're holding onto it."
The Telegraph: The self- loathing of the British Left is now a problem for us all
"We’ve all read [the facts], and reeled away in horror. The interesting question is how and why would any country allow the racialised gang-rape of its own daughters? Why? Because too many in that country, especially on the Left, most especially in the Labour Party, despise their own ordinary people...." They're desperate to see themselves as uncommon, with-it. Via @Instapundit. [rdbrewer]
AoSHQ Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png

This week's guest: Conn Carroll

MP3 Download | Stream | Ask The Blog | Archives
Daily Mail: Myth of arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now
A melting ice cap was construed as proof of global warming; thus, a growing ice cap is proof global warming isn't a problem. Right? Problem is, progs have never been hampered by intellectual honesty and logical consistency. [rdbrewer]

NBC reporter says military officials are ‘APOPLECTIC’ over Obama’s passive nonexistent foreign policy
A Richard Engel report. Watch the whole thing. Via @JohnEkdahl. [rdbrewer]

Time: See Every Single Device Connected to the Internet [rdbrewer]

Media mostly laughs with, not at, Obama
"The left can’t laugh at Obama because in doing so they would be laughing at themselves." [rdbrewer]
Flashback: "We Will Not Rest"
The Free Beacon did this some weeks ago but it's worth rewatching
Loathesome MP George Galloway got his ass kicked on a London street
"Galloway is a nauseating anti-Semite who once told Saddam Hussein during a speech he gave in Iraq, 'Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.'" Maybe the Brits will vote him out of office now. [rdbrewer]

President George W. Obama Lashes Out at Media Over Sinking Poll Numbers
Most of the time, Democrats wait until after the midterms to blame the media for their losses. [rdbrewer]

Erick Erickson: The Continued Farce
"Soon, because polling and focus grouping suggested 'global warming' was not working, the name changed to 'climate change.' No one really opposes the new term. Every person who has ever lived agrees the climate changes." [rdbrewer]

Matthew Continetti: Remilitarize the World Police
"In the past, America has cut defense without eliminating our deterrent. What’s different? Presidential incompetence." [rdbrewer]

Editorial: President Obama needs to focus on how the United States can meet global challenges
"OBAMA’S acknowledgment that 'we don’t have a strategy yet' in Syria understandably attracted the most attention after his perplexing meeting with reporters Thursday. But his restatement of the obvious was not the most dismaying aspect of his remarks." Via @trueholygoat. Added: More from HotAir. [rdbrewer]
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