Overnight Open Thread (10-20-2014)
* Note that there's no evidence that Rob Klain ever stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. He did work for Al Gore once though.
Maybe not. Still any period of quarantine is better than none but 21 days shouldn't be taken as gospel either.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year also found that 5 per cent of patients who contracted Ebola in West Africa in the first months of the epidemic had an incubation period longer than the recommended 21 days.
The CDC's website puts the incubation period of the virus at 2-21 days.
Maher then used Affleck's comments as a springboard to launch into a short discussion on self-defense and the rights a private citizen has to defend himself and his property. He said: "In California, anyway, you can shoot an intruder in your home."
Maher then looked at Affleck and said, "I mean, you have guns." To which Affleck responded, "I do." The audience grew quiet for a second and then roused up when Maher said, "So do I, and for that exact reason."Maher added: "I'm not disarming unilaterally."
According Fox News, Pitt told Radio Times "there's a rite of passage where [he] grew up of inheriting your ancestors' weapons." Subsequently, his brother inherited their father's weapons, while Pitt says of himself, "I got my grandfather's shotgun when I was in kindergarten," which was age six.
He said his father "instilled [in him] a profound and deep respect for the weapon."
Two years later, at age eight, Pitt fired his first handgun. He said he does not "feel that his family is safe unless there is a gun in the home."In September 2012, Outdoor Life reported that Pitt gave Angelina Jolie a "$400,000 shooting range as wedding gift."
And I'm guessing that only one of these three would unreservedly support your right to have a gun for self-defense.
It's easy to dismiss Stalin and Hitler as 'madmen' and hence make them more sui generis and therefore ultimately less scary. But in her biography of Stalin Anne Applebaum makes the case that Stalin was in fact a perfectly rational, sane Communist ideologue who was willing to kill millions to keep power and achieve his aims. Pathologizing evil is ultimately just another way to deny its existence.
In the contemporary West, we often assume that perpetrators of mass violence must be insane or irrational, but as Kotkin tells the story, Stalin was neither. And in its way, the idea of Stalin as a rational and extremely intelligent man, bolstered by an ideology sufficiently powerful to justify the deaths of many millions of people, is even more terrifying. It means we might want to take more seriously the pronouncements of the Russian politicians who have lately argued for the use of nuclear weapons against the Baltic states, or of the ISIS leaders who call for the deaths of all Christians and Jews. Just because their language sounds strange to us doesn't mean that they, and those who follow them, don't find it compelling, or that they won't pursue their logic to its ultimate conclusion.
Reconciliation - why that's a term I haven't heard since...well since ObamaCare got passed that way on a pure party-line vote by the Democrats.
Outbreak's killer virus is called Lambada or Macarena or some such, and was discovered in the African jungle in 1967 by two duplicitous US Army officers Donald Sutherland (inevitably) and Morgan Freeman (rather less inevitably, but before his screen persona decayed into that picture-killing Godlier-than-God Godliness). They destroy the camp and cover the whole thing up. Twenty-eight years later, it's back - and this time it's headed for America. An employee at a holding facility gets infected and goes to California, where he infects someone else, and then flies to Boston, where he infects someone else... If that sounds boringly familiar, well, unlike the news bulletins, there's no Tom Frieden character popping up every 20 minutes to reassure you that none of this could ever happen because he's got these all-powerful "Protocols".
Anyway, within hours, this Macarena virus reduces its victims to gibbering wrecks, dripping sweat, splattered with lesions and oozing pustules, begging for a merciful release. But then what Dustin Hoffman performance doesn't have that effect?
Hoffman's always been better suited as a villain or a comic character in an ensemble but during most of his career he's insisted on roles where he plays the heroic, crusading leader who's always fighting the system and never ever wrong - which mostly meant that he came off as a preening asshole.
Mainly on the basis of daily calorie consumption which means the ultimate crew would consist of female
midgets little people whatever the hell they're calling themselves these days. But I'm guessing that an all lady midget crew might have just a few crew dynamics issues during the two year journey to Mars. On the other hand just imagine the epic intra-vessel wrestling matches that this will generate.
Well if you can buy it off the shelf in BevMo, exactly how handmade could it be? And was anyone actually confused by the name?
Just from the title alone I deduce three things:
1. Sniffing school girls is a thing in Japan
2. It's a big enough thing that parlors for it exist
3. It's also apparently illegal
And from the same source: Osaka Cops Bust Dumpers of 200 kg of Porn
FYI 200kg is about 440lbs which is a lot of pr0n even by metric standards.
A 70-year-old company executive and a care nurse, 40, are alleged to have unloaded 17 bags containing 500 AV tapes and magazines (weighing a total of approximately 200 kilograms) into Haginochaya Minami Park - a violation of trash disposal laws.
And if you're familiar with Japanese trash laws, they probably got cited for not properly sorting their recyclables into the 12 different types - each with a different pickup day.
Hmmm I wonder if that would fly here.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by Lily Munster, the early years:
Notice: Posted with the non-verbal, unwritten but California-valid consent of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread fan mail to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise to Ace because sometimes ewoks get lonely too.
Close it up
—Dave In Texas
A very exciting game tonight, the 3-3 Texans take on the 3-3 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ah well. It's a game.
Have a pleasant evening y'all.
She seems nice.
OH! Please also notice Brandon's post calling for Decision Desk volunteers which I just pushed down like a fat kid at recess.
AOSHQDD Needs You
It has been a crazy year at the Decision Desk.
I could talk about our calls and press but screw that. This is a humble request to the tens of thousands of loyal readers: we need you on Election Night.
Lurkers, regulars, miscreants, if you've enjoyed our coverage and want to be part of our drive to provide a fast and reliable call on election night- with the goal of besting the bigwigs who have had a forty-year head start- I implore you to email us.
Training is simple, the task, even simpler. From the moment you sign up, a link pops in place that will guide you through the whole process.
As a volunteer, you will be plopped into a spreadsheet, assigned counties next to your name, with contacts for obtaining results for your assigned counties/municipalities. For some of you, it will be as simple as refreshing an inbox. For others, opening a PDF. For those with great phone plans, contacting frazzled clerks from Bangor to San Diego. Numbers in hand, you input. That's it. You input until all of your precincts have reported.
The genius behind this project is the lack of it: it doesn't take brains to construct a spreadsheet. To hit CTRL-C and CTRL-V. To read up on past returns and early voting trends. It simply takes a mass of dedicated people.
A mass of morons.
PS- if you live in New Hamsphire, we have a special assignment for you. We are still looking for on-the-scene reporters for Rochester, Laconia, Milford, Hampton, and, why not. Dixville Notch.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Votes to Suspend One Of Its Own Members In Bitter, Crazy Pornographic Email Tiff
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice exposed as having sent and received pornographic emails, and who is accused of then trying to coerce a fellow justice, is temporarily barred from "any further judicial or administrative action whatsoever" in the court.
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced the decision Monday night against Justice Seamus McCaffery.
McCaffery will continue to be paid during the suspension, the order says. That could change in the event formal misconduct charges are filed by the state Judicial Conduct Board following a review slated to take 30 days.
"The most recent misconduct of Justice McCaffery — forwarding sexually explicit pornographic emails to employees of the Attorney General's Office (and, in one instance, an email depicting a naked 100-year-old woman as the target of a sexually explicit joke and a video of a woman in sexual congress with a snake that is clearly obscene and may violate the Crimes Code Section on Obscenity) — has caused the Supreme Court to be held up to public ridicule," Castille wrote. "This conduct deserves the immediate action as implemented by this court today."
[Another Justice, Eakin,] on Friday said McCaffery tried to coerce him into taking his side against Castille, saying he "was not going down alone."
I don't know how some dirty emails get trumped up into a reason to suspend a state Supreme Court justice, but if you read the order by the Chief Justice (Castille), you'll see that they've apparently been snapping at each other for years.
On page 5, Castille says that based on his knowledge of psychiatric diagnoses, he feels that McCaffrey's personality type is best described as "sociolpath."
So yeah, it's like that.
I have no idea what the hell's going on here but Castille's order borders on hysterical so I have my doubts about his claims.
McCaffrey's Response... Actually, McCaffrey issued this response based on Castille's latest round of accusations, prior to the issuance of the order of suspension.
Ron Castille's statement yesterday, issued on AOPC letterhead and purporting to represent the position of the entire Supreme Court, was a lie. In fact, members of the Supreme Court did not even know about the statement until they read the publication. And it is only the latest lie in the Chief Justice’s egomaniacal mission to 'get me.' His mission began when he reported me to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over my wife’s legitimate receipt of referral fees, and that didn’t work. He has done everything possible within our Court to undermine me with my colleagues, and that didn’t work. Now, with only two months left in the hourglass of his tenure on our Court, he is trying to finish what he has been trying to do for so many years. He has been on this mission because I had the guts to challenge him on the Family Court fiasco and on what the citizens of Pennsylvania got for the more than $3 million of First Judicial District funds that were funneled to one of his closest friends. And I had the guts to challenge him on his disastrous handling of Pennsylvania's worst judicial scandal and a tragic injustice that will forever be known as the 'Kids for Cash' disaster.
Ron Castille is a Republican, and McCaffery is a Democrat.
Per this article, McCaffrey seems to have engaged in some sleazy string-pulling behavior earlier.
But for Castille, the conduct board's work has been disappointingly slow so far.
Along with McCaffery's sexually explicit e-mail traffic, the board is investigating his role in two other matters.
The first stemmed from a 2012 report Castille commissioned that found McCaffery had met with a top administrator at Philadelphia Traffic Court while his wife and judicial aide, Lise Rapaport, contested a traffic citation inside. She was acquitted.
The second arose from stories last year in The Inquirer raising questions about fees Rapaport received for referring cases to law firms while she worked in her husband's judicial office.
McCaffery has denied any impropriety in either instance, and, in his statement on the porn e-mails last week, blamed Castille for exaggerating the circumstances of both.
"He has done everything possible within our court to undermine me with my colleagues," McCaffery said.
(McCaffery has also sued The Inquirer, saying the articles about the referral fees painted him and his wife in a false light.)
Yeah, It's Not Just About the Dirty Emails: Castille seems to suspect McCaffery of a lot more than crude language.
At the end of last year, in a report Castille commissioned about Philadelphia’s corrupt Traffic Court, McCaffery was accused of using his power in an unseemly and perhaps illegal way: He had driven his wife, Lise Rapaport, to Traffic Court on Spring Garden Street for a hearing on a ticket and, while the hearing took place, summoned a top court administrator out to his car for a conversation. Rapaport was found not guilty.
With Ron Castille’s blessing, the Traffic Court report was given to the Inquirer, which did a series of front-page stories on it. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with Seamus McCaffery, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Then a second matter came up. The Inquirer wrote about fees that Rapaport, a Harvard-trained lawyer, received for referring cases to law firms while she was employed by McCaffery as his chief Supreme Court aide. Eleven of the law firms that paid Rapaport--one referral fee was $821,000--have argued cases before the Supreme Court while McCaffery has been on the bench.
When that story broke, Castille--who was first elected to the court in 1993 and has been chief justice since 2008--told reporters he was worried about "conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety." His opinion wasn’t shocking, but it was an unusual slapdown; chief justices of a Supreme Court almost never publicly rebuke a fellow robesman....
In mid-June, McCaffery’s trouble seemed to grow worse. The Inquirer reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into those referral fees his wife received. Meanwhile, the Legal Intelligencer wrote that McCaffery had contacted a high-level Philadelphia Common Pleas administrator last year about civil cases---and that in two of the cases, a law firm that had paid a referral fee to Lise Rapaport was involved. McCaffery's lawyer says there is no FBI investigation, but Ron Castille told WHYY that he has "no reason to believe the allegations of an FBI investigation against Justice McCaffery are not true." He added, "So I think if I was Justice McCaffery, I’d start rethinking my position on the Supreme Court."
Philadelphia Magazine says the war is partly about the power to supervise all of Pennsylvania's state courts -- power Castille doesn't trust McCaffery with.
Senator Kay Hagan Recommends a Judge for Federal Service; Just Nine Days Later, That Same Judge Ruled in Favor of a Company Partially Owned by Her Husband
Just a week after Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) recommended a North Carolina judge to President Barack Obama for a seat in the U.S. District Court, the judge ruled in favor of a company partially owned by Hagan’s husband.
The case concerned a lawsuit by Hydrodyne against a local water authority. Hydrodyne claimed the water authority unlawfully siphoned water from a source and thus damaged Hydrodyne, which generates hydroelectric power. I guess: Less water, less power.
Superior Court Judge Calvin E. Murphy ruled the case in favor of Hydrodyne, setting the table for the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority to pay millions in damages to companies including Hydrodyne.
Murphy’s ruling was made on Oct. 23, 2009, just nine days after Sen. Hagan sent his name to Obama to be nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina.
Hagan withdrew her recommendation to Obama after North Carolina’s News and Record contacted her office about the apparent conflict of interest, telling the paper that she "was not aware that Judge Murphy was hearing a case in which my husband had an interest."
The water authority is appealing the decision based upon the connections between the Hagans and Judge Murphy.
This isn't the first time the Hagans have been accused of benefiting themselves financially using Senator Hagan's political juice.
Shocker: New York Times Reports That Obama Is Once Again Conspicuously "Seething" Over the Poor Performance of His Government
He's pulled this move so many times before that people shorthand it as the "Limbaugh Theorem." The idea is that Obama's political tactic for his many, many failures is to run against his own government, as if he were an outsider, and external critic, rather than the man who is in charge of each and every bureaucracy.
And now he's doing that with the CDC's response to ebola, Tom McGuire notes.
Here's the New York Times, carrying, get this, Obama's water:
Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obamahas repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response.
Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday. Medical officials were providing information that later turned out to be wrong. Guidance to local health teams was not adequate. It was unclear which Ebola patients belonged in which threat categories.
"It's not tight," a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "He was not satisfied with the response," a senior official said.
MacGuire says he can't even remember all the scandals about which Obama has claimed to be "mad as hell" about.
The Gateway Pundit writes more, and includes a definition of "The Limbaugh Theorem."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Runs Ad Promising That "Common Core Scores" Won't Be Implemented For At Least Five Years
He's up for reelection. He'll say anything.
But this is a remarkable about-face on Common Core.
Among [Cuomo's] education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready."
This isn't a repeal of Common Core. Rather, it's Cuomo struggling to reassure parents that the scores from Common Core won't be used for any purpose, such as deciding which schools to shut down, or which students are deemed "proficient" in subject areas.
There's been some controversy about those scores.
State officials touted increases in scores on tough Common Core exams this year but failed to reveal that they had lowered the number of right answers needed to pass half the exams.
The state Education Department dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in six of the 12 English and math exams given to students in grades 3 to 8, officials acknowledged.
"The reason that occurs is because the tests are slightly harder," Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Wagner told The Post.
Student scores plunged on last year’s statewide 3-8 tests -- the first based on the new Common Core standards. Before the 2013 exams, a panel of 95 educators decided how many points, or correct answers, students had to get to demonstrate proficiency.
But the point cutoffs were tweaked after this year's tests....
Score manipulation has erupted in scandal before. Between 2006 and 2009, the state reduced the number of raw points students needed to pass. Then-state Education Commissioner Richard Mills insisted the questions got harder, justifying the lower passing scores. But experts found the test items got easier, inflating scores hailed by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, among others, as proof of great progress.
More: Of the four candidates running for Governor, only Cuomo supported Common Core (mentioned near the end of the article), at least before he walked back this support.
It also notes that New Yorkers want Common Core suspended -- by 49% to 38%.
Close it up
Wendy Davis: Greg Abbott Won't Answer the Question of Whether He'd Ban Interracial Marriage
Greg Abbott won't say whether he'd defend an interracial marriage ban—troubling but not surprising from someone who defends a "poll tax."— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) October 20, 2014
Given that Abbott is married to a Mexican-American woman, I kinda think he's already weighed in on this important issue.
Obama Super-Fan Tina Brown: This President Makes Women Feel "Unsafe"
"They've got themselves a little better disciplined. But, you know, the fact is that Obama's down with everybody, let's face it, there's a reason,” Brown said. "And I think that particularly for women. I don't think it makes them feel safe. I think they're feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they're feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they're beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who's too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn't put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he's blaming everybody. So there's a slight sense of that."
They're beginning to feel slightly like that?
Via @instapundit, contrast Tina Brown's 2008-era opinion of Obama.
This has been an election full of magic. White Magic that only the black man from everywhere and nowhere could perform. Even his adored grandmother dying on the eve of the victory had a mythic feeling of completion to it in a candidacy full of signs and symbols. Remember the three-point basketball shot when he played with the soldiers in Kuwait? It’s as if Obama is the prince who lifts the curse in a fairy story, a curse that began eight years ago with an election wrenched away from the rightful winner and begetting as a consequence the wrathful visitation of tragedy and wars and hurricanes and economic collapse.
There's more at Ed Driscoll's link. Brown is actually just getting rolling with embarrassing herself there.
Another Super-Fan, the New York Times' Frank Bruni, is also slightly beginning to feel like that.
[O]ne dimension of the disease's toll is clear. It’s ravaging Americans' already tenuous faith in the competence of our government and its bureaucracies.
Before President Obama’s election, we had Iraq, Katrina and the meltdown of banks supposedly under Washington’s watch. Since he came along to tidy things up, we’ve had the staggeringly messy rollout of Obamacare, the damnable negligence of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the baffling somnambulism of the Secret Service.
Ebola is his presidency in a petri dish. It’s an example already of his tendency to talk too loosely at the outset of things, so that his words come back to haunt him. There was the doctor you could keep under his health plan until, well, you couldn't. There was the red line for Syria that he didn’t have to draw and later erased.
With Ebola, he said almost two weeks ago that "we're doing everything that we can" with an "all-hands-on-deck approach." But on Wednesday and Thursday he announced that there were additional hands to be put on deck and that we could and would do more. The shift fit his pattern: not getting worked up in the early stages, rallying in the later ones.
"If you were his parent, you'd want to shake him," said one Democratic strategist, who questioned where Obama's passion was and whether, even this deep into his presidency, he appreciated one of the office's most vital functions: deploying language, bearing, symbols and ceremony to endow Americans with confidence in who's leading them and in how they’re being led.
Right now in this country there's a crisis of confidence, and of competence...
Well, there's not a really a crisis of confidence per se. Bruni seems to acknowledge this, by adding in "and of competence," but it's really just a crisis of competence, and of leadership.
The lack of confidence is not a freestanding crisis. It's a direct and rational response to the lack of leadership and competence.
Tina Brown link via @instapundit, who also talks about New York State's war on online bed-and-breakfasts. The problem: Some people may be dodging the state's regulation and taxation.
The Frank Bruni link is via @hotair, and the very good Quotes of the Day from last night, which are largely about questions about Obama's competency.
More: Last week, Megyn Kelly mentioned a FoxNews poll in which 58% of respondents agreed the country was "going to hell in a handbasket." That was the actual poll question, not Megyn Kelly's paraphrase of it.
Despite the fact that 61 percent expressed some or a lot of confidence in the federal government to be able to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States, there is an air of crisis that has voters concerned. 64 percent told Politico pollsters that "things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now." Only 36 percent expressed some faith in American institutions to be able to meet the myriad economic and national security challenges they face.
When asked who they believe was a better manager of the federal government, George W. Bush or Barack Obama, only 35 percent backed the president. 38 percent said they thought Bush had more control over the reins of government
Maryland Dems Walk Out on Obama Speech, Just Ten Minutes In
From @Benk84's morning newspile, Obama just doesn't seem to have any kind of hold on even his party faithful.
Allah notes that maybe even more stunning than Democrats filing out "by the dozen" during Obama's droning monotone is the fact that liberal outlets, including Politico and Reuters, actually reported it.
Marvel's Civil War Storyline Is Not About Gun Control
Comics and film geeks, this one's for you. Everyone else, meh. As you may know, it appears that the MCU films will attempt to bring Marvel's Civil War storyline to the big screen. This story, published in 2006 and 2007, pitted hero against hero with, most notably for our purposes here, Captain America becoming a libertarian opponent of hero registration and Iron Man championing the pro-registration side of things. The writer of this series describes it as a reaction to the post-9/11 security apparatus, including the Patriot Act.
The news that this story is coming to theaters near you, put one liberal writer in a tizzy. He thinks this storyline is about a "far right paranoid fantasy" and he's worried that he might have to watch it. There are many things wrong with Bouie's piece, but I only have a few minutes to spare this morning, so here are the major problems.
First, Bouie's suggestion that Marvel did something "paranoid," "messy," and "slanted" by treating the Super Human Registration Act as a draft rather than as mere government list-making is ignorant at the outset. The purpose of the Civil War storyline, in addition to clearing up Marvel's back catalog, was to write a compelling story that would set hero against hero in a frantic, no-holds-barred, nation-breaking fight. An, er, Civil War, if you will.
Bouie might as well suggest that it is silly or messy for Magneto to keep inciting the U.S. government to hunt him, since he doesn't want to be hunted. Well, yes, but then there would be no story. Bouie might think it is "paranoid" for the Wolverine to keep acting out of irrational fear that people are out to get him all the time, but, again, then there would be no story. For the Civil War storyline, maybe the SHRA could have been mere list-making and not a draft, but then there would be no story.
Moreover, contra Bouie, treating super registration as a draft is not new to the Civil War storyline or even new to Marvel. Most comics that do super registration stories (which is approximately all of them) treat it as a draft, not mere list-making. That includes X-Men's well-regarded Mutant Registration Act stories, which are viewed by critics and liberal arts students as a thinly-veiled allegory for anti-gay bigotry. DC Comics has this story too, as the Justice League was forced to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee to be unmasked. Alan Moore's DC imprint Watchmen also used the draft version rather than the list-making version in the form of the Keene Act. Even the Harry Potter series used the draft version, with supernatural individuals forced to register and turn out to work for the Ministry of Magic or die.
Second, Bouie's real problem is that, he says, Marvel's Civil War "draft" registration does not work as a gun control allegory. This gun control allegory shtick is entirely Bouie's gloss. Nobody seemed to think the X-Men's MRA was a gun control allegory, nor are gun control schemes often compared with the Ministry of Magic's Muggle-Born Registration Commission because such a comparison is absurd on its face.
Bouie claims that Marvel poorly handled super registration because it gave too much credit to the anti-registration side. But, again, that's Bouie's invented problem. He says the story is supposed to be an allegory for gun control and that, as such, it is unreasonable for the heroes to resist registration since it, like gun control, is reasonable.
In other words, having prescribed an allegory that does not fit the Civil War storyline, Bouie proceeds to dispatch the Civil War storyline for not reasonably describing the allegory. This kind of sophistry is nice work if you can get it.
The issue, then, for Bouie is simply that Marvel set out to engage in story-telling outside of the same old "heroes versus government registration." What if, the Civil War storyline posited, in a rather fresh change, some heroes supported super registration, including a draft? It's compelling. But it's not about gun control, no matter how many words Bouie has been forced to turn out by his liberal magazine.
PS: In regards to Bouie's insistence that registration of people would be reasonable, if only Marvel had written that story, he should review the Supreme Court's decisions in NAACP v. Alabama, which concerned an exercise in government list-making here in our own world that provides a far better allegory to super registration than any gun control yarn he could possibly spin.
Monday Morning News Dump
- Oil Is Cheap, But Not So Cheap That Americans Won't Profit From It
- Senegal Just Eradicated Ebola
- What The President's Drank
- Vegas Prosecutors Used 'Super Seal' To Hide Fortune Seized From Gamblers
- Rove Agonistes
- This Is Why Our First Amendment Is So Important
- Will The Real Government Crony Please Stand Up?
- Portrait Of A Virus
- People Walk Out On Obama
- UKIP Shakes Up The UK Establishment
- Putting The "O" In Ebola
- I Don't Get This Reference
- How John Adams Helps Explain The American Mind
- Nine Real Technologies That May Soon Be Inside Of You
- This Is Exactly What America Needs Right Now
Thanks to Gabe for the Civil Forfeiture story.
Top Headline Comments 10-20-14
Overbroad public accommodation laws strike again. A couple operating a wedding chapel in Idaho have sued to enjoin their city's public accommodation non-discrimination law as applied to their business, which a city ordinance defines as a public accommodation. The city has said it could fine them (and escalate to jail time) if the couple refuses to allow same-sex weddings at the chapel.
At present, 21 states have public accommodations laws that prohibit anti-gay discrimination, in addition to the more typical prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin. Additionally, many cities in states without such broad public accommodations have adopted their own ordinances, which seems to be the case here (Idaho does not cover anti-gay discrimination in its public accommodation law).
In each of those states and cities, folks operating businesses covered by public accommodations laws, which includes pretty much every business not specifically exempted, including wedding chapels, could face the threat of fines or, as in this case, jail time from overzealous city and state attorneys.
Is that legal or constitutional? In the case of wedding chapels, no, it is not. Click there for the explanation, since Eugene Volokh has done the legwork.
Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech on behalf of Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown. And the crowd started leaving early.
This was a bewildering state of affairs--to the press. As our own Lauraw noted, however, these journalists just couldn't figure out how to figure out what was going on:
Hey @jeneps , why are you asking this on twitter? Shouldn't reporters ask the people themselves? You're too afraid to ask, maybe?— laura w (@laurww) October 20, 2014
Lots of people, at least up front near where journalists are sitting, appear to be leaving this rally now that Obama has started speaking.— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) October 19, 2014
We may never know why people started bailing early on the president. I wish there were a group of people whose purpose was to find that sort of thing out and then tell the rest of us about it.
The family of Thomas Eric Duncan will be released from quarantine today. No virus.
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Overnight Open Thread (10-19-2014)
With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would've been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.
Ah RIP Peak Oil - we barely knew ye.
And now we're clearly in stage 2 of Obama's well known crisis management by-running-out-the-clock-while-doing-fuck-all style.
The announcement of Ron Klain as the new Ebola "czar" checks all the boxes: Harvard Law, longtime Democrat party op, veteran of the Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns. The problem is, it checks all the wrong boxes. The Progressive myth is that we ought to have a government of experts - top men! - to handle the nation's problems in a calm, deliberative manner. The reality is that we have a nation of unscrupulous lawyers, amoral apparatchiks and political hacks whose only area of expertise is manipulating the electoral and governmental systems and getting rich by doing so.
So don't worry - the Obama administrator has got Top. Fixers. on the problem so they can move on to stage 3 and 4 faster.
Don't worry - allowing gay marriage will never mean that pastors must perform gay marriages or face prison. Oh wait never mind.
This may explain why none of the Liberians in the US that Duncan had contact with has gotten the disease.
Experts in the US say a study into a past Ebola outbreak found 71% of people who had close contact with a victim and tested positive never fell ill
Another showed 46% who came into close contact and did not get sick had evidence of infection with the Ebola virusTeam at universities of Texas and Florida believe the virus is silently immunising a significant portion of the West African population
Not as wonderful as you might think.
Many of the survivors have lost whole families-spouses and children-and contracted ebola while caring for them. And yet many report being shunned now, as though they were still contagious, even though they are not. No wonder so many have eyes that look so sad. They have lived through a horrific experience, and the pain continues.
Some, however, are working at the hospitals, counseling and supporting other patients who are ill with ebola, and giving them hope that they might live through the experience.
However, the Ebola virus can survive in semen for months after a man recovers from the infection, posing an ongoing threat to sexual partners long after he is well. At a time when a man's bloodstream is swimming with antibodies, and he is immune to the disease, he still may be able to infect others. . . .
For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it's something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren't particularly evil, then maybe I'm not particularly special.
There is another reason why people like to compare their current situation with the catastrophic past, however absurd or demeaning to past sufferings that comparison might be. It gives them license to behave badly within their own little compass. Why should anyone concern himself with my peccadilloes when we are in the midst of a moral catastrophe equivalent to Nazism? To do so is to display moral triviality; it is to fiddle while Rome burns. Therefore, I can behave badly and still think myself a moral man, because I concern myself with the important things, true morality being to have the right opinions about the big questions of the day and not to immerse oneself in the trivia of one's own individual conduct.
There must be as many reasons for the decline in marriage as their are non-married people. A female University of Washington professor thinks the decline in marriage is a good thing because men just aren't very nice people to marry.
In keeping with her attack on men, I'd like pick up on a theme I touched upon years ago, when I first started blogging. Looking at the people I know, the couples I know, and the blogs I've read, I've concluded that liberal and conservative men are very different in their approach to women.Liberal men applaud women in the abstract - calling them equal or superior, bowing before their right to do anything they damn well please, and feeling the need to apologize all the time for being men. Given all this, perhaps it's not surprising that, except for the sex part, liberal men don't seem to like actual women very much. If you constantly have to abase yourself before someone, it's kind of going to kill the fun. Certainly, in my world, the harder Left men are politically, the meaner they are to the real women in their real lives.
So for once I can intelligently comment on a Marginal Revolution article. (I have a Ph.D. in applied plasma physics and fusion energy; I worked on the "conventional" fusion reactor design, the tokamak). Lockheed hasn't released many details of their concept (at least, not enough details that it can actually be evaluated in technical detail), but it looks like it's a combination of a magnetic mirror and a levitated dipole. The magnetic mirror was studied in detail in the 1960s and 1970s and didn't work out (due to [detailed plasma physics reasons]) and the levitated dipole has a fundamental flaw as a power-producing reactor in that the superconducting magnets are inside the neutron shielding - neutrons destroy the magnets.
It's tough as a scientist to be able to comment on things like this, because it's "science by press release", i.e. there's a big media hype but the actual researchers don't release enough technical details to actually evaluate it. One wants to remain cautiously optimistic, but with fusion in particular, we've been down this road many, many times. Thus I predict that the most likely outcome is that as they scale their device up, they'll find that the confinement (a measure of how well the device holds a fusion plasma) unexpectedly drops off due to some different types of turbulence turning on at higher temperatures / higher pressures. and it will quietly go away.I hope that I am proven wrong.
I hope that Lockheed is actually on to something but having watched since 1980 so many grandiose claims made in the field followed by a quiet fizzles a year or three later I'm now firmly in the show-me-and-I'll-believe camp. And the great thing about actual science is that it works whether I believe in it or not.
"Think of us as a blood bank, but for poop," said Smith, who developed OpenBiome when he saw the gap in the medical structure to provide many patients with the life-saving fecal samples. "You shouldn't have to fly across the country to get poop."
Seems like easy money.
Top 10 commenters:
1 [524 comments] 'Ricardo Kill' [73.61 posts/day]
2 [510 comments] 'Vic'
3 [483 comments] 'Insomniac'
4 [437 comments] 'rickb223'
5 [342 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
6 [333 comments] 'Costanza Defense'
7 [330 comments] 'Your friendly Danube River guide'
8 [319 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
9 [306 comments] 'EC'
10 [302 comments] 'Nevergiveup'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [134 names] 'The Political Hat' [18.82 unique names/day]
2 [53 names] 'Adam'
3 [49 names] 'Doctor Fish'
4 [43 names] 'wth'
5 [38 names] 'Do Not Fear, Leg-biter Is Sheathed'
6 [37 names] 'Slow Uncle Joe'
7 [33 names] 'andycanuck'
8 [32 names] 'davidt'
9 [30 names] 'Thin veneer of civility'
10 [30 names] 'Islamic Rage Boy'
The group. Never heard of it.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Groucho's take on Hollywood (from a 1940 Variety):
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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So How About That Bobby Jindal Fella? [Y-not]
Bobby Jindal has been on a tear lately.
A couple of days ago, he ripped Fearless Reader a new one over Ebola:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who has said he's considering making a run for president in 2016, criticized the government's response to the Ebola epidemic at an appearance in New York City on Thursday.
"Time and time again, the CDC and the administration in general have told us things that turned out not to be true," Jindal said. "They first said – the president said it was unlikely the virus was going to get here. It did get here, it turns out it did get here. Then he said it was unlikely it was going to spread and it did spread."
And ICYMI, there's this gem:
Following a TV debate in New London on Thursday, Malloy - down by six percentage points as recently as two weeks ago - told the Observer that he had no misgivings about a visit from the president - to the contrary, in fact. "There's appreciation in Connecticut for his support of the middle class, support of education and housing, and acknowledgement that we implemented Obamacare better than any other state. All of those things I've done with help from Washington - and I'm happy to share that message with the president."
Still, the president's travel docket includes visits to just five gubernatorial races - contests considered less sensitive to national political mood-swings - and only a single appearance, in Michigan, at a Senate or congressional race.
"Whether the president of the United States comes here or not is not going to make a lot of difference," considers Foley. "People are going to vote on Malloy's record."
A defeat for Malloy next month in this typically blue northeastern state would set a frightening precedent for Democrats in 2016. But shifting demographics suggest they stand a chance of winning in the so-called "new coalition" of typically Republican states in the south-east. Conversely, if Republicans can't win in blue states now, with low voter turnout typical of midterm elections, when will they?
No surprise, then, that the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, are beating a path to Connecticut. So too are members of the Republican leadership, including governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Chris Christie of New Jersey.
Let's commit ourselves to giving Obama and the Democrats a very very bad no good November 5th.
Open thread until the ONT or something better comes along.
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Sunday Evening Open Thread: Happiest Years of Our Lives [Y-not]
How about a change of pace from the 24/7 cycle of lousy news?
According to a study by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics that was reported last year, most of us can expect to experience two periods of peak happiness in our lives, at age 23 and age 69:
What goes up must come down: after our early twenties, happiness declines on the way to our mid-fifties; then, after cycling back up through our late sixties, it falls again once we reach 75. If you're having a midlife crisis -- brooding over life choices and unfulfilled ambitions -- buck up, better days are coming: the turnaround point is 55, according to the study, at which point happiness starts climbing once more (though that second harder turnaround after 75 sounds a little ominous).
Their findings were based on a survey of over 23,000 people.
70% of respondents over the age of 40 claimed they were not truly happy until they reached 33.
"The age of 33 is enough time to have shaken off childhood naivete and the wild scheming of teenaged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth," psychologist Donna Dawson said in the survey's findings. "By this age innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a 'can do' spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities."
Conversely, only 16% of the survey's respondents pined for their childhood, while 6% said they were happiest while in college.
I'm generally a pretty happy person, although I admit it's been less true in recent years. (Take a guess why.) Looking back, I think my happiest years were when I was 25 and later on when I was around 35.
At aged 25 I had been married a couple of years and was pursuing graduate research. Although we were still pretty broke, we had moved from a gawdawful, tiny furnished apartment to a bigger one (still small, but it seemed palatial at the time) and we finally had a little bit of spending money to enjoy living in Chicago.
At aged 35 I was living in Houston, which both my husband and I loved, and my research career had really taken off. Everything seemed possible then.
When were the happiest times of your lives? What made them happy times?
To close things up, here's James Brown (song starts at the 58 second mark):
Close it up
Gaming Thread 10/19/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Sorry for the delay in posting this, with the League of Legends World Championship (which continued the tradition of being extremely boring) this morning and the Packer game, I just didn't get it done in time
Next weekend in the annual 24 hour gaming marathon for Extra Life, a drive to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network
Starts Saturday morning at 8 AM and runs till Sunday (though for the most part everyone starts on Friday and goes till late Sunday night). It's always fun to watch the streams and donate. it's a fun to be had for all.
The Site is here if you want to read up on them
• Launch trailer for the upcoming Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
Been playing some games that me and my friends have either stopped playing or forgot about.
We've had a lull in Tichu money games for almost all of 2014 but me and my friends have gotten back into the swing of nickle point hands. My skills are still elite but my partners have been failing me :D making me about even on my wins and losses.
Fight The Landlord aka Dou Dizhu, a game we learned a few years ago but kinda forgot about has gotten some play. Wish we would have kept playing when we learned it as it's been a breath of fresh air in wasting time playing cards.
Friend has been trying to get his daughter ready for some real boardgames which has lead to some games of Zooloretto which I haven't played in about 5 years with my nieces. Still not the first game I would play but I've forgotten the in the how fun but simple the whole thing is.
Also picked up Tokaido on a whim at Barnes & Nobel. Other than learning it, I really haven't gotten to play it. It seems pretty simple and laid back. I'm curious about the expansion for it though.
Civilization: Beyond Earth (PC) - Hey Sid, you got some Alpha Centauri in your Civilization series. After IV, this this very much needed. Sure, Revolution and V was okay to try to build the base is making it easier but this series has been pretty stagnate since they blew it out with IV and it's expansions. I hope this is good.
Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) - On one hand, Sega had cancelled this Platinum game and Nintendo decided to fund it themselves and it comes with the first game. On the other, Wii U isn't the console for this genre so at least the check cleared for Platinum. The reviews have been outstanding for it so it should be interesting in seeing how well this sells.
Dreamfall Chapters (PC) - After 8 years since the release of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Funcom is back to make the third entry in this point & click adventure series. It's episodic, the thing releasing this week is prologue, chapters 1 & 2 and a interlude. The rest is out sometime next year. Should be interesting. Am surprised they haven't included the first two games as a pre-order bonus to get people back up to speed but what ever. I'm very much looking forward to this.
Legend of Korra (PC, PS4, PS3, XBO, 360) - Platinum, a studio who can't sell a game to save their lives making a budget game based on a Avatar spinoff that couldn't save itself from cancellation (which sucks as the show was good). Considering this is being released right after the last episode, I hope this is a good swan song for the series.
Fantasia: Music Evolved (XBO, 360) - Harmonix was given the Fantasia IP to do what they do with it. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the modern music but the demo was a lot of fun. They really captured the feeling of being a symphony conductor with the Kinect. Just be warned though, you will end up having to calibrate it before you play. As much as I liked my time with it though, I dunno if I found it to be worth the full $60 plus DLC.
Fantasy Life (3DS) - Level 5's totally not a Rune Factory clone is finally making it's way to the west. It suffers from a case of reviews in Japan being good but it's failed to capture western reviewers' attention. It looks cool. Would have like a bit more Dark Cloud showing through but it does look okay.
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Food Thread: Don't Get Your Guests Sick Edition [CBD]
Ah....the joys of gastrointestinal disturbances. Everybody has had the unfortunate and distressing experience of food-borne illness. Most of them resolve in several hours, and they are rarely life threatening, although they do seem existentially awful.
Luckily our food production and logistics systems are extremely good at minimizing the risk of food poisoning from commercially produced food, although the hysterical over-reporting of the occasional large outbreaks might make it seem as if we are living in some third-world backwater with no clean water and fields fertilized with human waste.
Are there gaps in the system? Of course. The most famous; E. coli O157:H7, a nasty little bugger, is common in feedlot cattle, which is a good reason to avoid commercial hamburger. The big producers grind meat from everywhere, and one infected cow or less than perfect slaughterhouse technique can taint a huge batch. So grind your own or buy from a store that grinds their hamburger on-site, and you can limit your exposure.
The Salmonella contamination rate in American chicken ranges North of 30%, so it's a fair assumption that those chicken breasts in your refrigerator are best not eaten as Chicken Tartare.
Warm water oysters (The Gulf of Mexico) are susceptible to contamination with Vibrio, which causes some nasty symptoms, and can be fatal in certain people. But that won't prevent me from having a dozen or so if I am in New Orleans!
There are other examples, but much of the food poisoning in this country comes not from the raw ingredients, but from poor handling during cooking. That perfect protocol for preventing illness that the corporate food scientists have worked on and perfected is all for naught when the knuckle-dragging, booger-eating moron in the kitchen doesn't wash his hands after performing his morning ablutions, in spite of the hours of training and constant reminders and the large sign over the toilet and sink in the employees bathroom.
One of the issues with sanitation is that there are bacteria that produce toxins that are not destroyed by cooking. Staphylococcus aureus is ubiquitous (on the skin and in the respiratory tract) in humans, and produces an enterotoxin that will make you very unhappy for several hours.
In reality, the best way to prevent food poisoning is to engage that rarest of attributes....common sense. We are approaching the holiday season, during which people step out of their usual patterns and can inadvertently cause some really, really nasty family disturbances...like getting the third cousins from Des Moines desperately ill with Campylobacter, or if you are really lucky, Salmonella from that heritage turkey you bought!
Hot soapy water is your friend!
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Segregate raw foods from cooked foods.
Never mix utensils and cutting surfaces, especially when you are prepping the ingredients.
Cover foods to prevent contamination.
That's obviously not a comprehensive list, but there are lots of resources available, although with the current state of our government's health apparatus, I hesitate to suggest any official web site.
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I have been planning what to make. And as usual, I return to my favorite, thoroughly standard recipe for stuffing. This year however, I will take the leftover stuffing and put it in a waffle iron for kicks. Stuffing waffles with once-over eggs cannot be a bad thing.
2 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage (The stuff with fennel) casings removed
2 cups Yellow Onions, rough chopped
2 stalks of Celery, rough chopped
1/3 cup Chopped Parsley
Chopped Sage to taste (about 1-2 tablespoons)
Cornbread, and lots of it (probably 2 pounds of the stuff) Buy it or bake it; I don't care. Then break it up into chunks and toast it.
1-2 cups Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Break up the sausage into nice chunks and brown it in a bit of oil.
Once the sausage is nicely browned, add the celery and onions and saute until they get a bit of color.
Dump into your biggest bowl and correct the seasoning, add the sage and parsley and mix a bit.
Then add as much cornbread as you feel like. My guess is that a 1:1 ratio of cornbread to everything else will work well.
Mix it gently and then moisten the mixture with the chicken stock until it is looks appetizing, but not dripping wet and disgusting looking.
Spoon into greased baking dishes, cover with foil and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
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Gun Thread: 10-19-2014 [WeirdDave]
WeirdDave pointed this Gun Thread at me and
requested demanded I format it and post it for him.
I tried peeing on myself to make this scary Gun Thread go away, but that didn't work!
Neither did "sheltering in place" until the Gun Thread lost interest and wandered off.
So here it is...
Gun of the Week
Defensive Gun Use of the Week
Democratic State Lawmaker Opens Fire on Suspected Armed Robbers in the Streets of Harrisburg
The linked article notes that in this incident, nobody was shot, and these types of situations don't get reported as a "defensive gun use." They do tend to get reported if the victim is not armed, however they are usually reported under a different category: murder.
This is just awesome on so many levels. Video of a man playing The Star Spangled Banner with a Ruger 10/22. The video was uploaded by a company, musicaltargets.com, that manufactures these steel targets, designed to produce different notes when struck by a bullet. They claim 22LR is the optimum round to use. I'm thinking that they should branch out into other calibers, who knows, in the future we could teach our kids musical arts and gun arts at the same time. Stand the student in front of a set of these targets with their concealed carry weapon, then call out a piece of music. "Ode to joy! Fire!" "Jimmy Cracked Corn, Fire!" It could make for some interesting police reports. "Well officer, he drew his gun on me and I got him with Happy Birthday."
Gunhinged - NYT Version
Tighter restrictions on firearms. More than 30,000 Americans die from gunshots every year. Anyone looking for an epidemic to freak out about can find one right there.
That is, of course, a Mauser c96. The one pictured is one of the famous "Red Nine" editions, produced during WWI to use the 9mm parabellum round that the German army preferred instead of the original 7.63x25mm Mauser. This is the famous "broomhandle" pistol, so named because of the shape of the grip.
Fighting the Good Fight
The Law of Self Defense, as always a must read for gun owners.
Tweet me @weirddave0.
Today's gun thread brought to you by hunting dogs:
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Sunday Football Thread
—Dave In Texas
You know what to do.
Weekend Open Thread: Amazing Animal Anecdotes [Y-not]
I need a break from DOOM. How about you? We have a lot of animal lovers in the Moron Horde, so here's a thread about amazing animals and how they communicate with us.
Do you guys know about "Alex" the African Grey Parrot?
He was also able to correctly identify a silver key when I presented it to him. It was one of those 'I think he's got it; by George, he's got it' moments.
But why, I wondered, had Alex’s pronunciation so dramatically improved from one day to the next?
The answer became clear when I left a tape running overnight, and found that -- like small children -- he happily babbled to himself, often practising a newly acquired word.
Within a few more weeks, he was learning colours and could correctly identify a red key as being a key -- even though I'd shown him only a silver key up till then.
In other words, he knew that a key was a key, whatever its colour. This kind of vocal cognitive ability had never before been demonstrated in non-human animals -- not even in chimps. It was a very, very good start.
Alex died in 2007, but Irene Pepperberg published a book about Alex last year. I remember being fascinated by her work when I saw it described in a nature documentary. One of the things that seemed to elevate what Alex did with language beyond just mimickry was his ability to form new concepts by putting words together. I recall them showing how Alex, who was normally given dried corn as a treat, was presented with a cob of fresh corn straight out of the refrigerator. As he was happily trying this new treat, he described it using a new phrase, "cold corn." As I recall, in the future he used "cold corn" to describe and request fresh corn treats. He was also able to apply the concept of color to his description of items.
While I was at Purdue, I had a chance to have dinner with Dr. Pepperberg during a campus visit she made. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Alex.
Here's a thing you might not know, it turns out black-capped chickadees are good animal models for studying language. I had an animal behaviorist colleague who studied bird language and other behaviors, as well as their physiology. Unlike studies of parrots (or even the sign language studies using apes like Washoe), that tend to be accused to be about training rather than about true language*, studies of chickadees involve their normal communications. And these studies suggest that they have a rather sophisticated type of language:
The gargle call, a vocalization used in agonistic encounters by black-capped chickadees, Poecile atricapillus, was examined for evidence of geographical variation along a corridor of continuous riparian habitat in northern Colorado. [snip] Examination of individual repertoires showed that chickadees shared a higher proportion of gargle types with birds from their own sites compared with birds from either of the two other sites. Thus, gargle dialects occurred among these chickadee populations despite the absence of geographical barriers to blending of vocal traditions. As the birds studied were obtained from sites along an uninterrupted dispersal corridor, the results of this study suggest that behavioural mechanisms are responsible for maintenance of dialects in this aggressive call.
The upshot of this and related work, overly-simplified by me, is that chickadees develop "dialects" within cooperative groups. Because chickadees are so small and have such high metabolisms, they are very sensitive to food availability. In the winter, when food is scarce, they form cooperative groups for survival. Part of that group formation involves developing their own dialect of chickadee language. As I recall, my colleague said that if you introduced a chickadee from outside the group, the birds were unable to communicate. I think he said that these groups and dialects broke down during the spring and were taken up again in the winter. Cool stuff.
By that point, I was well on the path to molecules and atoms, but had I stayed in science I would have loved to have done a sabbatical in his lab. His research made for much better dinner party conversation than mine did! It was always a treat to be out where birds were singing, because he invariably had interesting things to relate about the birds' songs. Sometimes I'd ask him about some bird calls I'd heard and he'd usually wind up saying something like, "Yes, that was a grackle. They have interesting vocalizations."
I don't have parrots (well, for a few years we had a pair of zebra finches, Pete and Re-Pete... they eventually had two babies, Ditto and Ibid), but like most pet owners, I think my dogs and cats can understand me. My older collie seems to have a fairly large vocabulary when it comes to objects and is able to distinguish the names of specific toys she has. She's also extremely tuned in to our moods and activities based on what seem like pretty subtle cues to me. (My other collie seems to be brighter in terms of tricks she can do, but less attuned to our speech.)
I also had a Siamese cat, our first pet as a married couple, who was able to recognize pictures of Siamese cats and respond to them. She was an "only cat" and had not interacted with other cats for a couple of years, but she would go Witch Cat on us if she was shown a picture of a blue-eyed cat (even if it was a drawing of one and not just a photograph). Funny as hell.
I love nature and animals of all types, but there is something extra special about animals that appear to communicate with humans.
True confession time. This movie actually made me sob uncontrollably:
Yes, I'm as soft as a grape.
In any event, it's pretty clear from the success of the Doctor Doolittle story that this desire to communicate with animals outside our species is a pretty common one. I wonder why. And I hope that today's "texting generation" has retained that passion to understand individuals beyond their smart phone screens.
Do you have any amazing animal stories to share?
*It turns out that there is some evidence that parrots use mimickry in nature. Here's an article that discusses how they use this ability in the wild.
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-19-2014: Doom and Gloom [OregonMuse]
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. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus.
I had last week's book thread up on my work computer last week, the one with the photo of the 3 ugly cavemen, and one of the managers happened to walk by and see it, and remarked, "Oh, I didn't know Grand Funk Railroad was doing a reunion tour."
Deriding Dreary Dystopias of Dreck
Author/editor Kathryn Cramer over at the HuffPo wants you to know that she's had it with dystopian sci-fi:
As our world became more complicated and our shiny futuristic infrastructure began to age and fail, dystopias emerged as a subgenre of science fiction...In 2011, following the Fukushima disaster, Neal Stephenson came to the realization that much of our crucial infrastructure is aging, and we are dependent upon infrastructure built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. He wrote about this in an essay called Innovation Starvation. He gave a speech on this subject at GoogleX conference. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University challenged him, saying that we had stopped getting big stuff done because science fiction writers like Stephenson had stopped envisioning it.
Well, that's certainly an interesting perspective, but I doubt that it's true. I think the real reason we're no longer getting "big stuff" done is that it just costs too damn much. Combine this with the fact that, most, if not all, of the governments of the world are run by idiots who have absolutely no clue how wealth is created, and who are only interested in taking it from people they don't like and giving it to those they do, and you get a sure-fire recipe for a bleak dystopian future full of poverty, want, and hard times.
One of the purposes of this article is for Ms. Cramer to promote her own, recently published anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, which is fine. It's a compendium of "techno-optimistic" stories by writers such as Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson. But this revolt against the smothering, ubiquitous presence of dystopian-themed fiction is being introduced as if it's some Big New Thing.
However, if Ms. Cramer was familiar with the indie sci-fi writers, or even had been reading the stately and prestigious AoSHQ book thread, she would have known that we had this covered a year ago. 'Human Wave' science fiction has been around for awhile. In fact, Sarah Hoyt wrote her HW manifesto back in 2012. I kind of like her guidelines for writing. For example:
5 -- You shall not commit grey goo. Grey goo, in which characters of indeterminate moral status move in a landscape of indeterminate importance towards goals that will leave no one better or worse off is not entertaining...
6 -- Unless absolutely necessary you will have a positive feeling to your story. By this we don't mean it will have a happy ending or that we expect pollyanish sentiments out of you. Your novel and setting can be as dystopic as you want it. In fact, your character can die at the end. Just make sure he goes down fighting and dies for something, so the reader doesn't feel cheated.
There are more human wave authors listed at this old post at Sabrina Chase's blog, with the caveat that the prices she quotes no longer apply.
And while I was on the HuffPo site, I came across this piece on some forgotten words from Webster's original 1828 dictionary, and I amused myself by imagining the insults a modern-day politician could create using them. For example, under babblement (babblement means, as you might guess, 'senseless prattle'), we learn that that another word for gossip or chatter is twattle. That's the first word. Combine this with sheep-bite, which means 'to practice petty thefts' and you have this: "my opponent is a twattling sheep-biter", and is that a great insult, or what? It has an almost Shakespearean flavor to it, I think.
Another word on the list is obambulate, which means 'to walk about', and considering how close the first part of this word is to the president's name, you'd think the author would either (a) make a joke, or (b) at least give some indication that such jokes could be made. But being that this is the HuffPo, you know this isn't going to happen. HuffPo writers are a bunch of tardigradous, daggle-tailed mafflers, every one of them.
Not to mention fopdoodles and rakeshames. Or, in modern language, MSNBC.
More Book Covers
Last week I linked to a bunch of really crappy book covers. But this week, I hope to do you a better turn by linking to some better ones, namely, 30 Beautiful Vintage Dust Jackets. Just scroll down past the 'Find vintage books with beautiful dust jackets' search form on that page. Most of them appear to be from the 1930s to the 60s.
Thanks to Mike Hammer for the link.
Google Announces New Products
Google has announced a bevy of new products today, including a new phone. The most compelling new device is a tablet, dubbed the Nexus 9. It is made by HTC and the hardware will seriously give the Apple iPad Air a run for its money.
The Google Nexus 9 features a 8.9-inch display with IPS LCD technology, an 8-megapixel camera at its back, a 1.6-megapixel camera up front, and an NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz (64-bit) processor under the hood. There is a staggering 2 GB of RAM, which destroys the iPad Air which only has 1 GB. Great sound is provided by the HTC BoomSound speakers, which is the same audio featured in the HTC One M8 and HTC One M7.
That's an impressive amount of horsepower for a tablet. Not that I'm complaining. I really like my Nexus 7, so the 9 may be worth looking at as a future upgrade, perhaps when the price comes down a bit.
If you're ever in New York City and want to visit some of the local independent bookstores, here is a slideshow presentation of the 10 best. I'm not sure what criteria was used to determine that these particular bookstores are the best, other than the opinion of whoever it was who compiled the list.
But the photos are nice, regardless.
The Advent of Our Lord and Saviour
This one's a real hoot. In a thread from a couple of weeks ago, moron commenter D-Lamp brought The Gospel According to Apostle Barack: In Search of a More Perfect Political Union as "Heaven Here on Earth" to my attention.
Hear ye and know ye that this is no ordinary book. It is, as its author informs us, divinely inspired:
[A]s I began to contemplate ways to assist Barack in his 2012 re-election bid something miraculous happened. I felt God's (His) Spirit beckoning me in my dreams at night. Listening, cautiously, I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society, Martin (Luther King) walked the earth to create a more justified society, but, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor. Apostle Barack, the next young leader with a new cause, had been taken to the mountaintop and allowed to see over the other side. He had the answers to unlock the kingdom of "heaven here on earth" for his followers. The answers were repeated - over and over - in speeches Barack had made from his presidential announcement to his inaugural address. Those speeches or his teachings contained the answers to the middle class and working poor people living in a "heaven here on earth." For when the answers were unlocked and enacted, Apostle Barack’s vision of America would be realized.
You might well ask, what sort of person would write such a book?
Barbara A. Thompson is a native of Tallahassee, Florida, with graduate degrees from Florida A&M University and Florida State University. She has been teaching for more than twenty-five years at the university level with experience in the areas of health, physical education and sport management. She is a professor at Florida A&M University...
Naturally. Only a peer-reviewed academic could be responsible for producing this mind-bogglingly stupid hagiography. Next time one of your liberal relatives or facebook friends tries to tag you with the "conservatives are dumb" line, just show them this. It should shut them right the hell up.
I've never seen a book on Amazon with 100% one-star ratings. The three "5-star" ones? They're actually joke reviews.
Once you get tired of laughing at that, I would recommend Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything by Frank J. Fleming. I especially like the review written by the guy who first bought it and then realized, "But this is satire!"
Books By Morons
Heh. Heard from a moron this week who identifies himself like this:
Hello,as a long time heckler under a thousand different names, none of which are Hector or Average Joe...
Not sure which one of you he is, but he wants us all to know that he has just published two novels. The first is Wolf Hunters : Origins. It's about
...settling a frontier with the premise that even with advanced technology, you can't carry with you all the modern, magical stuff. You are (at first) limited to hand tools, and primitive construction. Eventually the heroine makes a discovery that changes everything and wars start.
It's mostly about human behavior, mostly about characters. There are no dragons, vampires, or magical spells cast by wizards. It's about wilderness survival, about being hunted, about military tactics, about small unit tactics, and survival.
Wolf Hunter is 869 pages long, so you'll be in for a good, long read.
He's has also written a sequel, Wolf Hunters : Transitions. I don't know anything about him, but I like his Amazon bio:
Retired, after a lifetime of menial labor, the last fifteen years in an eighteen wheeler. Five of those years in a forty two wheeler.
Started reading Science Fiction in the sixth grade, a book by Andre Norton "The Stars are Ours". It changed my life. My parents bought me Zane Grey's westerns, all of them, and World Book Encyclopedia which I read as though they were novels.
I have trouble finding Science Fiction that I want to read, so I'm writing my own.
Sounds like a Real MoronTM. He also asks:
As a newly self published, never before published author, reader feedback would be appreciated. Thanks,
How many of you are familiar with the Lone Ranger's backstory? I wasn't, until I read the wiki entry:
The Lone Ranger was named so because the character is the only survivor of a group of six Texas Rangers, rather than because he works alone (as he is usually accompanied by Tonto)...A posse of six members of the Texas Ranger Division pursuing a band of outlaws led by Bartholomew "Butch" Cavendish is betrayed by a civilian guide named Collins and is ambushed in a canyon named Bryant's Gap. Later, an Indian named Tonto stumbles onto the scene and discovers one ranger is barely alive, and he nurses the man back to health. In some versions, Tonto recognizes the lone survivor as the man who saved his life when they both were children...Among the Rangers killed was the survivor's older brother, Daniel Reid, who was a captain in the Texas Rangers and the leader of the ambushed group.
And now moronette Sgt. Mom has just published her own take on this and other events in the life of this legendary hero in her new book, Lone Star Sons: Being The Entertaining and Mostly If not Always True Adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his Blood Brother Delaware Scout Toby Shaw in the Time of the Republic of Texas, which has just been released on Kindle for your reading pleasure at the low, low price of $2.99. I was fortunate enough to be one of the alpha readers for this book, and the stories were a delight to read. This book is actually intended for a YA audience, but don't let that deter you, fans of Sgt. Mom and of the Old West in general should thoroughly enjoy it.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: 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 you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
A short, fascinating clip about the discovery of the Ebola virus:
Rarely seen footage shows how scientists first discovered Ebola in 1976: http://t.co/xYA7Bm3oBH— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 19, 2014
Alas, that ain't nothing! Check this out:
Funny. He still manages to look somewhat normal. What I find most endearing is, of course, his staged and indignant laughter.
This dude votes. And, the sidebar at You Tube is filled with this nonsense.
Although he doesn't do it here, folks such as he will argue that there's no such thing as God or Satan while simultaneously holding the belief that humans are capable of inflicting such horror upon other humans.
But wait! He uses the word "pray" towards the end of the vid.
Yep. He's just as normal as you and me.
Oh hell, let's go for broke! These people are truly insane.
Have a good day, folks.
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Overnight Open Thread (18 Oct 2014)
The President teases what is to come after the midterms. Laws are for little people. Obama quietly begins unilateral immigration reform by inviting in 100,000 Haitians to be your new neighbors.
The U.S. and Europe have paid a high price for six years of stimulus that didn't stimulate, programmed consumption that fell short, regulatory expansion that froze private producers, and high tax-rate regimes that benefited the public-spending class and beggared everyone else, especially young people and the working poor scrambling for jobs.
No one should underestimate the political dangers of persisting with a Keynesian economic model that looks depleted.
Hopefully the young people and the working poor most hurt by these policies wise up by 2016. They'll have no one else to blame but themselves.
Top image part of the well rounded cat meme.
Is Your Name Liberal Or Conservative
Whew! I scored a 4.8C out of 10 on the conservative side using a new tool that compares your first name to lists of donors to political campaigns. However, when I use my full first name instead of the abbreviated version, it drops to a 2.2C.
I'm down with any plan that keeps the Warthog flying. I'd even like to see the Marines get them and base them near straits for Counter FIAC applications.
We could probably save the A-10 if we tie it to the Pentagon's recent assessment that global warming is an immediate risk to national security. I think I can safely say the A-10 can reduce carbon emissions from ISIS.
Well hell. I think I'm ok with models visiting my base. Sure beats the UACs that we have. Insane.
5th Order Rainbow
That rainbow guy has to be apoplectic that they've found a 5th order rainbow.
The Age Of Brotox
Count me out. I'm a naturalist. Plus the shit costs a lot I'm sure. The age of brotox: male cosmetic procedures.
The number of men seeking Botox has increased 310 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and a similar boom is happening with other noninvasive procedures like filler and laser treatments. These days you can even erase your paunch by freezing away fat cells. Combine the availability of easy outpatient treatments with wider cultural acceptance and an increased emphasis on the value of youth in the workforce and what you've got is the makings of a mini-revolution.
Obviously, there are some creatures that just need to hit the extinction path. I think the South American Goliath birdeater spider is just such one. A very large one at that.
Their leg span reaches nearly a foot, and they weigh more than a third of a pound. That's the size of a young puppy.
They also come equipped with hardened tips and claws on their feet. Those tips and claws make noise when the Goliath walks, something "not unlike a horse's hooves hitting the ground," according to Naskrecki.
It is the only spider in the world that makes noise when it walks. It can also produce a loud hissing sound. It wants you to know it is coming for you.
Lest you think the horror show is over, you should know the Goliath packs heat. Naskrecki was hit with the spider's urticating hairs. Those are barbed bristles that cover the Goliath's abdomen, bristles that it can throw at potential attackers. Naskrecki was hit in the face and eyes, and he says they caused him itching and discomfort for days after.
Good thing we have a strong southern border right?
Tonight's ONT brought to you by: Adorably vicious animal attacks.
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How A President Should Behave [CBD]
This is independent of his politics, which may be awful beyond compare (Wilson, Johnson, Carter, Obama) or marvelous in the main* (Washington, Coolidge, Reagan), or a mixture (almost all of them).
But there must be a visceral, heartfelt connection to this country and what makes it great. And that connection seems best exposed by the way the president treats the armed forces......
*Notice that Lincoln is missing. In an abundance of caution, I left him off the "great" list lest the Southerners among us become inflamed.
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Weekend Open Thread: Best Music Era [Y-not]
*Reposted because of enstompening.*
So I was poking around on You Tube and stumbled onto a real gem of a movie: "Rhythm and Blues Revue."
I'm going to put the link to the full movie below the fold...
OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION!
If you like, you can skip ahead to catch some of my favorite numbers: Lionel Hampton at 05:05, Cab Calloway at 1:02:40 and Count Basie at 1:08:15.
Although I love jazz, blues, and big band, I'd never seen this movie before. Wow! The talent packed into this movie, which is really just a film of a stage performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, is amazing.
I submit to you, THIS is American music at its finest.* Although this movie was made in 1955, the music it features is most closely identified with the '30s and '40s.
Was there a better era in American music? Or music generally? I don't think so.
What's your favorite era in music?
*Being a product of the 80s, I'd probably put the "New Wave," punk, and ska music from that decade in second.
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Senator Mark Udall Crashes and Burns in Local TV Interview
I'm not quite sure what's going on with Udall here. He seems pretty distracted and out of it.
At one point, he was asked if Common Core was good or bad for Colorado students and he replied "yes".
Towards the middle of the interview, he was asked to name the three most influencial books in his life. He stumbled through one, asked for a do-over, then called himself braindead.
Overall, a pretty disastrous appearance.
Related: Check out Matthew Continetti's latest over at Free Beacon, "The Macaca Democrats".
Fundamental Concepts: The Tragedy of the Commons [WeirdDave]
This one is not going to be very long, because it's an easy one. Tragedy of the Commons is the name given to a theory that if a group of people share a resource, it will eventually be plundered and rendered useless. Overfishing of the Grand Banks is a commonly cited example. Selfish people will overuse the resource, ruining it for everybody. This concept is the basis for a good deal of leftist political thought, it is the reason that they want to put government in charge of everything. They are right, up to a point, but as usual they miss the mark completely in an attempt to bring everything under the thumb of government.
Let's start with an example:
Suppose there is a herd of buffalo. Nobody owns it, it's just there. The people of the nearby town go out and shoot buffalo when they need or want one. Some people shoot two or three of the animals because they want to stock up, some people shoot the buffalo and just take a favorite part, leaving the rest to rot, some people just shoot them for fun. Pretty soon that herd is gone and the people have no more buffalo and they start to starve.
The statist sees this and his solution is to create a governmental agency to manage the buffalo herd. Hunting licenses are required, and the Buffalo agency issues bag limits. Pretty soon the Buffalo Agency takes some land to keep it's buffalo on. One year a PETA drone is elected head of the agency and no permits are issued, so the herd grows uncontrolled. That won't do, so a biologist is brought in to manage buffalo breeding. Wolves show up to feed on the weak and young of the herd, so now the Buffalo Agency hires some of the hunters that it won't let shoot the buffalo to shoot the wolves. The people are starting to starve again, so the Buffalo Agency starts a program to humanely butcher selected older buffalo and sells the meat. They then start a Buffalo Cultural Festival to celebrate all things buffalo related (and to toot their own horn), and so on. The Buffalo Agency, which was established simply to keep the buffalo from being hunted to extinction, now employs half the town. The buffalo? Well, they're still there, but now they're almost an afterthought.
A conservative looks at this situation and immediately spots the flaw in the statist's logic. He knows that a basic tendency of any governmental agency is to first protect it's authority, and then to expand it. Contrary to the simple logic of the left, the Buffalo Agency's fundamental focus isn't the efficient use of the buffalo (although that's the excuse), it is the efficient use of it's own POWER. The buffalo are being managed, but not efficiently, and the Buffalo Agency is now spending more of it's time and money on things that have nothing to do with the herd at all. (Let's be topical. Change "Buffalo Agency" to "CDC", "buffalo" to "control disease" and all the rest to "rabbit massage", "gun control" and "studying fat lesbians". Hmmmmm.)
No, a conservative looks at the problem of unhindered buffalo slaughter and knows that the correct solution is to privatize the buffalo herd. If ownership of the herd is given to the hunters themselves, they now have two opposing incentives which balance each other out. Their first incentive is to hunt the buffalo and sell the meat. They do this to keep the town fed, and to make a living themselves. Countering that incentive, they also must manage the herd efficiently so that it remains viable so that they can keep on feeding the town and supporting themselves. They may do some, or even all, of the things that the Buffalo Agency did in the first example, but they will only be able to do them through voluntary transactions, and they won't have the ability to enter into any of these transactions unless they are effectively and efficiently performing their two primary duties-maintaining the herd and harvesting it in a smart manner. The Buffalo Agency uses it's authority to take land, the Hunters Co-Op has to turn enough profit to buy land. The Co-OP won't have to hire hunters to kill wolves, paying them with tax revenue, they'll do it themselves. They may establish a Buffalo Festival, but again, only if they can afford to pay for it. And so on.
The Tragedy of the Commons is the basis for a good bit of Marxist economic theory, but as we have seen, it is utterly flawed when applied to human beings (as is the rest of Marxist economic theory). The Tragedy of the Commons is just another fallacy.
Here endeth the lesson.
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Saturday Gardening Thread: TIMBER! [Y-not and WeirdDave]
Greetings gardeners! Welcome to you Saturday Gardening Thread. This week's thread is brought to you by the aspen:
Follow this link for a 3D interactive display of autumn aspens in Alta, Utah.
Take it away, WeirdDave:
So, everything seems to be done for the year. It's time to sit back, relax, and plan for next year.
Or is it?
There are still garden related things that can be done, although many of these are the milieu of the professional farmer rather than the green thumbed amateur. For example, there's a place in Dixon, Ca. That claims to have the World's Largest Corn Maze. Now, a Google search shows that lots of places claim this honor, but this story had pictures (of corn. With a path between rows. Not exactly visually exciting journalism). It covers 40 acres, and I think that'll do until a larger maze comes along.
Fall also means pumpkins. Here are some pictures of pumpkins, in case you don't know what they are (are you out of your gourd?).
Most of us think of pumpkins like this:
However, they can get pretty big, this one weighs more than a ton:
And when they get that big, there's a lot you can do with them:
It's a chilly October evening. The air has that crisp bite that whispers "winter's coming" to your lungs. A harvest moon hangs pregnant in the sky, and mugs of mulled cider warm every hand. What better activity than a good old fashion hay ride? Sure our betters in San Fran and DC will look down their noses at us bumpkins, but what do they know? Whether it's snuggling and spooning deep in the straw with your honey or a rowdy trip across rutted fields while having hay fights with your kids, hay rides are good, clean, itchy fun. If that makes me a bumpkin, it's a label I'll wear with pride.
Fall means cider season, and I'm with Ned Flanders on this one:
If it's tangy and brown, you're in cider town. If it's clear and yella, you got juice there fella.
For more on the topic, we turn to Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope. Yes, Cecil is a moonbat, but he's an entertaining and knowledgeable moonbat on non-political subjects.
A word to the wise: The message boards over there can be quite entertaining and informative on general information subjects, but the political threads make Daily Kos seem fair and balanced. I should know, I posted there for over a decade, it's where I met my wife. Remember AoSHQ rules: NO BOARD WARS! The banhammer will be swift.
Y-not: Thanks, WeirdDave!
Like my partner in crime, I was also in a Fall mood when I composed my part of the Gardening Thread. In my case, I was focused on trees... and what you can do with them.
To get you in the mood, enjoy the sights -- and sounds -- of aspens:
We are fortunate to have six very tall aspens in our backyard. Our upper story windows are perfectly positioned to enjoy the dappled light and soothing sounds made by the leaves as the canyon breezes come through our neighborhood in the late afternoon and early evening. It's heaven.
Ever wonder why aspen leaves "quake?"
Quaking aspens "quake" because of the way the leaves are attached. Each heart-shaped leaf is attached to the petiole (leaf stem), which is in turn attached to the branch.
In the case of the aspen, the petiole is flat, instead of the usual round. So instead of the flat leaf and stem being in the same plane, the flat petiole is attached at a 90-degree angle to the flat leaf. That causes the leaf's trembling movement.
Native Americans have their own story that explains the quaking aspen, The Legend of Strong Wind. (It's a lot like the story of Cinderella.)
To be honest, what really got me thinking about trees and aspens was this terrible story out of Utah:
A Durango man was killed Saturday in south-central Utah when a falling tree struck him as he rode his motorcycle on Utah Route 12 west of Lake Powell.
The falling aspen had been cut by two Boy Scouts who were with a group cutting firewood, said Joe Dougherty, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Edgar E. Riecke, 69, died at the scene, Dougherty said. He was wearing a helmet but he rode directly into the path of the tree, he said.
"It was a direct hit," Dougherty said. "He died pretty quickly."
A doctor who was with the group, confirmed the death.
The accident occurred at 12:40 p.m. Riecke was riding about 50 mph, the speed limit there, Dougherty said.
I've been shaking my head (and fists) about this incident all week. I cannot fathom how someone, especially a Boy Scout Troop Leader, could be so g-d irresponsible about felling a tree onto a state route. Just awful.
Here's how to cut down a tree per the Handbook for Scout Masters:
Clearly, they need to amend that to include a few steps, such as posting scouts down the road with warning flags to ensure the thing doesn't fall on an innocent motorcyclist.
On a lighter note, here are some cutting down trees "fails":
Once you have felled your tree, you might want to use that wood in a fire pit. Mr Moxie has been clamoring for us to buy or build one for some time. I found this How To Guide on building a masonry one at Popular Mechanics.
Have any of you ever built a fire pit? Do you have recommendations on what to look for?
**UPDATE WITH A SUGGESTION FROM THE COMMENTS**
The easiest way to get a firepit is to go to a tire store that sells rims for the big tires on a tractor. Buy a used one, take it home, throw it on the ground, add wood, add flame, add marshmallows. Hey presto! Firepit!
Posted by: madamemayhem
Finally, a brief "farm report" from Casa Moxie. We're still harvesting tomatoes and Padron peppers (the ancho peppers have given up the ghost), although the overnight lows are starting to get a little nerve-wracking (we even hit the high 30s a few times). I've also been doing some yard cleanup, mostly in the form of trimming off the dead branches and some of the lower hanging branches that are heavily laden with leaves. The latter is just to prevent tree damage should we get a heavy snowfall before our leaves have dropped. Mr Moxie has promised to help me plant bulbs this weekend... as he did the past two weekends, so I'm not holding my breath! LOL
What's happening in YOUR gardens?
To close things up, how about a song?
Make sure to send your pictures, tips, questions, and flippin' great wadges of cash to me at MOXIEMOM on Twitter or to BAILESWORTH at g m ail.
Here's a great picture of some flowers that I received on Twitter this week from fastfreefall:
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College Football Thread
—Dave In Texas
This is the place to discuss the football things.
Top ten action this week, all times EDT:
Mississippi State (1), idle
Baylor (4) at West Virginia, noon
Auburn (6), idle
Texas A&M (21) at Alabama (7), 3:30pm
Michigan State (8) at Indiana, 3:30pm
Georgia (10) at Arkansas, 4pm
Tennessee at Ole Miss (3), 7pm
Washington at Oregon (9), 8pm
Notre Dame (5) at Florida State (1), 8pm
Have a great weekend morons.
Saturday Politics Thread: Candidates on the Issues [Y-not]
Welcome to a somewhat abbreviated version of your Saturday Politics Thread. We've be spending the past several weeks reviewing and discussing some prospective candidates for the 2016 election. Although there are probably others we may want to cover at some point, for example Governor Pence in Indiana is starting to garner attention, I'd like to start burrowing in on the top candidates' (as judged by the esteemed Horde) positions on issues that matter most.
The goal of this is not to persuade you. I have my favorites at the moment, but I really am not wedded to anyone yet. The goal is really to just try to be as rational as we can about deciding who each of us might want to support early in the primary (and pre-primary) process. I think we can all agree that it would behoove conservatives to weed out non-starters as early in the process as possible to avoid some of the foolishness we saw in the 2012 primary.
Of course, a lot of us rely on our guts to choose a candidate and, frankly, I'm ok with that. I don't think there's any way to be 100% "rational" about this sort of decision. But if we can identify fatal flaws with candidates, or find that we've misjudged other GOP prospects based on sketchy information, I think it'll help us have a good pool of acceptable candidates from which to work.
If there is one thing I do want to persuade you of, it's that this potential field of candidates is much better than the last one. There's no reason for conservatives to give up and assume that Jeb Bush or Name-Your-RINO-Here has to be the nominee.
So with that in mind, these were the top issues identified by the horde two weeks ago as being important to them in choosing a Presidential candidate:
Reducing the size of the Federal bureaucracy and regulation 16.1% (1,295 votes)
Reining in Federal spending 14.13% (1,137 votes)
Repealing Obamacare 12.01% (966 votes)
Solving the illegal immigration problem 11.41% (918 votes)
Strengthening national security and global alliances 8.09% (651 votes)
Reforming or eliminating entitlement programs 5.79% (466 votes)
Addressing problems with the Federal tax code 5.64% (454 votes)
Promoting energy independence 5.62% (452 votes)
Protecting the U.S. from terrorism 5.57% (448 votes)
I've started to research the candidates, but before rolling out the first installment in this series I thought I'd solicit some input from the Horde on what things to factor into my research.
Most of the candidates we'll be examining in depth are governors, so how do we assess a how a candidate would behave if s/he was elected President? For example, if someone is governor of a blue (or purple) state, how do we assess if that person would govern as a conservative President? Likewise, if a governor is from a red state, how much "credit" do we give him or her for conservative policies enacted there?
I'd like to hear from you on how you make this "calculation" when assessing candidates. I'll try to incorporate some of the suggestions you make into future posts.
Finally, these are the candidates I plan to evaluate in upcoming weeks, based on the moron poll results and, in one case, my own personal interest:
Gov. Scott Walker 15.71% (1,811 votes)
Sen. Ted Cruz 14.49% (1,671 votes)
Gov. Rick Perry 13.53% (1,560 votes)
Gov. Bobby Jindal 11.1% (1,280 votes)
Rep. Trey Gowdy 8.51% (981 votes)
Gov. Nikki Haley 6.33% (730 votes)
Gov. Susana Martinez (coblogger privilege)
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Yes, We Have Lost Our Collective Minds [CBD]
"When I was in middle-school, Mortal Kombat was released on home video game consoles. Because my friends and I loved the game so much, we used to draw pictures of the characters doing seriously horrible things to one another. As in, rectal-based spine-retrieval type of stuff. It was fun and it was funny...and if we did that today, I have to assume we all would have ended up arrested and in some kind of psychiatric facility. "Hat-tip: @DoreenHDickson
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Here, the state of the nation, in one easy-to-read chart:
That wacky internet!
A recap of popular fake and odd news stories for October 17, including the "Ebo-Lie" claim that Ebola is a hoax. http://t.co/j4V7LBwYc4— Waffles At Noon (@wafflesatnoon) October 17, 2014
No privacy for you!
If I understand this, it seems that going to a company, with a warrant, and asking to slip through the backdoor, isn't good enough now. They want us all to leave our doors open so that they can wander to and fro at will.
It's too early to exclaim here my two word response to that notion.
Have a wonderful day, folks.
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (17 Oct 2014)
Well, we all have front row seats for the ongoing mess. Liberalism just not up to the task anymore.
Greg Gutfeld made a salient observation the other day. He pointed out that liberalism thrives in times in which there are no crises. In times such as those, liberalism raises lightweight issues and gives them gravitas. School lunch programs, child obesity, the size of soda drinks, gay rights, free contraception, are their rallying "causes celeb".
However, when crisis presents itself, we reap the consequences of liberalism in governmental leadership. More frequent now are the vapid responses to crisis led by the conveniently appointed, those "politically correctly" installed into position of power. The responses tend to be inept and politically expedient. Imagery, polls and elections are the focus rather than the required action and solution. Is seems to be contrary to their DNA to depart from the warm and fuzzy to the tactful, strategic and necessary.
Winter Is Coming
Interesting theory that the amount of snow covering Eurasia in October is an indication of how much icy air will sweep down from the Arctic in North America in December/January. If true, it's gonna be a cold one folks.
Here's the Accuweather forecast for winter. Joe Bastardi has been beating the drum about a winter that quite possibly could be similar in vein to the winter of '77-'78 which had two nasty blizzards.
New York City rats found to carry 18 new viruses. It includes the Seoul Hantavirus which causes, wait for it, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Thankfully death occurs only 1-15% of the time. Mostly.
In other virus news, does Ebola make people stupid?
It's almost as if one of the symptoms of Ebola is an unaccountable urge to travel and spread the virus.
And now we have a lawyer who is known as a political fixer of political problems being named the Ebola czar. Brilliant.
Remember, everything is under control.
How To Restrain A Woman
Not one artist's album has gone platinum in 2014. That's because music today mostly sucks. Heck, most people didn't even like the free U2 album.
CO2 And Plants
Not a surprise. Study shows increase of CO2 is lower than predicted because plants. 17% lower.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by how to gird up your loins:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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Bizarre: Insiders Claim That Man Most Responsible for Administration Silence About the Discovery of Saddam Hussein's Chemical Weapons Stockpiles Was... Karl Rove?
Then you'll have to explain it to me five or six more times, because this makes no sense.
There’s one man, some Republicans say, who kept the public from learning about the chemical shells littered around the Iraqi battlefield. He was Bush's most important political adviser.
Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to 'let these sleeping dogs lie.'
The issue of Iraq's WMD remnant was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops' chemically-induced wounds.
To people familiar with the issue, both inside that administration and without, the blame for the cover up falls on one particular set of shoulders: Rove’s.
One might think a politically vulnerable Bush White House would’ve seized on Santorum’s discovery. After all, Bush and his subordinates famously accused Iraq of having active weapons of mass destruction programs.
But at least in 2005 and 2006 the Bush White House wasn’t interested. "We don't want to look back," [then-senator Rick] Santorum recalled Rove as saying (though Santorum stressed he was not quoting verbatim conversations he had more than eight years ago). "I will say that the gist of the comments from the president’s senior people was 'we don’t want to look back, we want to look forward.'"
Others remember Rove telling them something similar.
This was (is) a source of tremendous frustration. As American troops secured Iraqi territory after Baghdad fell, there were actually reports in the media of troops discovering mustard gas and other chemical weapons.
But for some reason the Bush Administration never discussed this.
The Democrats then denied it had happened, and the Bush Administration continued refusing to note that chemical weapons were in fact discovered by US troops, and this wasn't even a secret, given that AP ran stories about the caches.
I have no explanation for this, other than some highly speculative conjecture that maybe Bush struck a deal with some other party (like, who knows, Russia) that he'd keep that other party's complicity quiet in exchange for something else.
Anyone have any better conjecture?
We need some explanation. When Obama doesn't tell you the Obamacare rate increases, we know the explanation: He's hiding that information because it would hurt him. Not exactly rocket science.
But when someone covers up a fact that helps him, then one scratches his head to speculate a reason for such a bizarre deception against one's own interest.
Flashback: This old 2004 post from the site (do not comment on old posts! the system will ban you as a spammer!) notes UN Weapon Inspector Charles Duelfer finding 35 mustard gas and sarin shells at the time of the post, and he wasn't done yet.
By the way, the Administration didn't really "cover this up" as the Times claims. They just didn't talk about it.
For example, in May 2004, the media itself reported that US troops had been exposed to mustard gas in Iraq. (Note the links no longer work; but that link had gone to the Yahoo News Site, which usually just publishes AP stories.)
This transcript of a Hardball episode features Chris Matthews and Tony Blankley discussing the discovery of sarin shells.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guests, Mollie Hemingway and Nathan Wurtzel
Intro/Outro: Come As You Are-Nirvana/Fever-Peggy Lee
- Mollie Hemingway: President Obama Already Has An Ebola Czar. Where Is She?
- Polls and more at the AoSHQ Decision Desk
Browse (and even search!) the archives
Follow on Twitter
Don't forget to submit your Ask the Blog questions for next week's episode.
Open thread in the comments
Proof That New York Times Reporters Live in a Left-Liberal Cocoon
You are what you eat, and if you're a writer, you are what you read.
I've been saying this for a while: The press claims to be nonpartisan and to only be interested in "good stories," no matter which party they might damage.
They can't really make these claims in the age of Twitter. Because their reading list -- the Twitter accounts they follow daily -- is public information.
You'd think these guys would at least try to "make it look good" by adding in a few of the more credible, less strident twitter accounts of right-leaning writers. But no -- no one bothers even to follow University of Tennessee Law School Professor Glenn Reynolds.
On the other hand, many follow the over-the-top hard-left rantings of Jay Rosen of NYU University, a media critic who frequently declares that the media must drop even the pretense of impartiality and embrace a resolutely left-liberal advocacy position, because there is no "balance" possible between Truth and Lies.
Many others follow the leftwing sites of Gawker.
Note that many of these accounts are used for both personal and professional functions.
If they had separate accounts for their personal reading pleasure, and only chose to follow leftwing writers, I would have less of a point. I would still have one, mind you. But I would only be able to prove that they're stridently leftwing as a personal matter, almost to a man.
However, it's the dual use of these accounts for both public and professional functions that makes these alleged reporters' flat refusal to read anything written by right-leaning writers that damns them as professionals:
Do they not want to know about stories gaining traction on the right? Stories overlooked by the mainstream media? Stories broken by the right leaning media, like MZ Hemingway's scoop that we already have an ebola czar, and she is apparently being deliberately sidelined because of her involvement in a very unhelpful controversy?
The answer is, of course: No.
They don't want to know these things.
And yes, that then proves that they view their jobs as ones of partisan advocacy, not straight reportage of newsworthy stories.
They want the stories Gawker finds interesting, or that Steven Colbert thinks is important, or that Jay Rosen thinks should get more play.
The stories that anyone on the right thinks are being overlooked?
Nope. Not interested. Won't even pretend to be interested.*
Thanks to @rdbrewer4.
* Note there's an easy way to just pretend to have a balanced twitter-follow list; one can nominally follow an account, use software to screen it out so it's never seen. For example, one could, if one wanted to at least pretend, create a balanced list of accounts, but then create a smaller list of left-wing writers, and then only check the tweets from that sub-list.
But they don't even bother with that pretense.
They pretty much want you to know that they only find left-wing writers interesting or worthy.
White House Appoints Ebola Czar.
Shocker: Ron Klain is a Political Hack With No Medical, Epidemiological, or Military Experience.
In the face of an epidemic they themselves have called potentially catastrophic, the White House has searched far and wide for an "Ebola Czar," and chose someone, get this, whose political loyalty is unquestionable, but whose actual qualifications are nonexistent.
I had my own suggestion for an Ebola Czar: David Petraeus. Petraeus is not an epidemiologist, but he is a military man, and we need that skill-set for defeating ebola. (What does a general due all day? He reviews where the enemy has penetrated our defenses and he deploys resources there to counter it.) In addition, we can assume he's competent at statistical analysis (or at least understanding briefings relying on statistical analysis) due both his rank as a general and his service as head of the CIA.
What most recommended Petraeus, however, was the fact that he had the stature to ignore Obama's demands for political PR responses to a real-life plague.
You'll note that this Democrat Party Gollum, Ron Klain, is precisely the opposite of all that.
He has nothing to recommend him at all -- except Obama knows he won't contradict him, stand up to him, disagree with him, or in any way interfere with Obama's political response to the ebola threat.
That Obama would appoint a long-time Democratic operative with zero public health or federal administrative experience tells us everything we need to know about how Obama views the Ebola panic: Ebola is a political problem for the White House, not a public health problem for the nation.
You don’t pick a former White House staffer to run a massive public health effort if you think you have a public health problem. You pick a former White House staffer if you view this as a political problem to be managed for the remaining weeks heading into the election.
We should actually be somewhat thankful for this move from the White House, because it tells us everything we need to know about how the Obama White House views the current landscape. Obama apparently believes that Ebola is a political problem to be swept under the rug, not a public health epidemic that needs to be eradicated as quickly as possible.
Incidentally, if you haven't read it yet, M.Z. Hemingway has reported that we already have an Ebola Czar, but apparently Obama doesn't want anyone to know that because he either fears she's not competent or he doesn't want people to hear about the scandal that seems to have made her allergic to television cameras.
Dr. Nicole Lurie is one of only eight assistant secretaries at HHS. That means she is a senior, senior official, just below cabinet-level. Her ambit at HHS is "Preparedness and Response" to Pandemics and All-Hazards (the latter a catch-all including natural disasters).
As Hemingway notes, before the crisis hit, the press was willing to gush about how gosh-darn important she was, as the National Journal did:
[A]s National Journal rather glowingly puts it, "Lurie's job is to plan for the unthinkable. A global flu pandemic? She has a plan. A bioterror attack? She’s on it. Massive earthquake? Yep. Her responsibilities as assistant secretary span public health, global health, and homeland security."
But since the crisis hit, not only has Lurie absented herself from the national stage, but the White House has barely mentioned her, and the press has not troubled itself to discover what the actual Pandemic and All-Hazard Czar is doing about a potential pandemic.
The National Journal seems to have completely forgotten about the woman it once gushed "has a plan" for "a global flu pandemic" or "bioterror attack."
"She's on it," the National Journal declared, but as ebola infects America, she seems to be the first American placed in Total Ebola Quarantine.
Read Hemingway's column for the details of the scandal that might have caused Obama to sideline her.
Basically, a billionaire Democratic donor, Ron Perelman, was a controlling shareholder of a firm called Siga.
Siga was under scrutiny even back in October 2010 when The Huffington Post reported that it had named labor leader Andy Stern to its board and "compensated him with stock options that would become dramatically more valuable if the company managed to win the contract it sought with HHS--an agency where Stern has deep connections, having helped lead the year-plus fight for health care reform as then head of the Service Employees International Union."
The award was controversial from almost every angle...
The company that most fought the peculiar sole-source contract award to Siga was Chimerix, which argued that its drug had far more promise than Siga’s. And, in fact, Chimerix’s Brincidofovir is an antiviral medication being developed for treatment of smallpox but also Ebola and adenovirus. In animal trials, it’s shown some success against adenoviruses, smallpox, and herpes--and preliminary tests show some promise against Ebola. On Oct. 6, the FDA authorized its use for some Ebola patients.
And yeah, read to the end: The company who Lurie didn't favor makes a drug being used to treat ebola. Duncan was treated with it unsuccessfully, but other people were treated with it and lived.
Instead of funding an ebola cure, Lurie shepherded a flock of federal cash to a billionaire Democrat donor for a smallpox vaccine that "has not really panned out," as Hemingway reports.
Our Hyperpartisan New "Ebola Czar:" No qualifications except for political zealotry.
Apparently he's a fan of Ezra Klein.
That tip thanks to the Great White Snark.
CDC: Oh, By The Way, Small Update, Amber Joy Vinsen Was Actually Symptomatic During Her Flight From Cleveland to Dallas, And May Have Been Symptomatic On Her Flight From Dallas to Cleveland, Too
We could have told you this earlier -- because it was pretty obvious -- but we didn't want to act out of a total serious abundance of caution. Just the regular level of abundance of caution.
So even though we're contradicting our earlier claims, again, and we sorta seem deliberately dishonest in doing so, trust us.
A nurse with Ebola may have shown symptoms of the virus as many as four days before authorities once indicated, meaning that she might have been contagious while flying on not just one, but two commercial flights, officials said Thursday.
Authorities indicated Vinson had a slightly elevated temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which was below the fever threshold for Ebola, but didn't show any symptoms of the disease while on her Monday flight. This is significant because a person isn't contagious with Ebola, which spreads through the transmission of bodily fluids, until he or she has symptoms of the disease.
But on Thursday, Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in Ohio that "we have started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday. ... We can't rule out (that) she might have had the start of her illness on Friday."
"So this new information now is saying we need to go back now to the flight that she took on Friday the 10th and include them in our investigation of contacts," said Braden.
Notice they continue claiming that a fever is not a "symptom" of ebola. Symptoms of ebola, you see, are not symptomatic of ebola.
Oh, and the soldiers going to West Africa to try to save the world -- while putting their own lives in greater peril than they'd see in combat -- are getting a full four hours of instruction on ebola protocols.
So there's that.
At the Pentagon, "A Complete Abundance of Caution" Over an Ebola Scare
Just a scare -- for the moment. A woman who had recently traveled to Africa vomited on a Pentagon tour bus. Note the article says "Africa," and does not specify West Africa.
The Pentagon called in the hazmat team out of, they say, "a complete abundance of caution," which contains 50% more unnecessary caution than the usual abundance of caution.
According to Arlington News, a portion of the Pentagon South parking lot has been cordoned off and that police are telling non-Pentagon employees to avoid the surrounding area.
The woman has been transported to Virginia Hospital Center.
Meanwhile, a Dallas health care worker from the Presbyterian Hospital is, at this very moment, on a cruise ship with 4000 other souls, now "self-quarantined" and being monitored for infection. The woman apparently handled Duncan's specimens, so of course, you know, another high risk person miscategorized as "low risk."
The country of Belize refused to allow the woman off the ship and into their country.
Doesn't Belize know that if they do that they'll harm the United States economy and make it more likely ebola will spread in their country?
The woman is probably okay, as she's on day 19 of her 21 day danger period and is, supposedly, asymptomatic. (Note, however, a recent study questioned whether 21 days was really the maximum incubation period for ebola; apparently the data for this claim is sketchy.)
Obama's government is apparently now trying to arrange alternative transportation, to get her off the cruise before it's finished, and get her back to the states.
You know why, right?
Psaki said that when the woman left the U.S. on the cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 12 health officials were requiring only self-monitoring.
One official said it’s believed the woman poses no risk but health-care authorities want to get her off the cruise ship and back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.
Can we just say "precaution"? We all understand what "precaution" means. We understand that it means you are taking a prudent step to forestall a negative future event which is a mere possibility.
I am really getting sick and tired of what I would call fairly routine and prudent precautions being classified as an abundance of caution.
But that does seem to be the Administration's actual belief, given that they let Amber Joy Vinsen on to that plane, even after she called the CDC several times to tell them she had a low fever of 99.5.