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April 19, 2014

Final Overnight Thread


OK, what was said before, that was a lie. THIS is the real party. Swearsies.

The theme of this, the true and final Overnight Thread of this evening:


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Posted by LauraW. at 11:42 PM Comments

Overnight Thread: The Real One


Sorry for the decoy post, but *this* thread is for the cool people and we're trying to keep those other people distracted. Don't tell them we're here.

Here, see. These are some animals that are not like other animals.

The Sea Pig.

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Posted by LauraW. at 10:30 PM Comments

Overnight Thread: Desserts that Look Kinda Sweaty


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Posted by LauraW. at 09:35 PM Comments

Announcing The First In A Series Movie thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

I chatted with the boss and we've been given the go-ahead to try something new.

Next week at 8 pm (EST) Saturday, I'll post a movie thread. Ideally, you folks will rent/on-demand/pop in the blu-ray of said movie and we'll all watch it together, commenting as we go. It might be a bit much for an every week kind of post, but we'll see how it goes and, perhaps, make it a once a month/every three weeks kind of thing if folks get on-board with it.

Blogger privilege means that I get to pick the first movie, but after that we'll conduct some sort of poll to determine the next. And, let's keep it light and fruity, with nothing too heavy. I'm thinking along the lines of Animal House, Caddyshack, Battlefield Earth, Pacific Rim, Fast Times at Ridgemont High type of stuff. No Godfather. No Schindler's List. Perhaps an Alien now and then. As one of the commenters said of this concept, it's like MST3K at the HQ.

So, let's kick this thing off.

Next week's selection is likely to come as no surprise to some of you. I choose Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, and this remarkable fellow. It is one of those movies that is simply awful but is eminently watchable. It is, quite simply, a fun movie to both love and hate and I'm keeping my fingers crossed here that at least a few of our Navy Morons and 'Ettes will take part because I can only imagine what they'll have to say about it.

If you have HBO, the movie is presently available via On-Demand for free. If not, it is available via On-Demand and Roku for just $2.99.

So, sync your watches and get ready for some fun.

I'll see you back here next Saturday.

Posted by Open Blogger at 08:00 PM Comments

The Nightmare Before Easter Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

I remember the first time my daughter saw Santa Clause at the mall. She was none too happy about it. And, when I took her to the circus for the first time, and she saw the clowns, she was similarly having nothing to do with them either. Yet, despite the occasional and jarring contact with the masked or make-up covered characters associated with Christmas or with the three-ring circus, I tried to keep her nightmares to a minimum.

I wish I could say the same of these parents.

22 Easter Bunnies That Are Definitely Serial Killers

Don't believe me?

Check below the fold.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 07:09 PM Comments

Weekend Travel Thread: Pet Edition [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Welcome to your weekend travel thread. By special request of commenter Seamus M., this week's topic is traveling with pets.

How about some music to kick off the thread?

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Posted by Open Blogger at 05:29 PM Comments

The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775 [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Today is also the anniversary of a transformative event in our history, the Battle of Lexington. From the Wall Street Journal:

April 19, 1775, was a quiet day in America's Thirteen Colonies—except for a deadly encounter in Lexington, Mass., between about 80 militiamen and 700 British regulars. Neither side had been expecting a fight, and no one knows who really fired the first shot. But accident or no, it set off one of the greatest social and political experiments in history.

The Battle of Lexington was also the inspiration behind one of America's best-known poems, the "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Even those unfamiliar with the poem will recognize the line: "Here once the embattled farmers stood/ And fired the shot heard round the world."

And here's a link to Emerson's famous poem.

How many of you were required to memorize it in school? I don't think I was. Our American history classes focussed on slavery and the Civil War more than on the Revolutionary War. (Pretty sure Mr Moxie's school (in New England) emphasized the latter more than the former.)

Open thread to discuss politics and such.

Posted by Open Blogger at 05:26 PM Comments

If Ben K. And CAC Had A Baby, It Would Look A Lot Like This Video


We all know Ben has an unhealthy obsession with Russian dash-cam videos and CAC loves him some space stuff.

Well, here's a Russian dash-cam video of a meteor exploding.

Now try and get the image of Ben and CAC having a baby out of your mind. I bet you can't.

You're welcome.

Posted by DrewM. at 04:39 PM Comments

Saturday Car Thread 04/19/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse & Countrysquire]

—Open Blogger

In a rush today but didn't want to leave you hanging.

Here's a few photos for you to discuss. Some of you have seen them, others have not.

I spotted this in a Hardees parking lot:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 03:21 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread: Easter Weekend Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

This week's Easter Weekend Edition of the Gardening Thread brought to you by The Legend of the Dogwood:

At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said. “Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.

“In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.”


Take it away, WeirdDave!

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Posted by Open Blogger at 11:27 AM Comments

Open Thread for Politics 4-19-14 [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Well, the garden thread was supposed to be a parody sing along themed one, but that went south in a hurry. However, it just so happens I have a song I wrote to the tune of “Bonnie Blue Flag” back when the Tea Party was new, and that one goes great in an OT political thread. Here's the original song if you're not familiar with it, it was almost as popular as “Dixie” in the CSA. From the movie Gods and Generals:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 11:26 AM Comments


—Dave In Texas

April 19 1995. Oklahoma City. A vehicle bomb containing barrels of ammonium nitrate, liquid nitromethane, diesel fuel, and about a million pounds of pure goddamned evil was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building.

He killed 168 people including 19 children, 15 of which were inside the America's Kids Day Care Center. There were almost 700 other casualties.

I remember thinking as all the facts came to light this was the most evil, cruel, hateful, insane act of murder that ever happened in my country in my lifetime. At the time it was true. It isn't true now.

All this happened a few minutes ago on a beautiful spring morning in 1995.

God bless the men and women who struggled to save lives that day, to those who cared for the wounded, and the families and loved ones of those whose lives were torn apart that terrible day.


Gabe normally posts on the events of this awful day, he was unavailable this morning and asked if someone else could do it.

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Posted by Dave In Texas at 10:09 AM Comments

Saturday Morning Open Thread


It's still morning, right?

Posted by Andy at 08:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread


Thanks to Niedermeyer's Dead Horse and the cobs for helping me put this together.

Do you think your kids would appreciate having their Easter baskets stuffed with healthier items? Well sure they would!!! What kid wouldn't love to find an Easter basket stuffed with plastic eggs, inside of which are dried fruits??!!

But the best suggestions have to be: Tea, and Stationery.

Yes, stationery. Because children love quality writing paper.

You know, if you give your kid tea and stationery for Easter, you're kind of giving them permission to kill you in your sleep.

Might as well go whole hog and give your kid a Pet Fart (TM) as a gift.

And while you're breaking your children's hearts with gag gifts for Easter, you might keep in mind that some people treat even rats better than that:

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Posted by Ace at 09:03 PM Comments

Friday Night Open Thread


Worst ever avalanche on Mount Everest kills 12 guides, with four people still unaccounted for.

Why so many guides and few climbers? Well... because Sherpas are really the climbers, and every season, they prepare the climb with predeployed supplies and equipment (and checking ropes and such) for the "climbing season."

With peak season just days away [I see what you did there -- ace], Sherpas and guides are busy preparing for the trek up the highest peak in the world.

"The Sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers when the disaster happened," a spokesman for Nepal's Tourism Ministry, Mohan Krishna Sapkota, told the AFP news agency.

Before a climber begins the assent, hired Sherpas set up camps at higher altitudes and fix routes and ropes on the slopes above.

Of course climbing Mount Everest is a serious achievement for anyone.

Still, you know. It's always strange to celebrate a climber when Sherpas are going up the mountain all the time. As their day job. Let's face it, they're the climbers. The "climbers" are really the luggage.

Don't ever call them socialist, but it just so happens that David Axelrod has been hired by a socialist candidate for UK prime minister.

The British Labour Party has appointed David Axelrod as a strategic adviser to Ed Miliband's 2015 campaign. Axelrod, who went on to serve as a senior adviser to President Obama after acting as an adviser on the president's 2008 campaign, will reportedly be paid a six-figure sum for his work.

These government-connected socialists do live well, don't they?

You probably won't believe this, but Politico seems to have a crush on Hillary Clinton.

Incidentally, while the left celebrates Hillary's soon-to-be electorally-useful Grandmother Status, they also attack Drudge for the "ageist" attack of calling her a grandma.

Which is what they're doing. Oh but right, they're talking up how that will make her the Best President Ever so it's different.

Oh, and just two weeks after NBC warned the country about the dangers of billionaires spending wads of money to influence elections, Mike Bloomberg appeared on NBC to publicize his donation of $50 million to, get this, "grassroots organizations," the media calls them, to fight gun rights.

NBC forgot to ask Michael Bloomberg about the perils of billionaires buying elections.

Ah well, I'm sure it just slipped their minds.

Breaking: Obama's a nasty little prick.

@RDBrewer4 sent me this audio of Quentin Tarantino's commentary for True Romance, specifically the "Sicilian speech" scene. (Oh, yeah, he didn't direct it, but he provides commentary as the writer.) Here's the part about the Sicilian speech, but I've listened to most of the whole thing, and I think it's a very good commentary.

Tarantino is not as annoying as he usually is, and he basically uses the commentary to tell the early story of his career (he wrote, in order, True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction within a few years). It's pretty interesting, so long as you like any of those movies.

He also makes a few interesting observations, like his idea that a movie should be so autobiographically revealing about yourself that if you watch it a few years later, you should be embarrassed at how much of yourself you've exposed. He says he did this with his fantasy/juvenile portrayal of what an awesome girlfriend would be like with the Alabama character (he had never had a girlfriend at that point, and he was 25, so his idea of a girlfriend was entirely speculative and hypothetical) and I guess the Clarence character, who is a Tarantino Mary Sue.

So, if you thought, "Gee this Alabama character sure seems like an idealized wish-fulfillment creation of a romantically-frustrated arrested-development 25-year-old juvenile who knows almost nothing about actual women," Yup. You nailed it.

Worth a listen.

By the way, speaking of Bunnies, did you know people actually put rabbits through show competitions, including agility courses?

They do. There are a lot of videos like this on YouTube.

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Posted by Ace at 07:12 PM Comments

Krauthammer: I No Longer Support Disclosure in Campaign Donations, Because Zealots Will Destroy Free Speech Rights By Ruining Lives and Wrecking Careers


I think this problem can be subsumed under my general political observation that "People are just awful."

And there's really no way around that, is there?

Best we can do is mitigate the harm by making government smaller, thus limiting the harm that people can inflict when they gather into Battleclans for Tribal Warfare.

And of course that's not happening any time soon.

[Full disclosure and complete transparency] used to be my position. No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure.

It is now an invitation to the creation of enemies lists....

Sometimes the state itself does the harassing. The IRS scandal left many members of political groups exposed to abuse, such as the unlawful release of confidential data....

The ultimate victim here is full disclosure itself. If revealing your views opens you to the politics of personal destruction, then transparency, however valuable, must give way to the ultimate core political good, free expression.

Our collective loss. Coupling unlimited donations and full disclosure was a reasonable way to reconcile the irreconcilables of campaign finance. Like so much else in our politics, however, it has been ruined by zealots. What a pity.

The whole column is worth reading, but I can't quote it all, of course.

Kevin D. Williamson has more thoughts on the related issue of the militarization of the speech police.

Down in Travis County, Texas, where the stink of cronyism has Republicans in the legislature and Democrats in the bureaucracies sniffing each others’ tails like opportunistic stray dogs, University of Texas regent Wallace Hall is facing the possibility of criminal prosecution for helping to expose the bipartisan scandal of Texas politicians’ seeking preferential treatment for friends and family in university admissions....

In a sane world, Wallace Hall would get a medal for bringing attention to wrongdoing by elected officials, but the university establishment and the political establishment relish their comfortable symbiosis.

Others dream of prosecution, too. The political class is infatuated with speech regulations (which we are expected to call “campaign-finance laws”) because its members harbor a self-interested desire to set the terms under which political contests are fought. That is corruption, and a particularly nasty sort of corruption at that: corruption dressed up as a reform crusade....

The irony here is that it is the ones doing the prosecuting are the ones who should be prosecuted. It is against the law to use IRS resources for political vendettas and to maliciously prosecute citizens to further partisan political interests. Those are serious crimes — serious because they pervert the fundamental relationship between citizen and state. But we are enduring what Sam Francis called “anarcho-tyranny,” a situation in which the government either refuses to or is unable to enforce its most fundamental laws — e.g. controlling the borders, ensuring that its revenue agents are not engaged in an unhinged political jihad with an eye toward stacking elections, etc. — while at the same time it seeks to regulate the minutiae of citizens’ lives with all the terrible moral ferocity of David Frum on a Tuesday afternoon espresso bender.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid -- who is more and more simply a monster -- continues making it clear that the Party of Government has personal interests, and it will stop at very little in vindicating those personal interests:

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Posted by Ace at 05:39 PM Comments

AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Jonah Goldberg


National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg joins Ace, Drew, John and me for cocktails and banter and cocktails.

The yoga is hot, things are in hands, and no animals were harmed in the making of this podcast.

Intro/Outro: Van Halen-Panama / 38 Special-Teacher Teacher

Questions & comments here: Ask the Blog

Listen: Stitcher | MP3 Download
Subscribe: rss.pngRSS | itunes_modern.pngiTunes

Browse (and even search!) the archives

Follow on Twitter:
AoSHQ Podcast (@AoSHQPodcast)
Ace (@AceofSpadesHQ)
Drew M. (@DrewMTips)
Gabriel Malor (@GabrielMalor)
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Andy (@TheH2 and @AndyM1911)

Open thread in the comments.

Profanity Note (Ace): After weeks of very little cursing, we curse a lot in this one.

I mean, I curse a lot. It wasn't planned or anything.

Posted by Andy at 05:03 PM Comments

Preppin' on Mars: The Martian by Andy Weir


Brief book review. I read this a while ago. It's pretty good.

The premise -- which is a bit dodgy, but I'll grant the writer some latitude in establishing his premise -- is that a single member of a Mars exploration crew is left behind, presumed dead, when the entire team evacuates during a high-powered windstorm that threatens to destroy their camp.

The lone survivor -- the "Martian" of the title -- regains consciousness and takes stock of his situation. There is no possible hope of rescue for four years. He has enough food for something like 300 days (50 days of food for each of the six planned crewmen). So he has to extend his 300 days of food into something like 1450 days.

I mean 1450 "sols." You can't say "day" because a day is an actual measure of time corresponding to 24 hours. A Martian "day" is not the same length of an earth day (though it's pretty damn close), so instead it's called a "sol," which I guess is short for solar cycle.

The "Martian" basically becomes a Prepper. He uses almost all of the floorspace of his habitation unit -- and almost all of his excrement -- as a makeshift farm for growing the highest-energy-density food possible, potatoes. He realizes he also won't have enough water to grow his potatoes, so he's forced to engage in some dangerous chemistry to synthesize hundreds of liters of water out of oxygen and... rocket fuel. And he has to do perform various cannibalizations and modifications to his Mars Rover Vehicles, because his only hope of escape -- 1450 sols down the road -- is making a dangerous and lengthy overland journey over the perilously high/abyssally low Martian terrain to the site of the anticipated landing zone for the next Mars mission.

It's a pretty fun adventure/survival/settler book. (The book does not mention it at all, but it does suggest to a reader (or at least this reader) the travails faced by the early American colonists, or the Antarctic explorers. It's just kind of implicit in this sort of story, without having to be mentioned.)

It's mostly a collection of his diary entries while on Mars. I always feel this is a cheat, because it permits a writer to resort to a very bloggy, casual style of writing in which very little work is exerted. But it mostly works, and I guess is justifiable. This sort of epistolatory novel has a long tradition, after all. Robinson Crusoe was also journal entries, if I remember from the last time I read it. (When I say "I read it" I mean I briefly skimmed the Wikipedia entry.)

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Posted by Ace at 04:31 PM Comments

College Professor Suspended and Investigated After Being Reported For Using His Daughter to Make Real and Credible Threats to Kill People



Oh, here was the real and credible threat he posted on Google+:

Intellectual Winter is Coming

Scary, huh? Yeah, that T-shirt is a quote from Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.

It's a nerd culture t-shirt, in other words. The "fire" she's threatening people with? Yeah, comes from fire-breathing dragons.

But the professor has literally been suspended and is being investigated for this scary death threat.

But one contact — a dean — who was notified automatically via Google that the picture had been posted apparently took it as a threat. In an e-mail, Jim Miller, the college’s executive director for human resources, told Schmidt to meet with him and two other administrators immediately in light of the “threatening e-mail.” …

Schmidt said he met with the administrators, including a security official, in one of their offices and was questioned repeatedly about the picture’s meaning and the popularity of “Game of Thrones.”

Schmidt said Miller asked him to use Google to verify the phrase, which he did, showing approximately 4 million hits. The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that “fire” could be a kind of proxy for “AK-47s.”

Well, in fairness, the type of dragon alluded to is an "Assault Dragon," with extended stomach-magazines for additional literal fire-power.

Plus, "that part that goes down" (i.e., a tail).

It gets worse:

Schmidt believes the school is acting not to protect students from potential threats, but to retaliate against him. A week before being placed on leave, Schmidt filed a grievance against the school because he was passed up for a sabbatical.

Here's how Bergen Community College covers itself in further glory: by doubling down.

[Bergen Community College President Kay] Walter said she did not believe that the college had acted unfairly, especially considering that there were three school shootings nationwide in January, prior to Schmidt’s post.

Well that's not the sort of sub-moronic utterance I associate with community colleges at all.

The professor is suspended, without pay, until he can pass a psych exam showing he is not a threat to the school.

So that's it, then: It's Idiocracy. We are a stupid, stupid people, and like most deeply stupid people, we are increasingly proud of our stupidity.

The greatest offense you can inflict on a stupid, ignorant person is to tell him something he doesn't know, and there's no possible way to avoid this offense, because the list of things he does not know is vast.

And he'll hate you for telling him something he didn't know. And he will mock you for having known this thing, and, if he can get away with it, he will inflict punishment on you. Corporeal punishment, if he's bigger than you, and if he's not bigger than you, which will usually be the case, he will resort to the more cowardly method of punishment favored by the weakling, to wit, social/political/bureaucratic punishment.

All for having made a f***ing moron felt briefly ashamed about not knowing something.

In no case will the proudly ignorant ever just laugh off their moment of revealed ignorance and apologize for the misunderstanding, because the thick-headed do not know the things it's okay not to know. That is, it's okay to not know character quotes from Game of Thrones; it's just a nerd-cult tv show and book series. Who cares if you don't know the quote, or never heard of Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons?

But the stupid know so little they cannot differentiate between those things they should be ashamed of being ignorant of and those that they shouldn't, so, always fighting from the position of a defensive flinch, they feel ashamed about being ignorant of everything, which would be fine, but being stupid, and therefore, in the center of themselves, aggressive and hostile, they lash out at their phantasmal "oppressors" by any means they can.

In related news, civilization itself was a major misstep and that error probably should be corrected as soon as possible.

Posted by Ace at 03:33 PM Comments

LA Sheriffs Kept Big-Brother-Like Eye in the Sky Technology Secret, for Fears That the Public Wouldn't Approve


There is an argument against the technology itself. I'm not going to make that argument, because there's a much more obvious argument to be had here:

What on earth is the government of an alleged democratic republic doing hiding its actions from a supposedly free citizenry for fear that the citizens may object?

“The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public,” (LASD Sgt.) Iketani said. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”

"In order to mitigate any of those kind of complaints."

The logic here is incredible, and yet, at the same time, perhaps inevitable.

We're going to be doing one thing that's creepy and scary -- watching you 24/7 per day -- so the thing we'll do to "mitigate those kinds of complaints" is also subvert democracy by keeping it secret from the public.

Like I say, perhaps this is inevitable -- if you're doing one scary thing, then logic dictates you "mitigate" it by doing an even scarier thing.

What the hell is going on in this country?

Posted by Ace at 02:42 PM Comments

Cool Beans: Earth-Sized Planet in the Habitable Zone Discovered Very Near our Own Solar System


At just a mere 500 light years away, why, it's almost walking distance.

It's in the outer limits of the habitable zone, though. The cold part of the zone, like Mars. But it's more massive than Mars (more massive than Earth, in fact) so it could hold more of an atmosphere and thus be warmer.

Water could exist in liquid form, if it exists there at all.

Kepler-186f actually lies at the edge of the Kepler-186 star's habitable zone, meaning that liquid water on the planet's surface could freeze, according to study co-author Stephen Kane of San Francisco State University.

Because of its position in the outer part of the habitable zone, the planet's larger size could actually help keep its water liquid, Kane said in a statement. Since it is slightly bigger than Earth, Kepler-186f could have a thicker atmosphere, which would insulate the planet and potentially keep its water in liquid form, Kane added.

The planet orbits a red dwarf, much colder than our own sun, but the planet is much closer to it (and so is within the smaller star's smaller habitable zone).


This is kind of interesting. I know, vaguely, that a planet's atmospheric make-up depends on its mass. Mass determines not just how much gas a planet will hold in its atmosphere, but which gases, specifically. I believe it's easier to hold heavier gases, and harder to hold lighter ones (like hydrogen and helium).

Mars, being quite a bit less massive than earth, can't hold oxygen or nitrogen.

This planet, being just about earth's mass (1.1 earth-masses) could. But anyway, here's the interesting part: You can't go much more over earth's actual mass before a planet will begin trapping hydrogen and helium (rather than losing grip on these light atoms and letting them slip into space), and thus become not very earth-like at at all.

"What we've learned, just over the past few years, is that there is a definite transition which occurs around about 1.5 Earth radii," Quintana said in a statement. "What happens there is that for radii between 1.5 and 2 Earth radii, the planet becomes massive enough that it starts to accumulate a very thick hydrogen and helium atmosphere, so it starts to resemble the gas giants of our solar system rather than anything else that we see as terrestrial."

So "earth-like" is a very, very narrow range as far as mass -- say, I don't know, 0.8 earth masses to 1.5 earth masses -- and as far as distance from star.

Not a lot of wiggle room here.

thanks to @rdbrewer4.

Posted by Ace at 01:22 PM Comments

Elizabeth Warren Angry That People Challenged Her Claims of Being a Cherokee


On the warpath.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren recounts in her new autobiography that she was “hurt” and “angry” by news reports that there was no documentation to support her claims of her family’s Cherokee heritage in the 2012 Senate race, according to a published report.

“What really threw me, though, were the constant attacks from the other side,” Warren wrote, according to


Efforts to reach a Warren spokeswoman yesterday were unsuccessful.

She once again makes the maudlin, manipulative claim that by challenging her use of her "minority" status for professional advancement, people were attacking her dead parents, who, she alleges, told her this silly story.

Of course, they never told her "And be sure to check off the 'minority' box in each and every job you apply for or land."

Incidentally, Warren also took credit (such as it might be) for the Occupy movement.

The article also states Warren was “confused” when the media jumped on her claim of inspiring the Occupy movement.

“There must have been a mistake — right?” Warren said she thought, before learning from an aide she had been correctly quoted as saying: “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do.”

Warren acknowledged, “My words sounded so puffy and self-important, and they made it seem as if I were trying to take credit for a protest I wasn’t even part of.”

Howie Carr has a simple suggestion as to how to resolve this controversy: if Elizabeth Warren will just be so kind as to swab the inside of her (high) cheeks with a DNA sample swab, he'll pay for a DNA test out of his own pocket to determine if she's a Cherokee.

It’s easy. Just swab the inside of your mouth. Check my photo on the left, I’ll show you how to do it.

No more of this fact-free nonsense about your “high cheekbones,” or these ridiculous fables about your parents “eloping” to escape the racism of the Indian Territory when they actually returned to their hick hometown that same evening for a traditional wedding party.

The only explanation you haven’t trotted out yet is that you instantly knew you were an Indian when you first heard Cher on the AM radio belting out “Half Breed.”

It would be great publicity for your new 2016 presidential campaign book if you finally come clean. Plus, what’s the downside, if you’re so positive that you really are an Indian princess?

Funny, but such a test would probably help her. It's quite possible she has 1/64th (or was it 1/128th?) Cherokee blood. It's even possible her parents told her stories of her distant, attenuated Cherokee ancestor. I'm told such legends are commonplace in Oklahoma.

But to claim to be a minority for professional advancement based upon such a tiny amount of minority status?

There's no simple DNA test for shamelessness and cynical careerism.

I don't think this is a gratuitous issue -- while I don't think Elizabeth Warren would challenge Queen (or is it Grand-Queen now?) Hillary, she does seem to be positioning herself for a possible bid if Hillary doesn't run.

Posted by Ace at 12:45 PM Comments

Boehner: Amnesty 2014 Or Bust


I'll just leave this here without further comment.

Speaker John Boehner and other senior House Republicans are telling donors and industry groups that they aim to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of many Republicans to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections.

Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Mr. Boehner said at a Las Vegas fundraiser last month he was "hellbent on getting this done this year," according to two people in the room.

Added: Senator who partnered with Democrats to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that Obama would sign in a heartbeat, fumbles and flips around on amnesty some more.

“I think this administration has probably reached the point of irreconcilable differences with regards to trust, particularly among Republicans,” Rubio explained during a conversation at a Texas Tribune event on Tuesday.


“There is a true distaste--and rightfully so--for comprehensive pieces of legislation,” he said.

Rubio explained that he believed that immigration would always have to be addressed in a sequential process.

“It doesn’t happen all at once, but I think it’s a lot better than continuing to go in circles here, and this all-or-nothing approach that for 14 years has led to nothing.”

So....we're just supposed to forget that less than a year ago he was the GOP poster-boy for what he's now saying is bad policy?

Rubio should stick to giving speeches about how much he loves America. He's very good at that. He's not quite as good at actual politics.

As Churchill once said about returning to the Conservative Party after abandoning it for the Liberal Party, "Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat.". Rubio, who has gone from amnesty opponent to supporter and is now trying to get back to opponent, does not have Churchill's level of ingenuity.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:57 AM Comments

It's Not Over Until The Liberal Republicans Win


I guess Ben has forsaken you so allow me to step in.

1. Liberal Republicans like former W. Bush aid Michael Gerson, just can't stop beating up on Goldwater.

The problem comes in viewing Goldwater as an example rather than as a warning. Conservatives sometimes describe his defeat as a necessary, preliminary step — a clarifying and purifying struggle — in the Reagan revolution. In fact, it was an electoral catastrophe that awarded Lyndon Johnson a powerful legislative majority, increased the liberal ambitions of the Great Society and caused massive distrust of the GOP among poor and ethnic voters. The party has never quite recovered. Ronald Reagan was, in part, elected president by undoing Goldwater’s impression of radicalism. And all of Reagan’s domestic achievements involved cleaning up just a small portion of the excesses that Goldwater’s epic loss enabled.

The Republican Party needs internal debate and populist energy. But it is not helped by nostalgia for a disaster.

It's funny how the liberals in the GOP keep going back to Goldwater. Are there no more modern examples of the GOP picking bad candidates for President that we might learn something from?

I guess we're just to chalk up loses by George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney to...well nothing. Those get airbrushed out of history. No we must forever be vigilant against the repetition of a one time event like Goldwater (who in today's environment of fairly stable red/blue voting patterns would have done as well as McCain or Romney).

Remember that the alternative to Goldwater in 1964 was Nelson Rockefeller who just happened to support much, if not all, of Lyndon Johnson's "great society".

It's almost as if people like Gerson and Jennifer Rubin aren't trying to improve conservatism but push liberalism.

Speaking of which....

2. Mitt Romney can't or won't shut the hell up.

[Romney] may not direct a high-powered political-action committee or hold a formal position, but with the two living former Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — shying away from campaign politics, Romney, 67, has begun to embrace the role of party elder, believing he can shape the national debate and help guide his fractured party to a governing majority.

Insisting he won’t seek the presidency again, the former GOP nominee has endorsed at least 16 candidates this cycle, many of them establishment favorites who backed his campaigns. One Romney friend said he wants to be the “anti-Jim DeMint,” a reference to the former South Carolina senator and current Heritage Foundation chairman who has been a conservative kingmaker in Republican primaries. Romney’s approach is to reward allies, boost rising stars and avoid conflict.

Let me remind you of a few things:

A-Romney was a terrible candidate

B-You can say, "but he was right about Obama". Yes and so was everyone on this blog. It's not a really impressive thing.

C-The whole idea of, "if the election were held today he'd win" is meaningless. It's not going to be held today for starters and just about any Republican would have as much of a shot in this hypothetical rematch as Romney.

D-He was untrustworthy on almost every issue.

That Romney would be better than Obama is a useless metric. So would just about any jackass off the street. Personally, I'd give the random jackass a better chance of winning simply because I know for a fact what a terrible candidate Romney is.

George W. Bush won two terms as President and he's been as quiet as a church mouse for going on 6 years. Mitt Romney got his ass kicked in one election and he can't keep his shut. Advantage: Bush.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:11 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments (4-18-2014)


Happy Friday, all.

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Posted by Andy at 07:01 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (4-17-2014)– Not Sure Edition


10 Things 'Idiocracy' Predicted Would Happen, and Sadly Already Have

Garbage Avalanches

In the film, it is the "Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505" that frees our protagonists from their cryogenic sleep. This prediction that trash will eventually pile up to unmanageable amounts has started to come true in many parts of the world. Particularly, Guatemala is known for their regular landfill landslides, especially during rainy seasons. Sadly, this is the cause of many deaths per year there to those who make their living as trash miners.

This one was a fairly obvious dig on society as it already was when the movie came out, but it's gotten way worse since. You virtually can't go anywhere without being bombarded by advertisements, and it's only going to continue to get worse and more prevalent as technology advances. Think about it, when was the last time you watched a YouTube video, surfed the Internet in general, or even watched television for more than five minutes without some product being pushed in your face? Heck, even phone apps are loaded with them if you aren't specifically paying them not to.

Plus you have the ubiquitous cursing and general talking like a tard.


But the absolute proof that we're now in the late pre-Idiocracy era is the fact that this aired on America's Got Talent:

Ow My Balls Society!

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:44 PM Comments

Mark Steyn: The Long, Slow, Unremarked-Upon Death of Free Speech


"This is the aging of the dawn of Aquarius."

I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.

But I don’t really think that many people these days are genuinely interested in ‘striking the balance’; they’ve drawn the line and they’re increasingly unashamed about which side of it they stand. What all the above stories have in common, whether nominally about Israel, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, or even freedom of the press, is that one side has cheerfully swapped that apocryphal Voltaire quote about disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it for the pithier Ring Lardner line: ‘“Shut up,” he explained.’

A generation ago, progressive opinion at least felt obliged to pay lip service to the Voltaire shtick. These days, nobody’s asking you to defend yourself to the death: a mildly supportive retweet would do. But even that’s further than most of those in the academy, the arts, the media are prepared to go. As Erin Ching, a student at 60-grand-a-year Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, put it in her college newspaper the other day: ‘What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.’ Yeah, who needs that? There speaks the voice of a generation: celebrate diversity by enforcing conformity.

I actually noticed this story on Twitchy, because a left-leaning comic, Patton Oswald, approvingly retweeted the link, stating he agreed with the general thrust, and for that blasphemy, was then set upon by the zealous inquisitors of the Holy Universal Unification Church of Shut Up.

Posted by Ace at 07:57 PM Comments

Hillary Clinton Will Soon Be Grandmother


Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy.

The 16-week-old fetus has been signed to a six-figure deal to host a new MSNBC show.

Chelsea has reported it kicking, for which the unborn child has received a Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism award.

I didn't care about the "Chelsea is pregnant" storyline -- who can keep up with our useless princelings? -- until I saw the Drudge headline, "Grandma Hillary."

Does this help her or hurt her?

Posted by Ace at 05:55 PM Comments

Director Bryan Singer Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse of 15-Year-Old Boy


A lot of details claimed in this suit, and not just about the alleged drugging/sex.

But rather about a Hollywood culture that enables the abuse of children. I'll refer you to Variety for that.

X-Men: Days of Future Past” director Bryan Singer has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in 1999 in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hawaii federal court.

The plaintiff, Michael Egan, claims he was 15 years old when Singer forcibly sodomized him, among other allegations. Egan’s lawyers, led by Jeff Herman, allege that Singer provided him with drugs and alcohol and flew him to Hawaii on more than one occasion in 1999. His suit claims battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy by unreasonable intrusion, and it seeks unspecified damages.

Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer, called the lawsuit “absurd and defamatory.”


Herman is a sexual abuse attorney based in Boca Raton, Fla., who also represented the plaintiffs who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse. He and Egan are scheduled to appear at a press conference on Thursday in Beverly Hills.

Hollywood has a problem with the sexual exploitation of children,” Herman said in a statement. “This is the first of many cases I will be filing to give these victims a voice and to expose the issue.


Speaking of Rape-Rape... Has Whoopi Goldberg finally found something she's qualified to do?

More: The Daily Mail reports more on the "boy parties."

Posted by Ace at 04:57 PM Comments

USAToday Stealth-Edits on the Ukraine Leaflets Story


I quoted the story as it was written some hours ago.

But they've changed it, without acknowledging the change.

WAS: Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

NOW IS: Pushilin acknowledged that fliers were distributed under his organization's name in Donetsk but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

This is a major change in reporting -- from Pushilin admitting his men to handing them out, to a mere acknowledgement that he's aware of leaftlets purporting to come from his organization.

They have gone from reporting he publicly admitted that his men were dropping these leaflets, to him denying that.

This is not just a minor change in wording. This reverses, completely, their reporting on a key point.

We do not criticize the media for getting things wrong-- everyone gets things wrong, especially in fast-moving stories, and especially in cases of relying upon a translation.

But this is a major change to the original reporting and must be acknowledged as such -- otherwise people (like me) will go on thinking USAToday's original report was correct.

We don't get mad that they get things wrong. That is understandable.

We get mad that they can't bring themselves to admit they've gotten something wrong, and forthrightly correct the record.

And I have to think this is borne of incompetence. Competent people do not fear corrections, because they know they're getting things 90% right, and that's all you can hope for in this world.

It's the incompetents who are fearful that their next screw-up may mean their heads.

So I have to assume that USAToday considers itself incompetent, and on thin ice as far as the accuracy of its reporting.

Thanks to Anon Y. Mouse, who spotted this and was persistent in alerting me about it.

Unrelated, But: In Taranto's column discussing the politicization of the Census Bureau -- which, as DrewMTips notes, is a "crazy rightwing conspiracy theory" proven true -- he has a funny thing at the end.

Grandfather Clause

"This is not your grandfather's NATO anymore."--Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 30, 2003

"Friends, we are in the midst of an energy crisis--but this is not your grandfather's energy crisis."--Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2006

"Well, my general view is that this isn't your father's recession; it's your grandfather's recession."--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, New York Times website, Feb. 13, 2009

"To appreciate the problem, you need to know that this isn't your father's recession. It's your grandfather's, or maybe even (as I'll explain) your great-great-grandfather's."--Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 20, 2009

"I've been saying for almost a decade now that what we have these days aren't your father's recessions, they're your grandfather's recessions."--Krugman, New York Times website, Jan. 17, 2011

"And this is the relevant history we should be looking at: this isn't your father's slump, it's your grandfather's slump."--Krugman, New York Times website, Sept. 19, 2011

"If Israelis want to escape that fate, it is very important that they understand that we're not your grandfather's America anymore."--Friedman, New York Times, Nov. 11, 2012

"This is not your grandfather's battlefield."--Friedman, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2014

"We're not dealing anymore with your grandfather's Israel, and they're not dealing anymore with your grandmother's America either."--Friedman, New York Times, April 16, 2014

This is not your grandfather's cliched hackery.

Posted by Ace at 04:19 PM Comments

"The Repeal Debate Is and Should Be Over:" Oblahablah Open Thread


Oblahblah's talking about... something or other.

Oh, he's doing a victory lap over the CBO's new estimated numbers that claim that Obamacare's unaffordable costs will be slightly lower.

Oh God, it's just a general defense of Oblahblahcare yet again, calling for us to "move on." Now he's talking about the "50 or so votes to repeal this law" (a debunked number, of course; see, he's lying) and how those votes could have been used to "create jobs" or something.

"The repeal debate is and should be over."

[Update - Andy]: A key takeaway from President TrollSoHard's prepared remarks lies:

Posted by Ace at 03:42 PM Comments

Paul Krugman Gets Pwn3d Like a Loudmouth in a Woody Allen Movie


There's a famous scene in Annie Hall when a blowhard idiot pontificates about Fellini and Marshall McLuhan. Woody Allen (or "Alvie Singer") becomes increasingly annoyed by the boor, until he at last pulls the actual Marshall McLuhan out from behind an obstruction.

Marshall McLuhan then tells the guy he's an idiot, and that he "know[s] nothing of my work."

Why am I telling about you this? It's on YouTube:

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:02 PM Comments

Ron Paul Praises "Fantastic" Article on His Website Claiming 9/11 Was Perpetrated by the American Government


Ron Paul offers his standard defense here, the same defense he's used with respect to, say, his frequent appearances on the Alex Jones show -- he's such a rootin'-tootin' fan of liberty that he does not wish to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their belief system. More speech, not less. More voices, not fewer.

Of course, Ron Paul does not publish criticisms of Ron Paul on his website, nor refutations of his own various claims; if he's published a "Three Cheers for the Fed!" piece, I don't know about it.

So I find his claim that these pieces just keep on making it onto his website and into his newsletters (sometimes above the signature "Ron Paul") merely because of a studious commitment to strong-form non-discrimination against view points to be false and phony.

Obviously he exerts some degree of personal choice and discretion when he chooses to publish crap like this. Obviously he thinks this article has something important to tell us all -- indeed, he claims that 99% of it is "fantastic."

Reason has reprinted almost one-third of the article, or, by their accounting, 30%.

If 99% of the piece was "fantastic," that means that somewhere around 96% of the below must be "fantastic" as well:

The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington's crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington's absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11....

For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America's evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: "They hate us for our freedom and democracy."


Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington's crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, "Zero." You can watch it here. [You can google this Truther movie if you like -- ace.]


It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

Paul goes on to claim that anyone who finds fault with him for continuing to peddle batshit-crazy conspiracy theories which appeal to infirm and broken minds are guilty of "political correctness."

It's not political correctness.

I know a lot of people on the right really dig conspiracy theories (as well as people on the left), but for people who take a more sober view of events and intentionality, who don't view at as an action-packed thriller movie in which all significant historical events are hatched by a conveniently-detestable Black Hat Villain or Black Hat Organization working the levers and dials of History, this mode of thinking is crude, childish, and deranged.

Human beings are not particularly well-suited for thinking about abstraction. When humans talk about the quantum-level world, we describe in terms of "orbitals" and "spin," even though those things have nothing at all to do with quantum mechanics, and in fact are deeply misleading.

But we need to relate these imponderable abstractions to something that makes sense to us on a gut level, something that we have some tangible appreciation for.

Large events and impersonal social forces are often too big to wrap our minds around. They are largely abstract, and hard for us to process. Conspiracy thinking reduces large impersonal forces to something the average human can comprehend: Human intention, human villainy.

We all understand that some people are just wicked and cruel. And thus wicked, cruel events are most easily digested as originating from something comprehensible -- these Black Hat Villains planned this all.

When horrible things happen, we have emotional reactions, of course. But emotion is geared to be directed at other human beings.

In fact, even when we know exactly who committed a particularly distressing and large evil act -- as in the case of 9/11, or JFK's assassination -- some of us still find the need to postulate larger villainies behind it all.

More emotionally satisfying villainies.

That a great man (so the thinking goes) like John F. Kennedy could have been killed by a failure, a loser, a broken Communist weakling like Lee Harvey Oswald is too much to bear.

Thus, John F. Kennedy must have been murdered by the "dark chatter" of the rightwing in Dallas 1963.

Or even, as Oliver Stone's film suggests: President Lyndon Baines Johnson. After all, who has the power to kill one Warrior King but another Warrior King?

This isn't about political correctness-- it's about an aversion to thinking that frankly isn't "political" at all.

This sort of thinking is Shadow Politics. What it really is a psychological reaction to the incomprehensible and quasi-religious mythmaking.

It may appear political -- it's designed to -- but what it really is a deep psychological drive to make some kind of tangible sense out of a chaotic world that seems too big, and inventing mythic stories to explain it all, scarcely any different than early humans sitting around the campfire and positing that each night, a great dark serpent devoured the sun, and each morning he vomited it back up.

This isn't about political correctness, because it's not even about politics in the first place.

It's really just about deciding who is relatively sane, and whose judgment can be (to some extent) trusted, and who seems to be haunted by the Demons and Ghost-Snakes of 100,000 BC, and who seems, quite frankly, to be crazy.

It's Interesting That He Cites the Italians for Their Perspicacity... because that lets me talk about my favorite Italian word, furbo,, meaning full of cunning and slyness.

"Furbo" is very important in Italian culture. Even more than in our own.

Let's say, for example, I say I believe George Bush that Al Qaeda perpetrated 9/11.

The fact that I'm saying I believe him exposes me to several risks. What if he's lying? If he's lying to me, he's played me for a fool. I would have shown that my furbo is rather weak.

But what if I instantly claim he's lying, instead? Well, then I can never be accused of having had the wool pulled over my eyes by him. My furbo would be strong.

Now, most cultures, of course, respect skeptics and treat the guileless as amiable fools.

But in many cultures, you can only show so much furbo before you begin looking like a fool from the other direction. Not a fool because of what you believe; but a fool because of the incredibly long list of things you don't.

Italy, however, prizes furbo to the extent that it's pretty hard to be considered a fool based on your conspiracy-theorizing. Italy overvalues furbo, and undervalues skepticism about skepticism itself.

Italians pride themselves on their ability to offer a cynical conspiracy-theory counter-explanation for any event they witness. That guy just donated a million lira to an anti-hunger organization? Well, it's probably because he'll actually be selling them services and goods in their anti-hunger efforts. He'll wind up making out like a bandit, believe you me.

Furbo is king in Italy. And there's not nearly enough skepticism about these barely-considered conspiracy theories offered as alt-history explanations for everything. It's very hard to go too far with your furbo in Italy.

The more outrageous your conspiracy theory -- like, for example, that Amanda Knox killed her roommate because she was part of a Satanic cult that collected female genitals for use in summoning rituals -- the more furbo you're showing, and all the better.

I mean, sure there's no evidence against Knox and she appears innocent. But that's just what the Satan Cult would arrange, isn't it? If you believe her when she says "I'm not part of a Satanic cult killing women in ritual sex-orgies," you expose yourself to the risk of having her out-furbo you.

I mean, what if she's actually guilty? There's a one in a million chance of that, and we just can't take that risk.

Now in some quarters in America, furbo is also king. In Ron Paul's world, for example.

But we're not quite as enthusiastic about furbo in America, so the rest of us view this all as the babbling of silly clowns.

Posted by Ace at 01:42 PM Comments

Well: Leaflet Handed Out by Pro-Russian Forces Holding Eastern Ukraine Orders All Jews Over 16 Years Old to Register as Jews, Listing All of Their Property They Own


Chilling, but at the moment this is very sketchy and unconfirmed.

A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community’s Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern.

The leaflet demanded the city’s Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportion and see their assets confiscated.

However, we have yet no confirmation of this story, nor any admittance that the leaflets are real. The leaflets, after all, could be some kind of agent provocateur operation to discredit the pro-Russian insurgents.

But... I don't know about that. I hate to cast aspersions on a large population, but it's my understanding that Ukraine is fairly anti-semitic. So I don't know what the PR effect of a fake leafletting campaign would be.

Unless those distributing the leaflets think Jews Control The World and hence that any perceived threat to Ukraine's Jewry would result in NATO storming in to repel the Russian insurgents.

Which is its own issue.

Update: I needn't have been as skeptical as I was. They're real.

From USAToday:

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.

Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

So Pushilin says he doesn't agree with the order, but acknowledges his men are in fact ordering Jews to register.

Jesus wept.

Posted by Ace at 12:38 PM Comments

Obama's Deliberately Trolling the GOP


Already mentioned by @theh2 (Andy) in the morning comments, and boy, I sure wish he'd mentioned it for the podcast -- great piece at Slate by John Dickerson, linked from Hot Air.

We've talked about the Buzzfeedification of politics but this would seem to mean that's now an actual strategy.

Obama Trolls the GOP

The refined cynicism of the president.

By John Dickerson

How do I get you to pay attention to this story? I could type out a balanced tale about an incremental change in White House spin and message control, relying on your discernment, patience, and kindness toward all the creatures of the Earth. Or, I could say that Barack Obama is a cynical and manipulative liar. The first approach would get a modest number of thoughtful readers, but they probably wouldn't stay on the page very long. The second would excite the emotions. Conservatives would approve. Liberals would denounce it and point out the exaggerations. My editor would smile because the controversy would attract more readers.

This is trolling. I've decided against it, but the White House has not. CBS's Major Garrett writes in National Journal about a new version of the “stray voltage” theory of communication in which the president purposefully overstates his case knowing that it will create controversy. Garrett describes it this way: “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.”


Under this approach, a president wants the fact-checkers to call him out (again and again) because that hubbub keeps the issue in the news, which is good for promoting the issue to the public. It is the political equivalent of “there is no such thing as bad publicity” or the quote attributed to Mae West (and others): “I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has characterized President Obama's journey in office.


Facts, schmacts. As long as people are talking about an issue where my party has an advantage with voters, it’s good.

Major Garrett writes of this "stray voltage" tactic here.

The questioning of Obama's use of a Census Bureau statistic that the median wages of working women in America are 77 percent of median wages earned by men lasted almost all week. The story revved into mini-overdrive when the White House defensively swatted away criticism that salaries on Obama's watch—for which the American Enterprise Institute used the same median wages metric applied by the Census Bureau—showed that women in the president's employ earned 88 cents for every dollar earned by men.

All to the delight of a White House desperate to inject the issue into the political bloodstream and amplify otherwise doomed Senate Democratic efforts to make it easier for women to sue and win damages for workplace pay differences. The controversy that played out on front pages, social media, TV, and radio did just that.

This is the White House theory of "Stray Voltage." It is the brainchild of former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, whose methods loom large long after his departure. The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness....

A top White House adviser told me last week's pay gap dust up was a "perfect" example of stray voltage. This time it was premeditated.

Like the typical sort of blog-trolling, Obama is basically writing grabby, preposterous, eye-catching, false headlines. And as with the various outfits which practice trolling all day long, he doesn't expect to catch flack for his mangling of the facts for viral hits, because no one expects a Salon headline to be honest in the first place, and, increasingly, few expect honesty from a President, either.

So, in order to maximize viral shares, you just lie. You lie small, you lie big. You like outrageously, you lie entertainingly. This makes liberals link you in approval -- you're finally "getting tough" with the GOP -- and it makes conservatives link you to argue against you.

Whatever the reason, you're getting linked. Your claims, no matter how false, unfair, or ridiculous, are now the day's number one linked story.

Obama came into office as the world's first truly literary president, a rara avis (according to super-fan Christopher Buckley), and he goes out of office as a Gawker blog editor with a keen eye for search engine optimization and listicles.

Posted by Ace at 11:38 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments (4-17-2014)


President Bozo McUnpresidential and his halfwit sidekick Choppers are down with all the cool kids, yo!

(You should thank me for hiding the image)

This is a good piece that I was going to mention in last night's podcast recording but didn't have time for.

The Obama presidency is basically a gigantic Democrat Internet trolling operation. That explains so, so much, doesn't it?

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Posted by Andy at 06:44 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (4-16-2014)


This is One Case Where I Actually Prefer the Cover

To the original even with the whole Pennywise thing going on. Supposedly the title to the song was inspired by this picture of George Brett (along with lots of teenage angst).

In the War on Standards Standards Actually Won a Round

In one case on whether employers can use background and credit checks in hiring. The courts rejected the EEOC's complaint.

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a challenge by the EEOC to the use of credit checks by Kaplan Higher Education Corporation. The very first sentence of the opinion, by Judge Ray Kethledge, calls out the EEOC for its hypocricy:
In this case, the EEOC sued the defendant for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses.

The EEOC claimed that these kind of checks had a disproportionate effect on minorities and to prove it they brought in a crack team of "race detectives" to guess at applicants' race based on their drivers license picture.

The way the EEOC attempted to prove disparate impact is quite revealing and rather disconcerting. To evaluate the racial impact of a hiring policy, one must, of course, know the race of applicants. In this case, Kaplan did not record this information. Thus, the EEOC's "expert" had to eyeball copies of applicant driver's licenses and, in effect, guess the race. (The expert also had the names of applicants; though the EEOC insisted they weren't used to determine race, the Sixth Circuit seemed skeptical of that claim).

To guess the race of applicants from the photos on their licenses, the expert used a process called "race rating." He assembled a team of five race raters each of whom has experience in what the EEOC calls "multicultural, multiracial, treatment outcome research."

And the Court was having none of this.

The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself. The district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding [the expert's] testimony.

I almost expected the court to follow up with a Billy Madison judgment here.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:37 PM Comments

Bloomberg "Reporter," Who By the Way Once Served as Head of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz' PAC, Headlines Story About Mike Pence's Possible Presidential Run By Noting He's a "Koch Favorite"


Right in the headline.

Mike Pence, a Koch Favorite, Mulls 2016 Run for President

Here are some things that this "reporter," Jonathan Allen, deemed not worthy of a headline mention:

* That Pence is actually the current governor of Indiana. That seems sort of important.

* That he's a Republican. Bear in mind, the next election is an open-seat one, no incumbent. There will be challengers on both sides (well, one assumes Hillary will have challengers). So it's sort of important to note which nomination he's considering pursuing.

* That he's a former Congressman.

These are the various basis bits of biographical data which would usually occur to a reporter to include in a headline about a subject. Bear in mind, Mike Pence is not a household name; a headline would usually inform the reader about who the heck he is.

Well, Allen knows who he is, and he wants you to know: He's a "Koch favorite."

AllahPundit notes dryly:

If you’re wondering why this otherwise prosaic Bloomberg piece about Pence’s national future begins with a mention of the Koch brothers, it’s probably because the guy who wrote it worked for Paul Sarbanes and, briefly, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz before resuming his career as an impartial reporter.

During the early-going of the 2012 cycle, I myself pushed a Pence run, reasoning that he would be a party-uniting figure.

He still could be. And he's worked in both the federal system, as a Congressman, and currently holds the position of Chief Executive of a state. That's a solid resume.

And speaking of Jonathan Allen, The Federalist has an interesting piece about the tactics used in coercive kidnap-and-brainwashing operations, as in the case of Patty Hearst.

And, interestingly, the similar tactics employed in political agitation.

Below, the Asch conformity experiment, name-checked in the article.

This is why many of us believe the Democrat Party is not the real enemy; the Democrat Party is just the Customer Service Division of Worldwide Socialism, Inc.

The real enemies are institutions that push a socialist lie on the public, 24/7.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 07:29 PM Comments

What Happens When You Try to Open a Plane's Door at 30,000 Feet?


Via Instapundit, this Popular Mechanics article notes a recent attempt at opening a pressurized cabin's door.

Nothing happened. The door can't be opened due to the pressure differential. The inside of the plane is pressurized, and the outside is low-pressure; basically you have a thousand pounds of pressure holding the door shut.

Popular Mechanics, however, gets vague about how this works. Airplane doors open outwards. The pressure inside a plane also pushes outwards.

So why does the pressure keep the plane's door shut, rather than giving a would-be door opener a terrific advantage in opening it? Why does pressure fight against a door-opener, rather than fighting for him?

The reason concerns the way that the door is engineered. Some just have locking mechanisms. I suppose those could be opened in flight.

But many are sealed shut by the cabin pressure itself.

These kind of doors are called plug doors, because, like a plug in a sink, they're meant to fill a hole and stay there, sucked into the hole by negative pressure.

Here now some things I learned from Wikipedia and generally scouring the Internet to answer this question, which has long bothered me. (My information is spotty and wholly based on reading so there may be some mistakes here, and I'd appreciate any corrections.)

The inside edge of a plug door is fatter than the outside edge, like a plug that tapers towards its front. The low pressure outside the door hole and the high pressure inside it pushes the plug door into its frame, preventing it from being pulled inwards.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 06:16 PM Comments

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This week's guest: Jonah Goldberg

Stream | MP3 Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
ThePantographPunch: A Dream Of A Fantasy: Looking For Lori Watt
"Lori’s total lack of inhibition and the earnest investment in what she does is both refreshing and confusing, for the simple fact that she does it so badly.... Lori doesn’t care, doesn’t back down, makes no apologies or explanations, struggles on with a self-belief born of earnest ambition and delusion. I love her. Adore her. I soak up her videos, her KoRn hoodie, her every word with cringing relish." A few seconds to savor. Bonus Lori added: Pinkdolly. [rdbrewer]
Always Faithful I don't recall who linked this but I will never forget it
Video Dump [rdbrewer]:
Hungry Hamster
Indian PSA (NSFW)
Drunk Russian vs. Fence (stay with it)
Formula 1 Pit Stops 1950 & Today
80's Commercials

@StephenByrne86: The real reason @josswhedon signed with Disney. [rdbrewer]

Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker: Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule
Whether it's the violin, chess, or basketball, it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become a master. From last August. [rdbrewer]

Lori Watt's latest single
A cover of The Rose. [rdbrewer]

Mail Online: Is THIS America's newest top-secret spy plane? Clearest picture yet of mystery aircraft spotted flying over Kansas just weeks after being seen in Texas
"It appears to be the same aircraft as one that was snapped soaring over Texas last month." Not really. See for yourself. [rdbrewer]

John Fund: The United States of SWAT?
"The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations." [rdbrewer]
No Matter How Much We May Wish Otherwise, School Choice Doesn't Change Votes. It's still good policy but stop pretending it's good politics.

The schizophrenic art forger who duped museums for decades
"For 30 years Landis has duped the art world, donating his forgeries to museums and passing them off as originals. Now Landis is the subject of a new documentary, 'Art and Craft,' that premiered Thursday night and continues showing for the next week at the Tribeca Film Festival." [rdbrewer]

Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
"Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading." Via @slublog. [rdbrewer]

Charles Krauthammer, WaPo: The zealots win again
"For a long time, a simple finesse offered a rather elegant solution: no limits on giving — but with full disclosure.... This used to be my position. No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure." [rdbrewer]

Jimmy Kimmel Hits Season High & Tops Late Night With ‘Scandal’ Finale Show [rdbrewer]

Outside the Beltway: Chelsea Clinton Pregnancy Reveals Everything Bad About Political Media
Another thing: In contrast, Jenna Bush's pregnancy wasn't a story. Not that it should've been; this shouldn't have. Via @slublog. Added: More from Newsbusters: Jenna got 33 seconds. Chelsea has gotten over 16 minutes. I guess they must love Democrats or something. Ya think? [rdbrewer]

James Antle: Voting against Bushes is an act of love
"Neither President Bush left the Republican Party in better shape than he found it. They were both succeeded by unified Democratic control of the federal government." [rdbrewer]

Neil Munro: Obama offers new insults, then laments gridlock
As someone at TheDC says, he's the Beethoven of passive-aggressive rhetoric. [rdbrewer]

Reason: David Axelrod Hired to Make a Socialist the U.K.'s Next Prime Minister [rdbrewer]

USA Today: Court seeks arrest warrant for captain of doomed ferry
"'The captain had a third mate be in charge of steering the vessel at the time of the accident,' said Park Jae-uk, chief investigator...." He was also one of the first off the boat. "Investigators are focusing on whether the boat, which was running late due to earlier fog, changed course too sharply, shaking cargo and cars loose...." [rdbrewer]
The Onion: FBI Uncovers Al Qaeda Plot to Just Sit Back and Enjoy the Collapse of the United States

"Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life
"For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an 'Earth cousin' that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life." More from LA Times. [rdbrewer]

Dan Kahan, The Cultural Cognition Project, Yale: More on 'Krugman's symmetry proof': it's not whether one gets the answer right or wrong but how one reasons that counts
"The test for motivated cognition is not whether someone gets the 'right' answer but how someone assesses evidence.... That Krugman is too thick to see that one can't infer anything about the quality of partisans' reasoning from the truth or falsity of their beliefs is ... another element of Krugman's proof that ideological reasoning is symmetric across right and left!" More from Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy. Via @GabrielMalor. [rdbrewer]

Media Matters for America is resisting SEIU's effort to unionize its staff
"Last week, the union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board, indicating that the nonprofit media watchdog organization rejected an effort by the union to organize MMFA's staff through a Card Check election." Via @slublog. [rdbrewer]

CPI: Super PAC leaders score perks from political donations
"Political committees’ expenses include golf fees, steakhouse dinners and payments to organizers’ firms." And payments to organizers' firms are another way of getting money to organizers beyond what the PAC already pays them, right? Via @slublog. [rdbrewer]

Elizabeth Warren sticking to campaign script on Cherokee claim (Update: Blames “some blogger”)
Damn those bloggers. "If Warren had mistakenly lived her life openly as a Cherokee thinking she was Cherokee, that would be one thing and would be consistent with the supposed family lore. But she didn’t. She only was Cherokee when she was climbing the ladder to Harvard...." [rdbrewer]

Mediaite: Scarborough Hits Back at Krugman’s ‘Shrill Attack’ over Census Numbers
"Paul Krugman swiped at Joe Scarborough today with a blog post calling him (though not by name) an 'Obamacare truther' promoting the 'vile' idea the White House is using the census to cook the books. Scarborough fired back...." Video. [rdbrewer]

Charges will be dropped in 'disorderly conduct' / recording of bullies case
Maybe go after the bad guys, huh? Also from The Volokh Conspiracy: Ilya Somin, The new liberal “nationalist” case for federalism. [rdbrewer]

ExtremeTech: We’ve found the oldest star in the known universe – and it’s right on our galactic doorstep
From February, but it's interesting. It's older than the Milky Way. [rdbrewer]

Pundit Press: CNN: 'Breaking News: Titanic Sunk'
Chyron fail. [rdbrewer]

Megan McArdle, Bloomberg: Is Obama Cooking the Census Books for Obamacare?
"But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years?" [rdbrewer]

TIFO: Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells and Why Pistachios Used to Be Dyed Red
Cashews (yuck) come from the poison ivy family. Via @DebbyWitt. [rdbrewer]

GOP writes legislation to deny Eric Holder his salary
"A Republican congressman has introduced a bill that would stop government paychecks for officials who have been found in contempt of Congress...." [rdbrewer]

Rep. Louie Gohmert: Holder’s ‘childish and lame’ performance at hearing undermines his credibility on the IRS scandal
"Rep. Louie Gohmert said that his recent heated exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder exposed Holder as a 'partisan and extremely petty'...." [rdbrewer]
The oddest WTF video you will see today. Funny. Sexy. Bloody. Odd NSFW [dri]

A 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia
"A photographer who snapped what could be the world's only girl hunting with a golden eagle says watching her work was an amazing sight." [rdbrewer]

Eric Cantor — The New “Mr. Amnesty”?
"Denham’s amendment isn’t about helping a few patriotic DREAMers. It’s about getting an immigration bill–any immigration bill–to the Senate where Democrats led by Senators Reid and Schumer can expand it by adding as much of the massive Gang of 8 amnesty as possible, and then going to 'conference’ with the House on must-pass piece of legislation. It is, to use the technical term, a Trojan Horse." [rdbrewer]
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