Overnight Open Thread (7-21-2014)
"The bear is loose!" President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to "connect" with "real people." Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, "restless," bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear-intimidating, wild, untamed, roving-escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naive, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.
-- Matthew Continetti
We might as well replace the civil service with the spoils system. Because right now, we've just got a one-party spoils system.
-- Glenn Reynolds
After 2000 years there are no more Christians in Mosul, Iraq.
In a sort of reverse Passover, ISIS activists have marked the homes of Christians with the letter N for "Nassarah," an Islamic term for Christian, to identify the homes whose inhabitants were to be slaughtered.
In Mosul, ISIS has decreed that Christians must convert to Islam, acknowledge their status as dhimmis and pay the Jizyah tax, or be beheaded. This shouldn't be surprising; it is nothing more than what the Koran prescribes. To their credit, Mosul's Christians have mostly left their homes behind and fled toward Kurdish-controlled areas where they believe they will be safe.
Sure betray your country by leaking national security documents, go to prison for 35 years, and we're still unable to deny you sexual reassignment treatments or anything else for that matter.
Or else be indicted for not doing so like FedEx.
Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from "illegal internet pharmacies." Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that's a whole different discussion), but it's insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don't want shipping companies to be liable for what's in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.
Apparently, FedEx was unwilling to fall on its sword and cough up a similar amount to the US government, so the DEA and DOJ have announced they've gotten a grand jury to indict the company for delivering drugs associated with internet pharmacies. You can read the full indictment, which tries to spin a variety of stories into evidence that somehow FedEx "knew" what was in those packages.
In 2013, the corporate income tax brought in $274 billion, slightly less than 10 percent of total federal revenue. Yet the endless arms race between the IRS and corporate attorneys and accountants consumes huge amounts of money, resources, and labor and vastly distorts the business environment.
Of course. To do any less might somehow in some fashion possibly help the Juice. And that is against the unofficial UN charter.
That framework includes eight essential "working definitions," among them the already-discussed diversity, as well as others: "compositional diversity," "critical mass," "inclusion," "equity mindedness," "deficit-mindedness," "representational equity," and "excellence."
Let us take a closer look at one of these working definitions included, namely "representational equity."It calls for "proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades."
Maybe they should simply cut to the chase and start just handing out Bachelors of Thinkology to their favored minorities.
He was one of the few major actors who could seamlessly switch between TV and movies. And one of the last Hollywood actors who was also a combat veteran:
Later, he joined the National Guard serving seven months in the United States. He then went to Korea for 14 months in the Regular Army, serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He was wounded twice, first in the face and hand from shrapnel fire from a mortar round, and second on April 23, 1951, in the buttocks from friendly fire from U.S. fighter jets as he dove headfirst into a foxhole. Garner was awarded the Purple Heart in Korea for the first injury. For the second wound, he received a second Purple Heart (eligibility requirement: "As the result of friendly fire while actively engaging the enemy"), although Garner received the medal in 1983, 32 years after his injury. Garner was a self-described "scrounger" for his company in Korea, a role he later played in The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily.
Here's a classic Garner scene from The Americanization of Emily.
How much money do you need to make before you start maxing out your monetary happiness?
Despite the saying, money can buy happiness-but only up to a certain point. For each state, the annual salary you need to make before more money won't make you any happier is contingent, understandably, on the cost of living. The Huffington Post developed this map to show the happiness-plateau salary for each state based on new analysis by Doug Short, vice president of research at investment group Advisor Perspectives. Short's analysis combines the findings of a 2010 Princeton study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, which set the national "happiness-benchmark" at $75,000 per year, with data about the cost of living in each state.
After 7+ years someone finally claimed copyright on it.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by how the Bank of Taco Bell came to be:
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WSJ Op-Ed: Hey, Conservatives, Stop Beating Up on Crony Capitalism
He actually, out of his own mouth, seems to equate "big business" with "crony capitalism."
I guess we're not debating the terminology any longer.
Amid the fight for the soul of the Republican Party, some elements of the GOP coalition have become overtly hostile to Big Business.
Defeating crony capitalism has become the battle cry of libertarian conservatives.
The Export-Import Bank has become the latest in a long line of targets that include highway funding, terrorism risk insurance and "too big to fail" banks.
Big Business wants immigration reform and higher academic standards for elementary and secondary schools--policy priorities that drive the hard right into conniptions.
What would happen if Big Business decided to change sides? What would happen if the Chamber of Commerce suddenly stopped being a huge fundraising machine for the Republican Party and started financing pro-business Democrats?
Ah, so it's hardball, then.
Well here's another question, then: What if the GOP began pushing a business tax break for small and mid-sized business to be paid for by a tax increase on big business?
So long as we're talking about Things We Each Could Do.
Netroots Goofs Discuss Why People on the Left Aren't Funny
Well, actually they claim that people on the left are super-funny, but maybe there's been some problem getting that message out.
People on the right, they avow, are only perceived as "funny" because they make racist jokes.
"The Left is supposed to be funnier than the Right, damn it," the panel description stated. "So why do we so often sound in public like we’re stiltedly reading from a non-profit grant proposal?"
This defensive tone was apparent throughout the hour-plus session, brought up repeatedly by speakers and audience members. Much like a co-worker who doesn’t get anyone's jokes but insists, "I have a great sense of humor!"
"Comedy creates oneness and that is what our side wants," according to Julianna Forlano, host of a news parody without laughter cues called "Absurdity Today."
Absurdity Today -- well, that title alone tells me to tune in for some top-drawer comedy entertainment.
I'm also pretty sure that the best New York and LA comedians talk a lot about creating "a oneness."
She noted how her stand-up performance even created "oneness" at a Pennsylvania Elks Lodge, despite the crowd being filled with racist men (she could tell they were racist from the animal heads displayed on the walls).
Katie Halper agreed with her fellow white comic that racism is endemic in their industry. "When the right says we have no sense of humor, it's a great way for racist/sexist/homophobic men to make themselves seem funny." Halper is a founding principal of Qualified Laughter, a production company "dedicated to comedic social justice media."
Qualified Laughter -- why that sounds like another laugh riot.
Jon Gabriel's piece is worth a read. He notes that the first African-American female member of SNL's cast in a long, long time got in hot water with black critics for making irreverent jokes about slavery.
You can check Jon's link for that, but the basic joke was that she was complaining that only beautiful women are praised, whereas truly "useful" ones like herself -- six feet tall and ready to brawl -- don't get the proper level of praise for their "usefulness" (such as in a back-alley barfight).
She then went on a riff about how, during slavery, she would definitely be valued for her usefulness, and in fact would be assigned to marry the "hottest" male slaves available.
Now, I didn't think this was very funny. Not due to outrage; it was just unfunny in the same way many SNL bits are unfunny, to wit, they just aren't funny.
So this in a nutshell is why the left can't be funny. What this comic was doing was a standard, basic, 101-level comedy trope: mining laughs by treating serious circumstances irreverently. She was hoping for laughs by talking up, strangely, the "good side" of slavery, at least for women like herself, who are more "useful" than beautiful.
And part of what she was doing was playing a character: The character who is so dumb she doesn't realize that slavery would have a lot of downsides that would greatly outweigh any hypothetical impact on her dating options.
But of course this woman knows that. Duh! The whole joke is based on upon her knowledge that the audience will find her statements funny (or, at least, unexpected and incongruous) because of how obviously wrongheaded they are.
She knows it's wrong to talk about slavery as having an Upside. The entire joke hinges on this knowledge being so widely known and deeply felt so as to create a sense of incongruity and absurdity as she goes off on her riff.
And yet her humorless prog critics had to inform her: You know, despite your claims to the contrary, slavery was not a good deal for single women or any other sort of women. *
I didn't think her jokes were that good. But the fact that she had to publicly answer her very public critics about their absurd claims that she was actually suggesting to people that maybe slavery is kinda like a feel-good romantic comedy demonstrates why the political left is so rarely funny.
It's because many jokes -- not all jokes, but a bit chunk of them, like 40% -- rely on establishing a tension between what the comedian and audience knows is true, and what the comedian is actually saying.
Treating something serious in an irreverent way.
Yes, the comic knows what she's talking about is a Serious Matter. When Sarah Silverman used to tell her rape joke -- that she'd been raped by a doctor, which, she said, for a Jewish girl, is bittersweet -- Sarah Silverman obviously knows that rape is a very serious and horrible thing which should not be joked about.
Which is precisely why she is joking about it. Because the forbidden spaces are often where you find the new and unexpected things.
But anyway, the left has a tremendous number of sacred cows. Every little feel and bother they have, they believe to be Very Serious Indeed, and thus exclude from the realm of joking about 90% of the subjects in the human experience.
Of course, another huge trope of joking is the provocatively cynical statement -- stating, hyperbolically, something dark about human motivations.
And progressive thugs can't bear any joking on that score either, because what they're sure about, more than anything else in the world, is the absolute metaphysical purity of their motives in all their behaviors and demands of their fellow citizens.
And joking about that isn't funny. Indeed, it's heretical and blood libel.
* Actually it occurs to me that this is an important part of progressive priggishness. Whereas I would assume that of course the audience of SNL understands that Slavery is Bad, the psychologically-driven progressive activists feel an intense need to feel superior to other people, and therefore posit, ludicrously, that a significant fraction of SNL's audience might actually think that Slavery Wasn't So Bad and may think this woman is actually making Good Points about the upside of slavery.
They have to flatter themselves by thinking they're smarter than everyone else, but as they're not particularly smart, they have to conceive as the majority of people as being absolutely stupid, at nearly-handicapped levels.
So, yeah, for this sort of "progressive" who is chiefly into the "politics" of the progressive movement as a way to process his own mediocrity (or submediocrity) -- I can see the absolute necessity of constantly postulating that upwards of 60% of the country is borderline mentally retarded and in need of guidance from the 92 IQ All-Stars of the Progressive Left.
By the Way, SNL: Stop having your new cast members come on Weekend Update to do three minutes of their stand-up comedy act by way of introduction.
It's never funny. And I do mean "never."
I think John Mulaney is very funny in his standup act, but when they had him do the same standup bit on Weekend Update, I stared at it stone-faced.
Theoretically I should at least have smiled in recognition, but I didn't.
It's just not the place for it. It's not the format of the show. When a comic comes on and just does three minutes of her act, the audience immediately realizes "Hey, this isn't the SNL format" and wonders, subconsciously, why they're breaking format for this lame bit.
And the reason is -- and I think most people get this -- is that they are trying to prove their new recruit is funny.
So it seems forced and strained, like we're supposed to laugh at the New Girl just because it's her First Week.
But we don't.
So just stop this whole practice entirely. If someone wants to get on the show, they should be bringing new material, and material that fits the SNL format, not barely-rewritten stand-up riffs.
I would also ask that this material be funny, but that is quite far out of reach for anyone on SNL these days.
IRS Lawyer: Hey, Sorry, But Maybe More Computers of People Who Corresponded with Lois Lerner Crashed, Too; Don't Worry Though, the Number of Crashes Is Less Than Twenty (or So)
See, originally, the IRS said that they didn't bother informing Congress that Lois Lerner's hard drive had crashed and her emails lost because they thought they could still recover those emails from other people's hard drives -- the people she corresponded and coordinated with.
The IRS didn't want Congress to get "the wrong idea," they said. They didn't want Congress to go off half-cocked, thinking there was some kind of kooky conspiracy to destroy evidence.
Well. Now they've looked into her correspondents' hard drives to see if the emails could be recovered from them, and whoops, up to 20 additional hard drives may have crashed, a bunch involving people Lerner was known to interact with.
So that's it, then, huh?
Also: Another IRS guy is claiming that maybe Lois Lerner's emails weren't lost; maybe those back-up tapes still exist.
Look into it, future tense.
It always seems like the IRS claims there is some possible avenue to getting these emails, before later saying, "nope, that was all destroyed too."
Obama's Oddly Reassuring Statement to Putin
I found Obama's statement strange for how far it went out of its way to reassure Putin that no consequences will follow should he continue attacking the Ukraine (and blowing the occasional airliner out of the sky).
A President does not wish to make it impossible for an aggressive, brutish leader to back down. Brutes are shame-based creatures, and full of machismo. So no president should ever make statements which will activate the Lizard Machismo Complex of the brute's brain, and thus make it impossible for him to back down.
Well, on that score, Mission Accomplished. Obama sure didn't threaten Putin at all.
But it seems to me he went out of his way to let Putin know that Putin could get away with anything he wants.
First, Obama said:
"My preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution within Ukraine--I believe that can still happen, that is my preference today and it will continue to be my preference..."
Why swear, from this day until the end of days, that this will continue to be his preference? Why not leave it at "this is currently my preference?"
Putting it that way leaves open the possibility that that preference could change, without actually making any kind of threat that would activate Putin's You Can't Boss Me Around response.
Instead, Obama broadcasts that he will never seek anything other than a diplomatic solution "within Ukraine," no matter what Putin does.
This is a gratuitous reassurance to Putin. Yes, I agree that the President shouldn't bluster and make empty threats against a brute armed with nuclear missiles, but neither does he have to get on his back and show his belly like a defeated dog.
Then Obama got the part of his statement that seemed like a threat -- but wasn't:
"But if Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and to back these separatists, and these separatists become more and more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside of Ukraine, but the broader international community, then Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community and the costs for Russia's behavior will only continue to increase.
Russia will "isolate itself." America will not actively isolate Russia -- no, it will just happen (Obama hopes). The EU will not slap sanctions on Russia -- no, the "isolation" will just naturally proceed along (Obama prays).
Obama here is basically talking about Hoping for a Miracle from God, rather than sketching steps that we ourselves might undertake.
Tyrants don't care about what things an American president prays will happen.
They worry about things an American president will make happen.
Now, I already said that I don't think Obama should make direct threats. But this statement is so weak, so fearful of itself, it can't even state a vaguery in a straightforward manner.
Even the vaguery must be couched in the passive voice.
Even Obama's gauze comes shrouded by haze.
Combining those statements together, I can't see how anyone in the Kremlin could fail to read this as an American greenlight for just about anything Russia wishes to do.
And that makes me wonder why this statement was given at all -- if Obama had chosen to remain silent, at least there would have been mystery about his possible responses and current line of thinking.
Instead he went out there to tell Putin not to sweat it, that the US would not do a damned thing, ever.
That said, Russia has promised -- supposedly -- to grant inspectors "unfettered access" to the crash site, and an hour or so ago they promised that the separatists would turn over the plane's black boxes (probably after ascertaining there was no evidence on them directly suggesting Russian involvement).
Washington Post: Obama Administration Had Prior Warnings of Coming Border Crisis
In 2013, researchers at the border warned of a coming deluge.
The researchers' observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared.
The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer's escalating crisis.
Federal officials viewed the situation as a "local problem," said Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol station chief who led the UTEP study. The research, conducted last year, was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and published in March. A broader crisis was "not on anyone’s radar," Manjarrez added, even though "it was pretty clear this number of kids was going to be the new baseline."
Meanwhile, Rick Perry himself had been writing letters to Obama warning him of the growing problem.
And of course Rick Perry has ordered 1000 National Guardsmen to the border.
Obama to Offer Half-Hearted Statement on Ukraine
"What Are They Trying to Hide?"
Of course he was supposed to begin the statement twenty-five minutes ago.
FoxNews' live video feed ishere.
Discussing the separatists' interference with investigators and removal of bodies, Obama asks "What are they trying to hide?"
Obama made a series of things intended to sound like demands -- that Russia order the separatists to stand down and let investigators do their job -- but then offered no consequences in the event of Putin's continued defiance.
The only thing he offered that could sound like a consequence is that "Russia will continue to isolate itself from the international community" -- note the way that's phrased, where it's Russia -- not the US, Europe, or "international community" itself -- that's doing the isolating.
A passive construction from a passive president.
Report: Rick Perry To Send National Guard To The Border
Well, well, someone has come a long way from "you don't have a heart".
Perry will announce his plans Monday to mobilize some 1,000 guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to the Monitor, a south Texas newspaper. The newspaper quoted a state senator and an internal memo it obtained from a state official’s office.
“If the federal government does not do its constitutional duty to secure the Southern border of the United States, the state of Texas will do it,” Perry said Sunday at a Republican barbecue in Iowa.
Perry, who has been asking Obama to make the call, recently told Fox News Sunday that mobilizing the troops now is important “because this flood of children is pulling away the border patrol from their normal duties of keeping bad people, keeping the drug cartels, they’re being distracted, so that I would suggest is a very obvious reason that those National Guard troops should come play an important role.”
It's funny how fast the GOP has gone from trying to figure out how to cram amnesty down voter's throats to full on border security. Of course, they will snap right back the other way as soon as it's safe to do so.
Speaking of amnesty, be sure to listen to this week's podcast. Our guest is the only many who thinks less of the GOP on immigration than I do, Mickey Kaus.
Monday Morning News Dump
- Revolution Dotage
- Property And Peace
- What Should America's 'Do Something' Congress' Do
- My Problem With People Who Agree With Me
- 'Creating Oneness' Through Progressive Comedy
- Obama Calls For Immediate Truce In Gaza, No One Lisens
- Like ISIS Threat, Obama Ignored Warnings About Potential Border Crisis
- The Dogma Business
- Two Americans Killed Fighting For The IDF In Gaza
- Why Aren't There More Gay People?
- At Least 40 Shot Over The Weekend In Chicago
- The Nations 100 Billion Dollar Regulation Tab
- Man Uses Excel Spreadsheet To List All The Times His Wife Turned Down Sex
- Black Holes Become White Holes When They Die
- An Amazing Collection Of Photos Of Pre and Post Accident Chernobyl
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Top Headline Comments (7-21-2014)
Here's to forgetting I told Gabe I'd cover for him this morning.
Overnight Open Thread (7-20-2014)
From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible - that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.
Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.
Here is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking on the shoot-down of flight MH17 and killing of 289 passengers by Russian-backed rebels.
And then you have Ronald Reagan's classic (and epic) response to the Soviets' shoot-down of KAL 007 in 1983.
But all we get is more mush from the wimp.
A missile Transporter, Erector, Launcher And Radar unit believed to be the one that fired the fatal shot was hustled across the Russian border into oblivion - the same fate that befell the flight's data recorders, and suggestive of guilty knowledge in the Kremlin.
The 2nd missile from the left is missing, and people think they know where it went.
And the results of the weapon the Russians gave to a bunch of reckless thugs:
Which isn't really a surprise given their actions over the years but the difference is now they're not even trying to hide it anymore.
Well we've got plenty of guns so we need more lawyers and $$$.
We started calling it "conservative lawfare," and it drove the progressives nuts. What made them so vulnerable was not only the dubious legal grounds of their actions but their manifest pettiness and unfairness. You see, lawfare - as progressives themselves used to understand - was not just about winning on the merits of a particular lawsuit. It was theater - it highlighted and put in front of the public these big government actions that could not be swept under a rug. You got to court, and unless you dismiss the case following a settlement, the court has to rule one way or another. Something has to happen.
Most Americans are generally fair-minded, and they saw how essentially unfair many of these government actions were. And when the progressives doubled down - which they always did - they looked awful. It was not always a matter of winning or losing the case itself. We lost a lot of cases . . . . But what really mattered, what really helped the movement, was showing the injustice of progressivism. Lawfare let us do that
It's hard to make two fundamental errors in just 140 characters but your betters in the MSM are just the guys to pull it off.
Because the wrong minorities are excelling.
I didn't even know he was still alive. Or still litigious.
Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, is suing Call of Duty's video games publisher. The ex-military ruler is seeking lost profits and damages after a character based on him featured in Activision's 2012 title Black Ops II. The 80-year-old is currently serving a jail sentence in Panama for crimes committed during his time in power, including the murder of critics. One lawyer said this was the latest in a growing trend of such lawsuits. "In the U.S., individuals have what's called the right to publicity, which gives them control over how their person is depicted in commerce including video games," explained Jas Purewal, an interactive entertainment lawyer.
Top 10 commenters:
1 [570 comments] 'AllenG (Dedicated Tenther), Derringer Bandit.' [80.03 posts/day]
2 [466 comments] 'Ricardo Kill'
3 [397 comments] '---'
4 [368 comments] 'Nip Sip'
5 [362 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
6 [361 comments] 'Costanza Defense'
7 [331 comments] 'Lizzy'
8 [323 comments] 'Insomniac'
9 [317 comments] 'Carol'
10 [304 comments] 'RWC'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [81 names] 'The Political Hat' [11.37 unique names/day]
2 [70 names] 'Semi-comatose scroller'
3 [69 names] 'phreshone'
4 [60 names] 'Doctor Fish'
5 [59 names] 'porcelain protector'
6 [54 names] 'Adam'
7 [50 names] 'thinks you're damned if you do, damned if you don't'
8 [45 names] 'Nip Sip'
9 [45 names] 'noone, really'
10 [38 names] 'wth'
The group. Never heard of it.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Guenter Wendt having a final word with the Apollo 11 crew:
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Spaced-Out Challenge: One Giant Leap
Note: the Open Overnight Thread is below. Please direct off-topic convos to it. Enjoy!
Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge! Whether you have a question about equipment, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly astronomical journey.
This week, we remember the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, show off some of twitter's finest astrophotography, invite you to a star party, and enjoy a Christmas-in-July sight in Sagittarius.
Forty-five years ago today, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first of twelve Americans to walk across the surface of another world:
ABC News | ABC Sports News
Two things to consider:
@ConArtCritic 66 years from Kitty Hawk to the moon. Ponder that amazing shit— Dave in Texas (@DaveinTexas) July 20, 2014
Phil Plait has a great write up on a fantastic “group photo” of humanity, sans one man, here.
HuffPo also has an interesting bit of history: Aldrin's moon communion.
In just the 16 years between Apollo 11 and the year I was born, NASA went to the moon five more times, launched and crashed Skylab, sent probes to the surface of Mars, whizzed past Jupiter and Saturn, launched (and launched, and launched, and launched) the Space Shuttle, and Hubble and Galileo were in development. All followed a step on a surface a quarter of a million miles away. We are capable of incredible things, when we have the will and guts to do them.
And what thread about this momentous occasion would be complete without Aldrin's fantastic knuckular education of a mentally deranged person?
Best of the Supermoon
The supermoon took Twitter by storm last weekend, and here's a round up of its (and your) best shots:
And a friend of the blog got in on the action as well:
Which prompted yours truly to try to impress Animal Mother:
One of the things I encourage people interested in amateur astronomy to do is to attend a star party, and with the new moon on Saturday, hundreds will be held by various astronomical societies across the country. Not only will you enjoy great views through a variety of instruments, but it's a fantastic resource for new tips and tricks, comparing eyepieces, and learning your way around the skies. Most are held on new moon weekends so members and the public can get the best view of deep sky objects, and, keep in mind, most are often held "in the sticks", but clubs will provide clear directions to first-timers.
Where can you find one? NASA's Night Sky Network has a great resource listing all of the astronomy clubs in the United States, with an interactive map that indicates which ones are holding upcoming events. Here's the map for Charlotte:
When you contact your local club, be sure to ask if there are any specifics about attending (set arrival times, restrictions on lighting, etc), then just gas up the car and have fun!
A Summer Christmas Tree in Sagittarius
Beyond the glowing wonders and clusters near the heart of the Milky Way lies a beautiful asterism first noted by amateur David Elosser. Since we've already discussed the flashier wonders, here's how to find a hidden gem:
The full Beginner's Buyer's Guide, our Comet Guide (featuring additional grab-and-go telescopes), and any other edition you're looking for can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments.
As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theoneandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com, or tweet me @conartcritic.
If you have any more questions about your new optics, feel free to ask below.
Until next time, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!
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Still On The Hunt: Sharyl Attkisson - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Sharyl Attkisson may not be working for a network but don't be fooled into thinking she's stopped working. She's now free to investigate and to write about what pleases her and has been tweeting about those stories.
Last evening, she tweeted this:
In case you missed it: here are 6 under-served stories I've been covering http://t.co/QpWjTTbqh9— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) July 20, 2014
(Click in tweet for links to the stories)
The news of fresh Obama scandals and failures occur at such a rapid pace that it's easy for important news to fall by the wayside as the networks move on to the fresh, shiny squirrel. Here she offers continued coverage of some of the stories that others have walked away from: the VA Scandal, Military Injustice, Benghazi, etc, ....
I cannot wait for her book to be released. I've never before pre-ordered a book but did so here, on the first day she announced it, back in early March. It's gonna be a barn burner.
Food Thread: Frying: Because Everything Tastes Better Fried [CBD]
I don't have any particular expertise with frying, but it was mentioned as a possible topic for the Food Thread by a couple of heavy hitters, so I was intimidated into doing it (don't worry; the bruises will fade).
As Harold McGee points out in his marvelous On Food And Cooking, frying is simply the use of a hot oil or fat as the cooking medium. It works well because oils and fats can be heated to well above the boiling point of water and can brown and crisp the food surface.
There are two basic techniques: shallow, or pan frying; and deep frying. Southern Fried Chicken is a classic example of shallow frying, although I can find no explanation for its advantage over deep frying other than its simplicity.
If I were to guess I can't even guess.
There are as many batter recipes as there are foods to batter, and in the case of fried chicken, some are closely guarded family secrets. Add sugar for a sweet batter, spices and no sugar for savory, seltzer for a light batter, breading for extra crunch....it goes on forever.
My only word of wisdom (and we will define that loosely) is to be very careful with temperature. It is tempting to cook at the highest possible temperature, but that risks burning the exterior before the interior is cooked. And of course oil that is too cool will quickly soak into the food without browning and crisping the exterior. Use a thermometer and pay attention to the fluctuations in temperature as you add food to the oil.
I have had good luck with French Fries, mostly because I stuck with the classic technique of double frying -- once at low temperature to cook the potatoes, and then again at higher temperature to crisp and brown the outside.
As for equipment? I have a rotary fryer that works very well, although it cannot hold much. The advantage is that it is covered, so my house smells of frying for days rather than weeks. But any heavy-bottomed pot with high sides should work. Heavy-bottomed to help control temperature, and high sides to keep splatter to a minimum.
So....have at it. Recipes, advice, mockery; it's all good.
I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it is a very good version of a very satisfying dish. It's a great summer meal, because it can be served cool.
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)
Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, sherry vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, and ground peppers. Puree the sauce.
Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and scallions; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.
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Gaming Thread 7/20/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
So, a month ago they had a big media blowout on what they were working on, 8 months after the Xbox One was released. What I'm talking about is the original TV programming from Xbox Entertainment Studio. Yeah,, well, last week they decided to kill the whole program outside of the Atari-videogame crash (which they dug up all those ET carts for part of it), the Halo Nightfall digital series and the Halo TV show. So yeah, after 9 month of being on the market, Microsoft killed the last remaining thing that was "unique" about the initial promises of the XBox One. They've decidedly have gone all in on the shrinking market for hardcore console gamers with an under-powered and over-priced console which plays multiplats (the bulk of console gaming) with noticeably lesser graphics than the PS4. All the while Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer saying once again that it's a "Cloud and mobile first world" with a product that is noticeably un-mobile. I always figured Sony would die from blood loss caused from atrophy but Microsoft has decided that they could beat them to running off the cliff.
Considering Phil Spencer only knows or cares about gaming (a shrinking market when it comes to consoles in a company that is ill equipped for mobile gaming), how long till they kill off Xbox Video and Xbox Music? Xbox Music was Marc Whitten's thing and XBox Video was Ballmer's, two people who are no longer there.
For me at least, it's current state isn't what I bought or wanted (if I wanted a mainly gaming focus, I would have built a second PC).
Someone mentioned that Microsoft is starting to smell like IBM of the 90's (and late 70's) and I have to agree. Sure, they will compete in the cloud market but I can't see them pull enough market to really hang their hat on it in Microsoft's past and near future size. And they're way to late in the game to compete with Apple, Google and Samsung when it comes to mobile.
To bring it back to XBox, once again you have to laugh at the coincidence of Microsoft looking to kill off something created by J Allard and Robbie Bach while having their long term future as a company be killed by J Allard and Robbie Bach's Windows Kin/Windows Phone.
IT'S TIME! Loser bracket are playing today while NewBee sits in the Grand Finals (who saw that coming?) waiting for their opponent to make it through the grueling loser's bracket.
To be honest, I've had such a busy week and weekend that I honestly haven't been watching it too much. And I miss my Kaci-Chan waifu. What I have seen has been pretty good, topped by yesterday's last real game between LGD and DK where DK waited to long while pub stomping LGD. They took the rax from two lanes but at a crucial time, they got rolled in a team fight and LGD just walked down the middle to steal the game.
Today's games is:
Cloud9-ViCi (ViCi is up a game in the best of 3)
LGD-DK (LGD up by a game)
Winners of those matches plays Evil Geniuses which lost to NewBee in the winners finals
Winner of that match play Evil Geniuses who got denied in getting their Grand Finals ticket punched (and guaranteed minimum $1.5 million) by NewBee which starts on Monday at about 1PM/11AM (after the hour of talking heads and Kaci Aitchison).
If NewBee wins it all, I'm totally claiming credit for willing it to happen a few weeks ago.
Last night, TaeJa and Solar met in the Intel Extreme Masters Shenzhen Grand Finals with Taeja pulling out the win 4-3.
Mount Your Friends (PC, XBLIG) - This week marks the PC release of the Xbox Live Indie Game, Mount Your Friends. Umm......yeah
Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas (PC & Mobile) First expansion pack to Hearthstone which is a smattering of single player content and a confusing price. Play it in the first week and you get one part for free which makes the expansion $20, after that it's $26 in total but you can also buy them one by one for $7 I believe. If anyone knows whats up, please explain it down below because I'm not that smart to get it.
Abe's Odyssey: New & Tasty (PS3, PS4 and Vita [lol]) - It's Abe's Odyssey remade in 3D instead of 2D. Considering the way the puzzles were built for a single screen, it should be interesting in how they change it with the new following camera. Considering Just Add Water still hasn't fixed The Odd Box after 4 years, I'm curious on if this is gonna be buggy as shit as well.
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Sunday Travel Thread: Coolest Events You've Ever Attended [Y-not]
Greetings, traveling morons and 'ettes!
Today's Travel Thread is brought to you by weird travel gadgets, including this gem:
Dave in Texas' 45th Anniversary of the Flight of the Eagle post got me thinking about some of the momentous events in our shared history, like space flights or today's (British) Open Championship, and which ones we have witnessed in person.
For example, a good friend of ours works for the Military Industrial Complex and is therefore able to go to things like the (now defunct) space shuttle takeoffs and landings, as well as tin himself onto boomers and whatnot.
(As an aside, when Mr Y-not and I were traveling in Portugal (about a decade ago now), there was an aircraft carrier docked nearby and the locals asked us if we could take them on board for a tour. They assumed that any American would be allowed to get on a carrier. At the time we thought that was charming and amusing; now, with an commander-in-chief who hates regular Americans and the military, it's just kind of sad.)
Anyway, growing up near Washington, D.C. my parents were great about taking us to historical sites, places of importance, and events. I remember being a very small girl sitting on my Dad's lap watching the Cherry Blossom parade (I think there's even a newspaper picture of us somewhere - wish I could find that) and attending national fireworks display on the Mall the year the Yippies rioted. But other than that sort of thing, I'm not sure I can think of something equivalent to a space launch or major championship.
To get your brains working, here's a list of the "largest peaceful crowds in history." Some of the entries are quite... interesting (or disheartening, depending on your mood).
If I could, I would love to go to a golf major someday or maybe attend something like the Kentucky Derby or Olympics. For some reason, my mind keeps gravitating toward sporting events. (BTW, here's a list of the top sporting events in the US.) I suppose if we ever saw the next Reagan get elected it could be fun to attend his (or her) inauguration.
What "big" (or historic or unique) events have you attended? For example, did any of you old-timers attend Woodstock? (Go ahead, you can confess that. You're among friends!) How about Reagan's inauguration or a space flight launch or the Olympics or a Papal mass?
Which are on your bucket list?
To wrap things up, you can watch The Last Waltz, the movie based on The Band's last concert, here:
Watch The Band - The last waltz.avi in Music | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Lots of great music in this movie and some interesting commentary.
Did any of you go to this concert?
**Update: Yesterday's Gardening Thread got stomped pretty massively, so you may have missed my request for contributions. If you've got gardening triumphs - or disasters - to share, follow the link to learn how to send them our way. Thanks!**
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Headlines/Open Thread [CBD]
45th Anniversary of The Flight of the Eagle
—Dave In Texas
The Eagle has landed. 45 years ago today the LEM separated from command module Columbia and put two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz F'n Aldrin on the moon.
My father worked on the program, I was a kid in Huntsville Alabama when all this happened. He and mom let me and my kid sis stay up and watch the first moonwalk. It was about 10pm central time.
Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-20-2014: The Use and Abuse of Language [OregonMuse]
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.
What's Worse Than PoMo Writing?
Corporate writing, that's what. You wouldn't think anything would be worse than that pomo gobbledygook, but as you can see from the following e-mail I received last week, corporate gobbledygook comes pretty close.
I have substituted my company's name with the word 'Butterfly' to protect those responsible from all the giggles, snorts, and guffaws they so richly deserve:
We're moving fast on the Butterfly Business Optimization project and I'd like to share a quick update with you before the upcoming U.S. holiday.
I'm confident that we've created a solid program framework to help us effectively conduct analysis and explore the opportunities that will help us create a long-term GTM strategy. We're looking to simplify and establish global consistency and ensure that we have the right organizational structure in place to create a sustainable business that can contribute to the long-term growth of Butterfly.
As part of that, we've held a productive series of meetings with various teams from both Shared Services and the Butterfly BU to discuss opportunities and how we'll take advantage of them. This information, as well as the insights we gathered during a recent workshop with the sales and marketing leadership, will inform the adjustments we make to our GTM strategy and how we can work together more effectively to execute the strategy.
What our exploration of data and discussions have revealed so far is that we have overall alignment on Butterfly BU strategic priorities and the long-term value Butterfly provides. It has also shown us that:
" Adjusting our operating model to better deliver on customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key priority, and we'll be communicating more around CLV during the course of the project
" We have an intricate Go-To-Market approach that is fragmented across teams, adding complexities in executing on a coherent strategy. We are looking at ways to address this and simplify how we execute.
" To capitalize on our investments we need to ensure robust coverage across multiple channels and territories that are aligned with the GTM strategy and strategic priorities
" Delivering excellent results means we need to align on priorities, and continue working to achieve alignment around KPIs and incentives
These insights and other information that we gather will help us refine our strategy and accelerate execution on that strategy as a cohesive team.
We are currently on schedule to complete the GTM design by the end of August and are implementing incremental changes as we progress. We'll continue communicating along the way, including an update on the results of our next workshop happening in mid-July, where we will continue working through our GTM opportunities, organizational model, and the implementation plan...
And blah, blah, blah. The funny/sad part is, when you wade though all the gobbedlygook, you discover that this isn't really saying much. It's all a bunch of, "yeah, we're going to sell tons of product by doing a bunch of neat stuff, just you watch." It's like a politician's speech, fluff and vague generalities.
Emails like this, when they show up in my inbox, get sent directly to the crapper.
I was very tempted to reply by cutting and pasting a bunch of text generated by one of those online corporate bullshit generators, but for all I know, that is how the e-mail was written in the first place.
Maybe we should have read this book first, as a reference: The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk. I wonder if there's a similar lexicon of postmodern gobbledygook?
More Language Abuse, Fake (But Accurate)
You all remember back in latter half of 2004 when CBS News made a last-ditch effort to get John Kerry elected, and how that news organization's partisan advocacy on behalf of the Democrat Party turned into Rathergate don't you? And what a huge embarrassment this was for CBS, right? There was a big independent investigation, names were named, fingers were pointed, people got fired, and even though Rather himself didn't get the boot directly as a result of this debacle, CBS sort of eased him out the door into "retirement" a short while later. The (fired) lead producer of this news story, Mary Mapes, then wrote an absolutely laughable defense of her collusion with Democrat Party operatives to defeat George Bush that they tried to disguise as "news reporting".
So what do you do when you're faced with a catastrophe of such epic proportions? Well, how about turning Mapes' execrable book into a movie and get Robert Redford to play Dan Rather and also cast Cate Blanchett as Mapes?
I wish I were making this up. But I'm not:
Mapes' memoir, Truth and Duty, was published in 2005...James Vanderbilt, the screenwriter behind The Amazing Spider-Man and White House Down, will adapt the screenplay, and make his directorial debut with the project, which Mythology Entertainment is producing. Brad Fischer, William Sherak, Vanderbilt and Mikkel Bondesen are producing.
So it looks like this project has been green-lighted and is moving forward. Wonderful. Just wonderful. And let me be the first to point out how appropriate it is that it's going to be produced by a company named "Mythology Entertainment"
On the one hand, this movie could backfire, because, face it, the progressives really got their heads handed to them on this one, and releasing a lying, partisan movie about it could just dredge it all up again and so they may wind up with their faces completely soaked with egg AGAIN. But on the other, I don't think most people outside of the internet know much about this story, or realize how just how badly CBS News made complete fools of themselves, and how obviously bogus the documents were. So the movie may be the LIVs' one and only exposure to this debacle. Remember what happened with the Tet offensive?
Want to see what a complete hack Mapes is? Read the transcript of this 2005 interview of Mapes given by ABC News' Brian Ross where she claims that, as a journalist, she is not obligated to authenticate the evidence she uses to support her story. Instead, the burden is on critics to prove her wrong.
If that has truly been her view all along, she should have been fired for incompetence years ago.
What do you suppose was the first book printed in English? I would've guessed the Bible or a psalter, or something along those lines, but no, it's actually the epic romance Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, which I had absolutely never heard of until I read that one of the 18 surviving copies went for over $1.8 million at auction:
"Troye" was originally a French work translated into English by William Caxton. Caxton was a leading merchant in 15th-century Britain, and became the first person to bring the printing press to Britain (though he did so a few years after printing "Troye" in Belgium). He started translating the French work (despite not having any prior translation experience) in 1468 and finished rendering the epic romance into his native English by 1471, according to the Express. The book was printed around 1474.
Books of Note
Over at The Other McCain, the cob-logger who goes by the nom de blog of Wombat-socho has come out with a new book, The Last Falangist: Essays on Culture and Politics in America:
A military history buff shares his perspective in The Last Falangist, a collection of essays and LiveJournal entries that encompass the period from 2004 to the present day.
The entries and essays are a slice of life by a former Army linguist who shares his thoughts on religion, society, science fiction, and affairs of the heart.
For more about this book, read Robert Stacy McCain's review.
Wombat-socho is also the author of several books on Buddhism.
Update: Wombat-socho informs me that he is, in fact, NOT the author of several books on Buddhism. Amazon just lumped another author with the same name together and I got fooled. Thanks for the correction.
I just stumbled upon Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley.
Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back.
If the author is going to present this as a perplexing question ('why do efforts to help blacks always seem to end up hurting them?') I would suggest he would ask himself some hard questions about the "well-intentioned" part. The Democrats are only interested in making more Democrat voters, and they do this by swelling the ranks of the FSA. Once you see these "benign" welfare benefits as nothing more than parts of the FSA minority recruitment program, the mystery resolves.
Here's a book I'm probably not going to read: Obama's Globe: A President's Abandonment of US Allies Around the World by Bruce Herschensohn. Don't get me wrong, it's probably a good read, and I'll tell you about the author in a bit, but with a title like that, I know it's just going to make me mad. Reading about Obama's multiple international derelictions will fill me with impotent rage, and send my blood pressure though the roof. So then I'll be really, really angry, but there's nothing I can do about it. America elected this malicious fool not once but twice and we're stuck with him until 2016. So for me, ignorance, if not exactly blissful, does serve to take some of the edge off.
I remember conservative Bruce Herschensohn from the 1992 election cycle when California Senator Alan 'The Cadaver' Cranston retired and his seat was up for grabs. Hershenshohn secured the Republican primary and he went up against Representative Barbara Boxer who was attracting media attention because of her involvement in the House banking scandal, and probably would would have been hounded from office if she wasn't a Democrat. She defeated Herschensohn by 4.9% after her campaign leaked to the press at the last minute that he had once went to a strip club. No, I'm not making up that last bit. All of Boxer's questionable dealings with the House bank were nothing, but it was of the utmost importance that Hershensohn once went to a sleazy bar.
These days of course, California has become so liberal that a conservative candidate like Herschensohn wouldn't stand a chance, but back in those days, he had a legitimate shot. Since then, he has been writing books, mostly on foreign policy.
What I'm Reading
Just picked up Jonah Goldberg's The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas which I've wanted to read for some time. I got a chuckle out of this bit in the intro:
There's a kind of argument-that-isn't-an-argument that vexes me. I first started to notice it on university campuses. I've spoken to a lot of college audiences. Often, I will encounter an earnest student, much more serious looking than the typical hippie with open-toed shoes and a closed mind. During the Q&A session after my speech he will say something like "Mr. Goldberg, I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Then he will sit down, and the audience will applaud. Faculty will nod proudly at this wiser-than-his-years hatchling under their wings. What a glorious moment for everybody. Blessed are the bridge builders.
My response? Who gives a rat's ass?
Ha. Other than the hipster being a complete dufus, Goldberg points out some problems with this:
First of all, my right to speak never was in doubt...Second, the kid is almost surely lying. He'll take a bullet for me? Really?
This is going to be fun.
Yeah, I know that the last letter in the word "cliche" is actually not an 'e', but rather an 'e' with an accent, but minx.cc seems to have problems displaying any characters over 128 in the ascii table, and I wanted to avoid peppering the thread with black diamonds.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at 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 I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
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To What Shall The MSM Be Compared? [OregonMuse]
This is an open thread for non-book discussion.
Expanded and enlarged from some moron comments several weeks ago, this is what the MSM is like:
CBS News is like your drunk uncle who tells lousy stories and then gets mad when you don't believe him.
ABC News is like Joe Biden after he drank something he found in your garage.
CNN is like a senile old woman who talks to no one but herself.
MSNBC is like the stringy-haired crazy woman who lives in a run-down old house with 83 cats.
Fox News is like a carnival barker outside of a strip joint.
NPR is like a con man with a fake British accent.
The BBC is like a con man with a real British accent. And bad teeth.
Reuters is like a pimply-faced college freshman who's just read Howard Zinn and now considers himself enlightened.
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Bacon Pie (4 servings)
5 large eggs - lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
4 strips bacon - cooked and crumbled
1 ready-to-bake pie crust (or prepared dough)
3 additional strips bacon for garnish
To serve 4, line individual baking dishes or one 8-inch pie tin with thinly rolled pie crust. Flute the edges.
Fill with this mixture. well blended: 5 lightly beaten eggs, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup grated sharp cheese, 4 strips Swift's Premium Bacon fried until crisp and broken in pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven; lower heat to 300 degrees and baked 20 to 30 minutes longer.
Top with America's best-liked bacon - Swift's Premium.
Is the Swift Bacon Company still around? Heck if I know, but I left it in because these old marketing pieces are so charming.
UPDATE: Just learned of the passing of James Garner.
What a guy.
Overnight Open Thread (19 Jul 2014)
So with the comic book industry trying to outdo each other with superhero gender/race reassignments, I'm assuming we find out next week that Wonder Woman will now be transgendered. Or a dwarf. Heck, maybe both.
Airliner Yankin' and Bankin'
Now Democrats will really, really hate Walmart. New Walmart care clinic launches in two South Carolina locations.
A Walmart spokeswoman told WIS a store in Florence, South Carolina and a handful in Texas will begin the pilot project called Walmart Care Clinic.
Employees will pay just $4, customers just $40 for access to medical care from screening and vaccinations to treatment of sicknesses and even chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Wasn't something like this responsible for that show Revolution or something? Nothing good will come of this. It is doom I tell you, doom. Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy.
Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.
Drunken Russians edition.
Well you morons like maps and you like games/trivia so this just might be right up your alley. Google Maps tests your geography knowledge with 'Smarty Pins' game.
he concept is extremely simple: Google asks you a random trivia question about a specific city or country, and you're tasked with dropping a pin on the right spot. Players can pick between six categories that influence the line of questions they're given. These range from arts and culture to entertainment fodder, and it didn't take very long before we ran into a stumper.
Each player starts out with 1,000 "miles" which basically serve as your points. Drop the pin down on a right answer quickly and you'll get bonus miles. But if you're wrong, Google will look at just how far off your guess was and take away the distance in miles.
Vaping your booze. Check out the Vapshot. Now if I could just get this to load into my e-cig....
People Are Stupid
Remember that family that went sailing across the Pacific with their infant daughter that ran into trouble and needed rescuing? Well, instead of being thankful for being alive after endeavoring to win a Darwin Award, they decide to sue the satellite phone company because it was their fault they decided to sail across the pacific without adequate safety precautions or something.
TSA will get right on this. The down and dirty of vagina smuggling.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by:
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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Movie Night With The Morons: Animal House Edition - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
It's that time!
Pop the corn. Dip the chips. Pour yourself a cold one.
Togas. Wear 'em if you've got 'em.
Jackasses Try to Kill IDF Soldiers, But Wind Up Blowing Up An Innocent Jackass [Y-not]
From The Right Scoop we have this story:
Hamas is getting desperate for suicide bombers, so they loaded up a bunch of explosives on Democrats and shoved towards Israeli soldiers... no wait, I'm sorry, they loaded up donkeys, not Democrats.
From the Daily News:
Hamas militants strapped explosives to a donkey and sent it toward Israeli soldiers, the Israeli Defense Forces said Saturday.
Sadly, it sounds like only the innocent jackass got killed. (Read the whole thing here.)
Meanwhile, here's a recent update on the IDF's efforts:
IDF spokesperson, Brig. General Moti Almoz, said today (Saturday) that the Hamas organization lost or used half of its rocket stockpile since the beginning of the operation. Almoz claimed that Hamas launched 1705 rockets since the operation began and that it is only 17% of the original stockpile of 10,000 rockets 12 days ago. "I think that we destroyed 30% to 40% of the stockpile in the attacks" he said. In addition the Prime Minister Netanyahu called for a meeting to consider the deepening of the Gaza ground operation.
Got get 'em, Israel!
PS: Open thread until NDH's movie thread goes up.
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Fun Facts Open Thread [Y-notitlan]
Courtesy of Mr Y-not and via List25.com, here's a list of Twenty-five Things That Sound Too Crazy to Be True But They Are.
A small sampling below.
France was still executing people by guillotine when Star Wars: A New Hope hit theatres
It's true! France wacked off some scummer's head in 1977. Here's the story:
The famous and infamous blade dropped for the last time at Les Baumettes prison in Marseilles on Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant convicted of the torture-murder of the naive young girlfriend he had forced into prostitution. Oddly, he had already had another appendage - a leg - amputated as a result of a work accident; it was while recuperating that he caught the fascination of his hospital roommate's 19-year-old daughter, Elisabeth Bousquet.
Though the death penalty was grinding to a halt in 1970s France, Djandoubi was not the last person condemned (the link is French); the guillotine was only abolished with the election of the Francois Mitterand government in 1981.
On Jupiter and Saturn it rains diamonds
Here's the scoop from Gizmodo:
The chemistry is actually pretty simple. Saturn's atmosphere is mostly made up of hydrogen and methane, but when storms crop up, the lightning fries the methane, producing pure hydrogen and burnt carbon, a.k.a. soot. As the clouds of soot fall towards the planet, they clump together forming graphite, and as the pressure builds up closer to the planet's core, that graphite is compressed into pure diamond. So it's literally raining diamonds on Saturn. The scientists think the same thing might be happening on Jupiter.
Does this do us any good? Not right now. It's pretty hard to get to Saturn and Jupiter and to get down to where the diamonds are would be pretty tough since the pressure there is about 100,000 times what it is at sea level on Earth. And if we don't catch them fast enough, the diamonds eventually fall into the core and melt. Nobody wants a melted diamond necklace.
And my personal favorite...
Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire
Yup, Oxford University is pretty damned old. Here's what the Smithsonian Magazine has to say about that:
As early as 1096, teaching had already started in Oxford. By 1249, the University of Oxford had grown into a full-fledged university, replete with student housing at the school's three original "halls of residence" - University, Balliol and Merton Colleges.
Oxford isn't the oldest university, not by a long shot. India's Nalanda University had already operated for hundreds of years and been burnt down by invaders before Oxford got its act together.
What about the Aztecs? Well...
the origination of the Aztec civilization, marked by the founding of the city of Tenochtitlán by the Mexica at Lake Texcoco, didn't come until 1325. Tenochtitlán was captured by Spanish conquerors in 1521, just 196 years later.
Speaking of Aztecs, here's an episode of The Tick in which they are featured prominently.
Open thread to chit chat of this and that. It-lan.
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Saturday Car Thread 7-19-2014 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
I've been slacking due to business travel, so pardon the lack of posts these past couple of weeks. You can thank Twitter and, in particular, Automotive News, for today's content.
Here's one shiny bauble of news from the automotive industry:
Which automaker do you think ships the most cars out of North America, one of the Detroit Three or perhaps one of the Japanese automakers? Nope. It turns out the BMW's Spartanburg, SC, factory is the biggest automotive exporter from the continent in the United States. According to a recent profile by Bloomberg looking at the plant's 20th anniversary, Bimmer’s southern ops sends out more vehicles than all of Michigan combined.
And, speaking of BMW, I'm sure they're just burning mad over this announcement: Tesla officially announces Model 3, has BMW 3 Series in sight. Uh huh.
Hey, look! More news about South Carolina:
South Carolina is cementing its reputation as North America's tire capital.
Five tire plants have opened or are in the works in that state, as suppliers race to alleviate a tire shortage in North America’s booming automotive market.
South Carolina became the nation’s leading tire producer in the fourth quarter last year with estimated daily output of 89,000 tires, edging Oklahoma's 88,000 units, according to Tire Business, a sibling publication of Automotive News.
Ohio, home of historic tire center Akron, is No. 12 on the list at 23,900 tires per day.
Another key factor, which Etzel declined to discuss, was the state's financial generosity. According to news reports, Gov. Nikki Haley earmarked a $31 million grant to Continental for its plant. Intangibles played a role, too. Etzel says state officials have had considerable experience working with German manufacturers. A major BMW assembly complex, with suppliers, is in Spartanburg, S.C.
"We could tell they understood how German companies typically work - the decision-making process," Etzel said. "We had numerous occasions when it turned out to be very helpful."
Nice going Governor Haley.
Good intentions: Toyota engineer warns autonomous cars could increase fuel use, urban sprawl.
A very interesting classic from Classic Pics:
1971 Starstreak Motorhome (Custom). pic.twitter.com/99qSZJlDt9— ClassicPics (@History_Pics) July 13, 2014
Your government at work: Forty Land Rovers Seized By Homeland Security In Ongoing Investigation
Look at it! Just sitting there, plotting to destroy our way of life. Thank goodness we have been spared the threat brought on by ruggedly-handsome good looks.
Moron Roger Smith shares this beauty:
Check out those elbows!
Please feel free to send any complaints or commendations to me at Twitter: Nied's Dead Horse.
Close it up
Tales From the Once-Golden State: Couple Will Face Fine If They Water Their Lawn, or Pay Another Fine If They Don't
drought global warming in California and so the state has, not objectionably, levied fines for using water for non-essential things, such as watering lawns.
Of course, there's also a pre-existing fine for permitting your lawn to become brown and thus an eyesore.
Is this law suspended during the period of water conversation?
Of course not. The State doesn't care if it is now levying impossible commands on its subjects. Either way, the State wins. Catch-22's are only hardships for the party they're levied on -- but they have nothing but upside for the power that levies them.
Thanks to @theh2.
Saturday Gardening Thread: You Learn Something New Every Day [Y-not and WeirdDave]
Good morning, Gardeners!
Today's gardening thread is brought to you by The Carrot:
Via @DoreenHDickson, we have this article from The Federalist, "The 10 Stages of Clueless Gardening."
It's a fun post in which the author describes the various stages through which she's progressed during her five years of organic gardening.
Me? I skipped most of the stages and went straight to Stage 9:
Stage 9: Darwinism
You finally go back out there and see that your green beans are doing pretty well, actually. You can probably get enough to serve with supper. You also find a couple decent cucumbers and a few tomatoes that haven’t been sucked dry by stink bugs. The squash? You pull them all up and end their misery. And you feel remarkably better. Survival of the fittest, baby. If a plant can live through the onslaughts of nature without your constant attention and still produce something edible, it can stay. If not, buh-bye.
Seriously, though, I'm in Year Two of my attempts at vegetable gardening and I really have basically approached it as an exercise in the Survival of the Fittest. I figure, I've given the plants (and seeds) nice raised beds with good sunlight and (usually) plenty of water and (occasionally) some Miracle Grow and the rest is up to them.
What I've learned thus far:
(1) Herbs are easy and highly satisfying and where I am, anyway, do NOT require tons of sunlight. Mine are quite happy in a couple of raised beds under the aspen trees (except for the rosemary, which gets a metric butt load of sunshine in a south-facing bed). They probably get about an hour or two of truly direct sunlight each day, the rest is filtered. Extra bonus: most of my herbs survived the winter quite happily.
(2) Something likes to eat my spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and beet tops (beets are related). I think they're leaf miners. Sort of a bummer as I really enjoy leafy greens. My beets seem to have survived the attack, but the greens are no longer appealing for eating. I did not do anything to get rid of them* and I'm not sure I want to go that route of chasing down bugs. Darwin, baby!
*(2a) An addendum to this leafy vegetable pest problem: I've discovered that my husband's catch-all recommendation for garden pests is "soapy water." Last year when the kale and chard were attacked, he suggested I spray the leaves with soapy water. This had the effect of finishing off the plants... I suppose the leaf miners died of starvation, too. This year when I noticed the beets looking wonky he again suggested "soapy water." And, as I recall, when one of my house plants took sick last year he also suggested soapy water.
Note to self: Check Medical Power of Attorney form for references to "soapy water."
(3) I am probably the only person on the planet who can't grow a full-sized tomato. Last year's were a bust and this year's don't look much better. I have ONE, count 'em ONE, small green tomato forming thus far. Lots of flowers. No fruits. So next year I am going to do everything in my power to find that wonderful small tomato (bigger than a cherry, smaller than a full-sized tomato) that I grew last year. It produced early, made lots of fruit, and lasted all season.
(4) I'm going to have to do SOME research and planning if I'm going to maximize my garden. First, I'm pretty sure I am not putting in nearly enough plants. I see pictures of other peoples' gardens and they look so crowded compared to mine. Second, I do not have the hang of the early, middle, and late "crops" yet, so now my beds are sitting there with wasted space now that the first batch of carrots and beets are pulled.
With that in mind, here's what I learned about carrots:
To produce the best crop possible, double-dig your planting area or build up a raised bed. Loose, rock-free soil is the goal. If you have heavy soil, add plenty of mature compost.
Start sowing this cool-weather crop 3 weeks before the last expected frost; plant again every 2 to 3 weeks after that. Most cultivars take 70 to 80 days to mature, so sow your last planting 2 to 3 months before the first expected fall frost. In Zone 8 and warmer, plant carrots in fall or winter.
(Follow the link for more info.)
My first batch of carrots turned out fine (only a couple of woody ones), but they were not very big.
The roots are less exciting than the tops, so I decided to look for recipes that use carrot tops. This blogger assembled five ways to use carrot tops in your kitchen. I made the Moroccan-inspired carrot and chickpea salad earlier this week and it was very good.
OK, so now I've pulled all of my carrots and I would like to try a second batch for the Fall:
Spring is the season most gardeners think of when they start planning their planting season. Although long-season plants such as tomatoes and peppers need to be planted in the spring, shorter-lived vegetables such as carrots can be grown twice in a year. Planting carrots during the long, hot days of summer's end will give them a fast head start and they'll grow long and sweet in the cooler autumn garden until the frost arrives.
Calculate when to plant carrots for the fall harvest by finding out the average first fall frost date in your area. Most carrots need 10 to 12 weeks to grow, so count back from your frost date to determine when to plant. For instance, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8b, the first frost date is near the last week in November. Counting back from that date, you should plant fall carrots around the last week in August.
Each winter, on average, your risk of frost is from September 30 through May 14.
Almost certainly, however, you will receive frost from October 13 through April 24.
You are almost guaranteed that you will not get frost from June 3 through September 16.
Your frost-free growing season is around 139 days.
So it looks like I should probably plant those carrot seeds this weekend... I'd better get going!
And now, here's the latest from your co-host, WeirdDave:
OK, I thought I'd turn things around for this one. My garden is going well, tomatoes ripening, the potatoes have shoots out all over the potato tower I talked about. The lettuce grew but I forgot to harvest it and it bolted (shut up). However, there are some things that I didn't plant, and I don't. Garden staples even. Why? Because everybody gives me their extras. I'm talking cucumbers, zucchini and squash. Just this week I had a client load me down with squash and zucchini.
That bottom one is almost two feet long, and bigger around than my johnson! (I know, hard to believe) It will be going into bread before Gingy leaves for Canada. I made another squash for dinner, grilled. I sectioned it, then tossed the rounds into a big baggie with oil and spices (4 cup olive oil, ts garlic powder, ts each of salt, pepper and chipotle powder). Five minutes a side on a hot grill and yum. Another client gave me cucumbers and more zucchini.
This is just the start. If experience is any guide, all summer long I'll be getting overflow from gardens of clients, friends and maybe even random boxed of veggies that show up on the front porch when I'm out. How about you, is there anything that you don't grow because you know you'll be getting plenty from friends? Or are you in the other boat, desperately searching the neighborhood for houses with no cars out front so you can leave a “present” on the stoop?
I'm sorry this is so short, but I'm tired, I spent too long working on the OT thread.
Y-not: Thanks, WeirdDave!
To wrap things, how about some songs?
(Yeah, I am bound and determined to get all of you folks who say you don't like "country music" to change your tunes. I thought I didn't like it, either, until I gave it a try.)
NEXT WEEK WILL BE ANOTHER SHOW AND TELL POST.
If you have any pictures, questions, blog posts, or brags to share with the group, send them to me at my Twitter account (MoxieMom) or to my g mail account, bailesworth.
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OT Thread- Freemen vs Serfs Edition [WeirdDave]
I've been thinking about this since a FB conversation I had with my niece in the wake of the Hobby Lobby case. I posted the conversation on the ONT when it happened, you should go read it here (link should go to the post, but that's been wonky lately, if it just goes to the thread it's comment number 166). It's a bit long, but it's all dialogue, it should only take a minute or two to read.
Now, I come away from that, as you probably do, shaking my head. It's a thought process that's utterly alien to me. If someone else won't pay for something I want, I'll buy it for myself. If a job offers benefits that don't meet my needs, it's not a reason to piss and moan, I'll find a new job. If I can't find a new job right away, I'll continue to look for one. It seems so bloody simple to me, but that's because I see myself as a free agent. I'm responsible for my own life, and how that life goes is a result of the choices I make, for weal or for woe. I am a freeman.
My niece, OTOH, has a different attitude. She wants her place in life defined, and as long as she stays within those confines, she expects her needs and desires to be met. Oh, if you asked her she'd tell you that she's demanding "freedom", but it's license, not liberty. She's perfectly happy, determined even, to turn control over large swaths of her life to some other person or agency. She doesn't realize that if someone else controls her access to life's necessities and or wants, then they control her. Notice the particularly scary point in our conversation where she says that she'd be find with society forcing her to do something she finds morally repugnant if it's for the "greater good". Now, that statement is nonsense on it's face, because if she truly found something morally repugnant she wouldn't be fine with having it forced on her, but she's on a big anti-religion kick at the moment and I know she thinks that morality is something for icky Christians, not for an enlightened free thinker like herself. Be that as it may, the fact is she's not a free agent, and doesn't want to be one. She is, in fact, a modern serf.
Now, I'm not picking on Ruth. She's smart, I like her a lot, but she's young, mid 20s, and thoroughly marinated in the poisonous gruel leftists spew. At her age I was handing out literature at polling places in favor of Maryland's pro abortion referendum, something that shames me today. She's also Canadian. Don't get me wrong, I love Canada, I really do, and I'll readily admit that Canada is in many ways freer than the US these days, but there are subtle differences between our two seemingly identical cultures, the biggest of which goes back to how both nations were founded. The US was founded by people who wanted to be free from the diktats of the king, Canada by people who wanted to stay subjects of the king. That's why they don't have the First or Second Amendments up north. What needs have subjects of such things? Instead they get Human Rights Commissions and gun registry laws. Ironically, they're pushing back admirably against that, becoming more like what we're supposed to be, while we're trying like hell to become what they were a few decades back.
But here's the thing. I framed the conversation at the time as "this is how free nations turn totalitarian". I don't think that's right, or at least it's not the whole story. Western culture is a result of the convergence of three historical concepts. (Think of it as a real life game of Civilization: discovering masonry allows you to build walls, bronze working gives you spearmen, the wheel allows you to build chariots, and so on.) The first concept is the Judeo-Christian notion of monotheism. Monotheism leads to the concept of absolute right and wrong, which creates virtue. The second concept is the Greco-Roman discovery of science as we know it today. If ideas can be tested, and results replicated, then the universe is not random, it is rational. A rational universe can be studied and it's properties gleaned. We now have some measure of control over the world around us. Finally, we have the Anglo-Saxon dedication to rule of law. Rule of law says that the same rules apply to everybody, and it's easy to see where that leads: equality. Virtue, rationality and equality. These three great concepts found their ultimate zeitgeist in the founding documents of the United States of America, and for 200 years history has demonstrated just how superior those three concepts working in harmony are, for the entire world.
HOWEVER, and this is the crux of the matter, since we come from a culture that has embraced this fusion, and because we're conservatives dedicated to conserving it for out descendents, it is often easy for us to forget that we are not the norm. We are the aberration. Oligarchy has been the natural state of mankind for almost all of history. Despotism is the norm for most of the world's people today. We're in a fight not just for ourselves and our children, not just to preserve and protect the Constitution, but one that will determine if mankind continues to evolve towards universal liberty. 200 years from now, will the average human be a freeman, or a serf? If we fail, not only will the lights of the shining city on the hill be extinguished, all of mankind will slide back into the darkness from which we came. The stakes have never been higher, and we're betting against the house. We better not fuck it up.
Have a nice day.
Close it up
Saturday Morning Open Thread: Nothing to See Here [Y-not]
Last week was a pisser, wasn't it? I think we all need a bit of a palate-cleanser
Something to ground us in reality after the surreal behavior of our oh-so-dedicated Commander-in-Chief.
How about this?
Did you know that roughly one third of Americans believe in UFOs? The number has been remarkably consistent over the past 8 years and it does not seem to track to political affiliation.
Make of that what you will.
Apparently, World UFO Day was earlier this month. (Dayum and I missed it!)
Here's a roundup of UFO "sightings" for your amusement, courtesy of ABC News.
Have you ever seen a UFO?
I saw something UFO-esque a year or two ago one evening while standing on my back deck. Several lights moving together above the tree tops up hill from my house. Slow moving or hovering. No sound. Eventually lost sight of it as it became obscured by trees.
I had time to have my husband come out and take a look. He thought it was an ultra-light.
The main thing I took from my "UFO sighting" was just how hard it is to gauge much of anything -- size, distance, height, speed -- when you're just watching lights against a dark sky.
How about you?
To wrap things up, how about a song? (Stay with it, it starts out kinda slow.)
Open thread to talk about whatever floats your boat.
**I HATE PIXY. Here's a link to that Worcester Post Office story referenced in the comments. http://preview.tinyurl.com/k5dzv8b**
Close it up
Genetically Modified Food: It's Everywhere! [CBD]
Of course, that is no surprise for anyone with two functioning synapses. Man has been altering his crops and domesticated animals for as long as he has been growing them.
The luddites in the Green/Organic/Progressive movement really mean, "Modified using evil scientific tools that we don't understand."
Shockingly, this article, The Case For Genetically Modified Food showed up in a Chicago paper.
Ample research and decades of experience have shown that genetically modified crop technology is safe. People have been consuming genetically modified food for years. The vast majority of Midwest corn and soybeans used for animal feed and many pantry staples is genetically modified.
Moreover, this technology represents an astonishingly effective way to increase the food supply -- to feed a rapidly expanding global population.
There is vast potential: crops with enhanced nutrition, crops that grow in droughts, crops that enable subsistence farmers to deal with conditions that thwart conventional crops. Those innovations are well within reach.
Yes, those are pigs hovering.....
And from commenter "RWC."
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Good morning, from Yusuf Islam.
Hey, I promised you early morning fresh thread. I never promised it would be good.
UPDATE: Brought to you by 'Money and Fame':
Overnight Open Thread (18 Jul 2014)
This Brookings Institute report of Government's Most Visible Failures, 2001-2014 really highlights the media's bias. Just look at the top 10. Was Abu Ghraib really that important? Benghazi ranks just 16th. The Healthcare.gov launch was 19th. The VA scandal is 21st. IRS scandal 30th. NSA leaks 31st. Fast & Furious 41st. Every single one of these scandals SHOULD be more important than Abu Ghraib.
The note for #13, Iraqi WMD, is a bit off. They say "United States forces were unable to find a trace of WMD". I guess IS is in control of these non-traced WMD material then.
In light of the shoot down of the Malaysian 777 and the ongoing concern/threat of MANPAD proliferation, it might be time for other airlines besides El-Al to get SkyShield installed. Note this type of defense system is of no use against a radar guided missile like what was used yesterday but it has had successful tests against MANPADs which is the more likely threat. As for an airliner defense against SAMs, the best course of action is to just avoid the area.
Alright, which one of you Seattle morons did this?
California is suffering through a long period of drought conditions and there have been multiple stories of people ratting out their neighbors for using more water than they should so this story is a bit of a surprise. OK, it's California so not really. California couple conserving water for drought face a fine for having a brown lawn. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Second look at Brady Bunch astro turf lawns?
They must have some good drugs in Shasta county. With all the real problems facing California municipalities, the Shasta County supervisors think chemtrails are a clear and present danger and merit a full investigation.
Did you know that for the last 18 years, teams that have played on Thanksgiving Day have not won the Super Bowl that season? This streak might come to an end this year though. Seattle and San Francisco are the nightcap matchup this year. I'm sure ncj will chime in saying the Bears will be the team to break the streak this year but, um, no. Not gonna happen.
I usually do pretty good at the Craps and Blackjack tables but then again, I go in with a plan and with limits. New data provides some answers on the real odds for gambling.
On any given day, the chances of emerging a winner aren't too bad—the gamblers won money on 30% of the days they wagered. But continuing to gamble is a bad bet. Just 11% of players ended up in the black over the full period, and most of those pocketed less than $150.
The skew was even more pronounced when it came to heavy gamblers. Of the top 10% of bettors—those placing the largest number of total wagers over the two years—about 95% ended up losing money, some dropping tens of thousands of dollars. Big losers of more than $5,000 among these heavy gamblers outnumbered big winners by a staggering 128 to 1.
Amazing that 90% of casino revenues are from only 10% of their customers.
Moron Firearm PSA
The fuzz is on to our plan to say we lost our firearms overboard while boating. Michigan dive team recovers stolen 1911 pistol.
Sunshine-Adagio In D Minor
Benefit of Owning A Dog?
Bonus Dog video: Corgi puppy meets spoon for the first time.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by the A-10:
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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45 Years Ago, Ted Kennedy Left Mary Jo Kopechne to Die in the Shallow Water of the Chappaquiddick River
And, of course, walked away with a slap on the wrist. Less than that, really -- a two month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident.
To some extent I understand how that happen -- understand, not condone.
The Kennedys were an extremely famous and wealthy political family. For many Democrats, they were the Democratic Party.
Also, I suppose there was the sentiment that the "Kennedys have suffered enough."
So I can understand how justice got corrupted.
Nevertheless, justice was indeed corrupted. And while I understand that -- corruption happens, the rich get breaks, powerful scions of political dynasties get away with things that everyday citizens don't -- what I don't understand is why the media treats this as a "controversial" story, which must be avoided.
It's only "controversial" because it hurts the Democratic Party.
This of course is not a reason to treat a story as "controversialized" well enough that it shan't be spoken of, ever again.
But of course the media are almost all Democrats. They don't want to bring stuff like this up.
Brian Cates, aka @drawandstrike, has been tweeting the timeline on that night in 1969, and it's pretty gripping, pretty horrible stuff.
T. Becket Adams has collected those tweets into a Storified format. It's worth reading.
But it is horrifying:
People who assume Kopechne died instantly have never answered the testimony of diver John Farrar: pic.twitter.com/u7ExH4t7na— Brian Cates (@drawandstrike) July 18, 2014
Dad Catches Pervert Molesting His Child and Administers Dad Justice
You can't call this a "nice story," given that the child was molested and undoubtedly will bear at least some emotional scars from that.
But there is something reassuring when justice comes, whether administered by God, the courts, or a Kid's Dad.
When police asked the Avenging Dad if he had used weapons in the beating, Avenging Dad said Yes: My foot and my fist.
Apparently when the cops peeled this monster off the floor, he admitted he'd been molesting the kid.
So Avenging Dad pounded some Truth into him, too.
At the link, Allah discusses the law, and whether the Dad could be brought up on charges. Don't worry, Allah doesn't want that to happen and of course does not expect any prosecutor to do so.
But this points out an infirmity in the law to me. If the just outcome here -- that the Dad is allowed to beat this guy up, even though technically the law forbade it (given that at the point of the beating, he was not stopping a serious crime in progress; the pervert stopped when caught) -- requires a prosecutor to ignore the law or pretend the law doesn't exist, it's a bad law.
We are a nation of laws not men. The law should not require human beings to ignore parts of it to spare a popular defendant (nor should it allow human beings to alter it to go after an unpopular defendant -- which is what I think happened in Mississippi, in the Thad Cochran's wife's nursing home matter).
The truth is that it is silly to pretend human beings have a perfectly functioning, expertly timed on/off system for violence. The law is pretending that we do with its dictate that violence stop the moment a lawbreaker is no longer committing a serious crime.
But we don't.
So prosecutors have to pretend that this guy was afraid that the molestation might continue, if not for the beating.
There should be, in the law itself, a caveat that there should be some tolerance for what would otherwise be called extra-judicial punishment if the violent response occurs a very short time after a very serious crime which the reasonable person would call both emotionally overwhelming and a serious enough provocation to justify it.
Some would say this is a license for people to commit acts of violence as pure retribution. I can't argue with that -- that would be the effect of the law. There would be some excessive violence that would be excused away due to such a caveat.
But isn't that the system we have now, except unwritten, unpoliced, and unacknowledged?
There's a lot of room for mischief when we rely on secret understandings and "hidden law" to correct the absurdities of the law as written.
It's ridiculous to claim that the law demands that this Dad just sit there and calmly dial the police as he looks at this pervert with his pants down at his ankle, and it's injurious to our system of laws to rely on the discretion of men -- with their biases and bigotries -- to decide when the law will apply as written and when it won't.*
* One source of trouble for such "secret understandings" may occur when the parties are of different races-- that often sparks off racially-aligned anger.
I assume in this case that both the Dad and the Pervert were black, because, in America, as in most of the world, most molesters prey on their own race, and most violence is committed against people within one's own race, and so forth. (In addition, the pervert seems to have been a guest in the Dad's house; this society is still largely self-segregated, so it just seems likely to me that both parties were black.)
But what if they were different races? And what if the dad had taken one punch too many and put the guy into a coma, or killed him?
And what if the pervert, despite having done something terrible, could be portrayed as an otherwise sympathetic figure?
In that case, how would the prosecutors justify not applying the law as actually written?
The decision would again not be made on the law-as-written; instead the decision would be made based on which tribe's Racial Partisans got their troops out the quickest.
So the decision would be made on political grounds.
These factors aren't present in this case (I assume), but this is the sort of mischief I'm talking about. Certainly such cases are, sadly, fairly common.
It just seems to me that the law written down on the books should be the same as the law actually applied. If there is a difference between the law as written and the law when it makes contact with the enemy (that is, the actual world), then the written law should be altered to conform with actual practice.
I wrote something similar about a case in France when a jeweler shot jewel-thieves armed with guns and who had beat him to compel him to open his safe.
He was prosecuted.
Why? Because he only got his gun after the robbers fled, and shot them literally only seconds after the assault/robbery, as they fled down the street.
The law should be written to make sense to the common man, not the exceptional one. Perhaps an exceptional man places so much value on the life of the man who just beat him, threatened him with a shotgun, and stole his fortune that he would rather let a fleeing robber escape than fire a shot at him.
But the common man doesn't feel this way. And the law should demand a basic level of good behavior, not a heroic level.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Mickey Kaus
Mickey Kaus joins mainly John and Drew to talk immigration, Hillary! and other topics. Ace wakes up from his siesta at some point and joins the conversation.
Here's Mickey's book that both John and Ace referred to: The End of Equality(Book)
Intro/Outro: The Black Crowes-Jealous Again/Gorillaz-Clint Eastwood
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
Is This The Ultimate in Hillary Clinton Media/Feminist Sycophancy?
"The Stylist" is a UK publication. It bills itself as a "consumer magazine." I do not know what this means. Looking on the web for guidance, it seems to only mean "not a professional or trade magazine; a magazine directed towards the general public's general interests."
Or something like that.
I think maybe it means "a silly magazine for dumb people."
I can only excerpt a little of Andrew Stiles' excerpts. It's all worth reading though.
His excerpts, I mean, not the "consumer magazine" story.
As I crammed years of Hillary's utterly mind-blowing life into just a week, something else dawned on me. I had never--would never--experience busyness like Hillary.
Hard Choices details the life of someone special: a woman with a huge capacity for understanding, a woman with an exceptional EQ and IQ (as Secretary of State she needed to remember hundreds of people, understand the intricacies of cultural and societal differences, handle delicate international business negotiations and, more pertinently, fight for people’s lives through peace deals). She was responsible for the most difficult of decisions: those that deal with life and death. It was around that moment of clarity when I stopped telling people how busy I was.
Throughout my interview with Hillary, she is fiercely engaged; her eyes--sparkly, wide, alert--remain firmly focused on me. She is warm, considered, talks slowly and thoughtfully and uses--consciously or not--tactics that put me at ease. She frequently answers my queries with the response: "Now, that’s a great question"...
This reporterette is blown away that a politician flatters her interviewer by saying "Now that's a great question."
She's never seen this tactic before. It's a novelty, a breakthrough. At least for her.
"The Stylist" magazine is not exactly The National Review, I guess.
she litters her answers with colloquialisms that put us on a level and, listening back, I am struck by the amount of times she says, "You know".
The woman is incredible. She uses "You know" as an opening hesitation instead of patriarchal hesitations like "Well" or "You see."
And of course there's that charming laugh.
"I was going to say the same thing!" emails Pennywise the Clown.
I can see that these natural skills make her the perfect diplomat, the ultimate leader. These are the skills she believes women bring to business. But it would be naive to think that gender differences still don't present challenges. There's also the matter of the complex, mechanized walker she needs to simulate normal human locomotion.
I may have added that last part.
By the way, I did not confirm that this reporter is female. I didn't look at her byline.
I say that in defense of calling her a "reporterette." I do not know, for a fact, that she's a she.
But if her girlish squee-ing suggested that to me-- that is rather more on her than on me.
Video Posted by Ukrainian Government Shows Russian Surface-to-Air Missile Carrier Hightailing It Back to Russia... Missing One Missile
It is being carried back to Russia on a flatbed trailer. The missile carrier itself is a tracked vehicle.
Tracked vehicles are decidedly slower than their wheeled counterparts. The use of the truck could indicate the system’s own propulsion system is disabled, or that speed is a priority for whomever is moving it.
Intelligence officials believe the plane was shot down by an SA-11 Buk, called "Gadfly" by Americans.
This missile carrier is, get this, an SA-11.
Thanks to @cuffymeh and @theh2.