Overnight Open Thread (6-30-2015) – Link-o-rama Edition
When Greece's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, in an early round of negotiations in Brussels, complained that Greek pensions could not be cut any further, he was reminded bluntly by his colleague from Lithuania that pensioners there have survived on far less. Lithuania, according to the most recent figures issued by Eurostat, the European statistics agency, spends 472 euros, about $598, per capita on pensions, less than a third of the 1,625 euros spent by Greece. Bulgaria spends just 257 euros. This data refers to 2012 and Greek pensions have since been cut, but they still remain higher than those in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia and nearly all other states in eastern, central and southeastern Europe.
And here Mark Steyn describes the onerous life of a Greek civil servant:
Greek public sector employees are entitled not only to 14 monthly paychecks per annum during their "working" lives, but also 14 monthly retirement checks per annum till death. Who's going to be around to pay for that?
So you can't borrow against the future because, in the crudest sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when ten grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?
In the 1950s, the most puritanical place in America was somewhere in Kansas. Today it is Los Angeles.
-- Richard Miniter
Blogger Glenn Reynolds noted that when the South was solidly Democratic, we got "Gone With the Wind" nostalgia. Now that it is profoundly less racist, but also less useful to Democrats, it's the enemy of all that is decent and good.
-- Jonah Goldberg
The F-35's ability to compete against other fighter aircraft in a close-in dogfight, even against the decades old designs it looks to replace, has always been a contentious issue. Long ago, the F-35's maneuverability was planned to far exceed that of fourth generation fighters. Over time, those claims eroded to the point where the troubled stealth jet is described as being "about as maneuverable as an F-16."
Also: The F-35 can now take off from a ski jump. So it has that going for it.
Hard to argue effectively with that, although as I've noted earlier Greece is still an ally, which leads me to rather sentimentally not want it to collapse into some sort of Anarchy Free-Fire Zone. But, hey, elections have consequences. Greece has been making some very bad calls all throughout this crisis; not least of which was its inexplicable decision to hire Marxists to solve its economic problems. That's like hiring a radical Greenie to run your fission pile; he doesn't want to do the job, and even if he did he still doesn't know how. Hopefully the Greeks will wise up, soon. because the end result of that fission pile analogy would quite likely be a pile of corpses, and that is something that Commies are quite good at producing, alas.
What, you don't think that you can have a Third World collapse in Europe? Why? It's not like there's some sort of Cause And Effect disruption field covering the continent.
Part of a pattern.
In 1975 the Clintons attended in a voodoo ceremony in Haiti. Hillary has also been known to communicate with the dead.
Nevertheless, the DEA took all of Do's money under the assumption that he's involved in the drug business, despite being more than willing to let him go without even a citation. Do had planned to take his money to California to help his financially-struggling siblings out, but ran into the DEA first.
Then there's this:The Plaintiff did not know that it was a violation of Federal regulations to carry cash in excess of $5,000 at the time of the seizure.There's a good reason for not knowing this. There is no federal regulation prohibiting citizens from walking around (or boarding planes) with any amount of cash. Asset forfeiture laws make this practice unwise, but nothing in federal law says Do was forbidden from boarding a plane with his $44,000.
Note that not only was there no evidence of any connection with drugs but that DEA agents simply took the money without even issuing a citation or summons. This is Mexican Federales shit.
And then it got worse.
In 1980, Ted Benna was fed up with the pension consultant business. Instead of looking for ways to help employees when they retired, employers were looking out for themselves and seeking tax deductions, while minimizing pensions.
...The 401-k was a page-and-a-quarter of the 1978 Tax Reform Act. It allowed companies to set up defined contribution plans in which employees put money in, invest it, and collect the money when they retire. No one envisioned what Benna did with the 401-k, and it is doubtful Congress intended it that way. Unions have come to oppose defined contribution plans. Perhaps because the 401-k makes it easier for workers to participate in capitalism.
He was working on refining the pension plan of Cheltenham National Bank of Philadelphia in 1980. He had gone into work on Saturday where he would not be distracted by colleagues and phone calls, he read the code and had a Eureka moment. He credits God for the discovery, and who am I to argue with him?
Benna's plan was brilliant, because it allowed pre-tax payroll deductions of the money, and allowed employers to match some of the investment to encourage hourly workers to save money for retirement by investing their savings in mutual funds. Because it was retirement money, this forced workers to think in the long term and not worry about day-to-day changes in the market.
But his plan was not in the law. Benna wrote it. None of that was in the 401-k legislation. Unsure of the legality of his plan, Cheltenham National Bank. He said, "My approach was that if the code doesn't say thou shalt not, then thou should be able to."
Johnson Cos., an insurance and finance company in Newtown, Pennsylvania, was the first to take the plunge. Benna received initial approval from the Internal Revenue Service, which later promulgated regulations enabling Benna's plan.More than 30 years later, the 401-k is now a $4 trillion industry.
"A blast furnace that fits in a vest pocket."
-- Wilhelm Ostwald, winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Rosie O'Donnell could not be reached for comment.
With hidden games, liquor, and pr0n.
The Yahoo group is for closers only.
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If Hillary Clinton's Speaking Fee of $237,000 Is Too Much For You, You Can Hire Her Useless Failure-Puddle of a Daughter for $65,000
What the Clintons lack in dignity, they make up for in graft.
I know I'm way late on this but can I just say: Oh my shit.
Racism is a powerful animating force. And yes, this is racism. This is Female Superiority Racism mixed with Liberal Comfortable Class Tribalism Racism.
This is all about paying someone to stand as an avatar for one's own Superiority.
You can make a lot of money by giving the unaccomplished a racial or chromosomal excuse to feel that they're Important, too.
When the University of Missouri at Kansas City was looking for a celebrity speaker to headline its gala luncheon marking the opening of a women's hall of fame, one of the names that came to mind was Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But when the former secretary of state’s representatives quoted a fee of $275,000, officials at the public university balked. "Yikes!" one e-mailed another.
So the school booked the next best option: her daughter, Chelsea.
The university paid $65,000 for Chelsea Clinton’s brief appearance...
Now, let's see what a University gets for it's $65,000. Or what I call "full ride for a deserving underprivileged student."
The schedule she negotiated called for her to speak for 10 minutes, participate in a 20-minute, moderated question-and-answer session and spend a half-hour posing for pictures with VIPs offstage.
That long, huh? I hope she's monitoring her pulse rate. That kind of pace can kill someone.
As with Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches at universities, Chelsea Clinton made no personal income from the appearance, her spokesman said, and directed her fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Yes... and let's pretend that Foundation doesn't pay for their wardrobe, offices, transportation, travel, and five man staffs. (Yes, Chelsea has a five man staff.)
You know what most people call those things?
The cost of living. (Plus, jet plane rides and five-man staffs!)
So yes, they are in fact being paid by the Foundation.
If I started a "charity" and contracted to pay all your food and rent costs for the rest of your life, would you claim that you were being 'uncompensated"?
So the university turned back to others, eventually choosing Chelsea Clinton when the agency indicated she was willing. Just shy of her 34th birthday, Clinton commanded a higher fee than other prominent women speakers who were considered, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem ($30,000) and journalists Cokie Roberts ($40,000), Tina Brown ($50,000) and Lesley Stahl ($50,000), the records show.
Chelsea's done so much more, just by being born to Hillary Clinton and... well it really doesn't matter.
Officials with the school appeared to believe Clinton was worth her fee, which university spokesman John Martellaro said was paid using private donations. They exulted to Clinton’s representatives that the luncheon sold out quickly, with 1,100 tickets selling for $35 each -- which would equal $38,500. University officials say the event was intended to boost attention for the new hall of fame, not raise money.
So you funneled money to the Clintons at a fundraiser, lost money (as usual), and then you say "It wasn't about the money anyway, it was a about the attention?"
What f***ing attention? Who the hell ever heard of this before now?
I'm reading an article about this "hall" you supposedly boosted the profile of and I can't name the hall or guess what this hall's function is.
This was about funneling other people's money to political figures the left likes -- as usual.
"Chelsea was the perfect fit," Amy Loughman, an alumni relations official who managed the event, wrote in an e-mail a few days later. "It created fantastic buzz in the community."
She created fantastic buzz on NBC News, too, before she was fired for having the charisma of a urinal cake.
In dozens of e-mails exchanged between University of Missouri officials and Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency, which arranges appearances by all three Clintons, there was no reference to her $65,000 fee going to charity. Nor was there any reference in the five-page contract.
Because it didn't.
What can this charmless, talentless, pointless woman do except collect graft-checks on behalf of her parents?
The university paid the fee -- which also covered Clinton’s travel expenses -- in two disbursements to the Walker Agency. But Martellaro said, "We have no knowledge of how funds were disbursed from that point."
Bazbaz said all of Clinton’s paid speeches through the Walker Agency are delivered on behalf of the foundation "to support implementing its life saving work" and that this was "always the intention" with the University of Missouri. He added that neither she nor her hosts receive charitable tax deductions.
Because it's not charity.
Oh now let's look at the contract, which has more riders in it than Van Halen did at the peak of their popularity.
The contract stipulated that Clinton would have final approval of everything, such as the selection of her introducer (celebrities, journalists and elected officials were prohibited from consideration), the onstage setup (there must be "room-temperature water" next to her podium along with "two comfortable armed-and-backed chairs" for the question-and-answer session) and the type of microphone provided for her use (both lavaliere and handheld).
In e-mails with university officials, Clinton’s aides closely edited the texts of press releases, marketing materials and introductory remarks. Clinton’s representatives instructed that a line about her being the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton be deleted from one news release and that her title of vice chair of the Clinton Foundation be added beneath her name on an electronic flier. Other materials mentioned her parents, however.
When reviewing the script that a student would read introducing her, a Clinton Foundation aide asked university officials to remove the list of Clinton’s degrees. A Clinton adviser, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the event, said "this was by no means an intention to script a high school student's introduction of Chelsea," but rather to avoid what otherwise would have been a recitation of all of Clinton's achievements.
There's so many of them, who could list them all?
Oh, there you go. I just did list them all.
Not as hard as I thought.
Clinton’s representatives also closely managed her time on campus. They asked whether she would be free to depart from the event once she finished her remarks, rather than waiting until the luncheon concluded. Martellaro said she stayed until the end.
Clinton agreed to pose for photographs backstage with 100 VIPs prior to the speech. But her representatives requested that only 20 to 30 minutes be budgeted for the photo line, rather than 45 minutes the university initially sought.
You know what there's no news about?
Anything Chelsea Clinton said there that day.
For $65,000 for thirty minutes' work, you'd think that this graceless walking graft-bag could have said something interesting or insightful, no?
But no, no one expects anything from the Clintons; no accomplishments, no successes.
Just nothing but an extended hand, palm up, demanding their next pay-off.
Contest: Play this video -- Chelsea Clinton talking with Stella McCartney about how harrrrd it is to have rich parents -- and watch the counter.
Tell me the time at which you Tap Out.
How far can you make it?
Suggestions Box for the Next Book Club Thread
I don't think I picked a great one last time, but I want to do this again.
People will want to read a political book. There are two such books I want to read, and which are endlessly recommended to me, but which I need a nudge to read (which the point of a bookclub, the nudge): Thomas Sowell's Vision of the Annointed and F.A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom.
One book I'd like a nudge to read is Dracula, which I was enjoying before I put it down for no good reason. I was surprised it was well written -- for some reason I expected it to be gothic trash. Maybe it is, but I liked the scenery-painting of Transylvania.
The only type of book I'm going to call in the book club is one that people need a nudge to read -- classics, smart-stuff. I don't need a nudge to read the sort of entertainment fiction I already read. Like, I don't need a nudge to read the Jack Reacher book Killing Floor; I already did that, without a nudge. Nor the sci-fi candy Ready Player One.
So, that said, and feel free to recommend books, but there's no point saying "You should read the Vince Flynn book" because, while I take your recommendation seriously, it's also the case that I'd read the new Vince Flynn book if I liked the cover and the first few pages.
Ultimately I want to do Moby Dick, but I guess I need to build to that. Maybe at some point I'll try Huckleberry Finn, another classic I was supposed to have read but did not.
Choice: CBD suggested Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher," which I always wanted to read. I have no idea what it's about, though I suppose there's a house involved, and some substandard foundation work.
It's 7000 words, so it's just a short story, a mere tenth of a novel, and it's free on Kindle (and B&N, I assume).
It's also available freely at project Guttenberg, here.
So Fall of the House of Usher it is!
This is very exciting!
Let's go for... um, I dunno. Let's go for the Sunday after next.
It Is Time to Scrap the F-35 And Simply Begin Building Somewhat Updated F-15s Again
Have you heard the bad news? We have spent one trillion dollars on the F-35, which is intended to be the main battle plane across three different services (Navy, Air Force, Marines), filling at least two different roles (air superiority, that is, dogfighting and radar-destroying, and ground-striking) and the thing is an absolute piece of shit which will kill our pilots.
This is not some niche plane. This is intended to be the main airframe in use by all of our military. This will end up being 70% of the planes we fly. (Note: I just made that up, but I really want to push that this is not just some niche flier we can afford to limp along with.)
A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy’s own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.
"The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage," the unnamed pilot wrote in a scathing five-page brief that War Is Boring has obtained. The brief is unclassified but is labeled "for official use only."
The test pilot's report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 -- which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history's most expensive weapon.
The fateful test took place on Jan. 14, 2015, apparently within the Sea Test Range over the Pacific Ocean near Edwards Air Force Base in California. The single-seat F-35A with the designation "AF-02" -- one of the older JSFs in the Air Force --took off alongside a two-seat F-16D Block 40, one of the types of planes the F-35 is supposed to replace.
The F-35 was flying "clean," with no weapons in its bomb bay or under its wings and fuselage. The F-16, by contrast, was hauling two bulky underwing drop tanks, putting the older jet at an aerodynamic disadvantage.
But the JSF's advantage didn't actually help in the end. The stealth fighter proved too sluggish to reliably defeat the F-16, even with the F-16 lugging extra fuel tanks. "Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement," the pilot reported.
In the end, the F-35 -- the only new fighter jet that America and most of its allies are developing -- is demonstrably inferior in a dogfight with the F-16, which the U.S. Air Force first acquired in the late 1970s.
I am not even close to expert. One caveat I'd note here: Dogfighting is not everything. Agility is not the most important thing. Speed is. For example, I remember in the nineties some lesser plane -- maybe the F-16, maybe some British fighter -- would routinely beat F-15s in dogfighting.
But the F-15 pilots laughed. They said, basically, this: "We lost because we were under the artificial conditions where we had to dogfight. In real life, we get to decide whether we have the superiority and thus whether to engage at all. And in the air, speed, not agility, is king: we can close on them if they flee, and we can flee them if they close on us. Add in our ability to hit them from very far away, and it all shakes out that the F-16's advantage in dogfighting is trivial, and not one that will make a difference on the battlefield very often."
But no one hears anything but one problem after another with this plane. (See video below for more.) Australia's going a little big wiggy that they've contracted to buy this lemon.
There is no doubt that the US fighter fleet could use a refreshing -- but this plane seems to be awful.
We need some brave voices to stand up to the serious Career-Momentum of this thing -- that is, everyone who shepherded this piece of shit along is going to suffer a career-ending embarrassment if we pull the plug on it, or put it back on to the chalkboards -- to take a stand and say that our boys, and our security, are more important than some Pentagon Procurement Asshole's career.
Put the F-35 back into the chalkboard stage, and begin designing some incremental, evolutionary changes to the F-15.
No, a slightly upgraded F-15 will not give us the sort of dominance we need.
But the F-35 sure won't, either, and at least we know, with the F-15, we're getting a reliable and effective platform.
We do need more stealth. Fine. Use the money saved from canceling the F-35 rollout (and buying cheaper upgraded F-15s) to buy some extra stealth planes.
But this F-35 seems to be a disaster, and Washington seems to be doing with this disaster what it does with all disasters of its own making: Pretending it's not happening so that no one actually has to (gasp!) get a demotion over the catastrophe.
For a contrary take, see Defense Tech, quoting pilots who claim flying the F-35 is "like magic."
I don't know.
There's a certain rah-rah that happens when you're in a group project and you want it all to turn out all right...
New Video Added: Dave in Texas recommends the below video-- from the co-designer of the F-16.
He calls the F-35 "dumb," and the whole F-35 plan a "stunt" and "public relations campaign."
Reporter Misreported Nobel Scientist Tim Hunt's Words, Then #SocialAttentionWhores Just Ran With It Until They Forced His Resignation
Unbelievable. According to a third-party EU official, and Sir Tim Hunt himself, she took words out the context, and concealed the fact that Hunt's remarks were jokes at his own expense.
The Guardian has now heavily re-edited this Social Attention Whore's story to make it less defamatory -- but the Guardian doesn't alert you to that, contrary to its own claimed rules.
Hunt has now resigned from his important work in cancer research. And this Social Attention Whore got her scalp.
New revelations about the speech and the context of the joke have surfaced. An account of a European Commission Official who took detailed minutes of the event adds key information absent from the original report:According to the new account, Sir Tim started with: "It's strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists” which makes clear he mocking sexism, rather than indulging in it. St. Louis reported this as Hunt simply admitting: "he has a reputation as a male chauvinist."
Immediately after the now infamous joke, according to the new evidence, he proceeded to make several very pro gender equality remarks, including: "Now seriously... Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me," which was similarly disregarded in St. Louis's twitter report.
Hunt has already protested that he added, "now seriously" to indicate the joke was over.
The Daily Mail is now vetting this #SocialAttentionWarrior, Connie St. Louis, and finding lots of troubling facts.
Then, early this week, the simmering dispute took a further, seismic twist.
It came courtesy of The Times newspaper, which revealed the contents of a leaked report into Sir Tim's fall from grace compiled by an EU official who had accompanied him to the Seoul conference.
This individual, who has not been named, sat with him at the lunch and provided a transcript of what Sir Tim 'really said'.
Crucially, it presented a very different take to the one which had been so energetically circulated by Connie St Louis.
However, Sir Tim's critics remained unmoved and disputed the EU report's contents. Importantly, given how the scandal had originally emerged, they were led by Connie St Louis.
Perhaps, therefore, we should ask two other related questions: who exactly is Connie St Louis? And why, exactly, should we trust her word over that of a Nobel laureate?
A good place to start is the website of London’s City University, where St Louis has, for more than a decade, been employed to run a postgraduate course in science journalism.
Here, on a page outlining her CV, she is described as follows:
'Connie St Louis . . . is an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist.
'She presents and produces a range of programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service . . . She writes for numerous outlets, including The Independent, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, BBC On Air magazine and BBC Online.'
All very prestigious. Comforting, no doubt, for potential students considering whether to devote a year of their lives (and money) to completing an MA course under her
stewardship. Except, that is for one small detail: almost all of these supposed 'facts' appear to be untrue.
I've quoted too much so I'll leave you to click on the Daily Mail to see what's untrue.
Think about the sort of person who becomes a Social Attention Whore.
Think about the psychology at play.
Then wonder: Why do we ever give these unaccomplished, envious, grasping monsters any credence at all?
thanks to @comradearthur
NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio Wants to Make it Illegal to Smoke in Your Own Homes
New Yorkers may soon not be able to smoke in their own homes, if Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way.
The New York Post reported on de Blasio’s new initiative to partner with health groups that will "pressure landlords" into banning smoking in apartment buildings.
"“That means smokers would be barred from lighting up in one of their last sanctuaries: their own living quarters," the paper said. "Smoking is already banned in public places, including bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues, and parks."
I keep saying this, but quitting smoking is the best decision I ever made, apart from eating that rib-eye a half hour ago. I would strongly urge all smokers to kick the habit -- you don't need it, just as a junkie doesn't need his drug, and you will be a better person -- healthier, more present in the moment (not thinking about your next nicotine jones), better at sex (everyone enjoying reduced lung capacity?), and richer.
Your life will become better almost immediately-- within, I'd say, about four days. Sure, three days of (some mild) withdrawal, and then just every day better and better for the rest of your (longer) life.
And I'll do what I can to help you.
But the way to persuade people is to actually persuade them.
Not to bully them.
DiBlasio begins with a truth -- smoking is bad -- and then turns it into a lie by not recognizing the most important truth of all:
A free people is only free if it is permitted to do the WRONG thing, as well as the right thing.
In Nazi Germany, you were always free to do the "right" thing (as defined by the government) of supporting the Party and hating the Jews.
It is not freedom if you are permitted to do what a collection of social-climbing, sexually-bent, bullying idiots have decided is the right thing.
It is only freedom if you are permitted to do those things that collection of social-climbing, sexually-bent, bullying idiots think is the wrong thing.*
But don't listen to me.
Let me quote Congressional candidate Mike Flynn -- dare I say the front-runner? -- explaining his definition of what conservative philosophy is.
We are all children of God, and we are all touched by the divine. And because of that we are unique, and we are all individuals. Conservatism is a humility in government, that we do not know what's best for you. That we would not try to define what's best for you. You go, with your divine spark, and pursue [your dream]. Conservatism is freedom -- within responsibilities, we enter into a social contract through the Constitution to protect those rights we have so that others do not infringe on them, but at that point Government should largely go away. And let us live. As conservatives -- I've said it before, and it amazes me, but we are selling freedom. And if we can't sell freedom, we do indeed suck.
By the way, check out his great answer on how to change the tax code-- towards the flat tax -- at 44:22. Even if you're against the flat tax, listen to his answer-- you'll be impressed.
And then check out 53:20, where he offers the idea of "regulatory budgeting," an idea implemented in Canada -- if a regulatory agency implements a new regulation costing $100 million, they must offset that by taking a regulation worth $100 million off the books.
Have you heard another politician talking about this?
One of the things Flynn said to me, personally -- this hasn't been introduced into the campaign yet -- is that he wants to implement, as far as school reform, the Dutch System.
By the way, I forget the actual country. It may not be the Netherlands. This is my several-year-old memory.
What's the Dutch system? Well, the government gives each parent a check to pay for school, and the parent can use that for any school -- including religious schools. There is no church-state question because the decision is up to the parent. All the state did was cut a check and say "Do what you think is best."
Mike is very fond of referring to this as "the Dutch model" because he knows that the liberal media is overly-smitten of ENLIGHTENED EUROPEAN WAYS OF DOING THINGS. So he always says, "Well, of course, I favor the Dutch model. Obviously, you know?"
Which is Pure School Choice -- the government's role is to deliver a check, and the money follows the student to whatever school his parent wants.
That's why I'm saying he's a genius. He's not just smart, and he's not just right on policy.
He's a little crafty about things.
He knows how stupid the liberal media is, and he eagerly wishes to exploit this.
You know what to do.
* I'm convinced they're sexually bent. No one getting his rocks off nice, no one who still has animal spirit in his blood, goes about this stupid, pointless, sport-for-fat-weaklings busybodying.
Close it up
Kurtz: The Media Is an Intolerant Mob of Jungle-Tribe Witchdoctors and Zealots
Will be back in a few -- but needed to get something up.
Morrissey quotes Hugh Hewitt's interview with Buzzfeed Ben, an interview that makes me more sorry for Buzzfeed Ben than usual.
What astonishes me is that Buzzfeed Ben is like this guy Dietz in the Illinois 18th race -- it is quite obvious that he has never even thought about the questions Hugh Hewitt poses before. Simple, obvious questions everyone even pretending to be a thinker must ask himself, like "Why is it I feel comfortable declaring there are no two sides on gay marriage, and yet I cannot bring myself to criticize Shariah law?"
Again, this is obvious.
And Buzzfeed Ben is not an uncommonly dumb person for the media. Among media types, I'd wager he's actually highly intelligent (for the cohort, I repeat).
But this exposes how painfully, embarrassingly shallow and utterly disconnected from any kind of intellectual rigor these people are.
These creates are not thinkers, and hell, they're barely even writers. What they are are Social Climbers, social animals with a fondness for telling those lower in the social pecking order What's Hot and What Not, but with not a dollop of actual interest in the ideas that are supposedly informing their Viral Persuasions.
These people are shallow, they are incompetent, they are in the arena of idea without actually having any taste for thinking, and they must, and will be, swept aside.
Here's What I'm Doing: Just a brief personal note. This is no big deal. But it doesn't cost me anything to write some frivolous words.
I have a good job. In fact, I have a great job. But like many people, I lose sight of just how fortunate I am. I get annoyed that I have to blog every hour, I get lazy, I get bored by the same sorts of stories day in, day out.
And what people do, and what I certainly do, is just forget all the wonderful parts of this job, and just look at the annoyances of it. But here's what I get to do: I get to write every day, I get to think about things (which, unlike Buzzfeed Ben, I find enjoyable), and then I get them read by you guys -- who, in the main, like most of what I write, so I get a huge amount of affirmation every single day-- far more than 99% of the world, which works harder than I do but gets only the most meager appreciation for their toil.
The other thing I get to do, and this is why I had to run, is do things like grill two huge rib-eye steaks in the middle of the day.
I'm Intermittent Fasting, which means I don't eat for about 16-18 hours a day. I eat in a short window of 6-8 hours. When I wake up, I'm pretty hungry. My last meal was at about 5:30 last night, and it was a couple of hardboiled eggs.
So I woke up hungry and did my early-afternoon walk and thought about getting some food.
And then I remembered: I actually went shopping this weekend and bought two big rib-eyes.
I completely forgot about those. Ever do that? Ever let good, expensive meat spoil because you just forgot?
Anyway, I realized I had to eat those steaks. So I'm grilling them.
That's why I had to post quick and run -- had to turn the steaks.
Anyway, I know that many of you wish you could work from home. It has some downsides (isolation, lack of stimulus), but obviously it has huge upsides.
And I think it's important for me to occasionally acknowledge how lucky I am, and drop the depressive Woe Is Me act.
I really am grateful.
And soon, I will will be almost drunk on rib-eye.
Steak Update: These guys are thicker than what I'm used to so the first cut revealed they were purple-pink inside, and I don't play that.
Got the alarm set for another five minutes, but I think it's going to be like ten.
I am so hungry. You have no idea.
Close it up
Gunnar Widforss, "California Redwood Grove" (1925)
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- The Darin LaHood Campaign Is Asking the US Chamber Of Commerce To Like About Mike Flynn
- Churches That Oppose Gay Marriage Should Still Tax Breaks
- The Supreme Court And End Of The Umpire
- Progressive Mass Hysteria
- Buzzfeed's Journalistic Struggles On Same Sex Marriage In Gifs
- What The Hell Happened To England? Part 2,321
- A Greek Default Would Be A Great Lesson In Economics
- Was I Wrong To Support Gay Marriage
- Baltimore's Incompetent Prosecutor Gets A Vogue Spread
- What World War Three Would Look Like
- ISIS Now Beheading Women
- Gay Marriage Supporters Handle SCOTUS Decision With Class And Dignity
- Can Gay Marriage Defeat The Islamic State
- Rapper Glad He Cut His Penis Off
—Dave In Texas
I love doing this cause it lets me show off my laziness.
Overnight Open Thread (6-29-2015) – Surprise Early Edition
"How can something like this happen without prior warning?" asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital.
WTF. So in what sense is this actually a nuclear inspection agreement then?
The P5+1 countries led by the United States under Barack Obama have caved in to Iranian demands and will not insist on inspections of nuclear installations as part of a deal on Iran's nuclear weapons program, Channel 1 reported Sunday.
Alternative theory from the article: Iran already has nukes in the form of a couple crude Hiroshima type bombs so it's game-over.
Meanwhile the State Department kicked out unfriendly US reporters at a Vienna briefing on the imminent nuclear agreement.
It cannot be said too often: There cannot be too many socialist smashups. The best of these punish reckless creditors whose lending enables socialists to live, for a while, off other people's money. The world, which owes much to ancient Athens's legacy, including the idea of democracy, is indebted to today's Athens for the reminder that reality does not respect a democracy's delusions.
And is considered a viable contender.
Mr. Biden, 72 years old, lost two previous bids for the White House, in 1988 and 2008, and he would enter the 2016 contest as a clear underdog. Yet as a sitting vice president with loyal supporters in states that hold early contests, he has the potential to scramble the Democratic field.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll earlier this month showed that Americans' image of Mr. Biden is growing more positive. A total of 40% saw him in a favorable light, versus 31% who had a negative view of him. In November 2014, Mr. Biden's favorability rating stood at 35%, compared with 38% who viewed him unfavorably.
I've only threatened to leave to leave the United States once before and that was over the prospect of a Ted Kennedy presidency back when I was a precocious and passionate adolescent. Well the possibility of a President Biden is the second time I'm threatening to go ex-pat.
It's a hard knock life working on the Empress Dowager's campaign.
Here is the background. The American Law Institute periodically issues "restatements" that attempt to codify the common law-but also shift the law in the direction the institute wants it to go. In 1964, for example, the institute's Restatement of Torts established the liability of sellers to consumers for defective products regardless of fault. At the time only 16 states had taken this position. Now it is the law everywhere.
The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that American Law Institute restatements are law in all subsequent decisions when there is no state statute to the contrary. The U.S. Supreme Court on average cites the institute at least once a month.
On May 20 the American Law Institute approved, by a very close vote, significant changes to the section of its new Restatement of Torts dealing with assault and battery. The changes will have far-reaching, and extremely troubling, social and legal ramifications-including favoring some religious beliefs over others.
The institute's restatement defines the tort of battery as any contact with another person that "offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity" or-the new addition-contact that is highly offensive to another person's "unusually sensitive sense of personal dignity, and the actor knows that the contact will be highly offensive to the other."
To be a battery, the contact or touching must be offensive. That's to exclude the occasional bumps we experience walking through a crowd. And the law always measured what constituted an offense based on the views of a reasonable person. That way a judge can dismiss a frivolous claim. However, the American Law Institute now proposes that personal contact is a tort if the defendant knows that it will be offensive to someone who is "unusually sensitive."...Consider John Doe, waiting at a bus stop, who taps a woman wearing a Muslim veil on the shoulder to get her attention and ask for directions. The institute's restatement suggests that Mr. Doe might be liable for committing battery. A jury might find that a reasonable person would know that males aren't supposed to make bodily contact with females not in their family. But if the woman touches Mr. Doe, she's not liable, because he follows a different religion or no religion at all.
Well property taxes are local but I can see local exemptions being stripped in blue areas since it lets the legislators feel morally superior and brings in more $$$.
No, the real intent of removing tax-exempt status is to cripple the institutions that continue their dissent from the sexual revolution. When tax exemptions are removed, donors will give far less than they are giving now. Churches will become liable to property taxes. That means that many churches will have to forfeit their property to the government because they won't be able to afford the taxes they have to pay on it. Many of them wouldn't be able to pay them now. If donations went down, they would be that much further from being able to pay them.
[Morrell] said the FBI and Department of Homeland Security's recent bulletin resonated with him for two reasons. One note for concern, he said, is the large number of people who align themselves with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
"There's been about 50 people in the last 12 months who have been arrested in the United States for being radicalized by ISIS, wanting to go fight there or wanting to conduct an attack here," Morell said.He's also worried about ISIS' "call to arms" for attacks against the terror group's enemies during Ramadan.
Not much we can do other than be prepared and watchful as always.
(Thanks to 'Dave' or as I know him, Secret Tipster Unit31)
You know when casting agents put out a call for bouncer and biker gang parts they mention that they're looking for big, burly kinds of actors - and for parts calling for a bosomy woman, it follows that they might mention that fact in the call notes. But apparently this is now sexist or something.
As Rose puts it ... "I just got fired by my wussy acting agent because I spoke up about the bulls**t in Hollywood."
If you missed it -- Rose went on a rant about the notes attached to a casting call for a Sandler flick. The notes called for women to wear something tight "that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged)." She thought it was offensive to women, but a lot of people just saw it as part of the job for actors.
One day later, Rose's agents -- who most likely sent her on the casting call -- 86'd her.Doesn't seem like she's too crushed. She tweeted, "#douchebags #awesome #BRINGIT."
And here McGowan is shown fighting for women and machine gun cyborgs' rights in the movie, Planet Terror.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes and shit.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by Quasi Modo, winner of the 2015 world's ugliest dog contest:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please remain standing while the national anthem of the United States and Endor are played.
Sorry for the bummer of an ONT - it happens sometimes. As a consolation the AoSHQ Prime beer cooler will be open tonight to *everyone* until 11:30pm EST. So go ahead and grab yourself a brewski on Ace. It don't cost nothing.
Close it up
#TheRevolutionWillBeLiveStreamed: Flynn/LaHood "Candidate Forum," on YouTube, at 7 PM Eastern
Andrew Breitbart's Wartime Consiglierte goes up against Establishment/US Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Partnership scion and Boehner Water Carrier Darin LaHood.
Watch (not just listen) below.
If the channel gets stuck, it might also be available here.
Also, it's the top story at Breitbart.
.@flynn1776 "We are children of God, we are all touched by the divine. Conservatism is a humility-- we do not know what's best for you."— TheUltraYachtLife (@AceofSpadesHQ) June 29, 2015
Update: I'm told that Mike will be appearing on Mark "The Great One" Levin's show at 8:30, or thereabouts. You can listen live here.
The New York Times, Which Refused to Run Any Mohammad Images Claiming They Simply Would Not Run Pictures That Offended Any Religious Group, Runs Picture of Pope Made Up of Condoms
You might say, how do they know this offends the religious?
Easy. Their own article says the picture is drawing complaints from Catholics in Milwaukee.
Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI Made of Condoms Draws Complaints in Milwaukee
Here was their transparently-false claim in January:
Here's the truth you won't hear in the New York Times:
The New York Times' stock-in-trade is silly, transparent dissembling unworthy of adults or even educated children.
Note: Mike Flynn will have his last "candidate forum" with LaHood (who won't agree to a debate) tonight at 7 eastern, livestreamed at sj-r.com. I will be covering it, or, well, listening to it and commenting it.
He'll then be on the Mark Levin show afterwards -- but as the debate is 90 minute (I think), it's going to be tough to squeeze him in. Ah well, we'll see how long he and Mark Levin get to talk.
Hillary Clinton, Get This, Edited the Emails She Turned Over to State to Delete Embarrassing References to Oil, Terrorism
I saw someone note that altering official federal records -- which Hillary's emails are -- is a felony.
Hillary Clinton withheld Benghazi-related emails from the State Department that detailed her knowledge of the scramble for oil contracts in Libya and the shortcomings of the NATO-led military intervention for which she advocated.
Clinton removed specific portions of other emails she sent to State, suggesting the messages were screened closely enough to determine which paragraphs were unfit to be seen by the public.
For example, one email Clinton kept from the State Department indicates Libyan leaders were "well aware" of which "major oil companies and international banks" supported them during the rebellion, information they would "factor into decisions" about about who would be given access to the country's rich oil reserves.
Remember, this is as she's taking $100 million from Canadian oil-and-uranium mining magnate Frank Guistra.
The email, which Clinton subsequently scrubbed from her server, indicated Clinton was aware that involvement in the controversial conflict could have a significant financial benefit to firms that were friendly to the Libyan rebels.
She thanked Sidney Blumenthal, her former aide and author of dozens of informal intelligence memos, for the tip, which she called "useful," and informed him she was preparing to hold a meeting with Libyan leaders in Paris in an exchange that suggests the flow of information went both ways.
State Department officials admitted Clinton had withheld all of nine emails and parts of six others after Blumenthal provided 60 emails to the House Select Committee on Benghazi that the agency had failed to submit earlier this year.
There's more. I can't quote it all.
The White House is putting out the word that they're "disgusted" by the email scandal, but this is par for the course for this White House, which tacitly approves of actions but puts out claims about how "angry" they are.
There's a way a president can show his anger about remorseless law-breaking: Appointing a Special Prosecutor with the power to investigate and bring criminal charges, if warranted.
But they won't do that, will they? No, they'll keep their Democratic apparatchiks busy covering it all up, then putting out the word they're "disgusted" at having to clean up Hiilary's filthy, stinking leavings.
Apparently Hillary Clinton's Yoga Routines consist of Downward Dog Graft and Crescent Moon Crony Militarism.
Politically Corrupt, Devoutly Anti-American Supreme Court Reaches Randomly Into Its Grab-Bag of "What's Hot" and "What's Not" Rulings, Puts Texas Abortion Restrictions on Hold
Update: "Gay Reparations?"
This isn't a full ruling on the merits, but rather a restraining order to keep the situation in place while the Supreme Court has a nine-man political debate about it and Elects a New Law.
The part of the Texas law being estopped is always the one I thought was most problematic and likely to result in court action -- the one that basically shutters abortion clinics, I think the ones where they have no doctor on staff with privileges at a nearby hospital.
Although sold as a "health" measure, I think it's pretty obviously put in there to keep the number of abortion clinics low, which may be a problem.
But the Supreme Court is basically spinning the Wheel of Made-Up Law lately, randomly guessing the consonants and letters that will spell out its opinions, so who knows.
And yes, Obama solicitor general David Verelli has already admitted that tax exemptions for religious institutions opposed to gay marriage are officially under jeopardy under the Supreme Court's latest lawmaking without the consent of the governed, so you have that to look forward to.
BTW, a guy I trust says that he was speaking to an informed source on the Gay Marriage side of things, and he says that "gay reparations" are going to be a live issue in 2016, and something that all candidates will have to take a position on.
Lawless, Politically-Rotten Supreme Court Randomly Rules that Obama's EPA Rule is "Unconstitutional"
Oh, I'm happy about the ruling.
But I'm not going to pretend the Supreme Court is ruling on the law or Constitution any longer.
This particular EPA rule bothered a majority of the Supreme Court, as it would bother any person voting in a political election. So they had their own nine-man political election, and said "Nah."
I'm with Andy C. McCarthy -- and with Drew M Tips. I'm done with the ruse. The Supreme Court is just a political organ -- but one we don't get to vote on.
We should. We need retention votes. If these motherf***ers want to be political, we get to vote on them, and run campaigns against them.
So here's how the third House of Congress voted, the House of Congress that gets to make All the Laws in this country.
The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s landmark air quality rule on Monday, ruling the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the costs of the regulation.
In a 5-4 ruling, the justices ruled that the EPA should have taken into account the costs to utilities and others in the power sector before even deciding whether to set limits for the toxic air pollutants it regulated in 2011.
In the majority ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia concluded that the EPA "unreasonably" interpreted the Clean Air Act when it decided not to consider industry compliance costs and whether regulating the pollutants is "appropriate and necessary.”
While the agency is afforded a certain level of power to interpret the law, the court wrote, "EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants."
Oh but by the way this is the same Third House of Congress that just sagely informed us that an executive agency could reasonably read "established by the state" as "established by the federal government," and also, that the right to gay-marry was established 150 years ago by the 14th Amendment, but no one realized that until last Thursday.
Three Essays on Post-America America
In the 1850s there was an active political movement that became known as the "Know-Nothings," because they considered themselves semi-secret, and members, when questioned about the group, were supposed to say "I know nothing." Of course, a secret political party doesn’t have much effect, and quickly the Know-Nothings were pretty overt about telling everyone around them that they knew nothing, over and over again.
It seems to me there’s a semi-secret political party at work in the U.S. now: the People Who Know Better.
[T]he Know-Betters would never come to the conclusion that conditions in places like Colorado simply aren’t suited for wide-scale mass transit.
Instead, the Know-Betters have decided that we should use government to impose greater population density, with utopian city plans that push people into small, "walkable" communities with mass transit hubs.
And if people prefer to live on half-acre lots with lawns and space between houses, well, they Know Better.
I keep finding myself coming back to a passage from Thomas Jefferson that I put up on Tatler a long while ago. Here’s Jefferson:Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
– Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Henry Lee, 1824)
Rod Dreher writes of the need to now live as expatriots in our own country. Internal exiles, as the Soviets termed them.
It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision-- and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.
Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety, precisely because its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.
The alarm that the four dissenting justices sounded in their minority opinions is chilling. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were particularly scathing in pointing out the philosophical and historical groundlessness of the majority’s opinion. Justice Scalia even called the decision "a threat to democracy," and denounced it, shockingly, in the language of revolution.
The warning to conservatives from the four dissenters could hardly be clearer or stronger. So where does that leave us?
For one, we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist. To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.
For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives....
It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue, the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. He pointed to Benedict of Nursia, a pious young Christian who left the chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray, as an example for us. We who want to live by the traditional virtues, MacIntyre said, have to pioneer new ways of doing so in community. We await, he said "a new — and doubtless very different — St. Benedict."
Throughout the early Middle Ages, Benedict’s communities formed monasteries, and kept the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness. Eventually, the Benedictine monks helped refound civilization.
I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts.
Buzzfeed Ben was asked to reconcile his shitty listicle site's stated claim of being "neutral" with its all-in rainbow-color theming for the gay marriage ruling. He said that he was being perfectly neutral and objective -- it's just that there aren't two sides to the gay marriage question. There's only one.
This is a frightening thought, and LOLCats Ben isn't the only one pushing it. In order to claim the high road of being liberal and tolerant of ideas, while at the same time actually being as illiberal and intolerant as any zealot or hooded klansman, it is necessary to deem contrary positions unpositions, which therefore can only be held by unpeople.
By claiming an idea simply does not exist in civil society, one must, perforce, also claim that those holding that idea do not, or must not, themselves exist in civil society.
Something must be sacrificed in order to maintain these two contradictory claims -- and the thing most easily sacrificed is any acknowledgement of you as a human being and American citizen.
But Buzzfeed Ben is a nice, open-minded guy. Just ask him. He'll tell you so.
So, Donald Trump
Republicans are starting to get kind of freaked out about this whole Trump thing.
“Donald Trump is like watching a roadside accident,” said former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. “Everybody pulls over to see the mess. And Trump thinks that’s entertainment. But running for president is serious. And the risk for the party is he tarnishes everybody.”
Those risks were amplified this week after a trio of polls showed him likely to earn a coveted invitation to the party’s debates, which ironically were restructured with the very goal of avoiding the circus-like atmosphere of 2012. Giving Trump a major platform just as the country is tuning in is not exactly the Big Tent the party’s bigwigs had in mind..
“I’m not excited about somebody as divisive as Trump or somebody as obnoxious as Trump being on the debate stage,” one RNC member confessed.
First, a bit of throat clearing: Trump is an ass. He's a liberal. He's not going to be President or even the nominee.
With that out of the way, contra that RNC member, I'm giddy at the prospect of the GOP having to deal with Trump.
He's very valuable in one key way, holding a mirror up to what is wrong with the GOP. The "serious" candidates are awful. They are milquetoast.
Jeb Bush...nuke the filibuster to get rid of ObamaCare? Gee, I don't know let me think about that.
Scott Walker says he'd nuke the filibuster to repeal ObamaCare but his personality isn't exactly...electrifying.
Trump is a clown but he's says things people are feeling. I know conservatives hate the whole "I have feels!" thing but guess what...people do. You need to acknowledge them, reflect them and connect with them.
Republican candidates are far more at home in the boardroom or the congressional hearing room than the living room and it shows in the candidates they keep picking.
Remember how Romney got crushed on the very important "cares about people like me" metric? I bet Trump, for all his money, scores off the charts on that.
Rubio probably comes closest but as you saw in his reaction to the SSM decision, he's really most passionate about amnesty, how much he loves America and a hawkish foreign policy. He never really talks about smaller government or out of control government. He just wants to be the rationale manager of it.
Unless and until the GOP can find a candidate who hits the sweet spot of being seen as a plausible President and caring about people's lives, it's going to be in big trouble.
We're Living In The United States Of Calvinball. It's Time The Right Got In The Game.
"Other kids' games are all such a bore!
They've gotta have rules and they gotta keep score!
Calvinball is better by far!
It's never the same! It's always bizarre!
You don't need a team or a referee!
—Excerpt from the Calvinball theme song"
The imaginary game from the great Calvin and Hobbes comic strip series seems eerily like what liberals have made of what is supposed to be our constitutional republic.
The right is behind in this game because we don't want to admit we're playing it but we are. I'll admit I'm late to the game. While I still don't think it's time to go full Obama it is time to embrace a hybrid game that allows us to live within the Constitution while fighting back. Well, we could if there was a party willing to play for us.
Let's pretend for a moment the GOP wakes up one morning and realizes it stands for something beyond "win seats, hire loyalists, and pay consultants" (hey it's Calvinball, anything is possible), what would want them to do?
Assuming there is a GOP Congress and President come 2017 there are a few things they can do that would shake up the fundamental nature of our current political system while still staying with the Constitutional system we cherish.
1- Eliminate the filibuster.
It is neither ordained by God nor required by the Constitution. Mostly what it serves to do is lock Democratic wins into place and make it impossible for conservatives to pass anything.
The GOP has never held a filibuster proof majority in the Senate so it's not a positive tool for passing things and locking them in. Yes, the Democrats will some day have a majority and pass spectacularly horrible things but they do that anyway. All the filibuster really does is make it easier for liberal Republicans to collaborate with Democrats to create and save programs.
Removing the filibuster would create a balance of terror that is lacking now. Democrats know they can pass programs and there's nothing the GOP can do in response. Make them fear what the next GOP majority will pass when they are helpless.
Once the filibuster is gone, what should the GOP do?
2- Create two or four new Supreme Court seats.
Yes, pack the court to the gills. Again, there's nothing magical about having nine justices at a time. If the Court is going to serve as a Super-Legislature it should be larger.
Liberals want to play games and make SCOTUS the center of the government, fine. That's there move now it's our turn to play come Calvinball and change the rules.
Harry Reid nuked the filibuster to pack the DC Court of appeals so the precedent,
not that government by Calvinball requires one, has been set. Game on.
None of the new justices should be older than 50 or so and all should be
unabashed conservatives. They don't even have to be lawyers. Justice Charles C.W. Cooke has a nice ring to it, no?
3- Eliminate withholding.
Again, there's nothing sacred about the way we collect our taxes. If people want big, crushing government, fine. Make them feel it and let them see how much it costs them.
I think hiking taxes is bad policy and economics but it can be good politics, so if as a sop to independents and even Democrats I'd support a 15 or 20% surcharge on the net worth of the top 1% to sweeten the pot. The "donor class" has been spending lots of money pushing big government types. Fine, pony up even more.
4- Repeal ObamaCare and a whole host of other laws.
Hey it's Calvinball, you can do whatever you want! Have at it.
Will the GOP, especially a Mitch McConnell led Senate, do any of these things? No.
Even if the GOP wins the presidency, the Senate majority will probably be smaller. Faced with the usual mid-term losses of the party in power, McConnell will retreat even further into a shell to protect his useless members. For them, it's about winning to stay in office,, not to do anything with those wins.
Even if the GOP was willing to "pack the Court" there's no reason to believe a GOP President wouldn't just appoint a bunch of Souter, Kennedy and Roberts types.
Could all of this backfire at some point in the future even if it payed dividends in the short and/or medium term? Sure but we know for a fact that if we keep playing by the rules of the game as they exist we'll lose more now AND in the future.
I understand these ideas are not temperamentally conservative. One should not rush to throw old systems away on a whim. The problem is the old systems we love have been thrown away. We simply need to accept that.
Everything I've advocated, while disruptive are within the bounds of the Constitution. They don't require us to ignore laws or invent new rights. We just need to be willing to take advantage of the moves we are allowed to make now.
But the GOP will do none of this. They will either promise you unattainable Constitutional amendments or suggest you meekly assent to liberal usurpations.
And my guess is, that will be good enough for most conservatives.
Enjoy the decline. But hey...Go GOP, right?
George Inness, "Kearsarge Village" (1875)
Monday Morning News Dump
- Ayatolah Roberts And His Sharia Council
- The OPM Hack And Obama's Politicized Federal Government
- Non-White Politicians Are Running For President And Liberals Can't Stand It
- Love Among The Ruins
- Why Big Oil Wants A Carbon Tax
- Puerto Rico Governor Says Island Can't Pay Debt
- This Is CNN
- The World Is Defenseless Against The Next Financial Crisis
- An Urban Agenda For The Right
- Dissenting Obergefell Justices Sound Alarm On Religious Freedom
- Michigan Vs. The EPA
- Liberal Media Tries To Trap GOP Candidates With Sex Questions
- Chris Squire Dead At 67
- John Kasich To Announce July 21
Morning Open Thread
If you like this blog so much why don't you marry it?
Overnight Open Thread (6-28-2015)
Exchanges established by the federal government are exchanges established by the state. Rachel Dolezal is black. Iran will honor an agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. ISIS is a JV team. There's an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. Michael Brown had his hands up and pleaded "don't shoot." Caitlyn Jenner is a woman. Obamacare is working. 2+2 doesn't necessarily equal 4. The polar ice caps are disappearing. The IRS is doing a decent job. The border is secure.We've ended two wars responsibly. Hillary Clinton turned over all work-related e-mails. An $18,200,000,000,000 debt can grow without mention. People who burn down buildings and overturn cars aren't thugs. The OPM hack is manageable. We've reset relations with Russia. Entitlement reform can be kicked down the road. We're more respected around the world.
-- Peter Kirsanow in Reality Is Now Discretionary
Two plus two equals five. A severed head plus "Allahu Akbar!" equals "Nothing to do with Islam." Network screenings of Gone With The Wind plus Uncle Ben's rice equals blatant incitement to mass murder. A nice chichi gay couple at 27 Elm Street and a firebreathing imam and his four child brides at 29 Elm Street equals the social harmony of a multiculti utopia.
Where is this story headed? The warriors of the caliphate divide the planet into the dar al Islam and the dar al harb - the house of war. In reality, it's a struggle between the dar al Islam and the dar al Gay: Liberty in the fin de civilisation west means sexual liberty and nothing else - which is why one consequence of yesterday's decision is that freedom of expression and freedom of religion will increasingly be confined to what Justice Alito called the deepest recesses of your home.-- Mark Steyn
After all, the greengrocer was a threat to the system not because of any physical or actual power he had, but because his action went beyond itself, because it illuminated its surroundings and, of course, because of the incalculable consequences of that illumination. In the post-totalitarian system, therefore, living within the truth has more than a mere existential dimension (returning humanity to its inherent nature), or a noetic dimension (revealing reality as it is), or a moral dimension (setting an example for others). It also has an unambiguous political dimension. If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.
In the post-totalitarian system, truth in the widest sense of the word has a very special import, one unknown in other contexts. In this system, truth plays a far greater (and, above all, a far different) role as a factor of power, or as an outright political force.-- Vaclav Havel in the Power of the Powerless
Meanwhile the Gleischaltung immediately rolls on:
Here former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy argues that we should just admit that the Supreme Court has now become a supra-legislature and treat it as such.
Did you notice that there was not an iota of speculation about how the four Progressive justices would vote?
There was never a shadow of a doubt. In the plethora of opinions generated by these three cases, there is not a single one authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, or Sonia Sotomayor. There was no need. They are the Left's voting bloc. There was a better chance that the sun would not rise this morning than that any of them would wander off the reservation.
...And it is not so much that they move in lockstep. It is that no one expects them to do anything but move in lockstep - not their fellow justices, not the political branches, and certainly not the commentariat, right or left.It is simply accepted that these justices are not there to judge. They are there to vote. They get to the desired outcome the same way disparate-impact voodoo always manages to get to discrimination: Start at the end and work backwards. Guiding precedents are for the quaint business of administering justice. In the social justice business, the road never before traveled will do if one less traveled is unavailable. But there's a problem. Once it has become a given that a critical mass of the Supreme Court is no longer expected, much less obliged, to do law, then the Court is no longer a legal institution. It is a political institution.
So forget Constitutional strict constructionalism and all that and simply strive to get conservative electors into our third legislative body to start voting against the progressive bloc.
John Hinderaker of Power Line suggests that if we're now in a post-constitutional era, the conservative justices should start discovering new 'fundamental rights' more to our side's liking:
For example, how about a "fundamental right" not to pay income taxes in a percentage exceeding that which other Americans are charged? Why isn't the progressive income tax a violation of the equal protection clause? That is a much stronger argument than the one the Court has just accepted on gay marriage. Or, how about a theory that the Internal Revenue Service is violating Americans' right of privacy-that same right of privacy that the Court found among the emanations and penumbras of the Constitution's actual provisions-in seeking extensive information about taxpayers' finances?
Or how about a fundamental right to affordable energy-or, rather, to be free of government policies that unreasonably raise the cost of energy? If the Supreme Court discovered such a right, the EPA's anti-coal regulations would be unconstitutional. You could write a decision in support of such a "fundamental right" that would be at least as persuasive as Justice Kennedy's "fortune cookie" travesty. What is more fundamental than heating your home and driving your car? To paraphrase Justice Kennedy, what if a voice cries out in the night, saying, "Honey! Can you turn the heat up?"If conservatives are willing to abandon the archaic notion that the Supreme Court is a court and not a super-legislature, there is no telling what conservative policies might be advanced.
And must be suppressed.
I thought about this in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, especially when a friend alerted me that the editors of The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, PA, had declared, within minutes of the announcement of the decision: "As a result of Friday's ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage."
In a tweet later in the morning, the paper's Editorial and Opinions Editor John L. Micek (until recently a state capitol reporter-yikes!) explained himself curtly: "This is not hard: We would not print racist, sexist or anti-Semitic letters. To that, we add homophobic ones. Pretty simple."
...This is why it was important for the LGBT movement that same-sex marriage be affirmed by the high court rather than piecemeal in the states: Statutes are contingent and temporary, dependent on shifting allegiances and majorities; the Supreme Court is permanent, accountable to no one. The people and our elected representatives are subjective and unreliable; the Supreme Court is objective and irrefutable.The Patriot-News isn't censoring bigotry. If it were, it would have been rejecting anti-same-sex marriage letters yesterday as well as today. It is censoring dissent-dissent from the new orthodoxy proclaimed by our secular Magisterium, dissent from the prevailing viewpoint of our oligarchs, dissent from the state. And we are to conform ourselves to this orthodoxy not because it is good, but because the state so ordains it.
The Patriot-News later backed off a bit and said that they will allow letters with wrong-think about gay marriage for a limited amount of time.
The Greek government called for a referendum on July 5th on whether to accept the ECB bailout terms or leave the Euro. But events may be already overtaking their plans.
Greece has moved to close its banks and impose capital controls to prevent financial chaos following the breakdown of bailout talks with its international creditors. The dramatic move on Sunday night came after the European Central Bank announced it would freeze the amount of emergency loans it supplied to keep the Greek banking system afloat.Officials said the bank closure would last for several days and would be accompanied by limits yet to be announced on bank transfers abroad and withdrawals from cash machines. The cashing of cheques would be halted and fixed term deposits would be locked down. The Athens stock exchange was also set to be closed.
Each weapon is vignetted with a representative still image, followed by still photos and video footage of the actual weapon(s) in question being used in the conflict. Notable weapons include a chromed or nickeled Beretta 38 submachine gun, a cache of MAS 36 rifles, what appears to be a rearsenaled or civilian production M1 Garand, a PTRS-41 14.5x114mm anti-materiel rifle, and of course several of the StG-44s captured from a Syrian government stockpile by rebel fighters.
In the smaller shows there is typically seven full time guys. In the bigger shows, like Vegas, there are upwards of nine guys full time. The reason is because we do so many shows. In New York, the typical Broadway run is eight shows a week, and we will often do much more than that. On a slow week we'll do 12, and on a high week we can do upwards of 20. So we need those extra guys to do those shows. This is also another reason why guys stick around for so long, because there is less of a grind that way. There will be slow weeks and you can take leaves of absence to do other artworks. Its just a much more stable, supportive environment that way. And for a theater gig. it was 12 years with 401K, full benefits for me, my wife, and my kid, a really stable setup.
So immediately after the show, we go and clean up a little bit. And this has been a really important part of the show since the beginning, we go and meet the audience as they're leaving the theater. That's a really special part of the show too, or one that I've always enjoyed because you can shed the character slightly. We always talk about that it's 80 percent Blue Man and 20 percent just yourself at that point. So if someone comes to you and says, 'That show meant so much to me,' you can very quietly say, 'Thanks a lot.' We're not the hardcore character in that moment even though we're still in make up.
The point of that part is so that the person right next to you can have that connection, but the person across the room still just sees a Blue Man. ...So that's about 15-20 minutes. Then we go downstairs, and as we're getting out of makeup, in this other important Blue Man tradition, we have about a 20 minute conversation with the stage manager of the night and the band. We talk about all these different parts of the show. And this is why, again, that guys can stay in it for so long, because it is always, always, always considered a work in progress. There's always stuff that can be done better. Just because there's a guy who's been doing it for 12 or 15 or 16 years, doesn't give them any kind of 'Get Out of Jail Free' card. We're working on stuff day-to-day just as much as trainees are basically.
DC Cab (1983)
When Mr. T is the most subtle and nuanced character in your film, you know there's issues. You can't tell me Gary Busey isn't on near-lethal levels of coke in this movie; it's almost scary to watch. Also, take note of the mad inclination of all the male characters to start randomly dry humping.
Sad News at Casa Maetenloch
On Friday we had to put one of our cats to sleep due at aggressive liver cancer. We had Kitty for 9 years but he was already 5 to 8 years old when we rescued him from living (unhappily) under a neighbor's back porch so he was an old cat. He had a very happy life during that time and even his final hours with us in the garden were as happy as they could be given his condition.
After we had had him for a while Mrs. Maetenloch demanded that he be given a real, official name so I dubbed him Kittybot Cougar Unit12. She was not exactly pleased with this. So he became known as Kitty to friends and family and Cougar to outsiders.
He was a good-natured cat who truly loved to be with us and people in general. He was happiest just being wherever humans were and would follow us from room to room to hang out. In fact many an ONT was created with Kitty sleeping at the base of my desk. From waiting in the bathroom in the morning while we got ready for work to greeting us at door when we got home to sleeping in our bed at night, he was a constant happy presence in our lives for nine years. And now we have a Kitty-sized hole in our lives.
RIP Kitty, a good loving cat.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [720 comments] 'mynewhandle' [101.09 posts/day]
2 [384 comments] 'Ricardo Kill'
3 [367 comments] 'J.J. Sefton'
4 [360 comments] 'Christopher Taylor'
5 [355 comments] 'just saying'
6 [350 comments] 'Anna Puma'
7 [348 comments] 'Boss Moss'
8 [341 comments] 'rickb223'
9 [334 comments] 'Grump928(C)'
10 [328 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [86 names] 'The Political Hat' [12.07 unique names/day]
2 [63 names] 'Turd Ferguson'
3 [49 names] 'Prince Ludwig the Indestructible'
4 [47 names] 'HAL 9000'
5 [46 names] 'Mickey Shwarma'
6 [44 names] 'Uncle Busyhands'
7 [39 names] 'Article V'
8 [38 names] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
9 [38 names] 'wth'
10 [37 names] 'Miley Cyrus'
The group. Banned on 12 universities.
Where it's at - the Twitter
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Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
Cat's Paw [Weirddave]
In the wake of the SCOTUS decision WRT gay “marriage”, I had a thought. I wondered if the decision was destined to be a gain in the long term for gay folks, or a negative. Thinking it over I came to the conclusion that if the forces that got us to this point are successful, ultimately it'll be a moot decision.
The term “Cat's Paw” entered the English language from a 16th century French Fable, The Monkey and the Cat. A monkey and a cat are sitting before a fireplace, staring longingly at delicious chestnuts roasting in the embers. The monkey convinces the cat to dig the chestnuts out of the fire, promising to share the bounty. The cat does so, but as each chestnut is batted out onto the hearth, the monkey gobbles it up, promising the next one to the cat. Suddenly the maid shoos them both away, leaving the monkey satisfied, his hunger sated, while the cat is left with nothing but burnt paws for his troubles. A “Cat's Paw” then is something or someone used for another's advantage and then discarded once an objective has been achieved.
This push for “marriage equality” that we've seen lately has nothing to do with “fairness” or “equality”, and it most certainly is not a response to “oppression”. All of this has been just another arrow in the vast quiver of the totalitarian left aimed at destroying the existing social fabric. You think the Communists, Socialists and Progressives give a rat's ass about the “dignity” of a gay couple? In a pig's eye. All they are concerned with is the destruction of the existing order so it can be replaced with their imaginary Utopia.
If the current social order and American culture collapses, one of two movements will fill the vacuum where it once stood, and neither of these movements will likely be friendly to homosexuals. Either the leftists will get their totalitarian state, which will (going by past history) immediately liquidate all of the gay folks they can find in the name of public decency or fighting perversion or some other rot (they always have, can anyone name one totalitarian regime that has NOT clamped down on homosexuality); or the Islamists will come to hold sway. If Radical Islam gains power, gay folks will have bigger things to worry about than same sex marriage. Someone wanting a same sex marriage will find the Imams very willing to hold a ceremony....on a rooftop. The bad news is that the trip to the reception is a short one and it ends abruptly.
Given all that, I think the benefits of last week's ruling for gay people will be transient at best, unless we can right the ship of state and reinvigorate American Culture as a source of pride. Hell, if we can accomplish that, gay marriage is a price I'll gladly pay!
Open thread until the ONT rolls around.
Yeah....Gun Pron [CBD]
And Open Thread....
Food Thread: The Perfect Restaurant Menu: A Fable [CBD]
No, I don't mean this kind of issue.....
Rather, What we want when we walk into a particular restaurant, and hope to see on the menu, but rarely do.
Obviously, specialty restaurants don't count. When we want sushi, we go to sushi joints; when we want Italian-American food, we go to the local trattoria. When we want fried hobo cheeks in a cream sauce we....uh, never mind.
But wandering into the local pub or American restaurant....what do you want to see on the menu? It's a struggle to find simple classic food. Why is it that so many restaurants think that simple is bad and boring?
Here is my wish list.
1. Fried Chicken with good mashed potatoes and an interesting vegetable.
This is as simple as it gets, food costs are low, people love it, it goes well with beer.
2. French Onion Soup.
Duh. Cheap. great tasting. Easy to prepare in advance.
3. Roast Chicken.
Yes, it can be tough to make perfectly, but there are plenty of excellent recipes for roast chicken that will make most people very happy. One problem is finding good quality poultry, but come on....I'll bet that every restaurant in America is within shipping distance of a good poultry farm.
4. Steak and French Fries.
No, not a 60-day dry-aged steak for $67.50. A nice sirloin with good, crispy fries.
5. Fish and Chips.
It's easy to make, and very quick. Frying foods is usually the quickest way to cook them!
Can you tell that I crave the classic, simple dishes that mom is rumored to make best?
So....what is your #1 dish?
This is a sticky bun from Balthazar Bakery, which is the baking arm of a small restaurant group here in the NY metro area. They have a few excellent (and relatively expensive) restaurants, and also a big bakery just over the river in NJ. It has a retail counter, where one can find spectacular baked goods, including this fantastic version of the common sticky bun found in every bakery on the planet.
Be careful of the Gell-Man Amnesia Effect:
Here's an article in Bon Apetit about common mistakes with marinades. Aside from the fact that it imparts no useful information, other than the most obvious and trite suggestions, it has some factually incorrect statements. Yes, you can use your marinade to baste the cooking meat....just make sure that you don't use it just before you remove the meat from the grill or the oven or wherever you are cooking. Bacteria are killed by heat. It's not difficult to understand that sufficient heat will kill the bacteria in the marinade!
This is from "America's Test Kitchen." It's a bit busy, so read through it and get the important parts. It's really just pressing the chicken so it gets maximum contact with the hot pan. And...thyme and potatoes go really well together...
FYI...."Butterflying" is of course just spatchcocking.
- Whole chicken, butterflied. 3lb fryers work well.
- table salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 1 1/2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (small), scrubbed, dried, and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 One full brick, wrapped in foil.
1. TECHNIQUE: BUTTERFLYING A CHICKEN With the breast side down and the tail of the chicken facing you, use poultry shears to cut along the length of one side of the backbone.
With breast side still down, turn the neck end to face you, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.
Turn the chicken breast-side up. Open the chicken on the work surface. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the chicken, then pound it with the flat side of a mallet to a fairly even thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Swirl the skillet to coat evenly with oil. Place the chicken, skin-side down, in the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium. Place the brick on the chicken and cook, checking every 5 minutes or so, until evenly browned, about 25 minutes. (After 20 minutes, the chicken should be fairly crisp and golden; if not, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook until well browned.)
3. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, 11/2 teaspoons of the thyme, the pepper flakes, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken, skin-side up, to a clean plate. Pour off any accumulated fat in the pan and add the potatoes, sprinkling them with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme. Place the chicken, skin-side up, on the potatoes and brush the skin with the reserved thyme-lemon juice mixture.
5. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Return the skillet with the potatoes to the oven and roast until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, leaving the fat behind. Toss the potatoes with the parsley. Cut the chicken into pieces. Serve the chicken and potatoes immediately with the lemon wedges.
Close it up
At least there aren't any videos this week (gaming thread)
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Typical post E3 lull but there were a few things. Apple added a notch in their hamfisted treatment of gaming by pulling wargames that had a Confederate Flag and WB pulled sales of the PC port of Arkham Knight.
There won't be a gaming post next week as I get to spend a bunch of time with my parents in the same car as we head down south to a family gathering for the Fourth of July. If I'm lucky, I'll get blown up by a firework
Also when writing, remember to save often
Apple has a long and storied past of not getting it when it comes to denying games and censoring stuff so them pulling any game with the Confederate Flag didn't surprise me. These are the same people who initially denied HexWar from releasing their Tank Battle: East Front 1941 game because it is Nazis against Russians. Heck, this past week wasn't even the first instance of a flag tripping up game developers in releasing a game on iOS as they denied Pacific Fleet because it had the IJN flag to signify the frigging Japanese Navy. I mean, Hello. So if you've been paying any attention, it shouldn't have surprised anyone
Frankly, everything comes back to the lack of anything in concrete in what devs can and cannot have in their games to pass cert. Having a big marketplace ran on feelings and arbitrary rules that change day by day is madness. And they can claim all they want in not caring about gaming on iOS but they're full of it just on the basis of how much money is in it. Even someone of Apple's size can't just not notice the $20b and rising market with them collecting the lion's share. That being said, consumers don't care as the games that get gummed up in the works are stuff that isn't going to be in any of the top revenue lists as these devs are just filling a niche. All the while devs have to walk a fine line to not upset Apple. And it's not like devs can just focus more on Android over iOS as Android owners don't spend money on gaming (they just pirate it as it's very easy to do). And until Apple actually makes stuff clear cut, it's horrible dance that devs must endure.
Big kudos for Ultimate General for milking the situation for all it's worth in getting sales for their game. When people read the story, all the focus was on Gettysburg and it shot their game into the top 20 on Steam for full price (not bad considering it was down to $3.50 during the Steam sale).
HexWars HexWars Hexwars. This was the third game of yours that you had trouble with and you once again failed to capitalize on earnings potential from controversy. When you are given an opportunity, you really need to use and abuse it.
Two games in a row, WB have shit the bed when it comes to PC ports. Mortal Kombat X has been broken for over 2 months now with just now an end in sight as High Voltage have been taken off the project to be replaced by QLOC who has done God's Work in making PC have the definitive release of Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. Of course, who knows when it will actually be in a playable state but it was a good move.
Considering the awful PC port of Arkham Origins that Iron Galaxy did, I'm still flabbergasted why WB went back with them for one of the premiere titles of 2015 but they did and it's worse than Arkham Origins. That being said, outside of these and their Borderlands 2 port for the Vita (which shouldn't have been tried in the first place), I really like Iron Galaxy but for being at least a year working on the project, I don't know how anyone signed off in releasing in the current state it's in. It's not the worst PC port ever (still think Saint's Row 2 holds that distinction) but it's straight garbage. How they got rain to go in slow-motion when you're physically not in the rain is breathtaking. And...so...much...micro...stutter that it runs like you're running the game in SLI. What can go wrong, obviously went wrong after it was shown last year during the PS4 conference.
• Flatout I just want to say that if you have $12, I implore you to buy the this bundle of zines and books. The Unofficial Guide to Castlevania and Designers & Dragons are extremely solid books but the crown jewel in the bundle in my opinion is all 12 issues of Scroll. Each issue tackles something something interesting be it the history of the Dragon Quest series, the history of seminal Jaleco who pumped out so many games of the 80's & 90's or something very weird like a look at the hugely popular Dating Sim genre. You don't even need to know anything about what Ray Barnholt is writing about going (and considering his writing style, it's for the better as he's very good at getting people up to speed). Straight up, if you like reading, this bundle of books and zines is the best money you can spend.
• I talked about Her Story quite a bit over the months and I have to say that I'm glad that it's an awesome experience. Notice I say "experience" and not game as to call it a game would be stretching the term past it's breaking point. Watching clips of a one man play while picking up keywords to search for more clips isn't exactly "gaming"... at least in my opinion. To say much of anything of the story outside of the general premise of reopening a case of a woman accused of murdering her husband is to say too much. It's very much something that you need to go into cold. By doing so, you're rewarded with some top notch writing as you peel the layers back all acted by one girl who is very believable. And you don't even need caveats of "good for a videogame" as it's legitimately good. Only thing I will say is when you've watch all the clips, you really want more which means it's the right length (5-6 hours) as it doesn't overstay it's welcome. Only thing I can say that I would have liked is they had thrown in some crime scene photos. I personally think it's worth the $6 (it's down to $5 for release week) but it's up to you if you want to take the ride.
Close it up
Sunday Music/Open Thread [CBD]
Good song, from a group I have never heard of.
And below the fold, some Yes.....
Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire. #yes— Geoffrey Downes (@asiageoff) June 28, 2015
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Weekend Thread: Stereotypes, First Impressions, and Lasting Impressions [Y-not]
I did some traveling last week to two states that I'd never visited before, Tennessee and Kentucky. (Most of my time was spent in Kentucky.) It was interesting to spend a couple of days in a "new" (to me) part of the country, particularly during the Confederate battle flag brouhaha. It got me thinking about the impressions we form of different parts of this country and how those impressions are formed.
In my own loosely thought out way, I categorize the qualities we ascribe to different regions of the country into three groups: stereotypes, first impressions, and lasting impressions. I think of stereotypes as strong impressions (occasionally negative, but not always) that are often formed on limited (and sometimes indirect) evidence. They're the things everyone "knows" but far fewer know from direct, protracted experience. For example, we all KNOW that Philadelphians are rude. Why? Because they attacked Santa! We also all KNOW that Californians are free spirits. Why? Because of Haight-Ashbury!
(I hope those two examples illustrate my point: stereotypes CAN be true, but very often are not true.)
About a year ago, an interesting study was published about stereotypes and how they are formed:
...our minds are hard-wired to categorize information and create mental shortcuts (attribute A is associated with behavior B). This helps us retain knowledge using minimal mental effort, and provides a needed sense of structure to an otherwise chaotic universe.
We take complex webs of information and, in the process of sharing what we've learned, create "a progressively simplified, highly structured, and easily learnable system" of stereotypes.
In doing so, however, nuances and complications tend to be discarded.
Often, the researchers write, stereotypes begin with a "kernel of truth" that subsequently gets inflated into a widely held truism regarding a group of people. But other times, they can spring up seemingly from nowhere.
Follow the link above to read more about the study.
Earlier this year, Voice of America published a piece on the stereotypes Americans apply to their fellow Americans. The results are based on a YouGov poll and are illustrated graphically below:
Last Fall, Deep South Daily published the results of a similar survey -- in this case Brits were surveyed on their impressions of the U.S. Here are their results:
What do you think of these results? Do they fit with your experiences or pre-conceptions of different parts of the U.S.?
I have lived in a lot of different parts of the U.S. At last count, I've lived in nine different states (eight as an adult) thus far and in all four time zones. It's been an interesting process -- usually good, sometimes not-so-good (I'm looking at YOU, California!), but always an adventure.
Of the different places where I've lived, I'd say the one that surprised me the most (but probably shouldn't have) was Boston. Although Bostonians have a reputation as being unfriendly, I did not move to the area thinking that would be an issue. Why? I'm a friendly person and my parents, as well as my husband's family, are from Massachusetts. So although I was aware of the Boston stereotype, I discarded it figuring that it was wrong. I knew these people (I thought). I'd have no trouble.
Well, I was wrong in that case. When I moved to Boston from Chicago, I was frequently and routinely asked if I was from the Midwest (I'm not, actually) by shopkeepers and others I'd meet casually -- that's how much I stuck out for being TOO FRIENDLY. (If you haven't been to Massachusetts, the take home lesson is that the state is divided into threes: Boston, central Massachusetts, and the Berkshires. The people are quite dissimilar.)
My three-year "tour" of Boston went like this:
STEREOTYPE: "I've heard people in Boston are unfriendly, but I bet that's wrong!"
FIRST IMPRESSION: "The locals here sure seemed to be put off by how friendly I am. Why do they all think I'm from the Midwest?"
LASTING IMPRESSION: "People in Boston sure are unfriendly!"
Last week as I was visiting Kentucky for the first time, I had only a very loosely formed idea of what to expect. I knew it would be greener than Utah and I assumed it would be more diverse, but somehow "Southern." (I don't really have a lot of experience with what I'd consider the True South, having only lived in Houston and Maryland. The latter is, believe it or not, considered to be The South by my Yankee mother-in-law!)
I formed a few first impressions about the state, all good. The biggest one was that it did not feel like the True South to me -- it really felt like a blend of the Midwest and the South. This makes sense in retrospect when you look at a map of Kentucky and learn a little about its history. The people I met during my time were polite, but not really "laid back" in the way that I tend to associate with the South. That said, I certainly was ma'am'd a lot!
I guess I may still be in search of the The South. Maybe the vaguely formed idea I have of it doesn't exist. And maybe the unfriendly Boston that I experienced in the early 90s no longer exists, too. Over the years I've learned to find good in every place I've lived (even California!) and to try to not rely on stereotypes too much as I travel throughout the U.S.
This brings me to one last map -- a travel route that takes you through all 48 contiguous states (plus D.C.), optimized to hit important landmarks in each place:
It looks like the map takes you to Bryce Canyon in Utah. That is a dramatic place and a good choice for experiencing some of Utah's dramatic landscapes, but to learn about the people you probably need to go to Provo.
Tell us about where you live(d). Which stereotypes are true? What surprising thing about the people there would someone new to your state find? What one place typifies your state best? Is it the same place you'd send someone to learn about the people of your state?
Oh, and Southerners, where should I go to experience the True South?!
Open thread for travel and general chit-chat.
Close it up
Open Thread for Politics and Misery [Y-not]
Apparently, some of you cannot take even Sunday off, bless your hearts.
Here's your thread for doing things like this:
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 06-28-2015: The World Turned Upside Down [OregonMuse]
Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.
Book thread TRIGGER WARNINGS for holding that Hillary! Clinton is the most corrupt politician since LBJ and the only thing keeping her from being laughed out of politics is an equally corrupt MSM, that government employees should not be allowed to vote due to the obvious conflict of interest, and the near absolute risibility of feminism.
Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.
Yesterday, A Spooky Day
And not because of anything the Supreme Court did. No, June 27th is the date a very famous short story takes place. It starts out like this:
The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that [it] took two days and had to be started on June 26th ....”
Can you guess the story? I'll have the answer way down at the bottom of the thread. Note that the word in bracket is my replacement, the original words are a dead giveaway.
Someone Is Going To Have To Be A Hero
Here's a story that, in light of recent events, should be very familiar to us:
1. Church gets planted in San Francisco
2. Church hires musician to do the church music
3. Subsequently, it comes to light that said musician is a practicing homosexual
4. Musician is informed by the church that his lifestyle is not in accord with church doctrine
5. Musician tells church that he is not going to change
6. Musician is dismissed by church
7. Church gets sued for violation of local "gay rights" ordinance.
This might have happened just last week, but the series of events I'm referring to took place in 1978, nearly 40 years ago. It's detailed in the book
When the Wicked Seize A City written by the minister and his wife, Charles and Donna McIlhenny
WORLD magazine has excerpted an early chapter that you can read here. I read it back in the early days of the internet, and I'm talking sometime around 1997-1998, when it used to be available for free for online reading on the old iUniverse site (before that self-publishing company had been bought out by Author Solutions), and the McIlhennys ordeal made for frightening reading: vandalism, threatening phone calls, violent protests complete with property damage while officers from the SFPD stood around like potted plants, etc.
The pastor did not ask for this fight. Rather, it was thrust upon him as he was trying to follow the dictates of his conscience, informed by the Bible. And not only did he have to fight the homosexual activists in San Francisco who had sworn to destroy his church, but his decision to stand up placed him at odds with some members of his own congregation and denominational leaders who were frightened because of what might happen. I want to sympathize with them, but sometimes, someone has to step up and be a hero, because heroism is what the situation absolutely requires.
And, not a very long time from now, in according with a plan arranged by homosexual activists, predominantly, a white, evangelical church (note: it will not be a black church or a mosque) that refuses to marry homosexual couples will have its tax-exempt status threatened, citing this week's Obergefell decision as precedent. What is happening in that day is that that pastor, that church, whoever it is who is being bludgeoned by the lawfare while the MSM and the rest of the culture applauds, is being called upon to be heroes.
Of course, many don't want to be heroes. Fighting is hard and dangerous. And what's even worse, we have guys on our side who are telling us, once again, that this is not the hill to die on, that we just need to move on. To the next defeat.
SPOILER ALERT: there's good news and bad news here. The good news is that McIlhenny actually won his case, on 1st Amendment grounds. But the bad news is that the main reason for this is perhaps, uncharacteristically for the progressive strategy of endless lawfare, the musician dropped the subsequent appeal. So the usual outcome, i.e. the Kabuki theater of a more liberal appellate court pretending to uphold the law while sticking it to the wrongthinking defendant, never played out.
You've got to like a review that starts out like this:
In the realm of science fiction, few things are as much fun to read about as the near extinction of the human race.
(Before I go on, I need to point out that the linked review contains a number of spoilers).
He's talking about the new one by Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, which you can purchase on Kindle for a whopping $16.99. The author of this review, John Derbyshire, late of NRO and now with Takimag, is certainly no stranger to doom, if his other book We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism is any indication.
I liked this bit:
So this first two-thirds of the book is in fact not so much science fiction as engineering fiction. There are no just-barely-imaginable scientific possibilities in play here, only Newtonian mechanics and a relentless press of technical problems large and small.
...because it touches on one of my pet peeves. What Derbyshire means by "engineering fiction" used to be called, before the popularity of Star Wars confused matters, simply "science fiction" and pretty much everyone knew what that meant. Science fiction used to have a precise meaning: when you take a social trend, or a piece of technology, or some other aspect or condition of our present time, and extend it out into the future, however long you wish, and then write about what that might look like, that is science fiction, in the strict and narrow sense.
This is the definition I first heard many years ago, and it stuck with me ever since.
Later on, this kind of got broadened out to, any novel or movie that takes place in the future is science fiction. I don't normally think of Ayn Rand's
We The Living Anthem as science fiction, but I guess it kind of is, under either the narrow or broadened definition.
And then when Star Wars came out, it was anything with space ships and ray guns. But just because you have space ships and ray guns doesn't make it science fiction. And remember the classic Star Wars intro: "A long, long, time ago in a galaxy far, far aaway". So unlike actual science fiction with roots in the present, Star Wars, at the very outset, tells you it is completely divorced from everything you've ever known or experienced.
"Science fantasy" would be a better definition for this sort of thing. Not to be confused with the other kind of fantasy, the kind with hobbits, dragons, and swords. But in either case, you might as well be in a different universe for all that it matters. Of course, many fantasy stories actually do take place in alternate universes.
Personally, I like the so-called "engineering fiction", so described by Derbyshire. That's why I liked John Ringo's Hot Gate series, because he made the process of capturing an asteroid and turning it into an armored battle-station sound almost plausible, including how it all was going to be paid for. And this is my beef with the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboots. The old series, particularly the original series, was good old-school science fiction. The guy who does the RedLetterMedia.com movie critiques pointed out (and demonstrated with TOS video clips) how all the scenes shot on the Enterprise conform to the ship's design that was determined in advance, so, for example, for Kirk and Spock to get from the shuttle bay to the bridge, the elevator they're in has to go sideways for awhile, and then up. But in the reboot, the elevator doors close, and then instantaneously open again at the bridge, and virtually no time has elapsed. Abrams wanted them on the bridge right then, and thus it happened, so shut up and no backtalk.
What has happened is that Abrams has made Star Trek a lot more like Star Wars. Doesn't mean they're bad movies, but I miss the old style.
And speaking of hard science, Derbyshire is a bit of an amateur mathematician, and has written a couple of books on the subject, Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics which he followed up with Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra.
Thanks to longtime moron 'Hrothgar' for the Derbyshire review tip
And Speaking of Reviews
Expansive and yet vacuous is the prose of Kahlil Gibran,
And weary grows the mind doomed to read it.
The hours of my penance lengthen,
The penance established for me by the editor of this magazine,
And those hours may be numbered as the sands of the desert.
And for each of them Kahlil Gibran has prepared
Another ornamental phrase,
Another faux-Biblical cadence,
Another affirmation proverbial in its intent
But alas! lacking the moral substance,
The peasant shrewdness, of the true proverb.
Yeah, I was never much of a fan of Gibran, either, whose writings always had this kitschy, cheesy feel, like one of those black velvet Elvis paintings. but apparently he was quite an accomplished artist, especially in watercolor, and even studied in art schools in Paris. I never knew that.
Amazon Royalties: Tempest In Teacup?
It has been said, and I think this is an old wives' tale, that Russian authors used to be paid by the word, which is why Russian novels are so freakin' huge.
But, according to Reuters, Amazon is doing something similar:
Starting next month, the e-commerce giant will pay independent authors based on the number of pages read, rather than the number of times their book has been borrowed.
The move is aimed at authors enrolled in Kindle Direct Publishing platform - which lets authors set list prices, decide rights and edit the book at any time - and is applicable to ebooks made available via the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library programs.
When I first heard about this, I thought this was for Kindle books purchased. But I was wrong:
The new method of payment doesn't apply to books that have been purchased but to those that are borrowed as part of Kindle Unlimited, which allows for - you guessed it - unlimited reading of KU books in exchange for a subscription fee...Amazon used to start paying royalties on the borrowed book once a reader got to 10% of the way through, but this was proving unfair to authors who wrote longer books. A reader perusing a short book reaches the trigger point for payment much faster than one reading an 800-page tome. The result was a flood of very short reads as authors spread their writing over as many books as possible.
The writer of the Guardian piece is afraid of how this will change the way authors write books, but from what she just said in the bit I quoted, writers are doing that already, i.e. making adjustments to maximize their income. What's wrong with that? If they're going to game the system under the new scheme, it will only be in a different way than they're gaming the system now.
So what do you moron authors think about this? Good? Bad? Meh? It seems to me these changes may mean that the myriad 99-cent Kindle short novels and novelettes out there may be go away soon.
And is that such a big deal?
Thanks you moron "mindful webworker" for the tip.
The WNBA Comes To Book Publishing
But there's not a progressive idea that some pinheads won't immediately run with:
Small press And Other Stories has answered author Kamila Shamsie’s provocative call for a year of publishing women to redress “gender bias” in the literary world.
So, their brilliant plan is, in 2018, they're not going to publish any books by men.
Tobler’s colleague Sophie Lewis, a senior editor at And Other Stories, said she expected the team would be “rescheduling male writers’ books for other years [and] digging harder and further than usual, in order to find the really good women’s writing that we want to publish” in 2018.
So the men will just have to wait until 2019. That'll show 'em. By the way, ladies, if this is truly a "gender bias" issue, you shouldn't have to look "harder and further than usual" to find quality women authors, they should be right there in front of you.
Now this is absolutely hilarious;
A small publisher, And Other Stories releases 10 to 12 new titles a year. “We’ve realised for a while that we’ve published more men than women,” said Tobler. “This year we’ve done seven books by men and four by women ... We have a wide range of people helping us with our choices, and our editors are women ... and yet somehow we still publish more books by men than women.”
I can't stop laughing. This is an admission that women, or at least women in the publishing industry, desperately need to be saved from themselves. So rather than honestly ask themselves the obvious question 'why do we women prefer male authors?' they instead, being good progressives, immediately blame something else, someone else, anybody but them. And then they follow it up with an completely stupid and pointless gesture that solves nothing, and may even hurt them (lost profits).
It's kind of like those idiots who staged naked protests against the Iraq War. What was the point? Nobody was interested, nobody cared, nobody said, "OMG, look at all those naked protestors, let's stop the war right now." The war kept right on going.
Bless their hearts.
Thanks to the Political Hat for the tip.
Books By Morons
Another light week for e-mail, so here's a repeat:
Longtime lurker and infrequent commenter 'Farmer Bob' has written and published two mystery novels. The books follow the exploits of Fiddler O'Connell and his Uncle Emmett. Fiddler is a New Orleans defense attorney and Emmett is a hard boiled PI.
The first one is Termite Takedown. Here's a piece of the action:
Everybody knows Fiddler O'Connell doesn't do divorces, so of course he turns beautiful Trixi Vaughn away when the sugar baron's wife attempts to enlist him for the same, even with termites eating him out of house and home. But will he take her on as a client when later that night she is accused of murdering her soon-to-be ex...with his Uncle Emmett as her accomplice?
The adventures of Fiddler and Emmett continue in Flea Flicker:
Earvin San Miguel could catch a football like an all-pro. Now, courtesy of a killer, he's caught a bullet, and he's all-dead, Can Fiddler and Emmett catch the killer in time, or will their client, Carlos Menendez, catch a deadly hypodermic needle on death row?
Both are available on Kindle for $2.99.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
Early Morning Thread 6/28/15 Banned in 57 States Edition [krakatoa]
"Hey, I'm new here. Where can I get some good fried chicken?"
Yes - I was once almost physically attacked for asking that question to the only other people on a job site when I had a craving for fried chicken.
Luckily for everyone, the old man in the group grabbed some arms and told me where KFC was.
This was years ago. I presume today I'd be arrested at the end of the melee.
Overnight Open Thread (27 Jun 2015)
Welcome to the circular firing squad. According to feminists, "trigger warning" is now also a trigger.
Admiral Josh Painter: "This business will get out of control! It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it!"
Evidently, some people are more special than others. Justice Department to fast track $29 million dollars to help Charleston shooting victims' families. Keep in mind, this money isn't tax dollars. The Fort Hood victims had to fight tooth and nail to just get a purple heart.
On a side note, perhaps those of us who have become victims of the OPM debacle (there is no patch for incompetence)can request lifetime funding from this fund to cover the costs of having to have identity protection services for the rest of our lives.
This might get interesting. Coalition of African-American pastors vow civil disobedience to gay marriage ruling. I think they'll fold when tax-exempt statuses come up.
Rocket Under The Ice
If religion does not matter in regard to homosexuality, then why must we restrict our behaviors in deference to Islam? Yeah, yeah, I know we're guests in those countries and I'm being snarky but you know folks are afraid of offending Islamic leaders.
I think Tom Cruise will probably end up adding Top Gun 2 to his regret list. I can't believe they're going through with that one. For now. I'd rather see Red Storm Rising made into a movie.
BTW, I did see Jurassic World tonight with my son. It was a pretty good summer flick. Not as good as the original but easily better than 2 and 3. Plus, Bryce Dallas Howard is very easy on the eyes.
Red Flag & Distant Thunder in Alaska
Bonus flying video: Finnish F/A-18 doing some low level work.
So June 30th is Asteroid Day and their goal is come up with solutions to save us from SMOD. At this point, I'm rooting for SMOD.
Job Interview Tips
There are a few of those I'd love to try. 20 essential job interview tips.
Saw this over at Instapundit the other day. I'm so going to do this with my kids. Periodic Table Battleship.
Bonus video: The accidental flying cat.
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.
Close it up
It Sure Looks Like Greece Will Exit the Euro
Very surreal atmosphere in press room here in Brussels. One journalist in tears. Most reporters shocked euro rupture is happening. #Greece— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) June 27, 2015
What is surreal is these Political Priests crying over the failure of an ideological technocratic structure that never worked and has made the people under it fairly unhappy.
But zealots care little for three-dimensional human beings and their silly three-dimensional feelings; their only concern is for the Heavens built in the fourth dimensional world, abstracted away from this rotten world of matter and spirit.
This could all just be the latest round of bluffing and brinksmanship, but this could finally be the long-awaited end.
This statement was just issued:
Here's that full statement.
Note that the Gardening Thread is below, and it's a good one. But this seems like Breaking News. I hope Y-Not, Weirddave, and KT will excuse the stompenation.
Saturday Gardening Thread: Tropicana Edition [Y-not, KT, and Weirddave]
Good afternoon (evening?) gardeners! Today's late edition of the Saturday Gardening Thread is brought to you by Fess Parker:
Another light week of posting from yours truly, I'm afraid, owing to some unexpected travel. Fortunately as you will see, KT came through #LikeABoss and I think even Weirddave has something for us this week.
Long-time moron Gordon tipped me off to this excellent website that might be of interest to many of our tropical morons, Florida Survival Gardening. It looks like a great site, chock full of helpful and interesting content.
Gordon goes on to say the following about the proprietor of Florida Survival Gardening:
A friend of mine, David the Good, has published a book called Compost Everything. You can find it on Amazon as an ebook or paperback. David, while he may not be aware of it, is kind of a supporter of the moron lifestyle. His book is funny, entertaining and very educational.
As you'll see on David's website, he also has another booklet, Create Your Own Florida Food Forest that I bet would interest many of the horde. (Make sure to use Ace's Amazon store thingy if you order one of these books. Flea dips are quite pricey these days and the alternative, dipping in kerosene followed by exposure to a flamethrower, is not very pleasant!)
I hope we can get David to comment here and perhaps set up a future guest post or two on some topics of interest to the horde. Please let him know of your interests in the comments. (And be gentle because he may be a noob!)
And now, let's see what KT has for us this week:
This year, Summer Solstice was on Fathers Day, July 21 -- the official start of summer. Midsummer Day was on June 24. Does this make sense to you?
Ever wonder why June is the month of weddings, how Groundhog Day got started, or why we hold elections in the fall? The timing of present-day rituals and holidays may be based on the calendars of the ancient Celts and other cultures. These divided the year into four major sections, called quarter days, and then divided each of these in half, creating four cross-quarter days . . .
Most of the action in A Misummer Night's Dream is set on the night of the Summer Solstice. Were the forests Shakespeare knew frightening or beautiful?
When one of our friends was lost for several days in the high country, the forest seemed quite frightening to me -- more because of mountain lions than because of mischievous fairy folk. Some other strange creatures may visit the forest during Summer Solstice, though. Be careful about planting too many trees in your yard. You never know . . .
Sometimes the relationship between the Summer Solstice and Midsummer Day can be sort of ambiguous. Fun fact: In Sweden, summer solstice is celebrated by eating the first strawberries of the season. "In Sweden the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make Midsummer's Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of June 6."
Around here, the first (and last) strawberries of the season are long gone before Summer Solstice. It is way too hot for strawberries now.
Currants growing on the North Face
We may not have strawberries, but we currently have fruit on plants that depend on getting a little sun around the time of the Summer Solstice. We have been enjoying Clove Currants. Back in January, I briefly mentioned this plant as an edible landscaping choice for a north wall at our latitude (with a photo of the fruit) in a segment on planning your yard based on where sunlight hits as the sun moves in the sky during the year.
Did anybody remember to check where sunlight hits in the yard, especially with regard to windows, at summer solstice? If not, you can still get a good idea where the sun hits in summer by checking this weekend -- morning, noon and early evening.
Y-not did a great segment on gooseberries and currants back in February. It reminded me of the strongly-flavored black currants that grew in our garden as I was growing up. They imparted an exotic, wild flavor to raspberry or raspberry/peach preserves. A neighbor from Finland who had Type 1 diabetes always came by to pick some because of the purported benefits of the fruit for her condition. Another neighbor grew large gooseberries. They were generally very tart, but sometimes when she invited us over I was able to find a few really ripe ones that were fairly sweet. They were wonderful. I cannot grow either European black currants or gooseberries here.
For our climate, the only good edible currant/gooseberry choices I know of are Ribes aureum and the closely related Ribes odoratum, AKA Ribes aureum var. villosum. They are remarkably drought tolerant for currants. We are certainly in a drought.
Alternate common names are "Buffalo Currant" and "Golden Currant". Fruit color ranges from golden to black. The name "Clove Currant" refers to fragrant yellow blossoms. Some cultivars are more fragrant than others. The most fragrant wild plants are from the Midwest rather than the West.
The most common cultivar for culinary use is Crandall, released in 1888. It has large, sweet black fruit. I suspect that it is sweetest where the weather gets hot, with some water restriction as it ripens. Ours are quite sweet this year, especially considering that they are currants. They taste best a few days after they turn black.
This cultivar is shorter than many wild plants, usually seen at three to four feet in height, though it can get taller. Our plants would be taller if they were not so droopy. Since they are against the north wall of our house, they only get part sun in summer, with no direct sun at other times of the year. We have to prop the stems up with strings and T-bars, set at about 3 feet in height. The plants are gangly enough that they are not particularly attractive. But they produce good fruit in the side yard where we seldom go. They are easy to care for. Here is an embarrassing photo of bare-stemmed, floppy branches against the wall. They would probably look better if grown in an eastern exposure.
This currant is also cold tolerant. There is a nice, representative photo of a plant growing in Wisconsin. The Missouri Botanical Garden has an informative profile on this cultivar, though it will grow in parts of Zone 9, too. At least in the West. Some cultivars were developed in Canada, and amateurs continue breeding and selection. I think a cross-species hybrid of a sweet Ribes Aureum with a distinctively flavorful European black currant could be interesting.
Will the real Brandywine tomato please sit on my sandwich?
As Weirddave has attested in his own unique way, summer is the season for all kinds of tomato sandwiches. Many heirloom tomatoes just seem made to feature on a sandwich. You might be interested in perusing 17 ways to build a better tomato sandwich. I generally go for "simple", but tastes and aspirations vary.
"Brandywine" is the most famous name in heirloom tomatoes. Sometimes it is hard to tell the real deal from the impersonators.
The most celebrated Brandywine of all is a dark pink beefsteak, saved for future generations by tomato enthusiast Ben Quisenberry. The strain he saved is known as the Sudduth Strain. This potato-leaf cultivar is the standard against which other beefsteak tomatoes are judged. It is notoriously finicky about growing conditions. It is not productive for many people.
There are several other strains of pink Brandywine tomatoes available now. One that is reputed to be more productive than the original is Cowlicks. Some seed houses carry their own strains.
Things get more confusing when it comes to Red Brandywine. The first published record of a Brandywine Tomato described a regular-leaf red slicer. A "Red Brandywine" fitting that description is now often designated as the Landis Valley Strain, though it did not originate there. A museum in Landis Valley, Pennsylvania maintains this strain, along with other heirloom tomatoes, beans and other crops.
Tomato Growers Supply also sells potato-leaf and regular-leaf beefsteak versions of "Red Brandywine" in addition to "Landis Valley", but true tomato nuts generally reject the beefsteaks as misnamed tomatoes. Unless you know which strain your nursery sells, you may not get what you expect when you pick up a Red Brandywine plant.
Yellow Brandywine is a beefsteak. There is a popular selection called the "Platfoot Strain".
My Tomato of the Week is Brandywine OTV. The initials stand for "Off the Vine", a defunct tomato newsletter. It is a red beefsteak -- the stabilized offspring of Yellow Brandywine and an unknown red tomato. It has a reputation for being more heat tolerant than other Brandywine tomatoes. But I have planted it a couple of times before without much success. The third try worked.
Two fruits are seen at the top in the photo below, along with (clockwise) Lemon Boy, Sungold, Stump of the World (dark pink, gnawed by a grasshopper, apparently), Large Red Cherry and Sweet Tangerine (including the green one from a broken branch). Stump of the World is better than Brandywine OTV in our garden this year.
I like the mild Lemon Boy VFN Hybrid when it starts to turn a little bit golden, with some water restriction. It has a different character than the heirloom beefsteaks. It is great for visually striking (and tasty) salsas and for salads. It is favored for fried green tomatoes. It is one of the more heat tolerant tomatoes around.
Sungold Hybrid shows the greenish coloration typical of its ripe fruits in our hottest weather. The little cherries still taste good. But their unique, fruity flavor comes out best in a little cooler weather, and their color is more appealing then, too.
Large Red Cherry has a nice, sweet tomato-y flavor in the heat -- considerably better than in cooler weather. Interesting how various tomatoes taste best in different weather conditions.
I suspect that tomatoes sold under this name are quite variable. I have no idea where my strain came from. Ben Quisenberry canned them whole. I cannot even imagine peeling all those little tomatoes. But if you want his heirloom strain of Large Red Cherry, Brandywine or Stump of the World, buy seed from a source that keeps track of where its tomato strains come from.
Hope some good things are happening in your garden, or that you get to eat a good tomato sandwich. Or both.
Y-not: Thanks, KT! Weirddave is back from his two weeks vacay from the Gardening Thread, so let's see what he has for us today:
I was in Mexico while I was away, and the resort I stayed at had impeccable landscaping. A crew of gardeners was always hard at work to keep it that way.
If you look closely, you can see the sprinkler heads for the irrigation system. LOTS of water is needed to keep things looking like this, Baja California Sur is basically a desert. The slopes were planted in a lush, green ground cover that seemed to be everywhere.
There was one plant that I especially liked, but I never could find out exactly what it was. None of the gardeners spoke enough English to help ("Como se llama that thing?" wasn't cutting it) and none of the staff that spoke English knew what it was, and I was never able to bring the two together next to the plant. I did take pictures though, can any of the Horde help me out?
Purple and green spiked leaves, side by side in a plant about the size of your average Hosta. Does anyone know what it is and if it'll grow in the Mid-Atlantic? While the landscaped areas were cool, the raw desert has a beauty all it's own.
It's especially striking by moonlight, but I have no pictures of that. So that's where I've been. Back to you Y-not.
Y-not: To wrap things up, how about some Bluegrass Calypso?
What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?
Link to the Archive of the Saturday Gardening Thread, through May 30th.
Close it up
Open Thread: Summer Is Here [Y-not]
My husband, dear man that he is, has one weakness. He loves those dumb "fails" videos. I always know when he's watching them because he sounds like this:
That said, perhaps you are like him and enjoy those silly videos. If so, here's a link for your amusement.
If not, open thread for chit chat while we wait for the Gardening Thread to "bloom."
Close it up
Saturday Video: Find The Ewok [CBD]
It's been a difficult and demoralizing time, in no small part because Ace has been curiously unforthcoming about the new Batman game. To tide us over until he provides a short, pithy 9,000 word review, I have dug up one of his first public appearances.
First to identify Ace gets a Platinum AoSHQ Membership with ampersands and bonus Wack-A-Mole™
Current Conservative Presidential Darling Pretty Indifferent On Same Sex Marriage Ruling
Marco Rubio....pro-intervention and nation building, pro-amnesty, but indifferent to SSM ruling.
“While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…
“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”
Allah took exception to my characterization of Rubio as "indifferent" but had the decision gone the other way, what would he have said differently? "While I'm thankful for today's ruling and understand the passions on both sides, we live in a republic....blah....blah...respect the decision....blah...blah...respect each other...blah....blah...conservative judges."
Why so tepid Marco? Oh, right....donors.
Oh and while we do live in a republic (theoretically) it's important who and how laws are made. If judges do it, it's not a republic. Marco should probably think on that for a bit.
This is your guy GOP? Swell.
Ted Cruz has a fundraising idea, I mean, a response....let Congress vote on keeping Supreme Court judges every 8 years. Odds of passing that amendment to the Constitution? Yeah.
Anyone selling a "solution" to this that requires an amendment is simply blowing smoke up your ass.
So what is the solution? I have some ideas and will have a post on Monday about it.
In the meantime the short answer is....stop protecting people from the big government they support. Too many people who have spent years and decades advocating for bigger and bigger government have to be made to enjoy it as much as we have been.
For me it starts with the Catholic Church. They and any other church that discriminates against gay couples will find up being sued and forced to perform ceremonies or will lose their tax status.
My reaction: Oh well.
US bishops have spent decades advocating liberal big government programs (ObamaCare, as long as they are exempted and amnesty spring to mind) all while enjoying an exemption from its effects or sharing in the burden of the costs via their tax exemption.
Well they are going to get a taste of what they've been building and they aren't going to like it one bit.
While I will lament to loss of an important American value, it won't be the first progressives have killed. But I will laugh as they and others like them are shocked that the government they are so happy to sic on others turns on them.
I keep being told there isn't a critical mass of people who support big government. Fair enough. So now it's time to create one. No more exemptions and safe harbors from which people safely sell me and my values down the rive to protect theirs.
Big government is the best salesman for small government. It's time we let it loose on it's supporters.
Added: In the interest of interfaith comity I should note I'm looking forward to synagogues and mosques being taxed as well.
90-95% of your congregants vote for Democrats? Well, then I'm sure you'll be happy to be subject to even more of what they impose on the rest of us.
Fundamental Concepts - Game Over [Weirddave]
Ever since SCOTUS decided King V Burwell, I've been in a bit of a daze. Yesterday morning I realized I was just sitting on the edge of my bed, one sock on, my toes tucked into the other, just...staring out the window. My wife was behind me calling my name."Dave?....Dave?....Dave?..". I shook it off, but in truth I feel quite a bit like Private Hudson.
Strangely enough for someone who is an insurance agent, it has nothing to do with Obamacare. If it had gone the other way, God knows Congress would have fallen all over itself to to reinstate the subsidy. No, what was so gobsmackingly amazing about the decision was that it was justified on the basis of "intent". 6 out of 9 justices ignored the black letter written word of law in favor of "intent"
So why is this important? Well, let's start by asking a simple question: Why has the USA been so prosperous? Expand the scope of the question: Historically, why has the Anglosphere been so successful? If one views all of the countries in the Anglosphere as branches growing off of a British trunk, underneath all of them, providing sustenance and support is one common root:
Rule of Law
Rule of Law is a concept that goes back to Greco-Roman times and earlier. The Bible introduces some Deuteronomic provisions to constrain the king that are perhaps the earliest iterations of the concept. Plato advocated a benevolent monarchy, placing his hopes on the willingness of the king to obey the law, Aristotle firmly rebuked him for such a Utopian concept. Things really got rolling in 1215 with the Magna Carta which limited the power of King John to act unilaterally. Samuel Rutherford turned traditional wisdom on its head with Lex,Rex ("The law is king" as opposed to the traditional Rex,Lex, "The king is law") Locke discussed the concept in great detail, and the Founding Fathers of the US kept the concept as their guiding star as they wrote the Constitution. In every case, as the concept evolved, society became more prosperous, more just and more stable.
And then along came John Roberts.
So what is Rule of Law? Simply put, Rule of Law means that the laws apply to everyone equally. A law is written. It says what it says, and everyone must obey it. No exceptions. The law applies to everyone, regardless of social status, political position, wealth, situation. The law says that one may not drive drunk. If someone is pulled over and they blow 1.5, it doesn't matter if they were really sad because their grandfather just died, or if their mother ruled Bartertown. They broke the law, they are arrested and tried. (I do realize that real life isn't quite as straightforward and often times position, power or wealth DO determine how laws are applied in individual cases, but we're talking theory here). Rule of Law creates a level playing field for everyone.
Real life example: You want to set up a toilet paper factory. You can set it up in America, where a codified set of laws protects your property rights and sets legal limits on what the government can do to you, or you can set up shop in Venezuela where what you build belongs to a corrupt government and can be taken from you at anytime. Where do you build your factory?
Exactly, and that's why Wal-Mart carries dozens of different types of toilet paper and they are wiping their asses with pine cones in Caracas.
Which brings us back to the Affordable Care Act. Because the ACA made health insurance so expensive, the law contains provisions to
financially enslave lower income people to the State provide subsidies to help working class people pay for the insurance. According to the text of the law, these subsidies are only available to people who purchase their insurance through an exchange set up by their state. The law states this two dozen times. Clearly. In plain English. Over and over again. Unfortunately for the architects of the law, most states did not set up an exchange, so the Obama administration instructed the IRS to offer the subsidies to people who purchased insurance on the Federal exchange, in clear violation of the law. This was the issue at stake in the case, which should have been the most open and shut decision in the history of the court.
It wasn't. The court found that subsidies on the Federal exchange were legal. From Robert's opinion:
The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner. Congress made the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements applicable in every State in the Nation, but those requirements only work when combined with the coverage requirement and tax credits. It thus stands to reason that Congress meant for those provisions to apply in every State as well.Pp. 15–19.
So the law doesn't mean what it says it means. Hmmm, Interesting concept, but I could see how it's barely plausible (Barely plausible means that one instance could be a mistake. Two dozen? Never). If a law was passed to require all of you peons to venerate “The Weirddave”, and by mistake it contained a typo and said “A Weirddave” so that you poor simple folks were worshiping inferior Weirddaves instead of me, OK, I could buy the intent argument. However, if the law says "a Weirddave" over and over and over again, well, what else can we conclude except that my insisting "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me!" is nothing but hubris? In this case we have multiple videos of the law's principal author, Jonathan Gruber, saying that not offering subsidies to people off their state exchange was intentional:
What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.
Video here, go to 32:00 exactly for the quote.
So we have proven that Roberts' stated rationale for his decision is bullshit. It doesn't matter, his decision stands. There is not a Goddamn thing you or I or anyone can do about it. Roberts' decision arbitrarily precludes the Rule of Law. The ACA doesn't mean what it says it means. Why? Because six SCOTUS justices say that it doesn’t.
So where does this leave us? It leaves us as subjects to an oligarchy. No longer are we citizens giving our consent to be governed in a codified, orderly process. The USA as constituted is dead. Instead of ruling on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the President, the SCOTUS is now writing laws. All on its own, with no oversight or debate. Nobody elected them, they are not subject to election or review. Nobody can veto their laws really do anything at all. The new law exists because the SCOTUS says that it does, and you must obey or suffer the consequences. Rule of Law had a good run. June 15 1215 to June 25, 2015. Ten days from being an even eight centuries. Hell of a run. Wish I'd lived in the middle of it rather than at the end.
What's the effect on your life? Nothing. Seriously, nothing.
Or even the next day.
Buy some day soon, someone is going to bring a case before the SCOTUS citing King V Burwell as a precedent because whatever the lawsuit is about concerns the “intent” of whatever law is in question.
And the court will agree with their precedent because that's how it's designed to work.
A year later another case will do the same.
And then another.
And by the time your son or daughter or grandchild feels within themselves a burning desire to build THE BEST DAMN TOILET PAPER FACTORY IN THE WORLD!, the State will have the unquestioned ability to take that factory from them in the name of whatever. Rule of Law will be a quaint anachronism.
And we'll all be wiping our asses with pine cones.
Heck of a job Roberts, heck of a job.
Close it up
Saturday Morning Politics Thread: Now What? [Y-not]
Good morning horde.
Well, that was a pisser of a week, wasn't it?
What I found most discouraging about last week's events was the rejection of the right, embodied by the 10th amendment, of all Americans to decide for themselves what their local community standards should be. Although the Obamacare (excuse me, SCOTUScare) decision is probably the more devastating one in terms of immediate economic impact (and the "logic" behind the majority decision was quite Orwellian), I found the same sex marriage decision to be the most disheartening.
Hale Razor summed it up very well on Twitter:
1 "All we want is to be out of the shadows." 2 "All we want is acceptance" 3 "All we want is equality" 4 "Your view belongs in the shadows."— Razor (@hale_razor) June 26, 2015
It certainly seems as if there is no "truce" possible with these people. They are intent on rounding up Americans who hold opposing views into ideological "camps," figuratively if not literally.
I was traveling during most of the week, which was probably a blessing given what transpired. There was so much political news last week, most of it bad, that I don't think today is a good day to continue with our regular candidate series. Instead, I thought we could try something different -- that is, try a brain-storming session on what, if anything, we can do in the political arena to try to steer the ship of state back on course.
One idea comes from commenter Ben Had who contacted me yesterday:
My intent is to construct an open letter to Congress detailing the most salient facts that demonstrate congressional failure to represent "We the people". My top three points are voting on legislation without reading it, decreased interaction with constituents and possibly the influence of lobbyists over constituents. Any thing that you feel that should be covered would be greatly appreciated. This should be a very serious and well reasoned letter. My ultimate goal is to ask many people for input with the final draft published on the web for signatures and then be presented to be read on the floor of Congress.
Ben Had goes on to say:
...this would be the conservative answer to a million man march on Washington. I think if this truly well done Louie Gohmert in the House and Ted Cruz would bring it to the floor. If this can become an online force we will at least be heard.
To start refining the points is the first step and then It's going to take a gifted writer to put them together, but it needs to come from the people. Your comment about not being able to endure the LiB philosophy brought this about. I can survive either way but I choose not to let surrender be an option.
As Ben Had mentioned, I am not a member of the Let It Burn camp. My reasons are two-fold.
One, I am constitutionally (SWIDT?) unable to abandon my country, at least fully. My parents raised me to be involved and engaged. I worked my first political campaign in '71 (Nixon's the One, Baby! LOL) and participated in both local and national elections throughout my young adulthood. I am the kind of person, as are many of you I expect, who does not sit silently when I see an injustice done. I have a tongue in my head and I use it.
Second, my lifestyle is such that I cannot live "off the grid." Although I admit this is a less noble reason for not subscribing to the LiB philosophy, it is no less valid. The life my husband and I have built for ourselves is a community based one. We aren't hunters or subsistence farmers or members of a large extended family, therefore we are to some extent dependent on a properly functioning American society to survive.
So, for good or ill, we are committed to making this country work.
ExJon wrote a very good piece for Ricochet on "Fighting Fatalism" that I encourage you to read.
As disheartening as last week was -- and perhaps this is a bit premature -- I'd like to see if we can come up with constructive ways to recapture the America most of us grew up with. The Saturday Morning Politics thread commenters tend to be quite collegial and thoughtful. Let's see if we can help Ben Had brainstorm ideas for his letter or come up with other ways to fix what is wrong with America.
Close it up