Neil Tyson Has Nothing to Say But He Says It An Awful Lot
Sorry, I'm just so sick about what Obama's done to this country, and what this country has permitted him to do.
Enjoy, if you can, alleged Master of Science Neil Tyson repeatedly saying the same stupid shit to his sheep and garnering literally thousands of retweets for each identical iteration.
Oh, and Boehner and his people claimed there was no "deal" struck with the Democrats for the DHS vote.
Boehner and his people were, get this, lying.
Great piece on Obama's pompous, "provincial" foreign policy.
In November 2009, German chancellor Angela Merkel invited US President Barack Obama, still in his first year in office, to attend the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall....
The leaders of Europe were all in attendance, from the prime minister of Britain to the presidents of France and Russia. Obama, however, was not.
The president was busy, the White House said, citing "commitments for an upcoming Asia trip."
The Europeans were shocked. "Barack is too busy," read the acerbic headline in Der Spiegel.
The event didn’t really clash with his schedule, but rather with his foreign policy sensibilities. Obama would travel to Copenhagen a month before the event to lobby the International Olympic Committee to grant the 2016 summer games to his hometown of Chicago, and would return to Europe a month after the commemoration to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. His travel itinerary as president signaled something about his vision of the world, and of America’s and his administration's place in it. The commemoration of America’s rescue of Europe did not rank high in that vision.
At a recent gathering of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, the eminent former director general of the Foreign Ministry, Prof. Shlomo Avineri, called Obama's foreign policy "provincial." It was a strange choice of words to describe the policies of a president with such a cosmopolitan outlook and so much eagerness to engage the world.
But Avineri had a point....
"In every society, young men are going to have violent tendencies," an educator in one majority-black Chicago high school told him in the late 1980s. "Either those tendencies are directed and disciplined in creative pursuits or those tendencies destroy the young men, or the society, or both."
The book is full of such ruminations, and they echo throughout Obama’s rhetoric as president. In his last speech to the UN General Assembly, he asserted that "if young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state or the lure of an extremist underground, no counterterrorism strategy can succeed."
For Obama, terrorism is, at root, a product of social disintegration. War may be necessary to contain the spread of Islamic State, for example, but only social reform can really cure it....
"Failure Theater," Or Why I Am Now a Democrat
Someone Storified this for me.
It's Over: Boehner, Boehner's Establishment Allies, and Democrats Unite to Fund Obama's Executive Amnesty
House approves "clean" DHS funding bill 257-167; almost 70% of Republicans vote "No" pic.twitter.com/lSgTqT0gzr— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 3, 2015
I'm personally done with this party.
In fact, I will vote for Democrats.
An old communist friend of mine voted for Bob Dole.
Why? Because this communist was convinced, inaccurately, as it would later turn out, that he would never see his dream of a communist USA via conventional politics, and therefore his hopes were pinned on outright revolution.
And as far as revolution, there are four words to remember: The worse, the better.
It is now clear that none of us will see the America we want via any kind of politics that includes the Republican Party. Ergo, they must be erased from the pages of history as quickly as possible, so that a better party can replace them.
So I'm now a Democrat. The worse, the better.
It may be time to begin supporting things like an increase in the minimum wage, too:
He's talking about the National Association of Restaurants which, of course, would prefer to hire immigrants over Americans. Actually, restaurants have been doing that for like 30 years; they wish to do it legally.
So if they're going to fight for cheaper labor, let us then mandate that all labor must cost $15/ hour, no exceptions, so that they do not get their wish.
My politics is now entirely punitive.
Oh, by the way, conservatives are now reduced to begging Republicans not to save Obamacare.
As Expected, John Boehner Sells Out the Conservatives In Yet Another Performance of "Failure Theater"
Failure Theater is the process by which the Establishment deliberately fails to do achieve anything, but wants credit from the Dumb Conservatives they're playing to for allegedly "trying."
Each of Boehner's and McConnell's "defeats" are in fact planned in advance. They are not trying to advance the conservative agenda; they are attempting to con conservatives into believing they have attempted to implement conservative policy, when in fact they were delivering their political deliverables to their Donor Class paymasters all along.
Uneducated, gullible, and easily led: if we stand for this, we are exactly what the Washington Post slurred us as 30 years ago.
When a Veterans Group FOIA'd Hillary's Emails, They Specifically Asked Her to List Her Personal Email Accounts. She Didn't.
Unrelated to this new revelation, but on point:
Issa: Hillary "took deliberative steps to hide her communications...."— Rick Klein (@rickklein) March 3, 2015
Well I'll say.
What a b!rd br@!n this fucking bitch is.
Confirmed: The Left Pretty Much Freaks Out When a Jew Tells Them They're Wrong
Hey remember when our foreign policy was based on reacting to actual attacks not just potential perceived threats?! Yeah that.— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) March 3, 2015
“A very dark, Strangelovian speech, painting a picture of a really dystopian world. Raising the specter of a genocidal nation.” – Amanpour— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 3, 2015
RT @JamesFallows: This part of the speech would be very relevant if the year were 1938.— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 3, 2015
It is always Munich, 1939. Always and forever.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 3, 2015
oh lawd gwen, seriously? Grow up RT @gwenifill i anxiously await the little bomb drawing.— Kira Davis (@KiraAynDavis) March 3, 2015
Speech broke no new ground nor offered realistic path short of war. But apocalyptic language & GOP cheerleading tailor-made for his base.— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 3, 2015
Spazzy McDewers objected to people smiling.
Update [JohnE.]: And the cherry on top...
Pelosi statement "I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States"— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) March 3, 2015
Netanyahu Speaking Now Before Congress
Live player at at FoxNews.
It's early. He's... talking about being grateful to Obama for stuff, so you know he's just getting started.
Albert Julius Olsson, "Waves Breaking on the Shore" (n.d.)
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- Obama "Very Interested" In Raising Taxes Through Executive Action
- Hillary Clinton Used Private E-mail While At State Department
- What's The Point Of The Republican Party Part 1
- What's The Point Of The Republican Party Part 2
- The US Constitution Actually Bans Hillary's Foreign Government Payola
- Let The Air Out Of Donald Trump's Windbag
- Dear Republicans, Please Don't Save Obamacare
- The Goldman Sachs Election
- Jury Sentences Hasan To Death For Fort Hood Workplace Violence Incident
- Flashback: Hillary Clinton Begins The Process Of Vetting Herself
- The Next Greek Crisis
- Democrats Refusing To Watch Netanyahu Speech Plan Response To It
- It Looks Like Monty Just Made A Big Addition To His Retirement Fund
- Is American LNG Ready To Help Europe
- In Defense Of Drunk Sex
Overnight Open Thread (3-2-2015)
Maetenloch locked himself in his own car, and with him out of the picture I was called in to bring you all the finest medicine for your late night needs. Besides, Hillary will be President anyway in two years time, and the country has gone to pot enough as it is, so you might as well take up a new habit early.
So roll that towel under your door, aim that window fan just right, and come join me on the first and last time the cobs ever trust me to an ONT.
Or is it OOT?
Let's set the mood.
Good news: 41% of CPAC Straw Poll Attendees
Are this guy:
How to Avoid Arrest in Nebraska
1- Put your weed in a container.
2- Label the container "not weed".
3- Don't get pulled over.
Stoner Food Dreams Go Mainstream
“The idea for Cap’n Crunch Delights came from our passion to incorporate cereal into our breakfast platform, paired with thinking about nostalgic brands from childhood,” Taco Bell senior director of brand marketing Amanda Clark told ABC News. “From this, Cap’n Crunch came to mind and in doing research, we found that Cap’n Crunch was a very popular brand with our consumers. We feel that this will appeal to what we call ‘kid-ults,’ or the ‘kid-adults’ out there.”
Of course, some fast food companies have dropped the facade entirely, and have now openly embraced the hungriest of individuals:
This is the greatest country on earth.
No Seriously, This is Still the Greatest Country on Earth.
(DOLPHIN SMOKING WEED STORY GOES HERE, BRANDON - BRANDON)
Here's an Excuse for Staring at a Piece of String for an Hour
Tonight's post brought to you by a typical pre-baby CAC Saturday:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace. Send all your anti-pot buzzkill to the meat lock guy, you narc.
Close it up
Against the Law and the Constitution, Hillary Clinton Took Lavish
Donations Bribes to Her "Foundation"
In case you were wondering, "How is it legal that the Clintons can take half a billion in
donations bribes, almost a hundred of million of which are from foreign governments?," the answer turns out to be "It's totally not legal."
Now, the one exception to the Emoluments Clause is that the executive can review the bribe -- let's not pretend this is not a bribe, okay? -- and okay it. Earlier the State Department indicated that it had cleared Hillary Clinton's foreign bribes as "Obama-approved foreign bribery."
But now, via @JohnEkdahl, the State Department is retracting previous claims that it gave a Good Bribe seal of approval to Hillary Clinton's hundred million in foreign bribes.
>The State Department is stepping back from a spokeswoman's comment last week suggesting that the agency's ethics lawyers signed off on donations to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Asked at a daily briefing Thursday about the foundation's failure to submit a $500,000 donation from the country of Algeria for a conflict of interest review in 2010, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the department did such reviews whenever the non-profit founded by former President Bill Clinton sent in information about a potential gift.
"We like to review -- and we have reviewed every donation that was submitted," Psaki said.
However, there are no indications any Clinton Foundation donations were ever sent to the State Department for approval.
Asked about Psaki’s comment, another State Department spokesperson said Monday that the reviews the agency did were of paid speeches Bill Clinton was proposing to make and business deals he wanted to enter into. From 2009 to 2012, hundreds of speech requests and a handful of consulting deals were sent to State Department lawyers for sign off. The vast majority were approved.
"We received requests regarding speeches and consultancies of former President Clinton," State spokesman Alec Gerlach said.
Clarifying Psaki's earlier comment, Gerlach said that State Department reviewed every request that came in, not every donation.
What a shock -- Jen Psaki is at the center of a snafu involving poor messaging and mental retardation.
The below video is a Dramatic Recreation of the State Department retracting its blessing of Hillary's bribes.
That video is from Italy, actually. There's now a manhunt on for that cretin.
And yet Jen Psaki walks free.
More Shocks! Hillary Clinton, who is, by the way, a scumbag, illegally used her private email to conduct official business, for reasons, of course, of hiding what should be discoverable public records from the public.
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department.Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
Close it up
Democrats: Yeah, Your Boy Boehner Cut a Deal With Us on DHS Funding
Conservatives were, in the Washington Post's notorious phrasing, "uneducated, gullible, and easily led."
If we let this pass without tumult and retribution, we are just as the Washington Post said of us.
I don't consider this all that important, but the Establishmentarians are running ads against conservatives, or at least pressuring them to vote for this Comprehensive Piece of Shit.
It's not about the ads, exactly; it's just about the attitude generally.
The time for a third party is now upon us. The Establishment has refused to compromise and find common ground; they are determined to just win and deliver their political deliverables to the Wall Street wing that serves as their paymasters.
A failing organization which will not be reformed must instead be destroyed.
BTW, the first order of business of the new party? Jacking up taxes on the wealthiest 1% and on corporations.
Can't keep taxes on the rich and corporations low, you know; it's not politically smart.
Buzzfeed: The NY Observer Seems to Have a Kremlin Stooge Writing "Slavishly" Pro-Putin Stories for Them
"Slavishly." See what they did there?
Not only is this "writer" a stooge, but Buzzfeed raises the question (via raising the question) as to whether this "writer" actually exists in the form of an actual person, rather than (this is my supposition) as the work-product of several Kremlin hands pushing disinformation to the low-paying-but-content-hungry rags of the west.
A New York Observer editor says he's met this "writer," but who knows-- every propaganda effort needs a frontman.
It's Been Three Years Since Andrew Breitbart Left Us
Jim Geraghty won the ACU's Journalist of the Year Award on Friday, and has posted about what he would have liked to have said, had he more advanced warning that he'd be winning something and should prepare a speech for it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Andrew Breitbart lately. It was three years ago he addressed this conference for the last time. People look back and I see him described as this angry guy, a fighter – he titled his autobiography "Righteous Indignation." I wouldn’t claim to be his best friend or to have known him well, but I don't think he’s given enough credit for being a man who was really driven by love.
That may sound kind of sappy or like it belongs on a Hallmark card, but he demonstrated an amazing kindness and generosity of spirit to those around him.
The day Andrew died, it seemed like everyone on my Facebook page posted a picture that they had taken with him. For a guy who was always on the go, he rarely if ever seemed like he didn’t have time for other people. So many people offered their tale of meeting him at a conference or gathering, getting to talk to him for ten minutes or so, and walking away from that conversation feeling like for that ten minutes, they were the most important person in the room. A lot of his fans, friends, and contributors to his site offer some version of the same story, meeting Breitbart and sharing a news tip and then being told by him, "that is a really good story idea, and you're the one who should write it." That’s what happened to my friend Kurt Schlichter, and there are so many people who got into writing or journalism because instead of holding onto a scoop or an idea for himself, Andrew told them they could do it. You don't treat people with such enthusiastic encouragement if you don’t have a lot of love for people.
I've mentioned this before, but Andrew's death kind of woke me up to thinking seriously about both Life and Death. 90% of the reason I post about health-related issues is because of Andrew's death -- he was the first contemporary of mine to die. When you're young, you really do think you're sort of Immortal, or at least you never think about mortality at all (which makes you a passive, ignorant believer in your own mortality).
Then one day a great big Surfing Bear of a man dies at a young age and you start thinking about it a lot.
But the fact that Andrew died young is just happenstance; that says little about him. The other thing his death forced me to think about was Life. There's no point fearing death if you're not loving life.
And Andrew's death forced me to confront the different ways we were living life -- to wit, he was and I wasn't. He was really alive, just excited and plugged in and enthusiastic and brave, so g**damned brave about everything.
I'm not really doing a terrific job of Living Each Day As If I Were Andrew Breitbart, but I am trying, here and there, to engage more with Actual Life and not treat it as something to be avoided.
Jim Jordan Denies Plot to Demote John Boehner, While Rumors Swirl of a Plot to Demote John Bohner
Two senior House Republican sources tell CNN there's a serious concern among those close to the Speaker that if he allowed a vote on a clean DHS funding bill, conservatives would make a motion to vacate the chair, a direct challenge to his job.
That is basically a no-confidence vote. The way CNN puts it -- and the way AllahPundit interprets it -- is that Boehner could be saved by Democrats, who would be part of the vote, and may prefer his incompetent leadership to a competent conservative's.
But I've heard some version of it where the vote takes place in the Republican caucus only.
I'll have to check on that.
Boehner clearly has to go. He cannot deliver for the Establishment -- he fails each time he tries to deliver political deliverables to the liberal anti-populists of the Establishment.
And he of course does not deliver to the conservative populists -- rather, what we ultimately pressure him into delivering unto us is Failure Theater, a dumbshow in which Republicans pretend to oppose Obama up until their scheduled capitulation.
We get all the pain of the media attacks on us for daring to oppose President Precious Perfect without actually opposing President Precious Perfect.
I don't think Confusius ever said Never leave a man who has staked his reputation on the claim that your plan will result in failure in charge of executing your plan, but he might have, if this celestial joyboy wasn't always obsessing about getting his weenie wet.
This is a case of being in the middle of the road where it's the most dangerous. Either deliver your deliverables to the Establishment elite, or deliver them to the populist rebels; but this shit by which you attempt to deliver to the Establishment, then fail, then go through the political damage of a shutdown without the political reward of a shutdown (that is, actual leverage over Obama), is, and please excuse my language here, For the Birds, and something only a (trigger alert) actual Bird Brain would support.
Here's a bit of trivia: I'm told the very best office in all of Washington DC is the Speaker of the House's office. It looks, via a wide and imperial balcony, over the national Mall.
A man might make a lot of decisions which are actually bad for his caucus to keep such a desirable blandishment.
A long time ago I read a trenchant criticism of McCain that always stuck with me. The writer (forget who) noted that there was indeed a "Reaganism" apart from the man himself -- that is, there were a series of propositions, ideas, and values which composed a freestanding "Reaganism" that was independent of the man himself.
But was there such a McCainism? No, of course not. There was nothing to any "McCainism" except the idea, dearly held by McCain and his hangers-on, that John McCain really ought to be in charge.
The same criticism obviously applies to Boehner. There is no "Boehnerism," no coherent "Boehner Agenda," apart from the very dubious proposition that Only One Man can lead the country and thus and so Providence has delivered unto us John Boehner.
Australian Parachuter Has Grand Mal Epileptic Seizure Falling at 12,000 Feet Above the Earth
The camera is mounted on one guy's helmet, and he largely keeps the camera trained on the other guy.
Keep your eye on that other guy; he's the one who has the seizure.
How About With Some Mood Music?
Close it up
Revealed: Painter of Official White House Portrait of Bill Clinton Says He Included Monica Lewinsky's Shadow in Portrait, As a Goof
What's done is done. Let's move on.
Aren't we all, in a way, to blame?
Man, that hands-on-hips, hips-bucked-forward is
kind of a giveaway now that it's pointed out
Philadelphia area painter Nelson Shanks cunningly included a shadow over the fireplace cast from a blue dress on a mannequin.
Shanks said painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because "he is probably the most famous liar of all time." So he added the nod to the Lewinsky scandal because it had cast a shadow over Clinton’s presidency.If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
He says Bill and Hillary Clinton are "aware" of the "symbolism" in the painting, and of course hate it.
The Investigator Assigned to Find the Lerner Emails Must Have Been Blind to Have Missed Them For So Long
Update: He Was In Fact Legally Blind
The right man for the job, if you don't want the job done.
Also legally blind: The entire White House, which claims, through its new spokesman Jen Psaki, that they have no ideas about the motive in the murder of an American-Bangladeshi writer previous threatened with murder by Islamists for his allegedly unislamic writings.
Oh yeah: He was hacked to death by several men armed with knives. His wife was present at the attack; her finger was severed in the mayhem.
But Psaki has nothing to "ascribe" to the murder.
QUESTION: So on the Bangladesh murder --
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: -- does the -- is the Administration at a point where it can ascribe any kind of motive to this? Do you believe that it was anything more than just a murder? It certainly seems that the circumstances surrounding it would indicate that it is.
MS. PSAKI: We don’t have more information at this point. We, of course, will provide consular assistance as is appropriate. We’re also – stand ready to assist in the investigation if asked. Clearly, we know his background, which was why I outlined it, but don’t have anything to ascribe in terms of a motive in this case.
A-level people surround themselves with other A-level people. B-level people surround themselves with C-level people; C-level people surround themselves with D-level people. Obama surrounds himself with Marie Harf and Jen Psaki.
William Lees Judson, "Evening Glow" (n.d.)
Had we but DOOM enough and time...
I hope this Monday morning finds you in robust good health, my groovy babies. You'll need your strength to fend off the waves of zombies, mutants, cannibals, and K Street lobbyists who will be infesting the land during the Burning Times.
King v Burwell is at the Supreme Court this week, but I don't pretend to have the faintest clue as to which way Roberts is going to vote. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV, so I really cannot rely on anything other than common sense to judge if the federal subsidies for states which haven't set up their own exchanges will stand or fall. I think the subsidies should fall, given the plain language of the statute, but then I thought the individual mandate was plainly unconstitutional as well and Chief Justice John Roberts found a way to be okay with it. Roberts had a chance to stop this whole abomination in its tracks some years back and chose to let it live on for what (to my untrained eye) were craven reasons. It's a little late in the day to be fretting about the damage this law will do if enforced as written. (But don't worry, hepcats: the GOP has a plan to save the day if the court rules against ObamaCare. Because Severely Conservative or something.)
His Majesty the King has taken time out of his busy schedule of golfing, selfie-taking, shit-talking, and trolling the GOP to heap scorn on a close American ally. To say that President Obama is thin-skinned is to understate the matter dramatically; he truly believes in vox Obama vox Dei, and he takes disagreement extremely personally. Obama has the bad professor's habit of lecturing people rather than talking to them, and in Bibi's case, Obama is lecturing a guy who's far more versed in the issues at hand than Obama is. But Obama is the smartest guy in any room (just ask him!) so it follows that any opinion he holds must be the correct one. Prime Minister Netanyahu will give his speech, Obama will disregard it with the same disdain he's shown for the past six years of his Presidency, and the middle east will slide that much deeper into chaos.
But enough of that nonsense. Let's get on to the financial shenanigans which are this column's raison d'etre.
I've been saying it for a long time: all of the incentives in the developed world right now argue against saving your money. However, I am a contrarian and say that individuals must fight against all the powers that are arrayed against them and save anyway. Just save wisely; know what you're saving for. Have a plan, and stick to it. Prudence and thrift always pay off, even in the face of governmental fuckery. The wheel will turn and the madness and pathologies of this age will pass away. The smart, the well-prepared, the careful -- they will prosper, as they have throughout history during times of turmoil.
Why save? Because continuous consumption requires continuous spending, and most budgets cannot withstand a loss of income on retirement if consumption habits don't change. Most people -- not just Boomers, but nearly everybody -- under-estimate how much money they'll need in retirement. Most financial planners tell you to assume that you'll need at least 60% of your pre-retirement income, but they also assume that you're going into retirement with relatively low debt and a decent position in terms of net worth. That simply is not the case for an increasing percentage of the population.
Some interesting thoughts on how interest rates matter, and how they don't.
Yes, Virginia: our adjusted incomes have gone way up since 1972 (or the prices for all kinds of stuff have gone way down; same difference, really). The productivity explosion in the latter half of the 20th century has allowed citizens of developed nations to afford far more stuff for less work than ever before in human history. The situation is actually even better than that: we can buy awesome suff now (flat-panel 50" TV's, smarthones, etc.) that didn't even exist back in 1972. And all that cool new stuff makes life better and more interesting for rich and not-so-rich alike. Now, granted, we've run up many trillions of dollars of debt at the same time, but...always look on the bright side of life, babies.
China's economy is continuing to cool, and that has a lot of implications going forward. Robust growth over the years (whether fudged or not by China's leaders) has hidden a lot of horrible economic decisions, but -- as Americans discovered in 2008 -- a slow economy tends to uncover a lot of garbage that used to be hidden from view.
The only solution for Greece's ongoing economic nightmare is fundamental transformation of their top-heavy economy. Get the government out of the way; make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and run businesses; flatten the tax code and enforce it rigorously. But Greece will probably do none of those things because culture, as always, is upstream of politics and the Greek culture is the antithesis of everything they must do to reform themselves. Greeks won't do the things necessary for reform because Greeks don't want to do those things. They want a cushy sinecure with a stodgy public-sector bureaucracy where they can retire at 40 and live off a generous pension forever afterward. Smart, innovative, driven Greeks will either leave or simply give up because the tides of the overculture will overwhelm them. (There's a lesson in this for America, obviously.)
How to invest like Mr. Spock. (Personal note: the passing of Leonard Nimoy last week hit this particular sci-fi nerd pretty hard. Safe travels wherever you may wander, Mr. Nimoy.)
Close it up
Monday Morning News Dump
- Time For Some Straight Talk On NATO
- Egypt Declares Hamas A Terrorist Organization
- What Are Hillary Clinton's Accomplishment As Secretary Of State Again?
- Hillary Set To Launch Presidential Campaign In April
- Code Pink Uses Hezbollah Flag In Netanyahu Protest
- U.S.-Backed Rebel Group In Syria Disbands
- Standing With Our Friends, Standing Up To Our Enemies
- Scott Walker's Busy Upcoming Week
- Live Long And Prosper
- Another Left Wing Media Retraction On A Scott Walker Hit Piece
- The Cartman Presidency: There Is No Check On President Obama
- Well That's Just Great
- The Case For The Warthog
- It Appears God Hates Boston
- Do We Really Want To Know If We're Alone In The Universe
- Joe Kennedy Hardest Hit
—Dave In Texas
I see a Ben's news dump and some DOOM on the way.
Overnight Open Thread (3-1-2015)
Due to a sudden business trip all I can offer is this runt of an ONT.
Farewell to Leonard Nimoy.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [544 comments] 'AllenG (DedicatedTenther) - TrueCon' [76.34 posts/day]
2 [448 comments] 'Nip Sip'
3 [412 comments] 'Insomniac'
4 [388 comments] 'The Political Hat'
5 [381 comments] 'Jane D'oh'
6 [371 comments] 'Ricardo Kill'
7 [321 comments] 'Vic'
8 [319 comments] 'toby928(C)'
9 [314 comments] 'Turd Ferguson'
10 [314 comments] 'J.J. Sefton'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [298 names] 'The Political Hat' [41.82 unique names/day]
2 [102 names] 'Turd Ferguson'
3 [88 names] 'Joke Biden'
4 [39 names] 'Anderson Cooper's Rascal Scooter Brigade'
5 [39 names] 'Doctor Fish'
6 [37 names] 'toby928(C)'
7 [37 names] 'Bertram Cabot Jr.'
8 [34 names] 'Nip Sip'
9 [33 names] 'Brian Williams'
10 [30 names] 'Insomniac'
The group. Never heard of it.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by the abolition of slavery:
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
The Brzezinski Doctrine [Weirddave]
Keeping in mind that this is coming from a single newspaper in Kuwait, citing the ever popular "well placed sources" in Israel, if this is true, it could be the most disturbing thing Obama's done yet, actively preventing an ally from dealing with our enemy*.
This looking glass that we're going through Alice, when do we get to the other side?
IF this is true and IF at some point in the future an Iranian built bomb is detonated, the the blood of all those who die will be directly on Obama's hands.
I bet that thought costs the president not one second of sleep.
*Yes, I know this administration, particularly VeeJay, doesn't think so, but they have been at war with us since 1979. I say we give them the courtesy of honoring their war.
Close it up
Food Thread: Burger, Burger, or Burger [CBD]
I divide serious burgers into two groups. The first is the gourmet burger; made with great beef cuts on an excellent bun (brioche usually), with good cheese...and nothing else. The second is sort of a fast-food burger, but a step up from McDonald's (although I love those burgers too). This burger is made with a wider and thinner patty, and has all the bells and whistles. Lettuce and tomato and pickles and onions and bacon (duh) and anything and everything else one can imagine. There is however one absolute; there must be sufficient sauce or dressing or juice to make it messy. Really, what's the fun of eating a big sloppy burger if it isn't sloppy?
What say you Horde? What is your perfect burger? Gourmet? high-end fast food? Luncheonette griddled?
I found this recipe for pasta with lemon-chile pesto with grated egg in an irritating article called, "How to Make Pasta in 2015: The New Rules of Pasta." The "rules have changed?" Really? Whose rules? Not mine? I have one rule: If it tastes good I'll cook it and eat it. That being said, the recipe looks great and combines some classic pasta ingredients.
The classic Manhattan and Old-Fashioned recipes call for a Maraschino cherry. But I have always preferred a twist of lemon over the chemically sweetness of mass market cherries. Here is one more example of the the inferiority of maraschino cherries.
Not that we need another example of the lunacy and terminal strangeness of the Japanese, but here is a three second dumpling process....or an ad for 4G....
Fried Onion Dip. Oh, man! I love this kind of stuff, and I love that it is an unabashedly fatty, unctuous joy!
This is a recipe from Barbara Lynch who is a one woman restaurant juggernaut in Boston, and a great chef to boot. I have eaten in two of her restaurant's, and they were impressive indeed. She knows what she is doing.
This recipe is a good example of a chef who recognizes that ingredients and conditions and tools are not consistent...that some adjustment is necessary. The recipe is a fair amount of work, but it is fun, and the end result is a very satisfying meal.
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 3-to 3 1/2-pound chicken, giblets and excess fat and skin removed, bird patted dry
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
To make the bread dough, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix with the paddle, stopping the mixer occasionally to break up bigger chunks of butter with your hand. Add 1/2 cup water and continue mixing until the dough begins to come together. At this point, turn off the mixer and switch to the dough hook (scraping all the dough off the paddle first, of course). Knead the dough with the hook until it comes together in one mass, 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead it by hand, pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand, folding it over, giving it a quarter turn, and pushing it away again until it feels nice and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour to it as you knead. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, rosemary, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender but not colored, 8 minutes. Let cool.
Clip the chicken wings off at the body and save for making stock or discard. Season the chicken liberally inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the bird with the cooled vegetables and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Heat the oven to 400F. On a very lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick; this will take some muscle. If the dough is very stubborn, let it rest for a few minutes before trying to roll it some more. Put the chicken on the dough breast side down and wrap the dough up and around the bird, encompassing it completely and overlapping the dough. (If there is a lot of overlap, trim the dough.) Pinch the seams together to keep them closed. Turn the bird over and put the bird seam side down on a baking sheet.
Brush the dough all over with the egg and sprinkle it lightly all over with salt. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the bread is a lovely golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the chicken (an instant-read thermometer inserted through the crust into the breast should read 170F).
Let cool for at least an hour, preferably 2, before tearing it apart and serving.
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The Gaming Thread
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
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This week, you have two big conferences and a game show. During the week, you have the Game Developers Convention and the Mobile World Congress. And then next weekend you have Pax East, the first real gaming show of the year where devs get to show off what they're working on.
This morning, MWC started off with a bang as HTC was finally revealed as the first VR partner with Valve with the announcement of the HTC Vive (stupid name). Where Oculus is going for something that is price conscious and less bulky to get people to buy into, HTC and Valve is going in the opposite direction with 2 screens (Rift is using one) and instead of standard camera head tracking, they're going with inside-out tracking with cameras, gyros and IR blasters. With the added base sensors, it doesn't exactly sound like it's going to be marker less tracking (it's fully onboard tracking) which kinda sucks. Though theoretically, this headset should be better than what we know of that the Oculus is planning to launch with tech-wise, I'm really scratching my head in how this is going to be received. Will there be enough people to buy something that should be better but also going to cost quite a bit more while also being more bulky/heavy? It should make for an interesting GDC as that's where Valve will unveil the headset.
As for the rest of the MWC, I've been mainly interested in if anyone is going to announce stuff with Nvidia's K1 chips or Intel's Cherry Trial chips (though the leaked benches are disappointing to say the least). At least with the early goings on, it's all Snapdragon again this year. Don't get me wrong, Qualcomm makes some really nice stuff but as a consumer, it's blegh when the same 3 yearly chips power the majority of everything that isn't Apple.
The other missing puzzle for mobile and gaming is going to be announced at GDC.
At GDC, you've got two new graphics APIs being talked about. You've got the Knronos Group unveiling the evolution of OGL dubbed glNext, a low level API for non-Windows stuff. There isn't isn't anything known on what they're going to be unveiling. Though Microsoft is trying to angle DX12 for mobile that isn't Windows, glNext is the bigger look at where mobile is heading.
And speaking of DX12, Microsoft is going to finally unveil what the hell is in it other than the known CPU optimization and the ease of programming for Windows, mobile and XBox at the same time. Two main things I'm hoping for them to announce is built in hooks for cloud computing in your games and more robust support for tiled resources and deferred rendering. It's the way Microsoft been heading the last few years and I'm hoping it's included in DX12. Please give me real cloud computing in muh videgamez.
And like the announcement of the HTC Vive this morning, Valve has a stacked GDC this year. They're finally showing off the "final" design of the Steam controller. The prototypes they've released the last two years are eh, especially with the last one with it's candy buttons (I love The Duke but candy buttons suck). Give it a week and they'll probably unveil a new final final design of the controller.
Also new updates on SteamOS. The Big Picture mode is okay I guess. Not exactly something I personally want with my HTPC but I can see some usefulness in it for people who are scared of PCs. And though Unity has helped, even in the last 20 Years of Linux, it hasn't really amounted to much (be it being better support than it's ever had). That being said, I still really don't like the whole concept of SteamOS. It still amounts to Gabe spazzing out about walled gardens while continuing to create his own walled garden. Personally, I don't want PC gaming going the route of Android but whatever.
Also getting new info on the "second generation" of the Steam Machines. The first gen went as well as a fart in church. Out of all of them, the only one that was okay was Alienware X51 and that was overpriced. As a owner of a HTPC, I think the whole concept is rotten as it's still amounts to overcharging people for something they can build better. I personally think the way to go is just teaching people how to build their own PC. It's not that hard and it's a cheaper route.
Now the stream boxes or what ever you want to call it, that's a good endeavor. Barebones box or dongle to let you stream your games from your PC. It needs improvements from where it's at right now but it's a good path for people who already own a gaming rig.
• Microsoft finally announced that Fable Legends will be free 2 play. Pay breakdown is straight League of Legends. Of course if they wanted a nice 1-2 punch, they also would have relaxed the NDA. Especially since a licensed game already got a jump on them a week & a half ago with the concept.
• No one cares about the story of the Mortal Kombat games (if I want to be real, I'd say no one cares about Mortal Kombat in general I digress) but this story trailer gives a look at the full cast
• Well, maybe we will finally get issue 10 of Battle Chasers now
• A movie game that might be good? Sure, it's a reskin of Forza Horizon 2 but still.
• Think of the most Sony thing you can think off. Now throw that away and be amazed. You remember that they had that contest to win a chance of buying one of those PSX themed PS4s? Well, they "accidentally" erased the winners list and now want you to re-enter the contest and try again.
• So a W4K MOBA eh. Market is a little too crowded
Mediocre week in releases. Nothing you can instantly point to and say you're going to be buying it.
Helldivers (Vita, PS4) - It's a sci-fi verson of Magicka. I can't say I was a big fan of Magicka. Sure, it was fun for an hour in accidentally killing your friends. But as a game, it's pretty bad and frankly straight up boring (you can say the same with their Gauntlet reboot). Putting it in a sci-fi setting with guns just doesn't do anything for me other than that window of fun getting shorter.
Screamride (360, XBO) - While Frontier is working on a real Rollercoaster Tycoon on the PC, they're releasing something that harkens back to Crash Mode in the Burnout games. I think the demo was fun, it really does scratch the Crash Mode itch which is something we really haven't had in 10 years (Burnout Crash was garbage). That being said, I don't know if I would say it's worth the $30/$40 for it. Throw it as a $20 download game and I'd pick it up.
Mario VS Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS, Wii U) - I really like this Lemmings ripoff series. It's a fun little puzzler. But the last two games were not good. Mini-Land Mayhem was too easy and going 3D for Minis on the Move was a really bad idea for this type of game. I'm still curious on if they can recapture the fun of the earlier entries but I'll be waiting for some reviews before I pick this up.
White Night (PC, XBO, PS4) - Other than remembering it being in the b-roll ID@XBox trailer at last year's E3, have no idea about this game. It looks cool and I'm always game for a 3D adventure game, especially with a decent art style. Still comes down to story and I've got no clue in how this is going to shake out. Might be worth keeping your eye on it.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines (Vita) - This is a pretty good definition of a game being dumped on an audience. A month between western localization announcement and release with no promotion or much of anything. That being said, this standard RPG is supposed to be pretty good with a cool art style and a decent story. And it only costs $20 and it's not like we've had much really worth playing on the Vita lately.
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Doom? Yeah, This Isn't Good [CBD]
The Baltic Dry Index is a rough measure of the cost of moving bulk materials by sea. Obviously the price of oil has a significant impact on this index, but since the cost to enter (and exit) this market is huge and long-term (many millions of dollars and a few years to build a bulk carrier), supply is inelastic and small changes in demand have clear impacts on pricing. And...shipping companies often purchase fuel futures to hedge their costs, so rapid changes in oil prices will not correspond to rapid changes in their fuel costs.
And here is the opposite view, thanks to commenter "Sauropod."
Why You Shouldn't Worry About The Baltic Dry Index Hitting A 29-Year Low
Gun Thread - What Fresh Hell? Edition [Weirddave]
Gun of the Week 1
Gun of the Week 2
News of the Week
So, this happened. BATF moves to ban M855 NATO Ball ammunition. So what's behind the move? Most of you probably use .223 when you're pinking, not green tips, so who cares? Kevin Williamson over at NRO has the full scoop.
A little background, which is unavoidably weedy: In 1986, Congress revised the Gun Control Act, inserting prohibitions against the manufacture and import of "armor-piercing ammunition." Armor-piercing ammunition does not mean ammunition designed to defeat body armor - that would be too simple. It means, most broadly, ammunition that could defeat the soft body armor of the sort that was cutting edge in the 1980s. But banning all such ammunition as "armor-piercing" would have meant a ban on practically all hunting rifles. One of the truly ignorant and insipid aspects of our gun-control debate is that the gun-grabbers spend so much time wringing their hands over "assault rifles," which are relatively low-powered but kinda-scary-looking firearms generally chambered for rounds (mainly the .223) that are too small even to legally use for deer hunting, while at the same time insisting that they do not wish to bother us about hunting rifles, which generally are much, much more powerful than the AR-15s that so dominate the progressive imagination. So, "armor-piercing" came to mean ammunition made of certain materials (tungsten alloys, steel, etc.) that could defeat certain kinds of body armor and that could be fired from a handgun. But, again, similar problems crop up: Almost all rifle cartridges could be fired from a handgun, because there are handguns chambered for all manner of cartridges. The classic American rifle cartridge, the .30-06, can be fired from certain handguns, as can classic big-game rounds such as the .45-70, which is popular among moose and grizzly hunters (as well as non-hunting hikers and campers who wish to be prepared for a moose or grizzly encounter). So that leads us to another refinement: an exemption for single-shot handguns. "The term 'single shot handgun' means a break-open or bolt action handgun that can accept only a single cartridge manually, and does not accept or use a magazine or other ammunition feeding device. The term does not include a pocket pistol or derringer-type firearm." So sayeth the ATF.
Read the whole thing, there's an completely separate line of attack coming from the EPA. This administration just can not accept that there are some things that they may not do. Stymied by the courts in their gun control efforts, they won't stop looking for another way around. Why it's almost as if they'll go through the gate. If the gate's closed, they'll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, they'll pole vault in. If that doesn't work, they'll parachute in , but they're going to get gun control passed. Somebody said that once, I forget who. Predictably, this has led to a run on 5.56. I've heard some folks who worship at the church of AK gloating over this. Take a gander at GOTW 1 and reread the excerpt from the NRO article. Yea, you're in the cross-hairs too, Charlie.
Also in the news from several weeks ago, Federal Judge Strikes Down Interstate Handgun Transfer Ban
The woman behind Everytown is a PR gun for hire. Have lie will travel.
I don't use Facebook much. I just posted in an AoS group yesterday for the first time in months. I don't see any reason to enrich an ultra-lib whose business model is profiting off of personal information that I freely provide. Oh, and they can be kinda censorshipy.
Yesterday's Fundamental Concepts thread dealt with the ramifications of Molon Labe in a real world scenario. I chatted briefly in Twitter with respected gun enthusiast and editor of the Bearing Arms blog Bob Owens. He wrote something similar several years ago, and his scenario goes much further than mine did. What you'll see in the rebellion
Defensive Gun Use of the Week
Video at link. I'm always amazed at how easy it is to miss in the heat of the moment. Thankfully, in this case the pharmacist didn't.
Mall Ninja: The saga of Gecko45
This is one of those internet exchanges that assume legendary status as the years go by, archived here for all to enjoy. My favorite response to the mall ninja? "If Plan A is to take multiple .338 shots to the back, you really need to come up with a Plan B." Gecko45 is just so goddamn tactical that he's tacticool.
Get out your magnifying glass
Answer at link.
Looking for something interesting to do today in New Jersey?
Sometimes Everyone Need a Little Something to Absorb the Recoil
Today seems to be Russia day at G.O.T.W. The first is a BHAKR39, a Krinkov pistol chambered in 7.62 X 39. The second is the TP-82, the Soviet "Space Gun". From Wiki: "It was intended as a survival aid to be used after landings and before recovery in the Siberian wilderness. The upper two smoothbore barrels used 12.5x70 mm ammunition (32 gauge), and the lower rifled barrel used 5.45x39mm ammunition. The pistol could be used for hunting, to defend against predators and for visible and audible distress signals. The detachable buttstock was also a machete that came with a canvas sheath." Pretty cool.
The Law of Self Defense, the how-to manual for gunownership.
Gun tips and stories @weirddave0 Today's thread brought to you by Tacticool:
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 03-01-2015: Politics As Usual [OregonMuse]
Never, Ever Forget Your Closing Tag
Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.
You haven't really read a book until you've read it at least twice.
11B40's father (from last week's book thread)
This quote reminds me that my brother once told me he likes to reads book backwards. So, if a novel has, say, 25 chapters, he'll flip to the back, read chapter 25, and then, Memento-like, he'll march backwards, chapter 24, 23, 22, etc., down to 1. He says he gets more out of a book this way. Maybee so, but I say that if the author wants to hit the reader with A Big Reveal, that would kind of spoils it, wouldn't it?
You Want: A Choice; You'll Get: An Echo
I have this horrible feeling that the 2016 presidential election is going to be a contest between the Clinton dynasty and the Bush dynasty.
Veteran conservative author, speaker, and activist Phyllis Schlafly (whose remarkable accomplishments I've lauded in a book thread of a couple of years ago, and by the way, I think you all should click on that link if for no other reason than because the accompanying pic is, like, probably the best book thread photo, ever) made her bones back in 1964 with her book promotion of the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, A Choice Not an Echo: The Inside Story of How American Presidents Are Chosen wherein she argues that the GOP was more or less controlled by big money Eastern Establishment types and it didn't matter whom the people wanted, it was who they wanted that ultimately determined who the Republican presidential candidate would be.
Mrs. Schlafly has recently released an updated version of A Choice, Not An Echo where she warns of the same thing happening again, 40 years later:
In her update, Mrs. Schlafly...argues that her party too often picks losers as candidates because of a stranglehold by the political consultant-big business-Wall Street crowd, which she argues makes a bundle from championing moderates over conservatives.
She warns that may be happening again in 2016 in the persona of Jeb Bush.
Yes, I dread having to sit down in 2016 and decide whether I'm going to have to hold my nose (again) and vote for some guy I don't really like but he's better than the other guy or join the 'let-it-burn' movement. And Schlafly makes a good point: beware of the man your enemies speak well of:
As evidence, she cites a New York Times article about how "Jeb Bush is so smart, so intellectual and so well-read. We were told that he is a 'top-drawer intellect' and a voracious reader who maintains 25 books on his Kindle — books such as George Gilder's 'Knowledge and Power.'"
George Bush was also a voracious reader, but I don't recall the NY Times ever touting that. So, it looks like that newspaper's preferred Republican candidate is Jeb. That alone means we probably should pick someone else.
(By the way, be careful of that Washington Times page I just linked to. it is so full of crap ads that it actually caused Internet Explorer 11 to crash. I recommend not going there unless you're using some sort of ad-blocking browser addon).
Schlafly is still going strong at age 90. Just last year she published Who Killed the American Family?, a book which
reveals the concerted assault on the American nuclear family by many forces - feminists, judges, lawmakers, psychologists, school districts, college professors, politicians offering incentives and seeking votes, and more - opposed to the traditional American nuclear family, each with its own [reason] for wanting to abolish it. The wreckage of the American family leaves us with the inability to have limited government because government steps in to perform tasks formerly done by the nuclear family.
This is why I think the fi-cons' ambivalence (or, in some cases, outright hostility) toward the so-cons is misplaced. The fi-cons cannot realize their agenda without the so-cons realizing theirs. The one is built upon the foundation of the other. Without strong, traditional families, the fi-cons are left shouting at the wind. Small government, you say? Where is the money going to come from to support all of these alternative (read: unstable) living arrangements (single moms, absent fathers, dysfunctional children, etc.)?
And this is exactly why the progressive left wants the family destroyed.
Mein Kampf Is Back
Although the autobiography of the Nazi dictator isn't formally banned in Germany, the book's copyright is owned by the state of Bavaria, which has blocked its republication in the country for decades. That copyright expires at the end of 2015, however, and the book will enter the public domain.
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea:
Levi Salomon of the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism told the Post: "I am absolutely against the publication of 'Mein Kampf,' even with annotations. Can you annotate the Devil? Can you annotate a person like Hitler?"
I can understand why Jewish people might be against the republication, particularly now with anti-Semitic attacks in Europe on the rise. Although
Mein Kampf has been available everywhere else in the world.
The Family Arcana
I am intrigued by this author's kickstarter project:
The Family Arcana is a work of fiction to be published as a deck of playing cards, with each card containing a piece of the story. The cards may be read in any order: play a round of poker and read your hand aloud, pick your favorite cards and string them together, or shuffle the entire deck and see what happens.
A unique way to tell a story, to be sure. So, what kind of stories are going to get told by this deck?
Mostly creepy ones, as it turns out:
It is the portrait of a sprawling family bound to their decaying farmhouse by a web of passions and strange obsessions. Sleepwalking Mother, heartbroken Father, bitter old Grandfather, loopy Grandmother, a jittery flock of suspicious aunts, uncles, and cousins: all their stories are told by the children of the house, who are impossibly numerous, darkly vindictive, and ever watchful.
Each shuffle of the deck reveals a new pattern of secrets, confessions, anxieties, indictments, and dreams. The family grows, shrinks, and changes, trapped forever in its haunted house of cards.
Sounds like a good game to play on Halloween, while you wait around for trick-or-treats to come to your door.
The author originally asked for $2,800 to fund this project, the total is currently above $23,500, so he's got to be gratified about that. I just kicked in (see what I did there?) $15 myself, and I'll get a deck when it comes out in August.
This article in the HuffPo about letters in the alphabet we've lost is interesting in a geeky sort of way.
The author, Michael Rosen, has is own book out on this subject, and on the letters of the alphabet in general, Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story:
How on Earth did we fix upon our twenty-six letters, what do they really mean, and how did we come to write them down in the first place? Starting with the mysterious Phoenicians and how sounds first came to be written down, [Michael Rosen] races on to show how nonsense poems work, pins down the strange story of OK, traces our five lost letters and tackles the tyranny of spelling, among many many other things...Each chapter takes on a different subject - whether it's codes, umlauts or the writing of dictionaries...This is the book for anyone who's ever wondered why Hawaiian only has a thirteen-letter alphabet or how exactly to write down the sound of a wild raspberry.
Sometimes, you need to do something, anything, to pay the bills. Here is a somewhat whimsical chart of what 6 famous authors did for money while they were writing.
I was amused to learn that Franz Kafka's job title from 1908 to 1922 was "Chief Legal Secretary of the Workman's Accident Insurance Institute". He made a decent salary ($40,000 annually, adj.) churning out reports such as "Measures For Preventing Accidents from Wood-Planing Machines". He probably got his snootful of bureaucracy. Which would explain some of his novels.
Books Of Note
I've mentioned Robert Stacy McCain's blog before, and his long campaign against the destructive social movement known as feminism. Particularly the public-facing idea that "feminism = equality." It actually means something quite different than that, and he has been sifting through feminist writings for over the year to demonstrate this.
McCain's investigatory method consists of the following 3-step process:
1. He reads the books written by radical feminists
2. He attempts to understand their ideas as they were intended to be understood
3. He then tells his readers what they actually said.
He's been doing this since July 2014, and now he's come out with a book based on the series of "Sex Trouble" blog posts exploring the roots and effects of radical feminism. McCain says The $1.99 Kindle edition of Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature is actually
a preview of the larger work that I now expect to finish by this fall. My original plan was to have the whole thing wrapped up months ago, but then I got swept up in the whirlpool of this radical madness and realized there was so much to synthesize and explain that there was no way I could do it in a hurry.
Investigative journalism. Whoever heard of such a thing?
Books By Morons
Paul Daffau would like you to know about his new novel, Finishing Kick which he describes as "another small-town, Hoosiers-type of story about cross-country." Also, 10% of the profits will be donated back to local cross-country programs.
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.
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Early Morning Thread 3/1/15: Just One Meal - San Antonio [krakatoa]
Happy Sunday, dear morons. I'll be traveling Monday instead of today, and off to wonderful warm (relatively speaking) San Antonio.
I've eaten at several nice places on & around the Riverwalk.
What's your favorite?
Overnight Open Thread (28 Feb 2015)
Spock was a very rational, intelligent character who often came to opposite conclusions to people around him (if you live in a liberal place or went to a liberal college, you can personally relate to this), but who used logic and common sense to figure things out. If you were to tell Spock there was global warming, he'd whip out his tricorder, take his own readings, and tell you you were wrong. If you described a society to Spock that invited strangers in and gave them unlimited welfare, Spock would clearly call such a society "illogical".
Top photo from Spock and the black cat.
Disney really is going all in with the Star Wars thing. Disney CEO Bob Iger's wife wore a Yoda dress to the Academy Awards (yes that is Kirsten Dunst in the picture). I wonder if the thermal exhaust port is shielded?
Can you spot all 16 faces in the above image?
Words Invented By Authors
This won't make kids smarter if they come to rely on it. PhotoMath brings its math equation solving app to android.
Russia VS NATO
Interesting. Russia's military exercises are way bigger than NATO's.
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Hoodies that get you high.
Powerline asks are Washington Republicans incompetent? Yes. Yes they are.
Alright morons. Imagine you a big Hollywood exec and you are tasked to cast the lead role for the movie Red Sonja. Who do you cast as your warrior ginger? Does it have to be a real ginger?
Looks like old man winter isn't done yet. Models are starting to show all 49 states getting some snow this next week.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by the surprising origin story of Wonder Woman:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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See You In Dabiq [OregonMuse]
So, last Friday night, after eating way too much bacon and way too many chocolate chip cookies, and washing it all down with more Valu-Rite than is good for me, I
passed out in a drunken stupor fell asleep in front of my computer while I was reading Graeme Wood's excellent article on what ISIS really wants that has been referenced in a number of earlier threads here. Particularly the part where he describes how the seemingly insigificant (to us) city of Dabiq in Syria in reality looms very large in the apocalyptic imaginations of the ISIS theoriticians and I remember thinking how odd this is, and then as I teetered back and forth in a dream-like state between consciousness and unconsciousness, I heard that the 2016 elections were over and Scott Walker had won a great victory.
And at his first press conference, some reporter asked him about ISIS. "Bunch of pussies" President Walker replied, a look of supreme contempt on his face. "They may think they're all tough and shit when beheading teenaged boys or setting women on fire, but put any of those flaccid cowards up against a U.S. Marine and they'll lift up their skirts and go crying back to mama, guaranteed."
Another reporter asked Walker if such a statement is exactly what ISIS wants, and that it would play into their hands. The President's look of contempt turned to disgust. "Play? They won't be able to play anything after I'm through with them, because they'll be dead. I'm calling every one of those delicate petunias out - on Easter Sunday, units of the Unites States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines will converge on the plains of Dabiq (that's in Syria for all of you journos who didn't bother to learn geography), where we'll be opening an extra large can of whoop-ass on their sorry jihadi butts. Although I hate to waste all that firepower. ISIS is such a pathetic bunch of nancy-boys, we could probably take them out with a couple 6-year-old tomboys with BB guns."
Shortly thereafter, the "#TrueFactsAboutISIS" hashtag started showing up on Twitter (and an unproved rumor was that this had been masterminded by Vice-President Jindal) with tweets (helpfully translated into Arabic) such as
"Did You Know that most ISIS brides are extremely disappointed by their husbands' tiny penises?"
"According to scientific research, 75% of all ISIS fighters prefer catching, if you know what we mean (wink)"
"After a hard day of bullying wives and terrifying goats, the men of ISIS like to relax in women's underwear"
Also Secretary of State John Bolton started the "#SeeYouInDabiq" hashtag that consisted of photographs of the men and equipment the United Stares military was assembling, and a countdown to Easter Sunday.
Whipped up into a frothing red rage, ISIS forces started massing in Dabiq. On all of the social media outlets, ISIS called out to all of its followers, announcing that the apocalypse was immanent, and that the armies of "Rome" would soon be vanquished. More than 12,000 fighters moved out into the fields outside Dabiq on Easter Sunday and waited. At precisely 12 noon local time, the battlefield was rocked by one massive explosion, followed by a second, that completely obliterated the ISIS army - except for a few staggering outliers who looked like Wile E. Coyote after an Acme Jet-Pak failure.
Nobody knew what caused the explosions, although there were rumors of a stealth bomber flying over the battlefield, too high to be seen, that released two precision-guided tactical battlefield nukes.
But the American forces were nowhere present.
When asked to explain the absence of American military in Dabiq, White House Press Secretary Ann Coulter smacked her forehead and said, "Wait a minute, did you say Dabiq? We thought it was Dubuque. Oh, crap, we sent an entire carrier group to Iowa, and it's been sitting there waiting the whole time. Whoops, sorry. Our bad."
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Open Thread: In the Mind of the Beholder [Y-not]
OK, sorry to leave you guys with such a downer thread.
In honor of The Dress, here are some optical illusions to amuse you.
This one seems relevant:
And here's another good one:
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WTF, Missouri? [Y-not]
This didn't get much coverage in the conservo-sphere during a news-heavy week, but I think it's tragic. Missouri's auditor, Tom Schweich, who had recently entered the Republican primary for governor, killed himself. Motive unknown at this point:
In a voicemail reportedly left just minutes before died, Schweich is heard asking the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board Tony Messenger to send a reporter to his home.
"Tony, this is Tom Schweich calling," Schweich says in the recording posted on the paper's website. "You can have a reporter here at my house at 2:30."
Schweich also reportedly called and spoke with an Associated Press reporter just minutes earlier.
The Republican gubernatorial hopeful wanted to meet with the reporters to go public with allegations that head of his party had made anti-Semitic statements about him as part of a whisper campaign against him.
"This is only for you two and I hope you will not make it known that I am doing this," said Schweich. "To me, this is more of a religion story than a politics story, but it's your choice on who the reporter is."
Look, I know the responsibility for a suicide* rests on the person committing the act. That said, from what I've gleaned, the Republican primary had already turned very nasty. And it appears that Schweich's allegations about an anti-Jewish whisper campaign had merit:
In conversations with the AP, Schweich said he had heard that Hancock had been making phone calls last fall in which he mentioned in an off-handed way that Schweich was Jewish. Schweich said he felt the comments were anti-Semitic and wanted Hancock to resign the party chairmanship to which he had been elected last Saturday.
Hancock told the AP on Thursday that Schweich had talked to him about the alleged comments last November, but not since then. Hancock, who is a political consultant, said he held meetings last fall with prospective donors for a project to register Catholic voters. Hancock said that if he had mentioned that Schweich was Jewish, it would have been in the context that Hanaway was Catholic but that was no indication of how Catholics were likely to vote.
"I don't have a specific recollection of having said that, but it's plausible that I would have told somebody that Tom was Jewish because I thought he was, but I wouldn't have said it in a derogatory or demeaning fashion," Hancock said.
So party chairman Hancock admits to raising Schweich's religion (incorrectly, as it turns out) with Catholic donors. Sacred honor compelled him to do it, no doubt.
I don't know in what circles Hancock travels, but none of my Catholic family or friends or former professors (or any Catholic of my acquaintance) would hesitate to vote for a Jewish person. NONE.
Shame on him.
By the way, it appears Mr. Schweich was very good at his job.
Not that that mattered to his political opponents.
*Exceptions exist, imo. For example, any of the WTC "jumpers" who chose that path bore no responsibility, as far as I'm concerned. Also, these 7 year old so-called "suicide bombers" are NOT committing suicide -- they're being murdered.
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A Little of This...A Little of That [CBD]
Pigs sighted flying over Georgia: The Student Government Association (SGA) of the University of Georgia on Tuesday passed the first college resolution this year calling for the school to invest more in its relations with Israel.
The trend in our increasingly anti-freedom universities has been to vilify Israel and make organized attempts to Boycott, Divest and Sanction through student-controlled organizations.
Europe Without Jews? 70 years after the end of WWII and the Holocaust, Hitler might finally get want he wanted
I have no real interest in Kid Rock, other than his interest in brewing beer in his home state of Michigan. But now? I might have to buy some of his music. Kid Rock goes off on Beyonce: 'How can you be that big without a hit?'
The 1911 design is also known for feed-way stoppages, a malfunction caused when a round gets stuck feeding into the chamber, experts said. Horizontal and vertical stovepipes -- types of malfunctions that occur when an empty shell casing gets caught in the ejection port -- are also a problem with the 1911 design.
I noticed this yesterday and was surprised at the descriptions of the 1911. I have one, and have put thousands of rounds through it with a grand total of two stovepipe jams, one of which I blame on underpowered reloads. Marines Allow Operators to Choose Glocks over MARSOC .45s
Any NY/NJ Morons reading this screed? We are having a Moron Meet-up in Hoboken on Friday, March 6th, 6pm-9pm. Please e-mail nynjmeet at optimum dot net for details.
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Saturday Gardening Thread: This Winter Is For The Birds [Y-not, KT, & Weirddave]
Good afternoon, gardening morons and moronettes!
Today's thread is brought to you by Josh Groban's February Song:
Without further ado, let's see what KT has in store for us this week:
My, it has been cold and stormy in parts of the East. Makes me think about retreating indoors for some low-stress activities - just out of sympathy.
After some unseasonably warm weather here, it turned seasonably cool and foggy late last week, then rained. We have had a little frost, too, so I am glad I had my tomato seedlings indoors at night. Some of the potato-leaved plants got a little lacerated in the rain. The leaves were probably a little tender from being indoors part time. Incidentally, I think potato-leaved tomato plants look something like bean seedlings at first. Front and center, below:
There was nothing here like the weather back east. I thought it might be nice for Morons to the north and east of me to have some garden topics they could browse through without thinking too deeply about what is outside their doors.
Florist's Cineraria - A low-stress gift plant
I have a compulsion to attempt to plant out the gift plants I get, or to try to keep them alive indoors. If you know a gardener who is the same way, how about taking the stress off during this wintry weather by giving a plant which no one expects people to keep alive? Even if you are giving yourself a gift, one without long-term expectations can be nice.
Florist's Cineraria is also pretty low-stress where it is adapted outdoors, especially in the San Francisco Bay fog belt. It goes feral around abandoned homes there. It may also survive in gardens near the beach in more southerly parts of California. It may not look much like it came from a florist under these conditions, though.
If you live in one of these favored locations, cut the plant back after it blooms. If it decides to stay in your garden, it will grow over the winter to bloom again in spring. The rest of us can just toss the plants out or compost them after they bloom, like cut flowers.
Florist's Cineraria was first developed in the British royal gardens by crossing two species of flowers from the Canary Islands. It was originally known as Cineraria x hybrida. It is now known as Senecio x hybridus, S. cruentus or Pericallis x hybrida, depending on your reference.
I particularly love the blue, purple and magenta flowers. They can be found with either dark or light eyes. Pretty sophisticated for daisies. I think the saturated colors of many specimens are at their best in natural light, like outside, in the shade.
But indoors in low light also works.
Songbird Retreats in the Garden
One feature Mr. and Mrs. JTB would like include in their future garden is plants which birds would find useful for cover and, I am guessing, for food. No need to make any decisions now, but Birds and Blooms Magazine is right down the alley of gardeners who want to attract birds. It also includes information and photos on garden designs made with hummingbirds and butterflies in mind. But more on the latter in future episodes. Too cold for them in Virginia, recently. Songbirds would probably appreciate some food and cover in this chilly weather.
The Sunset Western Garden Book includes lists of plants that attract birds for nectar (orioles and hummingbirds) or for berries and seeds. It also includes details concerning where the plants are likely to thrive. I am not aware of an equivalent for the Eastern USA. You could probably find some good, fairly local information on the web if you looked around, though.
Some people need to chill out about their garden plans
I enjoyed our somewhat technical discussion of yard and garden planning last week. It is tempting to dream big during the winter. But maybe a more relaxed attitude would serve some of us well. A garden designer at the Garden Rant group blog has decided that the industry has gone too far in trying to make the outside of our houses seem like the inside of a house:
My heart is wanting the garden that is simple -- that has a place to sit, a place to eat with my friends, a place for me to settle in and enjoy a book. No chandelier, no throw over my lap in case of a chill -- let the chill come. I want to go outside and feel outside.
But maybe some other people are a little TOO chilled out
The songbird native planting area of Sing! by Mariposa Gardening and Design, a Berkeley design firm, was reminiscent of many Berkeley front yards: purposefully unmanaged (or at least, the aesthetic is to look unmanaged) flower fields.
Y-not: Thanks, KT!
As it turns out, KT's section about bird-friendly plantings gives me an excuse to share an experience we had a month or so ago involving our dog and our own backyard feeders. Our two year old collie, who is normally very healthy, had a bout of intestinal problems (both ends). She's prone to chewing on (and swallowing) things, so at first we just monitored her and made sure she was getting enough water etc. But after a few days she developed a fever, so we brought her into the vet who put her on a course of antibiotics. (She was better in a couple of days.)
As it turns out, we are 99% sure she had become infected with Salmonella. The source? Our bird feeders, more specifically the droppings below the seed socks. Our dog likes to eat snow and in the process of doing that she'd ingested a lot of the seed husks and, presumably, the bird droppings.
I'd never realized before that Salmonellosis could be a concern, but it is a common problem:
An outbreak of avian Salmonella or Mycoplasmosis can kill songbirds in the Bay Area. These diseases are spread from bird to bird primarily at bird feeders and bird baths. WildCare receives multiple calls about ill and dead songbirds in people's yards whenever there is an outbreak of bacterial disease. Our diagnoses are confirmed when lab test results from deceased patients show signs of Salmonella poisoning or when birds with tell-tale symptoms start arriving at the Wildlife Hospital.
The diseases Salmonellosis and Mycoplasmosis are common causes of disease and death in wild birds. Bird feeders bring large numbers of birds into close contact with each other, which means diseases can spread quickly through multiple populations. THe bacteria are primarily transmitted through contact with fecal matter, so birds at a crowded feeder are much more likely to be exposed than birds in a wild setting.
Here are a few things you can do as a preventative:
Bird feeders should be disinfected every two weeks regardless of disease outbreaks.
Bird baths should be emptied and cleaned daily regardless of disease outbreaks.
For feeders: Do not use wooden feeders (click for more information). Immerse feeders in bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach.) Soak 10 minutes, scrub, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry fully, ideally in the sun, before refilling (a dry feeder will deter mold growth on seeds).
For baths: You can make a 9:1 bleach solution in a jug to bring outside. Scrub with a hard brush, cover with board while soaking to prevent birds bathing in bleach, rinse very thoroughly, allow to dry before refilling.
For hummingbird feeders: NO BLEACH! Change food often. Clean and fill with only enough to last 1-2 days (sooner if gets cloudy/moldy). Use vinegar and water in a 9:1 solution (9 parts water to 1 part vinegar) and special bottle brushes to get into small holes. Rinse thoroughly!
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling feeders or baths.
In our case, the problem originated from "seed socks" (often called Niger Thistle or Nyger Seed) -- and a dog so dumb that she ate seed husks.
NIGER SEED IS NOT THISTLE SEED (AND OTHER CONFUSING THINGS ABOUT THE NAME)
Niger seed used to be called thistle, but it is not the noxious thistle weed we see growing on roadsides. It typically will not germinate under your feeders since the USDA requires that all niger seed imported to this country be heat-treated to sterilize the seed.
You can even grow your own. The flowers are very cheerY:
There was even some research into its potential as a commercial crop in the U.S. and in Canada.
Here at Casa Y-not we have taken down our bird feeders. We'll probably go with a bird bath instead. Here's a DIY project that looks within my capabilities:
Of course, as I predicted we had snow here last week, so I'll have to wait until Spring!
*Beep* Hi! You have reached Weirddave's gardening post. I'm sorry, but I can't get to the blog at the moment, if you leave your name, number and gardening question at the sound of the tone, I'll get back to you as soon as possible. *BOOP!*
We would like at announce a new feature for future gardening threads: Ask Weirddave. Post any questions in the comments today, and next week I'll pick the best ones and answer them, Ann Landers style. You may get serious advice. You may get insanity. Hopefully we can have fun with it.
Y-not: To wrap things up, moronette Jane D'oh has been watching the Great Horned Owls Cam that the Cornell Lab for Ornithology maintains. Here's a neat video of one of these amazing birds singing his territorial song at dusk:
Owl-y bonus: a Great Horned Owl swims in Lake Michigan after being attacked by falcons. Wow.
What's happening in your gardens this week?
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So? And What Does THAT Have To Do With Anything? - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Remember Ace's caution about not destroying careers over one's personal opinions? Well, in this case, he used Olbermann as an example thus I'm not sure many agreed, but his point stands: We cannot micromanage the lives of those around us.
When outside the context of work, and when not specifically conflicting with the terms of a contract or causing direct harm to the organization by which one is employed, one's personal statements should not be used as a hammer to destroy his or her career.
Now, of course, as in most things in life, there are exceptions:
You believe in animal sacrifice and apply for a job at a pet store? Nuh uh.
You have swastikas tattooed on your arms and now want to serve kosher foods? Nope.
You've actively perpetrated a lie which resulted in great loss to property, and frightened an entire community, but want to be trusted with national news? Apply to MSNBC!
See, I told you there were exceptions.
I don't need to rehash Ace's more articulate post, but I do want to provide an example of just what it is he has been talking about.
A few days ago I was waiting for my takeout pizza and killed the time by doing something I rarely do: I picked up the local indy rag and was immediately drawn to the cover story.
Meet Jacksonville's Newest Port Consultant: Dr. Dr. Herbert Barber Jr. (that's not a typo) thinks the country's going to hell, really dislikes the "ugly" poor, and believes Obama is "more anti-American than any ten thousand terrorists." Now he'll help decide the fate of one of the most important (and expensive) infrastructure projects in Northeast Florida.
I snorted upon reading it, and that's just the cover. Literally, it was sort of a choking and snorting sound all at once. And I said to myself, "So? What the hell does that have to do with anything?"
Intrigued, and thinking that there must be significantly more to the story for even an indy rag to be so jacked about the guy, I continued to read the entire piece. It was at this point that my snorts became a smirk, then a smile, then outright laughter and I heard the words "Here's your pizza!" so I decided to finish reading it at home.
It's a good thing I did. Otherwise, I would have missed out on one of the most rollicking fits of laughter that I've experienced in some time.
The author literally hates this guy.
It seems that Dr. Dr. Herbert Barber (Dr. Dr., funny, eh?) has written a book about how America is going to hell in a handbasket and openly hates Obama with the fierceness of a thousand raging infernos. Still, what does that have to do with his contract as a port consultant?
Absolutely nothing. And, if you read the entire FIRST piece (please do) you'll find that the author, essentially, admits as much: The Dr. is eminently qualified for his position and brings an impressive resume' to bear, yet he is an "asshole" and the author resents his tax dollars being used to enrich him.
Which brings me to... "First" piece?
Yes. The author wrote this piece on February 11, expending 1,781 words on it then wrote a second piece, which was published in print and online, dated February 18. In the second piece he no longer uses the word "asshole" to describe Dr. Barber but expends another 2,171 words on him.
I'm beginning to think maybe the author doesn't care for this consultant fellow.
This author has a soapbox from which to preach his point of view. He can scream at the masses that "assholes" should have no place on the government dime and be assured that, mostly, the only readers who will ever cast their gaze upon his words are the regular readers of Folio who are, by and large, leftist hipsters and those desperate enough to seek out their horoscopes (or wish quietly to themselves that someone might mention them in the "I Saw You" section). But, as a "reporter", he also has access to our city leaders to not only inquire of their views, but to attempt to shape them. I find THAT, to borrow his own words, "patently offensive."
If you have the time, read both pieces. I found them both interesting because, let's face it, it seems Dr. Dr. Barber had Obama pegged long before many Conservatives did. I also find the piece wildly entertaining because the author is all about the feels and writes with the emotional clarity and intellectual maturity of, well, a leftist hipster who would be published at an indy rag.
See there, that's ME judging a fella by his personal beliefs. The difference, of course, is that they are reflected in his work product.
So, eff him. The hypocrite.
UPDATE and thanks to Frankly for finding it: The Consultant has been terminated though will likely keep most of the $60k.
Now, this strikes me as playing rather fast and loose with the taxpayer's money AND it shows how thin-skinned and partisan city government has become here in Jax.
It also proves that Folio Weekly is precisely what most of us have known all along, a Social Justice Warrior with cheap ink.
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Fundamental Concepts - Molon Labe [Weirddave]
In 480BC, Xerxes of Persia demanded that the Greeks under King Leonidas of Sparta surrender their weapons. King Leonidas responded with a laconic "Molon labe", which translates as "Come and take them" and a legend was born. Even though the Greeks lost the Battle of Thermopylae that followed, King Leonidas' stirring phrase has echoed with defiance down through history. The phrase has a rich history in America, too. From Fort Morris, Georgia, to Gonzales, Texas to Second Amendment defenders today, "Come and Take It" resonates in American hearts.
With the disturbing news this week about BATF's attempt to ban M855 NATO Ball ammunition, the internet has been alive with people swearing fealty to the idea of molon labe. I approve. However, talk is cheap they say, and internet talk is cheaper than most. Anyone who considers themselves a patriot needs to take a good long moment of quiet reflection and ask themselves, honestly, what does molon labe mean? More specifically, they need to ask themselves what are the ramifications of defiantly proclaiming "Come and take them" if the authorities say "OK".
The ramifications are simple: YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
This isn't universally true, of course, but in order for molon labe to mean anything, in order for it to be effective, you have to accept that it IS true. If we ever get to the point where the authorities are attempting to forcibly disarm the population at large, the only way to prevent it from happening is to meet force with force. If it comes to this, you will lose. Every time. Even if you are armed, ready, and respond instantly to aggression by the authorities, there are a whole lot more of them than there are of you. You might kill one, or even several, but they will keep coming and they will bring resources to bear that you can not hope to match. Officers. SWAT teams. Snipers. Air cover. Drones. They WILL take you down, and that's not all. No, you have to accept something else too:
YOUR FAMILY IS GOING TO DIE TOO.
Think I'm talking crazy talk? Ask Vicki Weaver. Ask Sammy Weaver. I'll wait.
Do I have your attention yet? Good. This is deadly serious. In a worst case scenario like I'm outlining, with a government in armed insurrection against its citizens, lots and lots of people are going to die. It isn't a joke, it isn't faux tough guy posturing, it's a life and death situation.
So what's the point? Is it hopeless? We either roll over like sheep or die in a futile display of defiance?
Should these events come to pass, it will not be the first time in history than men have faced such a choice, nor will it be the last. 239 years ago a different group of men faced a similar choice, and they came up with something quite remarkable. You may not be familiar with it, it isn't taught much in schools anymore, but if you can get your hands on a copy of the document they produced, it's a good read.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
They pledged their lives, and nine of them had to make good on that pledge. The first of them to die, John Morton of Pennsylvania, said on his deathbed about the Declaration "they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service that I ever rendered my country." Many lost their fortunes. Here in Baltimore, you might find yourself driving down Paca Street. Not one person in a hundred could tell you that it is named after William Paca, signer of the Declaration who spent his entire fortune outfitting and supporting troops for the Continental Army. None of them lost their sacred honor. Not one of the fifty-six men turned their coats (from our POV. I'm sure the British would classify all fifty-six as turncoats).
I used this as an example to illustrate that while fifty-six men pledged their lives, only nine had to relinquish theirs. The same would be true in a molon labe scenario. Most disarmament raids would succeed. The result of these raids would probably range from simple confiscation of weapons to perhaps arrest. No fatalities. Others would result in only the deaths of civilians, If firing breaks out, a Ruby Ridge scenario(standoff, deaths on both sides) might be the best result that could be hoped for. Sometimes, however, it would be the authorities who died, and for all of the advantages that they have in any individual situation, they have a huge weakness too.
There are a lot more of us than there are of them.
At its peak, the SS only numbered one million men. That's a formidable force, and it rounded up some twenty million people and sent them to the camps. If only one in ten had been able to successfully resist ("success" being defined as taking at least one SS man with them), half of the people who wound up in concentration camps would have been spared.
This post is a lot more sober than most of my usual Fundamental Concept threads. It's meant to be. It's easy to brag "They can have my gun when they take it from my cold, dead hands", or to joke about canoe accidents or to slap a molon labe sticker on the back of the minivan. The reality is that those things only mean something, really mean something, in the context of a hot Civil War. A hot Civil War means that the country we love is (temporarily? One would hope) dead, and everything we believe in has been destroyed. It seems to me that it would be in all of our best interests to do everything humanly possible to prevent that from coming about. If our Representatives aren't representing, elect new ones. Donate money. Donate TIME. Talk to friends, talk to relatives, talk to strangers. Old Glory may be faded and tattered, but she's got a lot of life left in her. It's up to us to nurture that life. Many of us seem to have given up and sunk into apathy, or resigned ourselves to hunkering down and awaiting the burning times. Hopefully I've inspired you to take a long hard look at just what that would entail, and hopefully a long gaze into that abyss will motivate you to redouble your efforts to avoid it at all costs. If not, however, then only one question is left, and only you can answer it:
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Saturday Politics Thread: Labor Policies, part II [Y-not]
Good morning! After a brief hiatus, we'll be resuming examining our top prospects' records and views with respect to labor policies, especially public employee unions and right-to-work.
This will be a little less thorough than usual as I have been feeling under the weather this week. However, I wanted to continue with our issues coverage rather than take another week off.
In February 14th's Saturday Politics Thread I reviewed two major labor issues, public employee unions and the so-called Right-to-Work movement. Please refer to that post for background.
As we go to review the 7 GOP prospects we've been covering, I thought it would be helpful to add a graphic that shows the political environment in which they were (or are) working:
**UPDATE: There's a mistake in the chart. New Mexico's upper chamber is controlled by Democrats, but the lower chamber is in Republican hands. Color-coding is correct, but the last cell should read "D/R".**
*Corrected party control table inserted above.*
The chart shows the composition (by majority party) of the state legislatures that each of the six governors we've been tracking have enjoyed during their terms. In Ted Cruz's case, I'm showing the party split for Congress. Note: I've collapsed Perry's first seven years as governor into two columns to make the chart more legible. When he assumed office, Texas had a "purple" legislature.
Without further ado, here's a review of our GOP prospects.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN
Scott Walker made his name battling public employee unions during his first term as Governor of Wisconsin. Last summer, he emerged victorious from his three-year battle to loosen the grip that Wisconsin's public employee unions had on his state's taxpayers. The pivotal court ruling held "that collective bargaining over a contract with an employer is not a fundamental right for public employees under the constitution."
You can read more about Act 10 at the Governor's website.
Just this week, the Wisconsin Senate passed Right-to-Work legislation. The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to pass it next week for Governor Walker to sign. Wisconsin's measure is modeled after Michigan's RtW law, which has already withstood court challenges. Wisconsin will be the 25th state to have enacted Right-to-Work.
FMR. GOV. RICK PERRY, TEXAS
Texas is a right-to-work state (since 1993). As we discovered several weeks ago, Texas has performed best out of all states in the union in terms of median household income over the past several decades, which tends to argue against the AFL-CIO's assertion that RtW depresses wages.
Perry went on record as supporting a national Right-to-Work law during his ill-fated 2012 presidential run.
Here's a link to Rick Perry talking about unions on Cavuto last Fall.
Although CATO gave Perry a solid B in its 2014 Governors Report Card, I did find some recent articles referring to Texas' public pension debt.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, LOUISIANA
Louisiana is a Right-to-Work state.
I found conflicting reports of how Jindal has dealt with Louisiana's public employee unions. It appears that he was pushing for major education reforms in his state a couple of years ago, including school vouchers and addressing tenure.
Jindal's reforms would also scrap the statewide salary schedule. Teachers would continue to be paid at their current levels, but future raises would be tied to decisions by principals and other officials. The current system of last-hired-first-fired, which often forces newer and better teachers to be the first to go in layoffs, would be scrapped. Another reform would allow a majority of the parents at a failing school to vote to trigger a state takeover of that school.
But Jindal is not without his critics, including this guy (who really seems to hate him). Here's a sample:
Yet you won't find Jindal talking much about addressing the long-term defined-benefit pension and unfunded retired civil servant healthcare costs that are now burdening the balance sheets of every state government. For good reason. Jindal has done almost nothing to address the Bayou State's massive pension deficits. Two years ago, the Pew Center on the States reported that the Bayou State's collection of pensions were only 56 percent funded. Because of the state's fiscal fecklessness -- along with the high costs of the deals it made with local governments and public-sector unions -- the state was faced with paying down $51 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, along with another $10 billion in unfunded retired civil servant healthcare costs (for which Jindal and his predecessors have put away no money to cover). Moody's Investors Service determined last year that the state's pension shortfalls, when accurately determined, were 30 percent greater than revenue. Even with such high-profile spankings, Jindal, along with his colleagues in state government, have still done nothing to address the problem.
To be honest, I haven't felt healthy enough this week to wade through these allegations. I will note that CATO gave Jindal a respectable "B" on its last Governor's Fiscal Report Card. In addition, I think that Louisiana's "red" legislature may not be all that conservative. As I was researching the political party controls for Louisiana, it appeared that some Ds had switched to Rs (perhaps to save their seats). Make of that what you will.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY, SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina is a Right-to-Work state. In her recent State of the State speech Haley addressed South Carolina's labor situation thusly:
Any truly objective review of South Carolina's business landscape notes the benefit we get from the minimal role unions play in our state. In 2013 we had the third lowest percentage of union workers in America, with just 3.7 percent of South Carolina workers choosing to join a union.
I cannot express to you the extent to which this is a game-changer when we are trying to bring new businesses to our state. We have a reputation -- internationally -- for being a state that doesn't want unions because we don't need unions. And it is a reputation that matters.
My search for news about South Carolina's public employee unions didn't yield much fruit. The state overhauled public employee pensions in 2005. Those reforms were challenged by the unions in the courts. The latest challenge was tossed out last December.
GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ, NEW MEXICO
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me this week was learning that New Mexico, which had been controlled by Democrats until a few years ago and even now has a "purple" legislature, is on the verge of passing Right-to-Work legislation. It passed the NM House this week and is headed to the Senate. Although the upper chamber is controlled by Democrats, it appears that it may pass and be signed by Governor Martinez.
Gov. Susana Martinez has indicated previously that she is open to a modest increase in the minimum wage, as long as New Mexico stays competitive with neighboring states.
A Martinez spokesman reiterated that stance Wednesday, while also saying the Republican governor backs the concept of making New Mexico the nation's 25th state with a right-to-work law.
(Note: The RtW bill has a 50-cent minimum wage increase, which would bring New Mexico's minimum wage to $8/hr. Here's a link to a chart of all of the minimum wages by state, for your reference.)
As with South Carolina, there didn't seem to be much "hot news" with respect to public employee unions in New Mexico.
GOV. MIKE PENCE, INDIANA
Indiana passed RtW a couple of years ago. And just last week the lower chamber passed so-called "common wage repeal", "the law that allows a board of contractors and taxpayers to set baseline wages for public construction projects worth more than $350,000."
SENATOR TED CRUZ (TEXAS)
As a Senator in Harry Reid's Senate, Ted Cruz has not been in a position to do much of substance on these issues. Things may change now (or they may not, given how this past week went). Cruz's colleague Rand Paul introduced Right-to-Work legislation earlier this month.
Unions seem to hate him, so that's reassuring.
So that's a round up of what I could glean of the 2016 prospects' positions (and accomplishments) on two major labor issues. Although the problems associated with public sector unions are far from resolved, it appears that most of the GOP has woken up to the issue. Right-to-work is now the law of the land in nearly half of the states. One assumes that both Wisconsin and possibly even the true purple state of New Mexico may also be getting on board with RtW in the near future.
Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. Where have policies encouraged the growth of good jobs and which states' fiscal houses are in order? We tackled those issues in previous posts. In job growth (and household income), Texas leads the pack amongst our presidential hopefuls' states. In fiscal scorecards, all of the governors we're considering did well, with the leaders on CATO's report being Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico.
To close things up, I'll leave you with a link to this encouraging graphic showing how union membership has declined over the past five decades.
The lighter the color, the lower the union membership.
Obviously, this map is racist.
See you next week!
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