Overnight Open Thread (3-11-2014)
"Perhaps, like me, you have wondered how it is that so many people, otherwise honest, can adopt without demur the Orwellian anti-language of Political Correctness; how it is that so many people, otherwise rational, can adopt without demur the paradoxes, self-contradictions and logical absurdities involved in relativistic morality, materialistic ontology, subjective epistemology, and the other nuggets of vacuous blither forming the foundations of modern thought; how it is that so many people, otherwise possessing good taste, can without demur fund and support and praise the blurry aberrations of modern art, praise ugliness, despite beauty; how it is that so many people, otherwise good and peaceful, can praise and support and excuse the hellish enormities and mass murders of figures like Che and Mao and Stalin and Castro; or can view with cold eye the piles of tiny corpses heaped outside abortion mills, and make such enemies of the human race into heroes; or can rush to the defense of Mohammedan terrorists with freakish shrieks of 'Islamophobia!' and 'Racist!' even thought to be wary of Jihadists bent on your destruction is rational rather than phobic, and even thought Mohammedanism is a religion, not a race; how otherwise happy, moral, reasonable and decent people can not merely excuse sexual perversion, but will be swept up in a fervor of righteous indignation even if someone points out the biological or Biblical reality of the situation; and likewise excuse lies in their leaders, and adulteries, and abuses of power, and abuses of drugs, and any number of things these otherwise ordinary people would never do themselves.
"And, finally, perhaps, like me, you have wondered why it is that these people who are otherwise civil nonetheless can neither explain their positions nor stop talking, and their talk consists of nothing, nothing, nothing aside from childish personal attacks, slanders, sneers, and accusation, accusation, accusation. Why are they so angry? Why are they so noisy? Why are they so blissfully unaware of the vice, injustice, ugliness and evil they support?-- John C. Wright in Restless Heart of Darkness - Part Four
It's not personal - he's just a good soldier following his party's Alinskyite strategy.
According to the Times, Democrats are convinced that Koch-bashing is a "politically shrewd" endeavor, and is grounded in "Democratic-funded research." The Times editorial board has been beating this drum for weeks, denouncing the Koch brothers and their "right-wing political zeppelin," and all but pleading with their readers to donate to cash-poor Democrats.
Reid was especially moved by a recent presentation at the Senate Democratic retreat emphasizing the need to "pick a villain." The majority leader's lunatic outbursts on the Senate floor are intended to raise the Kochs' public profile and, more importantly, to rally the Democratic base, specifically the pro-cancer wing.
Switched at birth: Harry Reid and the Unhappy Idol
Men between the ages of 25 and 54 are in their prime working years. Generally speaking, they're too old for college and too young for retirement.
In February 2008, 87.4 percent of men in that demographic had jobs.Six years later, only 83.2 percent of men in that bracket are working.
"Where have all the protesters gone, long time passing"
"Gone to #OCCUPY, everyone."
Antiwar Movement, RIP November 4, 2008.
One might almost think that the antiwar movement was all about politics, not principle. That it was really an anti-Bush, anti-Republican movement. And that once a Democrat was in the White House, its purpose had been served and the protest signs went into the trash. There is precedent for this, as we have written before. The anti-Vietnam war movement, which also was celebrated by the press, wasn't really a movement against the Vietnam war. It was led mostly by people who were not at all opposed to the war, but wanted the other side to win. The rank and file were not so much anti-war as they were anti-draft. On the day the draft was abolished, the anti-Vietnam war movement ended. Whatever you think of the merits of the Vietnam war, there never was anything noble or idealistic about the anti-war movement.
Five years into Obama's presidency, only a third of the public believes that Obama and the Democrats are primarily responsible for the country's current economic problems.
More Americans continue to blame former President Bush and the Republicans. But the number who say the GOP is more responsible - now at 44% - has dipped below the 50% mark for the first time since Bush left the White House. Fourteen percent blame both parties equally.
Depressing evidence that ceaseless propaganda from the media does in fact work.
To the tune of $15 million owed to SIEU via Workers United which is more cash than the DNC has on hand.
As he wrote in the 1998 book Stolen Valor, (excerpted here) in the 1980s and '90s, former Vietnam war vet B.G. Burkett spent years and a fair amount of resources fighting the myth of the crazed Vietnam vet. In the 1970s, and early '80s, that character was a stock figure promulgated by Hollywood in films ranging from Taxi Driver to the Deer Hunter to the first Rambo movie, and as the baddie-of-the-week in numerous TV crime dramas. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that finally, TV series such as Magnum P.I., the A-Team, and Miami Vice finally made Vietnam vets the good guys. (As Ben Shapiro writes in Primetime Propaganda, Magnum's producer Donald P. Bellisario, a former Marine Sergeant, treated Thomas and T.C. and Rick as the equivalent of World War II vets who had simply done their tour of duty, and were now using their skills to solve crimes in Hawaii.)
Comes a new target - the deranged 9/11 survivor.
So Florida has its own version of sasquatch known as the 'skunk ape'.
The first time Dave Shealy saw a skunk ape, he says, he was ten years old. It was 1974, a few years after his father had come upon a set of footprints left by the creature-an Everglades version of Bigfoot named for its supposedly pungent odor. Dave was out deer hunting with his older brother, Jack, in the swamp behind his house, in what's now Big Cypress National Preserve, when he encountered the ape incarnate.
"It was walking across the swamp, and my brother spotted it first. But I couldn't see it over the grass-I wasn't tall enough," Shealy says. "My brother picked me up, and I saw it, about 100 yards away. We were just kids, but we'd heard about it, and knew for sure what we were looking at. It looked like a man, but completely covered with hair."
I just assumed this would be another mythical creature hunt but after reading the entire article I'm now fairly convinced that the 'skunk ape' is a real ape but probably not what Dave Shealy thinks it is.
Special deal for you meester but you must buy quick before Putin come.
Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica says that the plane is a Tu-95MS built in 1987. It's a variant designed to fire cruise missiles. It was owned by the Ukrainian Air Force and comes with only 454 flight hours on the odometer.
The bomber is a fixer-upper. The seller says that "It is necessary to make a technical service and prolongation of the data limit." But that's nothing that a good shade tree mechanic can't tackle.
This is one of the more mainstream hipsters - probably just a poseur. But definitely not part of the 83.2%.
The AoSHQ group. Yeah.
Tonight's post brought to you by Patty Hearst:
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
So AOSHQDD beat AP Again
Both in returns and in calling the race.
But don't take my word for it:
AP finally weighs in. @AOSHQDD called it 20 minutes ago.— JWF (@JammieWF) March 11, 2014
We have found a method that works.
We have volunteers for the AOSHQDD whose contributions are not only accepted but fully embraced.
While initially overwhelmed by Pinellas' initial vote dump, our team of just over a dozen volunteers ate right through it, freeing me up to make the call.
We are always looking for more volunteers for "the next race", and are aiming for a massive army of 'rons, 'ettes, and lurkers for the big show in November. If you want to be a part of the team, please shoot us an email.
Also, looks like the new game in town with polling, the election-tracking website Red Racing Horses, bested PPP in their final FL13 poll, accurately calling a 2 point win for Jolly. Part of their success came from accurately nailing the early vote as just 48-46 Sink. Kudos to you too, guys!
AOSHQDD: Offical Florida 13th CD Special Election Results Thread
Volunteers are still adding in the results- Pinellas is just rollling them in, but Jolly has won the race. We are canvassing and updating precincts now, but there's nothing left for Sink
Also- big kudos to Pinellas County: even with 15 volunteers hammering away, over 180,000 votes reported in under a half hour!
AOSHQDD lives again. Follow live, minute-by-minute returns here.
We will also be tweeting out results at @AOSHQDD
Our official prediction is Sink winning in the low single digits (2-3 points now), but an upset would be nice.
I want to thank JohnE for rebuilding the site, Joel Fagin (@ningrim) for designing our source sheet, and all of the horde who are volunteering. We will make a call as soon as we are confident.
Late Afternoon Dump
That leftist Frank Thomas I mentioned earlier marks the passing of Harold Ramis by calling his comedies some sort of crypto-fascist Reaganite propaganda or something.
This is part of the reason I try to put the brakes on going too far with cultural rejectivism. At some point, one just sounds absurd. No one listens to anything someone says once the speaker has been characterized as "just plain ol' silly."
Obama is appearing on every tv outlet he can. Alas, he even showed up to introduce Cosmos, thus immediately politicizing the very thing (science) which the show is attempting to depoliticize.
Obama talked a good game about our shared national commitment to exploring the planets, to fulfilling our deepest dreams as humans. I guess he forgot to mention he's cutting funding for that. Of course, when the government spending is now up to 70% direct wealth transfers -- that is, 70% of its spending is just taking income from one citizen and writing a check to another -- you're just not going to have very much money for those shared national commitments to fulfill our deepest dreams as humans.
Mostly you're just going to be arguing about expanding the "risk corridors" for socialized insurance corporations.
I asked a Republican friend why his party remains so opposed to extending the vital lifelines for struggling families and really hungry children. This colleague’s response was telling in its blunt nature and it’s stunning in its honestly. What he said was to the Republican caucus, these people you are talking about are invisible, and the Republican caucus is indifferent to them. Invisible and indifferent. This is just plain wrong. That is not the leadership the American people deserve and it is up to us to demonstrate clearly how Democrats are different.
@ConArtCritic will be starting his election coverage a little later for the Florida 13th special election between Alex Sink (D) and David Jolly (R). It's viewed as a bellwether, an early indicator of each party's relative strength going into November.
So he'll be on later to cover that, with some new bells and whistles.
Until then, Open Thread.
Calling SNL Unfunny and Biased is Incomplete.
It's Also Racist.
Oh yeah, I forgot, that "Jewelry Party" sketch that just attacked traditionalists had no jokes in it... except for a Step-n-Fetchit version of a Latina character.
I don't know if I'd call this racist or not, but I know SNL would call it racist were it to come from anyone else but SNL.
More than racist, it's hack. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been goofing on this hack sort of impression forever. Dee, an aspiring but not particularly funny comedienne, has been working on her "characters" for years; almost all of them are just Bad Hack Ethnic Stereotypes.
One of them was Dee's "Crazy Patty" Irish stereotype, which Charlie did not find funny at all, so he improved upon it with some witty physical comedy.
Another, embedded below, was a hack Latina stereotype -- "Martina Martinez" -- which Dee explicitly says they'll just love on Saturday Night Live.
The show intended this to show that Dee was deluded; she was so delusional about her talent that she thought a hack stereotype impression would wow 'em at SNL.
Joke's on Always Sunny, though. This sort of thing plays at 30 Rock.
Oh, and speaking of atrocious comedy.
Left-leaning, pro-state comedians have a strange relationship with political correctness. On one hand, they agree with the rules of PC, and will use those rules viciously to attack the butts of their jokes, imposing a very high cost on social errancy.
On the other hand, they value their own freedom to say outrageous things and occasionally transgress the zero-tolerance rules they otherwise enforce on others.
I would encourage them to think clearly about what kind of regime -- with rules applying to all, not just applying to their targets -- they want to personally live beneath.
Close it up
More Carriers For The US Navy? Not Anytime Soon.
Mackenzie Eaglen and Bryan McGrath make the case that not only shouldn't the Navy be reducing its carrier fleet but should be expanding it.
The Navy has been trying to keep three aircraft carriers forward deployed in two operational hubs with ten carriers, accomplishing this through lengthening deployments and deferring maintenance, both of which are symptoms of approaching hollowness. People and platforms wear out more quickly, and short-term gains come at the cost of long-term availability.
In spite of these measures, the nation has been caught without aircraft carrier presence in the Mediterranean several times in the past few years, raising the need to once again fill a third deployment hub there.
No American aircraft carrier was in the Mediterranean at the outbreak of the conflict inLibya. Nor was a US carrier in the Mediterranean when our Ambassador to Libya and three others were murdered. No American aircraft carrier was in the Mediterranean when Syriastepped over President Obama’s “red line” and attacked its own citizens with chemical weapons. And while international conventions would ordinarily limit a carrier’s presence in the Black Sea, the complete absence of one in the Mediterranean surely helped further embolden Mr. Putin in Ukraine.
I spoke with McGrath about this a bit during our podcast a few weeks ago and have written in the past about why I think shrinking the carrier fleet is a bad idea. That said, we're not increasing the number of carriers we buy anytime soon. Not simply because there's no political will to spend the money (which would be an enormous amount, $12 billion or so to build, not to mention millions more to equipped, operate and crew over 50 years) but also because the lead time to build a carrier is so long.
Realistically, there's no help on the horizon in terms of numbers (assuming you can fend off the calls to cut the current force size). So what's the solution?
One question I'd ask is, why do we have to have two carriers in the Persian Gulf at all times? We had two carriers there for well over a decade to enforce the no-fly zones over Iraq. Well, the no-fly zones are gone and yet two carriers are still routinely stationed there.
Yes Iran is still there but so what? It's been clear for quite sometime that we're not going to attack Iran. We might but as supporters of the carriers rightly point out, one major benefit of a carrier is it's mobile. You can take it out of the region but put another one back in if you need to.
Maybe there's some deep reason to keep two carriers in the Gulf forever and always but before asking the nation to make the kind of investment a new carrier would represent, the military needs to make that case. This is especially true given that reducing our presence in the region was one of the supposed side benefits of the Iraq war.
One extra carrier doesn't buy you the third hub Eaglen and McGrath argue for but it's better than nothing and you can get the flexibility/operational relief in a much shorter time frame than any new build will provide.
Instead of advocating for a carrier presence in the Mediterranean that isn't going to happen, advocates of a greater US role in that region are going to have to come up with something else. At the risk of playing armchair admiral, perhaps a combination of increased surface combatants, expeditionary strike groups, and increases in land based aircraft is a more realistic set of possible alternatives. But even these options require greater expense that a majority don't seem to support.
I understand why proponents of a muscular defense posture (especially sea power) are troubled by the direction our politics have taken but it's a necessary state of affairs. The financial path we are on as a nation is unsustainable. Should defense be at the head of the line? Yes, I believe that. But the American people in their wisdom have come to a different conclusion.
What's needed now is a realistic evaluation of what we are willing to pay for and what missions and operations we are willing to forgo. We must also be clear and honest about the risks these choices will entail. Some will say this is accepting a lesser America, I prefer to think of it as a more realistic America.
In the long run I think forcing this kid of choice on the American people will be for the better. Yes there will be costs associated with it (as there are with all choices) but we have to decide what we value as a nation. "Everything" simply isn't an option any longer. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can we can deal with things the way they are, not how we'd wish them to be.
Ron Fournier: President Obama "Blinded by [Self-] Righteousness" on Foreign Policy
It's not the flaws we know of that are usually our undoing. It's the flaws we hide from ourselves and call virtues.
Days before Vladimir Putin's troops invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice dismissed suggestions that Russia was about to pounce. "It's in nobody's interest," she said. Days later, President Obama declared the invasion to be illegal. "In 2014," he said, "we are well beyond the days when borders can be drawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Two things strike me about those quotes. First, they were right. From the viewpoint of the United States and its allies, invading Crimea made no sense, legally or strategically. Second, it didn't matter: Putin plays by his own set of rules, and it's dangerously naive not to realize that.
I have no idea what Fournier is talking about here, as far as invading Crimean making "no sense." It is a standard goal of nations to hold militarily-advantageous ground, and a warm weather port is a classic example of such.
I certainly don't wish to say Putin was justified to invade a country in order to play his Empire Games. But anyone who says that standard imperial behavior "makes no sense" ought to read a history book.
Any history book. Any single one of them will do.*
Fournier is here attempting the old game of mixing criticism with Obama with an embarrassing level of sycophancy towards him.
Ukraine is illustrative of a flaw in Obama's worldview that consistently undermines his agenda, both foreign and domestic. He thinks being right is good enough. From fights with Congress over the federal budget and his nominations, to gun control, immigration reform, health care, and Syria, the president displays tunnel-vision conviction, an almost blinding righteousness. I'm right. They're wrong. Why isn't that enough?
With such certitude, Obama finds it hard to see why anybody would oppose him, which makes it almost impossible to earn new allies. He's also slow to realize when some fault lies with him. The result is Obama's legacy of "Right, but …" moments.
He then goes on to list Obama's strategic errors, both domestic and foreign, in which, per Fournier's thesis, Obama has acted as if merely Thinking The Right Thing was enough.
Spoiler alert: Fournier basically agrees that everything Obama thinks is in fact Thinking the Right Thing.
Interestingly -- or perhaps inevitably -- Fournier maybe exposes more of the left's worldview than he intends with this criticism. Perhaps the left should not be credited (as they credit themselves) for merely Thinking the Right Thing.
Perhaps they should be required, as humans have throughout history, to also act the right way, and achieve positive results.
Perhaps the cult of "Thinking the Right Thing" -- with no particular urgency on the left regarding, for example, undertaking charitable efforts to help the poor -- is a petty vanity that excuses failure to match words with deeds and justifies bad results.
Or: Nah. I'm sure "Thinking the Right Thing" is all that's really required.
Obama, meanwhile, is underwater in public polling on both the Ukraine and Russia, generally.
Meanwhile, in Crimea, the local parliament may vote to secede and then join the Russian Federation.
One odd little historical detail: There's an old, old treaty that says Crimea can't be part of Russia. Russia signed it with Turkey (well, the Ottoman Empire).
I'm sure this treaty "makes no sense." Empires never consider things which other empires may control major strategic ports.
* We talked about this on the last podcast with Matthew Continetti -- the press seems addicted to a narrative that excuses Obama on the Ukraine, by claiming, variously, "no one could have predicted this," "Putin is a madman and the new Hitler," "this makes no sense," and the like.
I hate to point this out to the media but the Dreaded Sarah Palin predicted it.
It's in fact not terribly hard to predict that dictators with expansionist appetites will take their meals where they can find them.
40 Once again, I have failed Him.
Posted by: Reality
Glenn Reynolds: Maybe It's Time To Return To Having A "Well-Regulated Militia"
Probably the most libertarian position one can take -- pushing the idea that even the armed forces ought to be made up of "the people," and hence, not necessarily at the command of government.
This is such a scary idea to statists (and, frankly, even libertarian-leaning people like myself) that I doubt it will get traction.
But it's interesting, and interesting things ought to be discussed.
Reynolds begins by noting the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment-- "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" -- and then considers the implications.
If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, then where is ours? Because if a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, it follows that a state lacking such a militia is either insecure, or unfree, or possibly both.
Yale Law Professor Akhil Amar has likened the militia to jurors with guns because, like the jury, it was an institution made up of the people, through which the government must act, and one not susceptible to the kinds of corruption besetting professional institutions).
As Amar writes:Like the militia, the jury was a local body countering imperial power — summoned by the government but standing outside it, representing the people, collectively. Like jury service, militia participation was both a right and a duty of qualified voters who were regularly summoned to discharge their public obligations. Like the jury, the militia was composed of amateurs arrayed against, and designed to check, permanent and professional government officials (judges and prosecutors, in the case of the jury; a standing army in the case of the militia). Like the jury, the militia embodied collective political action rather than private pursuits.
Reynolds goes on to trace the decline of the militias -- the militias balked at being sent into Mexico in 1912 (they said it was outside their constitutional duties), and the government worked to federalize and professionalize the militias, which ultimately evolved into the "state" National Guards (which are really under federal authority, ultimately).
BTW: Apologies, I'm under the weather, and I'm just going to be throwing up links today, pretty much. I may even conk out and just leave some thread open for some hours.
The New Socially Privileged Racial Humor:
Q: What Do You Call a Black Man Who's a Pioneering Pediatric Neurosurgeon and One of the Greatest Physicians Living Today?
A: "Uncle Tom," "Oreo," and Beneficiary of "The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations"
The left is of course hostile in a palpably racial way towards Ben Carson.
Two Lefties Grouse About Obama at Salon, With One Suggesting He Might be a "Sociopath"
I'm not sure this is anything, but you be the judge.
The bulk of the dialogue between Thomas "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Frank and a guy named Adolph Reed Jr is mostly about their upset that Obama isn't sufficiently pro-labor or pro-income redistribution.
I'll leave it up to you add to your own editorial punctuation to that sentence, but, for the lazy among you, here are some pre-written editorial punctuation marks you can just slip in there: (!), (?), (!!?), (????!!!!), (WTF, DUDE?!?!!)
Reed's central criticism of the contemporary left is that it has become focused on identity politics. As he says in the interview: "The problem with a notion of equality or social justice that's rooted in the perspectives of multiculturalism and diversity is that from those perspectives you can have a society that's perfectly just if less than 1 percent of the population controls 95 percent of the stuff, so long as that one percent is half women and 12 percent black, and 12 percent Latino and whatever the appropriate numbers are gay."
This he attributes to "electoralitis," the imperative of electing Democrats to public office. While Reed and Frank acknowledge that such an approach has been successful in some elections, they are scornful of it. Says Frank: "[Democrats] think they have an iron clad coalition behind them. They have this term for it: the Coalition for [actually 'of'] the Ascendent. I forget what it is. Made up of these groups, and labor is not one of them."
Reed disdains what he calls "the cult of the most oppressed," the idea "that there's something about the purity of these oppressed people that has the power to condense the mass uprising. I've often compared it to the cargo cults. . . . As my dad used to say, 'If oppression conferred heightened political consciousness there would be a People's Republic of Mississippi.' "
Go to Taranto (the link goes to BotW) for the discussion of "sociopathy." Reed analogizes Obama's "blank slate" persona to that of a sociopath, notoriously manipulative individuals who can become whatever their intended target needs them to be. He doesn't push on the idea too hard (and it does seem a bit overmuch), but I thought it would make for a good screaming headline.
The media taught me that!
Breaking: People Who Love To Boss Other People Around Now Want to Make it a Crime to Call Them "Bossy"
Go figure. The "#banbossy" meme is up and running. The publicity campaign is co-sponsored by the Girl Scouts.
Now they don't want to make it an actual against-the-law crime, but they do want to stigmatize the word, such that, you know, you've committed a social crime if you call the person who's trying to control your expression "bossy." There should be consequences, you see, for saying the B-word.
The new B-word I mean. The old one is still also out, of course.
Allah notes that this is done, it is alleged, to help girls. But it's not girls who are falling behind in education, and therefore falling behind on their career track.
Republican “Super Lobbyist”: Conservatives Need To Shut Up And Listen To Republican Leaders
I love self-described “bi-partisan, super lobbyist” John Feehery. If you wanted to create a caricature of the out of touch, self-important, above it all Republican establishment class you’d have to invent him. Thankfully he already exists and he loves to take to the digital pages of The Hill every now and then to remind the rest of us who runs things.
Today’s sermon is dedicated to the joys of knowing your place if you’re a conservative. You see according to Feehery the real problem in the GOP and our politics at large is too much individualism and not enough collectivism with a chosen few (not surprisingly he's among the few) leading the way. Sure it starts out as a bashing of millennials but he really only warms to the task when he gets to his frequent target…conservatives.
For our kind of democratic Republic to work, the people have to delegate certain powers to their elected representatives, and with that delegation comes a certain amount of trust. But if the people don’t trust their fellow citizens, how can they trust their elected representatives? And that is where you hit the limits of individualism.
We are seeing the fraying of the social contract in both political parties, but perhaps more acutely in the Republican Party today.
Sure, Barack Obama is unpopular with the conservative base, but almost as unpopular are Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. There is little patience to follow the leaders within the GOP. Trust has broken down. The movement will not be satisfied.
The Republican Party used to fall in line, but now, it is seemingly falling apart. The Tea Party insurgency is virulently distrustful of big government, big business and big labor. It despises the “Republican Establishment.” It has even declared war on the Chamber of Commerce.
The Democratic Party will not escape this chaos, as we hit the limits of individualism. The gender and racial political alliances upon which the modern party is built are not sturdy. One slip of the tongue, one off-color joke can end the career of a Democratic politician.
Liberals are even more anti-establishment than the Tea Party. They glorify Edward Snowden just as they call for the dismemberment of Wall Street. The Democrats are primarily a secular party that ignores, if not condemns, most church teachings (such as on abortion and gay marriage). The party has come unmoored from any religious values. It glorifies the individual, no matter what choices that individual might make.
Someone actually wrote with pride and a sense of loss that “the GOP used to fall in line”. And look where that got us. Bigger government, record debt, oh and the loss of the House, the Senate and the White House.
While those results might be cause for concern if you care about the future of the country more than a party, Feehery longs for those days. He seems very upset that conservatives aren’t satisfied with a pat on the head for their volunteer efforts and votes. Now they want not just rhetoric but results? It’s terribly embarrassing for everyone when the help forgets their station.
I love the part where he’s absolutely flummoxed as to why conservatives would turn on the Chamber of Commerce so allow me to help… they supported Obama’s so-called “stimulus”, they are cutting deals with big labor to force amnesty on the country and exists basically to get as much money and regulatory favor from taxpayers via D.C. as possible.
What a bunch of ungrateful bastards these small government, pro liberty conservatives are. Why aren’t showering the entrance of the Chamber’s offices with rose petals?
This self-declared elite wasn’t built in a day and it won’t be destroyed in one election cycle either. But when people wonder why I don’t really care if the GOP wins the Senate or even the presidency (get in line and support Chris Christie! Or Jeb Bush!) guys like this are at or near the top of the list. Putting the same people back in power and expecting different results is a fool’s errand.
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- More Sitcom Than CENTCOM
- Back From Vacation, Obama Tackling Multiple Crises at NYC Fundraisers
- Dem Controlled State Legislature Quietly Passes 20 Week Abortion Ban
- Koch's Donate Money To Hospital, Liberal Protest
- How Idaho's Governor Ended Up In A Soft Core Porn Film
- Iran's Weapons Shipment Safely In Israeli Hands
- NYT: Why Poland Cares About The Ukraine
- Me: Why Poland Cares About The Ukraine
- Has Obama Changed His Mind About Syria?
- A Late Surge For Republicans In FL-13?
- Obama To Cut Key Reconnaissance Fleet By 25 Percent
- Sharyl Attkisson Resigns From CBS
- The New Glenn Beck
- The Murders Before The Marathon
- NHL Game Postponed After Player Collapses On Bench
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Top Headline Comments (3-11-2014)
ICYMI, William "Wild Bill" Guarnere of "Band of Brothers" fame passed away over the weekend.
I’ve lost my hero and my friend. Knowing him made me a better man and playing him was the greatest honor of my life. pic.twitter.com/8lvLzsUhaz— Frank John Hughes (@frankjhughes) March 9, 2014
Overnight Open Thread (3-10-2014)
Due to a customer emergency tonight's ONT will be skeletal.
Apparently whether you were allowed to eat sausage during Lent was a big theological issue that led to the Reformation in Switzerland. Here's what Wikipedia says:
The Affair of the Sausages (1522) was the event that sparked the Reformation in Switzerland. Ulrich Zwingli, pastor of Grossmünster in Zurich, Switzerland, spearheaded the event by publicly speaking in favor of eating sausage during the Lenten fast. Zwingli defended this action in a sermon called Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen (Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods), in which he argued, from the basis of Martin Luther's doctrine of Sola Scriptura, that "Christians are free to fast or not to fast because the Bible does not prohibit the eating of meat during Lent."
So there you have it.
And it was this article that led me to look up the L'Affaire de Sausages: Repent of Lent: How Spiritual Disciplines Can Be Bad for Your Soul[Link not necessarily an endorsement of his arguments]
U.S. intelligence told Bush that Saddam tried to buy yellowcake in Niger. Bush claiming to believe that, and repeating it to the American people, was a lie.
U.S. intelligence told Obama that Russia would not invade Ukraine. You can't blame Obama for believing U.S. intelligence.EU: 'Bankruptcy' is Out, 'Debt Adjusted' is In
Get ready for a whole lot of 'debt adjustment' since the B-word is such a harsh term.
The EU is trying to erase 'bankruptcy' from the English language and replace it with the term 'debt adjustment'.
A drive by Brussels to remove the 'stigma' of going bust would include a ban on the word, which has been in use in Britain since the mid-16th Century.
It raises the bizarre prospect of businessmen who run into financial trouble having to say: 'Bad news. I've been declared debt adjusted.'...The word bankruptcy dates back 500 years and is believed to derive from the Italian banca rotta, meaning 'broken bench', inspired by the ancient custom of breaking a money-changer's bench to signify his insolvency.
This time in Kansas City. MO. But you won't hear any protests over it because both the men involved are white and the shooter was a policeman.
The parallels to the Zimmerman defensive shooting are striking, including the fact that the attacker was unarmed, the relative positions of the attacker and the defender, the beating of the defender's head against a concrete sidewalk threatening loss of consciousness, the failure of observers to provide assistance, and the relative lack of injuries to the attacker other than the bullet wound inflicted in self-defense.
One of the first people to be saved by the new drug penicillin.
Genean Hixon was one of the first American civilians to be treated with the drug, The Denver Post reports.
Hixon, born Genean Smith on March 3, 1931, was hospitalized in July 1943 with severe osteomyelitis, the paper reports -- a bone disease then-considered incurable and possibly fatal.
Her daughter, Connie Hixon Davis, told the Post that her mother spent more than four years in hospital beds in her teens but was saved by the treatment.
Hixon was subsequently known as the 'Penicillin Girl' after being treated with the drug. She reportedly received fan mail, and even a bouquet of roses from one soldier.
'Interestingly, she developed an allergy to penicillin and couldn't take it in her later years,' Hixon Davis told the paper.
Penicilin also saved my grandfather's life. In 1943 he was training to be a navigator/radio operator in the Eighth Air Force's bombing campaign over Germany but developed a severe bone infection. It was so bad that he was confined to a bed for almost 9 months and doctors were unable to even amputate a limb to save his life.
But then he was transferred to a hospital in Santa Monica where they gave him massive doses of a new drug called penicillin. It took a few months but doctors were able to slowly drive the infection out of his bones until the only bit left was in the tip of his right pinky - which they then chopped off.
Because of the partial loss of a finger and residual weakness he was ineligible to fly and later transferred to doing USO shows where he met many of the biggest celebrities of the time. Unfortunately many of his training buddies (including a lot of the men from his hometown) were lost due to the horrendous losses from bombing attacks on Germany without complete fighter coverage. He was also severely allergic to penicillin afterwards.
NRO writer and LAPD officer 'Jack Dunphy' explains the difference.
Well Amazon can satisfy your needs for just $19.32.
Seems that way based on these results.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group. Bla bla bla.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by Radioman-Gunner P. Newman:
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
Damn, this is pretty impressive. Storms, the Milky Way, buttes, and cornfields. What's not to like?
It's like the trailer for the next True Detective. The killer will violate people with corn.
It was shot by a guy called Randy Halverston, who calls it "Dakotalapse."
Very sweet pictures. You could take any eight of them and insert them into Cosmos tomorrow and people would say "Wow, professional shots." If I'm reading him right he caught all of this in just six days.
Thanks to @rdbrewer4. You might want to check out the Jovian photography in the sidebar, too.
And Open Thread.
Former Think Progress Blogger: I Criticized Obama's Afghanistan Surge, and Center for American Progress Read Me the Riot Act For Creating "Daylight" Between CAP and the Obama Administration
Ideological bias is last year's news.
Now it's more about simple partisan bias.
This sounds like CAP ejecting the left's anti-war ideological stance to help out a partisan figure they approve of.
Of course, this writer was read the riot act after White House officials called to complain about the piece.
Completely unrelated I'm sure, but Sharyl Attkisson's stories dropped by two thirds in terms of making it on to the CBS Evening News since shortly after Obama took office.
She was the 18th most aired reporter among all network reporters from 2008-2009... and then fell to 78th place.
Apparently her digging into political wrongdoing was appreciated up until Obama was sworn into office, and not so much thereafter.
Jonathan Turley: Obama is Not a Dictator, But...
The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches.
This massive shift of authority threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system of checks and balances....
James Madison fashioned a government of three bodies locked in a synchronous orbit by their countervailing powers. The system of separation of powers was not created to protect the authority of each branch for its own sake. Rather, it is the primary protection of individual rights because it prevents the concentration of power in any one branch. In this sense, Obama is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he has become the very danger that separation of powers was designed to avoid.
The suspension of a portion of the ACA is only the latest such action related to the healthcare law...
Not even the power of the purse, which belongs exclusively to Congress, is sufficient to deter the White House. The Obama administration took $454 million from a fund established to help prevent illness and put the money instead toward paying for the federal health insurance exchange. Even leading Democratic members denounced this as "a violation of both the letter and spirit of this landmark law."
@charlescwcooke summed this up a while back on the podcast: It's not a law. It might have been passed in a law-like form, but it has been "interpreted" by Obama to not be a law at all.
It is simply an Enabling Act, a block grant of legislative authority to the executive on anything in the category of "health care."
This, of course, is illegal, and unconstitutional. Even if Congress wished to give their powers to the Executive, it would be illegal for them to do so, and the Supreme Court would call it illegal.
And yet here the President simply asserts that Congress has handed him his powers, and only a brave few say anything about it at all.
Ezra Klein/Matt Yglesias Start-Up "Vox.com" Promises to "Explain the News"
You can check out their video Press Release at vox.com.
I only have a few thoughts here.
First, Klein/Yglesias are attempting to create a product that highlights their particular talents (such as they may be...). Nothing unusual in that.
However, there is a general history of failure when people attempt to create a "New Form of Entertainment!!!" that highlights their hybrid skills (such as they may be...)
Fact of the matter is, actors, dancers, and singers are in high demand in entertainment. Someone who can do it all -- the oft-claimed, seldom-seen "triple threat" of actor/dancer/singer -- is probably going to wind up being an actor, or a dancer, or a singer.
Klein and Yglesias seem to be like a "Triple Threat" of yore staging a two-man show (well, three, there's some woman involved too) which plays to their skill set of acting while singing while also dancing.
Those two-man Showcases of Talent! are generally known for not being known.
Second, Klein/Ygelias' pitch -- that they're going to take advantage of the format of the internet to make things more explanatory and richer in background information -- is, as it stands anyway, the sudden discovery of the Hyperlink.
Since the beginning of the Internet, people have been claiming the Hyperlink -- why, something's linked which provides background information, and you can click on it, or not, as you choose! -- was going to be the One Big Thing that would give the Internet the advantage over the print article.
I think one guy wrote a hyperlinked novel to demonstrate how the wonders of technology could transform the experience of reading a novel.
I don't know the name of it. I doubt more than 100 people do. Even the guy who wrote it would have to check Wikipedia.
The hyperlink has not in fact changed everything. Most people ignore the hyperlinks now embedded in news articles because they seem to be put in there by a not-terribly-smart computer, and usually just disclose a Bing search. (Or an ad.)
But let's suppose that Klein and Yglesias actually exploit the usefulness of the hyperlink, which, while currently available, is not being exploited much at all:
How much does that really add? It adds something; don't get me wrong. Convenience is in fact Added Value. If they offer a three paragraph digest on the Ukraine protests in every Ukraine article, well, that's not unhelpful. Someone coming in late to the story can click on that and get caught up to speed with a short, superficial blurb. (And short superficial blurbs do have their value.)
But I'm a bit underwhelmed that ultimately their Business Model -- their brand differentiation; their shot at immortality -- is to finally fully exploit the Hyperlink.
Well, that's not quite fair. They talk about all these new and innovative ways they're going to empower the reader to use technology so as to be More Informed Than Ever Before, but they offer no details about this. I think they flash a graph up for a moment (in which the the things being charted are unidentified -- so the yellow bars in the graph might just be representing the length of various yellow bars).
Given the lack of detail as to how they're going to dual-handedly transform the news-consumption experience and empower the reader like never before: I think they're just going to be doing hyperlinks.
And some chatty videos. People do enjoy discussions, so offering people discussing news topics adds a bit of value to the print version. Hey, we ourselves do a podcast.
And some chatty "faux-conversational" explainer pieces. In fact, Vox explains itself via a video, and then a "faux-conversational" explainer piece.
But mostly, I think, it's going to be the Hyperlink, and brief stubs explaining terms of art and key ideas.
I don't exactly wish them ill because I'm not exactly allied with their competitors (the regular media), and, to be honest, anyone making money from the internet sort of helps anyone else working on the internet.
But videos talking about the news, a blogger's chatty, casual style, and hyperlinks are not exactly cutting edge technologies in 2014.
I suppose design and execution might make all of this work better than one might be inclined to guess. Integration is itself a thing; the iPhone only did what five or six gadgets already did. The iPhone, however, successfully integrated them into one device.
So... I guess this could turn out to be the iPhone of blogs.
But I think one's guesses about the fate of the enterprise depend, to a large degree, upon one's estimation of the combined, triple-threat talents of Messrs. Klein and Yglesias.
They're no True Detectives, I'll say that much.
Bo Knows Retractions: I included a mention of Bo Jackson as a double-threat who only turned out to be a single threat. This has generated argument in the comments, with some saying he played baseball at a "high level" until his serious 1991 injury.
I forget, to be honest. I will assume Commenters Are Always Right and credit Jackson with being a true double-threat until his injury.
Sharyl Attkisson: "I Have Resigned From CBS"
Nothing more than this:
I have resigned from CBS.— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 10, 2014
weft-cut loop posted this excerpt from Politico:
Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network's corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.
The Politico article is actually very heavy on suggesting that political bias is the cause for the resignation (or at least that Attkisson would call it the reason).
Let the speculations commence.
Obama Is a Very Bad Man Open Thread
The scolds and There Are Other Things To Discuss Brigades are out,* so here's their thread.
Why do you think it is that seeing someone take an interest in something you're not personally interested in causes you so much discomfort? Why is someone else's interest taken as a hostile attack on the self?
Aren't you defining the borders of your selfness a bit over-large, such that no one can take step you don't take without in some way giving offense to you, kicking at your worldview and ego?
Is anyone allowed to take any interest apart from the three or four you share?
Is mere difference a signal of hostility that must be challenged and confronted?
These are important questions.
My problem here is the hostility, as if I've given personal offense by acknowledging cultural phenomena not appreciated by some. True Detective was a big thread on Hot Air; the Dunham thing I got from the top center of Drudge.
These things are going on. This hostility over mere discussion of interests some don't share is a drag, and I'm tired of it.
Both posts qualify as political -- the True Detective one especially. Both are certainly cultural-political.
Some of you are turning cultural rejectivism into a type of cult and it's annoying. You can belong to any cult you like, but those of us not in the cult don't want to hear about it every day.
* Burn the Witch says "Brigades? You're talking about four people."
But hostility is, by definition, hostile. One notices it.
>>> ace, I really don't know what to make of much of the America I find myself in. Much is alien, nowadays. Pop "culture" is mostly irrelevant to me, and junk. Vulgar, and shallow. This, from a guy who rode choppers on the street as a young man. I just sort of stand back in awe about how bad much of America has become. -- backhoe
I get that, and I share, to a fair extent, the cultural rejectivism embraced by many.
But it's annoying to have people constantly harp that you must join them at their exact level of cultural rejectivism. If they've completely tuned out, everyone else must completely tune out.
It's not even expressed as an argument, which would be less annoying, because an argument is always interesting.
It's just expressed as a hostile resentment. And then what do I say in return?
There is an interesting argument as to whether someone should (or even could) completely unplug from the current american culture.
I'd be interested in having it.
But this drive by resentment/hostility shit -- that's not an argument, that's just negative emotionalism.
I think 90% of the right tends to reject most of our current culture. Obviously, we will each make exceptions here and there for things we find meritorious.
Can we please stop treating such minor, trivial cultural preferences as important and status-conferring and Tribal Loyalty Signaling?
I liked True Detective because I like smart detective shows. Period. That's not an attack on someone who has tuned out of current culture. I just happened to turn on the TV, and it was on.
And that's it.
If you're reading more into than that, I would suggest you should probably think about not reading so much political/tribal/cultural import into everything.
I knocked some of the left for being determined to read a narrative of Tribal Flattery into True Detective.
The reactionary version of this -- the simple act of discussing True Detective is an act of betrayal against the right-leaning tribe -- is no less ridiculous.
Lena Dunham on Saturday Night Live
I saw a bit of this, just because it was so heavily promoted and I figured I should watch it, just as part of my job.
Truth Revolt headlines an article that one sketch featured Dunham "poking fun at the biblical narrative." That's true in a minor way -- the Eden story was handled irreverently, surely -- but the main target of the sketch was not the Eden story, but rather Dunham's screen persona as a narcissistic neurotic. She was playing her "Hannah" role from Girls in the sketch, and reduced everything in the Garden of Eden to her own list of shallow preoccupations. When "Adam" says that she was made from his rib, she objects "That's so sexist!"
When "God" speaks to her at the end, she only wants to ask about whether her publishing deal is still on. Hannah is forever worrying about whether her book will be published.
And of course it poked fun at her reputation for appearing nude at the drop of a hat. I think one "critic" said of the movie, "A lot of nudity... even for Dunham."
(One thing I think Dunham's critics either miss or do not confess often enough is that while Hannah is a neurotic narcissist, Dunham is aware of that fact, and makes Hannah the butt of jokes. That is, there seems to be an unexpressed belief that Dunham endorses all of Hannah's selfish, shallow dopiness, when in fact the show's position is that she is deeply flawed and quite mockable. She's still the hero of the show, don't get me wrong; but George Costanza was often the hero of Seinfeld, without Jerry Seinfeld or Jason Alexander ever being charged with believing that Costanza was the sort of character that people should aspire to be.
That doesn't mean I'm a fan-- I don't watch this show (except inadvertently, or by osmosis, because it gets chattered about a bunch). But it's just wrong to assert that Dunham is championing Hannah as a heroic ideal. Quite the opposite -- Hannah is intended as a deeply flawed comedic loser-hero. I'd say a "female Charlie Brown," but good ol' Chuck was highly ethical and thoughtful, which Hannah, in the main, is not.)
I really don't think that the Eden story was the main target of humor, here. It was the incongruity of seeing pampered, narcissistic, neurotic Hannah in the Garden of Eden, and to some extent about Dunham herself. Irreverent about God and the Bible, sure, but much more about Hollywood's interpretation of Bible stories than about actual Bible stories.
I mean, it's not a funny sketch, certainly. It just references Dunham's most famous role and puts that character in a different context. Meh. But I don't think the target here was the Bible. And if someone is goofing on herself, I give them latitude to goof on other things along the way.
Of course, later in the show, they featured a sketch in which a "male rights activist" was shown to be a loser h8r without troubling themselves to add any actual comedy to the piece. At the end, his out-of-his-league girlfriend tells him to hit the road. Yay, comeuppance for mustache-twirling stereotypes and cult hate objects!
There are so many problems with this that I really don’t want to take the time to parse them all. Suffice it to say that the creepy misogynist who opposes abortion just because he wants to keep women down is the left-wing P.C. equivalent of the equally bogus right-wing P.C. cliché that feminists are shrill, physically unattractive, and driven into their ideology by resentment at their failure to get men. Of course, in the case of every P.C. stereotype (whether it’s the P.C. of the Left or the Right) there are some individuals who conform to that stereotype. There are some pro-life activists who are misogynists who resent women’s equality; there are some pro-choice feminists who are shrill and motivated by resentment against men. But as broad-brush generalizations, both of these are, in my experience spanning almost five decades now, false.
Most readers will at this point expect me to denounce the SNL sketch because it expresses a political opinion different from mine. Nope: That’s totally fine with me. The day I can’t laugh at a joke by Rush Limbaugh or Jon Stewart or P. J. O’Rourke just because I don’t happen to agree with the political point of the particular joke is the day I will have to give up and register myself as “Humorless Person, Class A.” No, what really annoys me about that sketch is that I don’t remember there being any jokes in it. I am, among other things, a feminist and a pro-lifer, and I’m okay with people telling jokes about feminists and pro-lifers. But when you have an attack on any group, and don’t include any actual, you know, jokes, then what you’re left with is not a comedy sketch but merely an act of verbal aggression and ritual humiliation of the unpopular Other (in this case, the men’s-rights anti-abortion guy). As such, it of course deserves my protection from censorship, because I’m a First Amendment absolutist; what it does not deserve is my respect.
I understand that creative people like injecting "messages" important to them into their work, but such a piece has to also stand on its non-"message" merits to be a success. In this piece, there was nothing more than The Message. Girls good, h8rs bad.*
I only watched three or four sketches, to be honest. It just wasn't funny. That's not really Dunham's fault -- the show is never funny, and has not even been intermittently funny for about five or six years now. The only thing I thought was mildly funny (though really in an end-of-the-show weakest-sketches-that-made-the-cut sort of way) was this easy sketch about Bad Rap from Goofy White People. Easy and dumb, and I feel like I've seen this before, but still, if I'm being honest, I kind of smiled.
The show's ratings were down.
I'm really not sure why anyone watches it anymore.
Mildly Funny: This clip isn't from this show, but a previous one hosted by Tina Fey. It goofs on Girls.
Yeah, that's about as good as SNL gets, and it only gets that good once every five episodes.
* I have to say I tuned out of this sketch because it was so lame but I suppose... I suppose it's possible their intent was, possibly, to mock the intolerance of people on the left? I didn't pick up on such a subtle reversal, but who knows, maybe it was just because I was too bored to pay attention.
Close it up
The True Detective Finale and The Left's Inability to View Art As Anything Other Than an Ego-Flattering Political Affirmation
Well, it's all over. Spoiler alert: The Yellow King Theory was 100% right.
Mild Spoiler Stuff below. I didn't think this was major spoiler stuff because I don't get into details about the plot, and the plot was already largely revealed (or was it???).
But artisanelle ette notes that there is still some Spoilerage here, so I'm putting this all below the fold.
A few weeks ago, the left began claiming that this show, which they liked (as many not on the left liked it) would wind up affirming their most sacred cultural-religious dogmas. A writer for the Daily Beast insisted the show was primarily an Anti-Christian narrative which would finally show those rubes for the Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipping dunces they really are.
Another popular conceit was that the show would blow the lid off conservatives' school voucher agenda.
A couple of weeks back, a conservative asked me about the show, and if he ought to watch it. He'd heard this chatter about a relentless leftist/atheist narrative.
Here's what I told him:
1. The Reverend Tuttle is plainly involved. So, if that's your test of whether a show is "anti-religious," then it is. But that's not my test. All men stray.
2. There is some connection to Tuttle's religious schools.
3. But as for an anti-Christian or anti-religious narrative -- nope, I didn't see it, and furthermore, based on interviews with the writer (and he's given a lot of them) I don't get that sense of him at all.
I would have added this much more: It seems to me that the writer conceived of his show as art, and about the human condition, and the human condition is not one of simple verities (conservatives are bad, school vouchers are bad for the children!!111!!!, God is a Lie) but one of mystery and doubt.
Note the large difference between what works as a political agitation -- simple truths plainly stated, one side plainly in the right, one side plainly in the wrong, a resolution which works towards certainty in one's beliefs, and a flattering of those beliefs -- and what works as an artistic one -- muddled messages, no resolution of conflicts between different points of view, questioning one's beliefs and challenging them.
A story about humans is an awful lot different than one about political agendas.
And yet, for many on the left, they could not see the difference. True Detective was a good show, therefore it must serve to flatter their cherished cult beliefs. It must resolve, they thought, to ultimately say that everything they believe is right.
Leftists pretend to care a great deal about art, and they attack the right for reading extraneous superficial political narratives into artwork.
And yet, and yet.
A few weeks ago, in a comment, someone asked about Cohle's nihilistic, anti-natalist, hyper-materialist belief system, and whether the show would wind up championing that.
I told that commenter I didn't think so-- in fact, I imagined that Cohle would have some kind of epiphany that challenged that belief system.
Note that this does not mean that I think the writer Nick Pizzolato is religious. In fact, based on his interviews, I would say he's probably an atheist or agnostic.
But I was fairly confident Cohle would wind up having some kind of epiphany that challenged his atheist beliefs anyway.*
Because drama. It's a rule of drama that drama is about conflict and change.
If a man comes into a movie claiming he knows everything and that he is 100% certain of every detail of his philosophy, welllll, shiiiit. You are almost guaranteed that that man's absolute certainty will be absolutely challenged by the end of the movie.
This isn't exactly a New Rule. (I mention "New Rule" because the left likes Bill Maher a lot and might understand it better phrased in this manner.)
This basic idea is only about 5000 years old, is all.
So yeah, I thought from the beginning that Cohle's absolute surety about his nihilistic beliefs would be challenged by the end of the show-- at the end of the show.
And that is indeed what happened. Cohle had a some kind of Near Death Experience in which he had a vision of something that seemed fairly close to most people's vague impressions of heaven (though, of course, the show never said "near death experience" nor "heaven").
He was racked with powerful sobbing at the end because he had been yanked back to earth from this heaven-like vision of another world, in which his family (including his dead daughter) surrounded him and filled him with love.
Does Pizzolato believe in Heaven? Again, I doubt it. But Pizzolato, unlike many of his left-leaning fanbois, believes in drama, and mystery, and leaving interesting questions open rather than perfectly resolved and therefore closed.
It should also be said that Cohle's vision means almost nothing, evidence-wise: he was dying, he was bleeding out, and he has synthesia (a brain disorder by which physical sensations are misinterpreted so that, famously, one can "see" the color of music). He is an unreliable narrator as to the existence of heaven; the point is not to establish that heaven exists in the world, but that it may now exist in Cohle's version of the world.
The writer wasn't interested in proving or disproving heaven or God in his story, though he probably has ideas on this point in his personal life. He seems capable of separating "What I believe as a voting citizen" from "What I think makes for a good story."
Many of his leftist fans couldn't seem to make that distinction themselves.
The debate between the religious and irreligious has been going on since the first man ever gazed into the sky and thought the stars might be gods, and the second man said, "Nah, bro."
Did the left really seriously think that Pizzolato intended to settled this question Once and For All with a miniseries?
And how did they think this would be established/proved in the context of the show? I suppose it might have been Hart who had the belief-system-shaking revelation; but Hart's philosophy has always been very superficial. He claims to believe in God, but has never shown any interest in the matter, apart from mouthing the socially-approved position on God. He's never been seen in church (or even talking about going to church), or praying, or questioning, or seeking God at all.
To the extent he has a philosophy, it just seems to be one of convenient self-justification.
So subverting that wouldn't have been any big shakes. Hart probably would have shrugged it off after a day or two.
The show never spent much time on Hart's beliefs. It was always about Cohle's. Ergo it was pretty obvious that Cohle's philosophy, and not Hart's, would be put to doubt.
As for the rest of it: The Big Conspiracy was barely addressed at the conclusion of the show; one cop attempts to tell Harrelson more about it, and Hart says, basically, "Yeah I don't care about those details." Thus a lot of fan speculation (including mine) was categorized by the writer as "Not really what this is about."
Some may be disappointed by this; I wasn't, because I've been reading Pizzolato's many interviews, in which he says over and over "We're not trying to trick you" and speaks a lot of "my serial killer," singular. So soon after my "euthanasia cult" theory, I realized the writer intended a more conventional plot, and I was Trying Too Hard to be Clever.
The show ultimately was, as Pizzolato said, not about the serial killer at all, but about the two men, Hart and Cohle, and their long, rocky relationship with one another.
And it's about mystery. The serial killer plot is a pretext to explore mystery -- and evil -- and philosophy -- and sex -- and all the rest of it, but in the end, the show was about the mystery and muddle of life. Not about some Hannibal Lecter-like supercriminal and his lunatic beliefs.
In the end, he wasn't the interesting one; the heroes were the interesting ones.
Life is about mystery. Anyone who thinks he knows the answer to all of life's mysteries hasn't given nearly enough thought to life.
This is the essence of the human experience. And it's very, very different from the world as perceived by pure partisans and ideologues.
These two worlds are largely separate.
Ideology and certainty are useful in politics -- but they are the death of art.
Alas, our friends on the left, who fancy themselves to be quite sophisticated aesthetes, are pretty sure that political identity and cult loyalty is pretty much the sum and extent of the human experience.
* In fairness, my plot-related speculations were almost all wrong. Hart's daughter was not revealed to have been molested (but that hint remains there). Hart's daughter did not join the cult and was never in danger. The cult was not an euthansia cult (though the killer's iconography suggests he was releasing people from the "evolutionary mistake" of consciousness).
But in terms of character arc, I felt a bit more certain (though not 100%) that Cohle would have a serious belief-shaking epiphany. If you set a guy up as knowing everything there is to know in Episode One, he's got to not know everything by Episode Eight.
Chekov's gun, you know. If a gun is shown on the wall in Act One, it must be fired by Act Three. Otherwise, the gun should not be on the wall.
Close it up
Rand Paul To Ted Cruz: I Met Ronald Reagan (Once), My Dad Was An Early Supporter of Ronald Reagan. Senator, You're No Ronald Reagan.
Ukraine is quickly becoming a proxy war. Not between the West and Russia but between Ted Cruz and Rand Paul on foreign policy.
Yesterday on ABC's This Week Ted Cruz followed up on a position he brought out at CPAC trying to walk a line between the John McCain school of Bomb all the Places and what many believe to be Rand Paul's libertarian Leave Them All Alone And We Can Be Friends approach to the world.
"I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force aboard," Cruz explained. "But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did."
Last month, Paul suggested that some Republicans were "stuck in the Cold War era" because they wanted to "tweak Russia all the time."
During the interview, Cruz pointed out that Reagan "changed the course of history" with his aggressive stance towards Russia, suggesting that perhaps a perspective like Paul's might have led to different results.
Today Paul hits back in a piece at Breitbart's Big Peace.
I don’t claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque. But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory.
I met Ronald Reagan as a teenager when my father was a Reagan delegate in 1976. I greatly admire Reagan’s projection of "Peace through Strength." I believe, as he did, that our National Defense should be second to none, that defense of the country is the primary Constitutional role of the Federal Government.
There is no greater priority for Congress than defense of the nation.
I also greatly admire that Reagan was not rash or reckless with regard to war. Reagan advised potential foreign adversaries not to mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.
What America needs today is a Commander-in-Chief who will defend the country and project strength, but who is also not eager for war.
Paul also points out that hawks considered Reagan's willingness to negotiate with the Soviets as proof he was soft on Communism. One prominent conservative of the time even went so far as to call Reagan "a useful idiot" for the Soviets (sorry kids, you didn't build the "true con" vs the rest of the world fight. It's old. Very old.)
I can't tell you how much I hate the idea of the GOP focusing on foreign policy, especially Russia (unless things change a lot between now and then) but it looks like we're going to have at least a temporary fight over it.
I want to like Rand Paul but he just makes me nervous.
It's hard to shake the feeling that if you just scratch the surface enough his dad's craziness will be there.
On the other hand, I like his shrink the government instincts and his attempt to round off some of the harsher edges of the various GOP voting blocs to try and get them to fit together better. I don't know if you can square social conservatism with the more secular leaning fiscal-con wing but at least Paul is trying. Casting drug legalization and prison reform as moral issues of failure and forgiveness might be a bridge between social-cons and his more libertarian base. They don't have to love each other, just see one another as people who aren't directly opposed to the other's goals or hostile on a personal level.
Paul is really good at this stuff and does it in way that isn't condescending or more true-con than you.
Look at his invocation of his dad in that piece. People like me who are freaked out that Rand may just bit a chip off the old crazy bloc get a subtle reminder that Ron Paul maybe a kook but he was an early adopter of the thing we profess to hold dear. Now he skirts over the fact that Reagan would have been appalled by a lot of the things we know Ron Paul was writing about at the time but that's details most people who aren't political junkies will know about. They'll just get the message that the Paul family are old time Reaganites, isn't that nice!
The same goes for Paul's outreach to black voters. He knows he's not going to win a significant number of black voters (but an insignificant number in the right place could help a lot). It's about being "a different kind of Republican". He's not saying Republicans are racists he's just showing that he's a different kind of Republican. And who will be impressed by the nice young man who isn't like all those other crazy Republicans? White swing voters.
There's a lot I like about Paul (and Cruz) but I just can't shake the feeling we're one slip away from the mask slipping and finding out it's really Ron in there. That may not be fair and it may not be true but it's something I think a lot of people who might be incline to support him feel. If his name was Rand Smith it would be a lot easier to get on board with.
Of course there's also the whole, first term Senator with no executive experience hasn't worked out too well recently thing. That obviously cuts against both Paul and Cruz.
Either way, you don't need a time machine to get to 2016. It's here and the fight is on.
Added: Via @allahpundit, Rand Paul's been busy. He also has a piece in Time urging the US to be tough on Putin over Ukraine.
Monday Morning News Dump
- Crimea Is Now Completely Under Russian Control
- The Death Of The Constitutional Militia And Rise Of The Military Police State
- Russian's Comments Rile Latvia
- Russia: A Great Power No More
- Replace Obamacare Stat
- Global Debt Exceeds 100 Trillion
- Four Factions, No Favorites
- Union Says Obamacare Hastens Income Inequality
- Dems Plan All Night Talkathon On Climate Change
- The Disappearing American Middle Class
- Kim Jong Un Narrowly Re-elected With 100% Of The Vote
- Shady Farrakhan Chairty Received $160,000 In Farm Subsidies
- RIP Ohio's Public Records Law
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Top Headline Comments 3-10-14
This story amused me greatly.
Senate Democrats will hold a "talkathon" on global warming tonight into tomorrow. No doubt they're desperate for some media coverage on anything other than the economy, Obamacare, national security, and foreign policy.
Poll: a Democratic firm finds (PDF) Rep. Cotton up over Sen. Pryor 51-42% among definite voters. 46-46% among likelies.
Obamacare will accelerate income inequality, says . . . union.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast: [ RSS] [On iTunes] [Download Latest Episode] [Ask The Blog]
Overnight Open Thread (3-9-2014)
Because Salon writer, Randa Jarrar, thinks it's horrible and racist that non-Arab women dare to belly dance as she declares in this article:
Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriation.
...Women I have confronted about this have said, "But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on." These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I'm sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It's not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you're not appropriating someone else's.
Apparently 'appropriation' is the latest crime-du-jour on the left which seems to be the act of engaging in an art form originally developed by someone who doesn't look like you. Which is to say your skin hue and ethnic background determine which artistic genres you are allowed to engage in. A more perfect definition of artistic racism would be hard to come up with. But then the Left is ever creative with defining their racism away and discovering new race crimes that you're guilty of.
Which leads to this: HuffPo Writer: Republicans Can Never Not Be Racist
And this: Mexicans Almost as Racist as Republicans
Essentially the bargain that any president, I think, strikes with the American people is: "you give me this office and in turn my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you." And the American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you've got a job to do.
...And so how I think about it is that you don't make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice, that trade off, that bargain and I think that what's difficult and important for somebody like myself who has a wonderful forbearing wife and two gorgeous young children is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices with you," he continued. "And that is a profound decision that you don't make lightly.
Well the 2006 Senator Obama that is. Meanwhile President Obama is on his third vacation of the year. Plus it's also always wrong to reject a qualified presidential appointment...unless you're Senator Obama.
Has there ever been a president with such an amazing hypocritical gap between his pre-election rhetoric and his post-election behavior as this one?
So NYC has banned the indoor use of e-cigarettes and LA is considering banning them from public areas and businesses despite the fact that they consist of only water vapor, flavoring and nicotine and pose no known threat to anyone.
And the FDA says they will consider e-cigs as a tobacco products - even though they contain no tobacco.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that it intends to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way that it regulates tobacco products, but the devices actually don't contain tobacco-only nicotine.
Why? Mostly likely a combination of not really understanding what e-cigs are, the reflexive desire to ban things they don't like, and the hunger for more taxes.
But at least e-cigs don't pose the grave deadly threat that third-hand smoke does.
"The Ukraine is WEAK, it's feeble, I think it's time to put a hurt on the Ukraine"
Advocates such as Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who co-sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, said the plan is about more than just saving energy. Markey actually issued a press statement proclaiming: "In addition to the benefits of energy saving, less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, daylight saving just brings a smile to everybody's faces." I'm not buying it.
Redistributing daylight is the kind of zero-sum game that underlies the liberals' vision of the world. The hour of daylight in the evening comes at the expense of the morning. At least it is in fact only a zero-sum game.
So Rachel Canning, 18, of Oak Park, NJ didn't like living under her parents' rules and ran away to live at her best friend's house. And now she's suing her parents for child support, medical bills, college expenses and legal fees.
It's a long involved story but my conclusions thus far are that 1) she's an extremely selfish and spoiled girl, 2) her parents were possibly too lenient but seem like normal loving parents, and 3) there's something very odd about the best friend's wealthy attorney dad bankrolling her lawsuit. So far the judge doesn't seem to be buying her arguments.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [405 comments] 'Vic' [56.85 posts/day]
2 [404 comments] 'Flatbush Joe'
3 [385 comments] 'MWR, Proud Tea(rrorist) Party Assault Hobbit'
4 [366 comments] 'Nip Sip'
5 [340 comments] 'thunderb'
6 [302 comments] 'willow'
7 [296 comments] 'Insomniac'
8 [292 comments] 'RWC'
9 [283 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
10 [278 comments] 'Mike Hammer'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [127 names] 'Adam' [17.83 unique names/day]
2 [54 names] 'The Political Hat'
3 [48 names] 'phreshone'
4 [39 names] 'andycanuck'
5 [38 names] 'Islamic Rage Boy'
6 [34 names] 'Nip Sip'
7 [34 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
8 [31 names] 'rd'
9 [29 names] 'Frumious Bandersnatch'
10 [28 names] '18-1'
The group. Yeah.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Corporal D. Carey:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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Spaced-Out Challenge: Messier Marathon Mega-Thread (Part 2)
[We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Open Thread down page, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic. Enjoy!]
Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge! Whether you have a question about equipment, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly astronomical journey.
This week, we continue our beginner's guide to the Messier Marathon, the best nights for which are coming on Saturday, March 29th, and Sunday, March 30th. We stopped our hunt of Charles Messier's “nuisance nebulae” around Midnight, leaving our galaxy for island universes beyond. Now, it's time to go straight into the heart of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Tiny smudges of light, some fuzzy, some with faint arms, but all right before your own eyes: a view at the grandest of scales we can see. Come, let me show you.
Part One of our Messier Guide can be found here.
Overview Map pops out here: View image
At Midnight, the Virgo Galaxy cluster is riding high, giving you an excellent opportunity to pick off a massive number of Messier objects, and to enjoy some of the finest galaxies in that or any catalog. The brightest stars- Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus- are joined by a brightening Mars, so use these as your anchor stars, and align your map above accordingly.
Messier 53: A(nother) Globular in Coma Berenices.
Coma Berenices is a faint constellation susceptible to light pollution, but from your dark sky location, its magnificent star cluster and faint main stars are plainly visible. Looking to your south, and about midway up from your horizon, it forms an upside-down L above Virgo. Aim your binoculars at the southernmost main star Ithe brightest in the small constellation), and you'll notice a small, fuzzy patch of light: the globular cluster M53, an ancient cluster of over 100,000 stars about 65,000 light years distant.
The Black Eye Galaxy (Messier 64)
About a binocular's FOV north and west of Alpha Coma Berenices (the star you used to find M53) lies the striking galaxy M64. The Black Eye gets its name from the striking dark band of absorbing dust in front of the galaxy's bright nucleus, visible in most telescopes from a dark site.
The Suburbs of the Virgo Cluster
Beneath downtown Virgo are two contrasting galaxies in the Messier catalog.
A beautiful small spiral, M61 was initially mistaken for a comet by Charles Messier, but was cataloged as a nebulae after it hadn't moved over several observations. It has been relatively active: six supernova have been observed and cataloged since frequent observations began.
One of the brightest galaxies in the cluster, this giant elliptical galaxy was erronously thought to be more massive than M87 (see below). While it can't claim that brag, it is still a monster, stretching a full 60,000 light years wider than our own Milky Way. This is one of the easiest galaxies to see because of it's brightness. Averted viewing can help bring out the faint fuzziness enveloping the very bright core.
Another reasonably bright one in the cluster, M85 is a lenticular galaxy populated by older yellow stars. A faint hazy blob in small telescopes, don't let it's appearance fool you: this galaxy is at least 25% larger than our home.
One of the most beautiful spirals in the Messier catalog, it is another bright member of the Virgo Group. Lord Rosse mentioned it as one of his 14 spiral nebulae in 1850. It isn't hard to see how it earned the designation of being a "grand design" spiral. From a dark site, amateurs can see the central regions of this galaxy as a faint elliptical patch in small telescopes or good binoculars. Under very good observing conditions, suggestions of the inner spiral arms can be glimpsed in 4" telescopes or larger, and more of the "grand design" can be teased out with an 8" dobsonian.
Fainter and thus a bit tougher to see, this edge-on spiral is best found by hopping from star 6 Com. It's dust-filed disk obscures most of the nucleus.
Another nearly face-on spiral galaxy, M99 boasts the record for the highest receding velocity speed, moving through the cosmos at over 1200 kilometers a second. Some star formation regions can be teased out with larger dobsonians.
Messier 84, Messier 86 & Markarian's Chain
Markarian's Chain is a “string” of galaxies discovered by it's namesake to have the same proper motion through the cluster, and is anchored on one end by M84 and M86. It's fainter members really pop out in scopes of at least 4” of aperture. Lying right smack between Vindemiatrix in Virgo and Denebola in Leo, I've used the chain as a starting point for observing all of the Messiers in this section. Take your time and see how many you can actually spot beyond the obviously bright Messiers. Can you see the “eyes” ?
Messier 87 lies at the heart of the cluster, as well it should: this monstrously massive elliptical galaxy is one of the largest known. It's supermassive black hole spits out a relativistic jet of plasma that poses a challenge all it's own for owners of very large dobsonian telescopes- many have claimed visual observations of it!
The trio of Messier 84, 86, and 87 are bright enough to spot with even crappy binoculars, so long as you are observing from a dark sky. Amateur Jeremy Perez shares his sketch and thoughts on these three:
The broad stretches of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies are a real treat telescopically, but what does it look like through binoculars? And not just any old astronomy-grade binoculars, but really crummy ones? Well, I and my twenty dollar laughing-stock 10x50 binoculars are happy to say that you can indeed enjoy these galactic poofs on a bino-budget. But you'll still need a dark sky on your side.
Drawing a bead--and a crick'd neck--on the heart of the cluster slowly revealed two soft patches that are the bright galaxies, M84 and M86. M86 was the brighter of the two, and appeared more strongly concentrated at its core. It was also hard to miss the soft glow of M87 as it hugged a nearby eighth magnitude star. With some patience, a much more elusive smear appeared east of M86 from the combined light of NGC 4435 and 4438. I also noted a soft glow due south of M86 that turned out to be the unresolved glow of a grouping of stars in the area.
So, what can I say? If your current choice of binoculars gives you just a wee touch of shame, but you've got a dark sky to play with, go ahead and grab those dogs, and a pack of ice for your neck, and give some Virgo galaxies a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised.
A stunning spiral galaxy for small telescopes, as the sketch above shows, the classic swirling shape is unmistakable. If many of the other galaxies seem underwhelming in your smaller instrument, aim for the one that never disappoints.
From stunning and bright we switch to a far more difficult object for the amateurs, but rewarding to cross off your list, M91, one of the fainter galaxies in the cluster and one of the faintest of all the Messier objects.
One of the larger spiral galaxies in the cluster, M90's tightly-wounded, bright arms appear to be devoid of star formation.
Arguably one of the most circular elliptical galaxies easily visible by amateurs, some compare it's appearance to smaller globular clusters, but don't let it's compactness fool you: it's at least a billion times more massive than our most impressive globular.
A barred spiral, small telescopes show only its bright nucleus, giving it an elliptical appearance. Under good conditions, 4-inch scopes or better reveal an oddly shaped halo enveloping the core. Hints of the bar structure begin with telescopes of about 8" of aperture.
Messier 59 & 60
Slightly flattened and less massive than M49 or M87, Messier 59 is still an impressive elliptical galaxy with more stars than our own. It's close proximity to M60 means both can pop into view at very low power.
A monster lies within the bright, giant elliptical galaxy M60: HST observations have revealed an object with a mass 2 billion times that of our sun, likely a supermassive black hole that could eat the Milky Way's lunch several times over.
Don Machholz compiled an excellent star/galaxy hopping sequence for all of these galaxies for his Messier Marathon Observer's Guide, if the map seems too condensed to plan your own hop. Remember to work at low power in your telescope, or mount your binoculars for additional stability, and dive in:
From Denebola (Beta Leonis), go 0.3 deg N and 6.8 deg following (E) to star 6 Comae. From here go 0.5 deg preceding (W) to find M98.
From M98 go 0.5 deg S, 1.2 deg following (E) to M99. [It is near a mag 6 star]
From M99 travel 1.0 deg following (E), 1.4 deg N to M100. [2 mag-6 stars point to it from 6 Com]
From M100 go 0.6 deg following (E), 2.4 deg N to M85 and faint NGC 4394 (10' E)
From M85 sweep 5.3 deg S to find M84 and M86 in one field, together with a number of fainter NGC galaxies including NGC 4388; 15' NE of M86 is the interacting pair NGC 4435/4438.
From M86 go 0.6 deg S, 1.1 deg following (E) to M87.
From M87 go 0.2 deg N, 1.2 deg following (E) to M89.
M90 is 0.3 deg following (E), 0.7 deg N of M89.
From M90 travel 1.2 deg preceding (W), 1.2 deg N to M88.
M91 is situated 0.1 deg N, 0.8 deg following (E) of M88 - same low-power rich-field.
From M91 sweep 0.6 deg following (E), 2.7 deg S to M58 [situated east of and near a mag 6 star]
From M58 go 0.2 deg S, 1.1 deg following (E) to M59. In the same field should be M60 (0.1 deg S, 0.4 deg E) with its fainter companion NGC 4647.
From M60 travel 3.4 deg preceding (W), 3.5 deg S to find M49; from M49 go 2.0 deg preceding (W), 3.5 deg S to M61.
In small instruments, these may appear as lumpy patches of light. But thanks to our understanding of the universe, we now comprehend (or try to) that each is much like our home galaxy, filled with black holes, comets, pulsars, gas clouds, suns, moons, and planets. The next time you walk on a beach, consider the sand beneath your feet. Now imagine our sun as a grain of sand. At that scale, our Milky Way would be a sand castle five stories high (if all of the suns were packed together, which we know is certainly not the case). As impressive as our own backyard may be, there are more stars in the galaxies beyond than there are grains of sand on Earth. Our home is a speck too small to even imagine, in a star field too smushed to resolve, in a galaxy barely discernible for an intelligent being on the other side of the universe.
If you've followed this guide successfully so far, congratulations: you've knocked out over a third of the Messier objects, with the Spring and Summer targets rising up in the last part of our guide.
Remember, tonight is also the relaunch of COSMOS (this version featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson), which will air at 9pm on FOX and all non-news FOX channels (FX, FXX, etc), the latest trailer of which you can see here:
The full Beginner's Buyer's Guide, our Comet Guide (featuring additional grab-and-go telescopes), and any other edition you're looking for can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments. As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theoneandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com, or tweet me @conartcritic.
If you have any more questions about your new optics, feel free to ask below. Until next time, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!
On March 23rd, we finish our Messier Marathon Guide. See you in a few Sundays!
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For your non-astronomy needs, here's a fresh open thread, one that can handle billions and billions of comments.
Sunday Travel Thread: Outta Time Edition [Y-not]
Good evening, Traveling morons! For those of you not in Arizona, Hawaii, or the Navajo Nation -- did you remember to set your clock forward for daylight savings time? Inspired by this horrible event, today’s theme is “G-D It I’m TIRED So This Is What You’ll Get And LIKE It!”
Seriously, though, I am really wiped out after a couple of late evenings last week and spending most of yesterday afternoon in the garden. So I apologize, but the thread will be a little bare bones today.
Today’s thread is brought to you by The Days of Our Lives opening sequence:
Via Gizmodo, a neat map that shows How the Time of Sunrise and Sunset Varies Around the World.
Time zones are strange old things, especially the way they prescribe one time to thousands of miles of land mass—so this visualization shows which parts of the world experience unusually early and late hours of daylight as a result
If I’m reading this map correctly, they’re saying that my location gets sunrise a little late, but the sun stays up longer. Sadly, I haven’t been able to zoom it up well enough to tell with certainty. Moreover, our house’s placement relative to the mountains may negate the effect to some extent. I confess I’m more of a morning person, so I guess I’d be better off in Greenland!
On a related notefrom xkcd, “Now” lets you visualize the current time anywhere in the world at any given moment in time that you check it. Kind of fun.
Last week when I was thinking of today’s topic, I decided to focus on travel destinations that are known for seasonal festivals and events, mostly because that’s a type of travel that I really enjoy myself. Well, I have a lot of links, but not much energy to assemble them into a coherent post… but, what the heck, l’ll put the links out there for you all to enjoy at your leisure.
A favorite type of festival at Casa Y-not are arts festivals. We love them, whether they be elaborate week-long affairs or just small ones in our local home town. Heck, we even liked the one that Lafayette, Indiana held each year in May. ‘Not sure I’d travel to attend it, but if you’re in the area it is definitely worth a visit.
One of our favorite arts festivals will be held next weekend in Scottsdale.
We’ve been several times and it never disappoints. The weather is fantastic, the art is top-notch, the venue is lively but comfortable (not too crowded), and there are great food and music options as well. Plus, it coincides with Spring Training, so we can double up on our activities. I highly recommend this festival, especially for couples – wives can enjoy the festival and husbands can catch some baseball.
It's many months away, but another one that we really enjoyed (also in the Southwest) is held in the Fall in Taos, New Mexico. It’s been several years since I’ve been (our schedule tends to explode in the Fall), but my recollection is that it was a wonderful event and the scenery in the area is spectacular.
Other arts festivals held around this time of year (to which I have not been) include: the Spring Arts Festival in Santa Fe next month (I have been to Santa Fe and it’s well worth the trip if you’re artsy) and the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts next weekend. There are many more, mostly in warm weather locations at this time of year. Here’s a list of West Coast arts festivals, for example.
A second major type of festival that many people enjoy are music festivals. We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about the South by Southwest (aka SXSW) music festival that is happening now in Austin, but did you know there’s also a South by So What? festival in Grand Prairie, Texas? It’ll be held next weekend. If you’re in Florida, you might want to check out Hard Miami in a couple of weeks. Or go to this site to find a music festival near you.
The third major type of festivals that many people love are Food and Wine events. When we lived in Chicago the big thing to do was to go to Taste of Chicago in the summer. We did it one year and were so appalled by the crowd size and the horror of walking on several inches of rib and chicken bones that we never went again – but some people love it. A little more our speed might be the Palm Desert Food + Wine Festival which is held later this month. (Palm Desert is nice, but I haven’t been to this festival.) Of course, the Phoenix area has numerous festivals during the winter and spring months.
Perhaps the most unique festival I ran across while researching is the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. Held in mid-April in the bustling burg of Waynesboro, Virginia, this festival combines fly fishing with food and drink. Sounds kinda fun!
Finally, the festival-going globe-trotters amongst us might find this listing of festivals around the world of some use.
Do any of you have recommendations of great festivals going on this Spring?
A couple of more Spring festivals of note, courtesy of our commenters:
Via Margarita DeVille:Spoleta Festival, MAY 23 — JUNE 8, 2014 in CHARLESTON, SC
Via stace: Fiesta San Antonio, April 10 - 27, 2014
To wrap up, how about a few silly quizzes to entertain you?
Via a site called Best Trip Choices, here’s a travel “personality” quiz to identify your travel style. I came out as a “Mid Venturer,” aka a “Pioneer”. (Any of our Utah or LDS morons should get a chuckle out of that given that I’m in Utah now!) The quiz seems reasonable in terms of travel style identification, but the trip choices it offers based on that are pretty lame, imho.
Via BuzzFeed (yeah yeah, I know) here’s a completely silly quiz to help you identify what kind of vacation you should take. I got “An Inspiring Retreat.” OK. I guess it beats “Dumpster Behind the Tattoo Parlor.”
Probably the best of the quizzes I found in terms of identifying meaningful vacation ideas, is this one courtesy of Tripzard.
How’d you all do?
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Interpol: More "Suspect Passports" On Malaysian Flight Than At First Thought
This is all via @rdbrewer4.
An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more "suspect passports" that were being further investigated.
In addition to the two they've Reuters:
"The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.
More of the story (most of which you probably already know) here.
The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper cited Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam's army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It was found in waters about 56 miles south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.
"From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane," Tuan said. Thanh Nien said two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.
An authority told Reuters that it was too dark to be certain the object was part of the missing plane, and that more aircraft would be dispatched to investigate the site in waters off southern Vietnam in the morning.
Possibly a terrorist attack, though so little is known now this is speculation:
[A] former intelligence official told Fox News that the information about stolen passports from two adjacent European countries, combined with recent warnings for flights to the United States about the risk of possible shoe bomb attacks, is concerning
Those passports were from Italy and Austria, and were stolen in Thailand.
As you know, as of this moment, the plane is flat-out vanished. As remarkable as it seems, there is a precedent for that:
There is a precedent for a modern jetliner to fall from the sky while "in the cruise" and lie hidden for months, according to CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest.
On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447 was en route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris when communications ended suddenly from the Airbus A330, another state-of-the-art aircraft.
It took four searches over the course of nearly two years to locate the bulk of flight 447's wreckage and the majority of the 228 bodies in a mountain range deep under the ocean. It took even longer to find the cause of the disaster.
A plane is at its safest point when it is cruising.
Food Thread: Technique: Why It's Important (CBD)
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I am doing double-duty as cook and nurse -- there is flu in Chez Dildo! (I rock the outfit however, so there is that silver lining. You know how much white stockings cost in my size?). But I haven't been able to poke around the cooking section of my local bookstore, looking for inspiration, or just something to plagiarize.
I have been thinking about the difference between recipes and technique. Most people with reasonable hand-eye coordination and a well-written recipe will be able to cook that recipe with minimal trouble. The problem is that many recipes assume too much or, even more frequently, just don't make perfect sense.
In my experience, the venerable (hah) NY Times food section recipes are often just rough guides, and occasionally will be off significantly. A year or so ago they had a recipe for sourdough rye bread that was missing a few cups of liquid. And that's were an understanding of technique would help. But most people reflexively assume that if it's published then it's going to work as described. And yes, I made that mistake, and had to add more and more starter liquid and water until it looked like a manageable dough. Had I been firmly grounded in baking technique, my first reading of the recipe would have yielded a snort, a laugh, and a loud, "Ah, the idiots are at it again!"
Technique is nothing more than a general understanding of what happens to ingredients when they are treated a particular way. Most of us are reasonably proficient in grilling technique -- what happens to a piece of steak of x thickness on a fire of y temperature over z time. No recipe can cover all of the variables, but with that simple technique, we can grill anything.
The trick is to find good recipes, and divine the underlying technique. And once you know the technique, you really don't need a recipe. And then you will be a real cook.
This was really driven home to me by a friend of mine who is a superb bartender. I won't call him a mixologist because he thinks that's an asshole term, to be used only to describe pompous hipsters with delusions of grandeur. And if I called him one he might stop making me smoked bourbon old-fashioneds, and that would ruin my life.
But...he once explained that there are some basic ratios (basic technique) for cocktails, and if you stick them you'll be okay. And bartending is just cooking, but (mostly) without heat.
3 oz. Evan Williams Bourbon (Or any reasonable quality bourbon)
½ oz. Dry Vermouth
½ oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
½ oz. Cointreau
Stir in lots of ice
Strain into cocktail or lowball glass
Garnish with a twist of lemon
This, as the name suggests, is not a Manhattan, but it’s damned close, as well as being damned good.
Try it with Rye Whiskey for a spicier, slightly less sweet drink.
Close it up
Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD]
And the burning question of the day: Are Eva Mendes' feet really that big, and more importantly, does it matter?
*Correction courtesy of Bertram Cabot Jr.
Gaming Thread 3/9/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Glad last week is over.
• New Watch Dogs trailer and release date (May 27th)
• Are you tired of the Batman games yet? Well,, Rocksteady announced their next one titled Arkham Knight. At least this is a strictly current gen game and isn't coming out for the 360 and PS3 I guess.
• So Xseed announced that they're bringing over Akiba's Trip 2 this summer under the title Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed for the PS3 and Vita. It's a brawler where you strip girls and guys down to their underwear trying to root out vampires and then beat them senseless.
• New clip from the upcoming SOMA, the new game from Frictional Games (Amnesia and Penumbra)
• What happens when you give up caring about balance in fighting game? You get Ultra Street Fighter IV Ediiton Select
• So apparently Microsoft was at CPAC trying to drum up some business for targeted political ads on the Xbox dashboard. This wouldn't be the first time that MS has gotten political on the Xbox as the past 2 elections, they had GOP and Democrat based gamerpics (I rocked a Palin one in 08) and they did have a Frank Luntz wet dream of streaming the political debates and made it interactive.
• Kenji Inafune announced his next totally not a MegaMan clone game titled Azure Striker Gunvolt
• New Dragon Age Inquisition trailer showing off environments
• Why anyone would want to reboot Shaq-Fu is anyone's guess but at least they're not using their own money as it's a IndieGoGo project
Finally made my way through Out There and got the bad ending. I really dig it but after awhile, you really wish there was a bit more to it as there is a limit in how many times you can sit through doing the same three tasks over and over again (drill planet, buy upgrades and move to new solar system). Sure it looks pretty in a 60's pop art look and the random events help to add a little spice but it becomes a bit boring.
Been playing this music based FPS that is currently in Alpha which I can't talk about since it's NDA to all hell which kinda sucks as there is quite a bit of interesting stuff going on in it.
DARK SOULS 2 (360 & PS3) - Oh how I hate that the PC release isn't coming till next month but I have to make due. At least for the first half of the year, this is the biggest release IMO. This is pretty much a direct sequel to the first game and it looks so damn good. It's a third person action-rpg and you will die a lot. That being said, it's FROM so expect some FPS chugging and questionable looking assets for the console versions.
TitanFall (Xbox One & PC) - Well, Microsoft is banking pretty damn hard on this being a huge hit that moves some consoles. As someone who has played in the alpha and beta, it's a ton of fun that is really only hampered by the fact that the game is pretty ugly (even downsampled from 4K on a PC doesn't make it a looker). The campaign mode should be interesting as wrapping a narrative that they're trying to aim for around some standard online multiplayer matches is a concept that is relativily new. 360 owners get it in two weeks.
Yoshi's New Island (3DS) - If you're not tired of the glut of platformers from Nintendo, they're gonna stuff another into your piehole. At least this one has a different art style than all of the Mario games from the last year and no eardrum splitting crying from Baby Mario.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky (PS3) - Never really got into the Atelier series but it has it's fans. The series main focus is all about item crafting and this one is no different. The game is split into two so you can choose which character to play as.
That's it, catch me on Twitter
Close it up
AOSHQDD- The Special Congressional Election in Florida (CD13)
We are just two days away from the special election between Republican David Jolly and onetime Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink. Let's go through a quick breakdown of the district, past voting results, and how I see the race as it stands two days before the final decision.
First, C. W. Bill Young served as Congressman in this increasingly-Democratic swing district for decades, easily surviving redistricting with much of his original district well contained within CD8, then CD6, back to CD8, then CD10, and most recently CD13. While he carried the seat easily in 2012, Mitt Romney lost it to President Obama by about 1.4%. Two years prior, these same precincts voted for Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in the senate race and Alex Sink over Rick Scott in the gubernatorial one. The district has voted for a Republican Presidential candidate three times in the last 30 years: 1984, 1988, and 2004. Casting “moderate” votes and pulling in the pork, Young built off of the slight Republican registration advantage in the district and kept the seat safe for the GOP, easily winning every single re-election.
With his passing in 2013, the seat instantly became a toss-up, and, with the entrance of well-known Democrat Alex Sink, lean Democratic per most analysts. As the weeks have passed and mail-in returns have rolled in, that analysis looked solid: Republicans enjoyed high single-to-double digit advantages in the mail-in returns for the 2012 and 2010 contests, but only a 2-point edge in this special election. Early in-person voting trends Democratic, and it has, giving the Democrats a current advantage (as of Saturday night) of about 230 votes.
The spending in the race has been astronomical: over $12 million has been devoted, mostly by outside groups. A grab bag of PACs have so far spent $4.9 million for Jolly, $3.7 million for Sink, while the candidates themselves have raised $1.2 million and $2.7 million respectively, giving Sink the slight edge in this metric. Ads have gone beyond the saturation point: the average resident of the district is being bombarded to the tune of over a hundred a day.
However, there has been a late “surge” in mail-in returns that have some Republicans hopeful of an upset: the mail-ins (again, as of Saturday night) now break five points in the Republicans' favor, spreading three points in a week. If that trend can continue, it may hit the magic number needed for Jolly to squeak out a win (I peg that number at 7%, since polling has shown an unfortunate number of Republicans (1 in 6) voting for Sink).
Any considerable edge in the mail-in vote will make a big difference, because a sizable majority of the total vote will have been cast before Tuesday: the current tally of mail-ins and early votes is now over 120,000 and we are forecasting a total vote of under 200,000 (special elections for Congress have exceeded that number only twice in the last decade). Assuming another 10,000 mail-ins and early ballots are cast, that means less than a third will be on Tuesday. If Republicans enter Tuesday with a net 5-6% edge in 2/3rds of the vote, you can see how it would be hard for Sink to finish the winner.
As we have seen in other close house races, a monkey wrench has been thrown in this one, hampering Republican efforts. Senator Rand Paul is reaching out to voters to help candidate Jolly neutralize a threat from Libertarian Lucas Overby, who has been polling between 4 and 7% of the vote. Overby has no conceivable shot at winning, so he has become a spoiler in Republican efforts to hold the seat: I project Sink with a 3-5 point lead as of today (barring, again, that “surge” sustaining through Tuesday), making his “small” share of the vote substantial.
So what should you take away from all of this? If you live in FL-13 and haven't already done so, MAIL IN YOUR RETURN if you have one. If you are an outside observer, understand the fundamentals of the race (party breakdown, past electoral preference, campaign spending) favor the Democrat, Alex Sink. Again, I see her winning by 3-5 points, but keep an eye on the early vote tallies by party from Pinellas County. Lastly, we will have live coverage of the returns on Tuesday night, the first crowd-sourced demonstration of AOSHQDD since 2012, so I encourage you all to tune in as we watch the first of many head-to-head contests in midterm 2014. JohnE, after being heavily medicated, is working furiously on the site and graphics. It should make for a fun night, regardless the result.
Gun Thread (3-9-2014)
Facebook, Instagram & Guns
Moms Demand Action!!11! and receive ... this? OK. Whatever.
Facebook and its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram Wednesday announced new policies aimed at stemming online sales of illegal guns.
The social media platforms have agreed to remove reported posts that evade gun laws, restrict minors under the age of 18 from viewing posts about firearm sales and provide education to better inform law-abiding sellers of guns.
Here's NRA-ILA's response.
Dana Loesch's thoughts on a Ben Carson POTUS candidacy
Gun rights isn't an "issue." It's a freaking civil right.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 8, 2014
Yeah, there are lots of policy issues we can discuss and debate the details of, but Carson's statement that people's second amendment rights should be conditional based on where they live is a deal breaker.
Gun Of The Week
Gun Of The Week - Answer
That's the S&W No. 3, Third Model, in .44 Russian.
I've seen a bunch of stuff flying around the Interwebs about pushback on Connecticut's "assault weapons" registration scheme re police refusing to enforce the law. None of it is sourced worth a crap, and I won't link it here. But I'll keep looking.
Hickock45 On The GOTW
If there are topics you're interested in seeing in the gun thread, please send them to AoSHQGunThread at gmail. You can also send them to me on Twitter at @AndyM1911.
The owner's manual for your concealed carry permit: The Law of Self Defense
Celebrate America's firearms heritage: participate in Project Appleseed.
Close it up
Nothing to See Here [Y-not]
Via the Jawa Report,
Tragedy: Iranian Grad Student at Georgia Tech Dies
Nothing to see here folks. He was just making Molotov Cocktails in his apartment. You know, normal stuff at Georgia Tech:
Go over to the Jawa Report to read the whole thing.
Commenter JPS cautions that the news reporting may be way off in saying that the student was making molotov cocktails. Unfortunately, nothing very definitive seems to have been published to counter the media reports, but I did find this statement:
"We have worked closely with other law enforcement agencies during the investigation of this tragic incident," Robert Connolly, interim police chief for Georgia Tech, said in an emailed statement. "The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation."
Also, per the AP:
Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane's doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.
It's still early days. Keep praying for survivors.
Commenter Ricardo Kill provides this update, suggesting that the wreckage is not from the missing Malaysian Air flight:
SEPANG - The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has denied that the debris found near Vietnam's Tho Chu Island was from of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 airplane.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said authorities have confirmed that the objects spotted floating in the sea about 100km south-southwest off the island did not match the body of the missing aircraft.
Let's hope that the subsequent investigation is thorough and not hampered by political correctness.
Food Thread: Special Addition -- Beer: A Primer [Beerslinger & CBD]]
Chronicles from a Beerslinger
The next installment of that beer odyssey thing...
"64oz. to Freedom"
Okay so it's a rip from Sublime's '40oz. to Freedom' album, but that doesn't fill my growler, so 64oz. it'll have to be. Feel free to play the album along with the writings herein. It was, after all, my muse.
Can there be a better way to enjoy this first balmy weekend in what seems like millennia to many of us, than with some far from serious beer banter?
I'm not bragging when I state I am an epicure, just sayin'. That now said, I do not in any way proclaim to be a connoisseur, and without fault in my beer tastes. Tastes, after all are subjective; and sometimes mostly, arbitrary. That's where your comments come in. I'll insert a fancy science video to embolden my claim, (and make me feel a little scientific on a Sunday morning), that all tastes are unique and singularly subjective. 'Cause I ain't got no time for conflicting points of view.....I step into the great unknown...
Okay so they focus on smell & sex in this study, but this can be relevant to your time here since your sense of smell is the centerpiece to your tastes. This study could also be a good tie in to WeirdDave's human harvesting tutorial in his and Y-not's Gardening thread yesterday...as can beer.
So, gettin' on with it, a fellow Moron suggested, "just stick with the basics man, you know? Styles..." Seemed kinda dull to me at the time, but I'll give it a swig...but I gotta focus on one or two in particular, just to get the writing going. Plus..It's that Lenten season time and I feel the need to bear alms by enlightening others, even if just for one lost beer soul. (It also gives me an excuse to drink beer.)
Don't take these unassuming beer styles for granted. This beer deserves R-S-P-C-T! I used to drink lagers only when I didn't want to get into trouble, alas, in my (somewhat) wiser years I've learned, trouble always finds me. So I figure, why not? YOLO as the hipsters a little late to the game are sayin'.
Not to be judgmental, (I'm only human after all), but I find the majority of lager drinkers tend to prefer the volume of beer that they can consume in a session over the alcohol by volume content of the beer itself. You can work out the math on that one. And if you can't, you might just fall over. If that happens, do NOT go back for more! Cameras are everywhere and making an ass of oneself is poor enough, doing it on camera makes it epic, so as an advisor (and for tax reasons), I need to insert this public service announcement...
When it comes to lagers I lean toward the Black Lagers, Imperial Lagers and hoppy Lagers, sometimes referred to as IPL's or Imperial Pale Lagers. What I'm trying' to say right here is that we have a lot of hybrids these days. Relish in it! Be thankful for these feats of innovation. It is capitalism, at it's best, that has allowed such yeasty, hoppy & malty beverages to flourish to new heights, and hypes.
I just so happen to be a capitalistic thinking, beer minded advocate. Only in a capitalistic society do we see people going to great lengths to make things greater; cash into money, coffee into cola, cola into energy drinks, whiskey into anesthesia, dirt brown marijuana into super green hybrid strains sold by our government, coke into crack cocaine, oxycodone into heroin, heroin into a better high with a mixed in pain killer - (on the black market sometimes known as the Ace of Spades, mind you!), a million dollars worth of debt into a trillion, (okay so that's not so much a capitalist model), and brewing mediocre beer into a gorgeously crafted beer with bountiful body and breadth. Anyway, I think you catch my drift. Especially if you're standing in close proximity.
In my quest to find a liking for Lagers, I stumbled upon an Imperial Pale Lager, (IPL moving forward), that I really like. IPLs strive to be, as the name implies, hoppy lagers...with a higher alcohol content. Whenever you see the word 'imperial' you can bet your ass the alcohol content will be higher than in the more traditional styles. So drinker beware.
Hoponius Union by Jack's Abby Brewing is the one that floats my IPL boat right now. I don't have a fancy picture for it. (I broke the bottle.)...and my boat is inflatable. It's got hops and it's got dankness going on. I am, at heart, a hop head, so this beer has my name all over it. Wow! I never thought I'd say that about a lager! Maybe I should file for a name change to beerlager? Nah, that could be taken out of context.
OK, I guess I have to pair it with food now....no pressure.
I'm reaching a little here, but I kinda think I'd definitely enjoy this beer more with a pig foot! Bessie really said it better....
India Pale Ales. Unlike the lager above, this is an ale. Brewed at a higher temperature, they offer more flavor. An India Pale Ale is what the letters mean for those that need a little 101'ing.
Gonna go Jai Alai here on you britches. Cigar City, Tampa FL.
Jai Alai offers a citrusy flavor with a hint of pine. Think western hops infused with the pines of the eastern shore. Bold upfront, but invitingly smooth at the finish which gives her a gracious dash of easiness, allowing for clarity in taste and thought.
Yes, I agree, there are a lot of fine IPAs out there. I've been spoiling myself with Bear Republic's Racer X straight outta the tap. Then there's Stone, Ballast Point, Weyerbacher, Bell's, Firestone, and many other fine breweries making just as good an IPA. But I had to zero in on one that was readily available in the cellar.
Doesn't Play well with Friends....
Switching gears to a Russian Imperial Stout
Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night, Imperial Stout. First mistake was over chilling this beer. It came out of the frigidaire like a frozen chocolate mousse cheesecake that just needs some time to sit out. A dessert beer? A goodnight beer. An "I might just get laid" beer. Outta Akron, Ohio, home of the Rubber Bowl & the Good Year Blimp Factory. This beer is heavy and light. Full of great contrasts, it is solid.Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night Imperial Stout won't disappoint.
9.7% ABV, so Lookout!
Because I got a late start and I got other shit to do, although I'd rather keep doing this, I guess it's time to close it up....don't forget to turn your clocks forward....=
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 03-09-2014 [OregonMuse]
Yes, This Is English
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread. For non-book related discussions, please use Andy's open thread below. Thanks.
Ye Fyne Olde Wordes
Author Mark Forsyth likes to write about old words that are no longer in use, but perhaps should be. This article lists a few of them, and I was surprised how many of them describe aspects of the moron lifestyle. For example, an "ultracrepidarian" described as "somebody who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about." I guess that's more hoity-toity than 'blowhard' or 'ignoramus'. Or, "fudgel", a verb which means "pretending to work when you're not actually doing anything at all." And then there are the snecklifters, who "poke their heads into a pub to see if there's anyone who might stand them a drink."
In other words, morons.
These and other lost words are discussed by Forsyth in his book Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language.
I'm still looking for a word with a definition that means something like: "a person with (at best) mediocre ability and accomplishments who have nonetheless obtained a high status position because others are greasing the skids for them."
Like this new kid, Ronan Farrow, whom ace wrote about earlier this week.
Or, for that matter, Barack Obama.
Last Words of Famous Authors
Here is a little mix-and-match game. Try to figure out who said what without Googling. Winners get a "Get Out of the Barrel Free" card, good for one formatting screw-up.
1. Emily Dickenson
3. George Bernard Shaw
3. Henry David Thoreau
4. Washington Irving
5. Edgar Allan Poe
6. Dylan Thomas
7. H. H. Munro (Saki)
a) "Put that bloody cigarette out." (immediately after which he was killed by a sniper's bullet)
b) "Well, I must arrange my pillows for another weary night! When will this end?"
c) "Lord, help my poor soul."
d) "I've had 18 straight whiskies... I think that's the record."
e) "Sister, you're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die."
f) "I thank the guiding providence and fortune of my life: first that I was born a man and a Greek, not a barbarian nor a brute; and next, that I happened to live in the age of Socrates."
g) "Let us go in; the fog is rising."
h) "Moose. Indian."
In Thursday's foreign policy thread, moron commenter 'HR' inquired:
Totally serious question: Can anyone recommend some good (by which I mean "not using the 'Marxist-feminist lens' or Zinning it all up") historians to read about Russian history?Here are the recommendations from the Horde:
Posted by: HR needs a beer at March 06, 2014 12:18 PM (ZKzrr)
Paul Johnson's Modern Times
A History of Russia by Riasanovsky, which is claimed to be the standard. The linked copy is way expensive, but you can get used copies for considerably cheaper.
Anything by Richard Pipes is good.
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk is a start.
Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie is an accessible, easy read that gives a nice bit of context for modern Russia. Also recommended is Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Those are from the Horde. I just finished Child 44 this week (good page-turner) which is set in Russia during Stalin's reign of terror. Here are the books that author Tom Rob Smith listed in the afterward that helped him understand those perilous times:
Man Is Wolf to Man by Janusz Bardach, and Kathleen Gleeson
Also, Anne Applebaum’s 'Gulag' and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 'The Gulag Archipelago'.
For general historical background:
Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and Shelia Fitzpatrick’s Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s.
(Note that there's nothing here by the Zinn/Chomsky crowd.)
Regarding Russian police procedure, Anthony Olcott’s Russian Pulp: The Detektiv and the Russian Way of Crime went into detail not only about the justice system itself but also literary representations of that system.
Boris Levytsky’s The Uses of Terror: The Soviet Secret Police, 1917-1970 was invaluable when it came to understanding, or at least trying to, the machinations of the MGB.
Finally, Robert Cullen’s The Killer Department: Detective Viktor Burakov's Eight-Year Hunt for the Most Savage Serial Killer in Russian History provides a clear account of the real-life navigation into the crimes of psychopathic murderer Andrei Chikatilo.
Of all of these, Smith says, "I cannot recommend any of these books highly enough."
Dave Barry has read the execrable '50 Shades of Grey' so you don't have to. And, not only that, he has written a take-down review worthy of P.J. O'Rourke. That's the good news. The bad news is that he wrote it for the execrable Time magazine. So you have to go there and give them traffic to read it, and thus help them delay their withering death by attrition and neglect, which I've been wanting for a long time. Oh, well. I can't figure out what to excerpt from Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey, so you'll have to just read the whole thing yourself.
And on a related note, according to the Lost Angeles Times, the execrable 'Fifty Shades of Grey' trilogy has topped 100 million copies in worldwide sales.
I'm weeping now.
Can A Bestseller Book Be Bought?
Meaning, can you buy your way onto the bestseller lists? According to this investigative article in World Magazine,
Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.
Apparently there's a marketing company, ResultSource Inc. (RSI), that claims to be able to do this for you. What RSI does is organize a network of buyers that make purchases at locations which are "likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list."
Mars Hill also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk.
Is this ethical? I don't know. On the one hand, RSI is clearly trying to game the system on behalf of its clients. On the other hand, who cares? This reminds me of those stupid quiz shows scandals of the 50s, which resulted in congressional hearings, and federal legislation. Really? C'mon, it's a game show! It's entertainment. It's as authentic as professional wrestling. Everybody knows that.
And who, really, is being hurt?
Of course, the other aspect to this particular case is that it's a church that's doing this, and for Christians, there are other considerations. If I were a tithing member of Driscoll's church, I'd probably be asking the leaders questions as to what they hoped to gain by purchasing this doping-the-horses marketing plan, and is this really a wise use of church funds? $210,000 is a lot of money to be throwing around, and maybe it could be put to better use.
The Granddaddy of Urban Myths
In New York City in 1964, a 29-year-old woman named Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was stabbed to death in three separate attacks as 38 bystanders stood around and watched and did nothing. The NY Times called it "a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing social change." This sensational case provoked an anxious outcry and launched a sociological theory known as the "Bystander Effect."
I remember finding a link (now lost) some time ago that debunked a lot of the Genovese murder story, so some information has been out there, but now author Cook has researched and written
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America. It is not true that there were 38 bystanders who watched Genovese murdered and it is not true that nobody came to help her.
Another "tell" from this book is that Genovese was a lesbian. OK, I never knew that. But I have no idea why this is important. The man who killed her was a standard-issue psychopath and his selection of victim was pretty much random. I don't know how her sexual preference contributes to the story. But under the new rules of public discourse, I guess I'm supposed to applaud now.
Something Else I Did Not Know Until Now
The Oscar-winning movie '12 Years A Slave' is based on Solomon Northup's autobiography of the same title. Various inexpensive Kindle versions are available.
The title reminds me of this old classic anti-cult book, 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness. Hee hee, I'd like to see them try to make THAT one into a film.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up