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September 21, 2014

Sunday Morning Book Thread 09-21-2014: End of Summer Reading [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger


Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required.

Scots Wha Hae!

OK, so first there was How the Irish Saved Civilizaton. Hooray for they Irish! Then there was Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World. Hooray for the Italians! But in light of this week's historic vote in Scotland to remain a part of Great Britain, it's helpful to be reminded what the original unification, ratified in 1707, brought a great gift to the modern world: mainly, the modern world. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It. Of course that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the Scottish Enlightenment was a direct result of the original union with the British Empire providing Scotland's thinkers, inventors and statesmen with unprecedented freedom and mobility. Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, David Hume, Lord Kelvin, James Watt, Charles Napier, and even Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell all were products of this historic flowering of men and ideas from Scotland.

Reading about this Little Country What Did Big Things reminded me of another country, namely Portugal. Nowadays it's pretty much a socialist backwater, (just Like Scotland, I guess) )but it's amazing to remember that in previous centuries, that tiny little country bestrode the world like a colossus. So, in remembrance of glory days long past, I picked up Prince Henry the Navigator, the Hero of Portugal and of Modern Discovery, 1394-1460 A.D. With an Account of Geographical Progress Throughout the Middle Ages As the Preparation for His Work, first published in 1894 and available for free on Kindle. It's basically a biography of the great Portuguese explorer Henry the Navigator, including much background information on the state of "geographic science" as understood by diverse groups such as Greeks, Arabs, Christian pilgrims, Vikings, etc. I really admire books like this: fine. old-school 19th century scholarship, a bit dry, perhaps, and dated, but that's part of its charm.

The Lit Crit Life Coach?

It's not your conventional life coaching, but I guess there are an awfully lot of "I read X and it changed my life" type of self-help books out there. This article in The New Republic pokes fun at the genre, which includes titles such as How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness and A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. I suppose you could read all of them at the same time and get really confused.

Back To School

Here's another one of those quizzes, this one having to do with schools in literature. I started it, but was doing so poorly, I just gave up.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:46 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning, Horde. Try to get out and enjoy this last Sunday of Summer 2014.

Here's just one more...

UPDATE: Know of any Morons looking for a job?

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Posted by Open Blogger at 07:25 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (20 Sep 2014)


Alright morons, for those of you who are Firefly fans, today is Unification Day. Proceed accordingly.

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Posted by CDR M at 10:00 PM Comments

Saturday Open Thread


This thread is a catch-all for all political (or general) conversation. It will be the top post until 8 PM Eastern.

All NEW content will be posted BELOW this post!

So check below this post for new material.

Posted by Ace at 08:00 PM Comments

Movie Night With The Morons: Derpa Derpa Edition - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

It's time for popcorn and ass-kicking and they are all out of popcorn.

Oh, and, open thread because I might seriously be the only person watching this tonight.

UPDATE: From last week. Here's where to find the movie.

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:50 PM Comments

Saturday Car Thread 9/20/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse and KBDaBear]

—Open Blogger


Gas Turbine Engine Concept Car from 1963

In the early 60's, Chrysler experimented with the idea of developing a turbine engine for use in passenger cars. Chrysler's A831 gas turbine engine was fitted into a concept car built by Ghia of Turin and design was headed by a former Ford design studio head which is why the car had a strong resemblance to the 1963 T-Bird

Chrysler built 55 of the cars and was beta-tested by 200 consumers in actual everyday driving conditions. The A831 mated to a Torqueflite automatic generated 134 hp and had a 0 to 60 time of 12 seconds. As for acceleration, the turbo lag of the entire engine was quite bad.

The turbine car never did catch on enough for Chrysler even to produce it in limited numbers as production cost of each car would have been at least $50K in 1964 dollars. Once the beta tests were done, the cars were returned to Chrysler and obstentiously for tax reasons all but 9 of the cars were destroyed. Six of the cars were donated to museums, three of them were purchased by private collectors, one of them being Jay Leno

Jay features the Turbine Car in this video

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:51 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread [Y-not and WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Here's your content:


This is a print we have in our sitting room at Casa Y-not, "Edge of the Aspens," original serigraph by Steve Harmston.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:18 PM Comments

College Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

I'm getting confused with these "initial discipline ok real discipline" decisions and I suspect they have something to do with public opinion.

Which may not be the best way to hand out discipline.

ANYWAY top ten stuff today. all times EDT:

Florida at Alabama (3), 3:30pm

Texas A&M (6) at SMU (how'd this happen?), 3:30pm

Mississippi St at LSU (8), 7pm

Oklahoma (4) at West Virginia, 7:30pm

Clemson (22) at Florida St (1), 8pm

Oregon (2) at Washington St., 10:30pm

and Auburn (5) squeaked by Kansas St (20) Thursday night with some controversy about signal stealing. Which is pretty lame, if the other team is figuring out your signals you're doing it wrong.

Have a great weekend y'all. All y'all.


Posted by Dave In Texas at 01:45 PM Comments

Science School with NDT


From that link:

The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a penguin endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild.

Here are some other PENGUIN FACTS.

FACT: Penguins are marsupials.

FACT: Penguins burrow into the ground and await their prey beneath a "trap-door" made from their webbing, disguised with leaves and twigs.

FACT: Penguins are apex predators, lethal killing machines that have not evolved since the Cretaceous Era. The word "Penguin" derives from the Spanish penguinarre, "Foppish Dagger."

FACT: Humanity's myths of dragons and krakens spring from penguin sightings. The word "Penguin" derives from the Italian penniginarro, "Horror from the Depths."

FACT: The only defense against a penguin that has locked in on you with its Predator Vision is to stab yourself in the neck with a pencil and bleed yourself out until you have virtually no pulse. Penguins prefer fresh kills. Their name derives from the Norwegian, pangskjinj, meaning "Finicky Murder-Fowl."

FACT: Penguins are capable of flight, but they prefer to STEAL CARS.

FACT: Penguins have large flock structures with complex and fluid hierarchies in order to facilitate KIDNAPPING and IDENTITY THEFT.

FACT: When you hear your floorboards creak at night those are PENGUINS GOING THROUGH ALL YOUR PERSONAL SHIT. The word "penguin" derives from the South American Indian pa'hannae'gun, meaning PHANTOM THAT DOES HOME INVASIONS.

FACT: An entire lobe of the penguin's brain is devoted to MIND GAMES.

FACT: Penguins are unique in the animal kingdom as they are the only species which breeds exclusively through SODOMY.

FACT: The penguin is the only animal apart from man to kill for sport rather than need.


FACT: Murder gives penguins BONERS.

FACT: Penguins subsist on a diet of DRIFTERS and RUNAWAYS.

FACT: Penguins make use of a rudimentary tool to open up clamshells.

FACT: Biologists call this tool a FUCKING GUN.


FACT: Penguins have evolved a rich tapestry of social behaviors which resemble PRISON CULTURE.

FACT: Penguins mark their prey so that the group can stalk it.

FACT: Penguins mark their prey with WOLVESBLOOD. Penguins KILL THE SHIT OUT OF WOLVES.

FACT: Penguins are the only creature capable of DIGESTING YOUR SOUL. They have a special acid in their stomachs which scientists have determined is PURE EVIL.


FACT: Stay away from PENGUINS. The word "penguin" is derived from the Aramaic word for "THE DEVIL'S TOUCAN."

Feathers McGraw reminder thanks to @coolestMom_Ever.

Honestly, I didn't realize it, but all these thoughts of Penguins as master criminals just came tumbling into my head. Well, that's because I already saw a penguin master criminal in Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Really good; recommended if you haven't seen it.

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Posted by Ace at 12:31 PM Comments

Tired of the Nonstop Horrible NFL News?


They're not all bad guys. Two NFL stories you probably haven't heard below.

h/t @CommodoreBTC on the second one.

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Posted by JohnE. at 11:40 AM Comments

Dreams vs. Reality: [CBD]

—Open Blogger

There is a huge difference between, "I want this scenario to happen because I am angry at my feckless president and congress and am disgusted by the lack of leadership coming from my formerly powerful country, and turning large portions of the ME into glass will make my inner savage smile" and; "here is a rational scenario that I believe can occur with some massaging from certain players in power."

I asked the question/comment on Thursday:

As much as I enjoy watching these savages fight each other (and I am a big proponent of "Arm The Losers"), there are relative innocents being butchered.

It's fun and easy to criticize Obama, but I haven't heard a good plan for dealing with these scumbags.

And I got several answers that made that inner savage smile. But they simply weren't possible in the current situation we find America suffering under.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 10:45 AM Comments

Saturday Politics Thread: "Young Guns" [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Over the past few weeks we've been looking over some of the GOP prospects for 2016, focusing on governors. Last week we reviewed Kasich, Haley, and Martinez and there seemed to be a certain amount of enthusiasm for Governor Haley. Before that, we reviewed Walker, Jindal, and Perry and found that both Perry and Walker had strong support.

Interestingly, when I polled the horde on all six of these governors, Nikki Haley dropped behind Bobby Jindal. I'm not sure if this is a reflection of people feeling they don't know Haley very well or if the dreaded "electability factor" reared its ugly head. It seems as though there's a reluctance to nominate a woman because of fears of what the media will do to her based on past experience with Palin.

I thought this week week we'd dip our toes into somewhat murkier waters and review three high-profile senators whose names have been bandied about as prospective candidates for 2016: Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), and Ted Cruz (TX). I think the waters here are murkier for several reasons. One, as U.S. Senators each one of these men is paid to pontificate. Let's face it, without control of the Senate, there's not a heck of a lot a Republican Senator can accomplish except to make speeches, appear on television, and make social media posts.

Second, there seems to be a strong feeling amongst a lot of likely Republican voters (who post on blogs, at least) that we should nominate a governor or possibly a businessman, but most certainly NOT a Senator or even a Representative. I should add that although I understand the arguments, I think they are being given far too much weight and, in some cases at least, I think they are being used to exclude candidates from consideration who are deemed ideologically unacceptable to people who influence elections. So when we discuss these three men, let's try to compare them to each other rather than spend a lot of time hashing out the "don't nominate a Senator" thing. I'd really like to hear more about what you think of their backgrounds, accomplishments, and ideologies today, if at all possible.

Third, all three of them (even Rand Paul who was born in 1963) are sometimes considered to be "young guns." They have not been on the national stage (or even in office, in the case of Paul) for very long, so there is going to be a tendency by all of us (self included) to project our biases and wishes onto their records. When that happens things tend to get heated.

I should add that one advantage of examining Senators' records is that they are all voting on the same measures that impact the nation. And, although they should be voting in a way consistent with their state constituents' views, they are less likely to be voting purely based on their state's interests. So it should be a more apples to apples comparison than trying to compare the records of governors to one another.

The previous two of these 2016 threads have been very productive, I think, and remarkably cordial. Let's see if we can keep up the trend!

First, a brief poll to get a sense of where the horde stands on these three:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 08:58 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning.

This should wake you up.

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:41 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (19 Sep 2014)


Soooo, the NFL seems to have risen to National Discussion Threat Level Eleventy for our politicians because of a handful of domestic violence/child abuse cases. Strange that teacher predators haven't risen to that same level of attention.

“Since January 1 of this year, over 325 teachers and other school employees across America have been arrested for sexual misconduct with children .That is more than one per school day,” said Sen. Toomey.

Well what do you know? Another teacher predator in the news today.

One would think that something done "for the children" would get some headline fanfare but I guess teachers unions or something. Poor dears are worried about background checks. Hey if background checks are good enough for those exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, it should be good enough for those entrusted with our children. However, background checks won't prevent dumbassery like this. Justice Department sides with 14-year old girl used as 'bait' in middle school sting. Essentially the teachers and vice principal came up with a plan to use a 14-year old girl to catch a troublesome boy known to sexually harass/assault students, told her to agree to have sex with him and promise to intervene before the sex happens. They forgot the part where they were supposed to intervene which resulted in her sexual assault.

The White House focus? College campus sexual assault.

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Posted by CDR M at 10:25 PM Comments

I Would Say That Wendy Davis Seems Robotic In Her Debate, But That Would Impugn The Spontaneity and Charisma of Robots











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Posted by Ace at 09:15 PM Comments

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: When Most People Say "Science," What They Really Mean Is "Magic"


Great piece to end the week on, as a very nice closer to the week's controversy.

Everybody uses it. Science says this, science says that. You must vote for me because science. You must buy this because science. You must hate the folks over there because science.

Look, science is really important. And yet, who among us can easily provide a clear definition of the word "science" that matches the way people employ the term in everyday life?

So let me explain what science actually is. Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation. That's the science that gives us airplanes and flu vaccines and the Internet. But what almost everyone means when he or she says "science" is something different.

To most people, capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. It is a thing engaged in by people wearing lab coats and/or doing fancy math that nobody else understands. The reason capital-S Science gives us airplanes and flu vaccines is not because it is an incremental engineering process but because scientists are really smart people.

In other words -- and this is the key thing -- when people say "science", what they really mean is magic or truth.


The vast majority of people, including a great many very educated ones, don't actually know what science is.

If you ask most people what science is, they will give you an answer that looks a lot like Aristotelian "science" -- i.e., the exact opposite of what modern science actually is. Capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. And science is something that cannot possibly be understood by mere mortals. It delivers wonders. It has high priests. It has an ideology that must be obeyed.

This leads us astray.

Good night, and have a good weekend!

Bonus: Observe a moderate Comic Graphic Violence warning for "Science" performed by a real student of science, from the movie The Heat.

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Posted by Ace at 07:12 PM Comments

Joe Biden to Women's Conference: You Know Who I Miss? Bob Packwood


How do you solve a problem like Joe Biden?

Hot Air quotes an old Bob Packwood allegation, involving him forcing his tongue into an unsuspecting woman's mouth. Like Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish.

This National Journal article promises in the headline to answer the question Why Joe Biden's Gaffes Don't Matter, but just spends most of its time saying they don't matter -- not why they don't matter.

Here's one attempt to answer the question, as promised:

When a gaffe does matter, FiveThirtyEight noted earlier this year, is when it motivates the base.

They mean the opposing party's base, as the writer soon makes clear.

And that's true -- gaffes matter when they animate the party which controls the media, which is to say progressives.

The article asserts that George Allen's "macaca" slur was important because it built upon an already-existing reputation for racial intolerance.

If that's so, it's news to Wikipedia-- the first "controversy" involving race it mentions is the "macaca" one, followed quickly by Salon's tracking down his college friends and reporting their claims that he used to use the n-word.

But note that that followed the "macaca" slur.

Seems to me that the "already-established history of racial intolerance" stemmed chiefly from his membership in the Republican Party.

And of course we know Ol' Joey Chompers has no racial bigotry in his heart, despite saying bigoted things once a year or so.

Biden doesn't have a history of antisemitism or racism toward Asian people. "Clearly, there was no ill intent here," said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, of Biden's Shylock comment. "There is no truer friend of the Jewish people than Joe Biden."

Charles Cooke does a much better job of calling partisan bias partisan bias. After noting that he finds Biden "oafish" but not particularly offensive, Cooke then notes that other politicians -- those of Republican stripes -- have also said oafish but barely-offensive things, and received quite a different sort of treatment:

At present, we find ourselves at a peculiar juncture -- at a place where “offensive” has simultaneously become the worst and the most malleable of epithets. Far from inviting hasty societal condemnation of anybody who steps out of line, the extraordinarily inconsistent manner in which society takes umbrage should instead prompt us to cut almost everybody a break. As it stands, we are doing exactly the opposite, our journalistic and political elites having constructed a carefully calibrated caste system that determines the severity of a person’s verbal offense depending upon how he votes. If it seems odd to the naked eye that national figures such as Harry Reid and Al Sharpton can say all manner of peculiar things and enjoy relative impunity while nobodies from the middle of nowhere are hunted down and interrogated, that is because it is.

David Harsyani similarly finds Biden's remarks nothing to freak out over -- but still can't help but notice that the media has indeed freaked out over other people's remarks which weren't worth freaking out over, either.

Remember when the media freaked out for three days over Sarah Palin’s completely legitimate use of the term "blood libel"?

Nearly every major media outlet took a dive deep on this critical outrage. Millions of Americans learned more about how Jews in the Middle Ages were sometimes falsely accused of kidnapping and murdering Christian children so they could use the blood for rituals during the High Holidays. But more importantly: What did Palin mean? Was Palin sending veiled messages to Evangelicals voters? Was it just anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head?

There will be no such national discussion over Joe Biden's recent comments. At the Legal Services Corporation, our Clouseau-esque vice president was extoling the virtues of his son Beau when he launched into one of his folksy populist rants.


Is there any question that the repercussions for these mistakes are meted out asymmetrically?

No there's not, and it's insulting to be lied to directly to your face.

Posted by Ace at 06:06 PM Comments

AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Sean Davis


Sean Davis of the Federalist joins Ace, Drew and John on this week's episode.

Intro/Outro: Beastie Boys-Intergalactic/Duran Duran-New Moon On Monday

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

Discussed: Ashe Schowe's piece on the "breakout star of the 2014 political cycle," our own @conartcritic

Sean Davis tries to find support for Neil DeGrasse Tyson's claim of a mean Bush quote, and fails.

Maddox's (language warning) screed against those purporting to "love" science.

Maddox's podcast cohost proposes that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is really annoying (begins at around 40:00)

Browse (and even search!) the archives

Follow on Twitter

Don't forget to submit your Ask the Blog questions for next week's episode.

Open thread in the comments

Posted by Andy at 04:39 PM Comments

Scientists Warn: We've Reached Peak Ass


So Jennifer Lopez released a song called "Booty." One a superficial level, it's about her big fat ass, and how much she loves it. But on the deeper level of metaphor and social critique, it's actually about how she can attract male sexual attention with her big fat ass.

It's not really sexy. It's that other thing, that's like sexy, like when you try to be sexy but everyone feels social humiliation by proxy because you're so transparent about it and fail so hard. What's that called?

Ah right, embarrassing.

Even people who write for liberal publications seem embarrassed for Jennifer Lopez:

Yes, butts are having a moment. Well, maybe butts have already had their moment. It has been a month where no one could stop talking about butts. First Nicki Minaj released the ass-tastic music video for "Anaconda," generating water cooler chat about the video, butts, and what it all means. Then Vogue published an article titled "We're Officially in the Era of the Big Booty." Then the Internet collectively ridiculed Vogue for said article. The New York Times Style section ran a big feature on butts this week, which is how you know butts are having a moment and also how you know that moment is over.


Some are calling it pop porn. Some are calling it provocative. Some are calling it exploitative. Some are calling it empowering. But, at this point, it's kind of just boring.

I don't know anything about Nicku Minaj's song, but I do remember older songs about Ass, and I don't mean Sir-Mix-A-Lot. That was intentionally crude and out-of-bounds.

Beyonce's "Check On It" had a deceptively sweet-and-innocent sound to it, when in fact it was all about Beyonce inviting guys at a nightclub to look at her ass and drool. I wouldn't call it subtle, exactly, but it didn't come right and say "Enjoy My Ass."

(Well... actually, she comes pretty close to that. She says you can "have it," so long as you don't "grab it." I guess it comes down to what the meaning of "It" is.)

Kellis' "My Milkshake" seemed to be a Check Out My Ass song, though she did preserve the slightest bit of mystery there by use of oblique wording.

(Incidentally, Lopez seems to rip-off Milkshake not just in terms of lyrical theme but in use of Middle Eastern instruments.)

Both Check on It and My Milkshake were naughty and fairly crude, when you thought about them. But you had to think about them at least a tiny little bit. People would grin as they guessed what "My Mllkshake" could refer to. (Hey, don't overcomplicate it, people: It means exactly what you first thought it meant.)

It's just a sign of how f***ing stupid our culture is that "Milkshake" and "Check On It" are now considered too subtle -- there's too much danger that the audience will fail to connect all the dots -- and so J-Lo will have to spell it right out for you:




Idiocracy predicted this, of course.

Idiocracy predicted almost everything.

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Posted by Ace at 03:56 PM Comments

Al Gore Sues Al Jazeera


Al Jazeera is refusing to make additional payments held in escrow, and Al Gore is being, as Joe Biden would say, a dirty Shylock.

The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million.

Al Jazeera America says it is entitled to the money because Gore and Hyatt agreed to indemnify the network for claims made against Current TV, but didn't live up to their promise. It accuses the pair of "misrepresentations" and says they received hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale.

I'm so proud of this. Liking the story, I announced, "I nutted."

That's right... Pull it. Pull it hard.

Posted by Ace at 02:16 PM Comments

Breaking: Cult of Intellectual Insecurity Reacts to Threat to Intellect in an Insecure, Cultish Way


Otto West: Don't call me stupid.

Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?

Otto West: Apes don't post .gifs of the Milky Way and "Like" articles about Mirror Neurons on FaceBook.

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand them. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? The American government did not spend one million dollars on the Space Pen. The central mission of Science is not "to win fights on the Internet." And George W. Bush did not say that our God named the stars, but the Muslim's god didn't. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

-- Slightly altered dialogue from A Fish Called Wanda

Daily Beast: The Right's War on Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Despite the nicely-juiced headline, it's a fair enough article.


Tyson hasn't directly responded to the charges of inaccuracy, and his agent had no comment for this story...

But why do conservatives dislike Tyson so much to begin with?

The answers thus far have been unsatisfying. Amanda Marcotte, a Beast contributor, blamed the right's "anti-intellectual paranoia" in a story for Alternet, while a piece in the L.A. Times blamed political ignorance. One progressive blog said racism was to blame.


"The reaction that Sean Davis has been gotten... it's cult-like. It is to me the kind of attention Sarah Palin and Ron Paul receives. Neil deGrasse Tyson attracts the same sort of attention--you just can't criticize him," [Charles C.W.] Cooke said.

Robert Tracinski, also of The Federalist, sees the Cult of Scientific Self-Flattery as stemming from the left's traditional reactionary hatred towards capitalism (itself a barely-disguised religious impulse against materialism) as well as a yearning hunger for some animating meaning to the universe. Which is a tricky business, especially for someone who claims to be an atheist.

So you take your Higher Meaning where you can find it. Even if you only find it at $70-per-ticket Neil DeGrasse Tyson speeches.

The recent Neil deGrasse Tyson kerfuffle and the dogmatic defense of the global warming consensus raises the question: what's the impetus? Why do people feel the need to proclaim themselves so loudly as the pro-science side of the debate and to write off all opponents as anti-science?


Given the size, breadth, and intensity of the global warming vogue and the pro-science pose of its supporters, it must answer some profound need, some crisis of the soul....

You can see how this brings order and balance back to the left's universe. Their visceral reaction against capitalism is validated on the deepest, most profound level.

You can see how this would be almost like a drug or like an article of religious faith. How can you allow people to question and undermine the very thing that gives meaning to your life? Hence the visceral reaction to global warming skeptics.

I'm a fairly big believer in the idea of Questioning Everything, and the absolute first thing on the list of Everything to be Questioned is the self.

Why do I think the way I do? What bigotries lurk in my heart? What cheap rationalizations do I comfort myself with? What petty vanities do I sustain despite all evidence, and what contempts and condescensions do I offer others to sustain those vanities?

What myths and lies do I consciously believe in -- and which do I subconsciously believe in?

I don't want to be all Mr. Liberal here -- and I certainly don't want to lecture self-alleged Liberals on Liberalism 101 -- but I think those are reasonable questions that all thinking Men or thinking Women should ask themselves every once in a while.

Self-serving answers shouldn't be trusted. Self-serving answers may actually be correct, but they should never be trusted, and certainly never accepted at first blush.

We're taught to be suspicious of flattery from our very first Aesop's Fable. We know other people may flatter us in order to bend us to their own interests.

The most insidious flattery of all is self-flattery, because we never suspect ourselves of having any ulterior motives.

But of course we all do. We all want to feel superior to our fellow man, and especially those of Other Tribes.

And we will flatter ourselves until we feel just that.

Those who only question other people's notions are not really questioning anything at all.

Posted by Ace at 01:03 PM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 11:16 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 9-19-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Friday.

Prosecutors say they have not found a link between Gov. Christie and the closure of lanes on the GW Bridge. Christie responds (paraphrase): "Toldja."

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Chad Taylor properly withdrew his name from the Senate contest there so that the state may not include his name on the ballot.

Sen. Paul's problem isn't that he talks too much, it's that he doesn't seem to take seriously what he's talking about.

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (9-18-2014) - And the Scots Are Drinking Heavily Tonight Edition


Scotland: Hey Let's Let 16 Year Olds Vote

But isn't this unfair to 15 year-olds who after all are almost 16? And don't 14 year-olds have just as much vested in the outcome as 15 and 16 year olds do? And won't anyone think of the 12 and half year-olds?!?

How did the 16-year-olds come to be included in the referendum? Apparently the Scottish Parliament made the decision, with the support of the more left-leaning parties and Scotland's leader Alex Salmond, who favors independence and saw the youth vote as helpful in the fight to achieve it.

Coming soon to America - well except for that pesky 100 year old document which is always getting in the way of finally perfecting society.

Is this what's next for the US? Fortunately, it would require a lot more than a majority in Congress to change our voting rules at the national level and ban the prohibition of voting under 18; it requires an amendment to the Constitution. At the local level, however, the movement to extend the vote to below 18 has already begun, and has had some success.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Science of Smug Condescension

An excellent article by Robert Tracinski on why NDT's 'scientific truthiness' and promotion of Scienceism matters.

So what harm does it do if Tyson makes up stories to fit his rhetorical needs? As an elite celebrity scientist who gets plum appointments, attracts a cult of personality, and hobnobs with presidents, he sets the tone for the rank and file on issues that do involve scientific substance.

...But the point of the whole thing is to write off anyone who even mentions the mysterious absence of global warming as someone who has, in Marvel's words, "decided to sever all ties with reality" by, you know, mentioning relevant facts.

Here we see, in action, the signature scientific style of the Neil deGrasse Tyson era. Present a scientific theory in crudely oversimplified form, omitting any uncertainties or counter-arguments. Pass off complex claims as if they are obvious "basic physics." Then dismiss any skepticism as the resentment of the primitive, ignorant, unscienced masses against their enlightened betters.

It's not a very good way to get valid scientific results-nor, for that matter, to promote the scientific method. But it's what we get when we substitute, in place of respect for the actual methodology of science, an attitude of superior posing and smug condescension.


Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg take on Charles Krauthammer

Well a 19th century wheelchair, 2 shots of vodka, a Quaalude, and a blindfold will probably make it sporting enough to be legal in certain states.

Whatever Happened to Hobos?

Overhunted or too many sanctuaries?

Emily's Law and Murder Hobos

Given an infinite amount of time and actual economic pressures, all adventuring groups become neutral evil.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:01 PM Comments

"No" Drubbin' "Yes" in Early Returns from Wee Little Scottish Towns


In Clackmannanshire, "No" wins: No, 19,036, Yes, 16,360.

Polling expert Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said the Clackmannanshire result would be a "considerable disappointment" to the "Yes" side, who would have hoped to have done better in what is Scotland's smallest mainland local authority.

As yeh may know, t' general kenning is that No is gang tae win. Reports are that No supporters are all smiles an' laughs an' in want of a drink, but the Yay supporters are all grumpy and in want of a drink.

Clackmannanshire apparently was considered a good hope for "Yes." (That's a grea' link for updates, by the by.)

This fella is sayin' it's almost over.

But Clackmannanshire is a wee teeny li'l place and don' mean nothin' at all!

Still and all, "Yes" is lookin' rather out-at-elbow.

It occurred to meself that a movement in favor of both independence and socialism was rather courtin' the Doom of the Banshee, because if'n you want to be independent, ye canna have your mitts in another's pocket, and if'n ye want your mitt in another's pocket, ye canna be independent.

They seemed to have figured that, and voted accordin'ly. Between independence and English gold, they seem to have favored th' English Gold.

Och. How embarrassin'.

Double Och! Alex Salmon is tae 'ead of the Scottish Nationalist Party, the party that's been a-pushin' for independence since Bra'eheart.

But his own town is goin' 60 to 40 for No.

Triple Och! Orkney was considered a bastion for "No," but the drubbin' here is somet'in' to behold:

Orkney, swee' Orkney, yer tearin' the heart outta me!

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 08:48 PM Comments

Sources: Fed Probe Finds No Link Between Chris Christie and Bridgegate Scandal


Woe betide ye Progressive Nutters, and despair, for all your Woobies lie in tatters.

Federal officials caution that the investigation begun nine months ago is ongoing and that no final determination has been made, but say that after nine months authorities have uncovered no information Christie either knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes .

According to one former federal prosecutor, who had no involvement in any of the probes into the bridge closure, investigations of this kind will often turn up a solid connection early in the inquiry.

But some yet have hope. And that hope is "yet" itself.

Here's how our Hyperpartisan Poodles of the left reported this news:

Posted by Ace at 07:47 PM Comments

Obama to Make Statement on Vote to Arm the Moderately Extremist Militants; Scheduled for 7PM


The Senate has now also passed the Continuing Resolution to fund the government through December. It also contains money for arming the Syrian fighters.

He says France will join in airstrikes. That's nice, but I still don't hear about anyone willing to contribute ground troops.

He's treating this as an AUMF, suggesting that wars -- or Not Wars -- go better when the President and Congress act together. Dude, this is a CR. And it does not authorize US airstrikes.

Posted by Ace at 06:54 PM Comments

Kansas Supreme Court: Ignore Kansas' Election Code, If Applying the Code Would Disadvantage the Democratic Cause


As you will remember, the Democrats urged Chad Taylor to drop out of the senatorial race because, being a Democrat, he was doomed to lose. An independent on the ballot had a better chance to defeat incumbent Republican Pat Roberts, and the Democrats wanted all anti-Roberts votes to flow to one candidate.

So Taylor dropped out of the race, notifying the Secretary of State just an hour or so before the deadline.

However, the code says that a candidate cannot effect a withdrawal at this late stage unless he is "unable" to perform the duties of office if elected.

Taylor wasn't so "unable" to perform his duties -- he was just unlikely to win.

Election codes are usually interpreted strictly -- unless a Democrat needs them interpreted loosely.

And thus, a new Torricelli Maneuver, assisted by the judiciary, again:

Kansas must remove the name of the Democratic candidate against Republican Sen. Pat Roberts from the ballot, the state Supreme Court declared Thursday, in a unanimous ruling that could influence the fight for control of the U.S. Senate.

The court's decision leaves Democrats without a candidate, potentially making it easier for independent candidate Greg Orman to defeat the three-term incumbent. Republicans have counted on Roberts winning re-election in GOP-leaning Kansas as they seek to recapture a Senate majority.

So this one will be harder.

"Pursuant to:" The court based its decision on a strange construction of those words.

[I]t all came down to the meaning of “pursuant to.”

In his brief letter to the secretary of state, Taylor requested his name be withdrawn "pursuant to K.S.A. 25-306b(b)" -- the state law requiring one to be incapable of serving to be removed from the ballot. Citing the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of the phrase as "in compliance with; in accordance with," the court ruled Taylor in his letter "effectively declares he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected."

So even though he did not actually declare his inability to perform, as required by the law, and even though he obviously is not unable to perform (this is simply a tactical maneuver), he said he was withdrawing "pursuant to" the law, and the court will fill in the words for him and Deem and Pass him as having said he could not perform his duties.

Posted by Ace at 06:17 PM Comments

For Some Reason, GOP Favorability Improving Greatly; Now Tied with Democrats on Unfavorables


At Hot Air.

I'm really not sure what we're doing right here. I suppose it's just that the Democrat Party is being discredited by events.


Meanwhile, new Quinippiac polls put Jodi Ernst ahead of Bruce Braley in Iowa, 50-44, and show Cory Gardner surging to an eight point lead over incumbent Mark Udall in Colorado, 48-40.

From Rothman's post:

This is the second poll released in the last 24-hours to show the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado is a competitive one. A USA Today/Suffolk survey released yesterday showed Gardner leading Udall by 43 to 42 percent. While this is a statistical tie, it is also a marked shift from the first half of September when a series of public polls showed Udall beating Gardner by healthy margins.


Events, dear boy. Events.

Posted by Ace at 04:31 PM Comments

Sure Why Not


It seems to be real.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:50 PM Comments

Scottish Independence Vote Count Update


The best available information shows "No" with 0 votes thus far counted, tied with "Yes" with 0 votes counted.

Okay so I lied.

But I can give you some polling news: per the Guardian, the latest poll has "No" leading by six.

The campaign against Scottish independence appears to have edged ahead in the final poll of the referendum campaign, with the no campaign at 53% of decided voters compared with the yes group's 47%.

As unprecedented numbers of voters cast their votes on Thursday, Ipsos Mori reported a slight strengthening in the no campaign's lead. The same firm issued a poll on Wednesday night showing no ahead by only two percentage points, based on earlier field work.

Polling stations have been busy across Scotland with 97% of residents registered to take part in the referendum, and 95% of those polled by Ipsos saying they would vote....

In Westminster there are already signs of a backlash regardless of the result, with some Tory MPs complaining about the devolution [of more power to Scotland's local government] offers made to Scotland if it votes no.

Hey remember when Edward Longshanks promised he'd return the Stone of Destiny and then, like, didn't?

More on this poll.

All the leading pollsters have now issued final polls suggesting a no win by 53% to 47%, or 52% to 48%, but Labour officials remain cautious, saying it is still unclear how undecided voters will break, or what could be the impact of a high turnout. As few as 200,000 votes could determine the outcome....

Some 95% of Scots say they are certain to vote today, including 90% of those aged 16 to 24. Both sides include supporters for whom this is their first time registered to vote: 13% of yes supporters and 10% of no voters.

In what is often a good predictor of the result, just under half (46%) of Scottish voters believe the Better Together campaign will win the referendum, compared with 30% who think the Yes campaign will win -- while a quarter (24%) say they don’t know.

There are also some data on whether people say they are motivated more by hope or by fear, or more motivated by practical considerations or a sense of national identity. You can check those out but the results, I think, are tainted: People are always going to claim they act out of hope more than fear, and more out of rationality than emotion. (The results say just this -- but that's precisely what you'd expect, and I don't know if we can treat this as a real result, or just people telling pollsters what they know the "right" answer is.)

Three interesting essays for you to read:

PJ O'Rourke prays for "Yes."

This coming Thursday [today] the Scots will vote on whether to make Scotland an independent nation. And I hope they do because it will be a disaster.


Ah, there’s nothing like a primitive, quarrel-torn, disastrous Third World country. And Scotland has everything it needs to be what old-school foreign correspondents fondly call a "shit-hole."

I like Niall Ferguson's essay even more, because while he too Trolls Scotland, he's kind of more serious about it. He thinks Scotland will become a failed state, and he doesn't seem to be exaggerating for humorous effect like O'Rourke.

[W]hat I encountered in Scotland last week was not just a tale of two campaigns. It was a tale of two countries. My Scotland -- as proudly British as it is Scottish, imbued with a sense of our unique historical contribution -- is still there, but it has fallen silent. Another Scotland has sprung up alongside it that is quite different.

It pretends to be multicultural but is in truth subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) anti-English. It could not care less about Scotland’s past, except as something to be distorted for political ends. And this other Scotland is very, very noisy.

I wish I had a fiver -- yes, a Bank of England one please -- for every rude name I have been called since I re-entered this fray. (Most are unprintable, but "weegie bampot" gives you a flavour. A "weegie" is a Glaswegian. I have never been sure what a "bampot" is, but it's a great insult.)

In the lengthy discussion that followed my lecture, virtually every question was from a Yes supporter. (The worst came from that insufferable type of person who is always claiming to feel "offended" by something. Most, I should say, were civil.) The common objection was that my argument for the Union was rooted in the past. But what did history have to do with Scotland’s future as a new Scandinavian-style haven for egalitarianism, inclusiveness, clean energy, world peace and all the other things implicitly repudiated by the gimlet-eyed Tory bampots?

It really is a pungent essay, and a good one. I recommend it highly.

However, reading it, I can see why the Scottish would be inclined to run their own state: Because everyone seems to claim that they're incapable of it.

The New York Times, of all outlets, checks in with this headline:

Scotland's Independence Vote Shows a Global Crisis of the Elites

When you get past the details of the Scottish independence referendum Thursday, there is a broader story underway, one that is also playing out in other advanced nations.

It is a crisis of the elites. Scotland's push for independence is driven by a conviction -- one not ungrounded in reality -- that the British ruling class has blundered through the last couple of decades. The same discontent applies to varying degrees in the United States and, especially, the eurozone. It is, in many ways, a defining feature of our time.

The rise of Catalan would-be secessionists in Spain, the rise of parties of the far right in European countries as diverse as Greece and Sweden, and the Tea Party in the United States are all rooted in a sense that, having been granted vast control over the levers of power, the political elite across the advanced world have made a mess of things.


And so the results [of the Scottish Independence vote] will ripple through world capitals from Athens to Washington: People don’t think the way things are going is good enough, and voters are getting angry enough to want to do something about it.

I have a really terrible reason for supporting a Yes vote (though I strongly suspect No will prevail):

Because there's nothing good on TV and I want something interesting to watch.

Posted by Ace at 02:43 PM Comments

"Catalist," Obama's Borg-Like Base-Turnout Machine


Interesting/scarifying post from J. Christian Adams on the power of Obama's voter-targeting software, sent along by @comradearthur.

The Democrats and the institutional left have a new political tool that allows them virtually to ignore moderates yet still win elections.

This tool, the Catalist database, was employed in the 2012 election. That election defied conventional wisdom: Mitt Romney sought and won independent voters overwhelmingly, but still lost. If you wondered why the conventional wisdom about independents and moderates didn’t seem so wise in 2012, the answer is Catalist.

Beyond winning elections, Catalist also allows the Democrats to turn the policy narrative upside down and suffer no political consequence for implementing radical policies which appeal to their base. The Obama administration’s lurch to the far left without consequence can be understood by understanding Catalist. Obama thrives politically by satisfying his base. Simply, Catalist is a game changer not just for politics, but for policy. It is the left’s machinery for fundamentally transforming America.

And candidates, organizations, strategists, and consultants who do not understand what they are up against in Catalist risk being overrun.


Next: two examples demonstrate the power of the institutional left’s data tools.

During the 2012 election, a producer for a conservative news network received a knock at his door in a key swing state. Two neighbors were standing on his stoop campaigning for Obama. They weren’t there to talk to him -- they were there to talk to his wife. They knew that she was employed in a profession which the Obama campaign had decided to microtarget: folks who deliver services to special needs children. The two neighbors were already armed with this personalized information. The Obama campaign didn’t just send a direct mail piece to the target or make a telephone call. Instead, the campaign matched a microtargeted demographic (special needs service providers) with a highly motivated Obama volunteer in close neighborly proximity to the target. Then they armed the neighbor/volunteer with data to visit the target.


The second example involves a recent statewide election. In a state where one Democrat and one Republican must be appointed to run each precinct, an election official described for me a problem encountered with the Democratic Party. It seems the Democrat she nominated to run the polls wasn’t sufficiently ideologically pure. What evidence did the party have to object to her bona fides? A response to a telephone survey many years earlier in which the nominated poll official wasn’t supporting the Democratic nominee for United States Senate.

Republicans don’t have anything even close to this sort of data, where answers to poll questions in years past could be employed in future fights.

Read the whole thing. He doesn't provide actual details on how Catalist works, but does offer a few clues to its success.

First, there's the Tech Gap. Republicans lag well behind Democrats in embracing new technology.

I still remember this NYT piece from shortly after the election, about Obama's "Dream Team" of behavioral psychologists who advised him on how to pull the levers and push the buttons in voters' brains.

Less well known is that the Obama campaign also had a panel of unpaid academic advisers. The group -- which calls itself the "consortium of behavioral scientists," or COBS -- provided ideas on how to counter false rumors, like one that President Obama is a Muslim. It suggested how to characterize the Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in advertisements. It also delivered research-based advice on how to mobilize voters.


When asked about the outside psychologists, the Obama campaign would neither confirm nor deny a relationship with them....

"[The behavioral psychology consultants were] kind of dream team, in my opinion," Dr. Fox said.

He said that the ideas the team proposed were "little things that can make a difference" in people's behavior.


At least some of the consortium’s proposals seemed to have found their way into daily operations. Campaign volunteers who knocked on doors last week in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada did not merely remind people to vote and arrange for rides to the polls. Rather, they worked from a script, using subtle motivational techniques that research has shown can prompt people to take action.


Many volunteers also asked would-be voters if they would sign an informal commitment to vote, a card with the president’s picture on it. This small, voluntary agreement amplifies the likelihood that the person will follow through, research has found.

In a now classic experiment, a pair of Stanford psychologists asked people if they would display in a home window a small card proclaiming the importance of safe driving. Those who agreed to this small favor were later much more likely to agree to a much larger favor, to post a large "Drive Carefully" sign on their lawn -- "something no one would agree to do otherwise," Dr. Cialdini said.

Well that's kind of obvious. That's just The Foot in the Door effect. A salesman first asks for something very, very small -- something his target would need to be rude to refuse. Later he makes his Asks larger. But he has gotten his target accustomed to agreeing by that point.

(Incidentally, this is why I'm always talking about Baby Steps and Small Buy-Ins. Some people argue that you persuade when you make Large Asks of a voter. That's just not true. In fact, it's completely the opposite of true. You pull people along with Little Asks. When people are confronted with a Large Ask right up front, they refuse, because refusal is now socially acceptable and the easiest, most prudent course of action. It's like sitting down to dinner with a date and proposing sex before even ordering drinks.)

But even thought that's obvious-- be aware, these psyops people signed NDAs and are not permitted to discuss their advice except on the most general, obvious level.

The GOP tends to be suspicious of these sorts of manipulations, owing less to the GOP's native integrity, I think, than to the fact that very few behavioral scientists schooled in the art of manipulation are Republicans who can be trusted to not leak the details of their efforts to the Democrats, or the NYT.

The Replicants know themselves by sight. The rest of us can only guess (absent a V-K test).

The other problem Adams identifies is the lack of any kind of coordination among the various interest groups making up the institutional side of conservative movement.

Conservative groups tend to be in competition with each other. Eager competition. Competition red in tooth and nail.

It's my own personal observation that, in social settings, politically-inclined conservatives will spend about half their time talking about Obama and Democrats. The other half -- the fun half -- happens when someone brings up other conservatives or conservative institutions to trash.

I think we can see this in our own comment section. I don't mean this to be chiding at all. I say it as a straight observation with no judgment or scolding attached.

Conservatives hate progressives, but, you know, progressives are aliens. It's hard to hate an alien. They lack the aspects of humanity that makes animus personal.

Other conservatives are people, and therefore easier to really, really get annoyed about.

I've always been amused by the simple-minded progressive notion that conservatives are all of one mind and readily snap to disciplined order when a Leader tells us to.

If only.

We're very fractious. That has its upsides, but it also has its downsides.

Conservative organizations are in direct competition with each other not just as regards capturing Mind Space, but also in competition for resources-- donations. The basic order of the movement is chaos. For a party which is generally skeptical of evolution, we have ironically embrace Darwinian Competition for Environmental Resources and Niches as our ecosystem.

Maybe the left used to be that way too. But not any more.

That, my friends, is an orderly structure with a clear chain of command and readily-understood hierarchy that would make a Borg cry openly in joy.

And make no mistake -- that centralization of cash money resources also results, by necessary consequence, in a centralization of message creation.

He who pays the piper, you know, calls the tune.

I'm not sure if I like the Left's model of Complete Centralization of Command and Control of money, ideas, and data. It's a model that would naturally appeal to the Left, of course, which envisions the same model as the highest aspiration for society generally.

I think centralized control might have some advantages in some circumstances... until centralized control makes large errors, which it then infects all its inferior robots with.

But at the moment, it does seem to be working.

And certainly in the area of Borg-like cooperation and hierarchical command that Adams reports on -- in the area of data sharing -- they are kicking our asses up and down the quadrant. While every conservative group guards its data as if its data were money (which, actually, it is), our Friends on the Left have, per the socialist model, decided that all property and wealth belongs to the collective, to be dispensed by the collective as the Central Organizing Committee of The Collective sees fit.

I don't know what to do about this. I don't want to follow them down this creepy robot road, but on the other hand, I'm also tired of losing.

Posted by Ace at 12:31 PM Comments

Australia Arrests 15 Alleged IS Terrorists, Claiming They Planned to Kidnap Citizens and Publicly Behead Them


Helter Skelter.

Police said the planned attack was to be "random." The killers were to behead a victim and then drape the body in the black Islamic State flag, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Associated Press reported 800 officers raided more than a dozen locations in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says this is "not just suspicion."

"Direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in [the Islamic State] to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a press conference, as the BBC reported. "So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that's why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have."

There's actually a lot more there. A Christian school -- which contained "Maronite" in its name, and thus might suggest to Middle Easterners that it has some connection with the Christians in Lebanon -- was targeted with death threats, a nun reported.

Below, nightvision aerial footage of a raid on one address.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 11:33 AM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 11:15 AM Comments

Thursday Morning Open Thread


Dump coming later.

Posted by BenK at 07:54 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (9-17-2014)


PJ O'Rourke: Up to a Point: A Free Scotland Would Be a Hilarious Disaster

And PJ is in rare classic PJ form as he preemptively piles on the future craphole country of Scotland. With love and affection.

I, however, have a personal reason for wanting an independent Scotland. I'm an ex-foreign correspondent, vintage 1983-2003, who retired after the Iraq War, too old to be scared stiff and too stiff to sleep on the ground.

Yet once foreign correspondenting gets in your blood.

Ah, there's nothing like a primitive, quarrel-torn, disastrous Third World country. And Scotland has everything it needs to be what old-school foreign correspondents fondly call a "shit-hole."

...Scotland's economy will be the requisite Third World shambles. Scotland's two dominant political parties are the leftist Scottish National Party and the leftist Scottish Labor Party. These can be counted on to vie in out-lefting each other. Cuba-with-chilblains, here we come!
Scottish music is sufficiently - to be kind - exotic. As soon as Scotland descends into barbarous chaos expect the pig-sticking squeal and shagged sheep moan of bagpipes to be frequently heard on NPR. (By the way, NPR newscasters will have to learn to pronounce "Scotland" the way the Scottish do. When asked how to pronounce the name of their country the Scottish say, "Faauhk you.")

...The Scottish have the regulation Third World tales of past glory, featuring such unlikely characters as The Maid of Norway, a King Robert nick-named "The Bruce," an Earl of Atholl (really), and Mel Gibson.

They also have the standard-issue yarn about how, after brilliant victory upon victory in defense thereof, their independence was treacherously stolen from them. This would be by the 1704 "Act of Union" with Great Britain, which passed the Scottish Parliament by a vote of 110 to 69.

An Independent Scotland 'would have to increase taxes by up to £18,000 per person to keep the pound'

Well that doesn't sound like so much fun.

Arizona Cardinal's Jonathan Dwyer Arrested for Domestic Abuse

And it does seem to be abuse-abuse:


I'm guessing with all the media attention/hysteria focused on the NFL that the official word has gone out to all the players to do absolutely nothing that could possibly cause any more bad PR at all. So the fact that Dwyer still did this when it'll almost certainly mean the end of his season and/or career is a sign that he literally could not stop himself.

Also given the current media frenzy the WAGs and baby-mommas of the NFL have never had so much power - all they have to do is merely threaten to hint at abuse to the media and that player knows he is screwed.

Update: Apparently Dwyer's two incidents happened in July but weren't reported until Sep. 11th.

Etsy Allows Swastikas But Bans Any Redskins Items

Those Who Don't Learn From LBJ's History Are Doomed to Repeat It

From the album Stuff Santana Said Vol. III liner notes.

Your NYT Intellectual Betters: What the Hell is a Shylock?


Michael Barbaro is in his mid-30s and graduated from Connecticut's Hamden Hall Country Day School in 1998 and Yale in 2002. He is now a New York Times political reporter.

Now I'm no Shakespeare expert and have never actually read The Merchant of Venice but even as a college freshman if you had quizzed me about the term 'Shylock', I would have at least recognized the term, known that it came from a Shakespeare play and understood why it was controversial just from cultural osmosis alone.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:42 PM Comments

Every Cynical Thing You've Ever Thought About Romance, Marriage, and Sex Is True


At least according to "studies."

So what are some harsh truths that the science of sex has shown us?

1) Those things we say we hate actually make us more attracted to people.

When someone plays hot-cold, keeps you guessing, makes you constantly uncertain?

Yeah, that makes you even more attracted:

Participants in the uncertain condition were most attracted to the men — even more attracted than were participants who were told that the men liked them a lot. Uncertain participants reported thinking about the men the most, and this increased their attraction toward the men. [Psychological Science]

Playing hard to get? It works.

Had it up to here with narcissists? No, we haven't because they really are more attractive.

You know what we like about them the most?

The worst parts -- their entitlement and exploitativeness:

…narcissism leads to popularity at first sight. Second, the aspects of narcissism that are most maladaptive in the long run (exploitativeness/entitlement) proved to be most attractive at zero acquaintance. [Journal of Personality and Social Psychology]

In the original article, there are links to the various assertions.

I know these are "studies" but I'm going to go ahead and believe them because this fits into my theory: Life Is Horrible and People Are Worse.

I got this from Instapundit.

Posted by Ace at 07:20 PM Comments

Politico "Experts:" Fareed Zakariah Plagiarized Quite a Bit



It is the slight changes to language -- what Drechsel identified as "patch writing" -- that mask Zakaria's plagiarism. To wit, a sentence in the Time magazine article reads, "... in Dutch-speaking Flanders, locals handed out free French fries, while in Louvain-la-Neuve, in French-speaking Wallonia, free beer was on offer." On CNN, Zakaria stated, "... in Dutch-speaking Flanders, locals handed out free French fries while in French-speaking Wallonia, you could swig some free beer."

Such patch writing is evident in almost all the examples cited by Our Bad Media. In some cases Zakaria blends sentences from multiple reports, as in example #7, where he borrows from both The New Yorker and Al Jazeera. Those same sentences Zakaria read on CNN later showed up in an article he wrote for Time magazine. In neither case was the work attributed to The New Yorker or Al Jazeera.

There are different degrees of plagiarism, to be sure. Case by case, the examples here qualify more as violations or misdemeanors than serious crimes. "Low level," as McBride said. But taken together, they show an undeniable pattern of behavior. For years now, Zakaria has made a habit of borrowing facts, language and style from other sources without attributing the work to its original authors, and he has presented such material as if it were his own.

Yeah I don't get it. Hyperlinking is such an easy thing.

In orally-delivered reports, it's more difficult, especially when you're mostly just cribbing from other sources. You'd have to literally insert a Verbal Citation every several sentences.

I'm not sure I buy this aspect of the charges against Zakariah -- I think this is kind of Industry Standard (as far as "essays" delivered on-air), and I rarely, if ever, hear the people delivering such essays offer Verbal Citations to their sources.

But the lightly-rewritten stuff... Eh, that's bush league.

Posted by Ace at 06:55 PM Comments

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This week's guest: Sean Davis

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British woman returns to home town. Discovers Muslims living there have not assimilated. [dri]

Robert Tracinski: Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Metaphysical Dilemma of the Left
"Why do people feel the need to proclaim themselves so loudly as the pro-science side of the debate and to write off all opponents as anti-science? What makes scientists so susceptible to a cultural vogue like global warming and so willing to be dismissive of evidence that contradicts their theory?" [rdbrewer]
Remember the ending of 'I Am Legend' with Will Smith?
(Spoilers.) It wasn't that good. He sacrifices himself while the girl and the kid get away, and they take the serum to the other humans. The alternate ending is much better. Smith's character realizes the lead zombie's feelings for his mate are the same as his own--that the zombies have a vestige of humanity left in them. [rdbrewer]

Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession
Let the progs have their socialist paradise on the coasts. The rest of the country can thrive. [rdbrewer]
Clip from The Heat: The Tracheotomy Scene (Content Warning)
So-so movie, but this scene was inspired. Sandra Bullock plays a know-it-all FBI agent who's seen a Discovery Channel show in which a tracheotomy was performed, so she thinks she has the gist of it. Content Warning for unlicensed improvised surgery.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, TheWeek: How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
"Intellectuals of all persuasions love to claim the banner of science. A vanishing few do so properly." Via @FilmLadd and @TheH2. [rdbrewer]
The Onion Predicted "Booty" Years Ago
"There's no light in your eyes, Keronika" via @WAlbenzi
Firefly fan film: The Verse [rdbrewer]

Discover: Making Microscopic Stained Glass, From Algae
"During the height of the Victorian era, some of the finest works of art could only be viewed through a microscope. Their materials: The tiniest flotsam and jetsam of nature, and glue." Added: Video. [rdbrewer]
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Misanthropic Humanitarian. Kinder, gentler machine gun hand : "110 "Them there are fighting words." How is Cam ..."

Ricardo Kill: "Anyway, hunting and stuff.  Hasta......... ..."

Insomniac: "121 There is some big GW march and protest in NYC ..."

Ricardo Kill: ""That was third time Comcast has been here this su ..."

GnuBreed: "Canada is busy revoking the passports of its citiz ..."

Nevergiveup: "There is some big GW march and protest in NYC toda ..."

The Oort Cloud--SMOD is inbound: "And they always keep their appointments and speak ..."

Carol: "Someone posted during the week that White House Go ..."

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Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)