Leaked Michelle Nunn Strategy Paper: One One Hand We Can Fundraise Like Crazy Off of Jews.
On The Other Hand, Michelle's Foundation Gave a Grant to an Organization Accused of Being a Hamas Conduit.
Nunn is running as the Democratic candidate for Senate in Georgia. Her main campaign message is that she shares an atypical amount of DNA with former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn.
The campaign's finance plan draws attention to the "tremendous financial opportunity" in the Jewish community...
So you know, the good news for Nunn is that Jews are Rich.
...and identifies Jews as key fundraisers. It notes, however, that "Michelle's position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here." That's a position she has yet to articulate, and Israel goes unmentioned on her campaign website.
So far, nothing here that would offend Jews. Just that Those People really like Money and Israel. (Left tastefully unsaid: Those People also really like Controlling the Media.)
Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn's accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to "terrorists" and "inmates" during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light’s accounting system was "not adequate to account for federal funds."
I have to say again that this document originated in her own camp.
According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA.... Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Islamic Relief USA says on its website that it is a legally separate entity from its parent organization, but that they share "a common vision, mission, and family identity."
Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas.
So Points of Light actually donated to Islamic Relief USA, which is claimed to be a separate entity from its parent/umbrella organization Islamic Relief Worldwide. And Islamic Relief Worldwide is accused of smuggling cash to Hamas.
Nunn's camp isn't troubled by that, though. The way they see it, they have a secret weapon which will protect them and give them a head's up on damaging stories.
That secret weapon is the Media.
Her strategists are optimistic that the media won’t prove much of an obstacle.
Yeah, me neither.
They write that at some point her opponent, who at the time the document was written had yet to be determined, will be "shoveling research" against her. But they say they anticipate they will often have "fair warning" about negative news stories and can work to "kill or muddy" them.
So there you go.
By the way, the Nunn paper also celebrates the rich diversity of Asian culture:
Asians are also identified as key fundraisers. The community is described as "very tight," one in which people work to "become citizens quickly."
Good at math, too. Surprised they forgot to mention that.
Boko Haram Kidnaps Wife of Cameroon's Vice Prime Minister
Nigerian Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people on Sunday in a cross-border attack involving more than 200 assailants in the northern town of Kolofata, Cameroon officials said.
A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town's mayor, and five members of his family were also kidnapped in a separate attack on his home.
The Vice PM and his wife were apparently at a local's home to celebrate Ramadan when the attack occurred.
This was one of three attacks in Cameroon this weekend, plus at least one attack in Nigeria:
Meanwhile, a Boko Haram bomb killed five people as they left a church in Kano, Nigeria, also on Sunday.
Four countries are finally combining resources to fight Boko Haram:
According to the BBC, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger recently formed "a 2,800-strong regional force" to combat Boko Haram.
Only 2800? Commenters point out that Nigeria is a country of 170 million people. The other three states in this regional force are much smaller, but still have a good number of people: Cameroon, 22 million; Chad, almost 13 million; Niger, almost 18 million.
We're talking about combined populations easily exceeding 200 million, and all they can muster against a serious cross-border terrorist force is 2,800 men under arms?
These would not be the only units available to fight Boko Haram, but it does seem like this is supposed to represent these nation's commitment to stamping them out.
It sure seems like a puny commitment.
Atheist Sam Harris: Here's Why I Don't Criticize Israel
After establishing his secular/atheist credentials, and noting his objection go any state organized around religious identity (though he allows that if it were permissible for any state to be organized around a religious identity, that permitted state would be Israel, given the need for an Escape Hatch for the world's Jews as proven by just about all of the history of the last several thousand years), he begins explaining why he stands with Israel.
This is a long piece. I'm just excerpting parts of his best argument. I'm also cutting out a lot of his nuances, because, well, I can't just excerpt everything.
[T]his gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.
What would the Jews do to the Palestinians if they could do anything they wanted? Well, we know the answer to that question, because they can do more or less anything they want. The Israeli army could kill everyone in Gaza tomorrow. So what does that mean? Well, it means that, when they drop a bomb on a beach and kill four Palestinian children, as happened last week, this is almost certainly an accident. They’re not targeting children. They could target as many children as they want....
What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel's critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself.
Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we're talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be...
Now imagine reversing the roles here. Imagine how fatuous--indeed comical it would be--for the Israelis to attempt to use human shields to deter the Palestinians.... Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.
That's a very cutting point. Try to imagine it -- you can't. It's absurd. Not because Israelis wouldn't use human shields -- they wouldn't, but that's not the most absurd part.
The absurd part is the idea that Hamas would be in any way deterred by this, rather than thinking, "F***in' awesome!"
Of Course: Hollywood Now Making a Dan-Rather-Was-Right Film About Rathergate
Starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchette as Mary Mapes. The script will be based, however, on an impartial outside journalist's account of the affair -- by which I mean Mary Mapes' book.
Megan McArdle objects. She writes a long letter recapitulating all the facts which cast doubt on Redford's, Rather's, and Mapes' new mythology.
Mapes still insists the documents are genuine. This is even more boggling than believing Burkett in the first place. Burkett displayed the classic characteristics of unreliable sources: They tell one story, and then, when you note the inconsistencies, you suddenly hear an entirely new story that covers up those holes. The terminal story is usually impossible to check -- and also completely implausible.
Mapes is reduced to offering speculation that perhaps "Lucy Ramirez" wanted the originals destroyed to conceal any DNA evidence of her involvement. A much more plausible alternative is that the originals were destroyed to conceal their creation on a laser printer. Mapes, amazingly, acknowledges that this story seems incredible, but then she says that it's entirely plausible, because... it's Texas. "As I sat listening to Burkett’s scenario spill out, I realized how truly ridiculous this sounded from our vantage in New York. But in Texas ... a place where bull semen is worth its weight in gold (and the bizarre long ago became the mundane), I believed it was quite possible that Bill Burkett was finally telling the truth, the whole weird truth, and nothing but the truth. By God, in Texas, anything could happen." Texas is indeed weird and wonderful, but I doubt Burkett's story sounded any more plausible there than it did in New York.
With the time pressure she was under, it's possible to argue -- as I have -- that Mapes made a forgivable mistake.
What happened next, however, was not forgivable... [Even after all the proofs the documents were forged,] Mapes insisted that she was right about the documents, and everyone else was either the enabler or the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Of course, refusing to accept that you’ve made an enormous mistake is natural behavior. But at some point, you have to be able to see the obvious.
It would be a pity if Hollywood made the same blind mistakes that destroyed several distinguished careers in New York. I know that the film production company for this project is called Mythology Entertainment. That said, the journalists who deserve to have their stories told are the ones who dug into the provenance of these memos and exposed them for what they actually were. If you are going to make a movie, it should honor their fine work, not the errors that made it necessary.
100th Anniversary Of World War 1 Morning News Dump
- Five More Typos We Found In Major Pieces Of Legislation
- Halbig And Hammurabi
- Smart Diplomacy Is Becoming A Punchline
- The Agony Of Jonathan Gruber
- Well That's Just Great
- For The Left, Cool Is King
- Things Are Going Great In Libya
- Israel Isn't The Only Country Attacking Gaza At The Moment
- I Have A Feeling Their Home Countries Were Safer
- Turkey Plans To Involve Itself In The Gaza War Again
- Keep Talking Joan
- Lefty Morons Fall for Fake Michelle Bachmann Story
- Why Jack Kingston Lost
- New Wonder Woman Is Essentially Xena Warrior Princess
- Paul Ryan: Safety Net Necessary For Upward Mobility
Get your liberty cabbagehere.
Top Headline Comments 7-28-14
In case you missed it, over the weekend a federal judge in Washington, D.C. struck down that city's public handgun ban. This is the latest in the "bear arms" line of cases that is attempting, with mixed success so far, to give meaning to the full range of constitutional protections when it comes to firearms—not just to "keep" them, as D.C. allows in the home, but also to bear them.
The White House is asking Congress to give it a new war on terrorism authorization at the same time it wants Congress to rescind the Iraq AUMF. I think neither is likely to happen this year.
CNN has its monthly poll out. The portion on the 2016 GOP field shows a tightly packed group. As Doug Mataconis pointed out on Twitter, unlike recent presidential elections, there appears to be no early frontrunner yet.
As I have written before, early polls don't tell you much about the eventual outcome, but they do tell you where people—and money—are early. There are years yet for someone else to get in the race, but these are the folks who are posturing for it already. In other words, they're trying to get the early lead.
And, here's the first new Mad Max trailer.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
Overnight Open Thread (7-27-2014) – Fiddlin' While The World Burns Edition
Well, what's going on in the world is of very little interest to President Fundraiser. He's got other priorities, and the rest of the planet, as I believe it's marked on the State Department maps, can go take a hike. There's a vacuum of American power. And John Kerry is the physical presence of American absence. Nobody wants to see him. Nobody wants to do the handshake. Nobody wants to pose for photographs.
-- Mark Steyn in The Absence of America
Despite warning about the dangerous rise of ISIS in Iraq. And members of Congress like Buck McKeon are wondering WTF Obama and Susan Rice are thinking:
When Speaker Boehner told me about Ms. Rice's letter, I thought he was joking.
Obama Administration officials are warning us daily that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is '"worse than al-Qaeda" and an extreme threat to the American people. The American people aren't worried that the President will send the military back to Iraq. They're worried about a deadly terrorist state that can hit us from Wall Street to Main Street. They're worried that this President refuses to do anything, at anytime, in any way, to stop the flood of national security crises that are popping up around the globe.
Why on earth is the President's national security adviser pleading with Congress to help build Americans' confidence that the President will not confront a clear and present danger to the United States? He needs no help there. Where is her plan to stop this looming threat? Where is her request for additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to monitor the situation? Why isn't she over here, building support to stop a common enemy? Why is she fighting Congress instead of ISIS? Why on earth is she refighting the 2003 Iraq War in 2014?This isn't just absurd. We're past absurd. This is dangerous. This Administration is fiddling while the world burns, and now they're demanding Congress play with them.
[L]uckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on. The news is so bad, and the President's foreign policy is collapsing on so many fronts, that it is impossible to keep the story off the front pages. "Smart diplomacy" has become a punch line, and the dream Team Obama had of making Democrats the go-to national security party is as dead as the passenger pigeon. But what the press can do for the White House it still, with some honorable exceptions, labors to accomplish: it will, when it must, report the dots. But it will try not to connect them, and it will do what it can to let all the people involved in the Libya debacle move on to the next and higher stage of their careers.
As Insty says if you want a government held accountable by the press, elect Republicans.
The fascism is strong in that state.
Wis. police chief pleads no contest in Tea Party flap. "A police chief in Wisconsin pleaded no contest Friday to a charge that he signed a local Tea Party leader up on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites."
That they're willing to use force to protect their own border.
Courtesy of your dreamboat candidate, President Golfing Hussein Fundraiser.
Just for different reasons.
In other words, liberals wish America had a people worthy of their government, while conservatives wish America had a government worthy of its people. That's true of Americophiles on both sides of the Atlantic.
From the vision the elite have for her.
Why has the Senate been unable to pass anything? According to an extraordinary panel of mainstream media personalities, it's the fault of Republicans, or of the American people.
..."I used to think the problem was Washington," added New York Times columnist David Brooks. "Now I think the problem is the country."
A single woman in Calgary who sought in vitro fertilization at the Regional Fertility Program was told she could only use sperm donations from donors who match her own race, the Calgary Herald reports.
..."I'm not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that's what she wants," he said. "That's her prerogative, but that's not her prerogative in our clinic."
Greene added that the clinic's doctors feel "a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to be able to identify with their ethnic roots."The clinic's policy has existed since it opened in the 1980s, and its website elaborates on the guideline: "it is the practice of the Regional Fertility Program not to permit the use of a sperm donor that would result in a future child appearing racially different than the recipient or the recipient's partner."
Like tribbles I guess.
Via the tyranny of heteronormativity. But isn't gender just a social construct anyway?
Which was truly the decade of the totally-non-sequitur-but-still-loved-and-appreciated-oh-yes nudie scene. NSFW due to occasional gratuitous nip slips.
Top 10 commenters:
1 [465 comments] 'TangoNine' [65.29 posts/day]
2 [425 comments] 'Vic'
3 [416 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
4 [395 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
5 [394 comments] 'Costanza Defense'
6 [385 comments] 'logprof'
7 [367 comments] 'Nip Sip'
8 [351 comments] 'J.J. Sefton'
9 [327 comments] '---'
10 [311 comments] 'rickb223'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [129 names] 'The Political Hat' [18.11 unique names/day]
2 [122 names] 'logprof'
3 [63 names] 'NTTAWWT'
4 [62 names] 'Shecky Soetoro'
5 [58 names] 'Nip Sip'
6 [57 names] 'Apply pressure to reduce swelling'
7 [45 names] 'Doctor Fish'
8 [43 names] 'andycanuck'
9 [40 names] 'Costanza Defense'
10 [36 names] 'Bob's House of Flannel Shirts and Wallet Chains'
The group. Never heard of it.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by the importance of marriage:
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
Spaced-Out Challenge: The Summer Sky for Beginners With Binoculars
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.
First, apologies for not doing the weekly thread as thoroughly in the past, but the Decision Desk coverage has gobbled a lot of my time. This week, we'll review what's overhead for the total novice. Mankind has been using star patterns to predict everything from the change of the seasons to the fall of kings. Now, astronomers use them to find the numerous wonders over head. Here's a quick guide around, using patterns anyone can pull from the heavens away from city lights.
(Unfortunately the sky map doesn't work in the confines of 500px)
The two brightest stars on the chart are the brightest you will see from zenith south this time of year: Vega and Antares. Vega forms a bright triangle of stars commonly called the Summer triangle. Moving west from Vega, you will hit the keystone shape in the heart of Hercules. If you aim your binoculars at the read circle, you will enjoy one of the finest clusters in the sky, M13, discussed previously in our Messier Marathon series.
Moving back to Vega and the Summer Triangle, you'll notice that another point in it, Deneb, forms a crossed pattern within: the Northern Cross. The end star opposite Deneb is the beautiful double-star Albireo, best viewed with image-stabilized binoculars and telescopes. Moving North from the Cross, along the arc of the Milky Way, the bright W of Cassiopeia, and it's cluster of clusters, appears. Scan this region with a pair of binoculars for wonder after wonder.
Moving south/east from the W, you'll notice a great square of stars, which makes up the main body of Pegasus. Arcing off it are three stars forming the main body of Andromeda, and about half way between it and the W lies a small, cloudy patch plainly visible from rural skies. Your eyes won't resolve much, but a pair of binoculars will reveal a beautiful misty oval: the Andromeda Galaxy.
Now, redirect your attention south, to the heart of the Milky Way. From a truly dark site, a glorious bulge of gas and dust will compete with the brightest thicket of stars. This region is outlined, roughly, with two bright constellations. Rather than draw you the arbitrary archer and pinchers, here the main body of both is easy to pick out: the Teapot of Sagittarius, and the Fishhook of Scorpius. North of the Teapot, the "Teaspoon" of fainter Sagittarius stars appears. Focusing on the Teapot, and moving north and west lies a disconnected, bright star (see the line in yellow). Between this star and the tip of the Teapot lies a plethora of clusters and nebulae, the brightest of which is faintly visible to the naked eye: the Lagoon. Move in either direction with your binoculars for a string of wondrous sites, including the Trifid Nebula, the Swan Nebula, M23, M25, and the Sagittarius Star Cloud.
Moving towards the "terrible tail" of the Scorpion, two misty patches will be visible to your eyes, patches that resolve into beautiful clusters M6 and M7 in binoculars. These are best viewed with these: small telescopes lose the vastness of these open jewelboxes. Lastly, around the curve of the Fishhook lies a beautiful naked-eye asterism, the "False Comet". You'll need great seeing conditions and a clear Southern horizon to enjoy it, but it is never disappoints.
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!
Close it up
The New Yorker Publishes What Looks Like an Original Form of Joke
A guy named Simon Rich tells a joke (a long one) that seems sorta original in form.
I think it's probably inspired by the age-old anti-joke (where you start with a jokey premise, but the punchline is just something normal and unfunny: A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Preacher walk into a bar. The bartender says "We don't normally get a Rabbi, a Priest, and a Preacher in here." The Rabbi says, "We're an interfaith committee for the prevention of alcoholism." The bartender nods, with a quiet shame.) and an absurd sequence in the recent Paul Rudd/Amy Poehler romcom parody They Came Together, also set in a bar.*
But it's kinda original. I don't think many people have taken an anti-joke this far before, at least.
Eh, give it a read, see what you think. It'll take ya five minutes.
Thanks to @comradearthur.
* Oh, it's also a Brick Joke.
Hm. I guess it's not really that original (in basic format) after all.
Bonus Gaming Thread: Review of Boardgame "Pandemic"
I heard about this game via Wil Wheaton's "Table Top" series. He really sold the game there.
It's a cooperative boardgame for 2-4 players (a fifth player can be added, if you get the expansion, Pandemic: On the Brink.) "Cooperative" means all players play together as a single team, coordinating strategy, handing important cards to each other, discussing each other's possible moves.
The opponent is the game itself, or more specifically, a deck of cards representing all the bad things which can happen during an epidemic, which the team has to respond to.
The theme of the game is disease control -- the premise is that there has been an outbreak of four deadly diseases, one chiefly affecting America and Europe, another infecting South America and Africa, another infecting the Middle East, Northern Africa, and India, and one infecting the Far East and Australia. The game is played on a world map containing 48 cities (or 48 possible hot zones).
Players are members of the Center for Disease Control, and start the game in Atlanta. Each player has a "role," which is just a special power the player uses to bend the rules to the players' advantage. For example, while every other player needs five cards of the same color (for example, five blue cards to "cure" the blue disease infecting America and Europe), the "Scientist" role only requires four.
To win the game, the players have to cure all four diseases.
Players lose the game when one of three things happen: Eight outbreaks of disease occur (too many outbreaks-- the plagues run rampant over the world), the deck of cards tells the players to add disease cubes to a city but there are no disease cubes left (representing too many casualties, and thus failure), or a player is required to draw from the player deck but there are no cards left. As there is only a limited number of player cards, this imposes a time limit on the game-- and players lose if they don't satisfy their victory conditions (four cures) in time.
This last Loss Condition is a hard-coded time limit on the game. It's a bit artificial, but it does mean the game will definitely end after (depending on the initial set-up) 25 or so total player turns (not turns per player, but total turns of all players).
The game box says that games take 45 minutes, which sounds about right -- for experienced players, who know the rules. When you first play and you're doing a lot of rules-consulting as you play (learning the game by playing the game), you can expect it to take an hour and a half.
The fact that the game will definitely end after an hour or so is selling point-- more games of Risk or Diplomacy have been started than actually finished, after all. It's a useful thing to know exactly what kind of a time commitment you're agreeing to when you sit down to play the game.
The basic game mechanics are straightforward: Each turn, a player executes four actions (move from one city to another, treat a disease by removing a disease cube from a city, etc.), and then draws two cards from the player deck, which mostly contain useful cards -- mostly. But they also contain Epidemic cards, the worst cards in the game. More on that in a minute.
Then two cards are drawn from the infection deck, which indicates which cities will receive new disease cubes this round -- for example, Sao Paolo and Kolkata (Culcutta).
Before playing, the players agree as to how many Epidemic cards will be placed in the player deck -- four for newbies, five for players who know what they're doing (basically), and six for a "Heroic" mode, tough even for experienced players. (The expansion On the Brink contains a seventh Epidemic card for a "Legendary" challenge. And note that Wil Wheaton keeps saying he's playing on "Legendary" mode in his game, but he's not-- he's playing "Heroic" with six Epidemic cards, not seven.)
Epidemic cards are spaced approximately evenly through the player deck, so you don't know exactly when they're coming, but you do have a sense of when you're overdue for one.
When an Epidemic strikes, a random city card is chosen and that city takes three disease cubes, putting it on the brink of an outbreak. Then the "Intensity" track is advanced-- in the beginning, you draw two cards per turn to indicate new infections, but as the game wears on, you'll be drawing three new infection cards per turn, and finally four. The game thus begins somewhat easy but becomes tougher and more dangerous as it progresses.
Finally, the previously discarded infection cards -- which had earlier indicated which cities received new disease cubes -- get shuffled up and placed back on top of the Infection deck. What this means is that the 9 or 10 cities that have given you problems since the beginning of the game -- the ones that started out full of disease -- keep getting hammered again and again as the game progresses.
When a city has three disease cubes on it and the deck tells you to place another cube on it, the disease Outbreaks. Rather than add that fourth cube to the city, you instead add a disease cube to each city that city is connected to on the game map, and this also causes the Outbreak track to increase one step (and when you hit eight, the game ends and the players lose).
Outbreaks are especially dangerous because one outbreak can cause another outbreak, and that outbreak can cause another (or even two or three outbreaks). For example, if New York, London, Madrid, and Paris all have three disease cubes on them already, and the infection deck tells you to add a disease cube to New York, New York outbreaks to London. London, which already had three disease cubes, now outbreaks to Madrid and Paris (connected to them both).
And then Madrid and Paris both outbreak to all the cities they're connected to. Including London again!
Thus, in one bad turn, you could possibly have a chain reaction of four, five, or even six outbreaks (if you really haven't done a good job of keeping cities at only two or fewer disease cubes). In one turn, you could go from having the world's diseases under control, to being one or two outbreaks away from losing.
Players have to juggle their time between playing defensively -- plucking disease cubes off the board in order to prevent these outbreaks -- and offensively, collecting the five cards necessary to cure a disease.
Inexperienced players will usually (as I did) spend too much time removing disease from the board, because that seems like the most obvious thing to do every turn. But removing disease isn't a victory condition; only collecting the cards to cure a disease counts as a victory condition. Players have to control outbreaks while not becoming so focused on that they don't bother to do the things necessary to actually turn in a cure at a research station.
And then they run out of time (cards, actually), and lose that way.
I give the game a strong recommendation, for several reasons. First of all, it's a social game. Every move gets discussed and hashed over by everyone; players aren't sitting there silently plotting their moves. Coordination is necessary. The game can be played in a party (or at least dinner party) situation without feeling like you've squashed everything just to play a game. People will keep on talking; it's just now they'll be talking about getting the Quarantine Specialist to Cairo so that it can't chain-outbreak to Istanbul.
Secondly, the theming is good, and by good, I mean "non-dorky." Board games are inherently dorky. The dork factor zooms up to ten if you attempt to get friends to play a game that has, for example, a fantasy theming. (Pandemic made cooperative games very popular and then all sorts of fantasy-themed cooperative games came out, like Lord of the Rings.)
But it's hard to get social acquaintances to play a game where their role is an Elf. They'll accuse you of trying to trick them into playing Dungeons & Dragons, which, frankly, is kinda what you're doing.
Pandemic, however, with its world map of major cities and fairly plausible premise of the CDC attempting to control four outbreaks of virulent diseases, seems not quite as dorky.
Oh, it's still dorky. I mean, it's a boardgame. There's no avoiding that.
But less dorky than it could have been.
It's often called the best gateway game for boardgamers, and I'm sure that's due to its cooperative, social-interaction-intensive nature and a boardgame and theme that doesn't involve orcs or Magic Shields.
I also got the expansion, Pandemic: On the Brink. I'd recommend this too, but narrowly, and only after you've decided you like the game.
It doesn't contain much, physically, but it has a couple of important things.
First, it lets you add a fifth player. If you're thinking of this as a dinner party game, that's important, having the ability to play 2, 3, 4, or 5 players.
Second, it attempts to fix a game imbalance in the base game. In the base game, it's much easier (I'm told) to win with 2 players than with 4, because the city cards (necessary for curing diseases) aren't scattered into so many hands. (A player needs five cards of the same color in his hand to cure disease -- something easier to do when only two players are drawing these cards and discarding the ones they don't need.) On the Brink adds a new rule, that the deck will be stacked with fewer Special Event cards (which help players) when there are few players, and more when there are more players.
Thirdly, and this is just silly but it's awesome, if you watch that Wil Wheaton video, you'll see they're drawing disease cubes from little petri dishes. Those petri dishes are in the expansion On the Brink, not in the main game.
Eh, I love those petri dishes. It's silly bling but fits the theme so well.
The other stuff On the Brink has is three rules variants -- playing with a "Virulent Strain" epidemic (in which one disease has special (bad) powers to punish players), playing with a fifth "mutant" disease (with the mutation changing what the base four diseases do), and "Bioterrorist" challenge, which turns the game into a semi-cooperative one, with two or three playing the game normally as a team, and one Bioterrorist player playing against them, seeding cities with disease.
This variant is a hidden-movement game, where the Bioterrorist player secretly records his moves and players have to guess where he is and where he's going.
I haven't played any of those variants so I cannot judge them. They seem, to me, to be fairly minor variations, like "Low Spade in the Hole" in poker. But probably experienced players would enjoy the new challenges.
The expansion also contains six (I think) new "Roles" and six corresponding new pawns to represent them. These are mostly minor variations of the existing roles in the basic set, though a couple are new-ish.
I'd say that On the Brink is a mostly unnecessary expansion, except for experienced players, but for the fact it contains three things that seem pretty important: the rules for a fifth player, the rules adjustments for playing with different numbers of players, and those neat petri dishes.
Then again, you could probably pick up real petri dishes cheaper.
The base game, on the other hand, gets an easy recommendation.
Oh, and For Kids: The same company makes a simpler cooperative game with different theming and somewhat different rules but sort of a similar idea. That game is made for kids, or for kids and parents together. It's called Forbidden Island, and there the players have to (if I have this right) collect four treasures from a mysterious jungle island that is sinking into the ocean as they explore it.
Close it up
Food Thread: Turkey Bacon Edition [CBD]
Cherry wars: The crazy economics of Michigan's favorite pitted fruit
Because government regulation of the economics of food production is in our best interest.
Tagtow founded Environmental Nutrition Solutions, whose mission is to change the food system by making it more "sustainable, ecologically sound, [and] socially acceptable." She formerly was the endowed chair for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.
Tagtow explained her definition of a sustainable food system during a guest lecture at Utah State University in 2011.
"A sustainable and resilient food system conserves and renews natural resources, advances social justice and animal welfare, builds community wealth, and fulfills the food and nutrition needs of all eaters now and in the future,,"she said.
I am confident that this will work well, because the politically-driven policy decisions that have been made by the Obama administration are usually just what the country needs.
This is Ann Burrell's version of focaccia, and it is great. It's worth the trouble to make this, but plan on eating all of it the first day -- it is merely okay the next day.
She is also one of the few Food Network chefs who is a real professional. Most of her recipes are at least good, and a few are fantastic.
8 -10 mint leaves
3 oz aged rum
1/2 oz 2:1 rich Demerara simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Gently muddle mint leaves in a Collins or chimney glass.
Add rum, simple syrup, lime juice and bitters.
Fill glass with crushed ice and swizzle or stir to combine ingredients.
Top with more crushed ice and serve with straws.
This is one of my favorite salmon recipes, mostly because the Dijon mustard is a great foil for the fattiness of the salmon. Farmed salmon is fattier than the wild stuff, but is also much more readily available and much more reasonably priced.
I found the recipe in the Balthazar Cookbook, which is an excellent and readable book from the owners of an equally excellent bistro in NYC. It is also always packed, and not cheap, so I usually get my bistro-food fix from this cookbook.
4 Salmon Filets; about 7 ounces each
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Season the filets on both sides with salt and pepper.
Spread Dijon Mustard liberally on the flesh side of each filet.
Sprinkle bread crumbs onto the mustard, using your fingers to press it into the mustard.
Heat a large, ovenproof saute pan (preferably non-stick) on high and add the vegetable oil.
When the oil begins to smoke, add the salmon, mustard side down. Lower flame to medium.
Sear for two minutes until the mustard and bread crumbs form a crust. Then turn and sear for another minute.
Transfer pan to oven and cook for 4 minutes.
Remove from oven, place on warmed platter and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
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Gaming Thread: Interview Edition 7/27/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
This week I have a special treat, an interview with fellow moron, Adam Pratt. He's the owner of The Game Grid, an arcade in the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City Utah.
He also owns and writes for the awesome ArcadeHeroes website which is a great little site that keeps up with the arcade industry.
And he wrote a book
Just gotta throw the hands up in the air on why someone would okay an interview with me
The Dude: Okay then, I'll throw out the first question then. So tell me about yourself.
Adam Pratt: Always a fun one to answer :) I'm a kid of the 80s, grew up with Atari and Saturday Morning cartoons, all of those fun things. I'm a father of two, married for 10 years to a nice Brazilian girl. Professionally I am someone that has made my way into the video gaming industry via arcades. Currently I own and write all of the content for Arcadeheroes.com; I have operated my own arcade business in a mall for the past six years called The Game Grid Arcade; I have written articles for Replay Magazine which is an arcade trade magazine and I have worked for an arcade distributor known as BMI Gaming for the past three years.
Location of the arcade?
Adam Pratt: oh right, West Valley City, UT. Particularly in the Valley Fair Mall.
I'll edit that into the reply for you
Adam Pratt: haha, yeah I need to remember to include that in the description roll sometimes
if you're gonna do an interview, need to pimp your stuff
In this day and age, what made you think of "I think I'm gonna open an arcade"?
Adam Pratt: It was an idea that got into my head back in the 80s. Part of it was my first visit to an arcade back in '88. It was classic 80s - almost no overhead lighting so it was very dark but kids were all over the place. I discovered a game called Discs of TRON and was mesmerized. I looked into what TRON was and when I finally got to watch it, I was influenced by the Flynn character. I had previously thought of making video games and seeing a character who made his own games while living out of his own arcade seemed to be the most awesome idea ever. So I kind of thought I would do something like that and it stuck with me into modern times. The industry still exists, it is just generally terrible at marketing itself into the news. I also worked for an arcade/laser tag place when I was a teenager so I learned the ropes of how it all worked there. They did really well so I figured it was economically viable to still try it out as a pure video arcade, none of that ticket redemption stuff. Or rather, without relying on the ticket redemption stuff to make it work. I can also add that while working at that arcade I started collecting some games with the intention of putting them into my own arcade one day. My first purchase was a 1942 and a Zaxxon back in 2000
Don't want to think of how many tokens I've spent on 1942 over the years. One of those games that if I see it, I need to play it at least once
Adam Pratt: haha, right. It's a great game and it was in perfect condition when I got it. At the moment though it is busted and I can't figure out what the issue is :/
I know around here and on the West coast at least that they've had to go to leaning on fighting games with setting up tvs and consoles, have you had to go down that path?
Adam Pratt: I've considered it. The fighting genre has been in a chase-its-tail phase since the mid-90s. Pretty much every single fighter gets a home console release but that kills the plays at the arcade. I took a huge risk on getting the Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition board. It was localized in English, supported 2 players on one board (Japanese boards only did 1 player per board and you linked them together) and when I placed the order Capcom claimed it wasn't getting a home console release. It took four months to arrive and in that time Capcom had the typical change of heart. So I got a month and half out of it where it was incredible, 40-50 people would be here on a Wednesday morning to play but as soon as it was available at home, it started doing about twice as much play as the 15 year old Marvel Vs Capcom 2. It has been tempting to do the console in a cabinet setup but that is tough to do in a coin-per-play setting. I also have this weird thing of supporting the arcade boards themselves but perhaps I am wrong about that. Of course if the manus would support a true Arcade Edition with a few things the console doesn't have, that would solve a lot of the problem
Yeah, consoles kinda killed the whole put a coin on the cab to take on the winner. Especially with stuff like the Dreamcast & Neo Geo which were purely a arcade cab in a console shell
Adam Pratt: Right, Fighters *can* do well in arcades still. But not if players can do it at home. That is why the industry is currently obsessed with light-gun and driving games. That is harder to translate properly
Of course it did make the Dreamcast THE place for the genre
Adam Pratt: absolutely. SoulCalibur II really was the king at the time. Most arcade ops hated what Namco did with SoulCalibur 3 (releasing the console version a few weeks after the arcade) so they didn't support it anymore; Tekken has usually been the same thing
What is your take on the last 15 years or so where the majority of arcades turned back into more being bars than arcades? I know that is how it used to be but still interesting in how it's taken an "what's old is new" again.
Adam Pratt: It seems to have been the method of offering something to get people off the couch that wasn't prizes. Granted instant prize machines have done very well in this time but the bar/arcade concept was kind of offering that same style of reward for adults. Games like Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter have done phenomenal business in the bar scene over the years and I think that helped translate into renewing interest into arcades overall and that experience of playing for fun or against the machine that redemption machines don't usually offer.
Though the interest has died down a little bit, you really couldn't touch the amount of people into Golden Tee in the late 90's early 2000's
Adam Pratt: yeah it was massive. Although I believe with the 2014 version Incredible Technologies had said it was setting some sales records. Golden Tee innovated in the online space for arcades - it was the first video game in general that I know of to offer Youtube and Facebook cross-connectivity, it has had the player tournaments where you can win cash or other prizes and so on. Interest has hurt on that in the bar in part because they have sold a lot of those games into homes (in fact I would say that it is equal to or slightly ahead of Pac-Man arcade games going into homes). It is also the only game that gets a consistent annual content update and seems to still hold steady without burning people out too much. I'm not sure of the hard numbers on it though, that would be an interesting stat to compare
I'm an 80's kid and I might be the only one but I really miss the giant space eating games like Skee Ball and the Bowling arcade machines. There is no chance of those having a resurgence, is there?
Adam Pratt: Skeeball has been on an upswing the past couple of years actually. The company that invented Skee Ball and uses that for their company name is still in business. Their fault is that they haven't been innovating - you can buy their "Classic Skee Ball" machines right now for around $4500 but they function pretty much the same way as they did in the 80s (same look too). So competitors have come in and made some improvements - there is Baytek's Beer Ball which was made just for bars and it has a receipt printer so patrons can get a free beer if they get the high score; those units also have LCD monitors and online connectivity. Then there is ICE Ball FX by ICE Games which is currently the top earning skeeball/alley game in the world from what I have seen - it's not a whole lot different as the scoring holes are all the same but they effectively use multi-color LED lighting to draw attention to it. People have been going crazy for that one. On those small bowling games however, I have not seen much interest in those - occasionally someone will contact me looking for one of those old ones but no one is actively tapping into that market. Speaking of bowling, surprising news today that Brunswick, which has been in the bowling business since 1890 is pulling out entirely. So if there was a chance of those mini-bowling games making a resurgence, that seems less likely now. There hasn't been a new video bowling arcade game released to the market since 2010 (Silver Strike Live, made by the same people who do Golden Tee) either.
And speaking of space eating machines, why can't we get the horse racing games from Japan here in the states? I've been dying to play/bet on one for God's knows how long
Adam Pratt: Good question. Sega did try that out in 2003/4 I think but they were very expensive (selling in the $100,000+ range) but they earned really well. Sega has been a sad case over the past few years. A few years back they were still trying out new ideas - there was the 2Spicy light-gun 1-on-1 combat game, Afterburner Climax and Primeval Hunt but except for Afterburner they didn't sell well; Sega did test out some unique concepts such as Sega Card Gen MLB, which had special baseball player cards with the stat data saved on the card. The machine would vend the packs and the player could insert the cards into the readers above the monitor, then they could play a game of baseball using their dream team combinations. It was tested here in the States first but fell below expectations so they took it over to Japan and they have released a couple of follow-up versions to it since. They also tested out one of those ancient battle card games (where you have units assigned to cards and you moved them around the game by moving the cards on a sensor playfield) in the US but likewise it fell below expectations. I think one of those games could be a hit here but it would take a marketing effort they haven't really done to make it work. At the moment Sega is focused on licensing stuff for their games; Transformers and Plants Vs. Zombies being the latest examples. That is the general idea in the arcade industry right now unfortunately - use a license to do the marketing for you. It has worked a while in pinball but I don't think it is going to last forever that way. Even in pinball we are starting to see more people begin to make original games not based on a movie/TV show/band
As someone who has owned many pachinko machines over the years, wish they would make another stab at those in the US marketplace. Bit of a money sink if it's not your own machine but a ton of fun
Adam Pratt: Yeah, that is something that also would probably need a solid marketing campaign behind it to get people into the idea. But much of the time the marketing efforts are: 1) Tell people about the game when or sometime after you released it 2) make a flyer for it 3) Maybe produce a short video about it 4) Hope/assume that Arcade Heroes picks up on that to tell other people. :P
Though for a US market, they would definitely have to do some of the sound dampening as a standard feature for the machines but just cut costs like they did in Japan with the module boards
Adam Pratt: right, that too. Usually there are some changes that need to be made to Japanese games to make them really work here - sometimes from what I have observed, minor changes are all that are needed but the guys in Japan may not realize that so a good idea ends up in the trash heap.
Getting back to your arcade, what have been your big token eaters of the last few years?
Adam Pratt: Terminator Salvation is one of the best purchases I made; it was released in 2010 and it still is a strong earning game for me today. Fast And Furious Super Cars likewise was a great investment - even though the game has zero appearances or voice overs from any actor involved in the film, people love the game. I chalk it up to being a modern Cruisn' kind of game as well. Big Buck HD has done well, especially for the price they sell those for; Pac-Man Battle Royale has been very solid and is a great game for groups of 4; the Star Trek Premium Pinball game I brought in a few months ago has been doing better than my Shrek or Indiana Jones pinball games ever did; the new Batman arcade game I got in December has been doing very well for a single unit, that is where the license thing helps and finally I would not be without my air hockey table. I replaced an old Dynamo Photon I had with a new Air Ride by Barron Games. It has the timer and scoring built into the playfield and people love it. I do have classics but they don't don't anywhere close to the new stuff. Only Ms-Pacman, Galaga, Donkey Kong and CarnEvil tend to do fine for their age
I really want to play that Trek table
Adam Pratt: It is a GREAT table. I have played every Stern game since 2006 and it is my favorite. It seems they let Steve Ritchie out of the cage and it shines
CarnEvil? Would not have expected that one
Adam Pratt: Surprisingly that is able to do better than some of my newer games on occasion. In terms of how many coins it brings in a week, it often is in the triple digit range. Not close to Terminator but still, for a 15 year old game, it does very well
Not bad for a game that IMO was one of the weaker Midway lightgun games
Adam Pratt: yeah, people cannot get enough of shooting clowns, mutant Christmas elves and zombies.
Clowns, it always has to be the frigging clowns. Mass trauma in people when it comes to clowns
Adam Pratt: It is kind of surprising that there aren't more games like that. I can only think of one released since CarnEvil that has done that (FrightFearLand which came along in 2011; it didn't have blood splatter though, it was more like the clowns were ceramic robots so I think people didn't get as excited about it).
Someone needs to bring back the weighted clown doll carnival game [editor's note: still have no clue what the actual name of that game is called]
Adam Pratt: haha, that would be great. The fortune teller machines like Zoltar are still around, although I think the manufacturer of those is still coasting on the marketing from Big so no one knows you can still get one in 2014
still scratch my head at the prices of those original fortune teller machines
Adam Pratt: yeah they are still pretty high
For pinball machines, what do you think of Midway's thoughts behind the more arcade cab sized machines? Do you think that was a well thought out idea that sadly never really got past the testing/prototyping stages or do you think they were missing the mark completely?
Adam Pratt: I assume you mean the Pinball 2000 series? Or do you mean that vertical pin, Pinball Circus I think it was.
the 2000 series
Adam Pratt: Right, ok. I think Pinball 2000 was a brilliant idea and it is a real shame that Bally just gave up shortly after that because the idea didn't pull in numbers like Addams Family. Had they pulled off everything they promised to do with the concept(internet leaderboards, content updated), it probably would have gained enough steam to become the blockbuster hit they wanted. It also probably didn't help that one of the games they made was based on what is now the most hated Star Wars movie ever. I think that the concept is still viable today, I would love to see someone try it again but pull through on the promises.
Okay, I've got three more questions before I let you eat your damn waffles
Adam Pratt: haha, mah waffles
What's the nastiest thing you've ever had a customer do in your arcade?
Adam Pratt: I've been pretty lucky - I once bought a cabinet that had puke inside of it but I have rarely had an issue like that. I generally find gum, sucker sticks on the floor but aside from occasional popcorn spills and kids dumping their Coke on the air hockey table, nothing really bad. Once at the first arcade I worked at though, someone took a dump inside of the Jurassic Park game. Actually, I guess finding a condom on one of the joysticks. I don't *think* it was used.
EWW! Even not used, just the thought of it might BE used would turn my stomach
Adam Pratt: other than that, occasionally there are sticky things you aren't sure what they are - we have it as policy to sanitize the games daily or whenever something is discovered
This is probably a hard question to answer but in your opinion, what is the most perfect arcade game? [editior note: I is no gud in speekin]
Adam Pratt: One game comes immediately to mind, Dariusburst Another Chronicle. For me as a gamer, it has everything I want in a game 1) unique hardware aspect (dual monitors made to look like one) 2) incredible soundtrack/sound 3) easy to learn, difficult to master (this applies partially to the controls, partially to the game itself) 4) lots of content depth that goes beyond what you first see (DBAC in particular has over 2000 levels with a sort of "achievements" idea behind unlocking them) 5) Is perfectly fun as a single player game but is more enjoyable when others join in.
No mention of the music, probably the best Dariusburst OST :hue:
Adam Pratt: Yeah I have the music on CD and I love it. My 8 year old son loves it too it is his favorite arcade game and music.
The last question is a question I always like asking people, no matter what it's about as we all have them. What are your "Holy Grail" games?
Adam Pratt: Dariusburst was one but for what I dont have, Atari's Major Havoc, I, Robot and T-Mek; and a Galaxian 3 theater. Since that last one is impossible, I'll take a Starblade :P
That and prototype games, I find those fascinating
Only a Starblade
Adam Pratt: I have a soft spot for space games, hehe. They are my golden tee.
Didn't mean for this to take up a few hours of your time but interesting interview even though I did completely fail at not mentioning ArcadeHeroes or your book :(
Adam Pratt: No worries I like talking arcades. I am trying to sort out another arcade book and a fictional sci-fi book but both are still early
So, give me a quick rundown on all your stuff to pimp
Adam Pratt: All righty sir. Arcadeheroes.com for the blog: The Game Grid Arcade for the biz; The Arcade Experience for the book (with an updated Kindle version out now); Replay Magazine for some occasional articles and BMI Gaming for some sales.
Oh and I am getting started with DNA Association for some other stuff which focuses in out of home entertainment. Dna-association.com
Been busy all week but the Rise of Vigil expansion pack to the digital version of Ascension finally came out for $3. I don't own the physical edition of this expansion (and haven't played it) but after playing 10 games so far on my iPad, I totally ordered it as quick as I could. The new monster and hero cards are nice but the expansion is all about treasure cards which act as a resource to power up said heroes/monsters. It's a really nice wrinkle that adds a new mechanic that freshens up the game. I'm quite digging it. This is still the game that I've probably put more time into any game before and with this expansion, my total time will be increasing. The base game is back down to being free on iOS and it's still the best bang for buck around, costing you about $10 for it and all the expansions (though you get them free in the bundle, don't try the promo cards as they break the game hence why no one plays with them).
Also played through the Destiny beta and ehhhh I guess? I know it's only the starting planet but it's so damn lifeless, I at least expected a lot more enemies on the field as I don't think I killed more than 10 things on my way to my instanced dungeon. And the dungeons weren't exactly exciting, outside of the first time coming across the Flood wannabes. I know it's right at the start of the game but it didn't exactly compel me to keep my pre-order. To keep me interested, I can overlook some of these problems if there was at least some lootwhoring but there is like 1 chest on every small map (ESO have bigger maps) and you get maybe 3 pieces of gear. That's not lootwhoring.
As for the multiplayer, it was okay though nothing new or interesting, felt like a stripped down Halo which was seriously hampered by it not being on dedicated servers but rather P2P. I mean I was playing it at 3AM and the lag made me just straight up quit after a few matches where I was greeted to a quitter warning. Oh and don't get me started on the idiotic voice chat. Only being able to talk to someone if you are in a party together for PVE is lame. No chat in multiplayer unless you're in a party is even lamer and hampers the idea of multiplayer gaming.
I might hold off on buying this at release until I hear about late/end game content but what they do let you play frankly is not fun.
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PC, PSP, Vita) - BUY THIS!! The long delayed PC port of the PSP version of the game is finally here. This is the first game in the third trilogy of the Legend of Heroes game and it's really good. Like, if you dig JRPGs, you owe it to yourself to play this game and then be pissed at the end where it just out of the blue rolls the credits. You don't need to play the others before hand as each trilogy is self-contained in the world. And hey, since the didn't come out last year like it was supposed to, it's a quick wait till next year for the second game getting released (supposed to be out this fall but it's gonna be delayed)
Last of Us Remastered (PS4) - It's that game you played last year but newer and $50. Frankly I didn't like this game but at least the FPS shouldn't be shit compared to the PS3 release. No real media on this release and my ears perk up when a dev only says that the game feels like 60FPS and they can't notice any dips in the framerate. That being said, they do have a mode for Vsynch at 30 FPS with a few extra graphical bells and whistles. Not much else to say, you've played this game before, last year.
Pure Pool (PS4, PC, XBO) - The people behind the highly under-rated Hustle Kings is back with another pool game. I really loved Hustle Kings and though I've been digging on Pool Nation lately (which is a pretty solid pool game), I'm more than likely quickly picking this one up as the options are seemingly a lot more robust (if they just copy everything from Hustle Kings,, it would make it more feature rich than Pool Nation). Looking forward to this one. It's also coming to XBO but no one knows when it's being released (though it's was/is in cert).
Close it up
Gun Thread (7-27-2014)
DC Carry Ban Overturned ...
In case you missed it, Washington DC's ban on carrying handguns was overturned yesterday.
“We won,” Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News in a phone interview. “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right."
Gura said he expects the District to appeal this decision but added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going.”
The decision leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.
Gura and the plaintiffs won this victory the old fashioned way, by crafting well-supported arguments and doggedly pursuing them through the courts. Attention whoring stunts were not a factor.
... But There's Lots Of Work To Do Elsewhere
Boston's top cop hasn't gotten the message from Heller, McDonald and Peruta. Maybe Palmer v. DC will break through?
In an interview Boston Public Radio, [Boston Police Commissioner Bill] Evans stated:For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun, nobody needs a rifle, and I don’t know a lot of people who are into hunting who, being lifelong residents, would actually want that who lives in the city, but, especially here in the city I want to have discretion over who’s getting any type of gun because public safety is my main concern and as you know it’s an uphill battle taking as many guns off the street right now without pumping more into the system.
What nobody needs, Mr. Evans, is petty bureaucrats like you arbitrarily deciding which of our civil rights we can exercise.
There's a court case in MA, Davis v. Grimes, that seeks to overturn the current system of arbitrary restrictions on licenses to carry.
Now that the right to carry has been affirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we need to redouble our efforts to make it clear that any associated licensing regime must be "shall issue" to pass constitutional muster.
Gun Of The Week
Of course, the doctor wasn't supposed to have a gun at the hospital. File this one under "I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6".
Gun Of The Week - Answer
That's the General Electric GAU-8 Avenger 30mm cannon (with a VW Beetle for scale) around which the most effective close air support platform ever devised was built.
A Beautiful Custom .45
Some Moron sent these (click in the image to embiggen):
This is a birthday gift for a young Marine. Hard to think of a better one.
Jerry Miculek Dual Wields SIG ARs
Because why the hell not.
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.
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AOSHQDD: NYT/CBS/YouGov Poll (A biggie)
There has been a serious lull in non-partisan polling across a mass of competitive races this year, and it looks like the folks at The Upshot/NYT have been determined to remedy this. They, CBS, and YouGov teamed up to do a massive survey of tens of thousands of voters, covering every Senatorial, Gubernatorial, and Congressional race.
Per YouGov/CBS/NYT, here is a rundown of races we have been watching:
[State(current party holding) Candidate LEADS Candidate %-%]
SD(D)-Rounds (R) leads Weiland (D) 61%-34%
MT(D)-Daines (R) leads The Plagiarist (D) 56%-40%
MS(R)-Cochran (r) leads Childers (D) 47%-33%
WV(D)-Capito (R) leads Tennant (D) 51%-43%
GA(R)-Perdue (R) leads Nunn (D) 50%-44%
KY(R)-McConnell (R) leads Grimes (D) 50%-46%
AR(D)-Cotton (R) leads Pryor (D) 50%-46%
MI(D)- Land (R) leads Peters (D) 48%-47%
LA(D)- Cassidy (R) leads Landrieu (D) 47%-46%
IA(D)- Ernst (R) leads Braley (D) 48%-47%
NC(D)- Tillis (R) leads Hagan (D) 48%-47%
AK(D)- competitive R primary, two tests
---Begich (D) leads Treadwell (R) 47%-45%, leads Sullivan(R) 49%-37%
CO(D)- Udall (D) leads Gardner (R) 51%-47%
NM (D)- Udall (D) leads Weh (R) 52%-44%
VA (D)- Warner (D) leads Gillespie (R) 53%-43%
NH (D)- Shaheen (D) leads Brown (R) 52%-42%
MN (D)- Franken (D) leads McFadden (R) 55%-41%
OR (D)- Merkley (D) leads Wehby (R) 55%-41%
Overall Senate: 53-47 R
I will be posting the rest of the numbers for the hot ones when the full data dump is released, but Nate Cohn ran down the critical ones in the Senate, along with a general House snapshot and the state of the governor races:
The panel also asked respondents about their preferences in House races, and Republicans seem overwhelmingly likely to retain control. The YouGov data suggests that Republicans have leads in 240 House races; they currently hold 234 House seats. Republicans lead by at least 8 points in 220 seats, more than the 218 needed for a majority.
The panel also offers bleak news for Democrats in the competitive gubernatorial races, where Democrats are tied in Colorado and trail by at least two points in Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut, Georgia and Arkansas.
The gubernatorial numbers are the ones I'm most looking forward to.
Governor numbers per Cohn:
Strong GOP Gov numbers from YouGov: Walker+2, Scott+6, Deal+9, CO-tied, Hutchinson+3, Rauner+3, Brownback+13, Kasich+6, Snyder+3, Foley+7— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) July 27, 2014
The biggest upside to these surveys: these voters will be contacted again and again through the cycle, so we can have an apples-to-apples comparison of the vote.
Full survey results for gubernatorial and senatorial races can be found here (opens as a spreadsheet).
Perfection In Design [CBD]
Ace was talking on Friday about the new iPhone 6 that has a cool new screen material. I am not an Apple fanboi, but they are indisputably elegantly designed machines.
And commenter EC wrote, "What other product has lasted so long with its first, original design that has been enormously popular and respected the world over?"
Form and function must meet, and where on earth is there a better example than the John Browning designed Model 1911A1.
Here are some of the suggestions from Friday's post:
The Jeep Cherokee.
Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster.
M2 Machine gun.
The Zippo lighter.
The dildo (my personal favorite).
Close it up
Open Thread: There Are No Words [Y-not]
Lifted straight from Twitchy we have this gem:
Did you abandon the Republican Party?
Go to Twitchy to read the whole sorry thing.
How about a poll?
**Updated: I believe this is the consensus reply. VERY NSFW scene from "Get Shorty." Seriously, LANGUAGE WARNING.**
Open thread to talk politics.
Close it up
Sunday Travel Thread [Y-not]
Greetings, morons and moronettes! Welcome to the Sunday Travel thread brought to you by Beaver, Utah:
Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign slogan: "I ♥ Beaver."
Mr. Y-not and I just returned from a short jaunt to Las Vegas, where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary (a bit early). A summary of our trip below the fold:
We arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday and promptly melted.
The next several days were a blur.
As we prepared to depart, we met this fellow.
We remained undeterred.
Before returning to Utah, we picked up some souvenirs at the Nevada-Arizona border.
Mr. Y-not may have had ulterior motives!
I'm still recuperating from my vacay. We had a few misadventures, but nothing as bad as the ones described in this article at The Stir.
And nothing quite as awkward as these awkward family photos depict.
What misadventures have you had on your vacations?
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-27-2014: Pain and Pleasure [OregonMuse]
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.
All non-book discussion should go into NDH's Open Thread below, thanks.
I Feel Your Pain
Well, actually, I don't. But I can at least read about it in The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers by Joanna Burke. This is a book that
tells the story of pain since the eighteenth century, addressing fundamental questions about the experience and nature of suffering over the last three centuries. How have those in pain interpreted their suffering - and how have these interpretations changed over time? How have people learnt to conduct themselves when suffering? How do friends and family react? And what about medical professionals: should they immerse themselves in the suffering person or is the best response a kind of professional detachment?
What continually amazes me is the amount of pain I see many people enduring and yet remaining sane and even functional. Me, I'm such a big crybaby, I can't stand even a sore tooth without making a huge deal over it, like it's the end of the world.
On the one hand, pain relief is good, and alleviating the suffering of others is unquestionably virtuous. Nobody wants to experience pain. But on the other hand, "for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Heb 12:6). So sometimes pain is a good thing. And this is another thing that amazes me, the innocent, ordinary people who are wrenched from their homes, locked away in some hellish prison, humiliated, tortured, raped, starved, brutalized, day after day for months and even years, and at the end of it, after all the pain they've endured, they enthusiastically and without a hint of irony say bless you, prison.
But Enough About Pain...
The music performer who goes by the name of Marilyn Manson supposedly once said "it's up to the parents to raise their children, if they don't, I will." That's kind of the idea behind Michael Rittenhouse's new book Sex: What Your Parents Didn't Tell You. The author's parents didn't discuss sexual matters with him, and also he discovered that his friends' parents didn't discuss sex with them, either. So they had to get their information from somewhere else, and in those days, it was mainly each other, so they were, and remained, a bunch of clueless boneheads. Of course nowadays, we have the the internet, which means that a child's first exposure to hardcore porn occurs around age 10(!).
If parents don't discuss sexuality with their children, the internet will do it for them.
So Rittenhouse's book is meant to help tongue-tied parents fill that gap, and provide good information to their children. He explains it a lot better here.
I suspect the gender warriors on the progressive side of the aisle will hate this book. Look at the cover. It has a man, a woman, and a baby on it. This implies that normal sex involves (a) a man, (b) a woman, and which may result in (c) a baby. Got that? I can already hear the shrieking.
So the #1 album on the Billboard charts right now is "Weird Al" Yankovic's latest, "Mandatory Fun". Well, who cares? What's that got to be with books? I mention this because one of the songs is a catchy, upbeat little number called "Word Crimes" wherein various errors of English grammar and usage are amusingly illustrated. Here's the video:
Warning: not being at all familiar with modern pop music, I had no idea what song Weird Al was parodying. So I eventually found out it was 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke, and so naturally I had to watch the video and holy crap, talk about NSFW! Of course, most of you probably already knew this and are now laughing at me.
Any of you morons sign up for this service yet? For $9.95, you get access to 600,000 eBooks, but hold on a minute:
The so-called Big Five publishers - Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster - don't appear to be participating in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's new e-book subscription service.
So, if they're not, who is?
While titles from the Big Five publishers seem to be missing, those from publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Algonquin, and of course, Amazon's own self-published titles, are available.
Compare that with similar services like Oyster Books, which offers about 500,000 for $9.95 per month, and Scribd, which offers about 400,000 books for $8.99 per month. (According to the AP, both of these services offer extensive libraries from two of the largest publishers, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.)
Also, audio books:
It's bundling its Audible audiobook library into the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, so users can access more than 2,000 digital audio titles in Kindle Unlimited.
Hmmm... 2,000 sounds like awfully small pickings to me. I'm not sure this is the big selling point Amazon thinks it is.
Me, I think I'll pass. In order to make it cost effective, I'd have to buy one "full-priced" ebook per month, and by full-priced, I mean best-sellers and other high-demand books they charge you $9.99 to $14.99 for. Or, a bunch of cheaper ones. I'm not sure I could do this.
Yeah, I suck. I only got 53% on this American literature quiz.
What I'm Reading
I just finished the first book in the Bill the Vampire series by Rick Gaultieri, and I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that the author sounds like he could be a Moron, so much so that I keep wondering if he hangs out on the ONT. So the book is fun for that reason. But the problem I had with it is that the dialogue isn't very good. He wants clever snark and witty repartee going on between the characters, but it sounds so wordy, laborious and forced. So if Sally wants to tell Bill that he's an idiot, she just doesn't say "you're an idiot" or even "all the leading experts agree that you're an idiot", but it's usually something like, "if I'm not mistaken, all the leading indicators point in the direction of you being an idiot." It just sounds so ponderous. Especially when the characters find themselves in tense situations where conversation is usually terse, having to read these long, drawn-out expostulations had me rolling my eyes more often than Sally.
And another thing I didn't like about this book which is probably not objectively bad, just one of my pet peeves, is the parenthetical narration constantly being delivered by the main character. That sort of thing just irritates me. My kids used to watch the TV show Arrested Development, which I grew to hate, not because I ever watched an episode, but because they'd be watching with the TV volume up kind of loud, and I'd be in another room working and I kept hearing this voice speaking over (and sometimes under) the actual dialogue, and to me it sounded like some idiot was just constantly yammering and I wished he'd just shut up. Turns out that the narration is an integral part of AD, which makes me not want to ever watch it. I always think it sounds like weak writing, having a voice that just explains everything for you as you're going along, what to think and how to feel about the story. There are more subtle and beautiful ways to do this rather than to have some guy constantly be spelling out everything for the audience.
So, in short, Vampire Bill is a fun book, but the author needs to tighten up the dialogue.
Books By Morons
Sabrina Chase has finally released Dragonhunters, the long-awaited sequel to her fantasy novel The Last Mage Guardian, which incidentally the Kindle edition is on sale for $1.99 until Tuesday. Concerning her new one, Sabrina says:
Dragonhunters features magic, explosions, exotic locales, mysterious and abandoned ancient cities, evil plots, and just a bit of dangerous romance. And a dragon.
What, no pastries?
Only $3.99 on Kindle. Also on B&N for the same price, if you prefer the epub format.
The Amazon blurb:
A premium human in a genetically enhanced future, Rylen Weir was bred for a life of harmony and balance...An unknowing test subject for the Traveller Enhancement, allowing him to send his consciousness back through time among his own ancestors, Rylen can possess the one man who set this future in motion. Which gives Rylen the power to save everyone, and everything, that he has ever known—or to prevent his world from ever happening.
Only neither side knows what Rylen will choose, because Rylen Weir is flawed.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books
Close it up
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Overnight Open Thread (26 Jul 2014)
My apologies for being late but my internet decided to take a break for a few hours. I just got it back.
How about a little doom to kick off the ONT. 15 reasons why the party on Wall St. is about to end in tears.
This map of enlistment rates by state is not surprising.
When Animals Go Bad
Well, you can add giant anteaters to your list of animals to watch out for. They killed two hunters in Brazil.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead season 5 trailer was unveiled yesterday at San Diego Comic Con. I was a bit surprised at how much it reveals so don't watch it if you want to remain spoiler free.
America's favorite Star Wars movies and characters. These results are about right although I would rate Revenge Of The Sith higher than Phantom Of The Menace. One thing though. How the hell does Jar Jar Binks get a 29% favorable rating?
Bonus: Here's the latest trailer for the animated series Star Wars: Rebels.
Animated Weather Map Of Earth
This is a pretty cool website by Cameron Beccario that has wind, temp, and other overlays. They've now added an overlay that is called the Misery Index which is based on perceived temperature. I'm surprised the blue state big cities aren't glowing red in misery based on their AGW beliefs.
Suicide Bomber Pro-tips
Oh man. It might be wise to remove a suicide vest from a dead terrorist prior to parading him down the street. Suicide bomber kills his own mourners.
Update: A commenter has pointed out that this was a mortar/rocket hit in Syria. Bummer, I liked the idea of a jihadi work accident better.
Remember the underwear bomber? It would seem that because he wore the same pair of underwear for two weeks, it degraded the device and prevented the successful takedown of the flight he was on back on Christmas Day 2009.
Ever notice that buying an already cooked rotisserie chicken is usually cheaper than buying an uncooked one at the supermarket? Here's why.
Kitten practicing its Kung Fu moves.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by anatomy of songs:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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Corduroy Pillows: They're Making Headlines [CBD]
Washington DC Handgun Carry Ban Struck Down
BREAKING -- VICTORY IN PALMER v. DC -- DC HANDGUN CARRY BAN STRUCK DOWN http://t.co/3EWSYkYt1v— Alan Gura (@alangura) July 26, 2014
From the opinion:
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.
More here. Congratulations to Alan Gura and the plaintiffs.
John Walsh: I'd Like to Clarify That When I Said I Had PTSD I Meant That I Didn't Have PTSD, and That When I Suggested That I Plagiarized Due to PTSD I Didn't Mean to Suggest PTSD Was the Cause of My Plagiarism
Holy Mackerel: Creepy Dolls Case Solved -- It Was In Fact a Well-Meaning Would-Be Santa Whose Intentions Were Misunderstood
Wouldn't it be odd, some wondered, if the Creepy Suspected Pedophile Doll-Man turned out to be a well-meaning person who just wanted to give out some nice dolls to some nice neighborhood girls?
Well, that turns out to have been the case, police say.
A well-meaning woman who knows the families and attends church with them thought leaving the dolls would be a kind gesture of friendship.
In a statement Thursday, Hallock added, "Investigators have concluded that [the neighbor's] motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture."
He added: "There will be no further investigation of this case."
Awww. Well, you know, this was her problem: She forgot that dolls are inherently creepy.
I honestly do not know why we give them to children. They're nightmare vectors.
I was going to link a video about "female doll masks" there, to prove this, but I decided I didn't want to freak you out too much. If you don't believe me, feel free, search "female doll mask" in videos.
Saturday Garden Blog: Pioneer Day Edition [Y-not]
In any event, my mid-week getaway made it seem like a great time to have another Moron and Moronette Garden Show and Tell, so without further ado, here are your contributions:
From FastFreeFall, who is in North Carolina, we have these two contributions:
From a reader in Hawaii, Sailor Chick '95 (via Twitter), we have this contribution:
Moronette DangerGirl sends along this great picture of her herb garden:
DangerGirl goes on to say (quite modestly... especially for a TEXAN! *wink*):
It isn't much, but it saves me tons of money and it's lovely to be able to step out the door and have a bounty of seasoning.
We have a small lot and barely no backyard here in Texas, so my gardening is in pots. Normally, my herbs do pretty well, but this year, with the cooler temps, they've exploded.
The pots are (LtoR) Italian parsley, thyme, more parsley and basil. The large "bush" in the back is catnip gone wild.
From Wisconsin moron Misanthropic Humanitarian, who is in Zone 4 (I shouldn't complain about my short growing season!), we have these beautiful flower pictures:
Mis shares the following about his garden:
Here are a few of our flowers from this morning. Simple flowers,
various lilies, daises, shamrocks, lupines.
Always wanted flower beds. The house we bought 2 years ago had a couple.
We've put in 5. Still waiting for Glads to bloom.
Past "Show and Tell" contributors from Virginia send this contribution:
[We are] lurkers from the Northern Virginia Piedmont. You kindly included a photo of our sawhorse, ladder, and Earth Box garden in an earlier garden post. Attached is a photo containing a very small sample of our harvest.
Finally, from our resident garden expert KT, we have these contributions:
Here's more information about each variety from KT:
Reif Red Heart: A medium-sized oxheart tomato. Oxhearts are generally meaty like paste tomatoes but have a softer texture and better flavor. The plants generally have wispy foliage. There are some really, really big oxheart tomatoes, but their productivity is variable. Get one recommended for your area.
Polbig Hybrid: An early determinate small slicer with good flavor. Name refers to its Polish origins. A lot of good tomatoes have come from Eastern Europe.
Sweet Tangerine Hybrid: A sweet, flavorful slicer with slightly tough skin, peels easily when ripe. I had some bigger ones earlier. This variety and Golden Girl (see at 10:00) seem to be alternating in ripening small and medium-sized tomatoes. They are both determinate and fairly early.
Stump of the World: My earliest non-cherry heirloom this year. A lovely pink beefsteak. Many tomato nuts describe it as similar to the famous Brandywine with a little more zing - nectarine vs. peach. Fruit is a little smaller than Brandywine, plant is earlier and more productive. Does much better in our heat than Brandywine. Makes a big potato-leaved plant.
Moreton Hybrid: A great BLT tomato. Deep, complex flavor. One of the famous old "Jersey Tomatoes", though it was developed in New York. It has a softer texture than many modern hybrids -- texture is more like the big heirlooms. Moreton Hybrid was once discontinued, then re-introduced due to popular demand after the parent lines were re-discovered. Makes a big, indeterminate plant.
Golden Girl Hybrid: Not quite as sweet as Sweet Tangerine, but a very nice slicer. If you want an even more flavorful (but lumpy, often misshapen) heirloom, try Orange Minsk. Wow. It is indeterminate but fairly early. It probably won't be as productive as the other two.
July Elberta (Early Elberta) peaches in the center: This is an old-fashioned peach with a "melting" texture. Must be ripe for full flavor. Not like newer super-sweet cultivars which can be eaten when still firm. This is not the same peach as the Early Elberta (Gleason Elberta) often sold in the Intermountain West.
KT also sends along this:
More information from KT about these tomatoes:
Reif Red Heart: Not much juice, not many seeds. Nice flavor.
Barbara Hybrid: A discontinued disease-resistant plum-shaped saladette. Firm and sweet. Taste test winner in Davis, California (paste/plum division).
Lemon Boy Hybrid: Does well in heat. Light flavor. I like it best when it turns kind of orange, with a little water restriction. Recommended as the best variety for fried green tomatoes.
Wrongly Identified Small Dark Tomato: It was supposed to be Chocolate Stripe, but grew into a potato-leafed plant. Whatever this one is, it is very sweet with a complex flavor when it still has green shoulders. Bland when it looks ripe. This is characteristic of many dark tomatoes.
Beefmaster Hybrid: Kind of dinky for this variety, but it shows the meaty interior configuration of a beefsteak tomato, with small seed cells scattered through the flesh. I will try this variety again in a different location.
Thai Pink Egg: Looks better than it tastes. Recommended for roasting and stir-fries. The unripe fruits are an ivory color with green interior. I cut one into a blossom in case somebody wanted to consider a tempura fried green tomato. If you want roasted, dried or grilled tomatoes or halves, you might want to try Juliet Hybrid instead. About the same size, widely available and easy to grow. There are recipes on the web specifically for Juliet. Raw, some people recommend it for badminton practice, as is is quite firm. I'm growing one this year. Not bad for a very firm, chewy tomato, especially in hot weather. Sweet.
Big Beef Hybrid: This is a dinky one, but it's generally a reliable, fairly large slicer with good flavor. Does well in heat. Fairly early for a large tomato. Grows into a really big plant.
My tomatoes have tended to be undersized this year. I have cucumber mosaic virus in the yard, and we've had strange weather.
Y-not: I don't know about you but I'm planning on tracking down KT and raiding her garden in the dark of night! Those photos are mouth-watering!
There have also been a lot of questions about pollination (no, not THAT type, you pervs!) so KT provides this information about tomatoes and tomatillos:
TOMATO AND TOMATILLO POLLINATION
Don't worry about bees for pollination of tomatoes. An electric toothbrush handle buzzed against the stems of open blossoms is more effective. Tomatoes don't need cross-pollination. If you have trouble getting tomatoes to set when the weather is warm (but under 85 degrees), check to see if you're using a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Phosphorus (and potassium in high rainfall areas) with less nitrogen will get you more fruit and fewer leaves. Check soil for too much or too little water.
You can also snip off some branch tips and leaves of indeterminate varieties to turn the plant's attention to setting fruit instead of growing into a tree. You can snip a few leaves from a determinate plant, but you probably don't want to take off branch tips, where the blossoms and fruit will form.
If you want to save pure seed of an open-pollinated tomato variety, tie a piece of single ply toilet or facial tissue (or something similar) loosely over a blossom just before it opens, with a brightly-colored twist-tie. This is called "bagging" a blossom. Over the next couple of days, shake the blossom if the air is still. Leave the tissue on until the blossom withers, then remove it. Leave the twist tie on the stem so you remember which tomato(es) to save for seed. If you don't care about stray hybrid seeds from accidental cross-pollination, you can save the seeds from any tomato on an open-pollinated plant without "bagging" them first.
Tomatillos and ground cherries DO need cross-pollination from another plant, so bees make a difference. You normally need at least 2 plants to get fruit. They can be the same variety, but probably not cuttings from one plant.
Next year, I may try "Pineapple" tomatillos from Tomato Growers Supply. I grew "Pineapple" ground cherries last year. They are dinky and seedy but very interesting. Don't confuse the "Pineapple" tomatillo with the ground cherry of the same name. Some catalogs are not real clear in their designations. The ground cherry is only about a half inch in diameter.
KT sent lots of more great information (Pixy decided to ban her IP so she hasn't been able to comment lately), but I'm going to greedily save them for future posts!
What's happening in your gardens right now?
To wrap things - and in honor of my Utah Pioneer Day Las Vegas vacay - here are Donna and Marie:
Ahem, Mr Y-not and I went to see Le Reve instead. (I denounce myself.) Here's a little bit about the technical aspects of the show:
BTW, I would be terribly remiss if I did not thank my coblogger, Charlie Brown's Di, who was kind enough to put up the post for me today while Mr. Y-not and I were trying to make bail. Thank you, CBD!
Close it up
Great Moments In Leftist Logic
Courtesy of Amateur Webzine Slate's Jamelle Bouie.
Watch as a "right-wing meme" ...
1. Does anyone know the origins of the right-wing meme that Congress “never read” health care reform before passing it?— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) July 25, 2014
... magically becomes the conventional wisdom.
Man, didn't realize how many folks sincerely believe lawmakers read tens of thousands of pages of statutory language every year.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) July 25, 2014
Score another win for Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post but wisely left Slate with its prior owner.
OT Thread-Emotions in Motion Edition [Weird Dave]
Last week, at the very end of the Freemen vs Serfs thread, phaedrus made a few posts musing about the "unbridgeable divide" between Progs and Conservatives when discussing issues. He attributed it to differing types of logic-their position is logical to them, my opposing position is logical to mestalemate.He's not wrong, but I think he's missing the forest for the trees here. It's much simpler than that, and understanding what's going on requires going right back to basics.
Fact is, there are all different types of people, but for the purpose of this discussion, lets look at what I see as the biggest basic difference between us and the left, and it has to do with what drives people. What gets their motor running, what's their motivation, what really resonates with them? On our side, intellect rules the roost. Read any of the political threads here. You'll see different people passionately disagreeing with each other, but it tends to be disagreement of a rather bloodless sort. We're like a bunch of engineers trying to solve a technical problem. One person says of course we should do X because A,B and C always add up to more than D; another counters no, M, Q and F have been shown to produce K, so we must do Y. We're trying to solve the problem, because it is a problem
The left, OTOH, runs on pure emotion. Something makes them feel intensely, and their reaction is centered around dealing with that feeling. They may try to attack the problem that caused that particular feeling, and they may succeed in solving it, but the problem itself wasn't what got them off their asses to try, it was the need to alleviate or satisfy the feeling that the problem stirred in themselves. So which way is superior?
We're all human beings, and we all operate on both an intellectual and an emotional plain at all times. They're intertwined. You can't function without both. You may be able to tell me in great detail and with great logic why you should give your wife a bowling ball named Homer for your anniversary, and I may agree with you, but you'll still be sleeping on the couch. Your wife might paint flowers on your '69 Camaro that are so beautiful that everyone who sees them literally claps their hands and laughs for joy, but she'll be out in the driveway tomorrow with a can of rubbing compound and a buffing rag if she wants to stay married. Everything we do, every day, is a balance between intellect and motion.
So how does this translate to politics? Progs aren't stupid because they see the picture of a 10 year old Honduran child dying of thirst in a Texas desert and react "We've got to do something for that poor child!" Conservatives aren't heartless because they see the same picture and think "We have to enforce the border!" We both see a problem: dying child. We both have a solution: They want to scoop up the child, give her water and shelter and clothing-problem solved, and everybody feels great about it. We want to give her water and shelter, but we also want to close the border so the coyotes never get the chance to bring that child to that desert, because That child shouldn't be there in the first place-problem prevented from happening again.
Our approach has one glaring weakness, lack of unity. We're busy in circular firing squads all day long. Try and broach a serious proposal for immigration reform that includes any type of legalization for illegal aliens and see how far you get. The left, OTOH, is pathetically susceptible to manipulation. Since their emotions are vibrating for somebody, anybody, to just DO SOMETHING, unscrupulous or just plain evil people have an easy time leading them around like puppets on strings for their own benefit. Listen to Lieawatha talk about, say, minimum wage sometime. She'll go on and on about how we MUST raise the minimum wage to HELP those POOR, POOR, UNFORTUNATE people who are WORKING their fingers to the BONE for GREEDY corporations! She uses that as a carrot to manipulate Progs to support her. Thing is, I know that raising the minimum wage hurts young workers and the working poor, costing them jobs and opportunity, you know that too, and Fauxcahontas knows it as well. She doesn't care because it benefits her politically. Actively seeking to harm people while making them think you want to benefit them for your own personal gain is evil in my book.
So what's the solution? Are we at a stalemate, as phaedrus hypothesized? Not really, and the good news is that it's rather easy for us to adapt our arguments to reach lefties and difficult for them to do the opposite. You're not going to emote me away from a position I arrived at logically, but all I have to do is wrap my intellectual argument in an emotional coat and I can get you to fall for it hook, line and sinker. It's not even that hard. Take the border situation. If I realize that I'm arguing with someone ruled by their emotions, I'll give them to them, nice and thick (it's not even hard to do, I'm as horrified by that little girl dying in the desert as they are). Agree with them. Remember, emotions are what triggers them to want action. Pull that trigger. Lament about the deaths. Sympathize with the plight of the real kids. Agree that no kid should go through that. Really get those emotions humming. Then drop a fact to steer the argument towards a solution to the problem, and suggest a action; with immigration I'd probably use "And you know what's even worse? They've discovered that lots off gang members and human predators are preying on these kids as they travel through Mexico. Did you know that something like half of those little girls are raped on their way to the US? Some as young as 12 or 13 years old! 12 year olds! Raped! We need to get those girls to safety, but we also need to make sure that those gang members can't get into the country to keep hurting those kids.". I've never gotten any disagreement from the Libs, and they don't even realize that they're agreeing that we should control who crosses the border! It's not a long leap from that to something that they would have rejected out of hand if I'd just started the conversation by proposing it, like I would in a conversation at a MoMe, and they think it's the greatest idea since sliced bread!
It's kind of fun.
Close it up
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Good morning, and SMILE!
Remember that no matter how bad your day....
No matter how bad your week...
It will never be as bad as this:
Overnight Open Thread (25 Jul 2014)
Get ready for the New England power shortage.
In a hell-bent campaign to rid itself of any form of dirty, messy “non-renewable” energy, New England has been closing down coal and oil plants for the last decade. In 2000, 18 percent of New England’s electricity came from coal and 22 percent from oil. Today it’s 3 percent coal and 1 percent oil. Meanwhile, natural gas — the fuel that everybody loves until you have to drill for it — has risen from 15 percent to a starkly vulnerable 52 percent, just behind California.
There’s only one problem. New England doesn’t have the pipelines to bring in the gas. Nor is anyone going to allowed to build it, either.
Not good when it is starting to look like this winter might be similar to the '09/'10 winter. Cold and snowy.
According to NOAA, 28,504 Low Max records have been set in the last 365 days.
Goats 'R Us
I'll be damned. Goats 'R Us is a real thing. One question though. Does using goats in lieu of lawnmowers reduce greenhouse gases? Goats fart right?
2. Translate percentage metrics into fractions
If someone says “About 25% of all users click on this button,” quickly chime in with, “So about 1 in 4,” and make a note of it. Everyone will nod their head in agreement, secretly impressed and envious of your quick math skills.
Had to figure this was coming. Yes, it is a real book. How to Survive a Sharknado And Other Unnatural Disasters.
Twinkies with weed infused cream. 2 for $10????
Twinkies not your thang? How about Foria vajayjay spray that contains marijuana oil and coconut oil? Spray it on and wait 30 minutes for magic to happen or something.
Putin tried to push that it was a Ukranian SU-25 that shot down MH17. Aviation Week ponders that possibility.
the Ukrainian air force shot the Boeing 777 down itself, using a Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot carrying an R-60 Aphid air-to-air missile (the only AAM normally carried by the Su-25). This would require some remarkable timing and a pilot immune to nose-bleeds, because the Su-25 can manage Mach 0.82 flat out, on a good day, and a 777 can do 0.89, and furthermore the Su-25 is unpressurized and has a normal service ceiling of 23,000 feet. No doubt coincidentally, on the day this claim was published, a Wikipedia editor with a Russian address was found trying to insert a 33,000-foot ceiling on the Su-25 page. As for the R-60, the 3 kg warhead's ability to assure a kill on a large aircraft with highly redundant systems is dubious at best.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by pictures that prove you have a dirty mind:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
Fifty Shades... of Hollywood Magic!!!
So they "dropped" the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.
All I can say is: Fifty shades of awesome.
Or maybe: Fifty shades of yummy!!!
I'm just kidding, of course. It looks about as silly as you imagined it would. The dialogue is crazydumb.
The reason I'm pretending to think it looks Awesomely SuperHot!!! is because apparently that's what you're supposed to do in the media.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer hits all the right spots
Jamie Dornan’s brooding mystique as Christian Grey seems to be calculatedly cool. Dakota Johnson’s mousy look as Anastasia Steele recalls Maggie Gyllenhaal’s early scenes in the similarly-themed 'Secretary.' What we see of the bedroom scenes seems ripped from bodice-rippers.
Yes, that's right, this talented individual at the New York Daily News is reviewing a trailer for a movie intended only for women.
We hear a pounding drum -- or is that, gasp, the beat of a heart? -- as a tinkly piano segues to Beyonce’s "Crazy in Love."
That's right, we're doing a beat-by-beat explanation of this bitch.
We hear mousy journalist Steele's impressions of Grey -- "Polite, intense, smart and really intimidating.' Their actual banter is more personal: "There's not much to know about me. Look at me," she says. "I am," he replies. Sure enough, we see Dornan looking, intensely, at her.
Grey owes his success to "exercising control in all things," he says, as we see him piloting an airplane, thrusting a kiss on Johnson in an empty elevator and palming her thigh under a dinner table. The online trailer shows him taking out a blindfold from a nightstand -- presumably not to get some sleep.
They dance. He's "incapable of leaving her alone." He pushes someone away from her.
Eh, you know when a Marvel movie is coming out? Reviewers are sort of afraid to give them a bad review, because the fanboyz are known to go apeshit on anyone who says that Thor 2 is anything less than Hollywood Valhalla!!!
So, since this piece of shit sold 50 million copies, and a lot of women have years' worth of sexual release riding on this goof, I guess we have to pretend this looks like a good movie.
So I'll say: This hits all the right notes. The images were just like those conjured in my mind by master storyteller E.L. James. The main characters, "Christian Grey" and "Anastasia Steele," seem every bit as real as they did in the text, and by the way those names sound totally plausible and not just abruptly made up in order to change them from "Bella" and "Edward" as they were in the original Twilight fan fiction.
Content warning -- the trailer is for a mainstream movie which I imagine will get an R rating, and the trailer is (get this) "intended for general audiences," but the movie's about S&M, and the trailer is not completely subtle about getting that across.
AoSHQ Podcast Sextacular: Guests, Mark & Mollie Hemingway
Our favorite husband & wife guests, Mark & Mollie Hemingway, join Ace, Gabe and Drew to laugh and laugh at VoxDotCom, talk about this week's Obamacare developments, compare sex-tracking spreadsheets and plagiarize some stuff.
Intro/Outro: The Rockford Files/Salt-N-Pepa ~ Let's Talk About Sex
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
iPhone 6 Will Feature Sapphire Screen -- And "Sapphire" Isn't a Brand Name. I Mean Actual Sapphire.
Apple charges a hefty premium for its tech -- you can get equivalent (or better) non-Apple tech for less money. But Apple can put bigger-than-industry-standard profit margins on its tech because it has had devoted fans who think that it's just that good.
Maintaining this cultish devotion is difficult. When they put out, say, an iPhone 5, nice but not featuring any new technological breakthroughs, people kind of get annoyed at them for merely putting out a good (if overpriced) product.
Their fans want wizardry. It's what they demand. It's what they're paying for.
So for the iPhone 6, apparently they are going to offer something inarguably neat. The screen will be made of "corundum," which is the crystal aluminum oxide of sapphire, artificially created. (It won't be bluish -- sapphires are blue due to (pretty) imperfections and chemical adulterants in the crystal matrix.)
Why? Because it's very hard to break, and it's nearly impossible to scratch. Diamond has a hardness of 10, but sapphire checks in at a pretty respectable 9.
But I don't think that's the real reason for it-- I think the real reason is that Apple needs a wow factor for its new phone, and, even though I'm an Apple skeptic, I have to concede that a screen made of synthetic sapphire is at least a lower-level "Wow." At the very least it's a Gee-Whiz.*
Apple needs this phone to be a huge seller, too, because something like two thirds of current iPhone owners have a phone that's three or more years old. That is, they're due for an update, and they just need an excuse to buy a new phone. (They're putting in a big, big order from their mostly Chinese suppliers for this roll-out.)
Eh, pretty neat, I think. I appreciate all the advances in computer technology and so forth, but I always wonder: Where are the more tangible sci-fi advances, like in material science?
* The Forbes article notes that one can make a "sapphire" screen cheaper by actually producing some kind of mix of actual sapphire and much-less-exciting hard glass. I don't know if Apple will be offering a true all-sapphire screen, or some kind of mix, to save on costs.
Jon Gruber, Asked About His Second Statement That Only State Exchanges Are Eligible For Subsidies: "Same Answer" (That Is, The Second Time Was Also a "Speak-O")
“Same answer”: So very many speak-o’s http://t.co/A1yQAIxzBL— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 25, 2014
That comes from Suderman's update (near the bottom):
A second recording has surfaced showing Gruber making similar statements about subsidies not being available on federally run exchanges. Asked over email whether those remarks were a mistake, too, Gruber wrote back, "same answer."
MorgenR finds it odd that an off-the-cuff speak-o should appear in a speaker's prepared remarks.
Funny thing about this other "off the cuff" Gruber comment, it was part of his prepared remarks. Weird.— Morgen (@morgenr) July 25, 2014
Definitely a weird thing that happened!
One Man Dreamed, "Why Shouldn't a Chair Have the Feel and Smell of an Obese Man's Flubbery Leathery Belly?"
His Dream Is Now Our Reality.
Gigi Barker, a London-based designer, has designed a leather chair with a pheromone-impregnated silicone base that makes it feel (and smell!) like you’re lounging in the fleshy, comforting folds of a man’s belly. Barker spent two years perfecting the disturbingly realistic texture and color, which is pink and lightly mottled. The scent comes from the aftershave of the anonymous man whose form the chair is modeled on.
Someone check if Gigi Barker is an anagram of H.R. Geiger.
Okay, giving it "the ol' once-over," it appears to be not be an anagram of H.R. Geiger.
Again: In Another Briefing in 2012, Jonathan Gruber Committed the Same "Speak-O" and Said that States Which Refuse to Set Up Obamacare Exchanges Would Lose "Hundreds of Millions in Tax Credits" (Federal Subsidies)
MorgenR and @verumserum combine for another scoop on Obamacare. Seems like old times.
More: Via @johnekdahl, a "weird thing that happened."
Hey man sorry about that weird thing that happened in your mouth.
Flashback: Senator Max Baucus: Hey, you know tax credits for Obamacare are only available on state exchanges.
Jonathan Gruber: Hey Man I Have No Idea Why I Said Federal Subsidies Weren't Available Except to State Exchanges. It Was a Mistake.
You Know, a Verbal Typo.
[T]here's a video from 2012 in which one of the law's best known advocates and architects--MIT economist Jonathan Gruber--makes the same basic argument that the lawsuit does.
Among those who say they are surprised by the statement is Gruber himself, whom I was able to reach by phone. "I honestly don't remember why I said that," he said, attempting to reconstruct what he might have been thinking at the time. "I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake."
Incidentally, there's an update on John Walsh's plagiarized paper. Regarding page 13 being entirely lifted from a Carnegie Institute paper, he now says "I honestly don't remember why I said that. I was speaking off the cuff. It was just a mistake."
Update: I didn't read through the piece.
When I wrote in the headline that Gruber was claiming he had made a "verbal typo," that was intended as a joke.
When JeffB. tweeted at me that Gruber was claiming he made a verbal typo, a "speak-o," I ignored JeffB., because I thought that too was a joke, and not even an original one.
He fucking said it.
At this time, there was also substantial uncertainty about whether the federal backstop would be ready on time for 2014. I might have been thinking that if the federal backstop wasn't ready by 2014, and states hadn't set up their own exchange, there was a risk that citizens couldn't get the tax credits right away. ...
But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o -- you know, like a typo.
America Has A Fever And The Only Cure Is…Welfare Reform?
“Reform conservatism” is all the rage in the GOP these days. From middle class plans in “Room to Grow” to anti-poverty reform ideas from Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, many on the right are rushing to prove they can “govern” (you know, use the levers of big government not actually shrink the government).
Ryan unveiled his plan yesterday in a presentation at AEI. The centerpiece of his idea is “the opportunity grant”.
In participating states, the federal government would consolidate a number of means-tested programs into a new Opportunity Grant (OG) program. The largest contributions would come from SNAP, TANF, child-care, and housing-assistance programs, and the funding would be deficit-neutral relative to current law.
First of all, “deficit-neutral” means we’re not cutting any money or programs here, we just spending it differently.
So now that saving money is off the table, what’s so great about how this money will now be spent?
Participating states would have to offer at least one alternative benefit provider other than the state.
In the envisioned scenario providers would work with families to design a customized life plan to provide a structured roadmap out of poverty. When crafting a life plan, they would include, at a minimum:
• A contract outlining specific and measurable benchmarks for success
• A timeline for meeting these benchmarks
• Sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract
• Incentives for exceeding the terms of the contract
• Time limits for remaining on cash assistance
The OG program will also be more responsive to different needs. For example, it makes little sense to provide a household with a consistent stream of SNAP benefits when what the household may need most is reliable transportation to and from work. Giving providers this kind of flexibility will allow them to intervene early on with targeted benefits in cases where short-term assistance can prevent someone from falling into deeper poverty
Some of this is silly but all of it is unrelated to government as it actually works in the real world.
Does anyone think an army of federally subsidized state worker or charity based life coaches are going to effectively sit down with millions of people on public assistance to create a personal “roadmap out of poverty” complete with a timeline of milestones to be met? Is the problem of poverty (at least the deep inter-generational kind) that people don’t have a game plan? The real problems of poverty are often poor life choices, terrible luck in being born into some horrific circumstances, finding yourself locked not into an education system but a union pay and pension racket and on and on. No amount of positive affirmations and tricks from the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People are going to undo that.
And why will know this new and exciting approach is working better than the old way? We’ll do studies!
Similarly, states should rigorously test the results via randomized controlled trials when possible. The federal government should partner with states and contract with independent evaluators in order to find out what works. States must work with the third-party evaluator to evaluate any benefits or problems with a new program. With a number of different approaches, we can find how best to expand opportunity.
Although the state will help design the new assistance programs, the service provider must show results. To the extent that the state allows non-profits or for-profits to use new techniques, then they need to be held accountable. The state should work with evaluators to ensure that they can measure the performance of all service providers.
This is where Ryan’s faith in the nimbleness and accountability of government is naïve at best. We have studies that show two of the shining lights of the welfare state, Medicaid and Headstart, don’t deliver but they live on.. Forever. Promises that “it will be different this time!” ring hollow compared to decades of evidence.
Ryan also has a faith that government or its approved private sector charities will be responsive to individual needs is again counter to all experience.
Are there great private charities (who in fairness often receive public support) that do great work with individuals? Absolutely. Will that last when they are full on deputies of the state? I have…doubts. State and federal bureaucrats will partner with some great groups (and undoubtedly horrible ACORN like ones) and then take whatever good they do and ruin it. Federal bureaucrats will have to monitor and control how the states spend the money, state workers will then start to micro-manage and regulate the charities because everyone will be most interested in keeping the funding going, not helping people. Eventually we will see Veterans Affairs level of book cooking because that’s what government programs inevitably become. It is a blunt instrument that cannot possibly know what is in an individual’s best interest and will never have the flexibility to react at that level. It just doesn’t work that way. Never has, never will.
In addition to life coaching the Ryan plan will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless workers. The idea behind this makes sense, payroll taxes hit low income workers hardest (since they usually pay little to no income tax). The EITC serves as an off-set to those taxes thus making work a more attractive option compared to staying unemployed and living off the combined income generated through welfare programs.
As a tax credit people get this money either against their income tax liability or if they don’t have an income tax bill, they get the value of the credit back in cash from the government. Here’s the problem…we’d be taking even more people off the tax rolls. As we learned in 2012 that’s a terrible message but it is a problem. Sure as conservatives we want people to pay as little in tax as possible and arguing for more people to pay more taxes, especially low income people, is…politically problematic. But we also realize there’s a moral hazard involved in removing around half the population from having a financial stake in federal budget decisions.
If you ask people, “Would you like more spending that you don’t have to pay for? “Yes, please” is a pretty easy and understandable response.
Now you may note that sending people checks out of the federal treasury will cost money and Ryan says this will be “deficit-neutral” so how are we making up for this new cash welfare spending?
To pay for an expanded EITC, this proposal would eliminate a number of ineffective programs, such as the Social Service Block Grant, the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program, the Economic Development Administration, and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. It also would reduce fraud in the Additional Child Tax Credit by requiring the use of Social Security numbers.
Uh-huh. Because the track record of the federal government eliminating duplicative and ineffective programs is so good.
Ryan recognizes a number of real problems with existing welfare programs and his focus on the difference between long standing inter-generational and situational poverty (someone falling on hard times due to an event or unfortunate circumstance beyond their control) is most welcome. But his proposed solutions don’t address the fundamental issues that prevent government from being an effective tool in lifting people out of poverty. You’d think that after 50 years of government anti-poverty programs that have resulted in no change in the poverty rate we’d try something really radical, but you’d be wrong.
The EITC extension is an effort to increase the gap between the income generated by entry level/low skill jobs the poor are often qualified for and the income that can be generated by the basket of public sector benefits currently offered. That people react to incentives is not ground breaking news and trying to shift the incentives to work is a worthwhile goal. The problem is Democrats are going to win elections every now and then, mostly “now and always” in big, deep-blue state. They will constantly push to up the public assistance benefit package, which will force increases in “conservative” incentives to work (larger EITC). In the end, government will grow, spending will increase, and poverty will remain unchanged.
The reality is the best way to create a larger gulf between welfare and work is to decrease welfare benefits. Two problems with that…it’s politically untenable and can be hardest on innocent children who, because their parents are unable or unwilling to get work, could find themselves with even less than they already have.
This is where the new GOP emphasis on “anti-poverty” is worrisome. It ignores the one thing that will make a difference…a growing economy. Even if Ryan’s life coaching plan works perfectly and more people are made ready for jobs, what good it is in an economy that isn’t generating growth, jobs or increasing income for people already in the workforce?
On a side note, it’s interesting that Ryan wants to help people transition to work while simultaneously trying to increase competition for those jobs by supporting amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.
It made sense for conservatives to focus on poverty and welfare reform in the 80s and 90s. Not only had those programs grown bloated, ineffective and riddled with fraud, it was a real problem that in a time of great economic growth there were people who were trapped in government dependency. It was cruel to leave so many of our fellow citizens behind and locked in a cycle of poverty when they should be sharing in the bounty of prosperity, not as wards of the state, but as contributing fellow citizens.
Just because Mitt Romney was a terrible messenger for the idea that the best anti-poverty program is a job and that the government needs to stop hindering economic growth and job creation doesn’t mean it wasn’t true.
If the GOP decides to focus on “best practices” for welfare programs it will soon find itself facing the same problem Democrats have…government can’t redistribute wealth until someone in the private sector creates it.
Close it up
ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber, 2012: Hey, You Know, It's a Key Point of Obamacare that Only State Exchanges Get Federal Subsidies. This Is Intended to Induce/Compel All States Into Compliance.
What's important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits--but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you're essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this. [emphasis added]
He says this at around 31:45. Hit the link above for background, and evidence of how central this cat was to Obamacare.
By the way, when these challenges started working their way through the courts, Gruber changed his tune:
In early 2013, Gruber told the liberal magazine Mother Jones that the theory advanced by the challengers in this case was "nutty." Gruber also signed an amicus brief in defense of the administration and the IRS rule. But judging by the video it is quite clear that in 2012 he accepted the theory advanced by the challengers.
I wonder if anyone's ever been prosecuted for making false claims on a federal brief.