Islamic State Beheads American Journalist Steven Sotloff; Names the Next Beheading Victim to Come
If only social media didn't exist, we wouldn't be troubled by this "messy" world of ours.
Major Hack Reveals Stolen Pictures from Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Possibly Many More Women
Including some women that aren't even celebrities-- but who someone wanted to see naked, and was willing to commit a crime to do so.
This is a major story, I think, which will wind up not just being about criminal invasion of privacy, but about how much we're sharing with this thing we call "the internet" without even knowing it.
On Sunday, a 4Chan user (or, more likely, a group of users--details are still unclear) added another entry to the site’s troubling litany when, after some haggling for Bitcoin payments, he or she uploaded a large cache of celebrities' private images, including nude photographs of the actress Jennifer Lawrence and the model Kate Upton.
The leak made it to the link-sharing site Reddit around dinnertime, where it found an audience in the hundreds of thousands. It also found a name--the Fappening...
By midnight on the East Coast, the Fappening subreddit had become one of the fastest-growing subreddits of all time. At any point on Sunday night, upward of a hundred thousand people were searching through 4Chan, Reddit, and the image-hosting site Imgur for the stolen content.
A list was also published of still-to-come hacked pictures of other starlets -- "hundreds" of other celebrities' private pictures and data, supposedly.
The scale of Sunday's leak, and the suggestion that there may be hundreds more images and videos to come, suggests something new.
Authorities do not know how the phones were hacked, but they are currently investigating two possibilities-- an exploit of Apple's iCloud, or an exploit of their "Find My Phone" app.
The New Yorker suggests that people just aren't aware of how insecure "private" data actually is:
Most discreet people know not to upload nude photos onto the Internet but are unaware that a photograph shared privately, through a text message or e-mail, is hardly private at all.
This is all high-profile enough to have drawn an FBI probe, and Jennifer Lawrence says (through a lawyer) that she'll be pursuing this "outrageous violation of privacy" herself as well.
Excerpted at Hot Air, Jessica Valenti makes the obvious point that looking at stolen pictures is itself a (smaller) violation of the victim, and then gets into the victim-shaming thing:
There is an obsessive tendency in American culture with elevating women--young, beautiful women, especially---to celebrity status just to bask in their eventual fall. There's also a tendency in American culture, meanwhile, to shame women for their sexuality. So I would not be surprised in the days ahead to see arguments as to why this is somehow the fault of the celebrities whose phones were hacked--that these women took the pictures, that they were posing, that generating publicity is part of their job.
I actually would be surprised to hear such an argument made in the actual media.
But I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in comments areas.
I've thought about this issue a lot, actually. We keep hearing this claim from feminists -- and others, too. That to advance a "lesson to be learned" from someone's setback is itself "victim-shaming" and punishing and stigmatizing the victim further, and that victims should be supported, not denigrated by statements along the lines of "And here's what you did wrong."
Whenever someone says something like "Young girls should not drink much, if at all, at fraternity parties, to reduce the risk of sexual assault," someone will say that's "victim-shaming," and it's the boys who should be told not to sexually assault women, not the girls who should be taught to always keep their wits about them.
The reason people keep arguing about this, and probably will argue about this forever, is that all parts of this argument are true. Girls should be told that they need to act as if they're in hostile territory when surrounded by young men, whose ardor may eclipse their morality. And boys should be told that there is no excuse for the latter.
And simultaneously, anyone's setback does afford people the opportunity to learn a lesson from that setback. There is an old saying that wise men learn from others' mistakes, whereas fools learn only from their own. (Although it's actually unclear if fools even learn from their own mistakes.)
But it is also true that any time someone looks at someone else's misfortune, and just glibly says "Well if you hadn't had done X you wouldn't have suffered Y," there's an air of judgment and smugness in the statement. After all, usually it's entirely obvious advice. A kid who jumps into too-shallow water and becomes paralyzed for life has, after all, probably given pretty significant thought to the notion that if he hadn't had dived head-first, he still would have the power to walk. Reminding him of his obvious life-changing error is a bit dickish.*
On the other hand -- there are plenty of hands here -- one can't just think of the immediate victim, either. Sure, "victim shaming" -- or simply learning a lesson from the victim's misfortune -- is emotionally painful for the victim himself. It adds insult to injury.
But then, there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who are not yet victims, and who can still avoid becoming victims -- is it really kind to avoid speaking about matters of prudence and precaution that could spare them a horrific result, just to avoid giving offense to a single person?
I don't know. All of these things, I think, are simultaneously true, and whether you come down on the "offer prudent cautions" side of things or the "never victim-shame, always just offer maximum support" side depends on where you prioritize and rank the different imperatives at play.
I do think, though, that even people who subscribe to the "words of wisdom" side of the ledger can and should avoid any hint of a smug tone in their advice -- the sort of "This would never happen to me, because I'm too disciplined and smart for that" sort of self-aggrandizement.
About 15 years ago (everything in my life is now, at a guess, "about 15 years ago") there was some self-help guy or some social "scientist" who advanced the idea that women and men communicate for different reasons. Men, the theory went, tended to be more practical and more interested in some sort of resolution -- so they favor "here's what you can do to avoid this in the future" statements, and not talking too much about the setback already suffered.
Women, on the other hand, are more interested in receiving (and offering) emotional support for the present setback, and aren't really looking as much for Lessons Learned for the future.
So, the theory goes, women and men tend to talk past each other.
I think there's truth in this, and it's not really just women and men who are different in this respect. I think most people have both urges inside of them; the question is just which is more pronounced, and that can vary according to when you ask them.
Even a man who generally favors the "Let's learn this lesson from this" sort of approach probably doesn't want to hear that when he himself is fresh from the wound of a major setback. In that moment, he probably would prefer the "womanly" approach of emotional comfort, and might get pretty angry if you start giving him a List of All The Things He Did Wrong.
Just something to think about, I think. I think these questions where there really is no answer at all -- or multiple contradictory answers -- are pretty illuminating.
At any rate, without wishing the shame the victims here -- for whom I have great sympathy -- I would say that the Age of the Candid Selfie must end. I make no moral judgment here; honestly, I'm in favor of this kind of personal sexual expression.
But the technology is not up to the task of personal erotica -- it permits you to take the pictures, but does not permit you to keep the erotica personal.
If people want to continue to take naughty pictures, they should probably move to a more old-school technology, like the Polaroid Instamatic.**
* I should point out that saying such a thing to the actual victim's face would be a bit dickish, but most people would never say it to the victim's face. Their emotional intelligence would inform them that such a statement would be poorly-received, and a bit cruel.
Which brings up another question: If people online aren't saying "And here's what Jennifer Lawrence did wrong" to her face, but are simply talking amongst themselves, as people will do (people like talking about other people, after all), is that also dickish?
It is the stance of the "never victim shaming" folks that the same rule should attach in both instances -- whether you're talking to Jennifer Lawrence personally, or talking about her, in relative private, in a comments area she will almost certainly never read.
I guess, on this point, I find that "never victim shame" people to be in the wrong: There are very different rules about what you say to a victim and what you might say about the victim.
In the first case, emotional support is paramount and prioritized over all other things.
In the latter case, not so much. In the latter case, other priorities may need to prevail.
If I ever, for some reason, had the opportunity to talk to Jennifer Lawrence, would I offer her my theory that she should have used a Polaroid?
No. I wouldn't share that with her. I wouldn't bring this incident up at all, and if it somehow came up, I would only say "That's so horrible, I don't know why people do these things."
But does that mean, out of fear of "victim-shaming" Lawrence, I shouldn't say, generally, "Look, don't use your cellphones for 'private' erotica. It's not private at all"?
This conflation of what one should say to the victim personally and what one should say about avoiding victimization generally is a major error in thought that needlessly confuses an already-complicated issue.
** Actually, to avoid just "shaming the women," I should say that no men should any longer ask for cellphone naked selfies.
There was a time when that might have seemed like harmless, sexy fun. But it's not. It puts the woman (or the dude, too) at too much risk of future exposure and humiliation.
It's just not ethical to ask someone to run that kind of risk, especially at a time when they're probably not thinking about consequences. (People rarely think about future consequences during sex or sexy talk.)
ICYMI: Islamists Take Over US Embassy in Tripoli, Throw Pool Party for Allah
Yesterday's news, but in case you didn't see it.
To be clear, the Islamists didn't drive US personnel out, not exactly. US personnel deserted the compound when the local circumstances became too dangerous... primarily because of Islamist militias.
But now the Islamist militias say they've "secured" the compound -- on our behalves, thank the dears -- and heck, if you're kindly securing US sovereign territory for the US government, who can begrudge you a little pool party?
An Associated Press journalist walked through the U.S. Embassy compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.
A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week, a day after it has seized control of the capital and its international airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia was in the compound before his troops took it over.
They shot a video of the pool party and posted it on YouTube.
In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy's residential annex, though she said she couldn’t "say definitively" since she wasn’t there.
"To my knowledge & per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked," she wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate. State Department officials in Washington also declined to immediately comment.
Note there is some question about who we left guarding the Embassy in our absence -- was it US troops, or hired locals? And how were those guards ejected?
It's possible this Dawn of Libya actually is safeguarding the embassy, more or less. (Or at least it's possible it's safer in their hands than other hands.)
But it's pretty incredible that a US embassy has been taken over by militias, in a country the US fought a
war limited full-spectrum kinetic action to "liberate."
And it's pretty incredible that the US response is to pretend these things away, once again giving the press the "Nothing to see here, folks, move on" treatment.
They are not interested in managing foreign policy -- they only care about managing domestic news.
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- China Quashes Democracy In Hong Kong
- Holder Cut Left-Wing Groups In On BoA Settlement
- Lower Tax Rates Vs. Targeted Tax Credits
- Auditor That Accredited VA Hospitals Where Patients Died To Review Same Hospitals
- What To Do About Wages?
- Why Unpopular Incumbents Win
- UN Orders Peace Keepers To Surrender To ISIS, Peace Keepers Refuse
- The Clinton Machine Is Alive
- The Anti-Gun Billionaires
- America's Evacuated Libyan Embassy Falls To Islamists
- Irresponsible Choices
- How To Survive, And Maybe Enjoy, PC University
- She Isn't Quite Getting The Cindy Sheehan Coverage
- Even George Orwell Would Be Bothered By This
- Republicans, Make Your Case
Follow me on Twitter.
Top Headline Comments 9-2-14
ICYMI, on Friday a district court judge halted a portion of Texas' abortion law HB2 that requires abortion clinics to meet hospital operating standards. This is the same judge who was later smacked down by the Fifth Circuit for ruling unconstitutional a portion of HB2 that requires abortion docs to have admitting privileges. As before, Texas has said it will appeal the ruling. HB2, if you will recall, is the law that launched Wendy Davis to national prominence.
Sin City 2 dropped out of the top 10 at the box office in only its second week of release. Screwing up a movie with that cast, plus Eva Green topless, is a special kind of fail.
Red states are slowly accepting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
Morgan Stanley analysts' "best guess" is the S&P 500 could rally for five years, reach almost 3,000.
On Obama's patent weakness: "You could almost hear the eyes rolling inside his Cabinet, not to mention in European capitals."
The last of the Great Escape tunnelers, Wing Commander Ken Rees, has died. Godspeed, Wing Commander.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
Overnight Open Thread (9-1-2014)
Because if you want the president of the US to have an actual strategy to deal with the spread of IS, you just might be a redneck.
Apparently this is how the Obama administrations views its critics:
Well Mexican law that is.
In the future people will walk around with permanent access to high speed internet and the full breadth of human knowledge available at a glance but all the toilets, dishwashers, light bulbs, and washing machines will work worse than the ones you could buy in Sears circa 1960.
For all its faults the US is still very much a high trust society where people will stop and help strangers in distress. And amazingly enough this all happens without a federal Department of Good Samaritanism encouraging and monitoring it.
As recently as the 18th century, 25 per cent of all unmarried females in Britain's capital city were whores; the average age of a prostitute was 16; and many brothels prided themselves on offering only girls under the age of 14. In the 1790s, a "good man" could stroll past an 11-year-old prostitute on a London street without feeling a twinge of disgust or outrage; he accepted her as merely a feature of the landscape, like an ugly hill - as the burghers of Rotherham appear to have accepted it. A century later, there were still child prostitutes, but there were also charities and improvement societies and orphanages - and the Victorian innovation of a "social conscience".
The morality of the Victorian era was hard-won. Today happens to be the 255th birthday of William Wilberforce, the backbench Member of Parliament, about whom I have a word to say in my forthcoming book. As he wrote in 1787, "God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners."
We know about the first of those great objects: Wilberforce did more than any other single human being to help eradicate slavery from most of the world. The latter goal, which we'd now call "changing the culture", was perhaps even tougher. Then as now, the Church of England was feeble and fainthearted and, for the most part, no more use than those Aussie Anglicans who've publicly pledged this week, in the usual one-way multifaith mush, to "love Muslims". Yet Wilberforce pulled off his "reformation of manners" - to the point where we, children of the 20th century, now mock our 19th-century forebears as uptight prudes, moralists and do-gooders. In fact, 19th-century Britons were for the most part no better or worse than their great-grandparents. As I suggested to Michael Graham on the radio, most people don't think in terms of "good" or "evil", they go along with whatever the prevailing mores are.So now, in the new multiculti Britain, the child sex trade is back, as part of the rich, vibrant tapestry of diversity - along with Jew-hate, and honor killings, and decapitation porn.
Now I love Sonny and the guys at the WFB, but I would take his admonishment more seriously if scantily clad models and revealing celebrity pictures didn't make up such a significant portion of the WFB's posts. Not that I'm complaining about that in any way.
I so wanted to believe.
Children dancing in the street! Grown men reading storybooks to kids - for no apparent reason!
Cookie Monster is the number one problem, not because he is a monster, but because he eats cookies (encourages obesity), and when his addiction takes a special stranglehold, the plate (might hurt). His alter ego, Alistair Cookie, used to smoke a pipe before eating it, which, Sesame Street producer Carol-Lynn Parente explained to the New York Times, "modelled the wrong behaviour", and so Alistair was, tragically, dropped, and he now probably munches down on pipes in bitterness in illegal pipe dens.The clearly depressed Oscar the Grouch is another problem: "We might not be able to create a character like Oscar today," said Parente, which is possibly one of the most depressing sentences I have read in my life.
I'd never heard if it before but it's a type of music in which people try to play as many notes as possible in MIDI compositions.
Which doesn't make them less dangerous.
But new research shows it might be more efficient for employers to encourage brief "coffee naps," which are more effective at returning people to an alert state than either caffeine or naps alone. A "coffee nap" is when you drink a cup of coffee, and then take a sub-20-minute nap immediately afterward. This works because caffeine takes about 20 minutes to get into your bloodstream, and a 20-minute nap clears adenosine from your brain without putting you into deeper stages of sleep. In multiple studies, tired participants who took coffee naps made fewer mistakes in a driving simulator after they awoke than the people who drank coffee without a nap or slept without ingesting caffeine.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by the wonderful world of tomorrow:
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: Finding Uranus
Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge! Whether you have a question about equipment, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly astronomical journey.
This week, I'll show you how to find the butt of solar system jokes, perfectly positioned in the sky under Pegasus. So grab your optics, step outside, and I'll show you where to look!
Discovered over two hundred years ago by William Herschel, its bluish-green disc has fascinated astronomers, amateur and professional alike. Voyager 2 flew by Uranus almost 30 years ago, capturing our most detailed views of this distant ice giant:
along with it's "sound":
You too can capture the seventh planet from the sun, from your own backyard. Start from the Great Square of Pegasus, which is visible in the Eastern sky well before Midnight:
Follow an imaginary line from Schaet through Algenib, then carefully dip south until you spot the fainter stars of Pisces. Eta Pisces will stand out first, then Delta Pisces to it's north west, which is your next target. Aim your binoculars at it, and you are almost there:
With both eta and delta Pisces in view, slightly fainter Uranus forms a triangle. Can you make out it's color? From larger amateur telescopes at high power, multiple moons can be ascertained.
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
Emergency Content Thread: Just the (wrong) punchline [WeirdDave]
Sometimes when Gingy and I aren't busy overseeing our vast empire of syphilitic weasels, we play a game we call "That's now how any of this works". Well, that's not quite true. I like to play the game, Gingy mostly groans and covers her eyes, I dunno why.
The way "That's now how any of this works" works is this. I'll blurt out the punchline to a well known joke, but I'll get it wrong in such a way that it makes the joke either nonsensical or better yet, convey the opposite meaning than that which the joke requires. The trick is that you have to come up with a punchline that would have the same basic meaning as the correct punchline in a different context. For example "That was no lady, that was a self propelled lawn mower" is gibberish, but "That was not just any lady, that was my wife" completely inverts the meaning of Henny Youngman's famous joke. Here are some other examples:
Yarrrr, it's steering my me nuts
Telephone, telegraph, mention it to a girl
The waiter looked in the dictionary and found "Panda: a giant marsupial living in Central Asia that dines on shoots and leaves"
That's when the conductor realized that the symphony was almost over, the sheet music was tied down and the bass section was drunk
The catcher said "HEY! MILT FAMEY'S DRUNK! THAT'S WHY HE GAVE UP ALL THOSE WALKS!"
You don't have to tell the joke (although you can if you want to), just the mangled punchline.
So Horde, what have ya got?
State Department Hikes Fee To Renounce Citizenship Amid Record Number Of Renunciations
The State Department's new fee schedule will become effective on September 12. It includes a five-fold increase in the cost to renounce citizenship.
The fee for individuals to renounce U.S. citizenship is jumping to $2,350 as of Sept. 12—more than five times the current charge of $450.
The U.S. State Department, in its explanation for the increase, said that documenting a renunciation is “extremely costly” and requires a minimum of two intensive interviews with the applicant as well as other procedures.
The fees charged for a number of other services, such as “fiance(e) visas” and employment-based visa applications, increased far less than those for renunciation and in some cases declined.
There was a record number of renunciations last year, and this year the number is expected to be even higher. For example, there are so many people already scheduled at the consulate in Toronto the wait time for new applicants (renunciates?) to start the interview process has been pushed into 2015.
I understand that State Department has little control over the policies driving renunciation, but let's not kid ourselves about what this is about. Individuals and businesses of means are fleeing the United States' punitive economic policies. Hiking the exit fee isn't going to stop that; this is just a way to wring one last penny from them while they're on their way out.
Labor Day Thread: Burgers and Ice Cream Edition [Y-not]
Someone last weekend asked for a thread about the best places to get ice cream. It's the end of summer, so why the hell not? And for added measure, let's toss in a discussion of the best place to get burgers. Good end of summer, Labor Day weekend fare.
First ice cream...
The folks at Food and Wine have created a list of the top cities for ice cream. It's in one of those annoying slide show formats, so here are a few highlights from their list (and you can click thru for the full monty):
Columbus, OH - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams "...some of the country's best ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts in imaginative flavors like wildberry lavender, Thai chili, and exceptional salty caramel."
Scottsdale, AZ - Sweet Republic "This two-year-old shop prides itself on using exceptional ingredients, from local dairy to single-origin, fair-trade coffee beans for its espresso flavor."
Austin, TX - Amy's Ice Cream "Amy's offers more than 300 flavors on a rotating basis, including the Shiner Bock, made with the iconic Texan beer of the same name and a signature Mexican Vanilla ice cream."
Cambridge, MA - Toscanini's "In contention with Christina's for best local ice cream, this cult parlor wins for its burnt caramel flavor."
New Orleans, LA - The Creole Creamery "Alongside fountain-shop classics like banana splits and sundaes, this local favorite features rotating ice creams in flavors like Creole Cream Cheese (made with a curdled cream cheese local to New Orleans)."
Have you been to any of these places? Which do you like?
And here's another recommendation, from Dr. Kill on the August 31st thread:
Here's a shameless plea for you to include the ice cream shop of my wife's family in your next Sunday travel thread. It is called Sundae Best, and it's at the corner of 29th Street and Dune Drive in Avalon, NJ. They should be open in the evenings for a few more weeks before closing for the season. They have a nice website, too.
Mr Y-not told me he has fond memories of a local New England chain called Viking, that I gather was a competitor of the New England institution, Friendly's. I don't think Viking is around any longer.
Me? I do recall being impressed by Ben & Jerry's when it first came out. I went to college in Vermont, so I did go to the original one a few times. The lines were long.
But these days I'm more into soft-serve and shakes. Out here in Utah "shakes" are essentially soft-serve. You eat them with a spoon, not a straw, and they usually have things mixed into them. Locally, there's a chain called Arctic Circle that has a couple of dozen flavors at any given time. And when we were down in St. George we visited a place called Nielsen's Frozen Custard that has really good ones. I gather Nielsen's is a chain.
As an aside, I suppose we could spend some time debating the various words for frozen concoctions, from frappes to shakes to cabinets (some New Englanders may know that one) to frozen custard to gelato. And don't get me started on black cows! I enjoy learning about all the regional differences for common foods.
Where are your favorite places for frozen treats?
And now for the burgers!
Fortunately, via my subscription to Zagat, I have this handy list to use as a jumping off point.
Well, it's not a "list" per se. It's a bunch of cities in which they've ranked the best burgers. For example, in Denver they say the best burger can be found at the Highland Tap & Burger and it's called a "Shroom Luva's." In Chicago you're advised to go to the Lockdown Bar & Grill and order The Lockdown Warden. Naturally, they did not rate burgers in Salt Lake City because we are considered to be in a food wasteland. I'm not sure we deserve that reputation (imho Indy was much worse than SLC, especially when you factor in Park City's restaurant scene), but there you have it.
I'm not sure I can name a "best burger." I like a good hamburger (or ostrich burger or bison burger), but I don't tend to get them when I'm out simply because I can make one exactly the way I like it at home. BTW, if you are making one at home and have a Williams-Sonoma handy, splurge on their truffled steak sauce. I picked some up from the bargain bin and have been really enjoying it on burgers.
But I can tell you my least favorite burgers were eaten in Heidelberg, Germany, primarily because the Germans don't know how to make a decent catsup... and I like catsup on my burgers (except for those rare occasions when I have truffled steak sauce handy!).
Yesterday, I made us lamb burgers and they were gooood:
Here's the "recipe:"
Mix 1 lb of ground lamb with a couple of cloves of pureed garlic, chopped cilantro, finely chopped red onion, and a couple of tablespoons of Persian advieh spice mix.
Grill -- but do not over-cook! Leave the lamb pink. The more you cook lamb, the "lambier" it becomes. (I'm convinced most people who hate lamb have never had properly cooked lamb.)
Towards the end of the cooking time, plop on a tablespoon or two of goat cheese and let it melt a bit.
Serve with sliced tomatoes and yogurt dill dressing.
Where are your favorite places to get a burger?
Close it up
Labor Day Words Of Wisdom From Mike Rowe
Seven minutes of testimony before Congress on the value of hard work, the skills gap, the ridiculous idea that everyone needs a college degree and more.
Close it up
Fun With Twitter Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Over in the Twitterverse...
A really silly ad from the Dems. One gets the feeling they might not have prepared in advance for Perry to look so good in that mugshot.
Rick Perry: A Profile in Courage. https://t.co/jHtQgrd0ho— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) August 28, 2014
University of Florida to launch Islamic study center http://t.co/Y3TGFpwqky— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 1, 2014
Again, open thread.
UPDATE: Zakn answers my question about different types of sand:
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (8-31-2014)
"A moral response to this behavior might involve those officials, among others, hanging from lampposts. The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines."
-- Glenn Reynolds on the official cover-up of 16 years of systematic sexual abuse of children by Pakistani men in Rotherham, England
"The scale of the sexual exploitation revealed in the Jay inquiry is shocking, but let's avoid racial stereotyping."
-- The Guardian attempting to ignore the central fact behind the Rotherham sexual abuse and the driving force behind its cover-up by officials.
The average price for all types of ground beef per pound hit its all-time high -- $3.884 per pound -- in the United States in July, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
...Five years ago, in July 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.147, according to the BLS. In those five years, the average price has climbed by $1.737 per pound--or almost 81 percent.
Mark Steyn responds:
Afsun Qureshi suggests the best thing you could do to lessen the likelihood of being set upon by Muslims is to learn to recite the shahadah, "a testimony to the identity of Allah as the one true God, and Muhammad as his prophet". She might be right. Wearing a burqa might help, too. Or the shalwar kameez. On the other hand, most of those Syrian men paraded through the desert in their BVDs to their rendezvous with death knew the shahadah, and a fat lot of good it did.
To recite the shahadah when you're accosted on the streets is to accept the basic premise of your attackers - that Islam now has universal jurisdiction. There's way too much of that already. In essence, the entire establishment of a South Yorkshire town accepted that the cultural mores of Islam superseded whatever squeamishness they might otherwise have about child rape.
Plus there's the fact that most of the people ever killed by Al Qaeda and IS were fellow muslims.
I'd like to know more details of what was going on here.
A Border Patrol agent pursuing a group of immigrants in a wooded area near the Texas-Mexico border on Friday fired several shots at an armed man who later identified himself as a militia member.
Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said agents had been chasing a group of immigrants east of Brownsville Friday afternoon when an agent saw a man holding a gun near the Rio Grande. The agent fired four shots, but did not hit the man. The man then dropped his gun and identified himself as a member of a militia. Zamora said no other details were immediately available.Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, whose agency is involved in the investigation, said the incident occurred on private property and it appeared the man had permission to be there. He was not arrested, Lucio said.
We've quietly entered a new international political era.
Having flipped the global chessboard with his annexation of the Crimea and an undeclared war against Ukraine, Putin effectively ended the most recent period of interregnum and inaugurated a new era in global politics. However, no one yet knows what this era will bring. The global community is still reeling in shock, when it isn't trying to pretend that nothing extraordinary has in fact occurred. This denial of the fact that the Kremlin has dealt a blow to conventional ideas, stable geopolitical constructs, and (supposedly) successful policies proceeds from the natural instinct for self-preservation. It is also quite natural that the political forces that have grown accustomed to the status quo will try to look to the past for answers to new challenges-this is precisely what those who were unprepared for a challenge always do. It was easy enough to predict that many politicians and political analysts would explain what Putin has done to the global order by using Cold War analogies. Drawing these historical parallels is potentially useful in only one respect: if they help us to see what is truly new about the current situation, and the scale of the risks involved.
The current one, Rev. Bruce Shipman, recently wrote a public letter blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. And then you have the Rev. William Sloan Coffin who insulted GH Bush to GW Bush's face while he was a student there.
This president wants yes men around him. And again, I hear that from my Democratic friends, I hear that from his own former chiefs of staff. If anybody steps out of line, they're immediately insulated and pushed out. You know, I said this on set after the cameras were turned off to a couple of people who I knew wouldn't say it on the air. I said guys, you know as well as I do that the second this administration is over, the books are going to come from former secretaries of state. The books are going to come from former chiefs of staff. The books are going to come, and this president is going to have to deal with 20-30 years of disparagement from his own side, calling him one of the least effective presidents, because he's one of the most insulated presidents.
The Power of Socialism: Venezuela May Have to Import Crude Oil
In a new paper in Science (abstract), researchers reveal that they have sequenced the genomes of Ebola from 78 patients in Sierra Leone who contracted the disease in May and June. Those sequences revealed some 300 mutations specific to this outbreak. Among their findings, the researchers discovered that the current viral strains come from a related strain that left Central Africa within the past ten years. ... Using genetic sequences from current and previous outbreaks, the researchers mapped out a family tree that puts a common ancestor of the recent West African outbreak some place in Central Africa roughly around 2004. This contradicts an earlier hypothesis that the virus had been hanging around West Africa for much longer than that. Researchers are also planning to study the mutations to see if any of them are affecting Ebola's recent behavior. For example, this outbreak has had a higher transmission rate and lower death rate than others, and researchers are curious if any of these mutations are related to that.
... The scientific paper on Ebola is also a sad reminder of the toll that the virus has taken on those working on the front lines. Five of the authors died of Ebola before it was published.
He died last week in prison. For 18 years as a Navy comms officer and even after retirement John Walker sold US secrets to the Soviets and recruited family members to also act as spies. He was only caught in 1984 due to pissing off his ex-wife.
Walker received more than $1 million from the Russians for providing cryptologic "keys" which allowed them to decode our most sensitive operations and intelligence communications. Former Soviet officials and defectors said Walker's treason gave them "an invisible seat" at the Pentagon and one gave an even bolder assessment, claiming "if there had been a war, we would have won."
There was also a human price for Walker's treachery. The Soviet Union shared information with its ally North Vietnam and it is widely believed that Americans died as a result of Walker's actions. Intelligence historians also claim that his espionage prompted North Korea's seizure of the USS Pueblo in early 1968, only a month after John Walker's initial contact with his Soviet handlers. Moscow persuaded North Korea to capture the Pueblo (a spy ship) so they could gain access to the machines which used the keys provided by Walker. That gave them both pieces of the communications puzzle, and the ability to decrypt thousands of classified messages.
Nude and semi-nude photos of major celebrities obtained through hacking of iCloud have been anonymously released onto the Interwebs. Among the targets are Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Victoria Justice, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, Hope Solo, Krysten Ritter, Yvonne Strahovski, and Teresa Palmer.
And if you are the kind of bad, bad, horrible no-good person who would be interested in this kind of shameful invasion of personal oh who am I kidding - just go here and start scrolling. (thanks to BCochran1981 for giving this whole dealio a proper name)
While the speed at which a person drinks, whether they eat before embarking on a drinking session and their tolerance for alcohol plays a part, a team of researchers believe a person's DNA will account for almost half of the reason as to why they are afflicted the morning after.
The study examined links between the number of hangovers each individual reported experiencing in a year, and their genetic make-up, Live Science reported.
The team studied more than 4,000 adults from the Australian Twin Registry to reach their conclusions.Their findings found genetic factors accounted for 45 per cent of the difference in hangover frequency in women and 40 per cent in men.
But sometimes not knowing is even better.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [416 comments] 'Misanthropic Humanitarian ' [58.42 posts/day]
2 [409 comments] 'Costanza Defense'
3 [403 comments] 'Insomniac'
4 [389 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
5 [366 comments] 'TangoNine'
6 [347 comments] 'sven10077'
7 [328 comments] 'ThunderB'
8 [323 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
9 [320 comments] 'AllenG (Dedicated Tenther), Derringer Bandit.'
10 [290 comments] 'BCochran1981 - Tatted, Rested and Ready'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [92 names] 'King Putt' [12.92 unique names/day]
2 [86 names] 'The Political Hat'
3 [49 names] 'flounder'
4 [44 names] 'Costanza Defense'
5 [40 names] 'Doctor Fish'
6 [29 names] 'Truck Monkey, as Voiced by Brian Dennehy'
7 [28 names] 'Head Chopper Dude'
8 [26 names] 'Romeo13'
9 [21 names] 'Bob's House of Flannel Shirts and Wallet Chains'
10 [21 names] 'an infinite number of monkeys at typewriters'
The group. Never heard of it.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Sea World Super-Friends:
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
Labor Day Edition of the Travel Thread [Y-not]
I was going to do the Sunday Travel Thread on ice cream shops, per the request of a moron last week, but I decided to shelve that in favor of a Labor Day Weekend themed thread.
A brief history of Labor Day:
When did Labor Day begin?
The modern holiday is widely traced back to an organized parade in New York City in 1882. Union leaders had called for what they had labelled a "monster labor festival" on Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to Linda Stinson, a former historian for the Department of Labor (the idea for a general labor festival may have originated in Canada, which today also celebrates "Labour Day" on the first Monday in September). Initially that morning, few people showed up, and organizers worried that workers had been reluctant to surrender a day's pay to join the rally. But soon the crowds began flowing in from across the city, and by the end of the day some 10,000 people had marched in the parade and joined festivities afterward in what the press dubbed "a day of the people."
When did it become an official holiday?
The practice of holding annual festivities to celebrate workers spread across the country, but Labor Day didn't become a national holiday for more than a decade. Oregon became the first state to declare it a holiday in 1887, and states like New York, Massachusetts and Colorado soon followed suit. Under President Grover Cleveland, and amid growing awareness of the labor movement, the first Monday in September became a national holiday in 1896.
Labor Day weekend was never a big deal in our family. I'm not sure why. We weren't "beach people" so there was no rush to use the last few days of beach weather, nor did my parents have much disposable income for family trips.
As I've gotten older I appreciate it more -- but unfortunately it hits right when work gears up for my husband, so it remains a staycation holiday for us.
In recent years we've been going to the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Trials in Midway, Utah. It's an easy drive from our house through some pretty country and the event itself holds interest to us as "collie people" (even though the collies they have at this event are border collies).
Here are a few pictures from this year's event, which also includes splash dog and fly dog competitions, as well as a lot of booths featuring Navajo handicrafts (including some really spectacular rugs this year) and the usual fair food. Usually it's a little too hot when we're there, but this year the weather was spectacular - low 70s with a light breeze.
We had lamb for lunch!
So how do you spend your Labor Day weekends?
Close it up
Food Thread: Fire Is Our Friend Edition [CBD]
Many thanks to Y-not for covering for me last Sunday!
One of the advantages of knowing an excellent bartender is that occasionally he will let his hair down (that's just an expression...the dude is as bald as a ping-pong ball) and pull out the silly stuff he did in his youth.
Of course, there was a serious side to this. He toasted a lemon peel in burning Absinthe for an interesting take on a Sazerac.
"Locavore" is a dirty, stinking, vile word that raises the hackles of any normal person. It is redolent of patchouli oil, stinking hippies, late model Volvos and Priuses (Prii?), and ignorant, illogical analyses of the current state of food production. "Eat Local, Act Global," is the logical extension of this stupidity, and may be even worse.
But some things really are better when purchased locally, and not for the socio-political, masturbatory fantasies of the soft Left.
Great tomatoes are rarely to be found anywhere other than your backyard or the local farm stand. They just don't travel well, and when they do, it is at tremendous cost. Those heirloom tomato salads served in February in expensive restaurants are courtesy of our modern air-freight system. Which is why they are $14.50. And even then the tomatoes are not quite as good as what many of us can get a few miles down the road. In August.
So what to do with those great tomatoes? My favorite dish is thick-sliced tomatoes on some lightly toasted bread (good stuff...nice and thick and dense), with a sprinkle of salt and some crumbled goat cheese, all topped with a light drizzle of olive oil.
And that leads to my next "local is better" ingredient: chicken.
My favorite pork ribs are from Iowa. I will happily eat corn-fed beef from the midwest (it's the best in the world), and Colorado raises some rockin' good lamb. But chicken seems to be better from the local farms. That may be a function of the limitations of the transportation combined with the relative fragility of chicken. But the chickens themselves seem different, with plumper legs and thighs and normal-sized breasts, as opposed to the strange looking commercial stuff that obviously is selected for monstrous breasts.
Whatever the reason, I'll take a meal of those tomatoes and a simple roasted local chicken over most foods on earth.
4 whole dried ancho chilies, seeds and stems removed
4 whole dried pasilla chilies, seeds and stems removed
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
3 whole chipotle chilies canned in adobo
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves
Corn tortillas, cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges, and queso fresco for serving (optional)
1. Place dried chilies in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and cook, turning occasionally, until pliable and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, raisins, orange juice concentrate, chipotles in adobo, white vinegar, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, and let cook until chilies are totally softened, about 15 minutes. Blend into a smooth puree using an immersion blender or by transferring to a countertop blender. Set aside.
2. Carefully pat pork dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add pork all at once and spread evenly over bottom surface (it's ok if not all the pork is touching the bottom or if the pan is crowded. Cook without moving until bottom surface is well browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to a large bowl. Add onions and garlic to Dutch oven and cook, stirring frequently, until onions and garlic are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add chili mixture to Dutch oven and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Return pork to Dutch oven. Add bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce to a bare simmer. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally until pork chunks break apart when you apply pressure with a spoon, about 2 hours.
4. Sauce should be thick, with an almost ketchup-like consistency. If too thin, increase heat to a light simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt.
Close it up
Gaming Thread 8/31/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Some big news the last week. Probably the biggest is Google didn't end up buying Twitch because of anti-trust concerns. Amazon did end up buying it though for a cool $970 million in cash (not including payroll and other costs).
Though I still don't see Twitch being even close to worth that, still not bad for starting off as ghetto section of JustinTV.
• Nintendo continues their history of combining horrible names and new hardware.
In the run up to TGS next week, they announced two new 3DS model (regular and XL model) with more ram, better CPU, built in NFC, second very tiny nub joystick (that looks dumb and painful to use) and Z buttons next to the L+R buttons which look painful and clumsy to use. They've gone to calling it New 3DS. Nope, not making that name up, it's really called New 3DS. Still trying to make up my mind on which name is worse: Wii U, DSi or New 3DS. Comes out this Christmas in Japan and next year for NA and EU. This is Iwata continuing to be in flail mode by trying to give the 3DS a few more years of life until they can kill the Wii U alongside it and release their hybrid console/handheld. Though if there is any stock owning justice, Iwata will hopefully be long gone before then.
• They also announced that like the DSi, it will be getting some exclusive software that can only be played on New 3DS. The one they used was Xenoblade Chronicles. As a game that didn't run that great on the Wii, a demake that runs even worse (based on the video) is a bit perplexing on a consumer level though it makes a ton of business sense.
The other main takeway from their direct was the pricing on the Amiibo figures. They're gonna cost $12.99 each (you can pre-order them on Amazon). Don't get me wrong, I'm gonna pick up 5 of them (Marth, Link, Fox, Wii Fit Trainer & Samus) but it would be nice to know what the heck they're gonna be used for other than very vague concepts. Hopefully we get some concrete plans next weekend.
• The whole spergfest between SJW and MRA continues and I still don't find myself caring. TotalBiscuit was pretty on point IMO. I would totally be okay if we could just nuke the whole battlefield. Brad Wardell, owner of Stardock put it bluntly:
Radical philosophy: I like games. I like making games. I like gamers. I like reading about games. I don't care about your sex. ok?— Brad Wardell (@draginol) August 29, 2014
• I really don't want any more Saints Row and I was happy that Volition said they were done with the series for the time being but gotta pay off Deep Silver's purchase. Saint's Row 4 coming to the current gen consoles as it collects the DLC (which sucked) and a new stand alone DLC called Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell. I do not care
• I typically don't care that much for the content of radio stations in videogames (and even less so in racing games) but I do have to commend Press Play in collecting an all killer no filler soundtrack to the upcoming Forza Horizon 2. Me finding one station to care about would be commendable but this game is gonna have it where all stations make me not want I don't want to kick a puppy.
• I can totally get behind a Behemoth made hex based SRPG
• In news no one cares about, the man behind those dreadful Castlevania Lords of Shadows games, Dave Cox has left Konami.
• after the teaser photos, this isn't exactly what I was expecting but Firewatch looks good
Though the quantity isn't there, the quality is with three releases.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Vita) - First game was an awesome, quirky and kinda twisted visual novel and this is more of it. You are gonna need to have played the first one which came out in February (and is currently on sale for $20 on PSN). Mostly a straight up visual novel (read and click dialog choices) with some very rudimentary crime scene investigation. Instead of a high school, this one takes place on a beach resort. I dunno, if you don't mind being a passive participant in a game, you'll be rewarded with a good story and pretty good writing.
Dance Central Spotlight (XB1) - Best reason to own the first Kinect finally comes to the Xbox One as a platform rather than a game. $10 for 10 songs in the initial base game, tracks are:
Avicii – “Wake Me Up”
Cher Lloyd – “I Wish”
David Guetta ft. Sia “Titanium”
Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz – “Talk Dirty”
Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown – “Show Me”
Lorde – “Royals”
OneRepublic – “Counting Stars”
Pharrell Williams – “Happy”
Rihanna – “Diamonds”
will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber – “#thatPOWER”
with extra tracks costing $2 a pop afterwards . Also get to import your Dance Central 1-3 DLC into the game at no cost. Of course with the price drop on the tracks, you do end up with repeated choreography which kinda sucks. Really don't want to know how many hours me and my friends have put into the other games as it's been THE defacto party/after the bar game since it's release. Makes for a decent workout as well. I'm gonna promptly ban Talk Dirty just as a ground rule even though most will end up doing "Wake Me Up" and "I Love It" instead. One of the biggest releases of this coming glut of gaming for me.
The Sims 4 (PC) - Oh yeah, the new entry of The Sims is finally coming out. Need to keep that expansion pack train rolling. Personally never cared for the series (think it's the wrong path to take the Sims branding down even though my favorite Sims games didn't sell for jack in the 90's) but it's got it's fan base and it does keep Maxis from being shut down by EA so there is that. It is missing some features from 3 like swimming stuff and baby stuff.
Close it up
Saturday Car Thread 08/31/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse & KBDaBear]
Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Saturday Car Thread.
I blame Comcast.
The Brooklyn Bridge, under construction.
I don't see any handrails there.
Co-blogger, RD Brewer, sends along this terrific article from Supercompressor which ranks all of the Bond cars:
Sure, you know all about James Bond's enduring affinity for Aston Martins and Lotuses that are just as lovely under water as they are on the road. And if you're a hardcore aficionado, you likely know that 007's first cars were actually old Bentleys, back in the days before Sean Connery gave a face to MI6's top man.
It should go without saying that a scientific ranking of all of Bond's cars is absolutely impossibl -- and besides that, it's boring -- so what follows is a thoroughly subjective list of every significant car that Bond drove, rode in, chased, or was chased by.
And, as all our rankings tend to be on this site, it is correct.
Teen takes once-in-a-lifetime test ride in Lamborghini. Sad.
"Excessive speed" is suspected as a factor in the crash.
Iowahawk goes to a doozy of a car show
Autoguide.com's Under $30,000 Performance Car Shootout: Part I
Be sure to scroll down the page to find the links to Part II (test track) and Part III (the winner is!)
Dinesh D'Souza reminds us of this not-so-gentle guide for how to handle an encounter with the police: Keep your hands on the wheel. (NSFW warning for coarse language)
Take it away, KBDB:
1940 Ford Coupe: Prehistoric Muscle Car: The '40 Coupe was a huge hit with car buyers coming out of The Depression and its popularity with hot rodders and dirt track racers lasted for decades. But it was its popularity with the moonshiners of Appalachia that created a whole new class of motor racing that's with us today known as NASCAR.
Sturdy, simple, and powerful for the early 40's, the '40 Coupe was powered by a 221 c.i. Flathead V8 that put out 100 hp but was easily upgraded by gearheads of the time. It was the perfect car for moonshiners due to its unassuming appearance of a traveling salesman's sedan, the large numbers of them on roads, its power and its huge trunk. With stiffened suspension, souped up engines and driven by talented steel nerved drivers, it was still widely used by the runners well into the 50's with the more powerful powerplants Ford was putting out.
It wasn't long before the competitive nature of the drivers led them to hold races on primitive dirt tracks to decide who was the fastest and the best. Before long they were holding regular races for paying spectators and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was established in 1947.
The '40 Coupe remained a staple of 50's and 60's hot rodders, today it's still a holy grail for customizers and collectors. In dirt track racing, the first Modified Class of dirt track stock cars were mostly Ford Coupes from the 1937-1940 period.
Rumor has it that Vic and irongrandpa bought this brand new with their first retirement check.
Ranking for States for Driver Freedom and Which Ones Treat Us as Enemies of The People: Not surprising that Washington DC and New York State rank the worst, nor does New Jersey's ranking at 4th worst surprise me as a native of that state. If you live and drive in NJ and have never gotten a ticket, odds are pretty strong that you've ridden a bus the entire time you were living there. Nazi hunters should have raided the NJ DMV, I'm pretty sure they would have gotten as big a haul as they found in Buenos Aires. Then there's the NJ State Troopers who I swore outnumbered civilian cars on the highways when quota time rolled around. Do you think California has tough emissions standards? New Jersey requires emissions checks yearly along with a full vehicle inspection whereas California requires smog checks every other year and no other inspection requirements. Throw in pavement surfaces that look like they were hit by heavy artillery, poorly painted lane divider lines, confusing and poor road signs, and road designs that haven't been updated since the time of the Model T. Of course they have those tributes to road engineering idiocy called jughandles that some engineer thought was a better idea for a left hand turn than a turning lane standard on normal 4 lane roads.
New Jersey: Driving Isn't a Privilege, It's a Miracle
Is Fuel Cell Generation the Auto Technology of the Future? This is for the Science-y loving Morons who have an understanding of the challenges in developing the cars that we'll be driving (if we're allowed by our Betters in The Government) in the middle to latter part of the 21st century. Ever oppressive emissions and fuel efficiency standards along with the natural evolution of technology are numbering the days of the internal combustion engine. Hybrids like the Synergy drive Priuses are compromises, the Volt uses the engine to charge the batteries for electric motors, which is basically the same technology used 80 years ago by diesel-electric locomotives. Electric cars still haven't solved the problem of batteries that need to recharge for hours from the grid and have a nasty tendency to spontaneously combust.
Fuel Cell generation if feasible for inexpensive mass production would eliminate the need to recharge from the grid, making the car as ready to go as an engine powered vehicle. What the fuel cells are supposed to do is process hydrogen to create electricity onboard to power the electric motors. There are some large obstacles at this time that keep the hydrogen cells years away, but I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to know what those barriers are.
A few years back, James May of Top Gear test drove one being developed by GM's research lab in Germany.
Honda and Hyundai are betting heavily on hydrogen fuel cell tech, Honda revealing a FC concept at the LA Auto Show in 2013 and Hyundai bringing their concept this year to the Geneva Auto Show
Since NDH .. uh ..forgot (cough) to include one of my Compliance Pics from last week, here's one with a bit more fabric covering for your Labor Day enjoyment:
UPDATE: An earlier error, despite it saying right there in the tweet, that it's the Manhattan Bridge, I mistakenly identified it as the Brooklyn Bridge. Whatcha gonna do?
Close it up
Open Thread: Feel-good Story of the Day [Y-not]
With all of the bad news these days, it's nice to find a news item that can restore our faith in humanity and make us feel good to be alive.
CEDAR CITY - U.S. Sen. Harry Reid is no longer a part of the Southern Utah University Outdoor Engagement Center. SUU President Scott Wyatt decided to make some changes that called for the Nevada senator's name to be removed from the building.
Several months ago, some concerned citizens met with Wyatt, calling for the removal of Reid's name from the center.
"We had people step up and pledge money towards removing his name. In five days I received pledges totaling $40,000 - in just five days," said Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens.
The only thing that would make this story more perfect is if the naming opportunity in question had been a daycare center. Amiright, morons?!
This is my favorite quote:
"Sen. Reid is part of the SUU alumni and he was gracious enough to grant the university the use of his name, and I didn't want to offend him in any way," Wyatt said.
MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED!
When Reid's name was applied to the center, it was believed donations would be forthcoming, but to this day no money has been given.
"They thought there would substantial donations from Harry Reid's friends," Wyatt said. "But there has never been any money donated for that purpose."
All kidding aside, in philanthropy it is generally really bad form to name something, particularly a permanent thing like a building, in hopes of attracting donations.
Purdue had (may still have) a huge science building that some dunderhead named after Lilly (of Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company that also runs the largest charitable foundation in Indiana). No gifts ever came and as the building aged it became more and more of a money pit for the University. Finding private money to undertake major repairs and renovations is quite difficult, doubly-so when the building in question is named after someone else.
The trend in higher ed giving these days is to move toward putting an expiration date on naming opportunities for things like stadiums and buildings. It reflects the reality that even a very large gift to build a building does not help the institution maintain and renovate that building twenty years down the line.
Back to the SUU story, in a truly bizarre move, the university has decided to keep Reid's name on a non-existent "center" and eventually transfer it to something when, I suppose, money comes in the door.
I think we should help the university decide on a new naming opportunity, don't you? I'll start the ball rolling...
5. Harry's House of Hair Designs
4. the Harry Reid Center for Tax Filings Studies
3. Happy Harry's Cowboy Poetry Slam Fest
2. the Reid Center for Advanced Government Inaction
1. the Harry Reid Day Care Center
I'm sure you all can do better!
Open thread to gloat and generally have fun.
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-31-2014: Shake, Rattle, and Roll [OregonMuse]
Napa County Library After Earthquake
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required.
Ah, Thread of Book
With mood subdued
With pace sedate
Or lurkly look
Thread of Book
Thanks to moron "mindful webworker" for posting this fun poem in last week's comments.
Another thing I like about the book thread is that I can come back to it after 8 or 12 hours and there may be new comments posted. On last week's thread, for instance, the comments extended into the evening, even to the next day. It takes a long time for the book thread to die.
Last Sunday's earthquake in Northern California really did a number on the libraries in Napa, my old stomping ground:
"There is lots of work to be done -- lots of shelving to do! We are closed, but we hope to get back with you as soon as possible with the doors open," says director of Napa County Library Services Danis Kreimeier in a video posted on the system's Facebook page. "Be safe, take care of yourself, and we'll see you real soon."
All Napa County libraries were closed Monday for cleanup.
More On Superman
Last week, I mentioned that a pristine copy of Action Comics #1 was put up for auction on eBay. Guess how much it sold for:
An original Superman comic, sold for 10 cents at a West Virginia newsstand in 1938, was purchased at auction Sunday night for $3.2 million, making it the most expensive comic book ever sold.
I wondered how it survived for so long in such good shape:
Purchased off a newsstand by a man from West Virginia in 1938, the comic book was stored in a cedar chest “at high altitude” for four decades. When the man died, a collector purchased it from his estate.
The 3.2 million auction price far exceeding earlier purchases:
The previous record for a comic book was $2.1 million, for another Action Comics No. 1, sold by the actor Nicolas Cage in 2011.
America Under Attack
The German submarine glided through the icy water past New York City, its captain noting the glowing skyscrapers of Manhattan and then Coney Island's brilliantly-lit Ferris wheel. Soon his lookouts spotted a large oil tanker, steaming ahead without escort. Maneuvering into position, the captain easily acquired his target, framed by the city's lights, and fired a torpedo into the vessel, sending a fireball into the sky worthy of America's most dazzling city.
This isn't some "alt history" sci-fi novel, this really happened. The Burning Shore: How Hitler's U-Boats Brought World War II to America by Ed Offley recounts a rather sobering historical story, that WWII was not fought exclusively in Europe or in the remote Pacific theater, but at times, it came dangerously close to home. Far a period of time in 1942, German U-boats pretty much had their run of the Atlantic off the eastern seaboard, attacking and sinking shipping with impunity. Over 200 ships and tankers were sunk and hundreds of sailors were killed.
I must confess my own ignorance of this. I knew that the U-boats had scored some hits over on this side of the Atlantic, but I never knew it was this bad.
One of the Amazon reviews is by the son of Horst Degen, commander of U-701, who inflicted his share of damage to Allied shipping during this time.
Offley has another book, Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic, that also looks interesting.
Nook: "I'm Not Dead Yet"
Even though Barnes and Noble is going to spin off its money-losing Nook Media Division early next year, they managed to strike a deal with Samsung to co-brand a color Android device. According to the advertising-copy-disguised-as-a-news-story article:
Samsung Electronics America and NOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., today announced the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, a 7-inch tablet combining Samsung’s leading technology and NOOK’s extraordinary content and reading experience. This new co-branded tablet offers the best of both worlds: the first-ever full-featured Android tablet optimized for reading. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is now available in more than 660 Barnes & Noble bookstores and online at www.bn.com and www.nook.com for $179 after a $20 instant rebate, and includes more than $200 in free content from the NOOK Store including bestselling books, popular TV shows, top magazines and more.
I think this is a great idea, and I hope it works, but unfortunately, this is most likely going to be too late to have any kind of a market impact. Like a tired and flagging long-distance runner, the Nook has fallen too far behind to catch up.
I wonder if I could run the Kindle app on of those Galaxy/Nook things? It's an Android device, so I ought to be able to. Because, you know, that would be, like, ironic.
A Waterproof E-Reader?
Kobo announced Wednesday that it would launch a waterproof e-reader, the Kobo Aura H2O. The device will be available for preorder Sept. 1 for delivery beginning Oct. 1...It's the first official waterproof e-reader to be released (aftermarket waterproofed Kindles are available).
Just how waterproof is it?
The Kobo Aura H2O should take care of casual concerns of the e-reader getting splashed or dunked. As long as its port is closed, it can stay up to 3 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes.
I Did Not Know That
For some reason, I find linking to Buzzfeed distasteful, but I have to admit there are some interesting items on this 34 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About "The Lord Of The Rings" Trilogy list, some have to do with the movie adaptation, some with the books themselves. For example:
21. Back in the ’60s, the Beatles wanted to make a movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings, with Stanley Kubrick directing, but Tolkien killed the project.
The source for this is apparently LOTR director Peter Jackson, but I have no idea where he heard it from.
A couple of others:
1. Nicolas Cage passed up the role of Aragorn because of "family obligations."
And I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief over that.
24. Tolkien believed Sam was the “chief hero” of the story.
I can kind of see this, I think. And by the way, Christopher Lee is a complete badass:
22. [He] has recorded and released several metal albums. Including a Christmas album
Dude's like 90 years old, and he's putting out metal albums.
So I might as well continue on the path of shame by linking to another buzzfeed list, 11 Things You Learn Your First Month As A Bookseller
The Case For Books
7 minute Youtube video on building a bookcase. Excellent stop-motion animation that shows a number of nifty woodworking tools being used.
If you're a book-lover (and really, why would you be reading this if you weren't?), you really need to check out the Dover Publications site. Mrs. Muse and I have bought books from them for years, and they've always had an interesting, eclectic line of titles that they publish. For instance, they publish a lot of older, classic books, so back in the day, back before the internet, and Amazon, and public domain books on Kindle, Dover is where you went to pick up cheap reprints. We used Dover a lot when were homeschooling our children.
Here's a taste: on the home page, there's The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick on sale for $4.98, also a collection of World War One Short Stories for $4.00 and The Federalist Papers for $5.50.
You don't get much of a price break on Dover's e-books, but I guess that's pretty much par for the course everywhere you go. And since I've never bought one, I don't know if they're actual e-books, or just scanned in .pdf documents.
But the site is worth bookmarking and browsing every month or so.
What I'm Reading
I'm on the fourth and final novel of the 'Giver' series, Son, and here we're back in the colorless, attenuated world of the first novel. Here, parents don't have and raise their children, but rather, specially selected "breeders" are artificially inseminated, carry the pregnancy, but immediately after birth, the infants are whisked away to a hillary-clinton-it-takes-a-village type of "nurturing center" where they're raised by professional caregivers until they're old enough to be assigned to parents who aren't really married, but are assigned to each other. In this story, a birth mother finds out, due to some procedural sloppiness, that Baby #36 is actually hers. I don't think I want to let Mrs. Muse read this, because she might find reading about the heartache of a mother with empty arms, who has bonded with her child, but now the child is gone, too hard to take.
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? H
Close it up
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
The original Morons?
Overnight Open Thread (30 Aug 2014)
Happy International Bacon Day!
This week in pictures: Strategery Edition.
Bacon Music Video
The Doughnut Burger
Oh my. I'm not sure I can stomach the doughnut burger. But it does have bacon!
The World's Nukes
E-cig Scare Mongering
smoke vapor from e-cigs contains toxic metals. It's not smoke you idiots.
Coming Soon To A Theater Near You?
Boy I really hope this idea just stays in China. Chinese theaters test system of onscreen text messages during movies.
Damn it. First we find out SMOD probably won't show up for a couple hundred years and now this. Yellowstone supervolcano eruption would be large but not as catastrophic as previously thought.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by the bacon flowchart:
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
Open Thread for Your Scrolling Pleasure [Y-not]
That one was getting hard to scroll.
Here's a new one I call "Serenity Now."
Saturday Politics Thread: Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry [Y-not]
College football season is fully underway this week. (Yes, there were some games last week, but this is the weekend the Big Dogs started playing.)
Tonight, the Wisconsin Badgers (14) will be meeting the LSU Tigers (13) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (I have no idea why they're playing in Houston.)
Coincidentally enough, this game involves three states whose Republican Governors should be considered amongst the top contenders for 2016. So let's use that as an excuse to talk about them.
Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, is a favorite amongst many here, including the traitorous Meatball, I believe. Here's a short biosketch for those of you unfamiliar with his background:
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Walker attended Marquette University in Milwaukee. He started his career working for IBM before gaining a marketing job with the American Red Cross. At age 22, Walker lost a run for the Wisconsin State Assembly in a Milwaukee district in 1990, though he won later, after moving to a more Conservative district in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He served five more terms in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1993 to 2002. In 2002, after the resignation of Tom Ament as Executive of Milwaukee County, Walker won in a special election to fill the seat, winning the first of three terms serving as County Executive in Milwaukee County from 2002 to 2010.
In his first run for Governor in 2006 he dropped out before the Republican primaries. Walker again ran for the governorship in 2010 winning in a three person race in the Republican primary. He faced Democratic nominee, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in the general election, where Walker won with 52% of the vote. After being sworn into office in 2011, Walker introduced a controversial budget repair plan which eliminated many collective bargaining rights for most public employees and made over $1 billion in cuts to the state's biennial education budget and $500 million in cuts from the state's biennial Medicaid budget. The budget cuts led to significant protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol and sparked an effort to recall Walker.
In a special election in June 2012, Walker again faced Barrett in Wisconsin's first and only Gubernatorial recall election and defeated him for a second time, obtaining more than 53% of the vote. Walker is the first and only governor in the U.S. to date to win a gubernatorial recall election.
Many reject the idea that a prospective candidate's resume matters. I am not in that camp. It does matter to me and I confess I am not particularly impressed by Walker's credentials.
That said, he is credited with accomplishing a lot of great things in Wisconsin, most notably getting the state's fiscal house in order and defeating the unions.
Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, was high on many peoples' lists until that semi-disastrous SOTU rebuttal speech he gave in 2009. After that it seemed as though the popular opinion was that Jindal was too "odd" to be a serious contender. I don't know if that's true for most people, but in my case it does not matter as I vote in the primaries based on what I want, not based on what I think others want. Based on the past two election cycles, I remain unconvinced that the Smart Set who insist we factor "electability" into our primary process know their asses from their elbows.
In any event, here's a quick summary of Bobby Jindal's resume:
Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to immigrants from India. Prior to entering politics, Jindal studied for a Bachelor of Science in biology and public policy at Brown University from 1988 to 1991 and then a Master of Letters in political science from New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He worked for McKinsey & Company and interned for Representative Jim McCrery of Louisiana. In 1996, Governor Murphy Foster appointed Jindal Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and in 1999 he was appointed President of the University of Louisiana System. In 2001, Jindal was appointed as the principal adviser to Tommy Thompson, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services by President George W. Bush.
He first ran for governor in 2003 and won a plurality in the nonpartisan blanket primary but lost in the general election to Democrat Kathleen Blanco. He then won a seat in the United States House of Representatives in the 2004 elections. The second Indian American in Congress, he was re-elected in 2006. He ran for Governor again in 2007 and secured an outright majority in the first round of balloting. He was re-elected in a landslide in 2011.
I don't know a lot about Jindal's record in Louisiana, except I remember being fairly impressed by him during the oil spill, when he called out Obama for the administration's inaction. What I saw of that Jindal suggested to me that he has matured past the 2009 Jindal. IOW, I think a large part of Bobby Jindal's poor performance in the SOTU rebuttal was owing to being overly-managed by some bad advisors. I doubt that would happen again.
I confess, what has put Jindal back on my radar was his rapid (August 16th) and strong response to the malicious prosecution (and indictment) of Governor Rick Perry. In case you missed it, here it is:
"I stand behind Governor Perry in his fight for honest government and I am certain he will prevail in this partisan suit," Mr. Jindal tweeted, adding in separate dispatches, "Governor Perry exercised his constitutional authority and this circus is simply a political witch-hunt." and "The lawsuit against Governor Perry is a blatant misuse of the judicial system by liberal activists who couldn’t defeat him at the polls."
Here's Scott Walker's response to the indictment:
Walker urged his counterpart to remain "bold and aggressive" and that he can understand the pressure.
"The bottom line is I can completely understand being under attack from outside sources for political purposes and it appears that's what we're seeing in Texas," Walker said. "I'd encourage him to stick with the truth and point out where politics are being played."
(BTW, I watched the clip of Walker and was not impressed by his delivery. It struck me as rather weak support of an extremely successful Republican governor coming from another Republican governor. YMMV.)
Finally, there's the Governor of Texas. I've been told for years now that I cannot vote for the Governor of Texas in the GOP primary because being the Governor of Texas is disqualifying.
He's the best-known of these three 2016 prospects, having served as governor since 2000. Here's a quick summary of his resume:
James Richard "Rick" Perry (born March 4, 1950) is an American politician who is the 47th and current governor of Texas. A Republican, he was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become president of the United States. Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas state history. As a result, he is the only governor in modern Texas history to have appointed at least one person to every eligible state office, board, or commission position (as well as to several elected offices to which the governor can appoint someone to fill an unexpired term, such as six of the nine current members of the Texas Supreme Court).
Perry was elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and is the fourth Texas governor (after Allan Shivers, Price Daniel, and John Connally) to serve three terms. With a tenure in office to date of 13 years, 252 days, Perry is the second longest serving current U.S. governor – after Terry Branstad of Iowa. Perry served as chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008 (succeeding Sonny Perdue of Georgia) and again in 2011.
Perry won the Texas 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary election, defeating U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Wharton County Republican Party Chairwoman and businesswoman Debra Medina. In the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election, Perry won a third term by defeating former Houston mayor Bill White and Kathie Glass.
On August 13, 2011, Perry announced in South Carolina that he was running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election. Perry suspended his campaign in January 2012 and eventually endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
On July 8, 2013, Perry announced that he would not seek re-election to his fourth term in the 2014 election, planning to retire instead. Unnamed sources said to be close to Perry told the National Review that Perry may focus on another White House bid for 2016.
There's a lot more given that he's had a very lengthy public record even before his terms as governor.
Of course, if that doesn't matter to you and you care about results, then I direct you to the Texas economy.
Everyone here knows I am a huge admirer of Perry. I also like him. I think he's charming and strong-willed and telegenic.
That said, I have not yet decided on a top guy (or gal) for 2016 and that includes Perry. I hope he runs and runs well. I hope Republicans give him a serious look. I hope the primary tests him - and all of the candidates - and that he (and the others) are all on their game. But, mostly, I hope there's none of that bullshit we saw last time of Republicans misrepresenting each others' records or digging through each others' garbage.
I am confident that each of these three men have "skeletons" in their closet -- racist rocks or exorcisms or academic hiccups. I am also confident that none of those are disqualifying. So if they come out, let's not overplay them. OK?
Of the three prospective candidates, I think Jindal is the smartest, Perry has the strongest record, and Walker may have the fewest negatives. YMMV. As of this moment, my top pick from these three is Perry, but that's largely because I've followed him the most closely.
How about a quick poll to see where you all stand?
To wrap things up, here are some Badger elbows:
Close it up
Weekend Headlines [CBD}
Why Israel Defeated -- But Didn't Crush -- Hamas
This is interesting, but there are some assumptions made that are illogical.
United Nations peacekeepers reportedly fleeing across border into Israel
Why do they bother giving them weapons?
Reason #43,949 why government is bad
First they came for our vacuums.....
Ferguson isn't about black rage against cops. It's white rage against progress.
[Multiple Trigger Warning: stupidity, racism, vile patronizing, reflexive leftism....]
Saturday Gardening Thread: Writer's Block Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]
Good afternoon and welcome to your Saturday Gardening Thread!
Today's thread is brought to you by Billboard's Top 100 Songs of 1962, which happens to be the year I was born. Here's Number 69, "Cindy's Birthday:"
Take it away, WeirdDave:
OK, got no clue what to write about today. None. Zero, Zip, Nada. I tell ya, I got nothing. So I plugged "Garden" into DuckDuckGo and scrolled way down, then started to look for interesting stuff.
What garden is complete without a geodesic dome? Not yours, I'm sure, and at the link you can buy one for only 499 €, whatever the hell a "€" is. I'd be worried that Pauly Shore would show up.
Here's a site called The Gay Gardener. There's lots of helpful tips there, but I haven't found yet how being gay affects your garden, unless you're doing in your garden what you should be doing in your bedroom, in which case I'd suggest investing in a geodesic dome with an opaque cover (see first link) if you have neighbors.
Moving on, since we're getting close to Halloween, perhaps a nice, creepy scarecrow is in order. At the link you can get ones with faces on them, although the fact that they feature a picture of one of their products with crows sitting on it makes me question how effective they are. The faces are a nice touch, if you put one out front instead of in the garden I'm sure you'll give one or two trick-or-treaters nightmares. Still not sure about crow nightmares.
If you find yourself in Iceland, you should definitely visit The Elf Garden. Why? Well, their webpage has a picture of a cat looking at a rainbow sign captioned "We are here". Isn't that enough? We are here. Much better than "How to cook forty humans" I suppose. These people seem to have the intersection of elves and gardens nailed, AND they featured a performance by "the extremely funny Teenagers, Arnor and Oli." Book your tickets now before their voices change, their "Elves and faeries and goblins, oh my" routine won't be nearly as funny in a bass voice.
I got quite excited when I noticed a link to Eden's Garden, I thought God had barred mankind from that place for eternity. Turns out it's an aromatherapy store. I looked, but couldn't find any ValuRite scented oils or essence of Ewok, so it might not be our kind of place.
Hey, here's a website about bugs. They tell you which bugs are good bugs that fight bad bugs that are bugging your garden. Garden Insects. They promise that their bugs can beat up your bugs, and even provide a link to where you can order bugs online. Shopping for AtC has never been easier. Buy now, Christmas is just around the corner.
Finally, we find a link to Michelle Obama's garden. "Today, the garden is planted, tended and harvested by Mrs. Obama, White House staff, the National Park Service and visitors." Sure. I'm willing to bet that one of those listed does just a teensy bit less work in the garden than the others. Call it a hunch. There's more: "Inspired by the First Lady's passion for healthy living and healthy eating, people across the country have revisited the American tradition of starting a vegetable garden at home." Actually Madam First Lady, Americans are "revisiting" the "tradition" of starting a veggie garden because WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY FOOD DUE TO YOUR HUSBAND'S LOUSY ECONOMIC POLICIES.
* mic drop *
Weirddave is out.
And now from your co-hostess, Y-not:
Today's my birthday.
I'm past the age where I actually celebrate my birthday, but I'm using the calendar date as an excuse to not feel guilty for having virtually no content for you this week!
You youngsters will discover that as you get to A Certain Age you begin to embrace your Inner Curmudgeon. I hit that age two years ago. My Inner Curmudgeon gives me license to ask to see The Manager when service sucks, to insist that hipster clerks SPEAK THE FRIG UP WHEN TALKING TO ME, and to blow off my AoSHQ duties as desired.
It's quite freeing, really. I'm not sure it compensates for waking up with aches and pains every day, but it's something.
In any event, here are a couple of things from Casa Y-not.
I have finally harvested a tomato! The first of the Black Carbons has produced a ripe fruit (left) which we enjoyed in a salad earlier this week. It had split in a couple of places, but it was still fine for eating. I found it to be a sweet tomato with a firm, juicy flesh. Meanwhile, a tomato from the Black Krim plant (right) is starting to ripen. I'll let you know how that goes.
I was planning on writing up something about fungi, because we've had a lot of rain around here, which has produced tons of mushrooms in our back yard. Most of them are of the smooth, rounded cap type (lower), but I did find one funky one (upper) that was flat with ridges on the top side instead of on its underside the way most mushrooms are.
I'm not particularly bothered by the existence of these things, but if you're interested in learning more about lawn mushrooms, here's a link.
Finally, we've had some extra bonus flowers popping up in our yard recently, thanks to the messiness of the birds who visit our feeder. They're kind of pretty and are helping to fill in that "problem slope" that I told you about earlier this year. It'll be interesting to see if they return next season.
So that's it from your pals WeirdDave and Y-not. What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?
To wrap things up, here's #60 from that list, "Moon River:"
Send comments, pictures, tips, questions, and large unmarked bills to me on Twitter at moxiemom or to my gee m ail account, bailesworth.
Close it up
College Football Thread
—Dave In Texas
Or as I like to think of it, sharp cheerleader elbows.
Texas A&M (21) kicked the snot out of South Carolina (9, for now) on Thursday, 52-28 at SC. I giggle now that the whole SEC gets to hate A&M as much as I used to. Enjoy all that, SEC! They're yours now.
Also this is kind of funny, a South Carolina furniture store offers to pay off furniture loans if A&M beats the Gamecocks by more than 10 points.
I just put this in here so I could say "Gamecocks"
They use insurance for this kind of thing, kind of like win a car with a hole in one at a golf tournament. Still, heh.
Boise State didn't do well at Ole Miss (18), a 35-13 loss. Arizona St also beat somebody.
Top Ten action today (and tomorrow, Baylor (10) plays SMU on Sunday in their brand spanking new McLane Stadium and I will be there, yo), all times EDT:
UCLA (7) and Virginia at noon
Ohio St. (5) and Navy, noon
Alabama (2) and West VA, 3:30pm
Arkansas and Auburn (6), 4pm
Oklahoma (4) and Louisiana Tech, 7pm
FSU (1) and Oklahoma St. (33), 8pm
Oregon (3) and South Dakota, 10:30pm
Also Michigan St. (8) beat Jacksonville St. last night, 45-7
Southwest Ohio Moron Meet-up Trial Balloon/Open Thread(CBD)
I had a mini-meet planned for SW Ohio last week as a reward to myself for moving a brat into her new house, but had to abort because 20-year-old college juniors are
horrid, lazy, stupid, ungrateful difficult.
Intrepid Southwest Ohio Moron speedster1 has created an e-mail address for those in the area:
swohmome at mail dot com
Obviously this includes Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky. So shoot him an e-mail if you have any interest in meeting like-minded folk.
OT Thread-Clearing Out The Browser Tabs Edition [WeirdDave]
I don't really feel like doing politics today, so I'm going to feature some links and memes from back in the day. I know in internet terms that means last Tuesday, but I've been online for a long time. When I first wandered online, using my Atari ST series computer, the internet wasn't a superhighway, it was a cow path. In 20-plus years of browsing, I've bookmarked and saved a lot of crap, call it a potpourri of poop, or maybe a cavalcade of crap. Now, if I can just get this 5 1/4" floppy drive to interface with Windows 7....
Here's one of the first RPGs I remember playing. It's not quite the grandaddy of them all, but it knew the granddaddy when he was still in school. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Man, I played this thing for hours, along with its sequels. All of the elements of modern RPGs are there, monsters, weapons, food, magic, puzzles....they're just a lot more....primitive. Apparently someone went through the trouble of adapting the game for Windows, so if you'd like to see what kept us greybeards occupied when the internet was still made out of wood, you can do so here: Dungeon Master Java.
Then came flash, and suddenly everyone putting out the most putrid stuff imaginable. Most of it is thankfully lost to the ages, but some were so bad they became awesome and have been preserved. My favorite is Journey: A Tribute To America. It's just so mind numbingly bad that it's hilarious. Such a big Journey fan, and he doesn't even get the lyrics right, but I dare you to watch that and not hear “purple moose” the next time the song comes on the radio.
Let's see, what's next? Oooh! The Brunching Shuttlecocks! Anyone remember that website? Lots of funny stuff, but the two funniest bits IMO Your Roommate Plays The Indigo Girls (I swear I knew that guy in college. I bet you did too) and The Island of Misfit Chinese Food (mildly NSFW).
The trolls we get here at AoS are generally pretty lame, about as much originality as dust, but there is some epic trolling going on out there on the web. Who can forget the saga of Bloodninja, who elevated cybersex trolling to new levels of awesome? I put on my robe and wizard hat. The next to last one must have been an 'ette, she turns it right back on him. Hmmm, I wonder if The Political Hat ever socks as "The Robe and Wizard Hat"?
Some threads never die. Things I Learned From my Patients, about what goes on in the ER, has been running on a doc forum for over a decade now. I scanned some of the latest pages and it's mostly just docs talking doc talk, but if you go back and read from the beginning there's some astounding stuff. Humans, am I right, or what?
Stay away from people named "Some Guy" or "This One Dude", because they for whatever reason, just punch someone in the face or hit them with a crowbar and run off. If I see them on the street, I cross the street to get away from them.
Never, ever leave flashlights, shampoo bottles, beer bottles or any long, circular object on the floor because someday you will fall on it and it will somehow, work its way up your rectum.
if the two dudes live in YOUR city, don't sit out on your front porch reading the bible and minding your own business at 2 AM unless you are praying to be shot
No matter how annoyed you are at being incarcerated dont slash open your scrotum and shove razor blades up your urethra. Now I know, who among us hasn't thought wistfully of doing that but it turns out that it's not a good idea.
Latex paint, despite being thick and creamy, does not coat your stomach and provide the same relief as pepto bismol.
I'm sure Conservative Crank is nodding his head right about now.
That girl has an awesome pair of....suitors.
OK, just a few political links:
Remember when we had a real President who loved this country. Yea. That was great.
I want to live in The Republic of Bill
And that's about it. This morning's OT thread is brought to you by Vladimir Putin
Close it up
Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Oh, and then there's this:
Yes. That is paparazzi taking photos of..... a puppet. I suspect from the audio that there might be drugs involved.
Overnight Open Thread (29 Aug 2014) - Under The Influence Edition
Evenin' morons. I'm back with this abbreviated ONT. I blame the pain killers.
Fake threat vs real threat
Probably explains why we have no plan for ISIS. Democrats are more afraid of global warming than ISIS. (Warning: Autoplay video).
Deep fried tequila shots anyone?
This could be pretty cool, especially if they make it take place during the same time as the books. Bradley Cooper to star in Mack Bolan movie.
Bonus: Angry dogs wearing costumes.
Tonight's ONT brought to you by:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
So y'all's can write about whatever you like, musically. I'll just write a little bit up here because I wanted to write something about this anyway.
Lately -- I think because it's the 25th anniversary of Kick, or something -- I've been fascinated by INXS.
One of the cable channels has on a two-part docudrama about INXS' rise and fall. The first half is all rise -- formation to Kick -- the second is all fall, from Michael Hutchence being sucker-punched and knocked out cold in Hong Kong (did you know that?) which gave him a nasty change of personality (prone to rages) and robbed him of his sense of smell and taste, to his ultimate suicide in Sydney.
The docudrama is produced by INXS, so it gets very superficial about certain things they probably don't want to talk about. Like, Tim Farris, the band's leader, got married relatively early. Did he cheat? The movie does not say yes or no. It never shows him cheating; it just sort of shows him around semi-dressed girls during the band parties.
I'm not into these movies for such prurient stuff but the film has this tendency to set something up and make you curious, and then completely ignore the obvious questions you'd have about it.
Youngest member Jon Farriss, the drummer, got arrested for drugs at one point. There's an implication in the film he was actually dealing to help the band make rent. But... the film never says. He just gets out of jail because he's a minor, and no one ever mentions it again.
The most compelling character in the movie is... the manager, Chris Murphy, who comes across very well and very central to the band's success.
The other characters in the movie are Michael Hutchence.
Pretty much just Michael Hutchence. And his girlfriends.
Occasionally you see Tim Farris and Andy Farris and sometimes Jon Farris. Kirk Pengilly has a couple of lines, and Garry Gary Beers is almost entirely absent from the movie until the last ten minutes. When he confesses that he's begun seeing a woman besides his wife, in a scene that really showcases...
The film has almost no "how the song was written" material at all. There's one famous story that when Listen Like Thieves was about to go out to the record company, Chris Murphy listened and said, "I don't hear any hits."
So Andy Farris wrote a song in about a day, and Hutchence wrote the lyrics, and the band recorded it in like three takes, and it became their all-time greatest hit (at that time). That was "What You Need."
The movie just completely skips over that. I have no idea why. Especially because "What You Need" directly led to Kick -- the entire album of Kick is designed to sound like What You Need. What You Need was different from everything else on Listen Like Thieves, and everything they'd done before.
So this one song, written and recorded in a single day (or day and a half), changed their whole sound, made them superstars, and spawned, basically, an entire album.
But the movie ignores all of that.
It does reveal a few interesting things. Their first manager found God and decided that he could only manage Christian bands. He tried to convince INXS to become a Christian band. They briefly considered doing so.
Another interesting thing was when the label heard Kick for the first time, they hated it so much that they offered the band one million dollars to write and record an entirely new album. They said it was too black, and they couldn't sell INXS to black radio, being white and all.
It made no sense, either: Seriously, "Kick" was just "What You Need" in 12 different parts. "What You Need" was their biggest hit. Ergo, any executive who's interested in hits should have said, "Cool, it sounds like your biggest hit. Let's push this out there."
But they absolutely hated it.
The band had to go behind their back to release it.
So you probably know what happened next.
It's a decent docudrama, as far as these things go, just... superficial.
But diverting enough.
Anyway, here are a few of their better songs.
I think the below is my favorite song. Andrew Farris said it was made up of a bunch of spare parts that didn't fit at all together, but somehow it did all fit.
Close it up
Obama: The News Makes it Seem Like the World Is Falling Apart, But Actually It's Fine, It's Just That We Hear Too Much from Social Media
Speaking to Democrat donors at, get this, a fundraiser:
"If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart,” Pres Obama told Dem donors, citing ISIL, Russia and Ukraine.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 29, 2014
Pres Obama said “The world’s always been messy … we’re just noticing now in part because of social media."— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 29, 2014
Above: Social Media makes it seem like an American journalist
was beheaded by a terrorist organization which has declared war on the US
For some time I have had concerns about Obama. And not all of these concerns are political.
I have wondered if he simply snapped.
He continues to make me wonder.
The less menacing possibility is that he is determined to create a happy, false reality for his LIV supporters.
The more frightening possibility is that he was so successful in creating that Happy Place, he decided to move in, and now lives in his own delusions as well.
Meanwhile, as the president fundraises and attends celebrity weddings, bear this in mind:
Senior Pentagon official just confirmed to me that "hesitation" by President Obama delayed July 4th #Foley hostage rescue mission— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) August 29, 2014
Meanwhile, Noah Rothman writes that before invading Ukraine, Putin began calling it by its old Tsarist name, and denying that it was really a state.
He's now doing the same thing with regard to Kazakhstan -- also, he avers, never really a state at all.
So, you know.
But this is just "Social Media" making us worried about the Soviet Union, and yes, it is time to call it by its proper name again.
Update: So when Obama says, in press conferences, that he's "deeply concerned" and "working tirelessly" on these "serious matters," I guess he just told us he's lying?
After all, if the world is fine, and everything will just work itself out, and we're only alarmed due to "Social Media," then he can't be "deeply concerned" about it all, can he?
Two versions of the same song; I figured I'd give you a choice.
Close it up
Media Ignores Obama's "We Don't Have a Strategy" Statement In Order to Focus on the Important Thing -- Obama Fashion
A partisan Democrat media, hungry for an Obama victory, finds one in his sartorial choices.
Good photoshop about this, too:
And you may find yourself in a beautiful Oval Office... pic.twitter.com/m7N8DDQrZe— Doktor Zoom (@DoktorZoom) August 28, 2014
Retracted: Commenter Andrew tells me I totally misread that piece and claimed it was making a completely different argument than the one it was actually making.
He's right; I'm sorry. Apologies to Vox, too, for misrepresenting them.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Conn Carroll
Intro/Outro: Moneypenny Goes For Broke-Burt Bacharach/One Tree Hill-U2
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
The Man With a Plan: Obama To Attend Celebrity-Studded Wedding, Lead Three Partisan Fundraisers; Ed Henry Asks His Spokesman Why He's Taking a Long Weekend When He Still Doesn't Have a Strategy for IS
Obama does have a strategy -- and that strategy is to Party Like it's 1999.
President Obama has a busy Labor Day weekend planned as he leaves on Air Force One for New York later this afternoon.
Once in New York, President Obama is scheduled to attend two Democratic National Committee fundraisers in the area at private homes.
One of the fundraisers will be a Labor Day Barbecue, hosted by ex-UBS CEO Robert Wolf, who also golfed with the president on Martha's Vineyard during their vacation.
He will then travel abroad Air Force One to Newport, Rhode Island for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Saturday, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend the wedding of MSNBC’s Alex Wagner to his personal White House Chef Sam Kass.
The wedding will be held at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a Westchester County farm-to-table restaurant in New Rochelle, New York.
And then he's traveling to a labor fundraiser.
You'll remember that when Obama "came back to DC from vacation" during his many unattended crises, it seems to have been largely in order to have a five-hour pre-wedding dinner with Wagner and Kass.
Yesterday, White House Consiglierte Josh Earnest spent the entire day claiming that when Obama said "We don't have a strategy, yet," what he actually meant to say was "We have always had and continue to have a clear strategy."
You don't believe me, but there's video of this.
Today, Ed Henry dares to ask Josh Earnest why the president -- who doesn't have a strategy -- spending yet another long period of vacation havin' fun and talking with Interesting Italians.
By the way, I have swiped the videos from those last two posts, but do read the posts -- Rutz and Rothman wrote good posts, but I'll direct you there for their words.
Texas Department of Public Safety Issues Bulletin Warning of Increased "ISIS Interest on the Southwest Border"
This is Judicial Watch's claim, but, as you'll see, they're claiming multiple sources.
We'll see if anyone else can confirm it themselves.
Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.
Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas....
Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to "carry out an attack on the border," according to one JW source. "It's coming very soon," according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as "ISIS and Al Qaeda."
Another source says that the personnel at Fort Bliss, a military base near the border, are being briefed.
The reporting from Judicial Watch says the attack will be "on" the border, which I guess could mean Brownsville or another large town.
But that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Seems more likely the incursion would be at the border, but the attack would be elsewhere.
Still, what the reporting says is "an attack on the border." I think that might be garbled in translation, but that's what it says.
Thanks to "Cowboy Poet."
Update: Fox Now Reporting. A few new details:
The Fox report is less alarmist than the Judicial Watch one (but that may be just because they have fewer sources -- they just seem to have confirmed the alert itself).
The alert found by Fox comes from the Texas Department of Public Safety, not the feds, though I suppose they themselves might have been tipped by the feds.
"A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack," warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by FoxNews.com.
The three-page bulletin, entitled "ISIS Interest on the US Southwest Border" was released to law enforcement on Thursday.
"Social media account holders believed to be ISIS militants and propagandists have called for unspecified border operations, or they have sought to raise awareness that illegal entry through Mexico is a viable option," states the law enforcement bulletin, which is not classified.
It notes that as of Aug. 26, no known credible homeland threats or specific homeland attack plot has been identified.
Based on that much, I'm taking down the flaming skull, for now, as it seems less urgent and less well-sourced than I first thought.
In addition, Andy McCarthy, who is an expert in these things, is concerned by the memo, but also says he expects this sort of thing in the weeks before the 9/11 anniversary.
For those of us who've been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration's non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise -- particularly less than two weeks before September 11. But it is nonetheless jarring to read.
The way I read McCarthy there is like this: "Yes, this is worrying, but I see this sort of thing all the time."
So I'm resetting my personal Terror Threat Alarm System back down to orange from red. This is a reason for great concern, but not panic.
Not yet, anyway.
Sorry for making you jumpy.
But to add a caveat to the caveat: Fox is only confirming one of Judicial Watch's sources, the bulletin itself. Add in those additional sources and this appears to be more alarming than a routine "Be Advised" memo.
A Diverse Assortment of "Children" Now Taking Advantage of Obama's DACA to Enroll in Local Schools
The mayor of Lynn, Massachusetts gave a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Here is what she said of the "children" taking advantage of DACA and enrolling in her schools.
"One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults," she said.
She added that the federal government will not allow school officials to verify their ages, even though one of the students turned out to be 35 years old.
Kennedy said that the majority of those from Guatemala who are enrolling in the Lynn Public Schools claim to be between 14 and 17 years of age.
"But there were people with graying temples, hair around the temples," said Kennedy, adding that although she did not see these individuals in person, she saw photographs of them in registration paperwork. "There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes."
"We were told through a directive from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that we were not to question or verify -- attempt to verify these ages," Kennedy stated at the press conference, hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
So there you go.
Lawless. A ruling clique in open rebellion against the country, its people and its laws.
Update: Some draw conclusions from this that I think are unlikely.
I don't think these thirty-five-years-and-older "students" are actually attending these schools. Or at least not many of them, at least not more than a couple of times.
However, to take advantage of DACA, they must pretend to be teenagers, and so they're pretending.
Obama knows it's a scam. He intends the scam. He has set the system up with the exact expectation that thirty-five-year-olds could claim to be fifteen and earn their DACA hall pass.
He knows that if anyone looks into a lot of these "children," it will be revealed to largely be a scam, and will cause negative headlines, and harm his "This is for The Children" narrative.
So his government has ordered local governments that it is illegal to look into the ages of these alleged "children."
I really don't think they'll be attending school, though.
I think they'll mostly be working their "after-school jobs" at the local restaurants and landscaping companies.