Top Headline Comments 12-10-13
In Election 2014 news, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor trails his GOP challenger Tom Cotton by 7 points. Obamacare gets a lot of the credit.
Rep. Steve Stockman surprised everyone yesterday with a surprise decision to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the GOP primary. Stockman announced his candidacy in World Net Daily. He has $36,000 in the bank.
The NY Post editorial board responded to that NYTimes homelessness piece that got medium-sized buzz yesterday to call it hooey. A taste: "If the city is at fault here, it might well be for having been too generous — providing so much that neither the father nor mother seems much inclined to provide for their kids."
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ZeroHedge: dude, we are so so monstrously boned
—Purp37 reasons why recovery is a complete fraud(there's only a few on this list that are throwaway filler)
...Sadly, all of those "emergency measures" do not appear to have done much at all. The percentage of Americans that have a job has stayed remarkably flat since the end of 2009, median household income has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row. Anyone that claims that the U.S. economy is experiencing a "recovery" is simply not telling the truth. The following are 37 reasons why "the economic recovery of 2013" is a giant lie...One of the most terrifying, number 25 on ZH's list: the velocity of money has cratered to a post-WWII low.
People are hunkering down, and hunkering down VERY HARD. The velocity of money now is apparently slower than during the Great Depression (You want to look at the last chart in that dude's blog post for the Federal Reserve chart that goes back to the great depression).
Even the left is starting to entertain the notion that things could burn, although their prescriptions are as likely to throw gas on the fire as douse it. David Simon (creator of The wire series) recently admitted as much. He used the term "the brick" for the burning times.
...So I don’t know what we do if we can’t actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will. Even if we all start having the same sentiments that I’m arguing for now, I’m not sure we can effect them any more in the same way that we could at the rise of the Great Depression, so maybe it will be the brick. But I hope not.
Its only Tuesday.
Friday is an eternity away.
Overnight Open Thread (12-9-2013)
Most mammals are unable to drink milk after weaning because their bodies stop producing the enzyme lactase which allows them to digest it. But humans are the exception - with most people producing at least some lactase as an adult. But the amount varies quite a bit across different groups as the map below shows.
Most human populations, however, have developed some degree of lactase persistence, enabling them to digest milk beyond the breast-feeding stage. It is estimated that 75% of the overall world population undergoes some decrease in lactase production, but that figure varies widely, in accordance with the genetic heritage of particular populations. Northern Europeans show only a 5% decrease in lactase production throughout their adult lives, whereas that figure is over 70% in Southern Europe. The fraction of adult lactose intolerance can be as high as 90% in some African and Asian countries.
This lactase persistence is due to a genetic mutation that appeared sometime after the last ice age as humans were switching from hunting-gathering to farming. In fact looking at the above map there are clearly several lactase-persistence hotspots and it's believed that multiple lactase-related mutations appeared independently and began to spread outward based on the advantage that a diet supplemented with milk and milk-products gave.
This map shows the lactase hotspots of the Old World , with the Lands of the Milk Drinkers marked in the darkest hues. There are four core areas with a population over 90% lactose-tolerant: western Africa (in an area roughly contingent with modern Mauritania), the middle part of the Arabian peninsula, the Indus estuary (in southern Pakistan) and the north west of Europe (including the British Isles, southern Scandinavia and the coastal areas of the continent, with one deep jut into central Europe). The layer-like distribution of consecutive zones of decreasing lactose tolerance seems to indicate that the Milk Drinkers, in each of these four zones, were able to progress deep into the territories of their lacteally challenged neighbours.
Lanza may have had Aspergers but he was also very likely a psychopath. And that plus an enabling mother is what made him so dangerous.
The mother did the shooter's laundry on a daily basis as the shooter often changed clothing during the day. She was not allowed in the shooter's room, however, even to clean. No one was allowed in his room.
The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays. He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings.
Given his long obsession with serial killers and killing in general it's not clear that anything short of institutionalization would stopped him.
Even though they describe their investigation as 'inconclusive'.
The Gallop Asian Bistro has taken seriously the allegations made by Ms. Dayna Morales, and those made against her. Despite news reports to the contrary, this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation. The results of that investigation are inconclusive as to exactly what happened between Ms. Morales and the customers that night. However, in light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future.
Oh and the Wounded Warrior Project says that there's evidence of any donation from Dayna Morales despite her asking for donations for it.
Okay she's a serial liar who's probably been lying and scamming people for a long time and hopefully this story will make it harder for her to play her games in the future. But my real anger is at the restaurant. They basically chose a lying waitress over one of their paying customers.
Once she posted a picture of the note with the amount on it it would have been trivial for the restaurant management to check it against all credit card charges during the night and see if any ticket matched it. So they probably knew within a day that her story was BS but they stuck by her even after the completely innocent customers came forward and showed that they had in fact included a tip on their ticket. The Gallop Asian Bistro has made it clear where they stand regarding their customers so why should anyone ever eat there if they had any other choice?
David Graeber is upset that some 'important' jobs don't seem to pay as much as he thinks they should:
.in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble.
And Alex Tabbarok sets him straight:
This, of course, is just the diamond-water "paradox"-why are diamonds, mere baubles, so expensive while water, a necessity of life, is so cheap?-the paradox was solved over a hundred years ago by.wait for it.can you guess?..the marginal revolution. Water is cheap and its value low because the supply of water is so large that the marginal value of water is driven down close to zero. Diamonds are expensive because the limited market supply keeps the price and marginal value high. Not much of a paradox. Note that, contra Graeber, there is nothing special about labor in this regard or "our society."
Moreover, it's good that prices are determined on the margin. We would be very much the poorer, if all useful goods were expensive and only useless goods were cheap.
And as one commenter points out Lebron James can always haul garbage but the reverse is not true of a garbage man. In general you're not paid what you're 'worth' - you're paid what it would take to replace you.
My ex-mother-in-law used to help us out quite a bit, just out of the blue. Usually it was in odd ways, like buying a swing set for the kids or bringing us unnecessary things she found while shopping. Mostly dildos. Sometimes things that weren't dildos but were shaped very much like dildos. But it was always useful in some way, even if we brought the unnecessary items back for store credit. We were always thankful for it, but the second we asked her for help, she blew up.
Honestly, I understand why, and I don't blame her for it one bit. Giving something freely to someone feels pretty awesome. But if that person asks you for more on top of what you've already given them, it's pretty easy to feel like you're being taken advantage of.
You got bad gouge about the Army guaranteeing you a job. The Navy can too, provided you get it on paper. I entered the Navy with my job as a linguist guaranteed. The only thing that would have stopped me- if I had not passed my security clearance or had failed out of DLI. Trust me, I've seen both. It is a little scary, but you will be fine. (Provided you don't have too many skeletons in your closet. . . (Grin.) One guy had a vindictive girlfriend who lied about him and drugs, so he never completed DLI.)
...Last thought on women: I really appreciate having females in the Navy. And on the ship. (Even subs if you guys want to. I certainly don't want to be in one of those sinkers.) Trust me, the Navy is like a really cool, slightlllllllllllly miserable club where you work hard. Or sometimes, you completely screw off. (Don't tell anyone about the last thing.)
Or even worse - fornicating. The beard has spoken.
Well just based on the names alone on the letters of recommendation I would have hired the former patent clerk.
From Henri Poincaré:
My dear colleague,
Mr Einstein is one of the most original thinkers I have ever met. In spite of his youth, he has already achieved a very honourable place among the leading savants of his age. What one has to admire in him above all is the facility with which he adapts himself to new concepts and knows how to draw from them every possible conclusion. He has not remained attached to classical principles, and when faced with a problem of physics he is prompt in envisaging all its possibilities. A problem which enters his mind unfolds itself into the anticipation of new phenomena which may one day be verified by experiment. I do not mean to say that all these anticipations will withstand the test of experiment on the day such a test would become possible. Since he seeks in all directions one must, on the contrary, expect most of the trails which he pursues to be blind alleys. But one must hope at the same time that one of the directions he has indicated may be the right one, and that is enough. This is indeed how one should proceed. The role of mathematical physics is to ask the right questions, and experiment alone can resolve them.
The future will show more and more the worth of Mr Einstein, and the university intelligent enough to attract this young master is certain to reap great honour.
Your most devoted colleague,Poincaré
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And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by a 5,000 year old Sumerian star map:
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Close it up
—Dave In Texas
Dallas at Chicago. I keep getting drawn into this mediocre team in this mediocre division for, I don't know why.
Actually mediocre is kind isn't it? Washington and NY are just plain awful. Philadelphia doesn't impress much.
Heard a stat tonight: at this point in the season Tony Romo has 8 fewer interceptions than this time last year. 7 if you're countin.
Speaking of Chicago, yesterday in the snow games I sorta remembered this weird playoff game in Chicago on New Year's Eve in 1988 where around halftime a sunny day got covered up in an ice fog or something rolling in from Lake Michigan. It was funny to watch, they decided to play it out but nobody could see shit except right there on the field. The announcers couldn't see anything, the viewers couldn't see anything but it was kinda funny all the same. Clip below the fold.
Happy Monday morons.
Hersh: Obama distorted Syria sarin intel
... A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening...Were it not for the unintended opening snarkily offered by Kerry, that Vlad Putin pounced on...we'd probably be wagging the dog right now.
...The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’...
Colin Powell: Damn, I Love Single-Payer So So Much
They will continue to call this guy a "Republican" forever, because that increases his cachet. Even though he's obviously a progressive Democrat.
Former Secretary of State and longtime Republican Colin Powell...
There ya go. Right from the jump.
... is calling for a universal health care solution in the U.S.
“We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” he said Thursday at a Seattle fundraiser for prostate cancer. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens."
Powell took the opportunity to share some of his own experiences and to publicly call for a health care solution similar to those in Canada, Japan and other countries that have a universal, single-payer system.
“I am not an expert in health care, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal health care in my 55 years of public life,” Powell said. “And I don’t see why we can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.”
I really don't think that progressives and socialists like Colin Powell understand an important fact: The military doesn't provide troops with health care. Powell didn't use that word, but it gets thrown around a lot, and he's certainly talking about providing.
The military pays troops, partly with money, partly with health insurance.
No one the left seems to understand this crucial point. People aren't being "provided" something, gratis. It is payment in lieu of wages.
The Government Is A Good Provider: The word "provide," it occurs to me, is most often used in relation to a father providing for his children, or a husband providing for his life. Or even God providing for his believers.
It's a very paternalistic word, suggestive of a Benevolent Protector giving people stuff.
It doesn't belong in this debate. Employers don't provide workers with paychecks; they pay them money to work.
South Carolina Will Soon Pass Law Purporting to Outlaw Obamacare In the State
I say "purporting" because I don't believe any Court will agree that individual States may void federal law at will. The sorts of things South Carolina are claiming now are the same sorts of things they claimed in 1861-- and Courts have of course been hostile towards the idea that state law can trump federal law.
It will, however, spark a fresh round of litigation. Which may be what is necessary.
The bill’s main component prohibits agencies, officers and employees of the state of South Carolina from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation of the national health-care law entirely in the hands of a federal government that lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates.
I don't believe that's remotely true, that the government lacks the federal officials necessary to, say, issue mandates to local insurers as to what they must offer and take them to court for non-compliance.
Additional provisions of H3101 further neuter the Affordable Care Act by outlawing state exchanges, issuing tax deductions to individuals equal to the tax penalties levied by the federal government, and directing the state attorney general to sue over whimsical enforcement of the law.
I don't think any of this will hold up except for that last part.
Obama is arrogating to himself the powers of the Legislature. This is unconstitutional -- dangerously so.
But there are two practical reasons this point has not been pressed:
1. Courts routinely claim that most persons lack "standing" to pursue a particular claim. The rule of standing means that the average person cannot challenge government lawbreaking unless that person has suffered a particular, individual harm making him especially motivated to press the suit vigorously. Courts routinely find that citizens cannot complain about the general effects of laws: they must be specifically, individually, especially harmed by the law to have standing, and most courts use this to avoid entering political disputes, claiming, essentially, no one has standing to challenge the government.
A lawsuit directed to be filed by this law cannot be so easily dismissed. Now we'd have a state, not a citizen, making the claim about Obama's lawlessness, and a court would be much more likely to find that a state has standing.
2. The other thing keeping a lawsuit being filed against Obama's "whimsical" application of the law is simple: Which Republicans want to be the ones go on the record saying that Obama is required to inflict Obamacare on employers now rather than after the midterms? Which Republicans want to sue to make Obama keep old insurance plans illegal?
Republicans who want to win elections can't really agitate for Strict Enforcement of Obamacare, because Obamacare is so awful.
But in this case, South Carolina's state legislators are stepping up to the plate and taking that political hit: They are directing their AG to sue for the proposition that the law must either be enforced as written or not enforced at all.
I like that part of the law.
But this is going to take a very long time to resolve. The trouble with South Carolina's suit, I imagine, is that by the time the courts even begin looking at it, it will be moot. Obamacare will, likely, be fully enforced in three years.
But what if Obama is still playing games with exactly what parts of the law are in effect this week?
Charlie Cook: This is One of the Most Dramatic Shifts on the Generic Ballot Question I've Ever Seen
The Democratic numbers from the generic-ballot test dropped from 45 percent to 37 percent, and Republicans moved up to 40 percent. This 10-point net shift from a Democratic advantage of 7 points to a GOP edge of 3 points in just over a month is breathtaking, perhaps an unprecedented swing in such a short period. Occurring around Election Day, such a shift would probably amount to the difference between Democrats picking up at least 10 House seats, possibly even the 17 needed for a majority, and instead losing a half-dozen or so seats.
Look, I have to apologize. This was a post in draft from Friday. I am just not seeing any news I want to write about. It's a slow news day, which is something that I should just deal with (and post what there is of the slow news), but I keep looking for better and I'm not coming up with much.
So, for now, Open Thread.
Obama's Blather About Income Inequality Is Just His Most Recent MacGuffin
On Friday I wrote about the MacGuffinization of American politics, a state in which the things we talk about in the national conversation, and pretend to be important, are not at all important to those pushing them upon us (the Left). Like a MacGuffin in a movie, these things are merely plot devices to motivate an audience's interest in the Hero -- Barack Obama, of course.
Mickey Kaus talks about this a little in discussing Obama's latest distraction, income inequality.
4 Things the MSM Won’t Tell You About Obama’s Inequality Speech:
Now that the excitement has died downYou have to admire President Obama for choosing to give a speech declaring that the fight against “growing inequality”–specifically economic inequality–is “the defining challenge of our time” and the “focus” of “all our efforts”–given that:
a. Five years into his presidency he so far hasn’t done anything to stop growing income inequality–the problem has gotten worse on his watch.
b. He doesn’t have any proposals (“It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act”) that come close to solving the problem as he defines it.
c. His one big previous initiative to reduce inequality–the Affordable Care Act–may now be hopelessly screwed up due to his own inattention and non-competence.
d. His remaining big domestic initiative–”comprehensive” immigration reform–would almost certainly make inequality worse by vastly increasing the number of unskilled workers bidding down wages at the bottom of the income scale, with the profits from the cheap labor going to business owners at the top.
Kaus observes that income inequality is the perfect MacGuffin for a long-running melodramatic serial: Because it's a MacGuffin that can never actually be attained.
Greater income equality–quintile shares, Gini coefficients and the rest–is the Great MacGuffin of the Democratic base. It’s a goal they will never reach. Deep down they know they will never reach it. But that doesn’t matter because the goal itself holds their coalition together and gives them a reason to go on.
So the audience will just have to keep coming back, week after week, to be eternally teased that satisfaction is finally at hand, only to discover, once again, that the Cigarette Smoking Man's identity has once again been obscured.
Best Knockout Game Resolution You'll See
I say that this is the "best" resolution because it involves so much humiliation and in-kind retribution.
But if you're looking for more stringent retributions, some time ago a kid playing the Knockout Game (using a stungun rather than a fist) Tasered the wrong fella, and got himself shot twice.
The punk lived and appears to have suffered no permanent damage whatsoever.
Filthy Bob Filner Sentenced to Three Months of House Arrest and Three Years Probation
AP doesn't mention Filner's partisan affiliation until the very last paragraph:
Filner was elected San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, promising to put neglected neighborhoods ahead of entrenched downtown business interests. Two city councilmen seeking to replace him in a special election runoff — Republican Kevin Faulconer and Democrat David Alvarez — have embraced Filner’s neighborhoods-first mantra while scarcely mentioning the former mayor by name.
That's a New York Daily News version of the AP story. To make sure NYDN didn't edit out an earlier mention of Filner's party affiliation from the original story AP filed, I checked the version of the story in Politico: It appears to be the exact same story.
Not only does AP withhold from the reader that Filner is a Democrat until the very last paragraph, they completely withhold the fact that Filner was a Congressman serving in Washington, DC, for twenty years, and that many of these incidents of harassment occurred during his Congressional service. The way AP writes the story, it is suggested that Filner was nothing but a purely local politician -- Local Crime Story, yo -- who only rose to some kind of minor prominence this past January, when he began serving as a mayor in an out-of-the-way little backwater.
As far as the slap-on-the-wrist nature of the sentencing: I don't know if this is really a slap-on-the-wrist. I'm not sure people serve hard time, or should serve hard time, for this kind of thing.
Thanks to @rdbrewer4.
The Secret Truth at the Heart of the Male-Female Dynamic
Via @benk84's news dump, just a wonderful video of straightforward-thinking, low-drama dogs, terrorized by emotionally-volatile cats who pretend to be "Just Fine" but who actually aren't fine at all.
If you watch through to the end, you'll see the poor dogs -- reasonable, agreeable creatures who just want to live life without any problems -- are well-justified in fearing the cats.
When Obama Claimed He Was "Outraged" By IRS Targeting Scandal, He Was, Get This, Lying
Friday night, Mary Katharine Ham traced Obama's "evolution" of mind vis-à-vis the IRS targeting scandal. (Note: A video autoplays when you hit the link, but it's still worth going over there.)
Using Obama's public statements, she tracks Obama going through his typical okey-doke:
First, he claims to be outraged, and filled with steely determination to get down to the facts of the matter.
Second, he began suggesting, without actually stating, that the IRS scandal was a phony scandal and a distraction:
For most of this year, we’ve seen an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals and we keep on shifting our way — shifting our attention away from what we should be focused on, which is how do we strengthen the middle class and grow the economy for everybody?
Finally, during the Matthews interview, he made it explicit that he thought people who were "outraged" by this were rather silly creatures.
No word on whether he finds himself silly, for being "outraged" so many months (um, six months) ago.
OBAMA: That’s not — that’s not something that’s reported about. If, on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati, in the IRS office that — I think, for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether a nonprofit is actually a political organization, deserves a tax exempt agency. And they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged.
MATTHEWS: 501(c)(4) is tricky to begin with, how to define it.
OBAMA: To begin with.
The president even appeared annoyed that liberal commentators once dared to challenge him on the point:
OBAMA: And by the way, Chris, I’ll point out that there are some so-called progressives and, you know, perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week were just as outraged at the possibility that these folks, you know, had — had been, you know, at the direction of — the Democratic Party, in some way — discriminated against these folks.
Why the shift? As we keep noticing, Obama only cares about the next news cycle. He says what he has to say to get on the news for the next news cycle. He wants to be seen saying the right things for that news cycle. Then, when interest dies down a bit, he attempts a new tack.
But he never gets called on how his Early News Cycle Management Bullshit is wholly contradictory to his Slightly Later News Cycle Management Bullshit. The media never asks him What new information was presented to you to change your opinion on the IRS scandal from "outrageous" to "phony scandal"?
Was it high-ranking partisan IRS official Lois Lerner repeatedly invoking the Fifth Amendment to avoid confessing a criminal act in a Congressional hearing?
Was it learning that a White House lawyer, William Wilkins, coordinated directly with the self-avowedly-at-criminal-risk Lois Lerner, and then testified 80 times that he couldn't remember key details about communications with the Treasury Department about the scandal?
These facts would suggest any evolution should move in the opposite direction -- from outrage to even more outraged.
Instead, when Obama learns that his high-ranking ministers are invoking the Fifth Amendment and clamming up like mobsters, he becomes less outraged, and, apparently, begins to think this is all a "distraction."
The Washington Times' Joe Curl is noticing this odd evolution as well-- and Obama's bizarre claim that the entire scandal was invented by the media in order to punish a President they're hostile towards.
But President Obama, in an interview last week with sycophant Chris Matthews, now says the entire scandal was made up by the media.
“When we do things right, they don’t get a lot of attention,” the president said, no doubt sending a thrill up the MSNBC host’s leg. “If we do something that is perceived at least initially as a screw-up, it will be on the nightly news for a week.”
Like, say, deploying the nation’s tax watchdog to target political opponents? Just a “screw-up.”
You bet. Manufactured in the media.
In the Curious World of Barack Obama, a hostile media makes up lies about him to make him look bad.
Report: Paul Ryan Ready To Cut A Budget Deal That Breaks The Sequester
Surely you're not surprised that the GOP really isn't committed to cutting spending are your? If so, I've got a bridge to sell you so leave your email address in the comments.
With lawmakers due back in town Tuesday, aides said [House Budget Committee Chairman Paul] Ryan and [Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman] Murray are likely to bypass the committee and take the deal, if finalized, straight to the full House and Senate. Congressional leaders hope to finish work quickly and leave town for the holidays as soon as Friday.
Senior aides familiar with the talks say the emerging agreement aims to partially repeal the sequester and raise agency spending to roughly $1.015 trillion in fiscal 2014 and 2015. That would bring agency budgets up to the target already in place for fiscal 2016. To cover the cost, Ryan and Murray are haggling over roughly $65 billion in alternative policies, including cuts to federal worker pensions and higher security fees for the nation’s airline passengers.
Republican leaders are also seeking additional savings to knock a small dent in deficits projected to exceed $6 trillion over the next decade. But the deal would do nothing to trim the debt, which is now larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any point in U.S. history except during World War II.
It became clear months ago when the House only passed appropriation bills that increased spending and not the ones that actually cut spending that the fix was in.
And don't buy the nonsense about fees (aka "taxes") or higher pension contributions offsetting some of the spending. First, like almost all stopgap gimmicks they are...gimmicks. Second, in the case of higher pension contributions, that should happen even with the sequester in place to reduce costs, not to offset new ones.
The biggest problem with the "off-set" flimflam is that even if it helps offset hiking the budget and the debt, it does nothing to shrink the size and scope of government. I've said it before and I still mean it, I'd rather a federal budget that takes up 17-18% of GDP and was out of balanced than a budget that consumes 24% and is balanced. Size and scope of government matter more than perfectly balancing the books.
Oh and when Team GOP types say, "well, we told you this would happen because you pushed the shutdown" ask them what in the world prevented the House from passing a "clean CR" that kept the sequester intact? If they answer anything other than "Um, nothing", they are lying.
Keep this betrayal in mind (and it will be a betrayal because you can bet Boehner's going to need Democrats to make this work) when Team GOP says "stop primarying Republicans and focus on Democrats!".
Until Republicans stop kicking conservatives in the shins, I'm all for conservatives kicking Republicans in the balls.
But hey, cheer up! Sure the GOP is going to sell you out on spending but they'll give you amnesty later in the year as a makeup present.
Monday Morning News Dump
- If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Pay More For Your Doctor
- Gun-Rights Battle Could Backfire On Town Leaders
- New Affordable US Health Plans Will Exclude Top Hospitals
- The Minimum Wage And The Rise Of The Machines
- Technical Problems, Discord Plagued Maryland Health Exchange
- George Will: "The Education Of This President Is A Protracted And Amusing Process"
- The End Of History Ends
- Taranto: An Education In College Justice
- The Great Ukrainian Knife Fight
- The True Cost Of A Higher Minimum Wage
- The Importance Of Self-Limited Government
- Protestors In Ukraine Knock Down Statue Of Lenin
- Need Another Reason To Hate The ATF?
- WW2 Vet Bumped From Flight To Pearl Harbor Ceremony
- Obama Urges Kids To Study Computer Science, So That One Day They May Fix Healthcare.gov
- Man Calls In Bomb Threat To Get Friend Off Work
- The Tea Party Should Be Doing More Of This Type Of Thing
- Marijuana Set To Become Legal In Washington And Colorado As Of January 1st
- Funny Video Of Dogs Afraid To Walk By Cats
Top Headline Comments 12-9-13
The agency that should be abolished told Congress last year that the case of a field office using mentally disabled teens in a failed sting operation and then arresting them for their participation was "an isolated case of inadequate supervision." It wasn't.
Covered California, the state's Obamacare exchange, gave consumers' personal information to insurance agents even though the consumers opted out of such information sharing. It was for their own good, you see: "I can imagine some people may be upset. . . . But I can see a lot of people will be comforted and relieved at getting the help they need to navigate a confusing process."
Oh, and the Obama administration no longer wants you to use paper forms to try and sign up for Obamacare. There isn't time enough to process them before the deadline.
Yet another state Obamacare exchange confesses it's having the same problems as the federal exchange website.
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Overnight Open Thread (12-8-2013)
There is an ironclad law of redistributive politics at play in the ACA (ObamaCare) fiasco.
This law is that concentrated interests almost always conquer diffuse interests. Milk producers are a concentrated interest. Milk consumers are a diffuse interest. Guess which group is favored by the long history of milk price supports? Dairy farmers get fat checks. School teachers and plumbers and accountants pay more for milk.
One corollary to this law is that legislators try to create concentrated benefits and diffuse costs by separating the funding mechanism (taxes on all) from the supply of benefits (a local interest). Perhaps your community benefits from a community center, educational program, or a resurfaced highway. Those projects almost always fail a simple cost-benefit test because if they made sense for local communities to do, they would just do them. If they don't, they seek assistance from their representatives in Congress....Vulnerable Democrats in Congress are starting to panic because they are seeing the consequences of violating the law of diffuse and concentrated interests. Those insurance cancellation letters and the higher prices faced by a portion of those shopping on the exchange are a small portion of the population (probably less than one percent), but they are highly concentrated, not to mention vocal.
Yep signs like this are a sign of a major politics FAIL:
The long-term goal of the government's social policies are to flatten society out into one atomized mass. There will be only the state and the individual, and the individual will have no protection, no mediating institutions, between itself and the state.
Antipathy towards a wide variety of actors--the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, "special interests" of all types, political parties, private universities--can all be understood in light of this fact.The government reserves special hatred for the family, because the family is older than the state and, unless steps are taken, will outlast it. It gives the individual a locus of attention besides the state, and therefore, must be crushed. The ongoing destruction of the concepts of both marriage and family by the left is intended to remove permanently the transcendent family from the political sphere, leaving only mere biological relationships, which are not enough to inspire resistance to the state.
Because your real family is all your fellow progressive comrades.
Both of these videos show people being fatally shot. They're not graphic but consider this a content warning.
Here two armed robbers in Brazil hold up a pizza place but don't realize a policeman saw them.
And here is another video showing a traffic stop gone bad.
Can you spot when the gunman was fatally shot? Answer: Nope because guns aren't death rays.
Guess who is the world's largest producer of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuels (oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids)? For years it has been Russia, which is deeply dependent on the production and export of such products (taxes and tariffs on them provide 40 percent of the government's budget).
But this year, probably already, Russia will be overtaken by the United States, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. U.S. oil production increased by more than a million barrels a day last year, the largest annual increase since oil production began in 1859. Russian oil production has been falling.This has huge geopolitical implications and those implications all favor the United States. Imports of oil and gas are falling, down 15 and 32 percent respectively in the last five years, improving the balance of trade and reducing the political leverage of such countries as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
And all this is despite Obama's best efforts.
And finds it surprisingly great.
Like most good urban liberals, I've been engaged in a lifelong near-boycott of Walmart. Not so much out of any deeply felt, principled objections to the store, but because they don't really build Walmarts in big liberal cities. When the company tries to set up shop in a liberal town, it's frequently stymied by union groups and their allies. The myriad zoning and permitting rules surrounding urban land create many avenues for groups with political clout to block disfavored stores, and such moves have, for example, kept Walmart out of New York City for years.
But on Wednesday, after running a gantlet of political obstacles, two new Walmarts opened in Washington, D.C. And the one I visited, at least, is pretty great.
But completely passé since it didn't satisfy his needs at the moment.
Still, while wandering around, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that the urban-format Walmart may be an idea whose time has already passed. The store was actually surprisingly busy for a midmorning Wednesday, with seemingly half the off-duty shift workers and scooter-bound disabled residents of the city plying the aisles. But there was nothing I wanted to buy.
And here is a classic video of two brits visiting Walmart who find their snark overcome by admiration of the behemoth known as a Walmart Megastore.
Kevin Kelley is the head football coach at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. In games, he instructs his team to never punt, to never receive punts, and almost always onside kick.
The numbers Kelley cites are that eye-popping. And he isn't cooking the books: Cal professor David Romer concluded that teams should not punt when facing fourth-and-4 or less; NFL stats analyst Brian Burke has detailed the need to rethink fourth-down decision-making; Football Outsiders has conflated punts with turnovers. You've even read about it on this site. Most fans and analysts who are willing to accept that change is a fundamental part of life have embraced the idea that automatically punting on fourth down doesn't make sense.Since Kelley took over, Pulaski is 124-22 and has won three state titles.
The Humane Society wanted to euthanize all of Michael Vick's dogs (luckily a judge disagreed) and then just a few years later worked to allow him to get more dogs. WTF?
Man these sure sucked more than I remembered. Sturgeon's Law definitely applies.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [418 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)' [58.68 posts/day]
2 [410 comments] 'Nip Sip'
3 [401 comments] 'EC'
4 [348 comments] 'sven10077'
5 [294 comments] 'Flatbush Joe'
6 [291 comments] 'Mike Hammer'
7 [285 comments] 'Niedermeyer's Dead Horse'
8 [280 comments] 'garrett'
9 [269 comments] 'BCochran1981 - Credible Hulk'
10 [233 comments] 'toby928? insists on talking about robots'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [79 names] 'phreshone' [11.09 unique names/day]
2 [66 names] 'The Political Hat'
3 [65 names] 'Islamic Rage Boy'
4 [58 names] 'Brandon In Baton Rouge'
5 [50 names] 'Joe Biden'
6 [48 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
7 [45 names] 'Sir Edmund Hillary'
8 [43 names] 'Nip Sip'
9 [36 names] 'andycanuck'
10 [35 names] 'Caliban'
The group. Yeah.
Where it's at - the Twitter
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Spaced-Out Challenge: Orion The Hunter
[We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.
-- Sincerely, the Fascist MGMT]
Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge. Whether you have a question about a scope, 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 journey through space and time.
This week, we kick off our comprehensive guide to the Winter sky with arguably the greatest constellation, Orion the Hunter. His seven brightest stars are resistant to the worst light pollution imaginable, and he contains too many wonders to count, but we'll try. Let me show you.
WARNING: slight blowout of margins for detailed map below.
The Myth of Orion
Dominating the nights of Winter, we get our first peak of him in late summer mornings, rising in the East only after Scorpius has set in the West. The ancient Greeks had a dramatic explanation for this seasonal alternation of great constellations, summarized best by Stoney Brook University astronomer Frederick Walker:
Orion was a skilled hunter. He was also boastful, asserting that no animal alive could harm him. Juno, wife of Jupiter, disliked mortal men, especially boastful men, so she decided to teach Orion a lesson. She placed a scorpion on the path that Orion took daily to his hunting grounds. As you might expect, Orion trod upon the scorpion, which stung and killed him. But the story does not end here, for the gods were continuously quarreling among themselves. Diana, goddess of the moon and the hunt, fancied Orion, the greatest mortal hunter. They had often hunted together at night, neglecting her lunar duties (hence the dark nights near the new moon). She insisted that his likeness be memorialized in the sky, with his hunting dogs (Canis Major and Minor) at his feet, where all could see it and remember his prowess. This did not please Juno, who insisted upon similar treatment for the Scorpion. Was it not a mightier hunter to slay the great Orion? Jupiter agreed to similarly honor the Scorpion, but in one of his wisest decisions placed the two constellations on opposite sides of the celestial sphere, where they cannot bother each other. Even today, one does not see both together in the night sky.
Frankly, Juno's full of it: Orion is the superior hunter. At least Orion tried to chase after the seven nymphs, the Pleiades, post-mortum, and Zeus had to throw a monstrous bull in the sky to blunt his appetite. Plus he has his pack of dogs. He's got a crew. Scorpius just sits there, overwhelmed by the milk of Hera's breasts, with Sagittarius' arrow trained at his heart in case he tries anything funny. But most important, Orion brings it when it comes to deep sky objects.
Navigating around The Hunter
Without question, Andreo's famous photograph is unmatched in capturing the awesomeness of the treasures within this dominating constellation. The camera is thousands of times more sensitive than the human eye, yet amateur optics and filters have leveled the playing field.
The first shape that jumps out at the observer is the bright belt mid-constellation, surrounded by four bright stars north (Betelgeuse and Bellatrix) and south (Saiph and Rigel). Due south of this belt, the bright star Na'ir al Saif (Arabic for "the bright one in the sword), the Great Nebula, and it's most recent offspring form the long sword. From a dark sky site, the nebulosity, clusters, and newborn stars here stretch close to the Hunter's knees (Saiph and Rigel).
Beyond the Hunter's core, his head is marked by a triangle of slightly dimmer Meissa and a loose cluster of stars beneath; his raised arm and club can be traced from Betelgeuse up to Mu Orionis and arcing through the club shape to x1 and x2; and his shield (or, as some depict, his lion skin) stretches outward from Bellatrix.
You don't need to memorize the names or exact locations of all of these stars. But familiarizing yourself with the general shape, and referencing this chart, will put over two dozen glorious sights within easy reach.
Recommended for your journey
At minimum, a pair of binoculars will reveal several open clusters and the Great Nebula. At maximum, an amateur telescope will reveal everything listed here from a dark sky. The beauty about Orion is that it can be enjoyed from any sky: you don't have to go out into the boonies. A truly dark sky is required to reveal fainter targets like Barnard's Loop, the Meissa nebula, and the Horsehead; and will greatly enhance the views of many of the other targets listed, but just a trek to your backyard will reward you.
If you are going to go after the harder targets, visit Ace's Amazon store and purchase an H-Beta filter (I recommend a 2").
The Journey Begins: From Orion's Club to Betelgeuse
The Monkey-Face Nebula
Just a degree slightly NW of x1, far up in Orion's club, lies the oddly-named but beautiful emission nebula NGC 2174. Situated in a rich field of stars, it appears about a fifth of a degree across and nearly perfectly circular. A seventh magnitude star appears to shine right in it's center, but it is superimposed. Try hunting it down with an O-III from a suburban site. It is the most interesting feature within the club.
The 37 Cluster
NGC2169 isn't a remarkably bright star cluster, but its shape certainly is. In either large binoculars or a small telescope, this clump of stars, visible to the naked eye as a smudge from a dark site, seems to form it's namesake. Look for it just a degree SW of Xi Orion.
Abell 12: impossibly easy and easily impossible
Abell 12 is frustratingly close to Mu Orionis, just 3 degrees north of the blazing supergiant Betelgeuse. However, an Oxygen III filter and medium power dims the stars and reveals the round disk of this planetary nebula. Higher power reveals some structure in the expanding dust cloud of this dead star. I'd recommend at least a telescope of 4" of aperture.
Betelgeuse: Doomed to go Boom
Incorrectly marked as the brightest star in the constellation for centuries, this bright red-orange variable is my wife's favorite, and every clear night in winter she jokes "well Betelgeuse is still there." There's a good reason for that: Betelgeuse is a red supergiant that has already exhausted it's lighter elements, and with it's incredible mass, it is racing towards supernova sometime within the next 100,000 years. Consider: while most things in the cosmos exist on a timescale utterly dwarfing our existence, many of the stars within orion have ignited, burned, and detonated within the last four million years. The bigger they are, the faster they burn, and Betelgeuse is a giant: it's outer atmosphere would envelop Jupiter if it were placed in the center of our solar system. Enjoy it while you can.
Orion's Belt: Doubles, Nebula, and and a Horsehead Bookend
The Stars of the Belt
Alnitak, a brilliant double
The easternmost star in the belt, Alnitak is a challenging but rewarding double star: a bright blue primary with a close, dimmer white one.
Alnilam, a doomed one
Alnilam, the middle star, is the fourth brightest in the entire constellation, becoming the third when Betelgeuse explodes. But that title will be short lived: Alnilam is losing mass rapidly and it's internal supply of hydrogen is running low. Within a million years or less, it will balloon into a red supergiant, far brighter than Betelgeuse is now, and detonate in a supernova. Many of the stars of Orion shine brightly but at a great cost: they live fast, and die young.
Mintaka, another brilliant double
The closest bright star to the celestial equator, it rises and sets near exactly east and west. Mintaka is a multiple star system, the two brightest members of which can be split easily in a small telescope, revealing a bright white main star and a fainter blue component, the inverse of Alnitak.
The belt region itself contains a loose cluster of stars that makes for a wondrous sight in binoculars. But most astrophotographers and determined visual observers focus on one region of the belt in particular: the environs of Alnitak.
Nebula, Nebula, and More Nebula Around Alnitak
The brightness of Alnitak is a boon and a pain for visual observers: a boon because it serves as a great starting point for locating dim but exciting nebulae, and a pain because it's light obscures these targets. I recommend keeping one eye eye-patched and dark-adapted as you start hunting these next treasures down, and use it only when you have moved the bright star out of view.
The Flame Nebula
NGC2024 is a bright emission nebula dimmed by it's proximity to Altinak. Center your eyepiece on Altinak, then edge your telescope westward. Crank your magnification up to around 100x to remove the star out of your view, insert a nebula filter behind your eyepiece (I recommend an O-III), and switch eyes. At first, you'll notice a U shaped mass with square edges, but as your dark-adapted eye relaxes and explores, you'll begin to notice the complexity around the edges, and the flames that give this nebula it's name. If you can't spot the nebula, don't bother proceeding to the next three, but if your sky is clear and steady and this mottled nebulosity is obvious, continue onwards.
The next nebula we will explore in this region is NGC2023. It's name isn't the most romantic, but the view on a crisp night with good optics certainly is: a mottled emission nebula just half-a-degree to the Flame's south. If you can catch it easily, then you have the perfect moment to attempt the holiest of holies for amateurs in Orion: spotting the Horsehead.
The Horsehead Nebula (B33) and IC 434
After you've enjoyed the Flame and eyeballed 2023, you're ready to try to spot the Horsehead. Made of the same structure as the famed Pillars of Creation, it is a dark nebula of cold gas whose shape is revealed by the brighter emission nebula IC434 behind it. IC434 stretches well over a degree south from Altinak, and is best revealed using a H-beta filter. After popping in the filter, which will greatly dim the far brighter stars, allow your eyes to adapt to the view in your eyepiece, crank the power up, and start tracing the length of the nebula. If the night is perfect, you'll notice a notch either directly or with averted vision- the Horsehead. The more aperture your scope has, the easier it is to see, but dark skies and a stable atmosphere are more important than carrying around a monster scope. For more tips on hunting it down, these three threads from CloudyNights outline the strategy and success of amateurs, some using equipment as small as an 80mm refractor.
More Doubles in the Belt
Eta Orionis: a rewarding challenge
With just 2" of seperation between the yellow primary and beautiful blue secondary, it can be a bit of a challenge to split in smaller telescopes, but the color difference is beautiful. Photographs like the above fail to really capture it: this is one for your eyes only. It is the brightest star between Mintaka and Rigel.
Sigma Orionis: Quite a Quadruplet
At least three of the four stars in this system are visible in small telescopes, and if you're armed with a moderate-sized dobsonian, all four pop into place. The brightest star in the system is itself a double, but one too close together to split, shining white. A fainter bluer star, a closer, fainter reddish one, and another fainter white one round the system out. A beautiful target when the moon makes nebula observing impossible.
M78, the "Headlights in Fog" Nebula
When you have astrophoto eye candy like the Horsehead, and the visual blowout that is the Great Nebula, it's easy to ignore M78, a bright emission nebula that is beautiful in it's own right. Finding M78 is a bit tricky not due to a lack of brightness but it's size:much smaller than the nebula complex around Alnitak and a mere fraction of M42. I found the best way to catch this small wonder is to start at Eta Orionis, and trace a line through Alnilam onto the nebula. Alnilam is almost exactly halfway between M78 and Eta. For those living in more urban zones, start at the bright star Alnitak, and drift just a few degrees to the north at low power, looking for two stars with a fuzzy appearance. At higher power, the nebula resembles a pair of headlights in fog, and in larger aperture telescopes, a second reflection nebula appears nearby.
Odds and Ends
A beautiful double star marks the brightest of a cluster indicating Orion's head. The double makes for a great telescope target, the cluster a great binocular one, and the region as a whole has recently gotten the attention of amateurs. In the Head to Toes photo, do you notice the round puffy red cloud of nebulosity surrounding Meissa? Turns out it is actually visible (minus the color) from a dark sky site!
Grab your H-beta filter, and hold it up to your eye as you gaze at Meissa. Depending on the quality of the sky when observing, you will pick up anything from a faint halo of gas to a more nebulous ovoid as you wander back and forth across the head. A caveat: a light-pollution-free sky is a requirement to pull this off.
w Orionis: a carbon star
Return to the large map of Orion. Using it as a guide, arc through the various Pi stars in his shield, all the way down to faint Pi 6. Slightly more than the same distance between Pi 5 and Pi 6 down and away from Pi 6 lies w Orionis, a variable carbon star with an impressive rust color. From dark skies, a simple pair of binoculars reveals the color, but if it is at it's dimmest point, a telescope will be required.
The largest feature of Orion is arguably the hardest to see visually- unless you have an H-beta filter. Bernard's Loop takes it's name from its astrophotographer discoverer E. E. Barnard, who discovered it in 1894. This massive expanse of ionized gas is believed to have origniated in a supernova explosion just two million years ago.
Due northeast of Alnitak is the reflection nebula M78 discussed earlier. But just a fraction of a degree away from it lies the faint open cluster NGC 2112. Look for this loose collection of stars in binoculars, then use the same trick applied for teasing out the Meissa nebulosity, holding the filter to your eye. the brightest part of the loop is closest to the open cluster.
A wide-field eyepiece at low power, filter applied, also reveals some of this massive structure. Amateurs have claimed to race nearly the entirety of the loop once thought only visible in photographs. Ty it out yourself, and see if you can claim the same.
The brightest star in Orion, Rigel is actually a very close double- the super bright primary star shines blue, while a much fainter, white companion shines closeby. The tightness is so great the secondary often gets drowned out in the diffraction spikes emanating from Rigel in many dobsonians, but it is a rewarding and beautiful challenge nevertheless.
The Main Event: Orion's Sword
The brightest nebula in the northern sky, and it's progeny, form Orion's bright sword. While everything we have discussed thus far has been great for visual observers, this small patch of sky is the heart of the constellation. Ranging from the easy to the challenging, the objects within will keep you hunting and exploring until your hands are frozen solid these long winter nights.
NGC 1981: the "M" Cluster
Near the top of the sword is the small but bright M shaped cluster NGC 1981. Best viewed in binoculars or a telescope at low power, these are some of the youngest to have left the greater Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.
The Running Man Nebula (NGC 1973,1975,1977)
Actually three separate nebulae and a small star cluster, in low-power and with an O-III filter, the excitement really begins in the sword with the Running Man. Darker skies enhance the view and reveal the namesake.
DeMarian's Nebula (M43)
Separated from the main Great Nebula by a darkened mass of Hydrogen, DeMarian's is a region of excitement in it's own right: star formation has been observed within in as close to real time as astronomy could allow. Use an O-III or UHC filter to bring out the finer details within.
NGC 1980, Na'ir al Saif & Struve 747
A smaller region of nebulosity due south of the Great Nebula, NGC 1980 is partially illuminated by several bright double stars embedded within: Na'ir al Saif, the brightest star in the sword, is actually a colorful triplet, featuring a bright blue primary star and two slightly dimmer white ones. Struve 747 is a fainter but wider double to it's east. An O-III filter helps to bring out the nebulosity in more light-polluted areas.
NGC 1999, the V380 Nebula
NGC1999 is a reflection nebula illuminated by variable star V380. The beautiful Bok Globule that marks the nebula with it's distinctive keyhole requires dark skies to see and cranking your magnification up to 11 (past 250x will begin to hint it, 300x and the shape becomes obvious). Look for a fuzzy 10th magnitude star south of NGC 1980, and crank it up from there.
The Greatest Nebula: M42
The Great Nebula in Orion has been photographed more than any other deep sky object, and it's not hard to see why: bright, expansive, and colorful, it has been observed for over four hundred years yet reveals surprises at a constant pace. The beautiful Trapezium stars, which illuminate much of the nebula, are found at it's heart. This quadruplet actually has two fainter members that can be picked out with larger telescopes, and was first documented by Galileo. At only 100,000 years old, these stars are some of the youngest objects we can spot in the sky. Theta 2 is a nearby double that also helps to illuminate the billowy cloud. The nebula is impressive from even the worst sky, and leaves you at a loss of words from a dark one. Color is absolutely visible with adapted eyes from a dark site. I've noticed traces of purple, blue and green through my 8" XT8.
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.
Until next week, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!
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Open thread for all your political and off-topic needs.
Late NFL Game Open Thread: Cam Newton vs. Saints [OregonMuse]
"In order to win this game, Carolina is going to have to score more points."
--from Stuff Chris Collingsworth Likes To Say
Gaming Thread 12/9/2013
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Another week, another gaming thread. Bunch of videos from last night's VGX thing. From the small bits I looked at during commercials during the football game, it was painful.
More below the fold.
Sorry for the late post but I was waiting for something to happen in a game and it didn't come to fruition
VGX wrap up:
New Witcher 3 trailer
The Division tech demo
Also get a story trailer for the upcoming Thief game
Nintendo showed off Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. Wish Retro was making another Metroid
Telltale finally admitted that yes, they are working on a Game of Thrones game
Telltale also announced that they're trying to make Borderlands not have a crappy story
Respawn also showed off two new mechs for the upcoming TitanFall
Remedy made a new trailer for the upcoming Quantum Break
Double Fine also showed off their Broken Age game
HelloGames (Joe Danger series) also announcing an upcoming game called No Man's Sky
New Destiny trailer
Of course Bungie also announced that the game isn't going to make it's spring release as they pushed it back to September 9th. That's a gamble and a half and hopefully doesn't make it be lost in the Fall avalanche of games.
Capy announced why their Super Time Force was delayed, it's getting a simultaneous release on the 360 and the Xbox One. Kinda curious if this will end up coming out after their Xbox One launch exclusive, Below hits.
Not much new out this week.
Peggle 2 (Xbox One) - It's going to be out for everything under the sun next year but it's coming to the XBox One on Monday for $11.99.
Wii U Fit (Wii U) - Well, it's been digital for awhile now but the standard retail package comes with a meter for $50 or if you don't have a balance board lurking in your closet, you can spend $90 on Friday to get everything you need for it.
Was asked to talk about PC peripherals and you know, I am curious in what you guys are using. Personally, my setup at the moment is:
SteelSeries Sensei mouse (HATE the mousewheel and wish I bought another G9X which I think is the finest mouse ever made)
For mousepad, I'm using a large Razer Goliathus Alpha Speed mousepad. I got it as a gift a few years ago and though it's seen better days, I dig it and it's a perfect size for my desk.
I fried my G19 with beer so I'm currently using a cheap ass Logitech K120 $15 special which is okay but you get what you pay for and I really miss the damn backlighted keys. I've got a SteelSeries Apex board coming for Christmas and I really can't want to toss this thing back into my closet.
As for a controller, I'm using a 360 one like everyone else till I get around to picking up a DS4 or till Microsoft releases some PC drivers for the One controller next year.
I play a lot of racing games aka I play a lot of iRacing and my wheel is a G27 (wait for a sale) which with the NIXIM spring mod and chillicoke's paddles is a really damn good wheel. One of these days I'll finally upgrade to a Fanatec's Clubsport wheel and pedals
And for flightsims, I'm stuck with my beat up Extreme 3D Pro. It's gotten me through quite a few years and it's still ticking. I would get something better but outside of DCS, I really don't play many flightsims as much as I used to.
As someone who kinda despises the concept of a gaming headset (they cost too much for a crappy product), I just rock my Grado SR 60i and a cheap but great Zalman mic. That being said, if I didn't already have those Grados, I would buy honestly buy another pair of Superlux's HD681 which are arguably the best headphones for under $100 (non sale price) which happen to cost under $35.
So toss your setup into the ring
Also want to give a big thanks to ConservativeMonster for the recommendation of King of Tokyo. Only got to play a few games with my nephews and cousins but this game warmed my jaded boardgaming heart. Of course now, I need to buy the expansions to the game and my nephews really seemed to want their own copy.
That's it, I'm out, Catch me on Twitter
Close it up
Food Thread: A Mojito You Absolutely, Positively Do Not Want To Drink [CBD]
We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.
-- Sincerely, the Fascist MGMT
In fact, on further reflection I suggest that you do not even click on the video link, and only the most sanguine amongst you should even click on The critical blog post about it.
Seriously...don't click on it.
This has nothing to do with cooking. This has nothing to do with drinking, which is a noble and honorable pursuit.
This has everything to do with the nest of snakes that writhes within the mind of this man and others like him.
He has managed to take a punch-line and make it a part of his own, deeply disturbed psyche!
And for a palate cleanser.....
Close it up
Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD]
And whatever other topics the fetid swamps of your minds can imagine.
It's Not The End: A Fresh Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Just trying to keep it from getting stale around here.
Remember that 'Jesus Save Me' ad from Mark Pryor? No? Well, here it is again.
Well, I think I've seen it before.
Sunday Football Thread
—Dave In Texas
At least the Cowgirls won't lose today.
As far as yesterday goes. Too bad OSU. And too bad OSU.
You coulda been somebody. You coulda been a contender. Contenders. Somethin. Hey, you both scored 24 points. There's a coincidence. Somethin.
Sunday Morning Book Thread 12-08-2013: The Son of Narcissus [OregonMuse]
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to the award-winning AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.
On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
Politics As Story
If you haven't yet read the landlord's article from a couple of days ago, The MacGuffinization of American Politics, kindly do so at once. If you're like me, you will have two reactions. The first will be "wow, that's brilliant" and the second will be "wow, that's depressing".
This is actually not a brilliant new insight from ace, but rather further development of an idea he has discussed a number of times in the past: beneath the obvious bias of media coverage of Obama (and liberals in general), there is a subtler bias at work, namely, that the news coverage is written and produced in such a way that Obama, or the liberal politician, or whatever aspect of the progressive agenda they're covering, is always presented as the side they want you to root for, the side you're supposed to want to win.
And thus politics becomes narrative.
On the one hand, this is an insightful observation. On the other, it really should be obvious: we're just doing what human beings always do, namely, tell stories to each other. We always overlay a narrative on top of events in order to better understand them. This struck me as I was watching the intro to the Auburn v. Missouri football game yesterday. The narrator was explaining how the two teams got here, what they had to do to play in a championship game, and it just sounded like they were setting up backstories for each team, and, unlike how the MSM promotes one and only one political narrative, in this contest, you could choose the narrative you liked best and that was the team you root for. It certainly wouldn't do for CBS to, say, talk up Auburn and trash Missouri. Why would they want to, they're not AuburnTV. They'd lose tons of viewers. If you suggested they do this, they'd think you were nuts, and they'd be right.
But they do this with politics ALL THE DAMN TIME. And it never occurs to them how outrageous this is.
And doesn't the WWE do this sort of thing, too, adding backstories? At any given wrestling match, isn't there always something else going on, some personal conflict or dispute between the performers that is calculated to make the actual outcome more significant than it would be otherwise?
I've touched on this topic in a previous book thread:
I don't think there's ever been a civilization that didn't have storytelling in one form or another. It seems that human beings are just wired that way and stories exert a powerful effect on the human psyche. There's something very compelling to us about hearing a good story.
And what's interesting is that the story doesn't have to be true in order for us to feel the effects of its power.
We just love to tell stories. It's why we write books.
The Reagan biography President Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime by Lou Cannon is along these lines, positing Reagan as lead character in a story, a movie in this case. I remember rolling my eyes when this bio came out, but in the MacGuffin thread, moronette rockmom says it's actually a pretty good book.
Although I think I'd prefer just reading his diaries and letting the man speak for himself
The Most Admired Man
From one of Gabe's morning news threads, I picked up The 12 Greatest Fantasy Books Of The Year, according to Buzzfeed. I have read precisely 0 of them. But a couple look interesting enough that I may check them out: The Tattered Banner, by Duncan M. Hamilton and The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.
I've always been a fan of those education-disguised-as-entertainment videos you can watch on Youtube. I stumbled upon this one a couple of days ago, a popular lecture by Walter Lewin, an MIT physics prof (and a bit of a showman), who, among other things, demonstrates that the period of a pendulum is the same regardless of its amplitude. Don't worry if you don't understand any of that, I didn't, either when the prof first brought it up, but it all gets explained. Mrs. Muse, who knows nothing about physics, watched it with me and she enjoyed it very much.
The Youtube lecture is about an hour long. Also, Prof. Lewin has written a book, For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics, where he (presumably) covers a lot of the same material seen in this lecture.
I am reminded of the actress Danica McKellar, who also happens to be a prodigious math talent, and incidentally, a lot prettier than Prof. Lewin. She has devoted herself to making the mathematics that she loves accessible to young girls, and towards that end, she's written a number of books, such as Kiss My Math and Math Doesn't Suck.
Yeah, maybe that's not quite the same thing, but I would like to see a lot more of this, meaning, people who know what they're talking about who can explain the complex concepts of their field in such a way that us non-specialists can understand.
True knowledge is a good thing. The more of it that's spread around, the better.
Name This Book
OK, so I have a book bleg. The book is a memoir of an Eastern European (maybe Russian?) immigrant in New York City in the late 19th or early 20th century. One of the story from it I remember is that a group of his friends are picking flowers in a public park (which is an infraction) and one of them see the beat cop approaching, hands the guy his load of picked flowers on the pretense that he has to tie his shoe, and runs away, leaving him holding the bag. So he gets written up for a ticket and all of his friends advise him to just pay it and forget it. Better than to lose a day's pay. Well, he doesn't want to say he did something wrong when he didn't, so he goes to court to plead his case, and the resulting courtroom scene is pretty funny. I think most of the stories in the collection are light, humorous, and touching.
And naturally, I have forgotten the title. Anybody recognize this one?
Regular Expression Bleg
The Movable Type Personal Publishing System, which I use to write these posts, allows me to search for text in previous posts. I can search for 'foo' or 'bar' or 'foobar' or whatever. I can do regular expression searches. I can enter 'foo|bar' which will return articles containing the text string 'foo' or the text string 'bar'. Which is great, but I want to do an 'and' search. That is, I want to search for articles containing the text string 'foo' and the text string 'bar' and it doesn't matter what order they're in. How do I do it?
I don't grasp the inner logic of regular expressions well enough to understand why there isn't a simple 'and' symbol, such as '&' or '&&'.
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
Sun. Morning Open Before The Book Thread Thread [OregonMuse]
Here's some silly nonsense for your Sunday morning:
I love it when Picard tells Wesley to shut up.
Imaginary Gun Thread
In honor of South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, PA, today's gun thread is imaginary but apparently still just as deadly.
A fifth grader in [Pennsylvania] has been suspended for shooting an imaginary arrow at a classmate. The 10-year-old also faces possible expulsion.
The Rutherford Institute, which is defending Johnny Jones, says he was told he violated the school’s zero tolerance policy on weapons. They’re working to get the suspension reversed and lifted from his permanent record.
On Friday night’s The Kelly File, defense attorney Jonna Spilbor reacted to the ordeal. “Here’s how ridiculous it is. If we’re going to punish this poor kid for pretending to shoot a bow and arrow, let’s ticket his parents for parking their unicorn in a fire zone.”
OTOH, this could spawn a whole new branch of the "Little Johnny" joke genre, so there's that.
Overnight Open Thread (12-7-2013) – Dead Man's Switch Edition
But welcome to your temporary back-up stunt Cat
Saturday night ONT anyway.
And don't you have something else better to be doing than hanging out here?
No? Okay then come on in.
It's probably no coincidence that the supremacy of the magic-feather syndrome in children's movies overlaps with the so-called "cult of self-esteem." The restless protagonists of these films never have to wake up to the reality that crop-dusters simply can't fly faster than sleek racing aircraft. Instead, it's the naysaying authority figures who need to be enlightened about the importance of never giving up on your dreams, no matter how irrational, improbable, or disruptive to the larger community. As Jean Twenge, the controversial cultural critic of America's supposed narcissism epidemic, argues in her bestselling book Generation Me, younger generations "simply take it for granted that we should all feel good about ourselves, we are all special, and we all deserve to follow our dreams."
...In addition to disparaging routine labor, these films discount the hard work that enables individuals to reach the top of their professions. Turbo and Dusty don't need to hone their craft for years in minor-league circuits like their racing peers presumably did. It's enough for them simply to show up with no experience at the world's most competitive races, dig deep within themselves, and out-believe their opponents. They are, in many ways, the perfect role models for a generation weaned on instant gratification....Contemporary animated films would never emulate the tough life lessons of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, but they'd do well to reintroduce the twin notions of failure and humility. In a movie like Planes, it should be good enough for a modest crop-duster just to qualify for the Wings Around the Globe race.
A very entertaining account of how it came to be. A lot of WKRP was based on WQXI in Atlanta.
There's a cave in France where no humans have been in 26,000 years. The walls are full of fantastic, perfectly-preserved paintings of animals, ending in a chamber full of monsters 1312-feet underground, where CO2 and radon gas concentrations provoke hallucinations.
It's called the the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave, a really weird and mysterious place. The walls contain hundreds of animals-like the typical Paleolithic horses and bisons-but some of them are not supposed to be there, like lions, panthers, rhinos and hyenas.
A few are not even supposed to exist, like weird butterflyish animals or chimerical figures half bison half woman. These may be linked to the hallucinations. The trip is such that some archeologists think that it had a ritual nature, with people transcending into a new state as they descended into the final room.In fact, the paintings themselves are of such sophistication-some even have three-dimensional relief-that is hard to believe they were made back then. However, radiocarbon dating shows that these paintings are indeed prehistoric: A group was made around 27,000-26,000 years ago and the other at 32,000-30,000 years ago.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group. Bla bla bla.
Tonight's post brought to you by looking for a few good men:
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
Would you slash your wrists, or start installing?
Totten's next dispatch -- Havana
This got stomped when I last floated it, so lets try again.
This is but a taste of what Totten wrote, not even a taste really, more of a wafting aroma. Hit the link and savor the whole dish.
...now it looks like a set on the History Channel’s show Life After People, only it’s still inhabited. Baghdad in the middle of the Iraq war was in better shape physically. I know because I spent months there and wrote a book about it.Having transcended the evils of capitalism and with all the worldly needs of the citizen provided for, the Cuban govt has no need for such tomfoolery as "minimum wage"; instead the notion of "maximum wage" seems to have taken root.
Roofs have collapsed. Balcony doors hang not vertically but at angles, allowing passersby to see inside homes where the interior paint is just as peeled as it is on the outside. I could even see inside some people’s homes through gashes in exterior walls. The weight of rain water knocks whole buildings down as if they were dynamited...
...Trust me: you would not want to live there, especially not on a ration card and the government’s twenty dollar maximum salary. Not that additional money would do you much good. Where would you spend it? Not even in the slums of Mexico have I seen such pitiful shops...
Coming soon to an (ex)Superpower near you.
[UPDATE] Totten has written about a large component of the restraints in Cuba being mental - the prison is essentially in people's minds now.
...Australian Mark Freeman has visited the DPRK four times and is preparing an academic paper on the North Korean propaganda. He doubts the fences in the northeast are live and believes that they are the relics of a more effective and extensive system.
“In North Korea, the electric fence, the barbed wire, is in people’s minds. They have been very effective in making the outside world appear very, very dangerous and unpredictable,” says Freeman.
Saturday Car Thread 12/7/13 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
A couple of young men died this week while racing down a city street in Santa Clarita, CA. Many people died that day, folks from all over the country, but we know of these particular deaths because one of the dead was a Hollywood star. The fact that he was famous and drawing so much press coverage sent many on Twitter into a faux rage about all the attention he received due to his fame. And, I agree that his death is not more tragic simply because he was famous. However, I would also argue that his death was not less tragic either. A young man died and left behind a family who loved him. The fact that we know this due to his fame simply means that we can put a name and a face to the death and that fact alone makes it more personal. Nothing more, nothing less.
R.I.P. Paul Walker
Driving is a dangerous undertaking which is only made more dangerous when speed and/or alcohol are introduced into the environment. There's a reason why racing is conducted in a controlled environment. That's not to say that we haven't all done it. We have, and are blessed to have survived our foolishness. And, that's not to say that all speed is bad. In fact, you're better off not being the slowest guy on the road when every one else is doing 75 mph, but racing down a public street is not the ideal for either the driver, the passenger, or those in close proximity. Toss in some distracted drivers, a few selfish assholes, and a foreigner or two trying to adapt to driving on the right side of the road and, well, it's one big crash-stew on simmer.
Originally, when composing this post, I captured images of famous accident scenes but, in the end, it was all too ghoulish to post. However, it served as a reminder that no person is immune in a car crash: Not the young and beautiful. Not the very wealthy or famous. Not the elite. Not the politician. (See Princesses Grace and Diana, Dodi Fayed, James Dean, Sam Kinison, Harry Chapin, Jayne Mansfield, and Mary Jo Kopechne to start). Hell, even in a controlled environment and with the very best-in-class behind the wheel...
With all the latest advancements in safety in use...
With the latest in automotive design applied...
Even when the accident looks completely survivable...
Speed can kill.
In happier news: The 6th generation Ford Mustang was unveiled this week and, thus far, the press is positive. I've gotta hand it to Ford because those glamour shots on their website are stunning. Looking at it from the side, from the rear tire forward, it has a very refined look to it.
While we're at it, can someone tell me, please, just what the heck they were thinking with Gen-3?
Click here for a more detailed timeline of the evolution of the Mustang.
From the twitter world, where I am now honored to be followed by one Ms. Ruth Buzzi, I have learned that her Rolls Royce is up for sale. Just last week she sold her 1967 Jaguar. It's funny. I would never have thought of Ms. Buzzi as a Rolls Royce kind of gal.
Remember, speed kills. Take your time. Smell the roses.
Feel free to drop suggestions, complaints, and commendations to me at teh Twitter.
Close it up
Another Hollywood Disappointment [OregonMuse]
OK, so I watched this trailer here:
...and I thought, hey, this looks pretty good. Maybe we're actually going to get a big-budget Biblical spectacle that doesn't suck.
Also, the way this trailer is structured, it looks like the movie is going to be a more or less straightforward retelling of the familiar Bible story.
But then I read this, and my hopes were dashed.
And for a more complete analysis, written by a Christian screenwriter who somehow managed to get hold of the script, read this.
It's is a long article, but you can just glance through it to get the gist. And if this is the script that Aronofsky actually used when he was filming, then the trailer is completely deceptive.
I don't often pay to see a first-run movie in the theater. I think 'The Hobbit' was the last one I actually went out to see. Movies these days just aren't worth the time or expense. 'Noah' might have been an exception. I might have gotten my fat butt up out of the Barcalounger and plunked down my $8 (or whatever tickets go for these days) at the theater because it looked like it could have been worth it.
But not now.
So the movie industry will have to find a way to scrape by without my $8. I am encouraged that the verdict of the test audiences who were shown this movie was that it blew chunks. So the suits at Paramount now have a $150 million stinker on their hands, and they need to decide what they're going to do with it. I don't think there's any way they're going to be able to polish up this turd enough to attract the audience numbers they would like to see, but who knows, look who got elected President.
Close it up
Obama administration drags feet on authorizing LNG/coal exports
Mentioned in the the Pearl Harbor thread comments is how Japanese aggression was driven by natural resource constraints.
This Idealabs piece shows how its starting to happen again with US procedural foot dragging in getting LNG and coal exports to Asia permitted in a prompt manner as is required by WTO rules. Rules the US was a strong proponent of.
U.S. government delays in approving pending natural gas and coal export proposals “are likely to violate” global trade rules, according to a report released this week by the National Association of Manufacturers.
The NAM commissioned former Democratic Congressman and World Trade Organization (WTO) judge James Bacchus to write the report, which urges the federal government to speed up the export approval process and lift regulatory barriers...
...“The United States has always been a strong advocate of these rules and has been forceful in challenging export restrictions imposed by other countries,” Bacchus writes, warning that if the export delays aren’t addressed “the tables may be turned on the United States directly in the WTO, but also through other countries walking away from core principles that have long been critical to U.S. success in the global economy.” - ...The National Association of Manufacturers report that get deeper into the legal aspects of what the Obama administration is doing is worth reading if you have a wonkish inclination.
Net, net, net? It seems Obama is doing everything possible to impede US energy export competitiveness, and that could have some pretty unpleasant ramifications down the road aside from the more obvious immediate jobs and trade balance issues.
I'm sure some clever coal engineering nerds will eventually figure out some way around this Obama foot dragging so they can still export product and not call it a "coal export". They could maybe do some semantic trickery like fine grind it and mix it up with up a thick bunker-C grade oil and call it an "oil export" of some sort and send it out of existing oil terminals. People can be pretty clever about working around government regulatory roadblocks when they have to. They shouldn't have to resort to that kind of trickery though.
With China having ~70% of its power supplied by coal, they're going to be getting it somewhere. There's very significant domestic Chinese production, but they still need some imports too. If that isn't the US, then its going to be someone else. If its anyone else, then US influence on Chinese policy/behavior is diminished.
With the US coal industry running at idle speed and domestic uses being crippled more and more by the Obama administration regulation every day, being able to export expeditiously is a big deal. Jobs depend on it.
Bedlam! In! Stillwater! (And Football Open Thread)
America's best-named college rivalry is back! My beloved No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys face the line-jumpers from Norman, the No. 17 Oklahoma Sooners, with a championship title on the line. It's cold and snowy in Stillwater, but they've finally shoveled out Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Story of Bedlam:
In the Year of our Lord 1900, Oklahoma A&M (as Oklahoma State was then called) veterinary medicine professor Dr. L.L. Lewis brought together a group of students to participate in the first Oklahoma Territory Track and Field Meet. I say Oklahoma "Territory" because, you will recall, Oklahoma wasn't yet a state when this rivalry began.
Held on May 4, 1900, the event included several smaller Oklahoma schools -- Alva Normal College, Central Normal of Edmond, Kingfisher College -- and, of course, Oklahoma University. The prize of the tournament was a silver cup donated by a local jeweler named Douglas. A&M won the meet and returned to Stillwater with the traveling trophy.
In 1901, A&M won again, and a third consecutive win would mean permanent retirement of the Douglas Cup in Stillwater.
The third meet was held on May 23, 1902, with the Aggies winning the most points. Oklahoma, sore at their drubbing, filed a protest based on the pole vault competition not having been completed due to darkness. Nevertheless, A&M claimed the Douglas Cup and returned victorious to Stillwater.
The next day the Sooners held their own pole vault competition and declared themselves the victors of the tournament. Several weeks later, the Douglas Cup was stolen from its place of honor in a glass case at the A&M chemistry lab. Suspecting that Sooners had taken the Cup, a group of A&M students made a daring raid to Norman where they retrieved the Cup and buried it under Old Central for safekeeping.
Ten years later, when excavation was being done for a new classroom building, the trophy was found. Today the Douglas Cup resides safely in OSU's Heritage Hall.
Bedlam starts at noon EST on ABC.
Also, this is the elbow thread today.
Note: there is a political thread posted directly below this one. Let's keep this one on topic.
Close it up
Politics Open Thread
So as not to disturb the football watchers up above.
Oh, BTW, Iceland had a quiet revolution and replaced its whole government; an event the US media largely ignored initially and continues to ignore. Dream big, maybe it can happen here.[Purp]
Dec 7, 1941
—Dave In Texas
Seventy two years ago today.
16 million Americans served during WWII, ten times the number of those in uniform today.
And here is a comprehensive overview and a good collection of photographs from the battle.
Saturday Morning Open Thread
Another week in Obamerica goes down the tubes ...
Air Force Band Flash Mob Moment at the Smithsonian - Simply Beautiful [dri]
The US Air Force band created a special moment at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC this week. Enjoy and please return to the Overnight Open Thread discussion in the previous post. H/TWeaselzippers