Overnight Open Thread (3-08-2014) - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
CDR M is still trying to recover from his big Oscars party of last week, so you’re stuck with me. I warned him against drinking raspberry Sparkletini, but did he listen? Noooo. Truth be told, I think he’s still skeeved out by the sight of these two cuddling at a pre-Oscars party:
The recent discussions of Ronan Farrow, he the award-winning journalist, master of such pieces as this interview with Miley Cyrus, has brought another incident to mind. The fawning over Farrow, despite his lack of genuine accomplishment, is quite something to behold, with members of the leftist-elite, including no less than Hillary Clinton, fawning over him like fools. It is this desire to be associated with any semblance of Hollywood royalty that led some who should have known better to invite a complete stranger into their homes, offering both money and shelter in exchange for proximity.
Before Will Smith, there was David Hampton. In 1983, in a long-running con that would later inspire Smith's role in the 1993 film Six Degrees of Separation, Hampton inveigled his way into the lives of New York City's upper crust by pretending to be the neglected son of actor Sidney Poitier. Hampton would hang around the Columbia University campus, getting unsuspecting people to house him, give him money or otherwise help him. Hampton even once reportedly showed up at the home of actress Melanie Griffith, where he stayed up talking until 4 a.m. with actor Gary Sinise. Hampton would often go to restaurants and pretend that Poitier was meeting him just to get free meals and lavish attention, only to later act as if he had been stood up. But Hampton's undoing came when he was caught by Osborn Elliott, former Newsweek editor and dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, in Elliott's home in bed with another man. Elliott alerted authorities and the jig was up. No charges were pressed, but Hampton was forced to pay $4500 back to people whom he had swindled and stayed with.
Hampton continued to scam for the remainder of his short life and eventually died alone, of AIDS, at the age of 39. His greatest success having been to mock the “limousine liberals”, the white elites of New York City.
Slow clap, Ronan Farrow. Slow clap, indeed.
The AFL-CIO would like to shame you for the use of the word “thug”
Golly gee. I feel so bad about it now. In addition to thugs, the unions are manipulative little poops as well.
A few nights ago there was a fantastic link to a graphic which demonstrated the enormity of space. It was awe-inspiring and left me feeling utterly inconsequential. This perspective is just as interesting and mind-boggling and shows our place in both the macro AND the micro universe. I can’t embed the graphic so CLICK HERE to view it. Scroll all the way to the left to really get the full picture.
Glass half full. I don’t feel quite as tiny now.
First there was the bleeding armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias, now comes a frighteningly realistic cake in the image of a yellow python. The detail on the head is remarkable. The fourth image is particularly freaky.
Massachusetts takes action to outlaw upskirt photos by perverts but only after the outrage over one such perv who escaped completely scot-free.
The Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday overturned a lower court's ruling against Michael Robinson, 31, of Andover, who was arrested in August 2010 by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police for allegedly using his cellphone to take pictures up women's skirts. In an eight-page ruling, Justice Margot Botsford wrote that a female passenger wearing a skirt or dress is “not a person who is ‘partially nude,’” referring to so-called Peeping Tom laws protecting people from being photographed or recorded when nude or partially nude.
Remember this face, ladies. He argues that violating your privacy is his “constitutional right”:
Knitters Gone Wild: A Vancouver, WA woman has taken knitting to a whole other level of silliness, knitting cozies for turtles and snails. Be sure to click the Etsy link to view her complete line.
Russia states that they have successfully tested an ICBM. Moron Cool Czech has detected something askew.
It’s an Intercontinental Ballistic Montblanc!
I challenge you NOT to see a pen now.
Rocket cats of war: A 16th century German document has revealed what appears to be a plan to unleash the cats-of-war and I can’t help but giggle. As a cat owner I feel quite certain that this scheme would not have advanced beyond the testing phase.
Tonight’s ONT brought to you by: ‘OMG! Look at the size of those feet!’
Please feel free to send any complaints or commendations to me at Twitter: Nied's Dead Horse
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Presidential Nominee Poll/Open Thread (CBD)
This mirrors the poll that is running on Drudge right now. It might be interesting to see how the Horde differs.....
No Accounting For Taste - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
You can steal a nation's wealth but you cannot steal good taste.
It looks like Donald Trump vomited all over the place.
Speaking of ostentatious, this is Denzel Washington's California home:
Saturday Car Thread 03/08/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse & Countrysquire]
Good afternoon my lovelies.
Let’s get to it.
I’m not in the least bit worked up about this. It’s a shame but the colleges had an agreement with Chrysler and abuse of that agreement cost Fiat millions. Further, the college admits that there is little educational value in the car. Then, there’s this little bit of wackiness:
“It’s like the day Kennedy was shot,” Norm Chapman, automotive technology professor at SPSCC, said. “No one will forget where they were when they heard the news.”
Get some perspective, dude.
An old story, but a good one: A 102-year old man owned the same car for 78 years: A 1928 Rolls Royce.
The science is settled! Marijuana contributes to deadly car crashes.
Not so fast…
Is pot really to blame for these accidents? Unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in the bloodstream for weeks after it has been consumed -- possibly affecting driving skills, possibly not. (Consider this: CNN found that Washington's limit of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood wasn't nearly high enough to negatively impact driving.) The study's authors caution that their findings don't indicate that the drivers were impaired from pot at the time of their accident, only that they had used pot sometime in the recent past.
Beware Mother's bearing scientific "data".
Lifestyles of the rich and infamous:
It seems that "Wow!" means the same thing everywhere.
Beauty of the week:
I can only think of a couple cars introduced in the last dozen or so years which are worth as much now as when they were new, and neither are getting cheaper. The incredible Ford GT is one, and the BMW Z8 presented here is the other.
While it’s hard to argue with the opinion that the Ian Callum designed Aston Martins are the most beautiful cars of this generation, I feel the Z8 deserves the spot at the top. While BMW’s goal was to build a car that looked like a modern day 507, and it did capture the grace of that car, the proportions and aggressive stance made it something of a modern Bavarian 427 Cobra. And there’s not a bad line on the car, it’s wonderful from any angle, an achievement very few cars can claim. From the retro interior with the banjo steering wheel, to the neon taillights, I love everything about it. Plus, it powered by the 4.9 liter V8 from the E39 M5, so it’s got that going for it. Simply superb.
Cruising tune of the week:
For the Moronettes:
For the Morons:
And a bonus pic:
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Saturday Afternoon Yard and Garden Thread: Q Branch Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]
This thread brought to you by SPIDER ROBOT LAMPS!!! :
Good afternoon, morons and moronettes! Welcome to your Saturday Gardening Thread. Today’s “topic” is gardening trends and gadgets. To get in the mood, put on your tux, light a cigarette, and pour yourself a dry martini (shaken, not stirred).
The Home & Garden Show season is in full swing, which is to say that it seems to be nearly over in much of the country. However, our local show is this weekend, so it only just now hit my radar. Never having been to one of these shows before, I didn’t know what to expect. So armed with my trusty camera phone and the $10 admission fee, I headed off to the show on Friday afternoon. The sacrifice it required for me to mix and mingle with the Great Unwashed Masses inside a hot, chaotic convention center when I could have been enjoying a beautiful Spring day was considerable, but what can I say? I’m a giver!
I arrived shortly after the three-day event opened. The venue was large, noisy, and poorly ventilated. It took me about an hour and a half to walk up and down all of the aisles too look at all of the booths, stopping at a handful that interested me.
Upshot? It was much more of a “home” than a “garden” show. So my dreams of having tons of content for today’s post were quickly dashed. I did find the mix of displays to be “interesting”. In addition to the usual home improvement contractors, there were a few cheesetastic crafts booths, a bunch of cookware displays (and demos), numerous chiropractors, one baker (I bought a loaf of pumpernickel bread from them), MANY MANY mattress displays, even MORE booths hawking sheets, some financial planners, and a couple of crematoria and mortuary booths! Sadly, the crematorium one was not directly adjacent to the barbecue display – THAT would have been comedy gold!
Out of hundreds of displays, there was one unique one displaying prototypes of a hydroponic wall system. The idea is that you’d mount this self-contained unit on a wall in your house. The inventor claimed that using this system you can grow several heads of lettuce (or whatever plant you choose) each week. (There is also a light fixture, but they had not gotten that set up yet so it’s not in the photo.) Anyway, it was the most unusual thing I saw there so I thought I’d share it with you:
I gotta say, there is a certain appeal of having a wall-mounted system for growing herbs, if it actually worked and was attractive. I’d rather have that than potted plants cluttering my kitchen window sill.
If you are interested in attending one of these shows, here are some resources to help you find where and when they’re being held: Listing of home and garden shows in North America, courtesy of one of the trade show organizations and a searchable database of home and garden shows courtesy of FestivalNet.
So aside from Killer Robot Spider Lamps, what are the hot trends for your garden this year? According to the Lawn and Garden Retailer magazine, here are some of the things to look for 2014. (You’ll note how on-trend this blog is – we hit the first one right out of the gate!)
1. Ground Up: Recycling food scraps and creating compost is the new recycling.
2. Super Foods, Super Models: Edibles are going to the next level with foodies growing everything from quinoa to dandelions in straw bales and keyhole gardens.
What’s a “keyhole garden,” you ask? Well, it’s a type of circular raised bed with an active compost pile in the center. The keyhole refers to a notch in the structure that extends to the center of the bed for access to the compost pile.
Keyhole gardens were popularized in Africa, but work very well in other hot, dry climates. They can also be quite attractive:
Make sure to follow the link to read more about these cool garden structures.
Back to the trends list,
5. Bee-neficials: It’s all about the bees this year. Bees are at forefront of environmentally aware consumers’ minds, inspiring them to plant native, pollen rich flowers, trees and veggies to provide safe shelters.
Don’t we have a few bee-keeper morons and moronettes here? If there’s enough interest, we can devote a post to this topic. I admit, I know nothing about bee-keeping. Courtesy of Popular Mechanics, here’s a quick primer on getting started keeping your own bees.
9. Young Men Get Down and Dirty: Big surprise here: young men 18-34 are spending $100 more than the average gardener. They are grilling, growing their own hops for beer, and taking the kids out to play in the dirt.
I guess this makes sense, although I’m not sure I’d classify a 34 year old as “young,” despite my advanced age. It’s also a good excuse to post this picture of a somewhat older man getting “down and dirty” for the moronettes:
(BTW, Mike Rowe is popular with older ghey dudes. Don’t ask me how I know. shudder)
Finally, per the gardening trends report
11. Fingertip Gardens: Gardens go high tech with mobile apps and technology.
I found some great lists of high tech garden gadgets at Mashable and Urban Gardens. A lot of these gadgets are designed to remind us to feed and water our plants, so I guess I’m not the only forgetful gardener out there!
To wrap things up, this week my Blog of the Week is not really a blog, per se, but the Utah State University Cooperative Extension site. It’s really quite good. In addition to gardening and agricultural information, there’s also quite a bit on food preservation and storage, which I think is of interest to some of our morons. If there’s one thing Utah is known for, it’s PREPPERS!
And now for the comedy stylings of WeirdDave!
(Please note: it should go without saying, but this post is a work of satire, as are most of my gardening posts. SAT-IRE. Google it. Then read Swift, Jonathan “A Modest Proposal”. Then lighten up, Francis)
Today we’re talking about gardening gadgets. There are any number of labor saving devices that one can deploy to make their gardening life easier, but one in particular comes to mind. It is endlessly efficient, yet be warned that it can be difficult to work with. You can get many, many years of productive use out of one, and in fact it is a generational tool. Properly treated, it is a tool that will in the fullness of time produce other tools that will make the toil of your twilight years immeasurably easier. Acquiring one, however, is not for the faint of heart, and care and maintenance is a full time job in and of itself. I am talking of course about a kid.
A kid is the perfect gadget to make your gardening life simple. Properly utilized you can support one on just a small portion of the food that it raises, leaving the lion’s share of the harvest for your enjoyment. Kids also enjoy working outdoors with their hands and have a primal connection with the soil. Put a kid to work in your garden and it will be grateful for being given a purpose in life.
The hard part about deploying a kid in your garden is acquiring one. Kids are literally everywhere, so you would think it would be easy just to pick one up without anyone missing it. Such is not the case. The quaint kid dealer, operating out of a rusty Dodge van with the traditional “Free candy” logo is a thing of the past. Kids are able to bite and scratch so it’s hazardous to attempt to harvest a free range one from a local playground, and other people value their children for the work they do in their gardens, so they tend to keep a weather eye on them. No, the way to go is to produce one yourself, but I warn you, the process is daunting.
The first thing you need to produce your own kid is a woman (this guide is written from a male perspective. I have no idea how, or even if, women think). Women are all over the place, they’re the ones with the bumpy things on their chests. In order to produce a kid, you must find a likely woman ( Pro-tip: not all women can produce kids. For best results find one between the ages of 18-40 ). Once you’ve located a woman, you must approach her. Your approach should be tailored to the woman you chose. With younger women, a conversation about vampires and werewolves works well. Women over 30 are more likely to respond to overtures featuring feelings, approval of nesting behaviors and an admiration of something called “knick-knacks”. A longing to “make a good home with someone” and a desire to “love unconditionally” can enhance your appeal. Once you find a good woman, the wooing commences.
Wooing is a very complicated subject that is probably beyond the scope of this guide. There are plenty of very informative resources available online, Google them. The end game here is to convince a woman to mate with you, and that’s where the horror begins. I am presenting this information here in a clinical manner. We are gardeners, we pit our wit and ability against the unfeeling anger of Mother Nature. Our calling is not for the faint of heart, and as distasteful as this section may be, I ask you to find the nerve inside yourself to absorb the information with a stout heart. I ask this not lightly because in order to produce a kid of your own, you must engage in.......sex.
At some point after you have located a woman and wooed her, you will find yourself alone with her, probably in a bedroom, and the two of you will disrobe. Standing naked before each other, it’s time for the sex to begin. Observe the woman. Notice that while you have a proud pee pee, she does not. Do NOT feel sorry for her lack, and most especially do not point it out to her, it’s not her fault, nature made her that way. Reminding her that she doesn’t own a willie will only lead to bad feelings. The first thing you have to do is make your pee pee stand up. Stroke it gently and tell it how much you like it. Flatter it. Soon enough it will become interested and stand up tall and proud. You’ll be able to look right at its hole and it will look back at you (true fact: this is where the phrase “seeing eye to eye” comes from). Ask your wooed woman to lie down. Here’s where it gets ugly.
If you examine the nest of hair the woman has between her legs, you will find that there is an opening there. You must (shudder), put your pee pee into this opening. Once it’s in, slide it out, but unfortunately not all the way. Push it back in (I know, I know). Do this again. And again. Keep doing it until a warm feeling envelopes you and your pee pee does something like peeing (pro tip: It’s NOT peeing. Do not pee at this point or most likely you’ll have to start all over again finding another woman. If she doesn‘t demand this, forget gardening, your life is about to become a carnal hell from which you won’t escape. Word to the wise). At this point it’s traditional to say something meaningless, “You were great, baby” usually suffices. Now you wait. If you’re very lucky, within a few months your woman will start to make a baby out of food. You’ll know this is happening because she’ll start to glow and put on weight, plus when you come home she’ll greet you with a drawn gun and a demand for pickles and ice cream. (pro tip: Get them for her. For God’s sake, get them for her. Immediately) If you’re not lucky you’ll have to do the “sex” thing again until it takes. 9 months later your very own kid will arrive! Now you can start training him or her to garden for you. This process takes some years and really should be the subject of another post.
I apologize for the graphic and horrifying nature of this post, but if you want the ultimate garden gadget there really isn’t any other way to get it. I know the process described herein is distasteful, but the results are well worth it. My hope is that the garden labor saved by utilizing a kid will, in time, more than compensate for the terrifying method that is required to get one.
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Saturday Thread for Non-Gardening Discussions [Y-not]
For those of you not interested in gardening.
Tragically, a Malaysian Airlines jet has gone missing.
Flight MH370 vanished at 18:40 GMT Friday (02:40 local time Saturday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, where it was expected at 22:30 GMT.
The aerial search has been halted for the night, but sea operations continue.
No wreckage has been reported by the airline, but Vietnamese planes reported seeing oil slicks in the sea.
Per my twitter feed, the flying conditions were reportedly near-perfect.
Prayers for the missing and their loved ones.
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Why Wendy Davis Was Doomed From The Start In One Image
Warning: your margins will hate you for reading on.
[Update - Andy]: ... or maybe not. Click on the map to view full-size.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread
Good mornin' all.
This is a really touching piece by Ron Suskind on his son's autism and Disney. As the dad of a very affected 10-year old, it really resonated with me.
It also reminded me how much I despise the asshats who abused Disney's disability pass and forced them to change the program.
Which, in turn, leads to this piece by Jonah Goldberg on "hidden law".
Overnight Open Thread (7 Mar 2014)
You'd think making a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline would be easy, especially when a new poll says there is overwhelming support for it. In fact, Keystone XL would only swell U.S. pipelines by 0.033 percent.
The first U.S. pipeline to transport oil started carrying crude from Coryville to Williamsport, Penn., in 1879. In the intervening 135 years, the continental USA became interlaced with 2,600,000 miles of these steel tubes. And how many more such miles would KXL add? A grand total of 852. That’s an increase of 0.033 percent, or the rough equivalent of delivering an extra faucet to the plumbing department at your local Home Depot. Believe it or not, this microscopic change in America’s pipeline profile fuels this massive controversy.
Funny Animal Videos With Appropriate Music
Canadian guilty of sexual assault after piercing condoms. So is it sexual assault when a woman purposely skips taking her birth control pills so she can get pregnant?
Explosive, spectacular car crash. With a very nice soundtrack.
Otter vs Honey Badger
Otter attacks alligator and kills it. Oh yeah, bring on the Otter vs Honey Badger pay per view special.
I know, it is a Mother Jones link but one could apply what the article say to how liberals think in regard to global warming, financial policies, politics, etc. No matter how hard you try, you can't change an anti-vaxxer's mind.
you might think it would be of the utmost importance to try to talk some sense into these people. But there's a problem: According to a major new study in the journal Pediatrics, trying to do so may actually make the problem worse. The paper tested the effectiveness of four separate pro-vaccine messages, three of which were based very closely on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself talks about vaccines. The results can only be called grim: Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents' professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents' intent to vaccinate.
Of note, the guy that did this study was the one that did one on "conservative" subjects and how they refused to believe a "truth" about George W. Bush and continued to believe the "lie". Did they not think to question liberals too?
I'm sure Obamacare will cover this. Scientists build orgasm machine for women.
During the operation, a patient would remain conscious so that a surgeon could correctly pinpoint the right nerves to fit the electrodes in a patient’s spinal cord. Then, a signal generator would be connected which would be most likely implanted under the skin of a patient’s buttocks.
Stuart Meloy, a surgeon at Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, N.C., came up with idea by accident.
“I was placing the electrodes and suddenly the woman started exclaiming emphatically,” he said to Newscientist. “I asked her what was up and she said, ‘You’re going to have to teach my husband to do that’.”
So, um, where exactly was he placing these electrodes?
Tonight's ONT brought to you by Presidential uniforms:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maet or CDR M. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
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International Day of Women Open Thread
It's the International Day of Women.
This probably isn't being noted widely on the right, but we're proud at AoSHQ that we have a fairly big population of female readers.
And we don't take the time to acknowledge that enough, and thank the ladies for gracing us with their wit and ideas.
So I thought I would rectify that with a Pictorial Essay to thank the Women of AoSHQ for just being You.
You've earned this, ladies. No need to thank me in advance.
Now go out there and Be Somebody.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Matthew Continetti
Matthew Continetti, Editor of the Washington Free Beacon (the Nation's Leading Anti-Clinton Publication™; poised for global expansion) joins Ace and John for the debut of our revolutionary Chill Groove Infotainment Format.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Essential reference: Charles Krauthammer's In Defense of the F-Word
Questions & comments here: Ask the Blog
Open thread in the comments.
McCain: My Good Friend Ted Cruz Should Apologize to My Other Good Friend Bob Dole
Ted Cruz named the Republicans' three most recent losing candidates -- Dole, McCain, and Romney -- as having failed to stand on principle, which then, he suggests, caused them to lose.
McCain asks, rhetorically (and arguably demagogically), if Bob Dole had failed to "stand on principle" on "that hill in Italy" in which he lost his limb defending the country in World War II. He wants Cruz to apologize to Dole, but not, he says, to himself or Romney.
If I try to give McCain a break here, here's how I do it. Both sides of the RINO/TrueCon war have insults for the other side that drive the other side crazy.
RINOs hate it when you suggest they're "cowards" who "lack principle" or "the will to fight." I've gotten that a lot myself, and it is, as intended, quite personally insulting.
On the other side of it, RINOs have their own disparagements of TrueCons -- starting off with the suggestion that they're crazy, that they lack sophistication and don't understand politics, are overemotional, and so on.
So while I think it's a bit of stretch for McCain to claim Cruz was claiming Dole shirked his duty in World War Two (come on, he said nothing of the sort), I can guess that what rankles McCain here is this frequent messaging that RINOs, such as himself, are "cowards." Cruz's formulation -- that these men failed to "stand on principle"-- doesn't explicitly make the "coward" argument, but it does suggest it.
On McCain's side, of course, he has called Tea Partiers "hobbits" and other terms of disparagement. And in his call for an apology to War Hero Bob Dole, he's not-too-covertly reminding the audience that Ted Cruz didn't serve.
There are several real arguments going on in the conservative movement. Most of these have to do with real things -- policy, tactics.
I think what the party is doing, wrongly, is attempting to dodge the actual arguments by resorting to personal-level attacks.
Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Rather than engaging and arguing about the stuff that actually divides us, we're attempting to hide these arguments (which everyone knows we have) under a cover of personal attacks.
Which are in fact worse and more embittering than just having the argument we're trying to avoid.
Arguments about ideology and tactics are not exactly pleasant, but there is, at least, a small bit of detachment from them, on a personal level. If I argue with a commenter about X position, the fight could get edgy and hot, but at least we're arguing about something other than one another's personal value.
Once something gets personal, forget about it.
This is why I say this is all backwards. We're avoiding a fight (which could be productive and clarifying) on the actual issues (which do need to be discussed) by instead resorting to personal stuff and argument-by-categorization.
That is, rather than discuss the actual issue, we tend to simply categorize the position -- "RINO," "buying into the left's premises," "crazy," etc. -- and let the categorization do our arguing for us.
But this isn't an especially useful way to discuss things, just tossing disparaging labels at each other or each other's positions.
I've given up, personally, deciding what position I support based on how "conservative" it's alleged to be, or not to be. The party is in a state of flux. When Rand Paul can be applauded for advocating a fairly isolationist position at CPAC -- imagine such a thing in 2003 -- I think it's clear we're in a rebuilding, and reconsidering, and rethinking period.
There is no point fighting that, and no use trying to avoid it. And it doesn't advance the ball any by calling things either "RINO" or "crazy" based on 2004's now-obsolete definitions.
We should decide which ideas are part of the core of conservatism based upon how true and useful those ideas are rather than resorting to how true and useful and idea might be according to how "conservative" someone says it is.
Oh, and let me say this about the unending Cruz/McCain feud: They should insult each other honestly. I think honesty, even in insults, is better than dishonesty.
Here is what Cruz plainly thinks about McCain: That McCain is essentially a Democrat, who values the opinions of liberals (especially liberal journalists) far more than those of conservatives. And we all seek to please those we think the most highly of. And so McCain is consistently critical of conservatives. He flatters liberal sensibilities in hopes they will flatter him in return.
And here is what McCain plainly thinks about Cruz: That he's a charlatan who's offering people looking for Big Wins the illusory promise of a Big Win, that he's conning people, that he's not being "straight" with constituents. That he's undermining Republicans to advance his own personal political position.
Now, a fight between McCain and Cruz in those terms would be ugly. But at least it would have the benefit of being an honest fight, not this bullshit we have going on right now.
And one more thing: "Moderation" in the Republican party is currently a slur because no one at all speaks up for it. Everyone claims to be The Most Conservative Possible, Ever. Except for a few people, like Collins and Kirk, almost everyone claims to be the Most Conservative, and claims to think the Most Conservative always wins.
Moderates plainly do not believe this. And it does them no credit that they pretend to believe it while plainly not really believing it.
And if they want to make a bit of moderation -- as McCain clearly has in him -- not a term of disparagement, they have to speak up in favor of it, and explain to people why they think moderation is not always some kind of sell-out position.
You know, I used to fight this characterization myself. People would say I was a moderate or not as conservative as they are, and it really used to bug me. I felt like I was "losing" the race. I mean, someone says he's more conservative than I am; I can't let that insult stand.
But in fact, look: In the wild west, there's always gonna be someone faster than you, and there are in fact going to be an awful lot of people further to the right than any particular person.
We're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou precisely because we're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou.
If McCain believes that some people are too conservative, then why does he not just forthrightly say so, and make a case for a Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft brand of conservatism?
Why continue this endless posturing over the game show Quien es Muy Macho? ?
If he thinks it's a silly game, he should say so. I'd respect him more for that.
I really think this system we've developed where all our actual debates are either sublimated or squelched is a bad one. All that ends up happening is that what should be discussed on an ideological plane winds up becoming personalized trash-talk, and everyone feels lied to, because no one's being straight with each other.
Newsmax Plans a "Kinder, Gentler" Right-Leaning Television Alternative to Fox
The founder of the conservative media company Newsmax is planning to launch a cable TV network to compete with Fox News, but not quite the same. Christopher Ruddy wants to launch Newsmax TV later this year, and is billing it as a “kinder, gentler Fox” that will be “more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.”
Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile of Ruddy notes that he himself isn’t a Republican and is “more moderate” than you might expect from the head of Newsmax. But Ruddy thinks there’s room in the cable landscape for a conservative competitor to Fox News, which hasn’t been done effectively to date.
It's a good idea. Fox would benefit from some competition, in terms of quality, though of course not in terms of ratings.
As far as Newsmax's suggestion they'd be a "kinder, gentler" Fox, I take that largely as brand differentiation, seizing upon Fox's perceived weakness (or at least its weakness as divined by critics). I'm not sure how serious they are about that.* End of the day, controversy and argument seems to be good for ratings.
Beck's Blaze TV, a commenter tells me, is being picked up by cable stations, too.
But I think this is for the good. More voices, not fewer. In addition, any Fox competitor would actually help to mainstream the idea of actually reporting fairly on conservative positions -- right now Fox is essentially ghettoized, by being all alone in offering a fair take where conservatives are more than props or punchlines. Multiple stations with the same basic mission takes them all out of the ghetto.
* Hmm: If "kinder, gentler" is a code for female-skewing, that would be a more interesting attempt at brand differentiation. Conservative-leaning women are probably an underserved market, as conservative media, generally, skews male in tone.
At least it seems that way to me.
For example: Why hasn't Fox launched a "View" clone? (Or have they already and I just didn't know about it?)
Every other channel has a View clone. Why not Fox?
Obama Misspells "Respect" (RSPECT); CNN's Palace Guard Immediately Begins Making Excuses
“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her,” Obama said to the general laughter of the audience....
CNN was quick to cover for Obama’s misspelling. Ashley Banfield said Obama just “wanted to throw us all, see if we were actually all paying attention.”
John Berman then said, “I get hot flashes whenever people spell on TV because I can’t spell. I would misspell ‘respect,’ so I have sympathy for him.”
Berman asked if people would “be making a bigger deal out of this than we are,” if it were, say, Dan Quayle who misspelled a word. “Is this liberal media bias?” he said.
No, not at all.
Ashleigh Banfield's defense is preposterous. If Obama were making some kind of joke, he'd elide the second e in "respect" (because that's the one Aretha Franklin famously elides with the p, doing a combined pee-ee sound), not the first.
But the High Exalted Precious must be defended against all slurs against his potency.
Of course, this is not the most egregious media story of the day. It's not even close.
IThe image showed a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an unusual angle. The AP’s original caption on the photo said they were reciting the organization’s “creed” during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas.
It took the AP several days to acknowledge their error. But by then, the unfortunate comparison to Nazi Germany had spread on the Internet faster than Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
“New Trail Life scouting group excludes gay kids & they do a ‘Sieg Heil! Style salute,” tweeted Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service.
And that’s exactly what it looked like.
“It looks like some kind of German salute that was used during the Nazi period,” Stemberger told me in a telephone interview.
The photograph ran last Sunday in newspapers across the nation and generated hundreds of angry emails and some threatening telephone calls to Trail Life headquarters.
But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.
The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.
“It really misrepresented what was going on,” Stemberger told me. “There are children involved and that made it more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.”
So AP caught a group of kids slowly lowering their arms from straight up to down by their side, shot the picture in the mid-point, knowing it looked like the Sieg Heil Salute -- and also knowing it wasn't that at all -- and then took days to delete the deceptive photo.
Good God. They just framed kids as Nazis and then defended their doing such.
They claimed to the WaPo's Eric Wemple that the picture was accurate enough, by AP's standards.
All because Trail Life doesn't permit gay scouts.
Are You Going to Believe the White House Reporter Pool or Your Lying Eyes?
The official WH pool report indicates Obama spelled RESPECT correctly. Hmmm— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 7, 2014
CAC's Senate Forecast: GOP In Driver's Seat to Win Senate
He begins by noting five "firewalls" Democrats are counting on to stop a wildfire, each set back a little deeper into Democratic territory than the last.
Most of the firewalls are now on fire.
However, as of March 2014, the GOP has locked away two races, closed in on a third, well on their way with two more, and slight favorites in yet two more, giving the Republicans room to make an effective push into more purplish territory. They are fiercely contesting an open race in Michigan and now an incumbent in Colorado, and are threatening to do so in Iowa and New Hampshire. The higher they raise their maximum potential gains, the lower the number of races the Democrats can afford to write off. Despite the slacking off in Virginia, this remains a challenging map for those left-of-center.
As of today, the Democrats are in deep trouble. We aren’t forecasting a landslide win for the GOP — eight months is a lifetime. But with the second firewall already burning and Republican advancements into states they failed to win in 2012, they may be well on their way.
Rick Perry's CPAC Speech
If you don't have time for the eleven and a half minute speech, you can take Allah's advice and skip to 10:00, for his closing ninety seconds.
It's a decent speech. (I'm a jaded critic on speeches, so I tend not to get too excited about them.)
Perry Version 2014 seems to be fighting the ghost of Perry Version 2012. He's much more energetic in this speech than he was in any of the debates. (But of course people tend to be more energetic before friendly crowds.) One can speculate about his reasons for the nerd-cool choice in spectacles.
Another thing he's doing is projecting optimism, hope, and buoyancy, which is of course the advice given to practically any candidate. He also takes time to praise his fellow Republican governors, including, notably, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, both of whom are considering a run for the nomination themselves. So he gets some Nice Guy/Good Guy points. (Notably absent from his list of successful Republican governors: Chris Christie.)
As most readers know, I jumped on the Perry train big-time in 2012, seeing him -- on paper -- as not only the best candidate among the crowded (and uninspiring) 2012 field, but just a good candidate in any cycle. His economic portfolio was/is solid -- Barack Obama hasn't presided over the creation of many jobs in America, but Rick Perry can account for nearly half (48%) of those jobs that Obama wishes to take credit for. (Oh, and Perry's jobs were actually created, not "saved or created or funded" or which "positively impacted" people.)
Of course, there is the candidate on paper, and then there is the candidate under the hot lights and pressure.
As @rdbrewer4 notes in the side bar, Perry says that his 2012 back surgery played a large role in his unpreparedness for the campaign.
In an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," Perry said he learned a lot from his 2012 campaign experience when he exited the primaries early on.
"I won't have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement," says Perry, of the next possible run for the White House.
When he announced his presidential bid in August 2011, Perry said he felt invincible, telling himself: "I'm 61 years old, I'm bulletproof, I'm 10-feet tall, I can do anything."
But 2012 was "a very humbling experience."
"Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But that’s not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure? How do you pick yourself up and go forward?
Surely that did have a lot to do with it -- but how much? Perry was plainly unprepared to discuss federal policy and issues in any kind of detail. In fairness, most governors, for whom federal matters are not a day-to-day job (as it is with dummy senators like Biden and Obama), usually cram from a briefing book on such things before their run; plus, most candidates get to begin their runs by stumbling along in low-prominence venues where few people notice them screwing up. Later they get more comfortable and commanding, hopefully.
Perry's back surgery -- maybe combined with an arrogant "I'm Superman, I don't need to study" attitude -- plus his extremely high-profile entry in the race, allowing for no confidence building minor events before his announcement -- probably did result in his general lack of intellectual preparedness. What accounts for his complete lack of political strategic preparedness -- informing a debate hall full of bright-red conservative primary voters that those who oppose in-state tuition for illegal alien children "have no heart" -- I have no idea, but of course judgement is impaired along with mental sharpness when someone's run down.
As someone who's frequently run down -- and not feeling mentally sharp -- myself, this all makes sense to me.
But... I need to see proof that the page has turned from Perry's near-disastrous 2012 run.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm open to Perry, but he does have to show me he's on the ball and has thought more seriously not just about the general principles of conservatism but the practical application of them at the present moment. (For example, on reforming entitlements.)
He speaks (as he always has) forcefully enough on general principles of conservative philosophy and governance; my concern is that details may again be his undoing.
But if they're not -- if he takes his time off to hit that briefing book and study it like he's about to take the SATs -- then he'd be a good candidate.
He says 2012 was humbling, and that the mark of a man is not how he fails, but how he picks himself back up. Which is an incontrovertible sentiment. So I'm watching to see how he's picked himself back up.
NYC DeBlasio Takes On His Most Implacable Foe: Children
Success Academy is run by Eva Moscowitz, someone hated by the teachers unions and the left. So of course she must be destroyed, and if there is some collateral damage in the form of children, so be it. Such things happen in war.
What a small and politically vicious man New York's new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn't like charter schools. They are too successful to be tolerated. Last week he announced he will drop the ax on three planned Success Academy schools. (You know Success Academy: It was chronicled in the film "Waiting for Superman." It's one of the charter schools the disadvantaged kids are desperate to get into.) Mr. de Blasio has also cut and redirected the entire allotment for charter facility funding from the city's capitol budget. An official associated with a small, independent charter school in the South Bronx told me the decision will siphon money from his school's operations. He summed up his feelings with two words: "It's dispiriting."
Some 70,000 of the city's one million students, most black or Hispanic, attend charter schools, mostly in poorer neighborhoods. Charter schools are privately run but largely publicly financed. Their teachers are not unionized. Their students usually outscore their counterparts at conventional public schools on state tests. Success Academy does particularly well. Last year 82% of its students passed citywide math exams. Citywide the figure was 30%.
These are schools that work. They are something to be proud of and encourage.
We close with a little red meat because there's something in this story—frightened children, cold political operators—that gets our blood up.
In this move more than any so far, Mr. de Blasio shows signs he is what his critics warned he would be—a destructive force in the city of New York. When a man says he will raise taxes to achieve a program like pre-K education, and is quickly informed that that program can be achieved without raising taxes, and his answer is that he wants to raise taxes anyway, that man is an ideologue.
And ideologues will sacrifice anything to their ideology. Even children.
There's a lot more at the link.
De Blasio’s rally in support of a higher tax on wealthy New Yorkers was not specifically targeted at education, but across town, Andrew Cuomo joined Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz at a different rally promoting charter schools. Although de Blasio downplayed the significance of the charter rally, it’s a big deal. Moskowitz is his chief opponent in the charter school co-location fight. Indeed, de Blasio specifically mentioned the need to reduce Moskowitz’s influence as a reson for the policy shift, and Moskowitz has responded with plenty of harsh words of her own. By appearing at the rally, Cuomo effectively endorsed de Blasio’s biggest rival. And he’s not just a silent partner; he spoke forcefully about the need to protect charter schools. . . .
More at Mead, who calls NY state the chief battleground in the war on charter schools, where their fate will be determined in a struggle between the liberal coalition's moderate/liberal wings, and its leftist wing -- the tail that now actually wags the dog.
What Liberals Think Vs. Reality
What our old friend Oliver Willis thinks when he sees Mitch McConnell walking on stage with a rifle.
@NoahCRothman we're not in the damn stone ages. most americans live within quick response sphere of police. they dont need armed response.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 6, 2014
Official legal position of New York City: Cops have no obligation to protect an individual being attacked by a guy with a knife.
What "explanatory journalist" Sarah "Gosnell is a local crime story" Kliff thinks about ObamaCare's lousy poll numbers.
It would be bizarre if a majority of people thought Obamacare helped them. It doesn’t touch the vast majority of insurance.— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) March 6, 2014
Reality: Obama said his plan would, "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
Reality based community guys!
Friday Morning News Dump
- Obama, Solipsist
- Democrats Filibuster An Obama Nominee
- The Tyrant In The Gray Flannel Suit
- Few Uninsured Signing Up For Obamacare
- De Blasio's Numbers Already Cratering
- Harry Reid's Two Minutes Of Hate
- National Crisis Averted: Obama Going On Vacation After All
- Republicans Just Want To Be Left Alone
- Bitcoin Firm CEO Found Dead
- Not Sure Why, But Issa Apologizes To Cummings
- It's Time To Increase The Size Of The House
- Senate Control Could Decide Opportunities In Tennessee
- Texas Down To Six Abortion Clinics
- Bad News, The New Hoverboard Is A Hoax
Follow me on twitter.
Top Headline Comments 3-7-14
Programming note: I'm doing another segment of Huffpost Live's "Legalese It! with Mike Sacks" this afternoon around 3:15.
The Congressional Black Caucus calls for Rep. Issa's removal as House Oversight chair. Let me tell you what's not going to happen . . .
At what point do Democrats start admitting that the best thing that could happen on healthcare is to start from scratch? The report from McKinsey is only 9 pages and most of it is graphs. Definitely read it.
Mayor de Blasio's approval rating drops to 39 percent just two months after he took office. Such fickle beasts, New Yorkers.
This? I liked it:
Here's Mitch McConnell's gun picture - What's yours? pic.twitter.com/dpJCMOdufE— Wash. Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 6, 2014
Loving this one right now.
Have a great weekend.
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (3-6-2014) - Screwed Down Hairdo Edition
As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out unlike your family, friends, or neighbors the government cannot love you. Nor can the government love other people on your behalf. That's one reason why de Tocqueville believed that America's 'mediating institutions' based on voluntary, personal interactions were so critical to its success.
But the left only believes in and trusts government:
In the view of the left, there are only two entities that matter: the individual, and the state.
...This desiccated vision of society is in direct contrast to what Alexis de Tocqueville observed as being the genius of the American experiment. He celebrated the countless ways in which Americans interacted with and influenced the public square through what later came to be called "mediating institutions"-churches, civic societies, fraternal organizations, and innumerable other voluntary associations that served not only their members, but their communities as well. These institutions, he said, were the backbone of American life, and the primary bulwark against the kind of tyranny that had long dominated Europe.
When the left views American society, it simply doesn't see these institutions, or worse, dismisses them as reactionary and obstructive of "progress." They are viewed purely as expressions of private interests, needs, or desires, and at best of no consequence to the real work of improving the country, and at worst positive hindrances to be caged or, if need be, destroyed.
And this story from MN where a soaking wet high school girl in a bathing suit was forced to stand outside barefoot in sub-freezing weather by teachers during a fire alarm is a classic example of how big government and its rules end up robbing average people of their basic human decency and making them behave like monsters. The girl is okay thanks to the help of her classmates but suffered some frostbite to her feet.
"My father had taught me to be nice first, because you can always be mean later, but once you've been mean to someone, they won't believe the nice anymore. So be nice, be nice, until it's time to stop being nice, then destroy them."
But as my mother also taught me when you're a teacher - or really anyone in a position of authority - you always start out super-strict, demanding and merciless and then slowly loosen up once the ground rules have been established. Of course both of these pieces of advice are correct in their own circumstances.
However, today it was revealed that it was Italian and French pilots who were scrambled to escort the plane into land and the Swiss played no part in the mission.
The Swiss pilots were alerted to the problem at 4.30am but are only operational in normal office hours - not before 8am.A Swiss airforce spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP: 'Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend. It's a question of budget and staffing.'
Just remember that this entire military-style raid was to question someone suspected of credit card fraud. And no I wouldn't consider this a 'knock and announce' entry where a reasonable person could make it to the door to meet the police.
As you can see from the video, the knock and announce today is largely a formality. The original purpose is gone. From the perspective of the people inside, there's really no difference between this sort of "knock and announce" and a no-knock raid. (The covering of the officers' faces is also troubling, though also not uncommon.)
...Ross says he didn't hear the police announcement until after one officer had already attempted to kick in the door. Had that officer been successful, there's a good chance that Ross, the police officer, or both would be dead. The police department would then have inevitably argued that Ross should have known that they were law enforcement. But you can't simultaneously argue that these violent, volatile tactics are necessary to take suspects by surprise and that the same suspects you're taking by surprise should have known all along that they were being raided by police. Well you can, and police do, and judges and prosecutors usually support them. But the arguments don't logically coexist.
Look the police can either have 'knock and announce' raids with reasonable time before entry or they can have 'surprise' raids - but not both. And if they go with surprise, I'm willing to acquit anyone who acts against them in reasonable self-defense.
Because your gas is too cheap. And because they can.
Members of the military are no longer allowed to march along with the Boston Marathon. Because safety.
Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That's the word from Runner's world:A decade long tradition will be missing from this year's Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered "unauthorized participants."Muslims don't have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we'll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.
Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.
As Roger Ebert pointed out one time the Deltas were really proto-hippies - far more than they were ever future cogs in the investment-banking establishment industry.
But they did vote for it and enabled this famous selfie:
There was a time when actors and actresses let themselves age naturally, and looked all the more better for it. Katharine Hepburn, as far as I could tell, never had work done and her pretty features are still intact in On Golden Pond, which was released when she was 74. Mae West also resisted plastic surgery, showing off her face and neck to whoever asked to prove she had no surgical marks. Instead, she shunned the sun, staying indoors during the midday hours and drawing the shades in her apartment. Eva Saint Marie is 89 and was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning this week, claiming that she never had anything done to her face--and I believe her. She still looks stunning and completely natural.
Based on women I've known who have gotten plastic surgery you seem to get the best results when you have light work done that mostly restores what you used to look like. But go too far and you start getting the allergic reaction/tranny-burn victim look.
Yahoo group. That is all.
The group thingy. And the middle class.
And my Twitter spew.
Tonight's post brought to you by when Putin met Reagan:
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Close it up
Here Are Some Words and Graphs Open Thread
Only one in ten of the uninsured who qualify for Obamacare have bothered to sign up for it. Seems like a pretty good reason to take away everyone else's insurance.
Obama, for his part, thinks Obamacare is working exactly the way it should.
Completely unrelated I'm sure, but Bobby Jindal thinks it's time to revisit our assumption that Barack Obama is a smart man.
At Sarah Hoyt's place, a guest post about the science-fiction community's descent into busybodying, witch-hunting intolerance.
From @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar, @charlescwcooke notes the downside -- for Democrats -- of a filibuster-free world. They had to kill the nomination of that Adegbile character themselves. There was no Republican filibuster which would allow them to hide.
From @tsrblke, Volokh considers one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, and when I say it's one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, I really mean only that it's a post appearing at Salon. When you're drowning in a sea of stupid, you really can't parse out the relative heights of stupid-waves.
Also from @rdbrewer4, scientific proof that nothing's funny if you analyze it to death.
One of the coolest things of the day comes from @comradearthur, who links this tour of the solar system, which is -- for once -- in proper scale.
Your usual depiction of the solar system cannot display distances to scale because the distances between planets are so enormously huge the planets would be smaller than a single pixel and hence invisible.
Well, this link aims to show you what Douglas Adams meant when he had the Hitchhiker's Guide define space's size in this way:
“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space. "
And it defines infinity thus:
Infinte: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real "wow, that's big," time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we're trying to get across here.
It's a neat link. I'd like to tell you the first billion kilometers are the hardest, but in fact the solar system is relatively action-packed with planets in the first billion kilometers. It's the last four and a half billion kilometers where you start to get a sense of what "empty space" really means.
So that's why they call it that.
Thanks for help on the Hitchhiker's Guide quotes to Mike in the Hinterlands.
A Scientist Publishes Her Notes for an Upcoming Talk on the Causes and Implications of the 17 Year Global Warming Pause
You should know going in she's not firmly against global warming theory. But she is honest enough to confess that the theory, as currently understood, is wrong, at least in important details, and she's willing to "go there," at least in a speculative way, and consider the possibility that the theory is wrong in the main as well.
She seems extremely skeptical of last year's spin that the ocean is "hiding" huge amounts of heat by some unexplained mechanism.
She does seem to see some plausibility in another theory, the "stadium wave" theory, which isn't terribly surprising -- the Stadium Wave hypothesis is her own pet theory.
One of the most controversial issues emerging from the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is the failure of global climate models to predict a hiatus in warming of global surface temperatures since 1998. Several ideas have been put forward to explain this hiatus, including what the IPCC refers to as ‘unpredictable climate variability’ that is associated with large-scale circulation regimes in the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar of these regimes is El Niño/La Niña. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
A new paper published in the journal Climate Dynamics suggests that this ‘unpredictable climate variability’ behaves in a more predictable way than previously assumed. The paper’s authors, Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry, point to the so-called ‘stadium-wave’ signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a ‘wave’ propagates through the audience. In like manner, the ‘stadium wave’ climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo.
The stadium wave hypothesis provides a plausible explanation for the hiatus in warming and helps explain why climate models did not predict this hiatus. Further, the new hypothesis suggests how long the hiatus might last.
But this seems to me a pure speculation. She's offering a possible explanation for how various forces come together (well, they nearly conspire) to push temperatures down (which then offsets, I guess, the increase in temperatures predicted by Global Warming theorists).
We are very far from "The Science Is Settled" when we're still thrashing about for the best speculation as to why temperatures aren't rising as predicted.
You can't say "the Science is Settled" and then propose the speculation that maybe the ocean is "hiding" heat by some unknown mechanism (and hiding it, by the way, in some place we can't actually find or measure), or the speculation of a chaotic system that self-organizes towards a cooling tendency.
Either of these speculations may turn out to be true -- but at the moment, they are mere speculations, which not only aren't proven but are still in fairly early stages of theorization.
That is, they're still pretty half-baked. They're hardly past the brainstorming phase.
A theory is as strong as it its weakest proof. Global Warming now relies, unavoidably, not only on mere speculations, but on speculations people can't even agree upon (in a "The Speculation is Settled" sort of "consensus").
This reduces all of global warming theory to the level of mere speculation.
Fox News Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low of 38%
Just thought I'd say that before the trollz.
Although other polls have had Obama below the 40% mark, this is the first time FAUX NOIZE!!! has had him below that level.
Fifty-four percent disapprove. Before now Obama’s worst job rating was 40-55 percent in November 2013. Last month 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved (February 2014).
Approval of Obama among Democrats stands at 71 percent, near its 69 percent record low (September 2013). For independents, 28 percent approve, which is also near the 25 percent all-time low among this group (July 2013). And approval of Obama among Republicans hits a new low of five percent.
Overall, a 59-percent majority thinks the White House has mostly failed at creating jobs, up from 52 percent who said the same in October 2012. Likewise, 56 percent feel it has failed on growing the economy. That’s also up from 52 percent.
The poll goes on to note a major loss of support on his handling of foreign policy, which, you know. I'm sure that doesn't exactly shock you guys. Although many of you may be shocked to learn that some Americans noticed he was screwing up big time.
In other polling news, the Washington Post now finds support for gay marriage at the 59% mark, with 34% disagreeing, and with half of all respondents saying that a right to gay marriage actually exists in the Constitution.
You know, I used to -- I used to not link polls like this. I know they are unpopular and even accused of being "trolling" or posted in aid of the leftist agenda.
But it's important for people to know what the facts actually are. The fact that support for gay marriage is at nearly 60%, while opposition is down to 34%, doesn't prove anyone's right on this point, nor that anyone is wrong. As they say, the Truth makes a majority of one.
But very often people seem mystified as to why their representatives are not prioritizing their policy preferences to the degree they liked.
And I think sheltering people from stuff like this -- cocooning them, as the New York Times does -- is simply a bad practice, which leads to misunderstandings and a skewed notion of what the actual political reality looks like.
And this poll is not an outlier -- Pew found that support for gay marriage had jumped to 53%, not quite as high as the WaPo now finds it, but above 50%. (Pew also finds that more people oppose SSM, 41%, than the WaPo.)
Pew also finds that most of the country supports gay marriage. Except in the South... which splits perfectly on the question.
Today, majorities of Americans in the Northeast (60%), West (58%), and Midwest (51%) favor allowing gay and lesbians to legally marry, while Southerners are evenly divided (48% favor, 48% oppose).
This isn't a winning issue anymore, which doesn't mean people are required to counterfeit their preferences.
But the other parts of the agenda regarding the stigmatization of homosexuality: Those are now simply radioactive. Those will have to be jettisoned, at least on a political level.
Most People Don't Realize How Far the Ground Has Shifted on This: Interesting take-away from Allah-- see the graph about how many people accurately say that gay marriage gets majority support in polls.
Only one group, those strongly in favor of gay marriage, say so. (In their case, it's either because they're very interested in the topic or are, like most people, just assuming that most people agree with them.)
Only a small fraction of those opposed to gay marriage know this particular polling result, somewhere between 19-22%.
When, Exactly, Did the Science Fiction Community Become a Pack of Braying, Censorious Scolds?
Jonathan Ross is a television host well-loved in Britain because their talent pool is small and they don't know any better.
No just kidding he's fine, I kind of like him. Most Americans will know Jonathan Ross, if at all, from accidentally leaving on BBC America after Doctor Who ends, or by searching for Doctor Who interviews.
I barely know the man's work at all but the thing that puts me off him, a bit, is that he's so ingratiating and ass-kissy with his guests. I get the need to ingratiate oneself, but he goes too far for my tastes.
This is actually germane to this story. I'm not entirely wasting your time.
Jonathan Ross was asked to host this year's Hugo Awards, science fiction's most prestigious awards. I made that last part up. When I say "most prestigious" I only mean "I've heard of them."
Why was he asked? Well, in addition to being a host on TV shows every single day (in Britain he's as ubiquitous as Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends from the Philip K Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), he's also a science-fiction fan. He reads comics, he writes comics. He went to Comic Con last year as a guest of fanboi fave rave Neil Gaiman. He apparently hosted the Eisner (comic book) Awards there and did such a good job they immediately invited him back for next year's duties.
Plus, he's married to a science fiction writer -- a woman named Jane Goldman, who has herself won the Hugo Award. The very show he was to be hosting.
So let's be clear: He has a reason to respect the Hugo Awards, if he didn't already. If he suggested they were trivial or stupid, he would hear about it from his wife.
The perfect host, yes? Kismet, no?
Because his hiring sparked a Nerd Rage in the sci-fi community -- including among sci-fi writers and those in charge of other aspects of the Hugo Awards show. Their main complaint was that he is "controversial," meaning, I guess, that as a comedian, he has told some mean jokes. They objected not so much to jokes he had told before, however, but, in a science-fiction timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly sort of way, to the jokes they feared he might tell in the future, while hosting the show.
Let me repeat: this guy is no Ricky Gervais. I don't know him all that well, but if you define "edgy," one picture that will not appear next to that definition is Jonathan Ross' face.
And apparently it's caused a huge Twitter rage, with lots of attacks on the anodyne Ross.
At Loncon’s request, [Neil] Gaiman asked Ross to take the stage at this year’s Hugos. “I think Jonathan would have been an excellent host,” he told me. “One of the things Jonathan is great at is making a room full of people feel comfortable. To be a Hugo host you need to be genuine, funny, respectful – and he is respectful, while still being cheeky. Jonathan would do it better than I did. And he agreed to do it for free because he is SFF family.”
Despite this, a vocal contingent resorted to petty name-calling on the Internet. Does calling someone a “grating fatuous bellend” not count as bullying if your subject is famous? I call bullshit. Does saying horrible things about someone because you think they might possibly say horrible things about you make you the better person? In this tirade about insults and slights, nasty bullies with little self-awareness recast themselves as the victim.
“What was peculiar about the attacks was they had constructed an ad hominem straw man to attack, who was sexist, sizeist, hates women and likes making everyone feel bad,” said Gaiman. “It doesn’t bear any resemblance to Jonathan. While he has occasionally said things that make you go ‘Oh god, your mouth opened and that thing came out’, he is a consummate professional.”
(Regarding the “sizeist” accusation, here’s what Ross’ teenage daughter Honey Kinny tweeted to Seanan McGuire, the most vocal of the Twitter pitchfork mob: “I was horrified by your outrageous and unfounded assumption that my father would ever comment negatively on a woman’s body. I’m Jonathan’s overweight daughter and assure you that there are few men more kind & sensitive towards women’s body issues.” When I emailed asking McGuire to pinpoint a moment in which Ross had ever made a fat joke, I got no reply.)
A "bellend," by the way, is apparently the glans. Yeah, I had to look that one up myself.
Ross agreed to do host the show for free, because he's sci-fi family (through his Hugo Award winning wife).
But nah: Let's attack him mercilessly and get him fired because being cruel to strangers is how we prove We Matter.
So now Jonathan Ross is fired, and the Hugo Awards will find some unobjectionable, totally-into-sci-fi host like, I don't know, Sarah Silverman.
Thanks to @slublog.
Christie Speaks at CPAC, Gets Standing Ovation
Allah discusses this and provides links to people, like @freddoso, who were there.
Below is linked excerpts from his speech. I cannot judge if the speech is standing-o worthy because the excepts are, of course, the most basic, obvious things. Stuff like "we have to start saying what we're for, and not just what we're against." This is an obvious thought which virtually everyone says, and the only way to judge whether or not this was an effective part of the speech is to hear the details he then turned to, which the excerpts, of course, leave out.
Of course Christie also had to contrast Republican governors, such as himself, who do things, with Republican congressmen who, in his telling, only talk about doing things.
I think in another context this would be a standard piece of puffery that raises no objections, but these words from Christie provoke a certain suspicious response from many. Because many people in the conservative movement think he's throwing the rest of the party under the bus to advance himself.
Which is standard political behavior, to be sure, but I think many people are alarmed by the suggestion that the federal-level GOP ought to just roll over for Obama and Reid.
As Christie, I'm sure, would remind you, when speaking about himself, doing the right thing is not necessarily doing the popular thing, but I don't hear him defending the congressional Republicans for doing the right, if unpopular, thing.
Eh, maybe I'll listen to the whole thing when it gets released.
In the meantime, there are excerpts, and also this report on McConnell's "lukewarm" reception and his own speech.
Untold Tales of the 1%: The Top 1% of Recording Artist Superstars Capture 77% of All Revenues From Internet-Based Sales; the Remaining 99% Divide the Remaining 23% of Revenues
Music industry analyst Mark Mulligan’s MIDiA Consulting has published a new report exploring the ‘superstar artist economy’. It suggests that while artists’ share of total recorded-music income has grown from 14% in 2000 to 17% in 2013, the top 1% of musical works are now accounting for 77% of all those artist revenues thanks in part to a “tyranny of choice” on digital services.
“The democratisation of access to music distribution has delivered great benefits for artists but has contributed to even greater confusion for fans, ironically culminating in an intensification of the superstar effect, with the successful artists relative share of the total pot of musical works getting progressively smaller,” as he puts it.
The report takes pains to point out that “superstar” artists aren’t necessarily just those signed to major labels, noting that a number of independent artists have broken into the 1% tier. It’s also clear that this isn’t just a digital phenomenon – witness the 75% share that the top 1% of artists take in physical sales. But the report is likely to fuel more arguments about whether streaming pays off for smaller artists.
Whether they're "independent" or not, they're still the top 1%. Technology is making the idea of a "record company" obsolete to the point of quaintness, anyway.
I'd be interested in hearing from the top 1% of the recording industry about their thoughts on the top 1% of earners in all other fields -- and why they (presumably) support their own claim to the vast majority of all income, but oppose 1%ers in other fields similarly taking home a greatly disproportionate share of all revenues.
Stratospheric revenues are had when someone is either selling the same thing (the same book, the same song) to a massive group of people (like the huge American market) or when someone is in charge of a large corporation serving a huge national market (NABISCO -- the National Biscuit Corporation -- demonstrated this 100 years or so ago).
Some jobs will never pay all that much, either because it's too easy to find someone else to do the job (too much supply) or because the worker spends a great deal of his personal time on each run of production. A brain surgeon, for example, has a skill in ridiculously high demand -- people would, if needed, trade most of their income just to live. But a brain surgeon, unlike Beyonce, cannot just print up 100,000 copies of his brain surgeries and sell them to people. Every surgery requires at least days of research and consultation and at least a day of actual surgery. No matter how important his skill, he can never sell it in a massively reproduced way such as to make as much money as Jay-Z.
This is the way of the world. It's not fair, but it's also not plainly unjust, either.
But I do notice that people who can reap the huge benefits of massively reproduced labor being sold many times -- such as movie stars -- never seem to notice that they themselves are the beneficiaries of the same basic principle that makes the CEO of a large corporation so rich.
Years ago, Warren Beatty was asked about this unfairness -- the unfairness that a star like him could (at one point) command a fee of $5 million or more while most actors were paid scale or just above it, and could barely find work 8 months out of every year. He was asked to reconcile this with his own well-known socialist leanings.
All Beatty said was this: "The star system is central to how Hollywood makes movies." As if this answers the question at all.
What he was really saying is "That's just the way it is, and I'm the beneficiary of that system, so eff you, I'm fine with it."
Would that he were capable of generalizing from his own experience.
NATION IN CRISIS: Obama’s vacation plans in jeopardy
It's tough being the (nominal) leader of the free world, with people lookin' to you for leadership 'n' stuff.
Vladimir Putin has put President Barack Obama’s vacation plans on hold.
Obama is headed to Coral Reef High School in the southern part of Miami, Fla., on Friday for an event about education and the economy that first lady Michelle Obama had been expected to attend as well. What hadn’t been known was that Obama’s daughters were planning to come with them, and that the four were going to extend the trip for a brief family getaway.
Now, the White House tells POLITICO that he’s reconsidering.
You know, if someone had told this jagoff in 2007 that the job he thought he wanted required working the occasional weekend and not taking the Big Jet on one endless family vacation, he'd still be Senator Obama from Illinois.
Ben Domenech: Reject Naïve, Overly-Idealistic Foreign Policy, Whether It's the Left's Conceit of Rational, High-Minded State Actors, or the Right's Neoconservative Idealism
Well, if it weren't already apparent, I'd say that neocon idealism is officially dead.
Many people -- especially those on the left, of course, plus those who are bewitched by sharply-creased trousers -- call Obama's foreign policy "realist." It is nothing of the sort. It's the left's version of idealism.
For 50 years, the left endeavored to defend Soviet aggression by constantly casting it as defensive in nature. Read Howard Zinn, or listen to Oliver Stone's simpering apologism, and you'll hear the same claim a dozen times: Every evil, murderous act committed by the Soviets was caused by justifiable fears of US aggression.
Of course, we should note this fear-of-the-aggressor apologism is highly selective; Zinn, Stone, and fellow travelers never offer a defense of the United States based on the US' quite-legitimate fear of Soviet aggression. They excoriate the US, for example, for attacking the Taliban, despite the rather ample evidence of justified US fear of the Taliban and their guests, Al Qaeda. Thus, the Soviet Union is relieved of responsibility for brutally crushing the Czechs in the Prague Spring of 1968 -- an invasion of 200,000 Soviet troops with 20,000 tanks -- but America receives no such dispensation on the basis of the 3000 murdered Americans of 9/11.
If this pro-Soviet agitation were limited to the pages of The Nation, it would not be cause for great alarm. The problem is that Obama is so steeped in this Zinnian narrative that he conceives of virtually every dictator's viciousness of being, somehow, the product of American Imperial Sin, and has therefore cast his entire foreign policy as one of No Threatening Moves.
From the "Russian Reset" to blocking Polish anti-ballistic-missiles, Obama's Plan A for the defense of the United States is little more than "don't scare the Russians," or "don't scare the Iranians," or don't scare any country or non-state actor which is, itself, scary.
There's an inch of truth in the idea that countries act out of fear, just like there's an inch of truth in virtually everything. But Obama seems to read the Russian/Soviet narrative, issuing from its state propaganda organs and relentlessly re-transmitted by its reliable toadies in the US and Europe, as if is an honest account of Soviet/Russian intention. In fact, 90% of it is false. As Hillary Clinton recently observed, Hitler's pretext for invading Czechoslavakia was to save the German ethnics of the Sudetenland from the predations of ethnic Czechs and the untermenschen Slavs.
People are rarely honest about their actual motivations for committing horrific acts, and few are more dishonest than tyrannical politicians backed by a state media and a totalitarian system of punishing internal dissent.
So sure, some amount of Russian foreign policy is based on fear, and some of that fear can even be credited as rational; but so is part of the American foreign policy, and so is the foreign policy of the UK, and France, and Australia, and India and every other country on the face of the earth.
But most of Russian foreign policy is rooted in simple Want. Putin Wants something resembling the Soviet Union back. Putin Wants to surround his country with satellites and satrapies.
And the way to keep someone from acting on his more repulsive Wants is to assign a cost to achieving those Wants such that he will restrain himself from acting on every Want.
I don't actually fault Obama for speaking of an idealistic foreign policy, one in which peace is maintained largely by countries simply not threatening each other. It's a noble goal. I wish for that goal myself.
But it is extremely naïve, not to say dangerous, to act as if the meaningless action of Wishing for something to be wills it into existence.
My problem is that he not only has no Plan B -- the more realistic, tough-minded plan for when Plan A (almost inevitably) fails -- but that he slurs his fellow Americans by suggesting that they're too stupid and crude-minded to Wish for Plan A to work.
Nope. We do wish for Plan A. We do wish Putin would understand that real strength is demonstrated not by how many millions you can bully and dominate, but by how many millions you can set free.
I wish Putin would understand this. I wish every aggressive tyrant would understand this.
But wishing is not a plan, and it's a slur to claim that anyone who speaks of a realistic Plan B -- in which force and coercion are employed against those who only understand force and coercion -- is a "warmonger" who doesn't himself wish peace.
Thanks to @BenK84 for linking this in the morning news dump.
Update: Jim Geraghty makes the case for a robust Plan B.
Dear World beyond Our Borders,
These are your choices:
A world where the United States government and its military, supplied by corporations you find distasteful, responds to aggression and provocations through shows of force and military interventions. These interventions — sometimes on a large scale and sometimes on a small scale — inflict regrettable but inevitable collateral damage on civilians. These actions are ones that in the past you have labeled “imperialist” and “aggressive” and that prompt you to lament that the world is being run by “cowboys” and — the post-millennial all-purpose pejorative label — “neocons.”
A world where the United States government and its military do not respond this way, and disputes about territory, ideology, and power beyond our borders are hashed out by the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, the Saudis, various jihadist factions (including those so violent and bloodthirsty that not even al-Qaeda wants to be associated with them), terror-for-hire groups like the Haqqani network, and anyone else who wants in on the brawl....
Pick one. There is no “Option C” where the United Nations suddenly becomes an effective, respected peacekeeping force. There is no “Option D” where the world’s strong men and brutes are talked into taking up yoga and become calm, mellow guys, eager to hug it out.
Yup. Hope is not a Plan.
NPR: "A Handful of Southern Democrats" Joined Republicans to Block Controversial Civil Rights Appointee
When they're not busy making up false claims of Republican "dog whistles," they're eagerly crafting their own.
Update: Per a commenter at Jonah Goldberg's original post, NPR has now edited this clip so that they say "Democrats" instead of "Southern Democrats.
Thursday Morning News Dump
- In The Race For The Senate, The GOP Is In The Driver's Seat
- Obama In Denial
- Hillary Walks Back Hitler-Putin Comparison
- The Anti-Empirical Left
- Reject Naive Foreign Policy Whatever The Source
- The Democrats Crusade Against "Un-American" Activities
- The Other Right To Privacy
- Ukraine And The Clash Of Civilizations
- Seven Energy Policies To Make Russia Pay
- RT Anchor Resigns
- Russia Is Doomed
- We're In The Best Of Hands
- Wendy Davis Will Cause The Dems To Divert Resources To Georgia
- DNC Attendees Can't Name A Single Hillary Accomplishment
- Chipotle Walking Back Global Warming Guacamole Scare Mongering
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Top Headline Comments 3-6-14
Crimean lawmakers plan to hold a referendum on joining Russia.
Rep. Ryan gave BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins a sneak-peek at his CPAC speech.
More from WaPo's latest poll, with some really nifty crosstabs (click "detailed view" on the ones that interest you).
WSJ's Patrick O'Connor has a piece on CPAC speeches as a spring-board to 2016.
I can't seem to find it if ACU is planning to livestream CPAC this year like it did last, but CSPAN will have Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin's speeches around 12:40pm. (Nothing says "future of the conservatism" like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.)
Overnight Open Thread Thingy (3-5-2014)
Devastating because it's true.
The problem with being a post-national president of your country is that you end up always losing out to actual leaders who do believe in their nations.
Look, the bottom line on this is Russia has a real leader. You may not like him, and I don't, but he is brilliant and ruthless, he has clear goals and he moves straight toward those goals. The West lacks a leader. Like it or not, the president of the United States is the de facto leader of the West, and our president just is - he's incapable and unwilling to lead.
The weakness is phenomenal. Now, you know, we are not weaker than we were in the Carter years. I was in that military, it was pathetic. Our military today is the best in the world, best in our history, although Obama wants to dismantle it. We're also immensely wealthier than the Carter years. The problem is, that as a president Obama is far weaker than Carter, and he's probably the worst president we've ever had.He is a man who's incapable of making a hard decision. And by the way, one other key point, Vladimir Putin believes in Russia. He believes in Russia's destiny, its mission. Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism. He does not believe in this country.
The Obama Way: If He Believes It, It Must Be So
When it comes to Iran, Obama shows an attitude that can only be described as solipsistic: what's in his mind is reality. And any other reality is just plain silly.
...It's pretty obvious to all analysts that Iran does not fear an American military strike much these days, especially after Mr. Obama's failure to act in Syria last summer. But Obama denies it, referring to himself in the third person as someone "who has shown himself willing to take military action." Drones, sure; a quick raid as well. But in Libya and Syria, he showed himself extremely reluctant to take military action. Remember "leading from behind?" If he genuinely thinks he is viewed as a scary guy with his finger near the trigger, we all have a problem....This is the Obama who said of his own nomination that "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." If he believes it, it must be so. The Goldberg interview reveals that five years in, nothing has changed.
The front page of a local newspaper in northern California featured the headline "The Promise Denied," lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering. The continuation of this long article on an inside page had the headline, "Who is to blame for this?"
In other words, the fact that reality does not match the preconceptions of the intelligentsia shows that there is something wrong with reality, for which somebody must be blamed. Apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.
We want the world to solve its own problems for a while. The problem is that all this - invasions, wholesale slaughter, ethnic cleansing, missile tests, naval provocations, and raw brutality - is how the world beyond our borders solves its own problems.
"Let the world solve its own problems for a while!" Oh, it does, my friends. It does. http://t.co/u95PutVyTM pic.twitter.com/7jgwhmT4Ok
- Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 5, 2014
And unlike stores, banks, and credit card companies universities will never ever have to take a hit for enabling this kind of insane borrowing.
Take Ray Selent, a 30-year-old former retail clerk in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was unemployed in 2012 when he enrolled as a part-time student at Broward County's community college. That allowed him to borrow thousands of dollars to pay rent to his mother, cover his cellphone bill and catch the occasional movie.
"The only way I feel I can survive financially is by going back to school and putting myself in more student debt," says Mr. Selent, who has since added $8,000 in student debt from living expenses. Returning to school also gave Mr. Selent a reprieve on the $400 a month he owed from previous student debt because the federal government doesn't require payments while borrowers are in school. [...]
Because everyone knows that unlike us modern superior types no one ever drank plain water in ye old ancient times.
There is no specific reason then to believe that people of the time drank proportionately less water than we do today; rather, since water was not typically sold, transported, taxed, etc., there simply would have been no reason to record its use. Did people in the time prefer alcoholic drinks? Probably, and for the same reason most people today drink liquids other than water: variety and flavor. A young man in a tenth century Saxon colloquy is asked what he drinks and answers: "Beer if I have it or water if I have no beer." This is a clear expression of both being comfortable with water and preferring beer.
Including the fact that Ozzy Osbourne thought it was an actual documentary about a band he hadn't heard of and the fact that it goes to 11 on IMDB.
Le AoSHQ groupe de Yahoo. Ooh la la!
Tonight's post brought to you by Helen Mirren, 1967-style:
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Close it up
Of Course: Obama Postpones Forced Dropping of Insurance Policies Until October 2016
Now, not only is Obama saying that these legacy plans can remain, but he’s saying they can stay alive for three years longer than intended. If they can be extended for three years, the new rules may never fully go into effect (unless Obama will allow a wave of cancellations in October 2016, just before the presidential election). And maintaining these plans will further drive up the cost of insurance on the exchanges.
Remember, Obama deliberately canceled these policies in order to force them to subsidize sicker people in the exchanges. To the extent these people aren't in the exchanges, the cost for insurance on the exchanges goes up -- or, of course, Obama pays off the insurance companies through the "risk corridor" mechanism to induce insurers to set their prices artificially low.
Quite simply, Obama was forced to choose between doing something that would help his party at the ballot box but hurt his signature health-care law and doing something that would help stabilize the law financially at the risk of generating a nasty backlash to his party from consumers with cancellations. He made the political choice. Which is exactly what O’s critics feared would happen as government insinuated itself further into the health-care industry via O-Care. Decisions on health-care policy are now a species of politics. You’re welcome, America.
P-Shop by @slublog
Okay, I'm under the weather and never quite woke up today. I'm doing the podcast soon. So, Open Thread.
Sorry I suck so bad this week.
Tom Friedman Has a Great Answer to the Question of How to Stop Putin
Of course, this is Tom Friedman's great answer to everything.
How do we revitalize the American economy? Raise the gas tax, impose a carbon-tax scheme.
How do we renew America's sense of patriotism? Raise the gas tax, impose a carbon-tax scheme.
How do we lower gas and energy prices? Raise the gas tax, impose a carbon-tax scheme.
So no one should be surprised that the key to driving Putin out of the Ukraine with his tail tucked between his legs is to raise the gas tax, impose a carbon-tax scheme. (Link to NRO.)
I’d also raise our gasoline tax, put in place a carbon tax and a national renewable energy portfolio standard — all of which would also help lower the global oil price (and make us stronger, with cleaner air, less oil dependence and more innovation). You want to frighten Putin? Just announce those steps.
I apologize for the light/superficial blogging this week. I'm just not feelin' it.
Ronan Farrow's New Show Demonstrates Why The Aristocratic Ruling Class Was So Keen On This Particular Princeling
His show's edgy format blends the two hottest trends in youth-oriented programming -- stammering and Making No Sense.
BTW: All the mu.nu sites are under a massive spam attack. Posting and commenting are in and out, depending on the minute.
Great: France to Unveil New Amphibious Assault Ships Sold to Russia Today
During the crisis, business continues. The First of two big warships bought in 2011 by Russia from France, the helicopter-carrier Vladisvostok is ready for action. If all goes as planned, a demonstration symbolic but powerful of the military solidarity between Paris and Moscow will be given Wednesday, March 5, at 6:30 pm, when the brand-new helicopter carrier will leave the Joubert drydock at the port of Saint-Nazaire to speed straight out into the open sea...
The Vladivostok is due for an October 2014 delivery (France is testing it today), and the second ship, identical to the first, is due for delivery in 2015.
The second ship is named the Sevastopol -- after the Crimean port so beloved by Putin.
The article concludes:
Our request for information about the official position of Paris on the status of these two ships have not been answered. The minister of foreign affairs, Laurent Fabius has said, at the beginning of the week, concerning a change in military cooperation between France and Russia: "We are not there yet." At the ministry of defense, it is said that the situation is "under study." But Moscow is giving some reasons for the French to think deeply about this, particularly the current order for construction of two more ships of the same type. At 600 million Euros per ship, this causes some serious consideration! For the moment, Paris says nothing. What is the saying...? Oh yes: The customer is always right.
The Vladivostok (I think)
I think it's pretty awesome that the French are showing off their military solidarity with Putin.
Party of Cowards: Eight Democrats Vote Against Obama's Controversial Civil Rights Division Nominee, Mumia Abu-Jamal's Former Lawyer
Six of the key seven there make sense: Casey, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, Pryor, and Walsh are all either red- or purple-staters and therefore leery of cuddling up to a guy who’s known for having defended Mumia Abu-Jamal. Coons is the outlier. He’s from deep-blue Delaware and doesn’t face reelection for another two years....
Another surprise is some of the red-state Democrats who did vote yes, including/especially red-staters who are up in November. What on earth were Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan, who’s rocking a 33 percent approval rating these days in North Carolina, thinking?
There is a mystery here, as Allah explains. One Democrat apparently flipped from "yes" to "no" at the last minute. Joey Bidez was standing by to cast a tie-breaking 51st vote to put this nominee over the top-- but a Democrat decided to duck and vote "no" to avoid the spectacle of that.
Pope Francis: The Church Could Support Civil Unions
Hmmm. He reaffirms the church's opposition to gay marriage, but says the church could, maybe, support some types of civil unions.
So what I'm trying to say is that he's an incorrigible, relentlessly hateful bigot who supports Jim Crow for gayz. Anyone who supports Barack Obama's 2007-2011 publicly announced position from 2012 onwards is just a H8r.
Timing is everything.
The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."
For instance, civil unions provide financial security to cohabitating couples, "as for instance in medical care," the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.
A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.
But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.
"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."
That last statement seems important, signaling, as it seems to, that Francis' prioritization is bringing the Word to everyone, and avoiding positions which would "vaccinate" people against hearing it.
Noah Rothman: A Whitman's Sampler of MSNBC's Most Embarrassingly Ill-Informed Mockery of Romney's "Russian Geopolitical Foe" Observation
Here's four of them, and we don't even get to Kerry yet:
1. President Obama, March 2012: “This is my last election. After my election I will have more flexibility.”
2. Hillary Clinton March, 2009: “We want to reset our relationship, so we will do it together.”
3. Joe Biden, July 2009: “They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them, and they‘re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.”
4. Obama, October 2012: (Responding to Mitt Romney’s description of Russia as our greatest “geo-political foe”) “You said Russia. Not al-Qaeda. . . . The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because . . . the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Biden's statement strikes me as curious. You could replace every "they" in his statement with "we, under Obama." Our population is declining (or soon will); our economy is withered and not recovering; our banking system is more of a mess than it was when Obama came into office. And of course Obama and Biden are clinging to a fantasy, the Blue Social Model, which is unsustainable.
On Obama's foreign policy, she says: "The man's sense of himself has been over-indulged to a reckless point."
The Obama White House is learning the hard way that presidential power requires something more substantial than an eternal marketing campaign and an endless spin-cycle, because no matter what a utopian president thinks the world should be like, the reality is this: in human life, peace is a transient thing, and in geopolitics, it is more often than not an illusion that quickly reveals itself as one. If Europe has been “at peace” these last 60 years, it’s a profound aberration in the scheme of history. Obama (and his Secretary of State) seem to believe that humanity has — by virtue of nothing at all, except perhaps his say-so — transcended itself and entered into a we-are-stardust-we-are-golden happy place, where (in Europe, at least) nobody wants war, because everyone is loving peace.
That is a rather terrifying demonstration of naivete. Even a so-so student of human history and behavior (like me) knows that someone always wants war. Someone always wants more power. Someone is always looking for a way to avenge what they believe are past insults.