Overnight Open Thread (5-24-2015)– Infamous Memorial Holiday Thread Edition
Wow. It's hard to imagine that six (!) long years ago on a night just like tonight that the infamous Memorial Day ONT went down. It shocked even veteran moron-types, brought down anger and pinch-faced scoldery from on high, and damn near got the ONT canceled. And it remains an evening still spoken of in hushed whispers among the morons. No don't bother going to the thread and trying to add your spoor to it - that way leads to a banning.
So in memory of that episode, for tonight only the usual ONT rules are partially suspended.* So curse all you want and empty out that disgusting potty mouth of yours.
And here's a little help for those of youse looking to class up your weak-ass cursing with some Brit-style potty-mouthing:
What really irritated me was the audience. I thought it a little pathetic that they laughed so uproariously over every poop joke (I stopped doing that when I was 12), but I kind of expected that. After all, I saw the show in San Francisco, which is one of the most densely populated Progressive bastions in America. Progressives, of course, are the Party of Poop, so that humor will inevitably appeal to them.
Well as a confirmed XYer I'm okay with poop humor - when it's funny - but not so much with sanctimony and smugness.
Listening to the audience laughter, I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Stop being so smug, guys. You too have a belief system and it's every bit as ridiculous to an objective outsider as the belief systems driving Mormonism or any other traditional faith.
Note that this entire show is only possible because Mormons are the Other and mainly because they won't kill you (or even be mean to you) for mocking them.
He and his wife were killed in a taxi accident yesterday. And a psychiatrist friend of Steven Hayward points out the many myths built up by the left about John Nash:
Let me try, surely in vain, to set the record straight as there are so many subtle but horrifying myths that the Left has created about Nash to suit their purposes. (1) His name has entered science largely through his theory of balance in conflict-the Nash Equilibrium. The first movie to get this wrong had him as a reclusive professor whose computer, Joshua, arrived at the conclusion, "Don't Play" to avert nuclear armageddon. In fact a stable Nash Equilibrium that averts a nuclear holocaust is attained via Mutually Assured Destruction-peace through strength. This idea was previously lampooned by the Hollywood Left's caricature of Nash's mentor, John von Neumann, the mad man with the autonomous glove in ".How I Learned to Love the Bomb". (2) The bar scene in "A Beautiful Mind" likewise gets it 180 degrees wrong-going for the non-beautiful girl is NOT a Nash equilibrium. The setup cannot produce a Nash equilibrium at all. (3) Nash almost certainly did NOT have "paranoid schizophrenia" as he remained productive until the end. He almost certainly had bipolar disorder, a condition that may yield transient psychotic episodes. I know many brilliant scientists with this condition. He may have been diagnosed with schizophrenia upon his initial admission to Maclean Hospital, but that would have been before Harrison and Pope, at Maclean, in 1984, later reviewed all the previous records and discovered that 50% of such "schizophrenia" diagnoses were in error and were actually manic-depression (bipolar). (3) During his manic/psychotic episodes, Nash would become paranoid (this happens in mania) and would then begin spouting crazed LEFTWING fantasies. When he was normal, he was politically conservative. The movie "A Beautiful Mind" deliberately reversed this because of its obvious implications. (4) To this day, Paul Krugman admires and looks up to Nash-because Nash was in fact von Neumann's heir. Krugman does not allow this to be much known.
You mean a space where they can be separate...and yet equal? Brown v. Board of Education could not be reached for comment.
When it involves the wrong kind of people doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. Also enjoying soy lattes inappropriately.
Well mostly okay - almost anything goes with a few exceptions.
After years of adding restrictions on potential recruits with tattoos, the U.S. Army has finally relented and as of April 2015 soldiers are no longer limited to how many (and how large) the tattoos they have on arms and legs. There are still restrictions on face, neck and hand tattoos. The latest round of restrictions were imposed in early 2014 and prohibited any tattoos on the head, face, neck, wrists, hands and fingers. Soldiers were allowed a maximum of four visible tattoos below the elbow or knee and there are size restrictions on those. Now one tattoo on a finger is allowed and no restrictions on the arms or legs.
When talking to Texans, I get the impression that the state in general tolerates - with a certain fond contempt - the People's Republic of Austin largely because the hippies, hipsters, and weirdos at least know how to cook properly**. Taking away the major reason for that tolerance seems. unwise.
And these are generally good advice for recent graduates though I would only recommend a graduate degree if it's in a STEM area. Otherwise you're likely doubling down on a week hand rather than strengthening it with real world experience and value.
From a May 6th pad abort test for SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Wait did I miss a good freak-out? Ah dammit.
Weekly Commenter Standings
Top 10 commenters:
1 [458 comments] 'Ricardo Kill' [64.32 posts/day]
2 [422 comments] 'Jane D'oh'
3 [344 comments] 'J.J. Sefton'
4 [328 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
5 [298 comments] 'ThunderB, Overly Provocative'
6 [293 comments] 'Mike Hammer, etc., etc.'
7 [277 comments] 'Turd Ferguson'
8 [257 comments] 'RWC - Team BOHICA'
9 [238 comments] 'boulder terlit hobo'
10 [229 comments] 'Bruce But Not Jenner'
Top 20 sockpuppeteers:
1 [128 names] 'The Political Hat' [17.98 unique names/day]
2 [87 names] 'haiku-ku for cocoa puffs'
3 [62 names] 'Turd Ferguson'
4 [44 names] 'the Presidential Proctologist'
5 [39 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
6 [39 names] 'Doctor Fish'
7 [31 names] 'Adriane the Firearms Critic ...'
8 [30 names] 'andycanuck'
9 [30 names] 'Art Mullen's Marshal stiffy'
10 [29 names] 'Prince Ludwig the Indestructible '
The group. Banned on 12 universities.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Winning:
Notice: Posted by distaff permission of AceCorp LLC. E-mail your overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Do not bother Ace during the Memorial weekend aestivation period. Fuck you that's why.
* Okay actually most of the usual blog rules still apply - no racial bullshit, no Penthouse Letters shit, and no goddamn harassment of the moronettes.
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My Memorial Day [Weirddave]
Here is a post I made on another message board in May of 2000. It's a little outdated in that it doesn't reflect the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought of updating it, but ultimately decided to let it stand as written. I walk amongst the graves every year and remember, and since I wrote this, the responsibility has grown as now I have sons to teach as we walk together. Millions of people cavalierly toss about their opinions about politics and foreign policy and government. Very few of them stop to realize the real world costs of the freedoms we enjoy. War is nasty, brutal and unforgiving. The innocent and the guilty alike are consumed by it's fury. It is not by any stretch of the imagination "nice", but sometimes, as bad as war is, it is necessary and preferable to the alternative. When we as a society take our lives as they are for granted, we shame those who bought us our freedoms with their lives.
I sit here at my computer on the night before Memorial Day, and ponder what my day will be like. I intend to take a little trip, you see, and like any intelligent being, I am planning it in advance. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be overcast and rainy, but rather than dampen the mood, I imagine it will enhance it. It is altogether fitting that the weather reflect the somber yet joyful emotions required for my trip. I plan on visiting my local cemetery.
I see myself strolling through the even graves, row upon row. I shall consider all the lives represented by the seemingly endless markers, and I imagine I will be drawn to one or more adorned with the flag of the United States. As I peer down upon the hallowed resting place of a man or woman who gave a portion, or perhaps all of their life in service of this country I will remember. I will remember how lucky I am to be well fed while so many in this world go to bed hungry. I will remember the privilege I enjoy of living among others with the freedom to live, be happy and prosper. I will remember that there are places where a group of government thugs could tear me from my home and family to imprison or kill me, with nothing more than a whim or the whispered suggestion of wrong thinking to condemn me. Most of all I will remember that the liberties that I so blissfully take for granted were paid for at a terrible price.
At some point during my stroll, I will probably fall to my knees and silently pray to a God whose form I am not sure of, asking that the fallen never be forgotten and entreating him for the strength within myself to make sure their sacrifices were not in vain.
I will commend the courage of the 4,435 who died standing up to the most powerful empire in the world, saying 'Enough! All men are created equal!"
I will regret the passing of those 2,260 who, in the War of 1812, gave their lives in a war which was fairly pointless, but none the less validated the United States as a power to rival those in Europe.
I will cherish the memory of 13,283 who followed the lead of a heroic few Texans and stood off an invading Mexican army.
I will weep bitter tears as I consider that 558,052 American men, women and children paid the ultimate price while fighting each other, and the result is a union that would never again be questioned. These people died in the cause of unity, and the nation they fought to save has gone on to lead the world.
I will consider what it must have been like for the 2,446 who died fighting a minor European power in 1898. Historically, the Spanish American War may be trivial, but they answered the call all the same.
I will give endless thanks that I did not have to experience the absolute horror of trench warfare in Europe, while honoring the 116,708 who were killed doing nothing less than standing against the Kaiser's crack troops, fresh from the Eastern front, expecting to roll the Allies into the channel. WWI could easily have been a German victory without them.
I will stand in awe of the willingness displayed by 407,316 ordinary men and women who left their homes and paid the ultimate price to ensure that fascism did not engulf the world and lead to the darkest time in history. The everyman of WWII is an amazing concept, yet that is how it has been throughout history. Just plain folks doing their duty.
I will reflect on how 33,651 Americans passed the torch of freedom from their failing hands to a little country called South Korea, proving that they may look different and speak what to us is a very strange language, but they are no less deserving of freedom than we.
I will ponder the plight of the Vietnam veteran, along with his 58,163 comrades who did not come home. How must it have been, to go to an unknown place, to fight and die for a people who often didn't want them there. How terrible to come home to a population who scorned them, whose only answer to the anguished plea, " I answered the call, I did my duty" was all to often a turned back?
I will rejoice that only 293 Americans were called to sacrifice themselves in 1991, but remember that thousands of opposing troops, people who do not have our freedom to set the course their government takes, died as well.
I will remember that the cost has been great, but celebrate that the results have been greater. As I raise my eyes again, and peer at the carved stone remembering only one such life, I will whisper from the depth of my soul the two words that are completely inadequate, and yet are all that I have to offer.
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Food Thread: Memorial Day Beer [Beerslinger]
This Memorial Day weekend we are free to drink and brew great beers thanks to all of those who made the big sacrifice.
Here's a feel good story about a WWII soldier, his helmet, and beer in Belgium.
Vincent Speranza, a former infantryman machine gunner with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII, inspects an M249 machine gun weapon system during an installation visit Oct. 6, 2013, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Speranza was at the base to visit paratroopers with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, and to be a special guest at their regimental ball. Jeffrey Smith/U.S. Army
For those here who don't like beer, there's always kittehs and turntables....
Craft beer is now so widely available that most morons can find either a micro brewery or taproom within a 30-mile radius of wherever they may be. BeerMenus.com. tells you what good beers are currently on tap in your neighborhood. Here are some of the good beers I've found locally and would recommend...
Green Flash East Village Pilsner is a full bodied and somewhat hoppy Czech style pilsner, 5.3%, CA.
Downeast Cider House's 'Hard Honey' may well be the best cider I've ever had. 5.1% They're out of Massachusetts.
Stone scrapped its Ruination recipe and have come back with a bigger, better imperial IPA with their Ruination 2.0 series. It's divine. CA, 8.5%
Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point in CA is ridiculously good. If you like IPAs, and you like Sculpin, then you really need to try this beer. 7%
Sometimes it takes a beer to face the press...Hillary Clinton answers questions at Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire...
For more beer news check out Ale Street News.
Anyone else around here had any good beers recently?
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Food Thread: A Structural Analysis of Deli Sandwiches [CBD]
It's a breathtakingly simple food; bread, meat, cheese, some vegetables and a condiment or two. Any decent supermarket or deli can provide the raw materials for a solid sandwich....although the bread can be a problem outside of range of a good bakery.
This bread looks damned good.....
And it seems to have been gutted before the sandwich was built, and that is a vital part of the process. Too much bread is a sin. Gut the damned loaf, and you are left with the crunchy goodness of the crust, a bit of the inside to help with stability and soak up the dressing, but not so much that it becomes a bread sandwich with meat and cheese on the side.
Here is a deceptively simple sandwich...possibly the highest expression of the sandwich technician's art: prosciutto and mozzarella on a crusty loaf.
And notice that mutz (yes, I am from the Northeast) is relatively thick. That's important, because it's a mild cheese, and its texture is important. Fresh mozzarella is a wonderful thing, and the difference it makes in a sandwich is astounding.
Here is a sandwich from Vito's Deli in Hoboken NJ. Unless you are 23 and want to get drunk, there are few reasons to go to Hoboken, but one of them is Vito's (another is the NY/NJ Moron Meet-ups). They make their mozzarella fresh, use excellent bread, and their deli meats are also top notch. This sandwich wasn't gutted, which is almost unforgivable, but everything else looks good. Notice how the meat was folded into the bread? That gives loft without making it dense and unbalanced. That's a pro move.....
Photo courtesy of tommy:eats
As much pleasure as there can be in good prosciutto or other fine meats, the most important part of the sandwich is the mozzarella. And while Vito's mutz is excellent, there is none better than at Casa Della Mozzarella in The Bronx; the Arthur Ave. neighborhood to be precise. I don't even know if their sandwiches are any good (I'll bet they are).... all I get is the cheese, which I eat plain. Yes...plain. It is an incredible culinary experience.
Peanut brittle is good stuff, and a relatively easy candy to make. This recipe is from People Magazine (shut up), and chef Gesine Bullock-Prado, Sandra Bullock's sister.
One warning...it calls for a lot of cayenne. If you are unsure, back it off to 1/2 teaspoon.
Oh....I just made some of this about five minutes ago (still too hot to eat). If anyone can explain to me why there is an admonition against stirring the mixture I would appreciate it. Is it some weird candy-making tradition? Maybe stirring adds too much air, or releases too much air and the resulting mixture is too dense?
• Non-stick cooking spray
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup corn syrup
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 3 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts
Spray your spatula and a large baking sheet with the non-stick spray and set aside for later.
With your burner set to medium-high heat, in your large pot combine the sugar, corn syrup, unsalted butter, salt, and pepper. Mix all of the ingredients as they come to temperature and sugar fully dissolves.
Bring the contents of your pot to a consistent and gentle boil. Once boiling, insert your candy thermometer and allow the pot to boil until it reaches 300 degrees. Do not stir the mixture during this time.
It will take a little while to reach 300 degrees, but pay close attention as you'll want to remove it from the heat promptly when it reaches full temperature. Burned sugar = no fun.
Remove the pot from the heat and immediately sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture. The syrup mixture is very hot, so be careful in these steps as it will bubble vigorously. Using the wooden spoon, stir the peanuts into the mixture until they are evenly distributed.
Carefully pour the mixture into your baking sheet, and using your spatula spread the brittle out evenly over the surface of the pan. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Once cooled, break the brittle into pieces that suit your preference and enjoy.
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And I see AMD's desktop GPU market share continue to slip and think to myself "maybe this is not a coincidence."
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
So Friday was Pac-Man's 35th Anniversary. ArcadeHeroes did a cool writeup on Pac-Man arcade games through the ages. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the cool Pac-Man merch that came out where we got stuff like this
As old as time itself, a new major game comes out and AMD is back to whining about how their cards aren't good enough and they can't build drivers worth a damn. This right here is a good beatdown on AMD being AMD.
• Here is EA's teaser of a teaser to a Need For Speed reboot. I'm okay with more Underground
• I don't have a link but IDC is forecasting 115m consoles sold by end of the generation which would be a 60% contraction compared to last gen. I personally think that's a little optimistic (I always said about 100m) but they're the gold standard that everyone uses.
Cue the crying like a 6 year old with a skinned knee about how you're going to leave gaming because you're too old or that there will always be consoles because magic.
Splatoon (WiiU) - Well, after 3 months of nothingness, WiiU owners finally get another game to play on their consoles and from the impressions from the betas, it's a good game hampered by the lack of voice chat. This is the type of game Nintendo should have been making the last decade for the western market.
Magica 2 (PC, PS4) - I really didn't like the first game, it was shallow with the only fun being on accidentally killing your teammates which frankly isn't something that lasts longer than a half hour. Thankfully this isn't being made by Arrowhead buy rather the dev team behind the Leviathan: Warships game, a game with good marketing but was mediocre. This also the first game part of the exclusivity deal that Sony and Paradox announced last year at E3. I would be lying if I didn't say I'm curious in if the price on the PC drops like a rock like the first game (it was in pretty much every bargin bin bundle on the planet).
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Is This The End of The Republican Party? When You've Lost Drudge..... [CBD]
It's bad enough members of Congress do not read trade bills they approve... But now not letting the public even see them? Clearly treason!!— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) May 23, 2015
Is anyone surprised?
Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-24-2015: For The Rough Men Willling To Do Violence On Our Behalf [OregonMuse]
Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
Many of you will recognize that the title of this morning's book thread is from the quote by George Orwell, "people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." This is a great quote, but alas, Orwell never said it. Here is an interesting account of how it probably came to be misattributed.
We Will Remember Them
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Excerpt from For The Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
There's a number of "greatest war novels" lists available (for example, this one, and that one, and that one and that one in particular), and there are some great books on those lists, but I decided to pick just one novel for this Memorial Day, A Midnight Clear by William Wharton, which didn't make many of the lists. It just sounded interesting:
Set in the Ardennes Forest on Christmas Eve 1944, Sergeant Will Knott and five other GIs are ordered close to the German lines to establish an observation post in an abandoned chateau. Here they play at being soldiers in what seems to be complete isolation. That is, until the Germans begin revealing their whereabouts and leaving signs of their presence: a scarecrow, equipment the squad had dropped...and, strangest of all, a small fir tree hung with fruit, candles, and cardboard stars. Suddenly, Knott and the others must unravel these mysteries, learning as they do about themselves, about one another, and about the "enemy"
Wharton also wrote an account of his own WWII experiences, Shrapnel: A Memoir.
Military Fiction by Veterans
Thanks to Oldsailors Poet for telling me about this site here for military fiction written by actual veterans. Sales-based donations go to various veterans groups. How much and what veteran groups depends on the title. The link is to the "action and adventure" books, but there are many books and many genres represented.
Osama Bin Laden's Bookshelf
Of course, OBL's reading has been interrupted as of late, and he probably won't be getting back to it any time soon. But the content of his bookshelf has recently been declassified, and some of the titles are English language texts. Here are some of the highlights:
The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrophe by Colin Mason.
Within 30 years, in the 2030 decade, six powerful 'drivers' will converge with unprecedented force in a statistical spike that could tear humanity apart and plunge the world into a new Dark Age. Depleted fuel supplies, massive population growth, poverty, global climate change, famine, growing water shortages and international lawlessness are on a crash course with potentially catastrophic consequences.
This sounds like that old time Population Bomb religion that nobody pays much attention to because we all know it's crap.
It's just another "crisis" pushed by the left in order to seize more power.
And speaking of steaming piles of crap, there's also America's "War on Terrorism" by Michel Chossudovsky. Get a load of this:
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
Yada, yada, yada... Actually, it might be kind of interesting to know what ol' OBL actually thought about this. Would it be closer to "This guy don't know nuthin'" or "Curses! I've been found out!"?
Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris. Another conspiracy book, this one about voting machines. The bad guys: corporations. Of course, you already knew this.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. This is the one written by an idiot who claims he was hired by "the NSA" and sent to third world countries to falsify economic statistics. Uh, actually what the NSA does is collect and analyze intelligence data, not send agents into the field, that's the CIA. Here's a pro tip for wannabe left-wing "hit men": if you're going to spin a tall tale, at least make your lies plausible.
Next, we have Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier.
Bloodlines of the Illuminati is a unique historical genealogical who's-doing-it book, rich in detail, providing a devastating exposé of the people and families who are THE movers and shakers of the United States and the entire world.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines. First published in 1889, it's available for FREE on Kindle. I love these old history books, so I immediately downloaded it.
There's more stuff on the list from Chomsky and other progtard authors. I'm surprised there was nothing from Howard Zinn. About the only "mainstream" book I could find is The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy.
One thing's for sure: OBL sure liked him some left-wing kookery.
Rush was all over this story last week. The coverage was pretty bland. I think Fox had a story on it, and the Daily Mail in the UK. And the LA Times piece goes a long way to avoid talking about the obvious, and describes the far left kook authors in OBL's collection with the anodyne phrase "government critics." Only the British piece refers to Chomsky as a "left-wing radical", which, of course, is exactly what he is.
Rush rightly calls the MSM out for the tepid coverage:
Can you imagine if they had found a copy of one of my books in there? Can you imagine? That would be the headline. But since there are books by a bunch of leftists in there, ho-hum, no big deal.
It's just a local crime story.
A Book About Stealing Books
Writer Matthew Pearl is earning positive reviews for his new book “The Last Bookaneer,” with critics calling the novel “a loving testament to the enduring power of paper books” and Pearl himself “the reigning king of popular literary historical thrillers.”
Old criminals in a changing world:
“Bookaneer,” which was released on April 28, centers on the hunt for a manuscript by “Treasure Island” author Robert Louis Stevenson. “Bookaneers” like Pen Davenport make money by absconding with manuscripts, but now that new laws will put this trade to a halt, Davenport and others set out to complete one last theft: getting their hands on Stevenson’s unpublished book.
The Last Bookaneer is Kindle price high at $11.99 and I'll wait for the price to come down a bit.
Scorpions Are Our Friends
Chelifer cancroides or book scorpions are a type of pseudoscorpion that eats the booklice that eat and destroy old books.
As a pseudoscorpion they are not real scorpions, but they do have pincers and live in dusty areas, especially those with old vintage books. They are too tiny to hurt humans and indeed are small enough you probably won’t notice them unless you are looking.
So, if you have old books, these tiny creatures are actually good to have around:
The book scorpion is a tiny creature that makes its home in your bookcase, but it is not a pest. If you are a book lover, the book scorpion is your greatest ally in keeping your library safe from destruction.
Stan Lee will soon be publishing his autobiography -- as a graphic novel:
Touchstone plans to publish Lee's "Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir" on Oct. 6.
I thought, hmmm, this might be interesting for comic book fans. But then he had to go and ruin it by opening his mouth:
“As Marvel just celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary, I thought maybe it’s time for a look at my life in the one form it has never been depicted, as a comicbook ... or if you prefer, a graphic memoir,” Lee said in a statement. “It strikes me as a horrendous oversight that I haven’t done it before! If I didn’t know everything about my life already, I’d envy your voyage of discovery!”
Ugh. I know Stan Lee is 92 years old and one of the most successful men in the world, but if he really is that full of himself, it kind of spoils fot me anything he has to say.
If I was impressed by men with incredibly over-inflated egos, I'd be watching Bill O'Reilly every night.
Books By Morons
I heard from several new moron authors this week.
Jeb Kinnison would like you to read his science fiction novel, Red Queen: The Substrate Wars 1
Red Queen is a story about young people searching for freedom and agency in a world dominated by bureaucrats, administrators, and propagandists. The world of Red Queen is a police state with its roots in today's events: post-9/11 warrantless physical and electronic surveillance; the erosion of personal liberties for supposed security reasons, even when the government's actions are shown to be ineffective or wrongheaded; and the rise of a penal-industrial complex that imprisons one in three black men, often for victimless crimes.
The prologue begins with a quote from Robert Heinlein, "There is nothing in this world so permanent as a temporary emergency."
The sequel to 'Red Queen' is Nemo’s World: The Substrate Wars 2
I forgot to mention this last week, but the Kindle version of Amy Lynn: Golden Angel is now available for purchase for the reasonable price of 4.99
OK, Smartass of Mars is probably worth buying for the title alone. Jim Gavin, the author, e-mailed this week and told me that
it's my scifi/fantasy homage to the sword-and-planet novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and many others. However, I didn't just want to write another pulp pastiche so this one is set in the modern day and flouts a lot of genre conventions. I think AOSHQ readers would really like it as it's very old school despite the modern setting -- no badass princesses who don't need rescuing. I also managed to work in some references to CS Lewis' Space Trilogy... [it's] the story of a skinny milennial nerd who has to rediscover manly virtues to survive.
Trigger warnings for crazy action, cussing, laser guns and swords, a drunken riot in a Martian capital, and psychic powers.
Gavin is also the author of Hard Boiled Vampire Killers. I like the tag-line: "Fully loaded and half in the bag, fighting evil on two 99-cent tacos a day."
Of course, for books you need to buy just for the title, it's hard to beat the Hard Luck Hank series by Steven Campbell. The first book, Screw The Galaxy, introduces us to the eponymous main character, a thug with a mutation that allows him to withstand extraordinary levels of physical trauma, kind of like the main character you manipulate in that old FPS game, DOOM. The sequels are Basketful of Crap and Prince of Suck.
Treasured Claim is a multi-award-winning contemporary fantasy romance--imagine dragons and swords and knights in contemporary Chicago...Desperate for treasure, a shapeshifting dragon resorts to thievery, but a knight steals her heart...
I like happy endings.
Anna Puma's collection of short stories, The Princess Who Caused Fear, is available for FREE on Kindle for this weekend.
What I'm Reading
I'm about half-way through For Honor We Stand, the 2nd in author H. Paul Honsinger's Man of War military sci-fi series. I've read this series referred to as "Horatio Hornblower in space". and while I don't think it's quite that, nevertheless it is very fun to see Commander Max Robicheaux deal with the various challenges thrown his way, from trying to get his crew into shape, to clashing with the navy brass, to actually fighting the enemy, which ostensibly he was sent out to do.
Another thing I like about the series is that all the books, not just the first one, are reasonably priced. One of you morons complained last week about The Black Prism, and I feel your pain. TBP is a good book, which I've read a while back, and author Brent Weeks has developed an interesting system of magic based on the colors of the prism. But being the cheap bastard that I am, I'm not about to pay $10 to continue the series.
I look at it this way:
The pricing of the Black Prism series goes like this: 1. $1.99. 2. $9.99. 3. $8.99
The pricing of the Man of War series goes like this.: 1. $3.99. 3. $3.99. 3. $4.99
Seems to me that you'd get a lot more sales with the MoW pricing scheme than the TBP system, but maybe I'm wrong. All I know is that I'm going to finish out the MoW series, but not TBP.
Even if they priced MoW higher, say 1-2 bucks more for each book, that still would be more attractive then TBP
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
EMT 5/24/15 [krakatoa]
Your mid- long weekend open thread begins here.
Overnight Open Thread (23 May 2015)
Hope you morons are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend with friends, family, and pets but do take a moment to remember the fallen this weekend. Here is a listing of all state national cemeteries that are having ceremonies.
Breath-holding games are killing swimmers, CDC warns. Clearly we must ban holding your breath underwater now.
Jeez, even camping is getting the wussy treatment. 'Glamping' brings 5-star luxury to the outdoors. When a true calamity hits here, so many people are gonna be boned.
South China Sea
Three ways China and the U.S. could go to war. Gonna get interesting when the Chinese complete their runways on their man made islands and declare an ADIZ.
Golf Course Sinkhole
Has Obama declared a state of emergency yet? Massive sinkhole opens up in the middle of a golf course. A hole in one just got easier on this course!
U.S. Flag Trivia
Tonight's ONT brought to you by the Eagle on a Tombstone:
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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Evening Open Thread- Picture This Edition [Weirddave]
Here's a link to a whole bunch of neat pictures. I realize that it's click bait along the lines of "This man opened a can of paint. What he saw will make you question the existence of God!", but most of the pictures are neat, for example, this is Florida's oldest surviving Civil War veteran, Bill Lundy, in 1955:
The end of the Volstead Act:
Teaching children without access to water to swim:
I love these last two, pictures of postwar America, brimming with hope and looking confidently to the future.
Moving into the suburbs:
Disneyland employee cafeteria, 1961:
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Open Thread: How Do We Lose To These Guys? [Y-not]
So this happened:
This is the tweet Tapper was referring to (it didn't display for some reason):
Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone! pic.twitter.com/TMBSu187Pb— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) May 22, 2015
On the other hand, the RNC's twitter feed is utterly silent on the subject.
*Post updated with Democrats' tweet embedded.*
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Saturday Gardening Thread: Butterflies Are Free and Other Stuff [Y-not, KT, and Weirddave]
Y-not: Good afternoon, Gardeners!
Inspired by KT's description of the butterfly-friendly milkweed plant, today's thread is brought to you by Puccini's Madame Butterfly which premiered in 1904:
Set in Nagasaki, Japan, Madame Butterfly told the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and abandons a young Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, or Madame Butterfly. In addition to the rich, colorful orchestration and powerful arias that Puccini was known for, the opera reflected his common theme of living and dying for love. This theme often played out in the lives of his heroines -- women like Cio-Cio-San, who live for the sake of their lovers and are eventually destroyed by the pain inflicted by that love. Perhaps because of the opera's foreign setting or perhaps because it was too similar to Puccini's earlier works, the audience at the premiere reacted badly to Madame Butterfly, hissing and yelling at the stage. Puccini withdrew it after one performance. He worked quickly to revise the work, splitting the 90-minute-long second act into two parts and changing other minor aspects. Four months later, the revamped Madame Butterfly went onstage at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. This time, the public greeted the opera with tumultuous applause and repeated encores, and Puccini was called before the curtain 10 times. Madame Butterfly went on to huge international success, moving to New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1907.
If at first you don't succeed...
Take it away, KT:
Personal Gardening Update:
We got a little bit of rain! Yay! Later, a strange storm cell came through with sudden wind, lightning and maybe some hail nearby but no rain for us. It reminded me that there were some REAL storm cells in other parts of the country. Hope everybody's garden made it through the storms.
Last year at this time, we had ripe Apriums on the tree. This year, they are just starting to color. I need to do more thinning of stone fruits. We are starting to see spider mites, despite the somewhat cooler (than last year) weather the past month. Spider mites were a real problem last year.
I picked my first ripe Sungold tomato. Very nice flavor. Skin was a little tough, but that is to be expected in the first tomatoes of the year. The tomato plants look happier than our tomato plants the last couple of years. We planted them in a different location, so rotation may have helped. We also planted earlier.
I had fun with the Garden Train video that Beverly linked in the comments a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was worth featuring today in case you missed it.
If you are in the North and haven't planted potatoes yet, Maggie's Farm recently posted a link on The Right Potato for the Job. I like waxy potatoes for roasting and steaming. And I like yellow-fleshed potatoes. How about you?
Choose your next weeds carefully...
We are currently trying to eradicate weeds that we did not choose. But there are certain weeds that gardeners DO choose to plant. One kind of weed that a lot of people are planting right now is milkweed. Some people may love their future weeds. Other people, or their neighbors, may come to hate certain weed choices. I kinda promised Stace I would do a little milkweed summary.
I was fascinated with milkweed as a child. I saw little striped Monarch caterpillars grow on the leaves, turn into lovely pupae, then hatch into gorgeous butterflies. "By the time the caterpillar is half an inch long its butterfly wings are already developing inside it."
My interest in milkweed increased when my mother devised for me a rather elaborate craft project involving exotic things like India ink, fountain pens, blotting paper, watercolors and silky milkweed floss. She gathered the floss from roadside plants.
I also learned that during WWII, milkweed floss was gathered by schoolchildren as a replacement for kapok, for life jackets and such. I didn't really know what kapok was at the time, though my father had an old life jacket filled with it in the basement. It seemed heavier to me than milkweed floss would have been. Of course, seeds carried on the wind by airy floss contribute to the invasiveness of some species of milkweed.
I once worked on a corporate campus in Southern California where a Silk Floss Tree was planted. The Silk Floss tree is a cousin to Kapok and Baobab trees. I watched that Silk Floss tree release floss into the wind when the seed pods matured. It reminded me of milkweed floss and cottonwood trees. Before the floss starts to fly, the flowers provide nectar to Monarch butterflies. The flowers are very interesting close-up, and a tree full of them is gorgeous.
Silk Floss trees will grow in desert areas such as Glendale, Arizona. They make a good tree for a xeriscape in nearly frost-free climates. The trunks and branches are green when young so that photosynthesis can continue when the tree loses its leaves. They are covered with conical prickles that store water for dry times.
TRIGGER WARNING: One traditional name for the tree is the "wife-beater tree". Somewhere in Argentina or Brazil, people may recount an unpleasant legend to explain this name. I am not particularly interested in hearing it.
But back to milkweed: There are more than 70 species of milkweed in the USA, plus a few plants in the same genus that attract egg-laying Monarch butterflies. Below, some notes on a few of them. I look forward to updates on your choices for attracting butterflies and/or raising caterpillars.
Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
Common Milkweed may be the most frequent host of Monarch caterpillars in the Northeast, and its native range includes much of the USA east of the Rockies. Milkweed flowers provide lots of nectar for insects, but sometimes trap visiting honeybees between their anthers. Native bees and wasps have an easier time escaping.
We were taught in school that toxic compounds in milkweed deterred birds from eating Monarch butterflies. Look-alike Viceroy butterflies were supposed to be protected by their similarity to Monarchs. But it now looks like there may be some mutual mimicry going on.
Not all species of milkweed contain the same amount of the cardiac glycosides which can make birds sick, and which, in large doses, can be dangerous to people. Many people maintain that Common Milkweed is edible without special treatment. This would indicate a low level of cardiac glycosides. But in some locales, the same plant parts are bitter and inedible. This may be due to hybridization with other species of milkweed.
The "Eat the Weeds" guy provides a lot of interesting information for plant nerds, wild food enthusiasts and survivalists here. "I would not try any milkweeds with skinny leaves." for example. He explains why common milkweed is called "syriaca" even though it is not from Syria. He explains how to tell milkweed and dogbane apart. As suggested by the name, dogbane is generally toxic to animals. Monarchs sometimes lay eggs on it.
Farmers tend to react with dismay when organizations encourage people to plant Common Milkweed. It is an aggressive plant where adapted, and hard to get out of fields. Stems may pop up many feet from the original plant.
Part of the push to plant milkweed comes from anti-Monsanto alarmists. But planting Common Milkweed anywhere near a farm just makes it more likely that a farmer will need to use herbicides. If you have this plant or similar invasive milkweeds growing on your property and want to keep them, remove the seedpods before they release seeds. To keep the neighbors happy.
Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed
Butterfly Weed is much less invasive than Common Milkweed. In fact, it may be a challenge to get it established. It is a tap-rooted plant, suited to well-drained, sandy soils. High Country Gardens sells a cultivar that does better in clay soils than the species. It resents transplanting. Some people report good success with winter-sowing and careful transplanting when the plants are young.
It also comes up late in the spring after its winter dormancy, and people accidentally dig it up. Some gardeners plant daffodils or other spring bulbs nearby to remind them not to dig up the butterfly weed. Daylilies are another good companion. This plant does best in full sun. Plant it in large swaths to attract butterflies seeking nectar. This is a good milkweed for cut flower use, as the stems do not exude latex. No pretreatment of stems is required before arranging.
The species is generally seen in a bright orange color that may not fit well into all color schemes. You can get seeds for a mixture of hot colors. As I recall, the "Gay Butterflies" mixture used to include pink and cream, and perhaps a bronze-leaved red. Springhill may be using an old photo that includes these colors, but their description now says, "shades of orange, red and yellow". There is also a yellow selection called "Hello Yellow". Below, the classic orange Butterfly Weed, dramatically paired with blue:
Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
This one is easy to grow, and may be invasive in certain situations, but not like Common Milkweed. Because it is more attractive to egg-laying Monarchs than Butterfly Weed, one strategy for a butterfly garden might be to plant some Swamp Milkweed in self-watering containers away from the larger plantings of Butterfly Weed, which is very attractive to butterflies for its nectar. Mama butterflies may prefer isolated plants for egg laying because this may lessen the chance of caterpillar predators finding her babies.
There are several garden cultivars available. "Ice Ballet" and "Milkmaid" are white. "Cinderella" is pink and "Soulmate" is rose.
Milkweed Vine, Morrenia odorata
This vine, now naturalized in parts of Florida, is in the same family, but not the same genus, as milkweed. It has some similarities, but the "Eat the Weeds" guy is actually enthusiastic about eating this one. He calls it his "civic duty", since it is damaging to citrus groves. Its other common name is "Strangler Vine". Though people can enjoy eating this plant, it is toxic to cattle.
Monarchs will lay eggs on it in a pinch, though they seem to prefer real milkweed. Edible "Strangler Vine" should not be confused with the "Dog-Strangling Vine". This is a nasty one, an invader now even found in Canada. Monarchs lay eggs on it, but it kills a large percentage of the caterpillars. It also strangles plants and trees. Rip it out, but don't eat it.
Another species to avoid is the Horsetail or Poison Milkweed. Only two or three ounces can kill a sheep. In an open field, most animals have the good sense not to eat it. But in cut hay, it can be deadly.
Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica
Tropical Milkweed, or Blood Flower, may be the ultimate Monarch caterpillar host. It can be grown as an annual in the North, but may naturalize in the South.
There is now a controversy among plant nativists around growing it in subtropical areas because some Monarchs are staying in those areas of the USA permanently, rather than migrating. There is also a concern about the possible spread of a butterfly disease through close contact between butterflies on the plants. One sensible idea from Texas: Tropical Milkweed is OK for Monarch Butterflies, "Just Cut the Dang Stuff Down".
There is a florist-quality series of cultivars called the "Silky Series". Silky Gold and Silky Deep Red seem to be popular. Don't get the latex in your eyes.
Other Monarch Hosts
This site has a brief rundown on several plants you might choose if you wish to stick with native species, or if you want to grow a milkweed tree. Or if you want to shock those prudish neighbors by growing Bishop's Balls. White Milkweed is fairly shade tolerant, and Green Milkweed may be tolerant of moist or wet clay soils. Whichever one you choose, have fun in your butterfly garden.
Y-not: Thanks, KT!
Butterflies are amazing creatures. They're beautiful, for one thing.
But they are also a great case study to use when arguing a pro-life position.
I think the transformation of the (often) homely and destructive caterpillar into a beautiful and useful butterfly also reminds us that we have to take the bad with the good.
If you want to learn all there is to know about butterflies (on this continent) you might want to check out the Entomological Society of America or the North American Butterfly Association. NABA runs the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Ever been there?
Or, if you're of a more scientific bent, how about a REAL closeup of a butterfly wing?
A butterfly's iridescent coloring is a result of the intricate patterning of thousands of microscopic scales, attached to thin wing membranes. Those scales scatter light in complex ways. Iridescence helps butterflies elude predators.
Each complex scale is made up of about 40 ribs, the ribs are connected by tiny cross bars.
For a sense of scale, the yellow line below the scanning electron micrograph image is about 20 microns. A human red blood cell is roughly 8 microns in diameter.
The ribs are held apart by intricate crossbars. Air spaces also affect light absorption and refraction. Butterfly scales are composed of stacked chitin lamellae. Chitin is a tough, semitransparent substance that is the main component of the exoskeletons of arthropods, such as the shells of crustaceans and the outer coverings of insects. Chitin is also found in the cell walls of certain fungi and algae.
A Butterfly scales' structural grid diffracts or bends light in different degrees and that interference is what gives butterflies their intensity of color, vibrancy and iridescence. When light hits the complex wing, the multiple reflections compound one another, such as when light hits a scale, that ray of light also interacts with light bouncing off the scale, in this case from numerous differing angles. These compound interactions create iridescence and variety of color.
Butterfly wings receive their color from two sources, from structural color (described above) and ordinary (or pigmented) color. Butterfly scales are also pigmented. Most brown and yellow butterflies get their color from melanin, just like you and I. Even Blue Morphos have a base of melanin. Melanin absorbs light which helps to further intensify a butterfly's coloration. Other coloring agents are uric acid (white), carotenoid pigments (orange) and flavonoids such as quercetin (red and purple).
This article from Wired explains more about the origins of the shine in butterfly wings, including a short video explaining how a particular butterfly's wings get their blue color:
The Wired article also talks a bit about how butterfly wings develop during the organism's metamorphosis:
Two kinds of cells are involved; scale cells and socket cells. In a caterpillar, they are just ordinary cells, and don't have any distinguishing characteristics. But early on in pupal development (7% complete), they begin to organize in rows corresponding to where the future wing will grow. Each butterfly scale is the product of a single scale cell.
The socket cell anchors the scale to the membrane of the insects' wing; the scale cell pokes through the insect's wing surface like a hernia. The scale cell forms strings of proteins called F-actins, which provides a framework on which the detailed nanostructures of the scales are built. At 28% complete metamorphosis, you can see both cells and ribbed bundles of actins forming. It's a ghostly outline of the scale structure to come.
Like a pasta maker, the scale cell squeezes out and assembles a lattice of actins. These actins form the template on which the rest of the scale's cuticle will be laid down, and foreshadow the fine ribs of the finished scale. At around 64% of the way through metamorphosis, the actin bundles begin to disappear, and the finishing touches are added to the scale. Eventually, the scale cell dies, revealing the finished scale which hardens upon emergence.
One correction to the text. The protein molecule that builds the long struts is called G-actin (for globular actin), not F-actin. G-actin is a round(ish) molecule, roughly 5 nanometers in diameter, that self-assembles into long actin filaments (F-actin). There are a battery of protein molecules and other chemical factors that regulate the assembly and disassembly of actin filaments in all of your cells and, as it turns out, in butterfly wings.
Biology is cool.
Small biology is really cool.
Really small biology is...
Now, here's Weirddave:
This year I didn't plant as many vegetables as last year, I mostly just planted the front part of the beds, but everything is in the ground and established, so lets take a look, shall we? First up: bush beans. Now, I've never planted bush beans before, I expected them to look more like, I dunno, a bush. Some of them do, but a lot of them are just flopping on the ground.
The straws you see were my attempt to repair some of the stalks. I planted them too early, and a lot of them grew so tall in their seedling pots that they couldn't support themselves and they flopped over. I took some straws from McDonalds, cut them, split them lengthwise, and then put them around the creased stem like a splint. Results are mixed, I'll keep you posted.
Next, we have the Teutonic bed. Everything is neat and orderly, all plants lined up in ranks, as they should be:
That's three different types of lettuce in front, then broccoli, then Brussels sprouts. I don't know if the broccoli or sprouts will make it, they went in late so they will likely bolt. On the other hand, I had a fire in the fireplace just this week, so maybe the summer will be cool. In the background you can see a few snap peas struggling to grow up the side of the deck.
Finally we have tomatoes and peppers. My job today is going to be staking these plants up, because they are already producing:
There at least I think I will be enjoying fresh tomatoes before too long. Finally, a report on those miracle grow seed pods I talked about a few months back. All 4 of them grew well, here's the pot I planted them in:
L to R we have pepper, tomato, pepper, tomato. The tomato that is second from the left was not grown from a pod-I grew a green beans pod there and it's already been transplanted to the garden. The other three plants are from the pods, so while they aren't cost effective compared to just buying seeds, they all grew well.
Y-not: And now for something completely different, here's Iron Butterfly:
I think the 60s are proof-positive that drugs are bad for you. (Sure, they claim that it was wine that caused "In the Garden of Eden" to come out as gibberish, but the audiences who listened to this dreck were definitely on something stronger.)
Speaking of hippies, here's Goldie Hawn in her undies from the movie Butterflies Are Free:
What's happening in your gardens this week?
**Post updated to point out the pro-life link.**
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Happy Shavuot [CBD]
Unlike the only Jewish holiday in the American consciousness (Hanukah) Shavuot is actually a big deal.
It is the celebration of the day God gave us the Ten Commandments. Not a bad day to celebrate, although I apologize in advance if the commandments are triggering or microaggressive.
Fundamental Concepts - Born on Third Base [Weirddave]
In 1988 a Texas Politician, Jim Hightower, addressed the Democratic National Convention at Atlanta, Georgia, on July 19. In his speech, he famously said that the Republican nominee for President, George H.W. Bush, “Was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple”. It's a pithy turn of phrase, and today a lot of people credit Hightower with coining it.
That's nonsense, of course. Hightower, who at the time was the Texas Agricultural Commissioner (he lost a reelection bid to Rick Perry in 1991 amidst a bribery scandal), is the worst kind of progressive (his career has involved supporting Jessie Jackson, Ralph Nader and Jerry Brown for president), naturally he stole the phrase. The actual phrase goes back to at least the Depression era, maybe further, but whoever coined it originally certainly knew how to turn a phrase.
I've been thinking about this phrase a lot lately, although not with regard to Bush 41 (I wonder just how “privileged” Bush felt floating in the Pacific after his Avenger was shot down). No, this phrase comes to mind not as pertinent to individuals, but to groups as I watch a generation of gibbering idiots wail and gnash their teeth as they gleefully strive to tear down the foundation of the very society that makes their existence possible.
Societies change over time, I get that, and theoretically at least I have no problem with it. However that change should be an evolution, and not a devolution. That's what bothers me the most. None of these ideas trumpeted by the Left are new. They have all been tried before, and we know the result. Socialism does not lead to an egalitarian society, it produces a stratified one, with a little pocket of wealth and a whole lot of serfs. Jettisoning the rule of law for the rule of man doesn't result in prosperity, it results in poverty. Silencing freedom of speech creates intellectual stagnation. Forcing people to deny reality in favor of mandated, government approved “facts” gives a dysfunctional, paranoid population incapable of functioning as a greater whole. Unlike Caesar, these things ARE as constant as the Northern Star (and whoa Buddy, there's an historical precedent that's uncomfortable to examine closely). I can point to history, I can show where in the world today these policies are being implemented and the results. This isn't speculation, this isn't hypothesis, it is fact: cold, hard, demonstrable fact.
Nobody cares. This third base on which we find ourselves, this brilliant, shining city on a hill, why, of course it's the natural order of things. Things have been like this for their entire lives, there's no way life could be any different. Freedom and prosperity weren't created, they aren't the result of generations, no, millennia of human trial, effort, thought and debate, they just are.
You and I know that that's not the case, and the inability of many on the left to recognize this is one of the things that is so frustrating when interacting with Progs. Their flat out denial that it's true is one of the few things that fill me with a full-blown rage. The really sad thing is that by the historical evolution of current society, if they are successful they will find themselves in a world antithetical to their own best interests. Here's an example.
Activist gays never tire of pushing their agenda on society at large, an effort that culminated this week with the vilification of some poor Newfie jeweler who had no problem making rings for a lesbian couple's “wedding”, but when they found out that he personally believed in traditional marriage, it was Katy bar the door time. He was immediately cast as the week's Emmanuel Goldstein and the SJW and Gaystapo went into a frenzy.
What they claim they are doing: Fighting for “equality”. This is obviously bullshit because they were treated absolutely the same as any other customer. This is the third base they were born on (or at least the third base that exists today). Twenty years ago everyone would have looked at them askance if they claimed that two people of the same sex could get married, and 50 years ago their lesbianism would have been classified as a mental disorder. Instead, today, they walk into a shop, order a pair of custom rings for their “wedding”, are treated with courtesy and respect, and go on about their business. Equality is here. They made it. That's not even third base, that's home plate.
But that's not good enough, these people think they are still in the batter's box, desperately dodging chin music from a homophobic pitcher, so, since the jeweler personally believes in traditional marriage, he must be destroyed. So what happens, if, having achieved an objective, having convinced society at large of the rightness of their cause, a group keeps pushing further, demanding not just equal treatment, but preferential?
Backlash. This backlash can, in this case, take one of two forms. Either it occurs withing the context of the culture and outrageous demands for preferential treatment start being routinely ignored as spurious and even mocked by the population as a whole. This is a best case scenario, what I would call the normal functioning of a free society. On the other hand, if western society has been so weakened by constant attacks on its founding principles that it recoils from those principles and allows the demanding minority to get its way in the name of fairness or in fear of being called homophobic, then that society is ripe for takeover by a society more confident in its own founding principles. That's what is happening in Europe, the confident interloper is Islam, and I really don't think it all ends well for the gays.
Bottom line: We live in an incredibly free and prosperous society, one unmatched by any in human history. In our comfort and wealth, we have forgotten why this is so, and we are allowing the very things that created that freedom and prosperity to be destroyed by Leftists. THEY claim what will replace it will be better. Conservatives are pointing to history and demonstrating that it will not, but we're working from behind the 8-ball because so many people are (purposefully) ignorant of how we got here. That makes it childishly easy to take it all away.
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Saturday Politics Thread: Immigration, Part Two [Y-not]
Good morning, horde! Today we'll continue exploring one of the trickiest (and most depressing) of the issues facing conservatives today: immigration.
Last week we had a brief "history lesson" on how U.S. immigration policies have evolved over the past 50 years. We also looked at a snapshot of the illegal immigration population, including which states have the largest populations of illegals.
In trying to decide how to proceed with our candidate evaluations, I decided that it might be most helpful to start with their reactions to Obama's manufactured border crisis. My rationale was that this would be the best way to come up with a head to head comparison given that many of our GOP prospects had limited experience with illegal immigration prior to last year. Of course, the challenge here is that, with the exception of Jeb Bush, most GOP hopefuls are starting to talk tougher now that the primary season is underway. Whether or not their tough talk matches their previous statements and records (I'm looking at YOU, Scott Walker) will be left for later posts.
I'm going to do my best to pull from a variety of sources and to identify what, if any, bias I think any given source has. Feel free to jump in with any information you have about the sources and candidates.
In addition, I've decided to widen the scope of these evaluations to include thoroughly unpalatable (and yet "serious contender") candidates like Jeb Bush. The reason is simple: we have got to confront the Worst Case Scenario. If we don't, we are going to let the perfect become the enemy of the good while we try to decide which of the conservative candidates we favor.
One last thing, as you know, a couple of months ago when I did the "candidate mid-terms" post, I let you all know that my top four candidates are Cruz, Jindal, Perry, and Nikki Haley. It's also no secret that stopping (and reversing) illegal immigration is a top issue for me. That said, I don't know that any of my favorite candidates, including Cruz, measure up to my ideal on this topic. I'm still evaluating them. So there is no reason for me to egg the pudding and try to sell you on one of these guys over any of the others. (You can trust me!)
Last November, the Conservative Review published a roundup of many of the GOP hopefuls' reactions to Obama's border crisis. I follow the Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz on Twitter (you should, too) and I think he's a Ted Cruz backer (or leaner, perhaps), so bear that in mind.
Based on this roundup of reactions, I'd say that Chris Christie's response was the worst:
Christie, in his usual blunt fashion, said he's said enough on illegal immigration in the past and didn't want to talk about it now. The Daily Mail reports:
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie refused to engage on the subject of illegal immigration at all, saying as he had several times in the past, that he would make his views on federal issues known when and if he runs for president.
But he did come out swinging against Republicans in Congress floating a government shut down unless Democrats go along with their plan to bar immigration agencies from using federal funds to support Obama's edict.
'It's incumbent upon everybody in Washington, D.C., to do their jobs. And running the government is their job,' Christie said. 'All this kind of hysteria about shutdowns to me is just people who can make news.'"
That's some real leadership there. SMDH
Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, who are both widely thought of as being soft on illegal immigration, at least took the time to criticize the president, even if their own solutions are probably not much better than Obama's executive amnesty.
I though Rand Paul's response was rather weak:
Rand Paul's reaction to the President's amnesty executive action was to counsel his colleagues to "pass some things", the Washington Post reported.
"Two Republicans who are mulling presidential bids, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), cautioned their colleagues to focus on fighting the policy, rather than on fiery rebuttals that could alienate the voters the party must woo in 2016.
'Pass some things,' Paul said, when asked about how the party should react. He suggested an expansion of work visas as an example of one potential piece of legislation."
Both Governors Jindal and Walker were highly critical of the President's power grab. Jindal called it "arrogance" and Walker called it "incredibly audacious."
Follow the link for the complete roundup from the Conservative Review.
I think I liked Ted Cruz's reaction best:
Ted Cruz: Senator Cruz took to POLITICO to write about what congress should do in the wake of Obama's executive order. Cruz laid out two key ways to fight back. The first is to refuse to confirm virtually all of Obama's nominees until amnesty is rescinded. The second is to use the power of the purse to refuse to fund Obama's amnesty. Cruz sums up what is at stake:
"Of course, these confrontations are not desirable, and it is unbecoming for an American president to show such condescension towards the voters.
The American people, however, are not powerless. They have elected a new Congress full of members who have promised in their campaigns to stand up to this lawless President and stop the amnesty. We must honor our commitments. If the president will not respect the people, Congress must."
Here's a link to Senator Cruz's column in Politico, which is entitled Obama Is Not a Monarch.
It's been half a year since Obama opened the flood gates to illegal aliens. What have the GOP hopefuls said since then? Are any of the 2016 prospects still talking about illegal immigration and immigration more generally? I'd like to examine that in more depth next week, but for now I'll just update you on a couple of challenges to Obama's amnesty.
Most of the governors we're interested in are participating in the lawsuit against the Administration. Sadly, New Mexico filed a brief in defense of the Administration. However, I do not think that originated with Governor Martinez, who opposes amnesty and has been trying to repeal the drivers license measure her predecessor enacted in her state. Governor Martinez did not sign the brief in support of Obama. It was signed by Democrat Hector H. Balderas, New Mexico's Attorney General. I think this highlights the challenges Martinez faces in a purple state.
Earlier this month, 113 lawmakers signed a brief in support of the states' suit against Obama:
The Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), are siding squarely with the states, arguing Obama's executive action "changes the law and sets a new policy, exceeding the executive's constitutional authority and disrupting the delicate balance of powers."
"Congress has created a comprehensive immigration scheme -- which expresses its desired policy as to classes of immigrants -- but the class identified by the [Homeland Security Department] directive for categorical relief is unsupported by this scheme," the lawmakers wrote in an amicus brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
"Instead of setting enforcement priorities," they added, "it created a class-based program that establishes eligibility requirements that, if met, grant unlawful immigrants a renewable lawful presence in the United States and substantive benefits."
The brief was endorsed by 113 Republicans, including Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), the majority whip, and Ted Cruz (Texas), a 2016 presidential hopeful. In the House, the supporters include Reps. Trey Gowdy (S.C.); Tom Price (Ga.); Michael McCaul (Texas), head of the Homeland Security Committee; and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the former head of the Judiciary panel.
Senator Marco Rubio also signed the brief. Senator Rand Paul did not.
Next week, I'll try to untangle more of the candidates' recent statements on immigration.
Looks like I picked the wrong month to stop sniffing glue.
Close it up
EMT 5/23/15 Stop Me if You've Heard This One edition[krakatoa]
A bed bug, a puritan scold, and a feminist walk into a mattress store...
This one time, at band camp, I was raped by a woodwind...
...And then the Sec State sez, she sez "Rectum?!"...
Overnight Open Thread (22 May 2015)
Does Time magazine know who the Pentagon takes orders from? Pentagon rhetoric about Ramadi's fall risks U.S. credibility.
I would think that if the left truly believed that the Tea Party and other conservative groups were as violent as they claim, they'd be treating them like they do with their Islam coverage.
So you want to be a hitman? Be sure to bury your feelings.
Is NASA praying for a major hurricane this year? Of course they are. Just like the media prays for every shooting to be tied back to the Tea Party or every scandal tied to a Republican.
Evolution of the Bikini
White House steps up warnings about terrorism on U.S. soil. You'd think if they were taking this seriously they'd start by tightening up the border. I haven't heard anything in that regard. Just that more folks are coming across.
Ancient Dog Pets?
Tonight's ONT brought to you by animals that just went full derp:
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Close it up
Scenes From the Decadent Period of the Dying American Republic
moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury
The Mary-Sue, fangirl comic book nerd site:
Editor’s Note: Trigger warnings for sexual assault. To find out more about support options available for survivors of sexual abuse, visit the official website for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Those hopes crumbled into a million pieces last night, when Sansa was raped by Ramsey as Theon/Reek was forced to watch.
Using rape as the impetus for character motivations is one of the most problematic tropes in fiction. Rarely is it ever afforded the careful consideration it deserves. Was there more gravity given to the act on Game of Thrones than in the past on the series? I would say yes; however, it took Sansa from her growing place of power, cut her off at the knees, and put the focus on Theo'’s ordeal, instead.
After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry. My next thought was, "I'm going to have to spend part of the next six months explaining why this was a bad move over and over."
The Daily Mail, a journal about things that actually happened in the real world:
[no trigger warning included]
Stripped naked and sold to the highest bidder: How ISIS is sending the 'prettiest Yazidi virgins' it abducts to slave markets in Syria
ISIS committing horrific sex crimes against girls, United Nations has found
'They are sold naked to Islamic State leaders and soldiers at slave markets'
Terror group is targeting young girls from Iraq's minority Yazidi community
It has previously abducted hundreds of Yazidis from across northern Iraq
The HuffPo, a website for people to read while folding sweaters at The Gap:
Why Talking About 'Game Of Thrones' Rape Is Important For Feminism
By Emily Tess Katz
Dr. Michele Polak, an English professor at Centenary College, shares The Mary Sue's reservations, arguing that the rape served more to advance a male character's storyline rather than that of the Sansa Stark, who was raped.
"I think it was there to move the narrative of her brother," Polak told HuffPost Live on Thursday. "I think that really did great for his narrative more than it did for Sansa's."
Slate contributor Amanda Marcotte and contributing editor to Washingtonian magazine, Hilary Kelly, joined the discussion of what is meant by a "gratuitous rape scene" and whether "Game of Thrones" can depict rape in service to a broader, important cultural conversation.
The Washington Post, a journal of things that really happened in the real world (though they have plenty of She the People bloggers who prefer to talk about things that happen on TV shows):
[no trigger warning provided]
Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls reportedly sold as brides to militants for $12, relatives say
The news of the mass marriage come from a group of fathers, uncles, cousins, and nephews who gather every morning to pool their resources, buy fuel, and journey unarmed to forests and border towns in search of the missing girls. They learned this week, they said, that mass wedding ceremonies had occurred on Saturday and Sunday. The insurgents reportedly shot their guns into the air after taking their new brides, and split them into three groups. They were then reportedly moved out by truckload.
"It's a medieval kind of slavery," village leader Bitrus told the BBC.
Jezebel, a fangirl site for fantasy pretend-politics of the sort practiced by White Middle Class Western Women who want to convince themselves they're "informed:"
The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, "Hey, no, come on, let's go back downstairs." He didn't listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind....
My friend gave me the name and number of someone at Columbia I could talk to if I wanted to file a complaint. I wondered if what had happened between me and Paul was really sexual assault: there was no penetration, I had no bruises, I got away. But Columbia defines "Sexual Assault—Non-Consensual Sexual Contact" as "Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without a person's consent." That is exactly what happened to me, and so I decided to file a complaint.
The NY Daily News, another paper chiefly writing about things that actually happened:
[no trigger warning provided]
1 of 2 British school girls in pedophile sex ring recalls being raped by at least 60 men
A British court has heard how a pedophile sex ring raped, drugged, exploited and even "brainwashed" school girls on a "massive scale" over a six-year period.
The disturbing claims against 11 Buckinghamshire men were heard during the first day of trial Monday in London during which statements were read by one of the two young victims, the BBC reported.
That child, who was aged 12 or 13 at the time, said she was passed around and raped by at least 60 men in an Asian grooming gang.
The Independent, writing about the bitter, corrupt feminist Senator Claire McCaskill:
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Ok, I'm done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) May 19, 2015
Disclosed Email From Cheryl Mills Says of Hillary's Benghazi Hearing That She Had a "Come to" Jesus Meeting With Her "Colleagues" and Now They're "On Board"
On board with what, Ms. Mills?
Cheryl Mills getting folks "on board." pic.twitter.com/ARjXU1raFE— John Sexton (@verumserum) May 22, 2015
You do not have to cajole people in a Come To Jesus Meeting to get them to tell the truth.
You hold a Come to Jesus meeting to convince them that there is a Greater Good that must be served.
Other important stuff collected by Allahpundit.
1, Hillary knew that the government had attempted to bully Google and YouTube into censoring "The Innocence of the Muslims," and
2, Just before that video's maker was arrested, Hillary was emailing around a left-wing bloglink exposing him as a rightwing kook.
On 9/12/12, Hillary sends link on "Meet the Right-Wing Extremist Behind the Anti-Muslim Film" pic.twitter.com/cKYuaSg8ro— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) May 22, 2015
Max Blumenthal is Sydney Blumenthal's gonzo pro-Muslim, anti-Semitic son.
Update: On November 15-16, two/three days after Mills' email, intelligence and counter-terrorism officials testified in closed-door hearings about Benghazi.
Among those testifying -- Mike Morrell, the CIA agent who lied to Congress, claiming the FBI had made important changes to the talking points, when in fact it was he himself.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, @AndrewStilesUSA
Intro: George Clinton - Atomic Dog
Outro: Thompson Twins - Lies
Browse (and even search!) the archives
Follow on Twitter
Don't forget to submit your Ask the Blog questions for next week's episode.
Open thread in the comments.
Hillary Received Now-Classified Information In Her Unsecured Private Emails
She had claimed there "is" no classified information in her emails.
Well, there was, before she deleted them.
When she originally received the email, it was merely "sensitive" information. The FBI later classified it as "secret."
Here's the interesting thing: We know this is now secret because it is redacted in the emails released by State.
And what's it about? The Benghazi Attack.
It just so happens that the emails are going to be redacted whenever they're about Benghazi, I guess.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.
The email in question, forwarded to Clinton by her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, relates to reports of arrests in Libya of possible suspects in the attack.
Because the information was not classified at the time the email was sent, no laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.
Clinton, campaigning in New Hampshire, said Friday she was aware that the FBI wanted some of the email to be classified, "but that doesn't change the fact all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately."
Asked if she was concerned it was on a private server, she replied, "No."
[The FBI] said 23 words of the Nov. 18, 2012, message were redacted from Friday's release of 296 emails totaling 896 pages to protect information that could harm national security and damage foreign relations.
A little context: The New York Times had previously questioned Hillary's claim that "no" classified information "is" in the emails, because the US Government routinely classifies lots and lots of things.
WASHINGTON — Anyone who has tried to pry information from the federal government may have been surprised on Tuesday by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s assertion that in all her emails in four years as secretary of state, she never strayed into the classified realm.
After all, a consensus among Republicans and Democrats for many years has been that the government routinely overclassifies information, reflexively stamping "secret" on mountains of documents with marginally sensitive content. The government classified more than 80 million documents in 2013, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, which publishes an annual count.
But some secrecy experts and former government officials on Tuesday were skeptical, noting the interesting turnabout that had a former top official insisting, for once, that none of her exchanges were secret.
Update: Hillary's unsecured emails announced, in 2011, the locations and travel plans of American officials serving in Libya.
Chris Stevens could not be reached for comment.
Noah Rothman quotes The New York Times:
Mrs. Clinton's emails show that she had a special type of government information known as "sensitive but unclassified," or "SBU," in her account. That information included the whereabouts and travel plans of American officials in Libya as security there deteriorated during the uprising against the leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. Nearly a year and a half before the attacks in Benghazi, Mr. Stevens, then an American envoy to the rebels, considered leaving Benghazi citing deteriorating security, according to an email to Mrs. Clinton marked "SBU."
Lesbian Couple Seeks Engagement Rings from Christian Jeweler.
Jeweler, Being Canadian and Hence Nonconfrontational, Complies.
Lesbian Couple Later Finds Out About His Horrid Views And Demands Their Money Back.
And the mobs demanded that the Christian jeweler eat that loss, Because Gross, and the jeweler was so threatened he ultimately complied.
So here's a reason a Christian shouldn't serve a gay couple in their wedding plans, eh...? We're now talking possibly thousands in losses as the gay couple decides, after the service has been provided and the materials all bought and wasted, that they're going to punish the business owner anyway, and make him pay for his views.
Republican Support of Republican Leadership Dropping Like a Stone
The reviews are in for Corker's, McConnell's, and Boehner's opus "Failure Theater," and they're not good.
Fully three-quarters of Republicans want the leadership to challenge Obama more often. But McConnell and Boehner, eyeing those more equivocal independent numbers, won’t do that. And why should they? The genius of "failure theater" is that, as the failures pile up, the argument for electing more Republicans perversely grows stronger among the base. You can’t expect McConnell to go to the mat on executive amnesty when he has "only" 54 votes in the Senate, not nearly enough to break a filibuster. Give him 57 or 58 votes, though, and who knows? Maybe he can shake loose a few Democrats and force an Obama veto.
At some point, a great mass of people will come to the conclusion I (and many before me did), and that will be that for the Republican Party.
Frederic Edwin Church, "Twilight in the Wilderness" (1860)
Friday Morning News Dump
- 'Mattress Girl' Is A Perfect Icon For The Feminist Left
- Freedom Of Thought Ain't Free
- A Tactical Success, A Strategic Failure
- Another Reason Why Hillary Doesn't Deserve To Be President
- One Group That Doesn't Benefit From White Privilege
- Miss Uncongeniality
- Clinton Foundation Reveals Up To 26 Million In Additional Payments
- ISIS Executes A Man With A Bazooka
- Anti-Stephanopoulos Artwork Posted Near ABC News Headquarters
- Hot Take From Slate
- For Robert Downey Jr., Forgiveness Transcends Mistakes
- Who Is Ready For A Michelle Workout Video?
Morning Open Thread
Comment here now, comment in news posts later.
Overnight Open Thread (5-21-2015)
Sadly most of the movies I see these days are ones I watch on planes. So here are a couple of quickie movie reviews of what I've watched in the last few weeks.
Okay I had read the mixed reviews but I figured hey I'm a sucker for sci-fi flicks so why not. Well the short version is that Interstellar is a long, maudlin, melodramatic, visually stunning, wannabe epic, manipulative, nearly 3 hour long movie with gaping plot holes that actually ended up irritating me. Not recommended unless you have nothing else better to do for three hours. Or just enjoy movies where nearly every single line is an intense whisper.
A very interesting and well done movie. I can see why it won an Oscar and Michael Keaton was nominated for one. It did a very good job of putting you into the life and mind of Riggan, a washed-up actor best known for playing the superhero Birdman now trying desperately to pull off a Broadway show and show that he can actually do something meaningful. The movie follows him around and fills you in on his life without ever having a flashback scene, while also making you want to see what happens to him next. I enjoyed its mix of documentary-style and magical realism scenes but I can see why others might not care for it. It also makes the case that life in general needs a jazz drum background track. Recommended.
Okay I already knew the story of Alan Turing and the British breaking the Enigma code during WWII and was very skeptical that it could ever be made into a watchable movie. But I was wrong and The Imitation Game is in fact excellent. It does a good job of both explaining the technological challenges of breaking the code and the context of how important this was to winning the war and capturing the drama behind it. So you can watch the movie knowing nothing and fully enjoy it. Alan Turing was a genius and likely had what we would call today Asperger's syndrome and was critical to ultimately breaking the code. Benedict Cumberbatch did an excellent job playing him and deserved his Oscar for it. Turing's homosexuality was significant to several parts of the plot but I'm glad the movie didn't make it a central point or become preachy about it. Highly recommended.
This 2006 British movie has been lingering in my Netflix queue for nearly five years - so long I had forgotten why I ever even added it. But a few weeks ago out of complete lack of other choices I finally watched it. And it turned out to be very good. The story is about an art student who after a painful breakup with his girlfriend is unable to sleep at all. Finally desperate to fill his nights he starts working the night shift at a local grocery store. There at some point he discovers that he has the ability to actually stop time. So of course he has some fun with this checking out women's breasts and playing pranks on people. But after a while he becomes bored with this and is inspired to use the stopped-time scenes as still-lifes for his art. And in the process he also comes to really know the motley group of people he works with and appreciate them in their own way. In particular he falls in love with a quirky cashier, Sharon. They eventually start dating and it turns out that being able to stop time is not nearly as helpful in a relationship as you might think.
Stylistically the movie is sort of a mix of Fight Club with Groundhog Day along with a good amount of teen sex comedy and rom-com mixed in. But it's actually a very thoughtful and funny movie with the main character narrating scenes and musing on the significance of time in peoples' lives, his own flaws and missed opportunities, and reflecting on how he came to be so fascinated by the female form. Ultimately the movie is about finding love and inspiration in the fleeting moments of everyday life more than any of the entertaining boobage and comedy scenes in it. Excellently written this movie really should be more well known than it is. Highly recommended.
All of these phrases are really implicit calls for censoring certain kinds of speech.
But the federal government does not just "ask" for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.
Despite pious rhetoric on the left about "asking" the more fortunate for more money, the government does not "ask" anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don't pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.
So please don't insult our intelligence by talking piously about "asking."
And please don't call the government's pouring trillions of tax dollars down a bottomless pit "investment." Remember the soaring words from Barack Obama, in his early days in the White House, about "investing in the industries of the future"? After Solyndra and other companies in which he "invested" the taxpayers' money went bankrupt, we haven't heard those soaring words so much.
Then there are those who produced the wealth that politicians want to grab. In Obama's rhetoric, these producers are called "society's lottery winners."
....When all else fails, redistributionists can say, as Obama did at Georgetown University, that "coldhearted, free-market capitalist types" are people who "pretty much have more than you'll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use," so they should let the government take that extra money to help the poor.Slippery use of the word "use" seems to confine it to personal consumption. The real question is whether the investment of wealth is likely to be done better by those who created that wealth in the first place or by politicians. The track record of politicians hardly suggests that turning ever more of a nation's wealth over to them is likely to turn out well.
How you prevent an 'immigration crisis'.
How a FAL gets made.
Using movement in move-ies.
Zhang Caijie, 25, became an overnight hit in Taiwan after pictures of her were posted online. She works in her parent's market stall butchering meat and is now a sought-after bachelorette in the country.
You're been doing it wrong apparently.
Yahoo group. That is all.
Come on be a smartie and join the yahoo group party! For the children. Why do you hate children?
And my lo-fi Twitter spew.
Tonight's post brought to you by Audrey shopping with her fawn:
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Close it up
Senator Kristen Gillibrand's Chubby Case Against Paul Nungesser Falls Apart
Paul Nungesser is the man charged by the so-called #MattressGirl, Emma Sulkowicz.
If you know the case, you know that two (or three?) additional people stepped forward to accuse Nungesser after Sulkowicz began making these allegations.
Let's deal with two of them.
Let's deal with the male accuser.
From Cathy Young: Oh my.
Several days after my Daily Beast piece, which featured not only Nungesser's account of his relationship with Sulkowicz but social media messages tending to support his version, the feminist blog Jezebel ran a purported rebuttal titled "How to Make an Accused Rapist Look Good." Much of the story, by Jezebel editor Erin Gloria Ryan, dealt with Sulkowicz's not entirely convincing explanation of her friendly messages to Nungesser days after what she says was a terrifyingly violent rape. But the piece also contained a new revelation meant to bolster the claim that Nungesser was a serial sexual predator: the existence of a hitherto unknown male victim, identified by the pseudonym "Adam."
Adam, who also graduates this week, told Jezebel that "he was close friends with Paul during his freshman year in 2011" and that "one fall night, in the midst of an emotional conversation in Paul's dorm room...Paul pushed him onto his bed and sexually assaulted him." He claimed that after much self-doubt and internal struggle, he finally reported this incident, first to a student society to which both he and Nungesser belonged and then in a formal complaint to the university in the fall of 2014. Adam rather melodramatically lamented that my Daily Beast piece "invalidates and completely erases [his] experience."
Oh my -- it invalidates your experience. WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO SOONER?!!
There's a girl on Twitter calling herself "NachoSarah." Hot chick, actually. But she tosses off lots of crude jokes.
One oft-repeated joke is about how effeminate the men she sees around her are.
It goes like this:
i was out with a guy on a date and he ordered a quinoa salad and i was like hey remember when men used to carry swords
But that joke probably invalidates Adam's experience, so forget I said anything.
This gets better.
According to Adam, during this conversation Nungesser asked him to sit on the bed, rubbed his shoulder and back, then "gently" pushed him down and proceeded to stroke his leg and finally massage his crotch "for approximately 2-3 minutes" while Adam froze in shock. He was finally able to muster the will to get up and leave.
Long story short, external evidence -- Facebook posts, texts -- tended to support Nungesser's denial more than Adam's charges. For example, "Adam" claimed that Nungesser kept bothering him. But the record shows that it was Adam who kept seeking Nungesser out after this dubious incident.
And then "Adam" says Nungesser really turned up the heat of harassment:
Adam's credibility was further sunk by his rather fanciful complaints of "retaliation" by Nungesser in a class they shared. These "deliberately aggressive acts" consisted of sitting too close to Adam or to his friends, which left Adam "distraught and traumatized," and complimenting some points Adam had made in a class discussion (which "felt like he was claiming a collective sense of power").
And thus Paul Nungesser carried out his continued Campaign of Erotic Terror.
hey adam remember when men carried swords
I am happy to report that, even on the trauma-happy modern campus, such claims of harassment are still recognized as, in the words of the report, "hyperbolic and illogical."
In the end, the investigators concluded that Adam was "unreliable" and that his story simply did not add up, and recommended that Nungesser be found "not responsible."
A woman charged him with "sexual assault" too, and now writes, anonymously, at Jezebel, that Nungesser was actually found guilty of this "sexual assault" before he "appealed it away."
Let's look at this allegation of a "sex assault" -- from the complaining witness herself:
At this point, I should be used to seeing backlash against Emma Sulkowicz, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for what came this week: endless tittering of people around me in real life and in my social feeds saying they "weren't sure" about Emma’s choice to carry her mattress to Columbia’s graduation; the insistence that Emma's alleged assailant Paul Nungesser had been "proven innocent" by Columbia and exonerated by the NYPD; the posters someone put up around Columbia with Emma's picture on them, calling her a "PRETTY LITTLE LIAR."
Every time I read another version of this narrative--that Nungesser merely "picked the wrong friends," that the complaints against him were a calculated vendetta--my stomach flopped. Don’t forget: before he appealed away the conviction, Paul Nungesser was found responsible for sexually assaulting a woman at Columbia. And I'm writing this because that woman was me.
When I filed the complaint against Paul, I didn't know it would turn into a national event. It was over a year before Emma started carrying that weight, months before what happened at Columbia helped sparked a national dialogue about rape on college campus. I was just trying to do the right thing.
The incident happened my junior year at Columbia, when Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, "Hey, no, come on, let's go back downstairs." He didn't listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.
You managed to push it out of your mind? What a soldier.
Now you may be thinking, "Okay, well in the Second Part of this story, Nungesser creeps into her room and rapes her!"
Um... nope. That's the whole story. He pulled her against him for a few seconds, tried to entice her to have sex, and then did nothing more when she pushed him away.
This is the "sex assault" he was found guilty of -- and here she quotes, pedantically, Columbia's definition of "sex assault," which includes "Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without a person's consent." [Emphasis added -- but I feel that emphasis is implicit in her breathless delivery.] She defines this sloppy, drunken hug as a "sexual touching;" apparently Columbia later realized how insane that was.
Now, don't get me wrong, Nungesser was plainly trying to get sex here. And it is uncomfortable as hell to be manhandled by a drunk (or at least heedless) guy looking for sex.
I hate being hugged or touched and when people hug or touch me it's almost always in a non-sexual, innocent manner.
But I don't like it.
I do think she has a complaint -- but not a legal one.
She has a thing she can justifiably complain about to her friends. "Oh my, this sloppy horny douche hugged me and thought he could sleep with me."
And that's all she has.
But apparently she thinks she was "raped" just like Emma.
But here, let her tell you:
Then, a year later, a friend approached me and asked if we could speak privately. She told me she'd heard that Paul had apparently raped someone, and that the story had reminded her of what he had done to me a year before.
He hugged me for three seconds. It was exactly like that anal rape that Emma Sulkowicz described to me.
This woman writes anonymously because she says she fears the pushback and mockery she might get if her name is connected to this Tale of Hug-Rape.
Good Bet, Sister.
Irresponsible Accusations from Drama-Seeking Children
I saw Goodman Nungesser dancing with the Devil by the well by the north path. Then they made the beast with two backs.
Then Chuck Norris raped me.
Six Baltimore Cops Indicted in Freddie Gray Death
Six police officers have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday.
The officers are scheduled to be arraigned on July 2, she said.
Alan Derschowitz has argued that this constitutes "crowd control justice" -- charges brought to appease a riotous mob, not meritorious charges.
A Ham Sandwich was quoted as saying: "You got the wrong sandwich."
Party of Science: Young People, When Polled, Estimate The Number of Gay People In Society at... 30%
I heard this "three in ten" claim one time, and I laughed at it. Even one-in-ten is too high by a factor of 3-5.
But there's our very educated Millennials for ya!
By the way, I keep hearing the Millennials are "very educated." And they don't mean that ironically.
They mean, of course, that they go to college at higher rates than previous generations, and then waste more time pursuing make-work masters in nonproductive fields.
But seriously: Are they even close to "very educated"?
I know people who employ Millennials.
See if you can guess their take on Millennials' group education level and group intelligence.
And I have to note, as usual, I know some Millennials, and they're bright. And, as I say, they will rule the world in time, for they have nothing but morons between them and the throne.
As Herman Mankiewicz wrote to his writer friend in 1925, imploring him to come to Hollywood:
"Millions are to be made out here, and your only competition is idiots."
He added a whisper:
"Don't let this get around."
Anyway, the fact that America, as a whole, is stupider than it's ever been doesn't mean there aren't very bright Americans, and the fact that the Millennials are a Generation of Imbeciles doesn't change the fact that there are smart Millennials too.
And by the way, the country as a whole -- young people, middle-aged, and old folks too -- peg the number at 25%.
We're not a smart people.
I also see that women, as a whole, also estimated the figure at 30%.
Well... what can we say about that that won't cause a Shaming Crisis?
Um.... it is true that women dabble more with light-to-moderate homosexual acts (at least when younger), and... well I guess it is now de rigeur for every upwardly mobile urban white woman to have her Gay Best Friend.
So maybe that inflates their estimate.
I guess they don't realize that one gay dude they think is their Gay Best Friend is performing Gay Best Friend duties for a network of like eight women.
That poor man.
For Further Reading and Review: Leon Wolf writes of the Emma Sulkowicz Generation.
Shock: Jeb Bush Says Two Things Which Are Vaguely Conservative
Maybe his plan to run against conservatives in a Republican primary isn't working amazeballs like he expected.
Jeb: The climate is changing, but those who claim that the debate is over are "intellectually arrogant."
Earlier Wednesday, Obama warned in a commencement speech to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that climate change "constitutes a serious threat to global security (and) an immediate risk to our national security."
Shaking his head as the host of the house party, Richard Ashooh, quoted Obama's remarks, Bush chided the President for taking what he argued was the wrong path in addressing the problem.
[article's paragraphs re-arranged into actual chronological order -- ace]
"For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you," he continued. "It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality."
"The President's approach is, effectively, reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint," he said. "That's not what he says, of course, but that's the result of his policies."
Rather than focusing on carbon emissions, Bush said, the federal government should provide more incentives for lower carbon-producing forms of energy, like hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.
"I don't think it's the highest priority. I don't think we should ignore it, either," Bush said of climate change. "Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science. ... Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn't."
Jeb Bush kind of bores me so I've modified this article to make it more "street."
Jeb Bush Faults Brother for Lack of Budget Discipline 'N Shit
CONCORD, N.H. -- As Jeb Bush has faced questions over Iraq and the policies of his brother throughout recent days, he got all TURNT!, son!, on one difference between them: curtailing spending.
"I think that, in Washington during my brother's time, you know, he served his nickel there, plus three more, Republicans spent too many Benjamins," Mr. Bush said Thursday when asked to describe where there was a "big space" between himself and his brotherman. "I think he could have used the veto powizzo, put a jimmie on that shit. He didn’t have line-item veto power, but he could have brought budget discipline to Washington, D.C. Instead, he got all krunk.”
He did qualify that his criticism of the government spending during his brother's tenure as president “seems kind of quizzaint right now given the fazzact that after he left, the budget and deficits and spending went up astronomizzically, knahmean?”
In the second link, there's a video of Joe Scarborough, the sad establishment clown, confessing that not a single Republican is passionate about Jeb Bush, and David Frum says Jeb just can't win.
Huckabee: Pardon My French, But the Iowa Straw Poll Is For the B*rds
Even though Huckabee has a pretty good shot at winning this meaningless thing, he's scorning it as too expensive and too much in service of ruling class interests.
He says the "Washington Ruling Class," but as Ed Morrissey notes, it really serves the Iowa Republican Establishment, which may or may not be a lame, minor league ruling class in the its own right.
I kind of like Huckabee for doing this. And for helping inject the "ruling class" idea into the national consciousness.
Things are really bad. We are being poorly served by our rulers. It is time to begin upsetting applecarts, rocking boats, and turning over moneychangers' tables.
At some point, those who fail to rebel under such conditions deserve their own enslavement.
Photoshop, Anyone? **CONTEST**
The Autopen of the United States (AOTUS) made a few pretty good presidential P-shops, a couple requested by me.
I like this meme, where Obama the unserious, fluff-pop-talkshow celebrity (a role he really relishes) is having a good guffaw while disastrous historical events are occurring during (and because of) his presidency.
It's just so, *him.*
The media lost their minds over the optics of Bush's wartime golfing. But they won't say 'boo!' about the Obamas basically having one long party in office while genocidal slavery openly and confidently marches across the globe. But I guess you can only call upon someone to show a moral core when you know that they have one, right?
Here's one, with more below the fold.
Just too easy. pic.twitter.com/cJ98cN5He9— AOTUS (@The_Autopen) May 20, 2015
This one is from the rape of the Yazidis, where a two-legged animal is selling a child at a slave market:
UPDATE: According to commenter Caiwyn, this picture has been misrepresented online as that of the child slavers but :
It turned out she was a contestant in a Koran-reciting contest and had just lost. The announcer was trying to cheer her up.
Which is a huge relief, if true. Other children are being sold, of course. But this one wasn't.
This one is along the same vein, but slightly more evil.
Hey, wanna play? Post your creations (from this meme) in the comments.
Let's make it a contest like back in the Olden Times. If you can find a bigger image or crop it so we can see it better, that would be great too.
There will be several totally awesome imaginary prizes. You won't believe all the stunning things I have no ability to actually give you! I will post winners next week. Yayyy!
UPDATE II: Thanks to garagelogician in comments; nice big original pic to work from at this link: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8471/8077971985_867243d4b3_o.jpg
Close it up
Reform Conservatism....The Way Forward Or Warmed Over Compassionate Conservatism?
There's a huge debate going on within the conservative wonk class over the direction conservatism should take in the future. It's a debate that occasionally pops into the more mainstream discussions but is really being played out in think tanks and presidential campaign policy shops.
In the broadest strokes the "reform conservatives," who despite their protestations, represent the "compassionate conservative" view of government as an important player in people's lives. They basically think the federal government should focus on targeted policies (like larger child tax credits) as well as "empower" and fund institutions at the state and local level to help people navigate this messy thing called life.
Here's Yuval Levin, one of the recognized leaders of the "reformicon" camp writing in Reason's roundtable on the nature of "reform conservatism".
This regard for mediating institutions is reinforced by our sense of the limits of human knowledge and power. Because we think the human person is something of a mess, and because we think societies and their members flourish through mediating institutions, we are very skeptical of claims of rational control and technocratic management. Large social problems are too complicated to be amenable to centralized, wholesale, technical solutions and instead require decentralized, bottom-up, incremental ones. Societies evolve and improve and solve practical problems not by consolidated jerks of authority from above but by diffuse trial and error from below. Allowing society's institutions and members the freedom for such efforts is more likely to make society smarter than allowing technical experts to manage large systems.
When a society is allowed to become smarter through such institutions, it usually does so in a particular way: by allowing people to try different approaches to meeting the needs of their fellows, allowing the people who have those needs to choose among the options they are offered, and allowing those choices to matter so that successes are retained and failures go away. These three steps—experimentation, evaluation, and evolution—offer a kind of general recipe for addressing complex social problems while respecting human liberty and acknowledging the limits of human knowledge and power.
Representing the competing camp, generally considered Libertarian-populism or in Charles Cooke's formulation "Conservatarian", is Ben Domenich.
As the 21st Century conservatism's most industrious public intellectual and the leading voice for reform conservatism, Yuval Levin has presented a thoughtful and philosophically consistent essay underpinning the disparate ideas that have come to be regarded as the "reform conservative" agenda. He attempts a challenging feat: to offer a coherent and an inspirational case for what are effectively a series of dry public policy white papers. But when you set Levin's deep understanding of conservatism alongside the modern poll-tested policy bullet points of reform conservatism, the weakness of the reformocon agenda become readily apparent. Levin's lofty governing philosophy is at odds with the incongruent grab bag of policies that reformocons offer.
Levin's essay is infused with this tension. In the first half, we see expressions of common ground with those who believe in limited government: man is fallible and private institutions and markets are best. But in the second half, the policy approaches favor more activist government—which is run by man and inherently non-market—"to help society address the challenges it faces... and give people more reasons to play active roles in their communities." These two views cannot be reconciled, and no amount of "market-oriented" language—in reform conservatism as in Romneycare and Obamacare—can address government's inherent and fundamental flaws.
You really should read both articles and the rest in the series. This is an important debate going on and whichever candidate you wind up supporting in the primary is likely to broadly fall into one of these camps. Well, there's a third camp, the business friendly go-along get along GOP we all know and hate. But enough about Jeb.
Neither essay is terribly long (combined they are shorter than the traditional AoS movie review) but it was hard to pull a reasonable sampling of both because they cover a lot of important ground.
As you might guess, I'm in the Domench camp (save the libertarian love of nearly unfettered immigration). The faith "reformicons" place in nimble and responsive government doesn't exist in the real world. You can say the federal government will simply be a supportive player writing checks to worthy groups but the reality is always different. Government is control and control is destruction. There is no reforming it, there is no guiding it into wise and benevolent action. It's a wild beast that must be kept away from important and breakable things. You can never turn your back on it and you can never give those who claim to be able to use it in way you'll like an inch. It will quickly morph into a mile and you won't like the results. The "mediating institutions" that partner with the reform conservative style of government will find out it's a lot like partnering with the current style of government and they won't like it.
As our Andy so wonderfully put it, the ratchet only ever turns one way. Either you have faith in individuals to be the judge of their desires and the best ways to realize them or you think the government does. It's much more of a zero-sum game than proponents of government "help" on the left and right will ever admit.
Martinus Rřrbye, "A Loggia at Procida" (1835)
Morning Thread (5-21-2015)
Every thread's better when it's posted from Texas. That's just #Science right there.
Overnight Open Thread (5-20-2015)
Only under the peculiarities of America's mainstream media could you have an interviewer interviewing a man who has written a book disclosing the dodgy donations to the Clinton Foundation without the interviewer disclosing that he himself is a donor to the foundation.
-- Mark Steyn
No, members of the mainstream media are presumptively hacks, and the pain and misery they endure as their organizations convulse and die should inspire laughter and joy. Sure, there are honest reporters out there, but that's only a fluke of statistics. There have to be some, if only because of the random vagaries of chance. They can get real jobs with the new media. But in general, MSM members' pain is our gain.
Remember, they hate us. Hate us. They don't merely not care about us. They don't simply misunderstand us. They hate what we think. They hate how we live. They hate what we believe. They hate us.-- Kurt Schlichter
What doesn't kill me, makes me sadder.
-- Victor Davis Hanson in Pathei Mathos
"Fancy a rump?"
-- The irresistible pick-up line of Welsh ladiesman, Mike Holpin, who's managed to father 'around 40' children, support none of them, and avoid having to have a jay-oh-bee for 13 years running. His secret weapons? Plenty of Fish, lowered standards, Costanza-ism, and an utter lack of shame.
I thought this might be a bit of hyperbole until I read the piece - and holy crap - Saletan really has managed to achieve a new density of general dumbness, logic FAIL, stolen rhetorical bases, strawmen, and deliberate, dishonest conflation within a single article.
In short his argument is that ISIS and the GOP say (and believe) in the same things. To wit:
- This is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims.
- Coexistence is impossible.
- Islam is a religion of war.
There's so much stupid thinking crammed into this one post that it could take a week of blogging to unpack it all but I'll just point out two problems with his argument to start you off with: 1) he takes it as a given that these statements could not possibly be true and 2) he can't seem to produce any actual quotes by GOP politicians or leaders making any of the above statements. And it goes downhill from there.
Meanwhile there's a new twist to the whole 'mattress girl' saga: there was fourth allegation of sexual assault - on a man - against Nungesser that was only dismissed this April.
But as in the other cases the complainant's own Facebook postings from the time severely undermined his story - to the point that investigators found his claims 'hyperbolic and illogical' and concluded that he was simply 'unreliable'. Nungesser seems to have had the misfortune of falling into a pit of vipers his freshman year, where members of the shared social circle were totally wiling to collaborate and concoct claims of sexual assault against him in order to show support for the victim of a rape that never occurred.
Now if this were a movie, Nungesser would get a law degree and then spend the next twenty years making all of his accusers' lives hell. Extra twist: He becomes a top defense attorney and has the guilty clients he gets off do all the dirty work for him. But in the real world the best he can probably hope for is to get some kind of settlement from Columbia and making sure that Google never ever forgets the accusers' names.
It's nice that they didn't feel compelled to add in any music. And I kinda like the young woman thumbing her nose at 1:38 - she's got spirit.
Will coffee give you cancer or cure it? Who knows - maybe both...or neither. But then I'm not going to stop drinking it regardless.
Well when you regularly take off your shoes in public, socks take on a whole new significance. And here you see a perfect example of Japanese focus and literalism:
And some of the wares within:
I wonder what ever happened to Kermit's sleestaky beatnik nephew anyway.
The Truth Revealed: Heels Are the Tools of French Oppression
Why can't we have beautiful, sexy tools of oppression like they do. Instead all we got are unconscious heteronormative assumptions, a few microaggressions, a sexist comet shirt, and the occasional furtive Sexual Gaze. Not exactly the stuff that makes a patriarchy proud.
The Group knows your sins but doesn't care.
Tonight's post brought to you by blogger struggles:
Notice: Posted by implicit permission of AceCorp LLC. Thanks to viewers like you we can bring this, uh, programming directly into your home. Don't cost nothin'. <burp>
Close it up
Liberals: We Just Can't Tell If David Letterman is Liberal Or Not
You could compare his extremely hostile interviews with Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh -- in one he snapped, without smiling, that what O'Reilly was saying sounded like pure "bullshit" -- with his fawning, Tell Me More interviews with Rachel Maddow and undisclosed (but obvious) liberals like Brian "Chopper Warrior" Williams and Tom Brokaw.
TV won't be the same without Dave. pic.twitter.com/9q5NHTf3b5— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 20, 2015
Tonight is Letterman's last show. And thank God. I'm sicking of reading media types churn out obligatory stories about how great Letterman was, without understanding why he was great.
Or... when he was great, which was approximately from 1982 to 1986 and barely ever since then.
Rush Limbaugh predicted that Letterman would fail at 11:30. He made this prediction even when Letterman was, get this, Number One at 11:30.
He said the people currently watching Letterman were not comedy fans, and did not get or like Letterman's (stale by then) transgressive, undermining comedy. He said they were watching just because the Media Elites had made such a big deal about Letterman being the Hip and Cool talk show host, and wanted to be Hip and Cool themselves.
He said Letterman would lose this audience and start losing to Leno. Again, he said this during the first few months of Letterman's show, when he was not only beating Leno, but beating him handily.
I didn't agree with Limbaugh then because I was a fan of Letterman's and wanted him to succeed.
I mean, I read The Late Shift like five times, and watched the movie ten times, and every time I watched it hoped it would have a different ending, where Dave gets the Tonight Show after all.
I thought Limbaugh was being churlish, perhaps jealous.
But you know what happened, right? Within a few months, Leno went ahead of Letterman and Letterman's ratings dropped to be well behind Leno's, and they would remain there, practically forever. (Very rarely, Letterman would win a week when he had on a big guest and Leno had on repeats.)
It was incredible, how Limbaugh had absolutely nailed that. I was really shocked, and I've always remembered Limbaugh's cynical prescience on that point.
One thing that helped the Limbaugh Prediction come to be: Letterman's disastrous Oscar hosting gig. That's when Letterman had the biggest audience of his life... and cemented the idea that he was Comedy For Other People.
Once Letterman had been humbled by that -- and no longer appeared to be the Hot New Thing -- people started watching Leno.
And he was terrible on the Oscars, even for someone who was still then a fan.
One of the types of comedy Letterman has long been far too enamored with is Time-Wasting Anti-Comedy. In the early days of his show, Letterman got a lot of laughs by doing pointless, time-wasting (and sometimes budget-wasting) stunts.
The best of these were things like Throwing Objects Off a Fifth Floor Roof, or throwing himself, in a suit of Velcro, at a Velcro wall to see if he would stick. (He did, in fact. Science!)
The worst of these was Letterman just wasting time, having pointless chats with Schaeffer (Letterman would probably claim the pointlessness *was* the point, or some stupid meta-comedy conceit like that), or, as Norm MacDonald wickedly parodied him, just repeating the same word over and over, believing that if he said "Ehhhh.... Got some gum?" enough times, it would become funny.
Letterman got away with this in his early days because the show's conceit was that the whole thing was an elaborate prank on the network, that they had no business being on TV, and that they were wasting the network's time and money by staging this deliberately stupid, pointless show.
It made you think -- if you were young, and fan -- like you were in on the joke, and that you were right there alongside Dave wasting precious Network Minutes and Dollars for this lame thing.
Here's what the Oscars did, though, at least for me: Letterman's time-wasting nonsense -- his "Oprah... Uma" introductions (between Winfrey and Thurman) that went on for two minutes and then was repeated later in the show -- finally made me see the light:
Letterman wasn't just wasting The Network's time with this sort of so-unfunny-it's-funny (but actually not) non-material.
He was wasting my time, too.
All long I thought I'd been in on the joke.
Suddenly, I realized: No, I was not in on the joke. I was in on one joke, the superficial one about vengeance against the network, but definitely not in on the deeper joke, the real joke.
The real joke is that while Letterman's show was gleefully slapdash, I was still a prisoner of it five nights a week, and voluntarily so.
The real truth was -- and perhaps Letterman intended us to understand this; and perhaps he should be praised for trying to make us understand this -- was that if you were watching TV, you were wasting your time.
Now I don't want to say that Letterman was never funny. He was -- at least I thought so. He was hugely funny.
But the thing is, all this media praise being directed at Letterman...? All the bits people are talking about -- the Top Ten, Stupid Human Tricks, Throwing Objects Off a Five Story Building, the Velcro Suit, the monstrously funny bits with Chris Elliot --
All of these were from the show's first five or six years of existence.
He's been coasting on his past glories ever since. Shit, the Top Ten hasn't been funny in twenty years. I do not know why they bother doing it still, except that it's a habit and it wastes three minutes of network time.
I can think of one funny gag Letterman has done "lately," and by "lately," I mean like sixteen years ago. That's when he had some odd-looking guy go around saying rude things to people; Letterman would tell him the rude thing to say through his earpiece, and the guy would say the rude thing.
That bit was funny. It was also reminiscent of the Jerky Boys and the Man Show Boy.
And like I say, that was sixteen years ago.
So what has he done, really, for twenty four years?
I'm not just not a fan of Letterman anymore; I actively dislike him. He used to seem amusingly cranky, but over the years, I saw this more as being truly sour, bitter, self-pitying, smug, and contemptuous.
I can't tell you how much it put me off when he was still bitter about not getting the NBC gig, still doing not-funny "jokes" (which were not jokes, but real barbs) about it on his CBS show, two years after it all happened.
Dude, you're getting paid $15 million a year. Get over it, or at least do what the rest of us do with Our Shit, which is hide it so that people don't have to see us airing Our Shit all the time.
And then, of course, the cheating, the intern, the out of wedlock child, the weird marriage (which he all but openly confessed on camera he wasn't that into, as if I, or anyone else, needed to know that), and more and more overt (and contemptuous) expressions of his bitter-hearted leftism.
As Letterman grew older, he decided that there was more to him than just the wiseacre who could crack snide about Hormel hams.
There had to be, right?
And especially after the heart surgery, he felt both freed and yet obligated to share The Real Dave with the world.
Well, I never really wanted to know The Real Dave. Even back when I was a raving fanboy, I was savvy enough to guess that The Real Dave was as prickly a dick as he pretended to be on TV.
And he was. And now I got to hear about his politics, and his open contempt for anyone who thought like me, twice a month.
Although, increasingly, then entirely, I only heard about this contempt second-hand, from sources like Newsbusters, because I had stopped watching him.
Letterman was seriously funny for five or six years. No one who is funny can deny he was funny.
But after that initial burst of creativity -- a burst which owed a great deal to off-kilter comedic minds like that of his onetime girlfriend Merrill Markoe, or the gifted, bizarre homonculous Chris Elliott -- he stopped trying to be fresh and new and just started putting in the hours for a paycheck.
The man has been phoning it in for at least twenty years.
Yeah, he got off to a great start. But then he did nothing for twenty years.
Tonight, Dave Letterman retires.
But he quit a long time ago.
Atrocious: FoxNews Will Limit Debate Participation to Ten, Based On... The Polls
What the hell good are the polls right now? People don't know enough to make informed judgments yet. That is the point of a debate -- and that's the point of a first debate, surely.
We are in the very beginnings of this process, and FoxNews is using polls of uninformed people (and I don't mean that negatively; most of us are uniformed at this point) to decide who is allowed to run for President.
And yes, this poll -- based on nothing but name recognition -- will in fact knock five or six people out of the contest entirely. Once you're excluded from a debate, you are labeled "fringe" forever -- and good luck trying to get free media, volunteers, and donors once you've been labeled fringe.
It is not the point of a news organization to make the news -- as FoxNews would be doing here. Based on their silly, meaningless polls, they would declare ten candidates as viable, and five or six non-viable.
Among those who'd be excluded at the moment: Bobby Jindal, long considered the future of the party, and generally acknowledged to be among the most policy-savvy in the entire party.
Rick Perry, former governor of the state that's responsible for half the new jobs in America since Obama's inauguration. I know Perry shit the bed last time, but he says that was due to just getting off back surgery and being on pain pills, and I'd like to know if that's true or not. Because if he's sharper now -- he's a real good candidate.
Carly Fiorina, former HP executive with a great biography and, she says, a thirst for Hillary Clinton's corrupt, murky blood. Well, she doesn't put it that way, but she says she can take her on.
These are serious candidates. Fox is proposing to exclude them, why?
Just to have a "normal" debate where all the candidates are on the stage at once?
For one thing, this isn't a normal year. We have a lot of serious candidates. So do we stick with the usual, or do we adjust our practices to take into consideration the unusualness of this season?
I think the latter. My proposal is that they split debate night into two panels, over two nights. (Or two panels on one night-- but that would be a long night, with around three hours total debate time plus time in between.)
The top six in the polls would do a random draw to be split between the panels, three and three. Everyone else would do another random draw to determine which panel they'd be in.
You'd end up having about 6-8 people per panel, which is a workable number.
Note that the Fox "solution" solves little -- having ten people on the stage, answering the same questions, will be a huge clusterf*ck! It's barely an improvement over having fifteen -- do the math. Assuming about an hour, all told, answering questions (once the questions themselves, commercials, and basic traffic direction are excluded), ten people would have about six minute each to answer questions.
Fifteen people would have four minutes each.
So we're fighting to get "four minutes of actual answers per candidate" up to six minutes?
This is an exceptional year in Republican politics, and conservative thinking, because virtually everything is up for grabs.
In the last post, I talked about the Patriot Act. The party is split between some who want the full Patriot Act back, some who want the USA Freedom Act, and some who want the entire program scrapped as an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.
There has not been an open debate between wildly divergent points of view like that in... forever?
At least since Reagan.
And it's not just that -- some ex-Republicans, like myself, actively want to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations. (Well, I don't want cuts for them, at least.) My reasoning? I'm tired of the Ruling Class fucking over the rest of the party except when it comes to one thing, their taxation levels. I'm interested in some punishment, some discipline, and a message going forward.
I don't get yelled at a lot when I propose this, either.
This is an extremely fluid time in American politics, at least on the wide-open right, and it is precisely at this time that we do not need an Establishment, Corporatist entity like Fox artificially gaming the field just so that the future of our nation can fit into the Time Slot allotted to it.
“We support and respect the decision Fox has made, which will match the greatest number of candidates we have ever had on a debate stage,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Of course you do, Reince. Because the important thing is to keep the party nice and corporate and orderly, right?
The Republican Party needs to have a debate. We should have that debate, instead of falling into our customary pattern of letting the Establishment, Corporatist Ruling Class decided the parameters of our debate for us, so we can choose between Option A and Pretty Much Just Like Option A Option B.
Fox News should have a debate with all the candidates. All of them. And if that means tweaking the all-important convention, then so be it.
Chelsea Clinton Will "Publish" Her First Book
The first of many, I assume. She obviously has so much to say, and such a zest and charisma in saying it.
I note the New York Times says she will "publish" her first book. I guess they're leaving it an open question as to whether she will be writing this gem.
It's a children's book. Chelsea Clinton's whole schtick, until she began flacking for her mother (who is atrocious and vile), was to do vague, nondenominational uplift. She did that type of shit on NBC, celebrating "real heroes" or something in America, or whatever, who knows. Who watched?
Anyway they fired her for that, because no one wants to pay a Yawning Black Hole of Unwatchable Anti-Charisma $600,000 a year to do stories about a Lost Dog That Found Its Way Home.
Her "book," if I can call it that, will be more of that.
Her book, "It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going," is aimed at readers ages 10 to 14, said Penguin Random, which plans to publish it in September.
In a press release, Ms. Clinton said she intended to use the book to "try to explain what I think are some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, particularly for young people" and to "explore some of the solutions to those challenges."
All this is is politico-corporate empty buzzwording. "Challenges." "Explore." "Solutions."
Action Items! Blue-sky imagining! Power-verbing! Toolbox-Nouning!
This is progressive grant-proposal-writing, but directed towards the publishing industry.
If this suggests to you What Color is Your Parachute?, it suggested that to the book's mock-up cover artist, too.
Chelsea Clinton children's book to discuss poverty, gender equality, epidemics, climate change, endangered species. pic.twitter.com/baljenog3p— Jennifer Maloney (@maloneyfiles) May 20, 2015
Wow! Look at all that color! So diverse!
Why, it's almost as diverse as the Foundation for Clintons staff.