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September 22, 2014

Former Obama Administration Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA Leon Panetta: ISIS Grew Because We Left Iraq Too Soon, And Didn't Get Involved in Syria Until Too Late


I question the latter statement but Leon Panetta does fault Obama's fecklessness for the rise of ISIS.

"I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq," Panetta told CBS News host Scott Pelley. "The decision was that we ought to at least try to maintain 8,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops there, plus keeping some of our intelligence personnel in place, to be able to continue the momentum in the right direction.

"And frankly, having those troops there I think would've given us greater leverage on [former Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki] to try to force him to do the right thing as well," Panetta noted.

But it was politically popular and won the daily cycle on Twitter so that's what's important.

Short video at the link.

Posted by Ace at 12:02 PM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 10:53 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 9-22-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

Illinois judge rules no Fourth Amendment violation for angry mayor to use a SWAT team to raid house where a tenant had set up a parody Twitter account to mock the mayor. It was Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, btw.

NASA's Maven explorer successfully entered Mars orbit last night.

130,000 refugees from Syria reach Turkey. They're fleeing from ISIL.

AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:46 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (9-21-2014)


Quote of the Day

"An analogy might be useful: Evangelical Christians are among Israel's strongest supporters in America, yet some Jews - including liberals as well as Christianophobic ultra-Orthodox - reject this support. That is hysteria. Israel's supporters in America are among the strongest defenders of Middle Eastern Christians, yet some Middle Eastern Christians reject this support. That is also hysteria. Jews who reject Christian support are crazy, and Middle Eastern Christians who reject Jewish support are crazy. It's the job of leaders to tell them so."

-- Spengler

REMINDER: If Sean Eldridge Doesn't Lose By at Least 30 Points It Will Be a Defeat For America

I was iffy at first but convinced at the end of the editorial. And should Eldridge by chance win we ought to just be honest with ourselves and establish an American House of Lords.

Hughes has spent the last several years buying multiple mansions in neighboring congressional districts in an effort to fulfill the political ambitions of his 28-year-old husband, who has a philosophy degree from Brown. It would seem that Eldridge believes he is even more entitled to political power than does Sandra Fluke, who is five years his senior yet still has enough self-awareness and humility to realize that people who lack any relevant qualifications should probably run for office at the state level before trying to purchase a seat in Congress. Eldridge, on the other hand, has quite literally sought to establish a modern day feudal system in New York's 19th district in an effort to buy votes, but won't even commit to stay in the district after he loses.

Eldridge perfectly embodies the hypocrisy and self-serving douchebaggery voters find so obnoxious about entitled liberals. He preaches about the need to "reduce the influence of special interest money in politics," while taking money from labor unions, Silicon Valley CEOs, Goldman Sachs executives, billionaire financiers George Soros and Tom Steyer, and his multi-millionaire husband.

The voters of New York's 19th district hold the fate of the free world in their hands. Now is not the time to get cocky and spike the football. Now is the time to run up the score and cover that 30-point spread. For America.


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Busy Working on the Important Things

Which include the DoD's relationship with the now politically incorrect NFL:

CNN reports that Chuck Hagel has asked his staff for detailed information about the U.S. military's relationships with the National Football League in the wake of the controversy over how the league is handling domestic-abuse allegations against players. With the U.S. supposedly ramping for a war against ISIS, you would think that Hagel has better things to worry about. But politically correct posturing is always a priority for Team Obama.

...The NFL can't tell Chuck Hagel to pound sand, but that would be the appropriate response. That, plus a 15-yard penalty for piling on.


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Posted by Maetenloch at 09:33 PM Comments

Sunday Open Thread


This thread is for general chatter, political or not, which doesn't fit a more topic-specific thread.

This is being published with a sticky 8 pm publishing time, so all new content is below this post, at least until 8pm.

New Stuff Below!

Posted by Ace at 08:00 PM Comments

Stunt: How to Prove that Self-Alleged "Skeptics" Aren't


This is from 2012, but I'd never seen it before.

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Posted by Ace at 04:59 PM Comments

Food Thread: Happy New Year! (Rosh Hashanah) [CBD]

—Open Blogger

Just Do It.jpg

The traditional foods served during Rosh Hashanah celebrations vary wildly, but you can't go wrong with something sweet -- honey based if possible (for a "sweet" New Year). Apples are featured prominently too. And of course challah, the egg bread that is also served on the Sabbath. Although for Rosh Hashanah it is often baked into rounds rather than the more common braided loaves, and is laced with something sweet. like raisins, or simply more sugar.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:15 PM Comments

Woe be to the ones with slow bandwidth (Gaming thread 9/21/14)

—Gang of Gaming Morons!

So TGS has come and gone. (Light content warning.)

this is going to be short as I ended up falling asleep while in queue to play Archeage (worst roll out ever).

I don't like giving these tards any acknowledgement but they stepped up their game in harassing John Smedley (CEO of Sony Online Entertainment). First it was calling in a bomb threat to the plane he was on to this

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Posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 02:25 PM Comments

Sunday Travel Thread: Oktoberfest! [Y-not and HRatAoSHQ]

—Open Blogger

Guten tag! Welcome to your Oktoberfest edition of the Sunday Travel Thread!

We have a special treat this week as our very own HR, who is an enthusiast of all things Teutonic, is guest blogging. This week was inspired by my own small plans to attend the Utah Oktoberfest held at Snowbird ski resort and the certain realization that it would be pretty lame compared to the Real Thing held in Germany.

So, before I regale you with tales of the Utah version, let's hear from our resident expert, HR:

Munich's Oktoberfest 2014 kicked off yesterday and runs through Oktober 5. I'm going later this week--probably straight to the festival grounds once I clear Customs.


The history of the Oktoberfest starts with the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. They invited the commoners to a wedding feast in a sheep meadow and forty thousand Bavarians showed up looking for beer. The meadow was named "Theresienwiese" in honor of the bride, and everyone had so much fun they did it again the next year, then the next year.... Over the years an agricultural fair, horse races, and carnival amusements were added and Munich's breweries sent their beer to be sold at stands run by local entrepreneurs; at the turn of the 20th century the beer stands turned into tents and minus a few breaks for wars and inflation the festival has grown into a 16-day, 6-million-visitor oft-imitated extravaganza and tourist destination.

History lesson over--now down to what Morons care about: Gaudinockerln und Bier

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Posted by Open Blogger at 02:02 PM Comments

OT Thread - Atheists [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

I've been thinking about this this week since a lot of the conversation on the blog has been about Neil DeGrasse Tyson's various exploits in creative storytelling, along with the "I F***** LUV science!" crowd. I'm not going to rehash the discussion here, if you missed it, scroll back to one of the numerous posts Ace did this on the subject this past week.

It seems to me that there is a lot of overlap between the "love that science!" people and Atheists, and in a lot of cases the motivation seems to be the same. In the case of Atheists I call it the Yuri Gagarin syndrome (although curiously, Gagarin never said the famous "I flew into space, but didnít see God" quote, it was Khruschchev: "Why are you clinging to God? Here Gagarin flew into space and didn't see God." By all accounts Gagarin was a believer). It basically boils down to "Look how smrt we is! We is so smrt and haven't found God, he must no exist!"

I find this mind numbingly stupid on a couple of levels. First, let me be clear that I am talking about the Judeo-Christian God, that's always their target. If someone worships Gaia, well, you're praying to a rock, good luck. Try Islam, they go in for that kind of thing too and they have those snazzy burqas to boot. From the standpoint of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, the foundation of the whole thing is faith, which is a belief without proof. It always amuses me when I see believers trying to "prove" God's existence, it puts me in the mind of the scene in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the babel fish is introduced:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 12:58 PM Comments

Sunday Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

Don't miss this from JohnE yesterday. It's good.

So's this.

Sept 21.jpg

Posted by Dave In Texas at 12:08 PM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 09-21-2014: End of Summer Reading [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger


Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required.

Scots Wha Hae!

OK, so first there was How the Irish Saved Civilizaton. Hooray for they Irish! Then there was Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World. Hooray for the Italians! But in light of this week's historic vote in Scotland to remain a part of Great Britain, it's helpful to be reminded what the original unification, ratified in 1707, brought a great gift to the modern world: mainly, the modern world. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It. Of course that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the Scottish Enlightenment was a direct result of the original union with the British Empire providing Scotland's thinkers, inventors and statesmen with unprecedented freedom and mobility. Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, David Hume, Lord Kelvin, James Watt, Charles Napier, and even Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell all were products of this historic flowering of men and ideas from Scotland.

Reading about this Little Country What Did Big Things reminded me of another country, namely Portugal. Nowadays it's pretty much a socialist backwater, (just Like Scotland, I guess) )but it's amazing to remember that in previous centuries, that tiny little country bestrode the world like a colossus. So, in remembrance of glory days long past, I picked up Prince Henry the Navigator, the Hero of Portugal and of Modern Discovery, 1394-1460 A.D. With an Account of Geographical Progress Throughout the Middle Ages As the Preparation for His Work, first published in 1894 and available for free on Kindle. It's basically a biography of the great Portuguese explorer Henry the Navigator, including much background information on the state of "geographic science" as understood by diverse groups such as Greeks, Arabs, Christian pilgrims, Vikings, etc. I really admire books like this: fine. old-school 19th century scholarship, a bit dry, perhaps, and dated, but that's part of its charm.

The Lit Crit Life Coach?

It's not your conventional life coaching, but I guess there are an awfully lot of "I read X and it changed my life" type of self-help books out there. This article in The New Republic pokes fun at the genre, which includes titles such as How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness and A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. I suppose you could read all of them at the same time and get really confused.

Back To School

Here's another one of those quizzes, this one having to do with schools in literature. I started it, but was doing so poorly, I just gave up.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:46 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning, Horde. Try to get out and enjoy this last Sunday of Summer 2014.

Here's just one more...

UPDATE: Know of any Morons looking for a job?

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Posted by Open Blogger at 07:25 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (20 Sep 2014)


Alright morons, for those of you who are Firefly fans, today is Unification Day. Proceed accordingly.

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Posted by CDR M at 10:00 PM Comments

Saturday Open Thread


This thread is a catch-all for all political (or general) conversation. It will be the top post until 8 PM Eastern.

All NEW content will be posted BELOW this post!

So check below this post for new material.

Posted by Ace at 08:00 PM Comments

Movie Night With The Morons: Derpa Derpa Edition - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

It's time for popcorn and ass-kicking and they are all out of popcorn.

Oh, and, open thread because I might seriously be the only person watching this tonight.

UPDATE: From last week. Here's where to find the movie.

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:50 PM Comments

Saturday Car Thread 9/20/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse and KBDaBear]

—Open Blogger


Gas Turbine Engine Concept Car from 1963

In the early 60's, Chrysler experimented with the idea of developing a turbine engine for use in passenger cars. Chrysler's A831 gas turbine engine was fitted into a concept car built by Ghia of Turin and design was headed by a former Ford design studio head which is why the car had a strong resemblance to the 1963 T-Bird

Chrysler built 55 of the cars and was beta-tested by 200 consumers in actual everyday driving conditions. The A831 mated to a Torqueflite automatic generated 134 hp and had a 0 to 60 time of 12 seconds. As for acceleration, the turbo lag of the entire engine was quite bad.

The turbine car never did catch on enough for Chrysler even to produce it in limited numbers as production cost of each car would have been at least $50K in 1964 dollars. Once the beta tests were done, the cars were returned to Chrysler and obstentiously for tax reasons all but 9 of the cars were destroyed. Six of the cars were donated to museums, three of them were purchased by private collectors, one of them being Jay Leno

Jay features the Turbine Car in this video

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:51 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread [Y-not and WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Here's your content:


This is a print we have in our sitting room at Casa Y-not, "Edge of the Aspens," original serigraph by Steve Harmston.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:18 PM Comments

College Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

I'm getting confused with these "initial discipline ok real discipline" decisions and I suspect they have something to do with public opinion.

Which may not be the best way to hand out discipline.

ANYWAY top ten stuff today. all times EDT:

Florida at Alabama (3), 3:30pm

Texas A&M (6) at SMU (how'd this happen?), 3:30pm

Mississippi St at LSU (8), 7pm

Oklahoma (4) at West Virginia, 7:30pm

Clemson (22) at Florida St (1), 8pm

Oregon (2) at Washington St., 10:30pm

and Auburn (5) squeaked by Kansas St (20) Thursday night with some controversy about signal stealing. Which is pretty lame, if the other team is figuring out your signals you're doing it wrong.

Have a great weekend y'all. All y'all.


Posted by Dave In Texas at 01:45 PM Comments

Science School with NDT


From that link:

The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a penguin endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild.

Here are some other PENGUIN FACTS.

FACT: Penguins are marsupials.

FACT: Penguins burrow into the ground and await their prey beneath a "trap-door" made from their webbing, disguised with leaves and twigs.

FACT: Penguins are apex predators, lethal killing machines that have not evolved since the Cretaceous Era. The word "Penguin" derives from the Spanish penguinarre, "Foppish Dagger."

FACT: Humanity's myths of dragons and krakens spring from penguin sightings. The word "Penguin" derives from the Italian penniginarro, "Horror from the Depths."

FACT: The only defense against a penguin that has locked in on you with its Predator Vision is to stab yourself in the neck with a pencil and bleed yourself out until you have virtually no pulse. Penguins prefer fresh kills. Their name derives from the Norwegian, pangskjinj, meaning "Finicky Murder-Fowl."

FACT: Penguins are capable of flight, but they prefer to STEAL CARS.

FACT: Penguins have large flock structures with complex and fluid hierarchies in order to facilitate KIDNAPPING and IDENTITY THEFT.

FACT: When you hear your floorboards creak at night those are PENGUINS GOING THROUGH ALL YOUR PERSONAL SHIT. The word "penguin" derives from the South American Indian pa'hannae'gun, meaning PHANTOM THAT DOES HOME INVASIONS.

FACT: An entire lobe of the penguin's brain is devoted to MIND GAMES.

FACT: Penguins are unique in the animal kingdom as they are the only species which breeds exclusively through SODOMY.

FACT: The penguin is the only animal apart from man to kill for sport rather than need.


FACT: Murder gives penguins BONERS.

FACT: Penguins subsist on a diet of DRIFTERS and RUNAWAYS.

FACT: Penguins make use of a rudimentary tool to open up clamshells.

FACT: Biologists call this tool a FUCKING GUN.


FACT: Penguins have evolved a rich tapestry of social behaviors which resemble PRISON CULTURE.

FACT: Penguins mark their prey so that the group can stalk it.

FACT: Penguins mark their prey with WOLVESBLOOD. Penguins KILL THE SHIT OUT OF WOLVES.

FACT: Penguins are the only creature capable of DIGESTING YOUR SOUL. They have a special acid in their stomachs which scientists have determined is PURE EVIL.


FACT: Stay away from PENGUINS. The word "penguin" is derived from the Aramaic word for "THE DEVIL'S TOUCAN."

Feathers McGraw reminder thanks to @coolestMom_Ever.

Honestly, I didn't realize it, but all these thoughts of Penguins as master criminals just came tumbling into my head. Well, that's because I already saw a penguin master criminal in Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Really good; recommended if you haven't seen it.

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Posted by Ace at 12:31 PM Comments

Tired of the Nonstop Horrible NFL News?


They're not all bad guys. Two NFL stories you probably haven't heard below.

h/t @CommodoreBTC on the second one.

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Posted by JohnE. at 11:40 AM Comments

Dreams vs. Reality: [CBD]

—Open Blogger

There is a huge difference between, "I want this scenario to happen because I am angry at my feckless president and congress and am disgusted by the lack of leadership coming from my formerly powerful country, and turning large portions of the ME into glass will make my inner savage smile" and; "here is a rational scenario that I believe can occur with some massaging from certain players in power."

I asked the question/comment on Thursday:

As much as I enjoy watching these savages fight each other (and I am a big proponent of "Arm The Losers"), there are relative innocents being butchered.

It's fun and easy to criticize Obama, but I haven't heard a good plan for dealing with these scumbags.

And I got several answers that made that inner savage smile. But they simply weren't possible in the current situation we find America suffering under.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 10:45 AM Comments

Saturday Politics Thread: "Young Guns" [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Over the past few weeks we've been looking over some of the GOP prospects for 2016, focusing on governors. Last week we reviewed Kasich, Haley, and Martinez and there seemed to be a certain amount of enthusiasm for Governor Haley. Before that, we reviewed Walker, Jindal, and Perry and found that both Perry and Walker had strong support.

Interestingly, when I polled the horde on all six of these governors, Nikki Haley dropped behind Bobby Jindal. I'm not sure if this is a reflection of people feeling they don't know Haley very well or if the dreaded "electability factor" reared its ugly head. It seems as though there's a reluctance to nominate a woman because of fears of what the media will do to her based on past experience with Palin.

I thought this week week we'd dip our toes into somewhat murkier waters and review three high-profile senators whose names have been bandied about as prospective candidates for 2016: Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), and Ted Cruz (TX). I think the waters here are murkier for several reasons. One, as U.S. Senators each one of these men is paid to pontificate. Let's face it, without control of the Senate, there's not a heck of a lot a Republican Senator can accomplish except to make speeches, appear on television, and make social media posts.

Second, there seems to be a strong feeling amongst a lot of likely Republican voters (who post on blogs, at least) that we should nominate a governor or possibly a businessman, but most certainly NOT a Senator or even a Representative. I should add that although I understand the arguments, I think they are being given far too much weight and, in some cases at least, I think they are being used to exclude candidates from consideration who are deemed ideologically unacceptable to people who influence elections. So when we discuss these three men, let's try to compare them to each other rather than spend a lot of time hashing out the "don't nominate a Senator" thing. I'd really like to hear more about what you think of their backgrounds, accomplishments, and ideologies today, if at all possible.

Third, all three of them (even Rand Paul who was born in 1963) are sometimes considered to be "young guns." They have not been on the national stage (or even in office, in the case of Paul) for very long, so there is going to be a tendency by all of us (self included) to project our biases and wishes onto their records. When that happens things tend to get heated.

I should add that one advantage of examining Senators' records is that they are all voting on the same measures that impact the nation. And, although they should be voting in a way consistent with their state constituents' views, they are less likely to be voting purely based on their state's interests. So it should be a more apples to apples comparison than trying to compare the records of governors to one another.

The previous two of these 2016 threads have been very productive, I think, and remarkably cordial. Let's see if we can keep up the trend!

First, a brief poll to get a sense of where the horde stands on these three:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 08:58 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning.

This should wake you up.

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:41 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (19 Sep 2014)


Soooo, the NFL seems to have risen to National Discussion Threat Level Eleventy for our politicians because of a handful of domestic violence/child abuse cases. Strange that teacher predators haven't risen to that same level of attention.

ďSince January 1 of this year, over 325 teachers and other school employees across America have been arrested for sexual misconduct with children .That is more than one per school day,Ē said Sen. Toomey.

Well what do you know? Another teacher predator in the news today.

One would think that something done "for the children" would get some headline fanfare but I guess teachers unions or something. Poor dears are worried about background checks. Hey if background checks are good enough for those exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, it should be good enough for those entrusted with our children. However, background checks won't prevent dumbassery like this. Justice Department sides with 14-year old girl used as 'bait' in middle school sting. Essentially the teachers and vice principal came up with a plan to use a 14-year old girl to catch a troublesome boy known to sexually harass/assault students, told her to agree to have sex with him and promise to intervene before the sex happens. They forgot the part where they were supposed to intervene which resulted in her sexual assault.

The White House focus? College campus sexual assault.

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Posted by CDR M at 10:25 PM Comments

I Would Say That Wendy Davis Seems Robotic In Her Debate, But That Would Impugn The Spontaneity and Charisma of Robots











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Posted by Ace at 09:15 PM Comments

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: When Most People Say "Science," What They Really Mean Is "Magic"


Great piece to end the week on, as a very nice closer to the week's controversy.

Everybody uses it. Science says this, science says that. You must vote for me because science. You must buy this because science. You must hate the folks over there because science.

Look, science is really important. And yet, who among us can easily provide a clear definition of the word "science" that matches the way people employ the term in everyday life?

So let me explain what science actually is. Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation. That's the science that gives us airplanes and flu vaccines and the Internet. But what almost everyone means when he or she says "science" is something different.

To most people, capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. It is a thing engaged in by people wearing lab coats and/or doing fancy math that nobody else understands. The reason capital-S Science gives us airplanes and flu vaccines is not because it is an incremental engineering process but because scientists are really smart people.

In other words -- and this is the key thing -- when people say "science", what they really mean is magic or truth.


The vast majority of people, including a great many very educated ones, don't actually know what science is.

If you ask most people what science is, they will give you an answer that looks a lot like Aristotelian "science" -- i.e., the exact opposite of what modern science actually is. Capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. And science is something that cannot possibly be understood by mere mortals. It delivers wonders. It has high priests. It has an ideology that must be obeyed.

This leads us astray.

Good night, and have a good weekend!

Bonus: Observe a moderate Comic Graphic Violence warning for "Science" performed by a real student of science, from the movie The Heat.

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Posted by Ace at 07:12 PM Comments

Joe Biden to Women's Conference: You Know Who I Miss? Bob Packwood


How do you solve a problem like Joe Biden?

Hot Air quotes an old Bob Packwood allegation, involving him forcing his tongue into an unsuspecting woman's mouth. Like Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish.

This National Journal article promises in the headline to answer the question Why Joe Biden's Gaffes Don't Matter, but just spends most of its time saying they don't matter -- not why they don't matter.

Here's one attempt to answer the question, as promised:

When a gaffe does matter, FiveThirtyEight noted earlier this year, is when it motivates the base.

They mean the opposing party's base, as the writer soon makes clear.

And that's true -- gaffes matter when they animate the party which controls the media, which is to say progressives.

The article asserts that George Allen's "macaca" slur was important because it built upon an already-existing reputation for racial intolerance.

If that's so, it's news to Wikipedia-- the first "controversy" involving race it mentions is the "macaca" one, followed quickly by Salon's tracking down his college friends and reporting their claims that he used to use the n-word.

But note that that followed the "macaca" slur.

Seems to me that the "already-established history of racial intolerance" stemmed chiefly from his membership in the Republican Party.

And of course we know Ol' Joey Chompers has no racial bigotry in his heart, despite saying bigoted things once a year or so.

Biden doesn't have a history of antisemitism or racism toward Asian people. "Clearly, there was no ill intent here," said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, of Biden's Shylock comment. "There is no truer friend of the Jewish people than Joe Biden."

Charles Cooke does a much better job of calling partisan bias partisan bias. After noting that he finds Biden "oafish" but not particularly offensive, Cooke then notes that other politicians -- those of Republican stripes -- have also said oafish but barely-offensive things, and received quite a different sort of treatment:

At present, we find ourselves at a peculiar juncture -- at a place where ďoffensiveĒ has simultaneously become the worst and the most malleable of epithets. Far from inviting hasty societal condemnation of anybody who steps out of line, the extraordinarily inconsistent manner in which society takes umbrage should instead prompt us to cut almost everybody a break. As it stands, we are doing exactly the opposite, our journalistic and political elites having constructed a carefully calibrated caste system that determines the severity of a personís verbal offense depending upon how he votes. If it seems odd to the naked eye that national figures such as Harry Reid and Al Sharpton can say all manner of peculiar things and enjoy relative impunity while nobodies from the middle of nowhere are hunted down and interrogated, that is because it is.

David Harsyani similarly finds Biden's remarks nothing to freak out over -- but still can't help but notice that the media has indeed freaked out over other people's remarks which weren't worth freaking out over, either.

Remember when the media freaked out for three days over Sarah Palinís completely legitimate use of the term "blood libel"?

Nearly every major media outlet took a dive deep on this critical outrage. Millions of Americans learned more about how Jews in the Middle Ages were sometimes falsely accused of kidnapping and murdering Christian children so they could use the blood for rituals during the High Holidays. But more importantly: What did Palin mean? Was Palin sending veiled messages to Evangelicals voters? Was it just anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head?

There will be no such national discussion over Joe Biden's recent comments. At the Legal Services Corporation, our Clouseau-esque vice president was extoling the virtues of his son Beau when he launched into one of his folksy populist rants.


Is there any question that the repercussions for these mistakes are meted out asymmetrically?

No there's not, and it's insulting to be lied to directly to your face.

Posted by Ace at 06:06 PM Comments

AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Sean Davis


Sean Davis of the Federalist joins Ace, Drew and John on this week's episode.

Intro/Outro: Beastie Boys-Intergalactic/Duran Duran-New Moon On Monday

Listen: Stitcher | MP3 Download
Subscribe: rss.pngRSS | itunes_modern.pngiTunes

Discussed: Ashe Schowe's piece on the "breakout star of the 2014 political cycle," our own @conartcritic

Sean Davis tries to find support for Neil DeGrasse Tyson's claim of a mean Bush quote, and fails.

Maddox's (language warning) screed against those purporting to "love" science.

Maddox's podcast cohost proposes that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is really annoying (begins at around 40:00)

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

Posted by Andy at 04:39 PM Comments

Scientists Warn: We've Reached Peak Ass


So Jennifer Lopez released a song called "Booty." One a superficial level, it's about her big fat ass, and how much she loves it. But on the deeper level of metaphor and social critique, it's actually about how she can attract male sexual attention with her big fat ass.

It's not really sexy. It's that other thing, that's like sexy, like when you try to be sexy but everyone feels social humiliation by proxy because you're so transparent about it and fail so hard. What's that called?

Ah right, embarrassing.

Even people who write for liberal publications seem embarrassed for Jennifer Lopez:

Yes, butts are having a moment. Well, maybe butts have already had their moment. It has been a month where no one could stop talking about butts. First Nicki Minaj released the ass-tastic music video for "Anaconda," generating water cooler chat about the video, butts, and what it all means. Then Vogue published an article titled "We're Officially in the Era of the Big Booty." Then the Internet collectively ridiculed Vogue for said article. The New York Times Style section ran a big feature on butts this week, which is how you know butts are having a moment and also how you know that moment is over.


Some are calling it pop porn. Some are calling it provocative. Some are calling it exploitative. Some are calling it empowering. But, at this point, it's kind of just boring.

I don't know anything about Nicku Minaj's song, but I do remember older songs about Ass, and I don't mean Sir-Mix-A-Lot. That was intentionally crude and out-of-bounds.

Beyonce's "Check On It" had a deceptively sweet-and-innocent sound to it, when in fact it was all about Beyonce inviting guys at a nightclub to look at her ass and drool. I wouldn't call it subtle, exactly, but it didn't come right and say "Enjoy My Ass."

(Well... actually, she comes pretty close to that. She says you can "have it," so long as you don't "grab it." I guess it comes down to what the meaning of "It" is.)

Kellis' "My Milkshake" seemed to be a Check Out My Ass song, though she did preserve the slightest bit of mystery there by use of oblique wording.

(Incidentally, Lopez seems to rip-off Milkshake not just in terms of lyrical theme but in use of Middle Eastern instruments.)

Both Check on It and My Milkshake were naughty and fairly crude, when you thought about them. But you had to think about them at least a tiny little bit. People would grin as they guessed what "My Mllkshake" could refer to. (Hey, don't overcomplicate it, people: It means exactly what you first thought it meant.)

It's just a sign of how f***ing stupid our culture is that "Milkshake" and "Check On It" are now considered too subtle -- there's too much danger that the audience will fail to connect all the dots -- and so J-Lo will have to spell it right out for you:




Idiocracy predicted this, of course.

Idiocracy predicted almost everything.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:56 PM Comments

Al Gore Sues Al Jazeera


Al Jazeera is refusing to make additional payments held in escrow, and Al Gore is being, as Joe Biden would say, a dirty Shylock.

The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million.

Al Jazeera America says it is entitled to the money because Gore and Hyatt agreed to indemnify the network for claims made against Current TV, but didn't live up to their promise. It accuses the pair of "misrepresentations" and says they received hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale.

I'm so proud of this. Liking the story, I announced, "I nutted."

That's right... Pull it. Pull it hard.

Posted by Ace at 02:16 PM Comments

Breaking: Cult of Intellectual Insecurity Reacts to Threat to Intellect in an Insecure, Cultish Way


Otto West: Don't call me stupid.

Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?

Otto West: Apes don't post .gifs of the Milky Way and "Like" articles about Mirror Neurons on FaceBook.

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand them. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? The American government did not spend one million dollars on the Space Pen. The central mission of Science is not "to win fights on the Internet." And George W. Bush did not say that our God named the stars, but the Muslim's god didn't. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

-- Slightly altered dialogue from A Fish Called Wanda

Daily Beast: The Right's War on Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Despite the nicely-juiced headline, it's a fair enough article.


Tyson hasn't directly responded to the charges of inaccuracy, and his agent had no comment for this story...

But why do conservatives dislike Tyson so much to begin with?

The answers thus far have been unsatisfying. Amanda Marcotte, a Beast contributor, blamed the right's "anti-intellectual paranoia" in a story for Alternet, while a piece in the L.A. Times blamed political ignorance. One progressive blog said racism was to blame.


"The reaction that Sean Davis has been gotten... it's cult-like. It is to me the kind of attention Sarah Palin and Ron Paul receives. Neil deGrasse Tyson attracts the same sort of attention--you just can't criticize him," [Charles C.W.] Cooke said.

Robert Tracinski, also of The Federalist, sees the Cult of Scientific Self-Flattery as stemming from the left's traditional reactionary hatred towards capitalism (itself a barely-disguised religious impulse against materialism) as well as a yearning hunger for some animating meaning to the universe. Which is a tricky business, especially for someone who claims to be an atheist.

So you take your Higher Meaning where you can find it. Even if you only find it at $70-per-ticket Neil DeGrasse Tyson speeches.

The recent Neil deGrasse Tyson kerfuffle and the dogmatic defense of the global warming consensus raises the question: what's the impetus? Why do people feel the need to proclaim themselves so loudly as the pro-science side of the debate and to write off all opponents as anti-science?


Given the size, breadth, and intensity of the global warming vogue and the pro-science pose of its supporters, it must answer some profound need, some crisis of the soul....

You can see how this brings order and balance back to the left's universe. Their visceral reaction against capitalism is validated on the deepest, most profound level.

You can see how this would be almost like a drug or like an article of religious faith. How can you allow people to question and undermine the very thing that gives meaning to your life? Hence the visceral reaction to global warming skeptics.

I'm a fairly big believer in the idea of Questioning Everything, and the absolute first thing on the list of Everything to be Questioned is the self.

Why do I think the way I do? What bigotries lurk in my heart? What cheap rationalizations do I comfort myself with? What petty vanities do I sustain despite all evidence, and what contempts and condescensions do I offer others to sustain those vanities?

What myths and lies do I consciously believe in -- and which do I subconsciously believe in?

I don't want to be all Mr. Liberal here -- and I certainly don't want to lecture self-alleged Liberals on Liberalism 101 -- but I think those are reasonable questions that all thinking Men or thinking Women should ask themselves every once in a while.

Self-serving answers shouldn't be trusted. Self-serving answers may actually be correct, but they should never be trusted, and certainly never accepted at first blush.

We're taught to be suspicious of flattery from our very first Aesop's Fable. We know other people may flatter us in order to bend us to their own interests.

The most insidious flattery of all is self-flattery, because we never suspect ourselves of having any ulterior motives.

But of course we all do. We all want to feel superior to our fellow man, and especially those of Other Tribes.

And we will flatter ourselves until we feel just that.

Those who only question other people's notions are not really questioning anything at all.

Posted by Ace at 01:03 PM Comments

Open Thread


Posted by rdbrewer at 11:16 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 9-19-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Friday.

Prosecutors say they have not found a link between Gov. Christie and the closure of lanes on the GW Bridge. Christie responds (paraphrase): "Toldja."

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Chad Taylor properly withdrew his name from the Senate contest there so that the state may not include his name on the ballot.

Sen. Paul's problem isn't that he talks too much, it's that he doesn't seem to take seriously what he's talking about.

Continue reading

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (9-18-2014) - And the Scots Are Drinking Heavily Tonight Edition


Scotland: Hey Let's Let 16 Year Olds Vote

But isn't this unfair to 15 year-olds who after all are almost 16? And don't 14 year-olds have just as much vested in the outcome as 15 and 16 year olds do? And won't anyone think of the 12 and half year-olds?!?

How did the 16-year-olds come to be included in the referendum? Apparently the Scottish Parliament made the decision, with the support of the more left-leaning parties and Scotland's leader Alex Salmond, who favors independence and saw the youth vote as helpful in the fight to achieve it.

Coming soon to America - well except for that pesky 100 year old document which is always getting in the way of finally perfecting society.

Is this what's next for the US? Fortunately, it would require a lot more than a majority in Congress to change our voting rules at the national level and ban the prohibition of voting under 18; it requires an amendment to the Constitution. At the local level, however, the movement to extend the vote to below 18 has already begun, and has had some success.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Science of Smug Condescension

An excellent article by Robert Tracinski on why NDT's 'scientific truthiness' and promotion of Scienceism matters.

So what harm does it do if Tyson makes up stories to fit his rhetorical needs? As an elite celebrity scientist who gets plum appointments, attracts a cult of personality, and hobnobs with presidents, he sets the tone for the rank and file on issues that do involve scientific substance.

...But the point of the whole thing is to write off anyone who even mentions the mysterious absence of global warming as someone who has, in Marvel's words, "decided to sever all ties with reality" by, you know, mentioning relevant facts.

Here we see, in action, the signature scientific style of the Neil deGrasse Tyson era. Present a scientific theory in crudely oversimplified form, omitting any uncertainties or counter-arguments. Pass off complex claims as if they are obvious "basic physics." Then dismiss any skepticism as the resentment of the primitive, ignorant, unscienced masses against their enlightened betters.

It's not a very good way to get valid scientific results-nor, for that matter, to promote the scientific method. But it's what we get when we substitute, in place of respect for the actual methodology of science, an attitude of superior posing and smug condescension.


Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg take on Charles Krauthammer

Well a 19th century wheelchair, 2 shots of vodka, a Quaalude, and a blindfold will probably make it sporting enough to be legal in certain states.

Whatever Happened to Hobos?

Overhunted or too many sanctuaries?

Emily's Law and Murder Hobos

Given an infinite amount of time and actual economic pressures, all adventuring groups become neutral evil.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:01 PM Comments

"No" Drubbin' "Yes" in Early Returns from Wee Little Scottish Towns


In Clackmannanshire, "No" wins: No, 19,036, Yes, 16,360.

Polling expert Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said the Clackmannanshire result would be a "considerable disappointment" to the "Yes" side, who would have hoped to have done better in what is Scotland's smallest mainland local authority.

As yeh may know, t' general kenning is that No is gang tae win. Reports are that No supporters are all smiles an' laughs an' in want of a drink, but the Yay supporters are all grumpy and in want of a drink.

Clackmannanshire apparently was considered a good hope for "Yes." (That's a grea' link for updates, by the by.)

This fella is sayin' it's almost over.

But Clackmannanshire is a wee teeny li'l place and don' mean nothin' at all!

Still and all, "Yes" is lookin' rather out-at-elbow.

It occurred to meself that a movement in favor of both independence and socialism was rather courtin' the Doom of the Banshee, because if'n you want to be independent, ye canna have your mitts in another's pocket, and if'n ye want your mitt in another's pocket, ye canna be independent.

They seemed to have figured that, and voted accordin'ly. Between independence and English gold, they seem to have favored th' English Gold.

Och. How embarrassin'.

Double Och! Alex Salmon is tae 'ead of the Scottish Nationalist Party, the party that's been a-pushin' for independence since Bra'eheart.

But his own town is goin' 60 to 40 for No.

Triple Och! Orkney was considered a bastion for "No," but the drubbin' here is somet'in' to behold:

Orkney, swee' Orkney, yer tearin' the heart outta me!

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 08:48 PM Comments

Sources: Fed Probe Finds No Link Between Chris Christie and Bridgegate Scandal


Woe betide ye Progressive Nutters, and despair, for all your Woobies lie in tatters.

Federal officials caution that the investigation begun nine months ago is ongoing and that no final determination has been made, but say that after nine months authorities have uncovered no information Christie either knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes .

According to one former federal prosecutor, who had no involvement in any of the probes into the bridge closure, investigations of this kind will often turn up a solid connection early in the inquiry.

But some yet have hope. And that hope is "yet" itself.

Here's how our Hyperpartisan Poodles of the left reported this news:

Posted by Ace at 07:47 PM Comments

The AoSHQ Amazon Store

Top Headlines

Orin Kerr: Appleís dangerous game, part 2: The strongest counterargument
"My Friday morning post on Appleís new iOS8 operating system pretty much kicked the hornetís nest, both here and on Twitter. In this post, I want to discuss what I think is the strongest counterargument made against my post. Itís a good argument, and it has pushed me to change my view from 'very troubled' to 'need more information to decide.'" [rdbrewer]

Jonathan Adler: Does Neil deGrasse Tyson make up stories?
"[T]he claims Davis contests are not casual remarks in conversation or responses to questions, but planned and repeated accounts. The various stories Davis challenges are regularly repeated in Tysonís lectures...." Via @JohnEkdahl. [rdbrewer]

Goodell and Barra: Students of the Obama Era of American Leadership
"What our current moment seems to feature is a bumper crop of (alleged) leaders insisting they can wait out the storm, often displaying a glimpse of indignation at suggestions that they resign because something terrible happened on their watch." People used to have the decency to resign, seems like. [rdbrewer]

Chicken Little, and Chicken Little Jr., 46 Years Apart
Ed juxtaposes video clips of father and son each predicting the world is about to end in both 1968 and today. RFK in 1968 predicts kids would need to wear gasmasks, and RFK Jr. freaks out during Sundayís enviro-march in New York. Their audiences in both circumstances were/are idiots. [rdbrewer]
AoSHQ Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png

This week's guest: Sean Davis

MP3 Download | Stream | Ask The Blog | Archives
What Went Wrong...? continued.
"The jihadists of the Islamic State, in other words, did not emerge from nowhere. They climbed out of a rotting, empty hulk - what was left of a broken-down civilization."
ht @nopasa [ArthurK]
Nadine Unger, NYT: To Save the Planet, Donít Plant Trees [rdbrewer]

The Telegraph: How Qatar is funding the rise of Islamist extremists
"Qatar's promotion of extremism has so infuriated its neighbours that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all chose to withdraw their ambassadors from the country in March." [rdbrewer]

Jon Gabriel: The Left Doesnít Really Believe in Climate Change
"But how do leaders of the environmental left address these opposing doomsdays? By raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Coincidentally, the same policies they would promote if their supposed environmental catastrophe was utter fiction." [rdbrewer]

Peggy Noonan: The Unwisdom of Barack Obama
People are overthinking Obama. He simply has bad judgment. "Mr. Obama can see the trees, name their genus and species, judge their age and describe their color. He absorbs data. But he consistently misses the shape, size and density of the forest. His recitations of data are really a faux sophistication that suggests command of the subject but misses the heart of the matter." [rdbrewer]

Video: Break up with your boyfriend [rdbrewer]

USA Today: Tax refunds will be cut for ACA recipients
"Obamacare," for the layperson. [rdbrewer]

Medieval Weapon Finds Modern Appeal
"'Longpoint, held in July, is one of several annual tournaments around the world, manifestations of renewed interest in what enthusiasts call historical European martial arts, or HEMA. It includes events like grappling ó similar to Greco-Roman wrestling ó and several types of swordfighting. But the focus is on the most iconic medieval weapon, forged from cold, lustrous steel: the longsword.'" [rdbrewer]
British woman returns to home town. Discovers Muslims living there have not assimilated. [dri]

Robert Tracinski: Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Metaphysical Dilemma of the Left
"Why do people feel the need to proclaim themselves so loudly as the pro-science side of the debate and to write off all opponents as anti-science? What makes scientists so susceptible to a cultural vogue like global warming and so willing to be dismissive of evidence that contradicts their theory?" [rdbrewer]
Remember the ending of 'I Am Legend' with Will Smith?
(Spoilers.) It wasn't that good. He sacrifices himself while the girl and the kid get away, and they take the serum to the other humans. The alternate ending is much better. Smith's character realizes the lead zombie's feelings for his mate are the same as his own--that the zombies have a vestige of humanity left in them. [rdbrewer]
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