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EMT 11/13/16 [krakatoa] | Main | I think it's safe to say, Trump was NOT amused. [krakatoa]
November 13, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-13-2016: There's Got To Be A Morning After [OregonMuse]

Fastfreefall2_525.jpgLibrary of the Spanish Royal Academy of Artillery

(Thanks to lurking moron Fastfreefall for the pic. Lots of history there as this is the library the longest continuously running artillery school in the world. You can see the gorgeous hardwood floors, if you click on the pic for the larger version.)

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, where men are men, all the 'ettes are gorgeous, safe spaces are underneath your house and are used as protection against actual dangers, like tornados, hurricanes, IRS audits, and having wikileaks dump your emails into the public domain a week before the election, and special snowflakes can't stand the heat. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these hideous monstrosities.

Hillary Clinton Will Never Be President

Actually, I have nothing to say about this. I just like typing it.

(h/t Duke Lowell)

Trump Wins!

Now that the dust from the election has settled, and everybody can see that the progressives got their asses handed to them, they have shifted to their 'Plan B' strategy, which is to attempt to delegitimize the election results. Hence, the riots and the 'not my president' high school walkouts and the various anti-Trump Twitter hashtags and other forms of toddlerfits that have multiplied like cockroaches. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

As I am writing this on Thursday afternoon, the FAB currently leads in the popular vote. This is a completely trivial factoid, but if her leads hold, it will become a Dem talking point and flung about indiscriminately by the Dems media allies and inside men as if it meant anything. They tried this during the 2000 Bush v. Gole debacle. It was BS then and it's BS now.

Didn't any of these guys have civics classes in grade school? *I* did. And this is what I remember:

At the time of the American Revolution, when the Founders were hashing out the features of the federal goverment they thought would be the best (and by 'best', I mean 'most just' not 'most efficient'), one of the issues that they needed to resolve was the competition between large states vs. small states. The Founders were concerned that the large states would simply overwhelm the small states in every election, so they wanted to balance that out a bit, and give the small states a bit of leverage so that they wouldn't be shut out entirely.

Thus the Electoral College.

I think the Electoral College is a work of genius. It makes presidential elections more difficult to win, and forces the candidates to earn the support of a broad coalition of states, not just a few populous ones. Without the EC, the president would be elected by a mere plebiscite and nowadays, that means that all a candidate has to do is to carry in a few blue states, 30-35 counties tops, and he can pretty much ignore the rest of the country. Or, back then, all they had to do was carry 2-3 big states, and that would be that.

I tried explaining this back in 2000 to a frustrated liberal coworker who wanted to abolish the electoral college because his side lost the election. You wouldn't believe the blank stare I got.

I thought what I was telling him was just basic civics that everyone knew.

So, with him in mind, this book might be of interest, Understanding Presidential Elections: The Constitution, Caucuses, Primaries, Electoral College, and More by Catherine Jaime. Updated for the 2016 election, this book answers some basic questions:

Are we really casting a vote directly for one of them or for an elector, and what is the difference? And going backwards from November, how did those men and/or women end up on the November ballot in the first place? What is the process of a political party choosing their candidate, through this confusing array of caucuses and primaries that have been held?

This little book walks through the constitutional background and basis for this critical office, and then goes through the nomination process of caucuses and primaries, ending with the electoral college process that completes the cycle every four years.

This book includes Jaime's other book, Understanding the Electoral College.

And all for only $4.99 on Kindle.

And then there's Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College by Tara Ross and George Will, does a little bit more than explain what the EC is, but argues for its existence:

Pick up a newspaper and read about the Electoral College. It is a sure recipe for losing respect for the institution. Media commentators are swift to dismiss the institution as outdated and elitist, an anachronism that should be replaced by a direct popular vote. In recent years, this discontent has found a voice as a well-funded, California-based effort seeks to bypass the constitutional amendment process and effectively eliminate the Electoral College through a series of state laws. Such efforts to eliminate the Electoral College are misguided, and this book shows why. Written in straightforward language, Enlightened Democracy traces the history of the Electoral College from the Constitutional Convention to the present. This second edition of the book is revised and expanded to include a new section about the National Popular Vote legislative effort. The Electoral College protects our republic and promotes our liberty. Americans should defend their unique presidential election system at all costs.

California? It figures. A big state trying to out-muscle the small states. I've heard of similar measures in other states, such as the one in Colorado (I think) that wanted to award its electoral votes to whichever candidate won the popular vote. Hello? So you want to sacrifice even the little bit of leverage you have in presidential elections? You really want give your electoral votes according to how the vote goes in California, New York, Illinois, and Florida? A more short-sighted idea would be difficult to come up with.

Method in Madness

So here's something that's been on my "I need to get to this" pile since summer. I probably should get to this.

FBI profiling pioneer John Douglas, in one of his books (I forget which one) discussed insanity and criminality at some length. He loathed the use of the insanity plea in murder cases where the killers clearly used coherent thought and reasoning ability to commit their crimes--thinking and reasoning abilities that proved beyond doubt these killers weren't crazy. They were evil. They were criminal.

Douglas interviewed David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, and coaxed Berkowitz into admitting that there was no ghost dog whispering murderous thoughts into his head. There was only David Berkowitz, a fucked-up loser who got off sexually by shooting young couples in their cars. The 'Son of Sam' craziness was a bullshit story he made up beforehand so that Berkowitz could cop a plea in case he was caught--and he figured he'd get caught eventually.

Posted by: troyriser at August 22, 2016 01:05 PM (OGbEB)

I had never heard of John Douglas, so I looked him up on Amazon. He's written or co-written a number of non-fiction crime books. I'm a bit put off that he allowed himself to be marketed on the book covers as "the FBI's legendary mindhunter" (wth is a 'mindhunter'?) and also "the premier FBI investigator", but the books sound interesting. I'm not sure which one Troy was thinking of, as I couldn't find one whose Amazon blurb specifically referenced the 'Son of Sam' murders, so perhaps it might be this one, Obsession: The FBI's Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back and that self-aggrandizing title makes my teeth ache. The blurb isn't much better:

In this eagerly awaited new book by the international best-selling authors of "Mindhunter" and "Journey into Darkness", master FBI profiler John Douglas takes us into the minds and souls of both the hunters and the hunted. The legendary former head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, Douglas was the pioneer of modern behavioral profiling of serial criminals. In "Mindhunter", we followed his development into a modern, real-life Sherlock Holmes as he tracked down the Atlanta child murderer, San Francisco's Trailside Killer, and Seattle's Green River Killer-- a chase that nearly cost him his life

I looked at some of his other books, but as the blurbs all pretty much read the same, I had trouble telling them apart.

Not that there's not any worthwhile stuff in them. It was just hard to get past the self-glorification. I would be embarrassed if I were an author and my books were being marketed that way, no matter what my accomplishments were.

I, too, do not like the "innocent by reason of insanity" defense, and would welcome a good discussion on how we can best assign culpability to the mentally impaired while ferreting out the fakers and the truly evil. Troy's question is a good one: Shouldn't evidence that killers clearly used coherent thought and reasoning ability to commit their crimes pretty much invalidate any kind of insanity defense? Isn't coherent thought and action pretty much the definition of sanity?

Simply Irresistible

Another pic of pookysgirl's daughter pookette:

pookette2 (bright)_525.jpg

Happy Days Are Here Again

The crashing and burning of Hillary Clinton like the Eye of Sauron at the end of The Return of the King has put moron author 'naturalfake' in a mighty good mood. And so his good fortune is *our* good fortune. For he has reduced the price of all four of his Wearing the Cat comic novels to ZERO until tomorrow, Monday the 14th. So now would be a good chance to get them ALL:

Wearing the Cat: Part One: Flaming Hoops
Wearing the Cat: Part Two: The Fox's Den
Wearing the Cat: Part Three: His Golden Time
Wearing the Cat: Part Four: The Black Room

Moron Recommendations

Over on the goodreads group, moron cool breeze recommends the espionage thriller Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. He says it's

One of the best espionage thrillers written since the end of the Cold War. Many other authors floundered around after the fall of the Berlin wall, substituting drug lords, jihadis, arms dealers, evil corporations, etc. for the old Soviet menace, but it usually wound up feeling forced. Vladimir Putin, unfortunately, is the real deal.

And so is the author:

The author, Jason Matthews, is a retired 33-year veteran of the CIA's Operations Directorate who specialized in denied-area operations. As a result, the tradecraft feels quite realistic, although a few of the plot devices stretch credibility. Amusingly, Matthews strongly resembles fictional accountant/spy Cyril Figgis of "Archer".

Apparently, food figures prominently in this book as there is a recipe in each chapter.

Another comment:

I'm native Russian speaker and can appreciate Jason's mastering of complex Russian expressions, capturing (as very few could) of the meaning of some of the most difficult ones.

Amazon blurb:

State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow.

So I guess there should be a warning for sex scenes. I have no idea how explicit they are.

Books By Morons

Moronette Celia Hayes will shortly have a new book out, the stand-alone novel The Golden Road:

Sixteen year old Fredi Steinmetz longed for adventure and riches. What better way to find both than to follow the Gold Rush from Texas to California, But he didn't reckon on bandits, and robbers, gold in the riverbanks, murder in the streets of San Francisco and the saloons of Moke Hill, a rich cache under a half-dead pine tree on the North Fork, of Mormons and gold-miners, fugitive Fenians, and the Lotta Crabtree, the Faery Star dancing under a glittering golden rain thrown on stage The wild west was never wilder.

The Kindle edition is $3.99. If you pre-order it now, it will be delivered to your device on Nov. 18th.


Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.


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.

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