Top Headline Comments 4-23-14
Wow, I don't think anyone expected Vox to be quite so unprofessional. Partisan, yes, but even partisan hacks on the left like to preserve their illusions of professionalism.
Here's a good recap of the Supreme Court action yesterday in the political campaign false statements case. "A serious First Amendment concern with a state law that requires you to come before a commission to justify what you are going to say," said Justice Kennedy.
Oh, and the self-proclaimed "perfect affirmative action baby" on the high court wrote a strident dissent in the college affirmative action case in which she equated supporters of ending racial preferences in college admissions with supporters of Jim Crow. She also attacked the Chief Justice for his 2007 statement "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." In response, he chides her: "People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate."
Prominent same-sex marriage advocates sign open letter rejecting the mob-mindedness that claimed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.
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Overnight Open Thread (4-22-2014)
A longish but worthwhile read.
American progressives have long contended that as social science enables us to overcome some of the limits of what we know, it should also be permitted to overcome the constitutional limits on what government may do. They take themselves to be an exception to the rule that all parties see only parts of the whole, and therefore an exception also to the ubiquity of confirmation bias, and so they demand an exception to the rule that no party should have too much raw power.
...But understanding human limitations does not mean we can overcome them. It only means we can't pretend they don't exist. It should point us toward humility, not hubris. And in politics and policy, understanding the limitation that Klein highlights should point us away from technocratic overconfidence and toward an idea of a government that enables society to address its problems through incremental, local, trial-and-error learning processes rather than centrally managed wholesale transformations of large systems.
At least the old aristocracy had actual titles and were bound by rules and legal obligations.
A product called "Palcohol" gained widespread attention online in recent days after it was reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered alcohol, including vodka and rum varieties. But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error.
"An oversight of this nature does not ring true to me," [lawyer Robert] Lehrman said in a phone interview. He suggested that the bureau may have heard back from lawmakers wanting more information on the powdered alcohols.
And here's the science behind the currently forbidden Palcohol.
Byron Smith, 65, is being tried for killing two teenagers who broke into his home - Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17 - on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. That would have been defensible but then after shooting and disabling them he proceeded to execute them with finishing shots all the while recording the entire incident. So I'm thinking crazy and dumb with crazy having majority voting rights.
Or why you wouldn't want Oprah as a step-daughter. The fact that Oprah kept everything in her own name instead of just giving it to her father is telling.
There's a lid for every pot and so I guess every Jabba has a Leia as well.
42 year-old Debbi is so paranoid that partner Steve Wood, 30, will play away from home that she also checks his phone, email accounts and bank statements several times a day. Steve - who started started dating Debbi in 2011 - is even banned from watching women on television or looking at pictures of them in magazines as Debbi has installed childproof filters on his laptop and mobile phone.
Doctors have diagnosed Debbi with Othello Syndrome - a rare psychiatric disorder which causes sufferers to believe their partners have cheated - even if they have little or no evidence. Debbi, of Leicester, admitted: 'Even if Steve pops out for 15 minutes to buy a pint of milk, I make him take a lie detector test as soon as he gets home.'
From 1969 so forgive the annoying groovy 60s effects. Roy was (and is) more than just Hee Haw - he was pretty much a master of anything with strings. And a pretty good comedic musical actor as you can see in his version of Dueling Banjos.
The AoSHQ group. Yeah.
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Environmental Weenies Slam EPA for Wasteful, Carbon-Producing Travel on Earth Day of All Days
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says the greenhouse gases generated by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy's week-long, five-city tour will "far exceed" any concrete action on climate change from her travels.
Ruch noted that some events on McCarthy’s itinerary have questionable ties to promoting climate action, such as joining Energy Secretary Moniz to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday's Red Sox vs. Yankees baseball game at Boston's Fenway Park.
Ruch said McCarthy is a frequent air traveler and has been criticized for commuting frequently back to her home in Boston. An agency official told The Daily Caller earlier this month that McCarthy sometimes drives home to Boston on the weekends, but the official did not specify how many times or the vehicle she uses.
Income Instability: An Astonishing 12 Percent of All Americans Will Achieve At Least One Year of Earnings in the Top 1% in Their Lives
The left likes talking about the "richest 1%" as if they are an easily-defined, permanently-existing superclass. They're not.
Professor Mark R. Rank of Washington University, co-author of Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes, tells a different story in a review of his own and others’ research in last Sunday’s New York Times. Far from having the 21st-century equivalent of an Edwardian class system, the United States is characterized by a great deal of variation in income: More than half of all adult Americans will be at or near the poverty line at some point over the course of their lives; 73 percent will also find themselves in the top 20 percent, and 39 percent will make it into the top 5 percent for at least one year. Perhaps most remarkable, 12 percent of Americans will be in the top 1 percent for at least one year of their working lives.
The top 1 percent, as I have noted here before, is such an unstable group that it makes no sense to write, as so many progressives do, about what has happened to its income over the past ten year or twenty years, because it does not contain the same group of people from year to year. Citing tax scholar Robert Carroll’s examination of IRS records, Professor Rank notes that the turnover among the super-rich (the top 400 taxpayers in any given year) is 98 percent over a decade — that is, just 2 percent of that elusive group remain there for ten years in a row. Among those earning more than $1 million a year, most earned that much for only one year of the nine-year period studied, and only 6 percent earned that much for the entire period.
The New York Times article by Professor Rank was published this Sunday. In addition to the eye-popping stats recapitulated by Williamson, he notes
Yet while many Americans will experience some level of affluence during their lives, a much smaller percentage of them will do so for an extended period of time. Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.
Note that's a little different from Williamson's "six percent" in all ten years, which was taken from a different study, and applies to millionaires. Rank's figure of 0.6 percent applies to the category of "top one percent," which is different from "millionaire."
Likewise, data analyzed by the I.R.S. showed similar findings with respect to the top 400 taxpayers between 1992 and 2009. While 73 percent of people who made the list did so once during this period, only 2 percent of them were on the list for 10 or more years. These analyses further demonstrate the sizable amount of turnover and movement within the top levels of the income distribution.
Ultimately, this information casts serious doubt on the notion of a rigid class structure in the United States based upon income. It suggests that the United States is indeed a land of opportunity, that the American dream is still possible — but that it is also a land of widespread poverty. And rather than being a place of static, income-based social tiers, America is a place where a large majority of people will experience either wealth or poverty — or both — during their lifetimes.
But, Income Inequality!
Is Media Matters Helping "Produce" Stories for the Allegedly Mainstream Media?
Sharyl Attkisson said that the "independent," non-partisan organization had helped "produce" stories for her, while at CBS, in the past -- but of course turned on her when she turned her investigative eye from George W. Bush to Barack H. Obama.
Media Matters issues a non-denial denial on this point -- they deny some things (which I'm not sure Attkisson even claimed) but not that they "help" to "produce" stories in the alleged mainstream media.
n the immediate wake of Attikson’s Sunday appearance, Media Matters elected only to respond to the assertion by Attkinson that she had been targeted by the organization:
Sharyl Attkisson is continuing a pattern of evidence-free speculation that started at the end of her tenure at CBS. We have never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. Our decision to post any research on Attkisson is based only on her shoddy reporting.
Did Attkisson even make that claim in bold? I don't remember seeing it.
At any rate, while they deny something I'm not certain was even alleged, they fail to address whether this obviously-partisan organization is helping the networks with their narratives.
Yesterday, Media Matters doubled down on their repudiation of Attkisson’s suggestion they might have have targeted her, calling the claims “false.” Again, however, Media Matters failed to address the whole of Attkisson’s assertions.
In explaining away the targeting claims as baseless, Media Matters neglected to respond to the more subtle assertion by Attkisson that it worked with her, as she phrased it, “to help me produce my stories.”
I'm not sure if it's actually a big story that Media Matters "helps" reporters with their stories. Every advocacy organization under the sun does that.
But it Media Matters' refusal to even comment on this is interesting. Why the secrecy and evasiveness from an organization supposedly devoted to get the media to report the "real truth"?
Shockingly, a Pro-Marxism Book by a Leftwing French Economist Has Taken America's Don't-Call-Them-Socialist Progressive Establishment By Storm
I haven't read the book and don't plan to. I further don't believe I'd be able to critique it as I did-- while the book is written in layman's language, one would still need an advanced understanding of economics and statistical analysis to say it's right or wrong.
But it's a huge thing now, especially on the We're Not Socialists But Boy Do We Love Socialism left, so I thought I should at least post about it.
It's almost entirely about -- wait for it...! -- income inequality, and why that's bad, and why it will get worse unless we Do Something About It.
Robert J. Samuelson wrote about it, more or less approvingly, if a little skeptically in the end:
Piketty presents Scandinavian countries in the 1970s and ’80s as examples of “low inequality.” Still, the richest 10 percent commanded about 25 percent of national income and the poorest 50 percent got only 30 percent; the “middle class” — the 40 percent below the top 10 percent — received 45 percent of income. These days, the distribution in the United States is far more unequal. In 2010, the top 10 percent received about 50 percent of national income, and the bottom 50 percent got 20 percent; the middle 40 percent got 30 percent. European nations are typically in between, with the top 10 percent taking 35 percent of income.
What Piketty also shows is that in the last 30 years, inequality has exploded almost everywhere, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. This finding disproves the so-called Kuznets Curve. In 1954, American economist Simon Kuznets (1901-85) argued that income inequality would fall as societies modernized. Workers would move from low-paid farm jobs to better-paid industrial jobs. Gaps would narrow.
This seemed to have happened in the United States. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the income share of the richest 10 percent fell from around 50 percent to about 35 percent. But now it’s rebounded to the late 1920s’ level. This stunning fact, published previously in academic journals, helped make inequality a big political issue.
Piketty's big suggestion (more about this later) is that we tax yearly incomes of $500,000 (or $1,000,000; I guess he isn't sure on the threshold) at an 80% rate, and tax accumulated wealth at similar rates.
He is ideologically opposed to gaining wealth by investment -- he uses the word "rentier" as a derogatory term for such people.
Though Piketty is an economist, his book is essentially a work of political science. He objects to extreme economic inequality because it offends democracy: Too much power is conferred on too few. His economic analysis sometimes seems skewed to fit his political agenda.
Sameulson quibbles with some of Piketty's claims, such as (wait for it...!) that confiscatory tax rates on high incomes and accumulated capital won't reduce growth rates, but, as you can see, he's largely impressed with the work.
Now for some people who aren't so impressed.
It's hard to think of another book on economics published in the past several decades that's been praised as lavishly as Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century."
So what's the problem?
Quite a few things, but this to start with: There's a persistent tension between the limits of the data he presents and the grandiosity of the conclusions he draws. At times this borders on schizophrenia. In introducing each set of data, he's all caution and modesty, as he should be, because measurement problems arise at every stage. Almost in the next paragraph, he states a conclusion that goes beyond what the data would support even if it were unimpeachable.
This tendency is apparent all through the book, but most marked at the end, when he sums up his findings about "the central contradiction of capitalism":The inequality r>g [the rate of return on capital is greater than the rate of economic growth] implies that wealth accumulated in the past grows more rapidly than output and wages. This inequality expresses a fundamental logical contradiction. The entrepreneur inevitably tends to become a rentier, more and more dominant over those who own nothing but their labor. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases. The past devours the future. The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying ...
Every claim in that dramatic summing up is either unsupported or contradicted by Piketty's own data and analysis. (I'm not counting the unintelligible. The past devours the future?)
Cook goes on to note that Piketty's own findings contradict his central hypothesis. Piketty argues that when r (rate of return on investment) is significantly higher than g (economic growth rate), it results in a sort of Climate Change-like feedback loop in which r grows more and more outsized compared to g. The system becomes unstable; more and more money flows to the "rentiers."
But that's not what his data shows, at least not in some very important cases:
The trouble is, he also shows that capital-to-output ratios in Britain and France in the 18th and 19th centuries, when r exceeded g by very wide margins, were stable, not rising inexorably.
Cook also notes what Samuelson did-- that this is more of a political tract than an economic text:
As I worked through the book, I became preoccupied with another gap: the one between the findings Piketty explains cautiously and statements such as, "The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying."
Piketty's terror at rising inequality is an important data point for the reader. It has perhaps influenced his judgment and his tendentious reading of his own evidence. It could also explain why the book has been greeted with such erotic intensity....
He notes Piketty shares the idea with Barack Obama that confiscatory tax rates are not primarily about bringing in money to the state, but rather about simply destroying other people's wealth. For Justice, you understand.
A professor at the Paris School of Economics, Mr. Piketty believes that only the productivity of low-wage workers can be measured objectively. He posits that when a job is replicable, like an "assembly line worker or fast-food server," it is relatively easy to measure the value contributed by each worker. These workers are therefore entitled to what they earn. He finds the productivity of high-income earners harder to measure and believes their wages are in the end "largely arbitrary." They reflect an "ideological construct" more than merit.
While America's corporate executives are his special bête noire, Mr. Piketty is also deeply troubled by the tens of millions of working people—a group he disparagingly calls "petits rentiers"—whose income puts them nowhere near the "one percent" but who still have savings, retirement accounts and other assets. That this very large demographic group will get larger, grow wealthier and pass on assets via inheritance is "a fairly disturbing form of inequality." He laments that it is difficult to "correct" because it involves a broad segment of the population, not a small elite that is easily demonized.
But that won't stop them from trying.
So what is to be done? Mr. Piketty urges an 80% tax rate on incomes starting at "$500,000 or $1 million." This is not to raise money for education or to increase unemployment benefits. Quite the contrary, he does not expect such a tax to bring in much revenue, because its purpose is simply "to put an end to such incomes." It will also be necessary to impose a 50%-60% tax rate on incomes as low as $200,000 to develop "the meager US social state." There must be an annual wealth tax as high as 10% on the largest fortunes and a one-time assessment as high as 20% on much lower levels of existing wealth. He breezily assures us that none of this would reduce economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship or innovation.
Schuman has a couple of funny barbs in there, like Piketty's use of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" as an economic text (proving something about the mad scramble to marry rich) and about his distinction between those who don't really earn their outsized fortunes -- CEO's -- and those who just might possibly actually earn their fortunes, such as entrepreneurs and, as luck would have it, academics who write best-selling Marxist economics texts.
Incidentally, and I'm sure this is entirely coincidental, but as socialism is on the rise in America, middle-class after-tax incomes are falling.
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
Instapundit suggests that there is a top-and-bottom coalition against the middle class.
The bottom wants to take the middle class' stuff because they just want stuff. The top earners want to take the middle class' stuff because the middle class threatens their status.
And this is all going on as America partially embraces Piketty's prescriptions.
NBC Devotes 39 Paragraphs Reporting that Temp Workers Are At An All-Time High; Does Not Mention Obamacare Once As a Contributing Factor
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls.
Obama pronounced that the "debate is over," and NBC scribbled it down furiously.
The media is definitely running their new reality-show TV arc called "Obamacare is Back!!!," and they're not going to let these little minor stories step on that very satisfying storyline.
Conservatives don't trust Boehner on immigration.
Liberals are brave and smart, just don't say anything that might scare them or hurt their feelings.
Supreme Court Rules It's Ok For States To Not Discriminate Based On Race In College Admissions
It's amazing that self-anointed "leaders" of the civil rights movement in this country had actually twisted themselves to the point where they were arguing there was a constitutional mandate to discriminate based on race in college admissions. But we were.
The Supreme Court didn't rule that race based admission factors were unconstitutional. The 6-2 majority simply says that states once having created such preferences could legally remove them.
The justices said in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences because they deemed them unwise.
Kennedy said nothing in the Constitution or the court’s prior cases gives judges the authority to undermine the election results.
I for one am gladdened and amused by Kennedy's new found respect for the people's right to amend their state constitution. I'm sure he'll lose it the next time his magic coin comes up the other way.
I'm having trouble downloading the opinion but I'm guessing Kagan recused herself from the case because of her work a Solicitor General. Ruth Bader Ginsberg joined Wise Latina Sonya Sotomayor's dissent which she read it from the bench (something justices do to show they have a sad over a decision).
I guess that means Steven Breyer joined with the majority which is...weird.
Added: This story has more background and the local view of the case.
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and admissions director Ted Spencer have decried the affirmative action ban, saying outright that the school cannot achieve a fully diverse student body with it in place.
"It's impossible," Spencer said in a recent interview, "to achieve diversity on a regular basis if race cannot be used as one of many factors."
Fifty-eight percent of Michigan voters in 2006 passed Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution and made it illegal for state entities to consider race in admissions and hiring. With the Supreme Court's ruling, the only way left to nullify Proposal 2 is to mount a long, expensive and uncertain campaign to overturn it.
You want to fix the racial diversity issues in colleges? Ok, start with elementary and high schools. Start turning out students from places like Detroit that are ready to compete for slots at schools like U of M. If that means blowing up the public education system and the teacher's unions and replacing them with voucher programs and charter schools, so be it. It's "for the children" after all.
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- NYC Comptroller Questioning A Texas Oil Company's Donations To The NRA
- The 'Royal' Clinton Baby
- How To Wield The Capital Weapon
- The Politics Of Poverty
- NYC School To Honor Convicted Sex Offender
- RGA Releases Brutal Ad For SC Gov Race
- Dem Congressman On Obamacare: The Worst Is Yet To Come
- The Black Book Of Tom Steyer
- Bank Regulators Make More Than Bankers
- Putin's Next Move
- Liberals Have Lost Their Mind Over Income Inequality
- Draining Reservoir After Urination Incident Shows Tenuous Grasp Of Science
- Illinois Spent 12 Million On Medicaid For Dead People
- US Releases Another One Billion To Iran
- Google Dives Deeper Into 'Smart' Contact Lenses
- Why Do Teachers Complain So Much?
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Top Headline Comments 4-22-14
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Overnight Open Thread (4-21-2014)
The Hillary poster in particular seems to come from some weird alternate universe in which Eva Peron was an admiral of the Imperial Japanese navy.
So Cornell student Julius Kairey wrote a thoughtful, reasoned column in the campus newspaper pointing out how the movement to end 'rape culture' on campus has seriously eroded the due process rights of students.
But the belief that rape must be prevented by "any means necessary" has been used to justify the elimination of key protections for students accused of rape in campus judicial systems. Some want the claims of the alleged victims of rape to be accepted as true, and not scrutinized in a fair legal proceeding. Just two years ago, Cornell stripped those accused of sexual offenses of the right to retain an attorney in University proceedings and the right to cross-examine their accusers. A student accused of a sexual offense at Cornell is now not able to directly ask the person who is making a potentially life-ruining accusation a single question about the incident. This is an inexcusable erasure of the fundamental right to confront one's accuser, a right that has existed for all of our country's history. Such rights are not superfluous. They protect us against arbitrary action by those who hold the levers of power.
And outrage!! from the usual campus suspects ensued blaming Kairey for fomenting sexual assault as well as the newspaper for disrespecting rape survivors by having the temerity to even publish his trigger of a column:
We disagree with the decision to publish "The Truth About 'Rape Culture,'" by Julius Kairey '15. Kairey blatantly disrespected a sensitive subject by reducing and delegitimizing the scarring experiences of survivors. This newspaper erred in publishing this article and should now also take responsibility for the harmful, triggering effects that articles like these cause.
...Those, like Kairey, who have the power to create change by advocating for survivors instead choose to ignore their voices, erase their rights and refuse to hold perpetrators accountable..
Now to even disagree with those obsessed with 'rape culture' makes you a cheerleader for sexual assault as well as a common thought criminal.
They've come up with this electric, truck-sized 'eCarriage' to replace it. It only travels at 5mph and costs a mere $150,000+.
At the New York Auto Show last week, a very large electric vehicle--effectively a larger-than-life electric scale model of a Brass Era touring car--was shown to the public by NYClass.
The animal-rights advocacy group has long advocated for the removal of horse-drawn carriages from Central Park on the grounds of animal cruelty.
It proposes that the 68 carriages now operating in and around the park be replaced with the so-called eCarriage, which would operate at 5 mph in the park, to replicate the open-air horse carriage experience for tourists as closely as possible--minus the clip-clop and the odor of horse manure.The prototype electric car shown last Thursday is the size of a seven-passenger full-size SUV, seats eight, weighs 7,500 pounds, and rides on 26-inch truck tires. It uses a number of existing components from other vehicles, including the Ford F-450 heavy-duty commercial truck.
But of course one of the long proclaimed 'freedoms' of socialism was freedom from hunger. But then once food became plentiful and cheap, the new complaint becomes that we just don't appreciate it enough. Which is a big clue that it's really all about control and thinking the proper way.
And the noxious assumptions embedded into the term itself.
And fittingly Vox just published this article by Matt Yglesias: Beyond the Laffer Curve - the case for confiscatory taxation
Here he basically admits that it's not about the money - it's all about social engineering. And control.
The Laffer Curve - the idea that tax cuts can sometimes increase tax revenue - is one of the most influential and widely debated ideas in the past two generations of American politics. Beloved by the right and despised by the left, one thing that both sides have tended to agree on is that knowing what side of the curve we're on should be a key driver of tax policy.
But in an era of surging inequality, it's time to revisit that assumption. Maybe at least some taxes should be really high. Maybe even really really high. So high as to useless for revenue-raising purposes - but powerful for achieving other ends.
Full disclosure: When I was very little (and normally fear-less) for some reason drive-thru care washes absolutely terrified me. I think it was a combination of the noise, shaking, and movement that convinced me that we were being attacked and eaten by robots or maybe possibly some kind of sea creature. More often than not I would end up in the back seat in tears attempting to curl up into the foot rest area.
In time I came to accept the car wash attacks and no longer fear them. These days I now use that time to check my email and toss trash into the backseat area. But I have to admit that every time I go through one the holy-shit-I'm-being-eaten part of my amygdala still twitches a bit.
And yes thanks to modern materials and plastic surgery this is a real person.
And it turns out that Human Barbie, Valeria Lukyanova, believes you can subsist off of sunshine and air alone (Breatharianism) and is very concerned about racial miscegenation and mongrelization.
Ethnicities are mixing now, so there's degeneration, and it didn't used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this."
And no Human Ken Doll doesn't like her much either. He considers her an unserious dress-up-doll poseur as well as his arch-nemesis.
"She's a cute girl.I don't really get her. I don't get why people think she's so interesting. She has extensions. She wears stage makeup. She's an illusionist.Unlike me, who has spent nearly $150,000 permanently transforming myself into a human Ken doll, Valeria just plays dress up. But as soon as you wipe away all that makeup, she's just a plain Jane and there's absolutely nothing special about her."
The Yahoo AoSHQ group. Bla bla bla.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by wasn't this a Twilight Zone episode:
And wouldn't make more sense for people to disappear while going through a drive-thru car wash? Those things are scary.
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My Definition of a Boombastic Open Thread
An American man wins the Boston Marathon for the first time since 1983.
The Blaze reports that a $28 billion Army software system for organizing intelligence on the battlefield just doesn't work very well-- and the Army is refusing officers' request to implement a much cheaper ($3 million) system developed by a private software company, a system preferred by the Marines.
The Marine Corps, Air Force and special forces, through their own procurement process, had implemented Palantir [the privately developed alternative software] as an additional war-fighting tool to be utilized with their own DCGS platform. U.S. special forces, including the Navy SEALs and other elite teams, along with the Marine Corps noted in a June 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report that their troops thought Palantir was “easy to use” and “effective” on their recent missions in Afghanistan.
“Users indicated it was a highly effective system for conducting intelligence information analysis and supporting operations,” the GAO report said. “The software had gained a reputation for being intuitive and easy to use, while also providing effective tools to link and visualize data.”
But for the Army ,”Palantir was like a thorn in their side — they didn’t want to cut into their own research and funding — if they added the software program to their DCGS platform, it would eliminate their ability to keep lining their own pockets,” a military intelligence analyst with knowledge of the program told TheBlaze.
When a student videotaped bullies absuing him and presented that proof to school authorities, that student was quickly charged with illegally wiretapping other people and prosecuted. He was ultimately convicted on a disorderly persons charge.
Now that charge is being vacated -- but what the hell?
I think this is an example of Your Government At Work, and government's interest is always in protecting itself and the phoney-baloney jobs of its workers. If a kid presents evidence of serious bullying, that reflects poorly on the school's discipline.
So how do you solve that problem? Well, there are two ways: One is to crack down on bullying, which may be difficult and may take a long time.
The other is to prosecute the whistleblower.
Either way, it's out of your In Box. So go with the easier one.
This is pretty neat, though I don't understand the principle behind it -- French scientists say they've created a gel embedded with nanoparticles that will close a wound as if it were glue even in soft organs like the liver and lungs.
The article explains how the nanoparticles bond with each other and with the gel they're in... but I don't understand how the gel sticks to the flesh. I mean, if the gel itself is just glue, then how is this different than plain old glue?
So I don't understand it. But it seems important. Maybe one of y'all can figure out how it works from the paper submitted on the process.
Charlie Crist announces that he hasn't changed his position on abortion -- that he's always been pro-life, by which he means pro-choice.
His statement is confusing and nonsensical, as it's meant to be.
My definition. My definition. My definition is this.
See, when he was "pro-life" he really was "pro-choice" and now that he's "pro-choice" he's really "pro-life."
He's right, he has been consistent: He's said whatever he thought was necessary to win the next election.
Since Easter's over, some of you might have some extra Peeps and eggs lying around. And you're probably wondering, "How many of them could I shoot through with a bullet from a .50 caliber Barrett rifle?"
Finally, via Hot Air, noting that an analysis says that the Democrats have only a 1% chance of winning the House in November, this astonishing video of a wall-climber.
The money part comes between 20 seconds and 28 seconds. He twice tries to jump up to reach an out-of-reach handhold (which is itself pretty amazing). Failing at his jump, he attempts something that never would have occurred to me in 10,000 years of trying.
"Technique," he says (or perhaps an onlooker says) as he executes this strange and extremely dangerous upside-down maneuver. Technique indeed.
Close it up
Of Course: California Moves to Bar Boy Scouts From Serving as Judges, Due to Boy Scouts' Private Organizational Beliefs on Gay Scoutleaders
Fascism is forever descending upon the rightwing but landing upon the left.*
In a move with major legal implications, The California Supreme Court Advisory Committee on The Code of Judicial Ethics has proposed to classify the Boy Scouts as practicing “invidious discrimination” against gays, which would end the group’s exemption to anti-discriminatory ethics rules and would prohibit judges from being affiliated with the group.
“The Committee’s invitation ignores the fact that the change also encompasses other youth organizations whose membership is limited on the basis of gender, e.g., the Girl Scouts, as well as the military, which continues to practice ‘discrimination’ on the basis of gender,” wrote Catherine Short, legal director of the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation, in a letter to the Committee obtained by TheDC that predicts possible implications for pro-life judges in the future.
“Perhaps this is not an unintended consequence,” wrote Short.
Perhaps we should just make it official that, in order to qualify for a paying job of any kind, one must submit proofs that one has voted Democratic at least 75% of the time.
* Just in case people don't know this quote: The original quote is, "Fascism is forever descending upon America but landing in Europe." The idea is that while people are forever shouting that fascism is coming to America -- because they view America as crude and susceptible to that sort of thing -- they completely miss the fact that genuine fascism convulses Europe frequently.
Similarly, many on the left -- or those who consider themselves the "center," but who are really on the left -- are always worrying about the fascist impulse in rightwing politics. Conveniently missing their own fascist impulses.
Long-Rumored Clinton White House Memo Pushing Idea of the Internet as an Incubator for Right-Wing "Conspiracies" Finally Released to Public
Via Althouse, the document that probably served as the basis for Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy" remark.
The actual document is here. There's not much to it. It's a fairly crude political blast-fax type thing (from the age of the blast-fax -- the emails of yesteryear).
Interesting, it uses the term "conspiracy theory" to apply not just to what would typically be termed conspiracy theories (the various theories about Vince Foster's death) but also to any derogatory story the Clinton White House wished to delegitimize. Thus, the Paula Jones and Gennifer Flower accusations -- which were not "conspiracy theories" in any sense, but just accusations that Clinton (falsely) denied -- are termed "conspiracy theories" pushed by the "right-wing."
Whitewater also gets namechecked as a "conspiracy theory."
The document is especially paranoid itself* about the powers of this newfangled "Internet" machine:
The right wing has seized upon the internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people.
Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.
Other interesting points:
The memo is much-concerned on partisans' ability to transmit memes via this "Internet" and then get them into "mainstream" news coverage. Note that the left has spent the last twenty years building up a serious and well-funded infrastructure of professional agitators whose only goal is to just that, but for the left.
Media Matters and all the rest are frequently able to get their stories picked up by the "mainstream" media, and, per Sheryl Attkisson, are also active in coordinating email/phone call/whisper campaigns to "controversialize" news stories they don't like and get them pulled from "mainstream" media broadcasts and articles.
The other interesting thing, of course, is that the names "Richard Mellon Scaife" and "Joseph Farah" litter the document like mentions of the devil in a medieval treatise on the plague.
Twenty years later, and they're still working off the exact same playbook. It's just that the Koch Brothers are the Devils of the Day.
* Note how establishment players are often extremely paranoid about "the fringe" (that is, anyone who's non-establishment).
This 2009 article describes "the paranoia of the center" (or the putative center -- certainly They think they're the center) and how their hateful suspicions about anyone Not Like Them can lead to deligitimization campaigns and suppression of vital debate.
We've heard ample warnings about extremist paranoia in the months since Barack Obama became president, and we're sure to hear many more throughout his term. But we've heard almost nothing about the paranoia of the political center. When mainstream commentators treat a small group of unconnected crimes as a grand, malevolent movement, they unwittingly echo the very conspiracy theories they denounce. Both brands of connect-the-dots fantasy reflect the tellers' anxieties much more than any order actually emerging in the world.
When such a story is directed at those who oppose the politicians in power, it has an additional effect. The list of dangerous forces that need to be marginalized inevitably expands to include peaceful, legitimate critics.
The Paranoid Style in Center-Left Politics
This isn't the first time the establishment has been overrun with paranoia about paranoiacs. The classic account of American conspiratology is Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," a 1964 survey of political fear from the founding generation through the Cold War. A flawed and uneven essay, Hofstadter's article nonetheless includes several perceptive passages. The most astute one might be this:"It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through 'front' groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy."
Hofstadter didn't acknowledge it, but his argument applied to much of his audience as well. His article begins with a reference to "extreme right-wingers," a lead that reflected the times. In the early 1960s, America was experiencing a wave of alarm about the radical right. This had been building throughout the Kennedy years and then exploded after the president's assassination, which many people either blamed directly on the far right or attributed to an atmosphere of fear and division fed by right-wing rhetoric. By the time Hofstadter's essay appeared, the "projection of the self" he described was in full effect. Just as anti-communists had mimicked the communists, anti-anti-communists were emulating the red hunters.
It's an important piece, worth reading again every year.
So, it appears that the Democrats became paranoid about these "right wing extremists" using the Internet to "spread [their] ideas" to the mainstream media, and then spent the next twenty years diligently creating a virtual media paramilitary militia army to transmit their own memes and enforce their community-based narratives.
Tom Cotton Ad Blasts Mark Pryor's Claim That Service in the Military Gave Him a "Sense of Entitlement"
Cotton already had big advantages over Pryor, but this ad just adds to those.
Oh, and Dick Blumenthal sort of cut an ad, too. Inadvertently. See below.
Connecticut Senator Dick Blumenthal was cutting some kind of ad or statement about trains -- I'm sure this involves taxpayer money and subsidies -- and just as his aide saying "Safety, as you know, is paramount," an oncoming train nearly hit Blumenthal, because he was standing too close to the edge of the platform.
Close it up
Troll So Hard: Daily Beast Writer Calls US Military a Socialist Paradise
He may just be trolling (so I'm not linking him, but Jonah Goldberg's discussion of the troll-posts), but he may be partly serious.
We were just discussing this idea of Socialists on the podcast, with Jonah Goldberg, as a matter of fact.
Socialists actually crave the non-fighting aspects of the military life -- the collectivization of people into a single body with one shared purpose. (This feeling of a shared purpose is often craved by those with a religious impulse but who reject actual religion.)
Socialists long to be corporatized -- turned into a single cell of a much larger, much grander, much more transcendent body.
They are frequently pretty casual about admitting that they would like a military-like society, regimented and hierarchized, with orders flowing down from those of superior rank.
Indeed, the military does have these attributes, as it must. But people in the military are largely conservative-leaning, and opposed to collectivization generally.
The Daily Beast writer implies this is somehow a contradiction. It's really not. A soldier might accept that he will give up certain rights of expression and choice for purposes of an undeniably grand purpose (defending the country) and only for that purpose.
The fact that a solider accepts that he is not permitted to bad mouth his superior officers or civilian leaders while acting as a soldier does not suggest he believes that such forbiddances should attach to an ordinary citizen.
Including himself, when he musters out -- most soldiers aren't lifelong soldiers, after all. A soldier may accept some aspects of collectivism (including obedience to superior officers) in his life as a soldier, and yet be completely averse to such a situation in his civilian life.
As most do, of course.
But the left does seem to imagine that if it works for the military, why then it really ought to work for society in general.
It's a creepy idea. It's a totalitarian idea. The military is exceptional in many ways, and foremost among those ways is that the military obeys rules that regular civilians are not required to obey, nor even to recognize.
But the left does see a well-functioning society as resembling the military, minus some aspects -- such as a patriotic temperament, willingness to use force to defend a nation, etc.
But otherwise: March in formation, act as a single unit, sublimate individuality into shared purpose decided upon by your superiors, and so forth.
And so they'll keep on insisting on this point, claiming it reveals something about conservatives, without realizing it reveals far more about themselves.
Geraghty: Left's Overpraise of Chelsea Clinton Gives Away Their True Feelings About Aristocracy
Via @rdbrewer4, a really good piece.
Chelsea assures us that her past workplaces were “incredibly, fiercely meritocratic.” Sometimes in past interviews, the interviewer inadvertently expresses surprise at the seemingly high-level jobs Chelsea Clinton gets handed...
Chelsea took that “Assistant Vice Provost” position [at an NYU school] in 2010, at age 30.
Now Chelsea’s “making her move”, which warranted that Fast Company cover piece:Now, finally, she has decided to join the Clinton family business. As vice chair of the recently rebranded Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, she is helping one of the world’s most notable philanthropies grow up.
She must have been extraordinarily talented to be named vice chair of an organization that has her name in its title, huh? What are the odds?
Dear friends on the Left: You can’t bemoan the death of opportunity in America, and rail against the richest one percent, and then devour puff pieces on how exceptionally talented and wonderful the offspring of our super-wealthy political leaders are, earning plaudits just by showing up with their famous last names.
The New York Times' public editor (ombudsmen) Arthur Brisbane described exactly how the media covers their favorite causes in 2012:
I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.
When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.
As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.
Is NBC'S David Gregory Crazy Or Just An Unlikable Jackass?
I've worked for myself for most of my adult life and don't have any real experience with working in a cooperate environment, so maybe this is totally normal. Or maybe it's a sign of something far more troubling.
NBC News last year hired a "psychological consultant" to interview David Gregory's friends and family, part of an effort to get greater insight into the "Meet the Press" host's personality, according to a new report.
The point of hiring the consultant, NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta said, was to "to get perspective and insight from people who know him best."
"Gregory’s job does not appear to be in any immediate jeopardy, but there are plenty of signs of concern,” [The Washington Post's Paul] Farhi wrote.
You have to wonder if perhaps NBC is just worried about Gregory's state of mind. I mean taking over the number one Sunday talk-show and running it into the ground has to be a heavy burden anyone.
Still, it makes this image, and the DC prosecutor's decision not to try this obvious violation of the law, all the more troubling.
Naturally all of us here at the HQ wish Mr. Gregory the best in this difficult time.
Everything You Need To Know About Liberals In One Blog Post: They Are Dumb
From the, "I can't beieve Jeff Bezos didn't give Ezra Klein $10 million dollars" file, behold this gem.
Everything you need to know about economics, in 297 words http://t.co/2YK9O1j0Sb— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) April 19, 2014
First of all let me say how asinine it is for someone who claims to be engaged in deep wonkery to keep pitching stories as "Everything you need to know about X in one chart/graph/interpretative dance performance".
If complex subjects can be fully covered and explained in a single anything, it's probably not that complex of a subject and you don't need experts, let alone a bunch of arrogant children without any discernible accomplishments to explain it to you.
But enough about the staff of Vox.com. Let's look at some of the "297 words" that constitute Ezra Klein's vision of all you need to know about economics. Mind you, these aren't Klein's words but the words of an actual expert in economics, Thomas Sargent a Nobel Laureate in the field.
1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.
2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.
3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.
4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.
I'm going to stop here, 74 words into the 297 (my version of Word says it's actually 308 but let's not quibble).
How can you think these are essential truths about economics and still be a big government liberal? Imagine thinking, as Klein does, that these are four essential parts (there's 12 in total) of understanding economics while simultaneously thinking that ObamaCare doesn't go far enough and we should have "a more nationalized health-care system".
If your entire worldview is based on greater concentration of political power over the economy and the incentives under which individuals operate, wouldn't you look at those 4 points alone and either say, "What an idiot this guy is!" or "Hmmm....I may need to evaluate my thinking on everything."?
How can you read those words and think, "Yes! This guy nails it and oh by the way, society should be organized in such a way as to ignore everything he just said"?
There's more of this, approximately 223 words worth, at the link and all of it damning to the liberal project of confiscatory taxation providing central government planners with more money and power to control the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
And yet, Klein and his merry band of know-it-alls want you to trust them to explain everything to you.
I really feel there should be a word that means "smart person who is actually quite stupid". Preferably it would be in German.
Monday Morning News Dump
- Policing Political Speech
- How Not To Fix The Second Amendment
- Theives Tap Pipeline, Steal 30,000 Liters Of Fuel
- Biofuels Are Worthless
- Cliven Bundy And The Rural Way
- Higher Food Prices Coming
- Scottish Independence Is A Real Possibility
- Obamacare's Core Flaw
- Mike Rowe's Career Advice
- Remeber, Politicians Are Smarter Than You
- China On Course To Become World's Most Christian Nation In 15 Years
- The Closing Of The Academic Mind
- Ukraine Girds For Confrontation
- Powdered Alcohol To Hit Liquor Stores This Fall
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Top Headline Comments 4-21-14
Yesterday, the GAO released details on how Sec. Sebelius shook down outside companies for funding to promote Obamacare.
From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt (which you should subscribe to, if you aren't), about half of Georgia's healthcare sign-ups haven't paid.
More evidence that GM got kid glove treatment from federal regulators.
Unions are warming up to fracking.
Snowden's feelings are hurt that everyone thinks he's such a naif.
Gov. Perry's "makeover" is noticed by Politico. "He just seems like a very confident, upbeat and articulate spokesman for conservative policy and values," says former Perry staffer.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast | Stream | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
Overnight Open Thread (4-20-2014)
"LITTLE HITLERS: There is, as every petty official knows, a great deal of pleasure to be had from the obstruction of others, especially if they appear to be more fortunate, better placed, richer, or more intelligent than oneself. There is a pleasure in naysaying, all the greater if the naysayer is able to disguise from the victim the fact that he is not only doing his duty but gratifying himself. Indeed, there are many jobs, meaningless in themselves, in which the power to say no is the only non-monetary reward."
The program is supposedly only for citizens or legal resident aliens, but in reality no one's checking. It will all run on the honor system, at the insistence of the dishonorable. The taxpayer will be robbed blind and anyone who doesn't like it is a bad Christian, anti-American, and of course racist.
After his prepared remarks, Scalia took questions from eager law students who lined the aisles of the theatre. His remarks there were more candid, pointing to the Washington, D.C. v. Heller opinon - a second-amendment case - as his proudest moment on the court.
When another students asked about the constitutionality of income tax, he assured the student that the government could, in fact, take his money.
"But if reaches certain point, perhaps you should revolt," Scalia advised the young man.
61% say President Obama lies either "most of the time" or "some of the time," with a plurality of 37% opting for "most of the time."
But not among their staff.
Media Matters for America is apparently resisting an effort by Service Employees International Union Local 500 to unionize its staff.
Last week, the union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board, indicating that the nonprofit media watchdog organization rejected an effort by the union to organize MMFA's staff through a Card Check election....MMFA has regularly presented itself as a supporter of organized labor. It has argued that "economists point to declining union participation as one cause of the growing economic rift in America" and claimed it was a fact that "unions increase productivity [and] do not reduce business competitiveness."
So why the objection, MM?
- The Italian Tourist Board spends an astounding 98 percent of its budget on salaries, with basically nothing left for its actual job of tourism promotion.
- There are trains in the Mezzogiorno that travel at an average speed of 8.7 miles an hour.
- Metaponto, in the Basilicata region east of Naples, has a five-track, marble-clad rail station, paid for by $25 million in European Union funds. But the last train out is an 8:21 a.m. express to Rome. If you want to go anywhere else, you have to take a bus.
A new product that's somehow been approved by US regulators makes booze as discreet as a packet of sugar. It's called Palcohol, and it transforms a shot of vodka or rum into a pocketable pouch of powder. Tear it open, add some water, mix, and you've got hard liquor. Considering the age group that Palcohol is going to appeal to, however, the sweet, pre-mixed powders are probably going to be far more popular. To start off, the company plans to make margarita, mojito, cosmopolitan, and lemon drop flavors.
Thank you FDA for solving a non-existent problem and costing everyone money.
Eventually, we conservatives grow comfortable enough around them to return to our old patterns. We scratch and fight and do our gorilla things and the chronicler dutifully takes notes. The notes eventually make their way into an article for the New York Times or The New Yorker or Vanity Fair.
"Who knew?" the readers will say over their morning bagels and coffee in Southampton or Fire Island, "I had no idea conservatives were such intelligent creatures. Why they even have the capacity for emotion and even some rudimentary forms of kindness."
Thanks to tmi3rd.
All are fascinating but Detroit's Michigan Central Station may be the most magnificent and saddest of all.
Top 10 commenters:
1 [344 comments] 'Vic' [48.29 posts/day]
2 [318 comments] 'Costanza Defense'
3 [311 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
4 [292 comments] 'Boss Moss'
5 [258 comments] 'Niedermeyer's Dead Horse'
6 [253 comments] 'rickb223'
7 [244 comments] 'Mike Hammer'
8 [241 comments] 'Misanthropic Humanitarian '
9 [231 comments] 'thunderb'
10 [230 comments] 'RWC'
Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [94 names] 'The Political Hat' [13.19 unique names/day]
2 [53 names] 'Adam'
3 [44 names] 'Brandon In Baton Rouge'
4 [42 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
5 [42 names] 'Obama For-ks America'
6 [36 names] 'Romeo13'
7 [29 names] 'andycanuck'
8 [29 names] 'Prez'nit 404'
9 [29 names] 'Hate Miser'
10 [28 names] '18-1'
The group. Yeah.
Where it's at - the Twitter
Tonight's post brought to you by Happy Easter:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
New Takes On An Old Classic Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
Courtesy of Weird News:
Sir Mix-A-Lot is a musical genius. When he created "Baby Got Back" in 1992, he crafted a musical masterpiece that can be recreated in any genre without losing a beat.
Like your big butts in jazz? There's a "Baby Got Back" for that.
Easy listening? Here's some mellow big butts for you.
Prefer metal? Try this one.
Then again, does anything beat the original?
Gun Thread (4-20-2014)
Civil Disobedience In NY
There is one purpose for a gun registry. One.
Good on the folks in NY who've decided to not give the state the rope with which to hang them.
Owners of assault-style weapons were supposed to have registered their guns by Tuesday.
But there is no way of knowing exactly how many of these weapons there are in the state and how many were registered under the NY SAFE Act.
The state refuses to say how many were registered, claiming it is confidential information protected by the law.
Gun-rights advocates estimate compliance will be less than 10 percent.
And in Erie County, the sheriff says he will not force his deputies to enforce registration.
Crazy Rednecks Bring Evil NRA Into Schools To Teach Kids About Guns
Guess the state.
Former schoolteacher Marilyn Frank has big plans for firearms-safety education in town.
Frank, 79, who served in the school district for 29 years and for a decade as health-education coordinator, said she doesn't own a gun but she wants to help remove polarization around the subject of gun safety. In December, she proposed bringing the National Rifle Association-sponsored program Eddie Eagle back to the local elementary schools. The program, approved by the School Committee, will start early next month.
"You want everyone to buy into this. I think this is a message that everyone can come together for, caring about the kids," she said. "That was what this is all about. Are we going to save anybody? I don't know. But when I put in birth- control explanations (in the schools), I didn't promise nobody would get pregnant. You don't know, but you just hope."
Turns out there are still a few sane people in Westford, MA after all.
Gun Of The Week
Gun Of The Week - Answer
That's the Winchester Model 61 "Takedown" .22 pump-action rifle.
Hickock45 shoots the Ruger SR 762.
If there are topics you're interested in seeing in the gun thread, please send them to AoSHQGunThread at gmail. You can also send them to me on Twitter at @AndyM1911.
The owner's manual for your concealed carry permit: The Law of Self Defense
Celebrate America's firearms heritage: participate in Project Appleseed.
Close it up
Food Thread: Baking: It's Not Science....It's Magic [CBD]
We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.
The conventional wisdom is that cooking is an art and baking is a science -- requiring precision and consistency and rigid attention to detail. And if you satisfy those requirements you will be rewarded with marvelous crusty breads and glorious cakes and you will be the marvel of the neighborhood.
It's a dirty filthy stinking lie, perpetrated by an unholy cabal of flour mills and sugar barons and the natural gas industry.
Any variation in humidity, temperature, density of flour, potency of yeast, and dozens of other things can, and often does make a huge difference in the final product. That's why accomplished bakers will add extra water, or a pinch less of yeast or salt, or knead it for a few more minutes or let it proof at a warmer temperature for just a few minutes less.....
And why is that? How do they know? Because they made a pact with the devil. In return for baking those scrumptious, yeasty sourdough loaves and incredible dinner rolls that are just perfect with the sauce and a dab of good butter, they will toil in the third circle of hell for eternity.
And what makes me think of glorious baked goods and the soulless monsters who bake them?
And the extremely crappy matzoh I bought.
I usually buy an Israeli brand that is actually rather good, but I couldn't find any this year, so I settled for something baked in the People's Republic of New York City. In the hipster heaven of Brooklyn no less.
Awful. Redolent of cardboard.
So of course I stole a box from my parents, but still, Passover is eight days long, and nowhere in the story does one box of matzoh last for eight days.
But how tough could baking matzoh be? There is no yeast, there is no rise, there is nothing but a mandated 18 minute maximum time for the entire process. Yet somehow bakers manage to screw it up.
So I tried. And guess what? it is easy, fun, and makes great matzoh! I used a pizza stone, which I think is much better than the recommended bottom of a sheet pan. But other than that...I just followed the recipe -- sort of -- and the results are much better than any commercial stuff I have ever had.
(If anyone wants the modified recipe, e-mail me at nynjmeet at optimum dot net.)
This baguette recipe is modified from the King Arthur Flour recipe I found on their web site. The original did not yield a particularly lofty or airy bread; it was too dense to be called a baguette. So I changed it to a longer, colder rise, and that worked well.
• 1/2 cup cool water
• 1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
• 1 cup unbleached bread flour
• 1 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
• 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
• all of the starter
• 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
• 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
• *Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.
Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water (no need to do this if you're using instant yeast), then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly. If it hasn't, your yeast may not be working. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar, and wait 15 minutes. If nothing happens, replace your yeast, and begin the starter process again.
If you're using active dry yeast, mix it with the water, then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. If you're using instant yeast, there's no need to combine it with the water first. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer
Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces.
Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again.
With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan.
Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and allow the loaves to rise overnight till they've become very puffy.
Remove from refrigerator at least two hours before baking to complete the rise.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F.
Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.
Yield: Three 16" baguettes.
Close it up
Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD]
Or Haikus...whichever you prefer.
An interesting perspective of Barry Goldwater from one of his campaign ads in 1964.
Gaming Thread 4/20/2014 (Easter Edition)
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
• Marty O'Donnell, Bungie's composer of the last 15 years went to Twitter to say that he had been fired by Bungie without cause. As much as I wouldn't mind him going to 343 to work again on Halo, I'd prefer him to end up at Visceral to work on the upcoming Star Wars games. And of course, it didn't take long for forum warriors to jump on the news and crap on his work because he's conservative-ish.
• NPD numbers for last month is in. PS4 outsold the Xbox One (ouch for Microsoft) and TitanFall was the best selling game (no shocker there). For year over year, software was in a huge slump, even with an avalanche of games with a 28% drop.
• Cyanide showing off their upcoming Blood Bowl 2. I thought the first games were pretty good (but no FUMBBL) that were hampered by a lack of care with releasing so many standalone versions of the first game. If they had treated it as a platform with DLC for the new teams instead of what they did, I would have been more of a fan.
• DC has shown off a trailer for their upcoming Batman movie based on the Arkham videogame universe. Personally don't think it looks good
• Activision does Xbox One owners a solid? Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't coming to the XBox One. Considering that this is more than likely certification issues, I'm curious in how bad of a state this game is. And it's not like it's been looking hot in the previews. Be interesting in seeing how this is received next week.
• Why? Why Not. COD: Ghosts is getting a Snoop voice pack (They're also working on a Gunny voice pack as well).
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC) - Sixteen years later and Tex Murphy is still roaming the mean post-nuclear streets of San Francisco. Do you like cheese? Do you like a good FMV point and click adventure game? Well, Chris Jones is hopping that you remember Under The Killing Moon and Pandora Directive in this latest Kickstarter backed project. The cast includes Todd Bridges, June Lockhart, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and others. Sadly Clint Howard isn't listed :(
Blackwell Epiphany (PC) - It's the end of the line for Rosa Blackwell and Joey Mallone in the final entry of the Blackwell series. Dave Gilbert and his crew at Wadjet has created a great little hard boiled paranormal series over the last 8 years in a 16-bit world. When it comes to point&click adventure games, it's hard to beat what Wadjet has created themselves or released. As always, expect some good writing and decent puzzles. I'll probably pick up the new Tex Murphy due to nostalgia but I'm more interested in this to be honest.
Demon Gaze (Vita) - NISA releasing a first person dungeon crawler by Kadokawa Games. Don't know much about it other than it's supposed to be pretty decent and it sold like crap in Japan. And like all games from NISA that isn't Disgaea, it's price will drop fast or go out of print.
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Soon To Be Stomped Open Thread
Here's a distraction until content is posted.
Sunday Morning Book Thread 04-20-2014: The Day The World Changed Forever [OregonMuse]
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.
He Is Risen!
Jesus Christ walked onto the stage of world history 2,000 years ago, and is never leaving it. To be sure, it is very easy to imagine a future history where the Church is either absent or totally irrelevant (and there have been many books written along those lines), that's never going to happen. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful, that His followers can exist even in the most hostile environments, i.e. there are churches in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Granted, they're small and pretty much entirely underground. But they survive. They know they're in a spiritual battle:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Many have lost their lives for the cause of Christ. For example, remember the movie 'Chariots of Fire', about that Olympic athlete who wouldn't run on Sunday? Eric Liddell was his name, and perhaps you don't know that he went on to become a missionary to China, and he died in a Japanese internment camp, where he was ministering to the other prisoners during WW2. There have been a number of biographies written about Liddell, but grammie winger recommends Complete Surrender: A biography of Eric Liddell, by Julian Wilson.
Another interesting character is the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a good modern biography. Christians classify Bonhoeffer as a martyr, but I have difficulty with this. What got him in trouble with the authorities was not anything that Christians are traditionally martyred for, i.e. being told not to preach the gospel but preaching anyway, or refusing to worship the leader of the state as divine. Rather, Bonhoeffer was arrested for his active participation in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler, and that's why the Nazi government killed him. In my opinion, murdering a political leader is difficult to justify under any flavor of Christian theology, and Bonhoeffer is no longer around to tell us why he thought what he was doing was right, given his understanding of the gospel. That is, I assume he thought it was right, I can't imagine him thinking, "yeah, this is wrong, but we have to do it, anyway." Read his books, The Cost of Discipleship or Life Together or even Letters and Papers from Prison and ask yourself if anything he wrote would lead you to understand how he would ever participate in such an obviously "battling against flesh and blood using worldly weapons" political plot.
I confess I don't understand.
I'm not saying what Bonhoeffer did was wrong. Perhaps it was. But even if not, I just have a hard time thinking of him as a martyr, at least as traditionally understood, like the kind of martyrs described in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which, being in the public domain, is available on Kindle for $0.
Bonhoeffer was executed on April 9th, 1945. He could probably hear the artillery from the approaching Allied armies, who were only a few days away from liberating the camp he was in.
The internationally renowned Colombian novelist, screenwriter, journalist and 1982 Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87. He was most famous for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The Autumn of the Patriarch.
I've never read any of his books.
Here's an interesting bit from the wikipedia bio:
The popularity of his writing also led to friendships with powerful leaders, including one with former Cuban president Fidel Castro...It was during this time that he was punched in the face by Mario Vargas Llosa in what became one of the largest feuds in modern literature.
Ha! A rat bastard commie gets popped in the puss. I would like to have seen that.
The First Emoticon?
This guy thinks he's found the earliest use of what are now called emoticons:
Tumble me down and I will sit Upon my ruines (smiling yet: ) Tear me to tatters; yet I'le be Patient in my necessitie. Laugh at my scraps of cloaths, and shun Me, as a fear'd infection: Yet scarre-crow-like I'le walk, as one, Neglecting thy derision.
I know it could just be a colon inside a parenthesis. In fact, that's what it probably is. But it does seem oddly coincidental that it occurs in a "smiling" context.
This article in Slate takes a different view. I'm not a big fan of Slate, but I was impressed that their response to the "first emoticon" claim contained some actual journalism.
A Cheap e-Book Notification Service
I absolutely hate paying $13.99 and $14.99 for Kindle or Nook books, and so I will do anything not to have to. Like many of you, I'm on the "Daily Kindle Deal" mailing list from Amazon, the one that Vic regularly posts to the morning news thread, and while I'm glad Amazon at least makes the effort, I rarely see anything I'm interested in.
But just yesterday as I was perusing teh internets looking for book thread material, I stumbled upon The Book Bub, a service you can sign up for, which compiles a list of free or low-cost e-books from a number of different sources such as Amazon, B&N, Kobe, Smashwords, etc. Once you've signed up, you can select which categories of books you're interested in, so you can stop from being deluged with, say, paranormal romance novels. The e-mail alerts will be structured according to your preferences, which you can change any time on the Book Bub site. Also, the individual listings will tell you the date the deal expires.
And the service is free.
Haven't Read It, But Looks Like It Might Be Interesting
The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz. From one of the 5-star Amazon reviews:
What a satisfying read! This book is great - it has amazing historical sweep on the development of the germ theory (fascinating) and the various personalities involved (Pasteur-the original germaphobe and many others), mini-novelistic biographies on two titans (Koch in science and Conan Doyle in literature), their conflict over tuberculosis, and the impacts this incredible disease had on both men and the society they lived in. The Remedy is engaging, amazing storytelling, I learned a ton, and I recommend it highly.
Various other reviewers say reading this book made them grateful for things we take for granted, like, say, medical cleanliness, personal hygiene, and, of course, the germ theory of disease.
Here's an interview with the author.
Sabrina Chase wants you to know that her sister has published her first fiction book. She describes Amy's Amazing Adventures (Across Time and Space) by Juliet Chase as "a very silly book for very silly people". As such, it comes with
Pan-dimensional rabbits, Regency heroines, Sheiks of Araby(tm), Navy SEALs, Ultimate Sacrifices, and pastries. Guaranteed 100% non-serious. Descended (illegitimately) from the Ruritania/Graustark-type novels of the early 1900s!
All that for only $2.99.
Another Book of Note
I'm not a fan of Seth MacFarlane's 'The Family Guy', but I think some of you morons are, in which case you might be interested in Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West: A Novel. I might be interested, but not for $9.99, I'm not. Also, and this is just a personal peeve, I'm put off by any book that tries to score publicity points by including the author's name as part of the title. Why not just call it 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' by Seth MacFarlane and leave it at that?
And there's supposedly plans to make this into a movie soon.
Some of these graphic novels look interesting enough check out. Haven't read any of them except Maus, which I thought was pretty good (best panel: in the second book, the author is trying to come to grips with his success recounting his father's surviving the Holocaust, so he draws himself in his studio, his work desk perched atop a pile of corpses).
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
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Final Overnight Thread
OK, what was said before, that was a lie. THIS is the real party. Swearsies.
The theme of this, the true and final Overnight Thread of this evening:
Seriously, I want some yard birds something awful. Maybe next Spring.
Buona Pasqua, darling hearts.
This multiple thread thing came out disorienting and strange, didn't it? Wasn't meant that way. Sorry. Will never do this to you again.
I am curious though as to why everyone must move to the top thread. What does it matter, if the conversation is good where you were?
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Overnight Thread: The Real One
Sorry for the decoy post, but *this* thread is for the cool people and we're trying to keep those other people distracted. Don't tell them we're here.
Here, see. These are some animals that are not like other animals.
The Sea Pig.
Rodent of unusual size.
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Overnight Thread: Desserts that Look Kinda Sweaty
Announcing The First In A Series Movie thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
I chatted with the boss and we've been given the go-ahead to try something new.
Next week at 8 pm (EST) Saturday, I'll post a movie thread. Ideally, you folks will rent/on-demand/pop in the blu-ray of said movie and we'll all watch it together, commenting as we go. It might be a bit much for an every week kind of post, but we'll see how it goes and, perhaps, make it a once a month/every three weeks kind of thing if folks get on-board with it.
Blogger privilege means that I get to pick the first movie, but after that we'll conduct some sort of poll to determine the next. And, let's keep it light and fruity, with nothing too heavy. I'm thinking along the lines of Animal House, Caddyshack, Battlefield Earth, Pacific Rim, Fast Times at Ridgemont High type of stuff. No Godfather. No Schindler's List. Perhaps an Alien now and then. As one of the commenters said of this concept, it's like MST3K at the HQ.
So, let's kick this thing off.
Next week's selection is likely to come as no surprise to some of you. I choose Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, and this remarkable fellow. It is one of those movies that is simply awful but is eminently watchable. It is, quite simply, a fun movie to both love and hate and I'm keeping my fingers crossed here that at least a few of our Navy Morons and 'Ettes will take part because I can only imagine what they'll have to say about it.
If you have HBO, the movie is presently available via On-Demand for free. If not, it is available via On-Demand and Roku for just $2.99.
So, sync your watches and get ready for some fun.
I'll see you back here next Saturday.
The Nightmare Before Easter Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
I remember the first time my daughter saw Santa Clause at the mall. She was none too happy about it. And, when I took her to the circus for the first time, and she saw the clowns, she was similarly having nothing to do with them either. Yet, despite the occasional and jarring contact with the masked or make-up covered characters associated with Christmas or with the three-ring circus, I tried to keep her nightmares to a minimum.
I wish I could say the same of these parents.
Don't believe me?
Check below the fold.
And this isn't even the worst of them.
Parents. Just don't.
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Weekend Travel Thread: Pet Edition [Y-not]
Welcome to your weekend travel thread. By special request of commenter Seamus M., this week's topic is traveling with pets.
How about some music to kick off the thread?
Yeah, I couldn't resist that one.
Traveling with our furry (or scaly or feathery or whathaveyou) friends can be quite the adventure. I've never brought my friends with me on vacation, but many people do. And when they do, it can lead to some difficulties which may have far-reaching consequences. For example, as we learned a couple of years ago, properly transporting your pets is key to your future political aspirations:
The above is NOT Mitt Romney's car, although it was spotted in Utah during my recent trip down to Vegas. Who knew you could fit a horse on the roof of the car?! Impressive!
Having moved quite a lot, Mr Y-not and I have traveled with our pets. Usually, they are long distance trips and so not the most fun. All those videos of doggehs cheerfully hanging their heads out the windows enjoying the sights and smells? Yeah, that's never our pets!
Neither of our dogs is particularly good about car trips. Bailey tends to make a big production about getting into the car -- she insists on being lifted, despite our efforts to assist her by getting a ramp. And Little Debbie always tries to get in the front seat and help drive.
But, by far our worst pet in terms of traveling was our first cat, a seal point Siamese named Sushi. She hated traveling and made sure we -- and everyone ELSE within a twenty mile radius -- knew it.
The first car trip she ever took was when she was about five years old. Up to that point she'd never been in a car. We lived in the city and would walk her (in her carrier) to the vets. But one cold January morning we packed ourselves, our two cats, and our things into a rental car and headed East from Chicago. Final destination: Waltham, Massachusetts (a Boston suburb).
Anticipating (based on prior experiences with Sushi when she'd dealt with strange people or surroundings) that there might be shall we say "issues," we'd gotten some sort of sedative to give Sushi at the start of our journey. (Our other kitty, Jackie, was a mellow tabby -- a real "pussycat," in other words. So we didn't sedate him.) So we head off, each cat in its own carrier and Sushi drugged up. It's a 15 hour trip, so our plan was to stop along the way. As I recall we drove to Erie, Pennsylvania, and began looking for a motel. This was before the age of smart phones (or even cell phones), so we were relying on guidebooks and roadside signs to find one. Eventually we found a motel -- no evidence that they took pets, but it was the type where you could park right in front of your motel room door, so we decided to risk sneaking her in.
After a long day of driving, we were bushed. We let the cats roam the room (after setting up a litter box, of course) and hit the sack.
Three hours later we were awakened by the unearthly sounds of a Siamese cat who, upon coming out of her drug-induced haze and finding herself in strange surroundings, decided to channel her inner cougar. Seriously, the sounds she was making were bizarre AND LOUD. And she would.not.stop. After about half an hour of her yowling and growling and hissing we realized we were going to get kicked out of the motel, so we wrapped her in a towel, shoved her in her carrier, and beat feet. (IIRC we had pre-paid the room so we didn't have to worry about stopping by the desk at 3:30 in the morning.)
It made for quite the story, both for ourselves and -- I imagine -- the poor unfortunate souls who had the adjacent motel room. They must've thought we were conducting some sort of weird Satanic rite or something!
In any event, we never tranquilized Sushi (or any of our pets) ever again. Some people do, of course, and I think you can have some success with tranquilizers. According to this veterinary medicine site, the key is to do some trial dosing with your pet before the trip. If only we had known that 23 years ago!
Apparently, we are not the only folks to travel with a pet cat who turned out to be a wild animal, from this article Tales (and horror stories) from pet-friendly inns some folks travel with actual wild animals:
If you travel with your dog and prefer small inns and B&Bs over chain hotels, it can be frustrating that so few allow pets. If you listen to some innkeepers' stories, though, you may wonder why any of them do.
At Les Artistes Inn in Del Mar, Calif., for example, a pair of Weimaraners crashed through a window when they saw another dog walk past. "The owners had said, 'Don't worry, they'll be fine,'" said owner John Halper. "The 'fine' part was incorrect."
Halper only allows pets in some rooms, but one couple checked into his best no-pets, ocean-view room with a crate "carrying this cat that has a head bigger than my own," he said. They told him it was "a real live hybrid bobcat."
Make sure to read that article for some helpful tips on how best to travel with your pets.
Years ago when I was traveling with Sushi, it was very difficult to find pet-friendly hotels, but today's travelers have it much easier. The following are some resources for pet owners who want to take their furry friends along with them. Disclaimer: Linking to these sites is for informational purposes only and not an endorsement either by myself or the Management. I have not personally used any of these resources.
Trips With Pets is a web resource that helps you find pet-friendly hotels along the route you're traveling. It does not seem to exist in phone app form, but another resource called BringFido is available on iTunes. Here's a Yahoo Finance article about BringFido for more information.
Courtesy of Appcrawlr, here's a list of what they consider to be the best apps for finding pet-friendly hotels.
So, what tips or tales do you have from your travels with pets?
Some of you may have read on the earlier threads that my cat, Boris, passed away this weekend. (It's kind of funny timing that it happened on the weekend that I'd already started a pet-related travel thread.) We rescued Boris from the streets of Houston some fifteen years ago, so I know he had a good life with us, much better than he would have had on his own. But it still saddens me that I delayed one day longer than I should have to take him to the vet (to be put to sleep) so that he wound up dying on his own, with just our other cat for company. I wish I had been there to make sure he didn't suffer.
Boris was a good boy. He started out somewhat skittish (his nickname was "The Flea" because he'd tend to hide if company came) and for quite a few years was our third cat. After the other two died, we got him a little "sister" (Moxie) and it seemed as though he really came into his own in those later years. He was not a lap cat, per se, but he would always come when I called and liked to sit on the arm of my chair and keep me company.
Rest in peace, old friend.
To close up, remember this golden oldie?
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The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775 [Y-not]
Today is also the anniversary of a transformative event in our history, the Battle of Lexington. From the Wall Street Journal:
April 19, 1775, was a quiet day in America's Thirteen Colonies—except for a deadly encounter in Lexington, Mass., between about 80 militiamen and 700 British regulars. Neither side had been expecting a fight, and no one knows who really fired the first shot. But accident or no, it set off one of the greatest social and political experiments in history.
The Battle of Lexington was also the inspiration behind one of America's best-known poems, the "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Even those unfamiliar with the poem will recognize the line: "Here once the embattled farmers stood/ And fired the shot heard round the world."
And here's a link to Emerson's famous poem.
How many of you were required to memorize it in school? I don't think I was. Our American history classes focussed on slavery and the Civil War more than on the Revolutionary War. (Pretty sure Mr Moxie's school (in New England) emphasized the latter more than the former.)
Open thread to discuss politics and such.
If Ben K. And CAC Had A Baby, It Would Look A Lot Like This Video
We all know Ben has an unhealthy obsession with Russian dash-cam videos and CAC loves him some space stuff.
Well, here's a Russian dash-cam video of a meteor exploding.
Now try and get the image of Ben and CAC having a baby out of your mind. I bet you can't.