March 31, 2012
— CDR M
For those of you who haven't had it yet, Earf Hour is/was tonight at 2030 so turn on ALL OF YOUR LIGHTS. All of them. And then go celebrate Human Achievement. Don't worry about your carbon footprint from using all your lights. I have it on good authority that quite a few North Korean families are offsetting our carbon dioxide emissions. It's like Earf Hour there 24/7. BTW, all those eco nuts burning their candles during their hour of no power Actually Contribute To Greater Carbon Dioxide Emissions.
— Open Blogger I was happily surprised when last week's chess thread brought out some pretty good comments, and not all of them derisive. Accordingly, this is an attempt to gauge whether that was a one-off novelty, or is indicative or a larger demand. I mean, we're all nerds, right? At least I suspect most of us morons are, in one way or another, so let's get our nerd on.
I'll going to get the ball rolling by start by embarrassing the shit out of moron commenter GolfBoy by pimping his chess book that he apparently wrote by accident. In last Sunday's book thread, he let the cat out of the bag:
With the recent postings about Bobby Fischer's games, I feel moved (so to speak) to confess that I am another Moron Author. A few years ago I accidentally wrote the book "Practical Chess Exercises." It is a training resource for serious tournament players. In defiance of all reason and good taste, it has been a top selling chess book on Amazon for nearly 5 years. Please - I beg you - stop buying it! Every time I discover a royalty check in my mailbox I cringe with shame and humiliation.
So, take his advice: Don't buy the book. And if you don't want to buy his book, this is the link you don't want to click on:
It's a tactical exercise book and we all could probably improve our tactical skills. I know I could.
And for your Sat. nite craziness, here's a wild, wild game between Judit 'Big Mama' Polgar and Nigel 'Slap My Ass And Call Me Sally' Short:
I need to acquaint myself with these sorts of modern classics. I started out in chess a few years before the Fischer era and so I really only am familiar with the old classics, such as Alekhine-Yates, Botvinnik-Capablanca, Morphy-pretty much everyone else, etc. I don't know too much about what's gone on (at least on the chess theory level) since about 1975 or so.
Any chess tips for this thread may be sent to me at
and then the at sign
followed by yahoo
and then dot
Having a weekly chess thread may turn out to be a complete flop. The demand might be low. Also, the Head Ewok may not want his smart military blog turned into a forum for the pursuit of sundry personal hobby horses.
— Open Blogger Recent typical MSM story on how
Fewer than 35 percent of conservatives say they have a "great deal" of trust in the scientific community now...
The unspoken assumption in the article is that there is something wrong with those who don't have a great deal of trust in the scientific community... Uhhh, might I point out this story from this week?
During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 "landmark" publications - papers in top journals, from reputable labs - for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development.
Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated.
I've wondered why we keep hearing of new medical studies that reverse the findings of previous studies. Maybe it's because of the massive level of hackwork that passes itself off for science nowadays! Note that Begley has to earn his money. If his experiments can't be reproduced Amgen can't turn them into life-saving medicine. Which is how Amgen Earns The Big Bucks. The hacks Begley looked into may have only wanted to get their names in a big name journal.
A few more quotes from the article. This stuff truly shocks me.
As we tried to reproduce these papers we became convinced you can't take anything at face value.
The failure to win "the war on cancer" has been blamed on many factors, ... But recently a new culprit has emerged: too many basic scientific discoveries... are wrong.
Begley's experience echoes a report from scientists at Bayer AG last year. Neither group of researchers alleges fraud, nor would they identify the research they had tried to replicate.
Of 47 cancer projects at Bayer during 2011, less than one-quarter could reproduce previously reported findings, despite the efforts of three or four scientists working full time for up to a year.
But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers.
"It drives people in industry crazy. Why are we seeing a collapse of the pharma and biotech industries? One possibility is that academia is not providing accurate findings,"
I wonder if the all the govt. money has bad influence. Private money expects high standards. Govt money just wants to be spent.
Dr Ray Stantz (a Ghostbuster): Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.
Some authors required the Amgen scientists sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from disclosing data at odds with the original findings. "The world will never know" which 47 studies - many of them highly cited - are apparently wrong, Begley said.
Begley met ... with the lead scientist of one of the problematic studies.
"We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure," said Begley. "I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It's very disillusioning."
Also, I tweet at @ComradeArthur
— Open Blogger ...same as the old. Music video under the fold. Hat tip to Gerard Van der Leun over at American Digest. more...
— rdbrewer After he wins. In January. He should talk at length about about how things will get worse for a short while before they get better. He needs to emphasize that all the belt-tightening that has to be done because of the Obama administration will necessarily hurt for a while, but that in the long run, the country will be better for it.
He needs to rely heavily upon precedent. It took Ronald Reagan a little over two years to turn things around. Things got worse before they got better. He needs to make this a theme and keep driving the message home. That way, people will know what to expect, and the losses in 2014 might be minimized somewhat.
He needs to glue himself to Reagan. Every time someone mentions Romney and the economy, people need to think of what Reagan did.
If he is going to replicate something similar to the Regan Economic Miracle, things will be tough for a while. People need to keep that in mind.
Any other ideas? If not, open thread.
— andy The Bay State got a black eye last Fall when it was reported that certain people, let's call them "deadbeats", were abusing the Massachusetts Electronic Benefits Transfer card, which we will refer to as "welfare".
A Team 5 Investigation found more than $2.3 million in Massachusetts welfare money, meant to help the needy buy food, pay their rent and clothe their children, has been spent in locations outside the state in a three-month period, including pricey vacation destinations like Hawaii, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In response to learning that deadbeats were abusing the welfare system, the Commonwealth did what you'd expect it to do: it formed a commission to study the problem. That commission released its report and recommendations this week.
Strip clubs, tattoo parlors, nail salons, gun shops and casinos would be banned from accepting taxpayer-funded EBT cards under a blue-ribbon panels report slated to be unveiled today but Republicans warn the so-called reforms will hardly put a dent in rampant abuse of the taxpayer-funded system.
The report is woefully inadequate to address any of the problems we were charged with addressing, said state Rep. Shaunna OConnell (R-Taunton), who originally called for the commissions creation.
Its probably the least reform we could do and say that something got done. (emphasis added)
Wonderful. The boning of the Masssachusetts taxpayer continues apace.
If you're wondering why O'Connell is so down on the reforms, here's your answer:
Republicans argued the reforms dont get to the root of the problem, because EBT card recipients can still use their cards at ATMs to access cash, which is then nearly impossible to trace.
That's right, a Massachusetts EBT card doesn't have to be used For The Children™ at all. It's a direct cash payment.
I honestly don't know why they're bothering to put any restrictions on where the cards can or can't be used if they're going to allow the deadbeats to make welfare ATM withdrawals.
Also keep in mind that a Venn diagram of the deadbeats and people the Democrats say would be disenfranchised by a voter i.d. requirement basically looks like this: O
Anyone who thinks people whose occupation consists of sucking money out of the taxpayers won't beat down the doors to get the photo i.d. needed to vote themselves a paycheck is delusional.
Which brings up an interesting idea. Why not put a photo on the EBT card?
Deval and his gang would like to crack down, they really would. But theres no money, dont you know.
Like two years ago, when the Democrats said they couldnt afford to run a check on every welfare recipient to see if they were in the country legally not at the outrageous cost of $7 per illegal.
This time the state considered photo IDs for the EBT cards. It was the same old story: The Department did not have adequate staff to process the necessary volume of photo IDs, and did not find that photos were a deterrent for fraud.
You just can't make this stuff up, folks.
— Open Blogger In the Spiritual Capital in the State of Doom, Subway faces reality when the voters will not.
Minimum-wage increases*, on top of other business-killing expenses, have forced San Francisco Subways to stop offering 5-dollar subs, aside from their nasty ass-flavored Tuna.
Which, come to think of it, is probably their best seller.
* (10.24/hour, in case you were wondering.)
UPDATE: Spelling fixed because logprof is smarter than me. Or I'm dumber than logprof. I've heard it both ways.
— andy Remember to celebrate Human Achievement Hour tonight at 8:30pm.
March 30, 2012
— CDR M
Good luck to all you morons who chipped in a few bucks for tonight's Mega Millions jackpot. If I win, I think I'll purchase a big chunk of land and establish an AoS HQ approved survival compound. Y'all are invited of course.
Of course, if you win, be wary of Early Retirement.
The authors trace the effect to negative behavioral changes associated with early retirement and conclude that 32.4% of the causal retirement effect can be directly attributed to smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Sounds like symptoms of funemployment too.
— Ace Tyler Clementi was that Rutgers kid who killed himself. The media went wild, pretty much lynching the guy accused of "bullying" him.
This New Yorker article is pretty fair and extremely thorough. Maybe too thorough -- it's a long read, but if you read the first three pages you'll probably figure, as I did, "might as well finish it."
The facts demonstrate that Dharun Ravi, the supposed "bully," did in fact commit a crime. That crime? Invasion of privacy in the Third degree.
Wait, no, that's not right, he was never actually able to do that. Tyler Clementi realized that Ravi's computer's webcam was on, so he pulled the plug on the computer.
So Dharun Ravi is guilty of attempted third degree criminal invasion.
Pretty severe charge, eh?
Yeah. Well, because he was overcharged (they added witness tampering!) and of course the hate crimes, he faces a possibility of fifteen to thirty years in prison.
This really wasn't a "hate crime." It was an asshole crime, and it would never have even been a crime if a depressive loner hadn't killed himself.
Dharan Ravi was charged with criminal invasion of privacy (third degree! attempted!) and "bias intimidation," but really they're convicted him of having a roommate who killed himself.
Anyway, Adam Carolla goes off on it, especially media bias, and the media's need for "titillating" stories in which we're all racists and homophobes.
— Ace All of the above?
The announcement by the Interior Department sets into motion what will be at least a five year environmental survey to determine whether and where oil production might occur.
Meanwhile he's claiming that oil exploration is at an 8-year high, which is true, due to his actions, which is not.
But these facts are not particularly impressive considering that production has been relatively static since 2003 -- it is only slightly higher now than in previous years. We pointed this out in an examination of the presidents State of the Union address, citing an Energy Information Administration graphic that shows production levels well below the rates from 1951 through 2002.
Its also important to note that the Department of the Interior works with five-year lease plans for extraction. The last program, which came from President George W. Bush, ended just this year, meaning the production increase is mostly attributable to Obamas predecessor. The ad states that production has risen under President Obama. This is technically true but misleading.
— Ace "He should be studying the playbook, instead of becoming the hottest power bottom on the Hudson dock."
Thanks to @comradearthur
Post-post update: Olbermann was canned for, once again, not showing up for work.
The source added that Olbermann failed to show up for work without authorization, missing almost half of his working days in the months of January and February. Olbermann asked for a vacation day on March 5, the night before Super Tuesday, according to the source. He was told it would be a breach if he took the vacation, which Olbermann did.
Olbermann's Statement Added
— Ace Unprecedented!
Current TV said Friday afternoon that it had terminated the contract of its lead anchor Keith Olbermann, scarcely one year after he was hired to reboot the fledgling channel in his progressive political image.
Mr. Olbermann did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Current indicated that he had failed to honor the terms of his five-year, $50 million contract, giving the channel the right to terminate it.
This could be jockeying for position as far as the settlement, but that does seem to be an aggressive posture, no? So even if there's to be a settlement, they seem ready to push their rights and make it as small as possible.
A statement from the company states:
"Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.
Olbermann will not even be afforded the opportunity to sign off and say good bye. As I said, aggressive.
The vote on this, by senior managers at the outfit? Unanimous.
Olbermann's Statement: Just getting it up, haven't read it yet.
My full statement:
I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatts values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty, I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employees name was Clarence B. Cain. http://nyti.ms/HueZsa
Um. Well, I'm sure Current can't point to any of Olbermann's history to demonstrate he's a problem employee.
In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.more...
— Ace I was wondering why this wasn't getting bigger play. Some commenters sort of knocked it down, but I didn't understand their reasoning.
The "global minimum tax" would be levied by the IRS on American companies with foreign components abroad. So if Mexico, say (I'm making up numbers) taxes business at 25%, thus encouraging US companies to move a plant over there, Biden's regime would impose some higher tax, who knows, 35%, with the 10% excess imposed by the IRS and going to the US treasury.
Theres no foreign agency involved. Its just a new tool for the IRS to reach an American companys profits no matter where in the world they might be invested. In theory, thatll eliminate the competitive advantage other nations have over the U.S. by undercutting our corporate tax rates.
But it's still stupid:
In practice, it could lead to more American corporations being sold to foreign investors: Because the U.S. only taxes the profits of U.S. companies, one way to dodge the new global minimum tax would be to invite a takeover by a foreign company. Which, depending upon how high the new minimum tax is and how many companies flee, could mean less overall tax revenue than before. But then, whats another $100 billion in the hole when youre already running deficits in the trillions?
The simple fact is that our rates or too high to be competitive. Rather than lowering our rates, Team Obama's answer is what it always is: Let's raise rates even higher, even on plants in foreign companies.
The competitive disadvantage imposed by high American corporate tax rates can be abated by either lowering the rates, or by jacking up the effective tax rates on foreign plants.
Color me shocked Obama's choosing the "Higher Taxes" route again.
Raising taxes on American job creators is apparently not enough to satisfy Presidents Obamas trillion-dollar spending addiction. Instead of promoting pro-growth tax policies that provide businesses with the economic freedom to grow and prosper, he is backing a global tax that would harm American competitiveness, Romney said in a statement released by the campaign. My plan to reform the tax code by cutting rates and encouraging reinvestment here in America is the right way to jumpstart an economic recovery and create new American jobs.
Romney's a smart guy. I assumed that he, unlike me, knew what Biden was talking about.
Note he doesn't allege the misinterpretation I had. He's factually accurate. Nevertheless, he puts that "global tax" on the table. He doesn't define it. Just leaves it at "global tax."
So people can draw their own conclusions. And if they draw a conclusion that's not quite accurate, so be it. He hasn't tied himself to that conclusion, but he... leaves it out there.
It's not his job to teach Joe Biden how to speak.
— Ace ...and I missed it the first time 'round, and haven't seen anyone else call it out, until now.
A New York Times article discusses Anthony Kennedy's very-swing vote, and how both teams of lawyers composed much of their argument and almost all of their summations to appeal to him. Since Kennedy is always talking about "liberty," they both tried to present their positions as pro-liberty.
This made Clement wonder: A law that forces you to do things you don't want to do is pro-liberty?
But anyway. The other lawyer against ObamaCare, Carvin, the one no one is really talking about too much (except to say "both challengers' lawyers were better than Verrilli) made a pitch to Kennedy that makes a great deal of sense.
The young person who is uninsured, Justice Kennedy told Michael A. Carvin, a lawyer for private parties challenging the law, is uniquely proximately very close to affecting the rates of insurance and the costs of providing medical care in a way that is not true in other industries. Thats my concern in the case. Audio: Justice Kennedys Questioning of Carvin
Mr. Carvin responded that the law actually frustrated individual responsibility. Theyre compelling us to enter into the marketplace, he said, but theyre prohibiting us from buying the only economically sensible product that we would want, catastrophic insurance.
This is not about whether catastrophic coverage -- didn't they call that Major Medical, and wasn't that, until recently, pretty common? -- is the most economically sensible coverage.
It is that, actually. But we can't really argue that point too much in court because the courts are not supposed to evaluate policy responses and decide which is best.
The point is that major medical can certainly be argued to be the best health insurance product for many, or even most (or I'd argue: all) customers, and yet ObamaCare forbids it. Makes it illegal. Strips that liberty to choose away.
Often these questions are about framing. If you frame the abortion question as the mother's choice as to whether to terminate a pregnancy versus the baby's right to live, that's not only a tough question, but many think it's not a tough question at all -- if you frame it that way, they say, it's not even a question. Abortion should be illegal.
But the court, in framing the question in Roe v. Wade, cast the conflict as between a woman seeking medical advice and treatment versus the state's need (or lack thereof) to block her from seeking medical advice and treatment.
Woman vs. Baby? Tough question, and baby probably wins.
Woman vs. the State? Um, easy question. Woman wins.
So, Roe v. Wade just ignored the tough question really behind the abortion debate to focus on the relatively easy question -- freedom is good, the state should be limited -- and decided it that way.
It was easy for them once they framed it to be easy.
Now, ObamaCare supporters would like to frame this case as a choice between two tough options -- either we permit this constitutionally-absurd bill, or else millions of people can't have medical coverage and will suffer and die.
If you frame it that way, ObamaCare has a shot, because most people are anti-suffering and anti-death.
But is that the proper way to frame it?
If we look at it Carvin's way -- this is about the government taking away your ability to choose an economically sensible, historically useful product, Major Medical, and forces you instead to buy a very costly, dubiously useful policy which covers almost everything (and of course costs more than it would just be to buy each service with your own cash), then that seems to be a much easier question.
Where does the government get this idea that it can take away our liberty to purchase products that make sense to us? Or force us to buy any product at all?
See, the liberals' argument is that this should be permitted because of course no one would, or should, go without medical insurance. They feel that they can say this is such an easy call, that they are so wise in these matters, they can say that your choice to be uninsured is strictly irrational, and they do not have to make allowances for your irrational decisions.
The right decision is to carry insurance -- and sure, maybe it takes away your freedom to be stupid if we refuse to permit you any other option, but that's a relatively unimportant freedom, in their thinking. (I'd argue it's a very important freedom-- because once you go down this road of deciding that people have only the "right" to make "correct" decisions, you have no more freedom; you have a state that which will decide what's best for you.)
But Carvin's point defeats even that line of reasoning. Because Carvin can say "I'm not talking about this 'right to go uninsured,' which you liberal busybodies will dismiss as unimportant. I'm talking about the right to make a different sensible, economically-smart choice -- to have insurance, but a major medical catastrophic coverage policy, so the insurance is actually real insurance and only covers me when I incur high costs. Under that, I pay myself."
Now, that is not a stupid exercise of freedom. That is a very deft exercise of freedom -- and one that ObamaCare would forbid.
It's one thing, for paternalistic minded liberals (which Kennedy can be sometimes), to say that you're going to permit an otherwise unconstitutional assertion of power by the federal government, because the only "freedom" you're destroying is a self-destructive one.
But what about when the government asserts the power to not only forbid a self-destructive choice, but a perfectly reasonable and sensible (and arguably: Optimal) choice?
Now we're not talking about some "freedom to be self-destructive" anymore, a freedom that the paternalistic liberals will sneer at, in the interests of Protecting People From Themselves.
Now we're talking about pure freedom, freedom to make a proper choice, too.
The government just decided that all insurance must be comprehensive. And that no one any longer had the freedom to choose anything but that -- even its superior competitor, Catastrophic Coverage.
That's not destroying a "stupid" freedom to be self-destructive. That's taking away a very real and sensible choice.
And on what authority, exactly?
I sure hope the justices consider this more.
— Ace They're worried about the repercussions?
Can we pause for a moment to worry just about the percussions themselves? Seems they're more of a clear and present danger, no?
— Ace ...on manufacturing.
Supposedly this helps America, he says. Because, see, it would create a global minimum tax, right? And then that helps America, which apparently is determined to have high taxes on business.
People who are not stupid recognize this as insane.
"We want to create (what's called) a global minimum tax, because American taxpayers shouldn't be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home," Biden said at a campaign event.
Ah yes, every new tax, and every news Global Tax Authority, is a big boon to the American taxpayer.
Kinda just got away from me at the end there.
Gee, Maybe We Could Do Something About This Instead. On Sunday, Japan's cutting of the corporate tax rate to 38.8% becomes operative law.
On that day, we become the country with the world's highest corporate tax rates, at 39.2%.
So Biden's proposal is that we create a new One World Government-type body to levy higher taxes on the world.
And not cut our own taxes on the production of goods.
Because that's what the Republicans would want.
So we can't do that. No, that means we're going to put America, for the first time in its history, under a foreign body's control, and further, we'll actually be taking the lead in reducing world wealth.
Litmus Test: Did Shit Just Get Real? Yes.
— DrewM Well, that's the 30 year payout, the cash option is $462 million (before federal and state taxes).
Alexthechick suggested a "What would you do with the money" thread, so here you go.
— DrewM The unions want more taxpayer money. Now we'll see if people in Wisconsin are stupid enough to give it to them.
The Government Accountability Board voted 5-0 to order the recall, a move that has been expected for weeks given the high number of signatures gathered between November and January. It took 540,208 signatures to trigger a recall.
Assuming a Democratic primary is necessary, it will be May 8. The actual recall vote then will be June 5. Three Democrats already have announced they are running and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whom Walker defeated in 2010, has said he would announce his intentions before Tuesday.
Walker said Thursday that he looked forward to making his argument for keeping his job during the recall campaign.
"It gives us a great opportunity to tell our story, to tell that we're turning things around, how we're heading in the right direction, how we're moving Wisconsin forward," Walker said after a news conference in Milwaukee. "But we've got a lot more to do."
The Lt. Governor and 3 GOP state senators will also face recall fights.
Here's Walker's pitch to voters.
You can donate to his recall fund here.
— andy I'm sorry, but are you effin' kidding me Peggy?
Something's happening to President Obama's relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, "Nothing new there," but actually I think there is. I'm referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.
It's not due to the election, and it's not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn't happening.
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.
Uhhhh ... ok. You can read the rest of her reasoning, but, honestly, why bother?
I guess it makes sense if you believed the crap Obama was selling in 2008.
Oh, wait. Peggy did!
But now, Dame Noonan declares "Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest."
NO! NO HE DOESN'T! He's been devious and dishonest since day one, you idiot! You were just too stupid or starstruck or whatever to see it.
I mean, honestly, is anyone surprised by the race-baiting or any of the other crap we're getting from a "community organizer" who sat in Reverend Wright's "church" for twenty years and was a member of the socialist New Party?
Oh, screw it. I'll have what Peggy's having. more...
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