April 29, 2012
— andy The White House Correspondents' Dinner last night was apparently hilarious:
President Barack Obama poked fun Saturday at everything, from the Secret Service scandal to the lavish spending by the Government Services Administration, to the upcoming general election.
Oh yeah, that stuff's a laugh riot. Especially the one about those GSA clowns pissing away all that money as a reminder of where the huge check I wrote a couple of weeks ago is headed. Gold, Barack. Comedy gold!
I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but I'm anxious to see how he blames it on Bush.
Also, there were dog jokes but not the ones he wanted to deliver just a few weeks ago thanks to Treacher.
More presidential humor:
"Jimmy [Kimmel] got his start on the 'Man Show.' In Washington, that is what we call a congressional hearing on contraception."
Kimmel, who took the stage following the president's monologue, hit back.
"Remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow?" Kimmel asked. "That was hilarious."
Kimmel said there was a term for "guys like the president," and it wasn't two terms.
So, soooo easy. He's a sitting duck.
April 28, 2012
— CDR M
Now I've had a few things fall of my aircraft before but nothing like this. The Day A Nuclear Bomb Fell On South Carolina. Lucky, lucky family.
That afternoon sisters Helen and Frances Gregg, aged six and nine, and their nine-year-old cousin Ella Davies were in the playhouse their father had built for them in the woods behind their house in Mars Bluff, South Carolina.
At around four oclock they decided to move from the playhouse to the side yard 200 yards away. It was a decision that kept them from becoming the first Americans killed by a nuclear weapon released on U.S. territory.
Minutes later the woods behind the playhouse were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
The high-explosive trigger in the bomb blew up on contact with the ground, leaving a crater 50 feet across and 35 feet deep.
Luckily, the nuclear core had been stored elsewhere on the plane. Of course they sued the Air Force and received a whopping $54K. more...
— Open Blogger Welcome back once again to the legendary Saturday Nite
AoSHQ Chess Thread
From last week's thread:
You guys were serious.
There really is going to be a weekly chess thread.
Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at April 21, 2012 08:23 PM (piMMO)
Heh. I'm thinking of making this the new motto of the Sat. Nite Chess Thread.
Also from last week's thread, a suggestion:
How about appending the weekly thread with some elementary chess stuff for the uninitiated? Knight forks and der like.
Or explain what you're supposed to be doing in the first few moves. I've never understood what one should be doing tactically. Most people like me just stagger the pawns but we're not sure what to do after that.
Posted by: weft cut-loop at April 21, 2012 08:32 PM (ebPtk)
A couple of things: I doubt that I'll be getting very much into instruction on specific aspects of playing chess, i.e knight forks and such. My pitiful little chess thread simply does not compare to the wealth of material on these subjects that can be found on many actual chess sites.
But, I do have some advice on the second question, regarding what you should be doing in the first few moves. "OK, what do I do now?" can be a vexing question. And actually, I think this is one of the hardest things to teach a beginner, and I'm not sure how to do it in a procedural, step-by-step fashion.
So I will answer by analogy: If you go to an art museum, particularly one where there are famous paintings, you will often see people with sketchbooks or maybe even small paint sets copying one of the works on display. These are art students and they're trying to learn about their craft by copying the masters. I'm not an artist myself, but I'd guess they're learning about things such as color, light, texture, brush stroke technique, and other aspects of painting by doing this, and then that they can use what they've learned in their own painting efforts.
I think little kids learn how to speak in the same way. There's no systematic instruction for toddlers, they just hang out with older people, listen, and pick up what they can. It's not always right, and sometimes hilariously wrong, but they eventually get the hang of it, just by soaking it all in.
This can be a slow process.
So in chess, I recommend a similar approach, that is, study and play through the master games. And I don't mean one or two or 10, but many, many, many. Play through them over and over again. Watch what they do, and then do what they do in your own games. Try to understand the annotations, but don't feel discouraged if you don't. If it's not clear, then just move on. At this beginning stage, a lot of chess can be soaked up by osmosis and you want to provide every opportunity for this to happen
So find a collection of master games, old, new, whatever, it doesn't matter. I myself would recommend the older games, because I subscribe to former world champion Max Euwe's theory that one's personal development of chess understanding recapitulates in miniature how chess developed and progressed historically. So I think you'd be better off looking at the older games first.
And for this purpose, I don't think there's any better book than this one. It's one of the classic books, thankfully updated to algebraic notation. Again, don't worry if you don't understand the explanations of why this or that move is good. Quantity is more important than quality. This won't always be true, but for now it is.
Here's another fine old book of master games. There's enough to keep you busy here for a long time. I was surprised how expensive this one is, in fact I would say it is way overpriced, so if you want something cheaper, I would recommend this one.
I was able to go on Amazon today and purchase a used (but supposedly in very good condition) copy of the overpriced $30 book for around $2.50, so this may be a good alternative if you're a cheap bastard like I am.
This week's famous chess game, sent in by a moron (thanks!) is Ivanchuk v Yusupov from their 1991 Candidates QF match. It's another crazy-ass slugfest
Thanks to those of you who have sent me tips for this thread. They may be sent to me at
and then the at sign
followed by yahoo
and then dot
— rdbrewer Open thread. more...
— rdbrewer Boy, you know Obama would love to throw this one back. Recall, this is the president who made the Dalai Lama use the White House back door. The one by the trash bins.
Chen Guangcheng's is a self-taught lawyer and has been an advocate for the handicapped and families faced with forced abortion. The State Department and the White House are not commenting. But a former State Department official had something to say:
Chen Guangcheng is a very strong candidate for asylum, said Susan L. Shirk, a former State Department official who is now a professor at the University of California, San Diego. A blind lawyer who is being persecuted for exposing forced abortions? I dont think theres any question about it.
But look at how the White House handled the Wang Lijun case last February. From the Times:
In February, the Obama administration was thrust into an internal Chinese political dispute when Wang Lijun, the former top police official from the region of Chongqing, sought refuge in the American Consulate in Chengdu. Mr. Wang revealed details about the killing of a British businessman, setting off a cascade of events that led to the downfall of Bo Xilai, who was the party chief in Chongqing and a member of Chinas Politburo. American diplomats said they had determined that Mr. Wangs case did not involve national security, and he was turned over to Chinese officials, prompting criticism from some in Washington about their handling of the case. Both sides insist Mr. Wang left of his own accord.
(Emphasis added.) Sure, he wanted to go back to the Chinese. That's just the way dissidents roll, isn't it? After all, both sides agreed. But wasn't there a third side to this? I wonder what Wang might have said in an interview.
We'll never know, will we?
According to the Wikipedia entry linked above, the consulate building was encircled by police while Wang was there. "The Department of State refused to comment on speculations Wang sought to defect to the United States." After his departure, "Wang was immediately seized by security agents." He was flown to Beijing, "possibly in the company of Qiu Jin, vice minister of the Ministry of State Security."
In the extant case, according to the Times, rights advocates are saying Chen is not seeking to leave China:
But, as in the exploding scandal surrounding Bo Xilai, the Obama administration has sought to keep itself out of Chinas internal politics.
Rights advocates said Mr. Chen was not seeking to leave China, but would try to negotiate his freedom with the Chinese authorities.
He is reluctant to go overseas and wants only to live like a normal Chinese citizen, said Mr. Fu.
(Emphasis added.) But if he does seek to go overseas, I'm sure President Gutsy Call will be right there to help.
— andy So it turns out the socialist bint vying to become my next U.S. senator is a Native American™. Well that certainly changes my vote.
Elizabeth Warrens avowed Native American heritage which the candidate rarely if ever discusses on the campaign trail was once touted by embattled Harvard Law School officials who cited her claim as proof of their facultys diversity.
Warrens claim, which surfaced yesterday after a Herald inquiry, put the candidate in an awkward position as campaign aides last night scrambled but failed to produce documents proving her family lineage. Aides said the tales of Warrens Cherokee and Delaware tribe ancestors have been passed down through family lore.
She lives on a reservation in Cambridge, Massachusetts referred to as Harvard University. The living conditions there are terrible, or so I hear, with an exorbitant cost of living and high rates of cultural, economic and historical illiteracy.
I, for one, thank Elizabeth "Pocamarxus" Warren for highlighting these issues and wish her well in her future endeavors as a member of the tribal council ... err, faculty. more...
— andy An early thread for you this morning, 'rons and 'ronettes. The boy and I are headed to the Big Apple today, and we're getting a little earlier start than I'd hoped for.
Nothing a cup or twelve of coffee won't cure.
For today's must-read, I'm just going to tip you to the title of Steyn's column at NRO: Cuisines from My Stepfather
April 27, 2012
— CDR M
Evenin' morons. Apologies up front if this edition of the ONT is a bit light on material as I just started a month long exercise and the internet connectivity sucks on watch but I will do my best. If you liked the above picture, there are more at the Best Of The Baffled Boxer Meme over at Pleated Jeans.
Well, the Olympics are coming up and it would seem that the US Navy SEALs are providing some "training" to our folks. Navy SEALs Push U.S. Olympians To The Limit In Their Training. Heh, they're struggling with 4 hours of SEAL physical endurance training. That's just a taste.
The session starts genially enough, with a video presentation, some talk about becoming a Navy SEAL and a quick overview of the separating-men-from-boys "Hell Week" part of SEALs training.
Then the SEALs warn their audience, comprised mostly of U.S. sailing team members: "We're going to re-set your baseline today."
Within hours, some athletes are on the edge of hypothermia, some are crying, others are cursing like, well, sailors, and all are fully immersed in misery.
Now if we could add naval gunnery to the Olympic Sailing competion and perhaps boarding events. That would be some must see TV there. more...
— CAC A nail-biter, but not as bad as Prosser Vs Klopp:
Tom Barrett will win the Democratic nomination, beating Falk in the primary two Tuesdays from now. He will enjoy a boost in support from Democrats bent on revenge, but will be facing strong Republican turnout as well. Over 2.5 million votes will be cast. Walker wins, narrowly, as Milwaukee turnout fails to reach 2010 levels (but stronger than in the 2011 supreme court race). Several counties lost by Prosser flip back, narrowly.
Republicans hold 3 state senate seats out of 4 also up for grabs. The fourth is too close to call, potentially putting the Senate in the hands of the Democrats despite Walker's survival.
Marquette University will be releasing a new poll regarding the election next Wednesday. Data gathered will effect the official forecast, which has seen a slight dip in Walker's overall share of the vote (updated daily on the sidebar). So far the only likely voter poll was commissioned by Daily Kos and found Walker with a larger win of 50-45. I do believe there will be a unification "bounce" for the Democrat post-primary but not enough (at this time) to defeat the incumbent governor.
For the latest projections and polls (including some hours before their official release), follow me on twitter.
— Ace Uh, yeah-uh!
Worth reading in full. An optimistic take.
Republicans feel an understandable anxiety about Mr. Obama's coming campaign: It will be all slice and dice, divide and conquer, break the country into little pieces and pick up as many as you can. He'll try to pick up college students one day and solidify environmentalist support the next, he'll valorize this group and demonize the other. He means to gather in and hold onto all the pieces he needs, and turn them into a jagged, jangly coalition that will win it for him in November and not begin making individual demands until December.
But it still matters that the president doesn't have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy, it tends to pop up furtively in stray...
Butand forgive me, because what I'm about to say is rudehas anyone noticed how boring he is? Plonking platitude after plonking platitude. To see Mr. Obama on the stump is to see a man at the podium who's constantly dribbling away the punch line. He looks pleasant but lacks joy; he's cool but lacks vigor. A lot of what he says could have been said by a president 12 or 20 years ago, little is anchored to the moment. As he makes his points he often seems distracted, as if he's holding a private conversation in his head, noticing crowd size, for instance, and wishing the front row would start fainting again, like they used to.
He's raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading. He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operationthey know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who've never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way. This is thought to be a secret weapon. I'm not so sure. All they can approach their new friends with is arguments that have already been made, the same attacks and assertions. If you have fabulous new ways to reach everyone in the world but you have little to say, does that really help you?
This is the problem of the world now: Big mic, no message. If you have nothing to say, does it matter that you have endless venues in which to say it?
There is a growing air of incompetence around Mr. Obama's White House. It was seen again this week in Supreme Court arguments over the administration's challenge to Arizona's attempted crackdown on illegal immigration. As Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News wrote, the court seemed to be disagreeing with the administration's understanding of federal power: "Solicitor General Donald Verrilli . . . met resistance across ideological lines. . . . Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's only Hispanic and an Obama appointee, told Verrilli his argument is 'not selling very well.'" This follows last month's embarrassing showing over the constitutionality of parts of ObamaCare.
All of this looks so bush league, so scattered. Add it to the General Services Administration, to Solyndra, to the other scandals, and you get a growing sense that no one's in charge, that the administration is paying attention to politics but not day-to-day governance.
She ends by asking a series of "Are you better off"" type questions.
I really think it's as simple as she says. Ultimately this election is about the question: "Do you want to try something else, or do you think the last four years are the very best we can do?"
If you've Defined Expectations so low as to give Obama high marks, well, I guess you're unteachable.
But I don't think most people have decided Obama is the Very Best We Can Do.
I think they've decided the last four years are the best Obama can do, but not the best America can do.
— Ace Good essay rebutting the charge that the 1950s were a Conformist-Culture Wasteland -- in fact, large numbers of people, from the Middle Class and Working Class, took an interest in High Culture.
The interesting thing about this was that the "elites" objected at the time -- they actually were opposed to The Stupid Masses (as they thought of them) becoming cultured.
The essay is about several things (it's lengthy) and I can't digest it all. But let me just hit that one part.
Macdonald made himself the chief critic of the cultural category he dubbed the middlebrow. The great danger to America, he argued in his most famous essay, Masscult and Midcult, was the effort by the masses to elevate themselves culturally. Because of the middlebrow impulse, he said, book clubs had spread across the country like so much ooze. The result, Macdonald believed, could only be the pollution of high culture and its degradation in becoming popular culture. Two cultures have developed in this country, insisted Macdonald, and it is to the national interest to keep them separate.
His words were vicious. Already we have far too much of this insipiditymasses of people who are half breeds daring to partake of the American culture of the cheap newspaper, the movies, the popular song, the ubiquitous automobile and creating hordes of men and women without a spiritual country without taste, without standards but those of the mob.
That was, Macdonald explained, because the masses are not people, they are not The Man in the Street or The Average Man, they are not even that figment of liberal condescension, The Common Man. The masses are, rather, man as non-man. He quoted the author Roger Fry approvingly as saying Americans have lost the power to be individuals. They have become social insects like bees and ants.
MacDonald turned out to be a great fan of the New Left of the 1960s.
Dwight Macdonald, who spat on the ambitions of the midcult man, took an interesting journey himself in the 1960s. He became a movie critic and later a contributor to the Today show. When student radicals took over buildings on the campus of Columbia University, Macdonald celebrated them and responded mildly when members of the Students for a Democratic Society (which gave birth to the terrorist Weathermen) literally set fire to the manuscript of a professor. The man who had denounced the barbarism of the American middle saw true barbarism in practice and found it wonderfully stimulating.
I've written a lot about the not-so-secret yearning of supposedly pro-"Common Man" liberals to reinforce class distinctions, thus carving out for themselves a New Aristocracy class.
— Ace I watched all week. The gap shrunk slightly to +6 but now is back up to +7.
The Weekend Effect should be cleared from the results, except for Sunday.
I'm really not panicked because I still think the fundamentals mean that Obama loses the election. But I thought I should note that my prediction was wrong.
Meanwhile, there's always Rasmussen, showing Romney with an MoE one point edge over Obama in Florida.
— Ace Video of the falling bear.
— Ace In the LAT. Over the air at Fox, Megyn Kelley said the plan was to file it unless Holder begins complying with document requests.
Republican House leaders have drafted a proposed contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in which they charge that he and his Justice Department have repeatedly "obstructed and slowed" the Capitol Hill investigation into [Fast & Furious].
If adopted by the GOP-led House, the contempt resolution would be sent to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington or perhaps an independent counsel in an attempt to force the Justice Department to provide tens of thousands of internal documents to the committee.
— Ace Via @gabriel_malor and @drewmtips...
Drew points out that if you click through, the headline on the actual article (that is, not the headline on the main NPR page) asks if moderate growth is good for the economy.
Top Ten: Toss me some Top Ten NPR headline gags. I'll use them or adapt them for a list.
Top Ten Rejected NPR Headlines
10. Did Hitler Get a Bad Rap?
9. Should I tell my husband I'm cheating on him? And planning to murder him?
8. What's so Morbid about Morbid Obesity?
7. Should I bait this rat-hole with my penis? If not, why not?
6. Is thirteen really too young?
5. Should I eat a knife?
4. Who's afraid of late-stage Hanta virus?
3. Candy From Strangers: Are we teaching our children to be ungrateful?
2. Hey, anyone want to see the new Woody Allen movie?
...and the number one rejected NPR headline...
1. Your Mouth: Why it pays to be trusting about what will or won't happen there
Thanks to alexthechick.
Thanks to everyone for their headlines. I tried to do most of this one myself.
It turns out it's a harder category than I imagined.
— Ace Obama's new ad claims he made a call others wouldn't, and includes an out of context quote by Romney suggesting that Romney wouldn't have made the call.
Here is the out-of-context quote, which, if you search for it on Google, you'll find thousands of times, without context. You have to page forward a lot to find the context.
"It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
This got pushed by McCain back in the primary of 2007. The late great Dean Barnett inquired into the actual context of the quote (AP only reported what's above) and found that AP was distorting Romney's meaning.
Our own Matt Lewis, showing the innate industriousness that sets Townhall contributors apart, contacted the Romney campaign and got the full text of the interview. Surprise, surprise- turns out the AP did miss some context. The exchange between Romney and reporter Liz Sidoti went as follows:
LIZ SIDOTI: "Why haven't we caught bin Laden in your opinion?"
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: "I think, I wouldn't want to over-concentrate on Bin Laden. He's one of many, many people who are involved in this global Jihadist effort. He's by no means the only leader. It's a very diverse group Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and
executing an effective strategy to defeat global, violent Jihad and I have a plan for doing that."
So Romney's quote was intended to suggest that we need to do more, not less, in the war on Jihad, and that killing a single man was useful but not sufficient.
This is being turned into "Romney doesn't care about bin Ladin."
Democrats have long urged limited war aims (actually, no war at all, but that's "limited.") The argument through the war has been minimalist versus maximalist. I'm not confident in Bush's version of maximalism any longer (I do not want to use our troops to nation build, ever), but it's absurd to turn a quote by Romney urging a maximalist response -- kill bin Ladin, yes, but don't focus only on that; we have a much larger war to win -- as somehow suggesting he wouldn't even do the minimum.
SIDOTI: "But would the world be safer if bin laden were caught?"
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "Yes, but by a small percentage increase a very insignificant increase in safety by virtue of replacing bin Laden with someone else. Zarqawi we celebrated the killing of Zarqawi, but he was quickly replaced. Global Jihad is not an effort that is being populated by a handful or even a football stadium full of people. It is it involves millions of people and is going to require a far more comprehensive strategy than a targeted approach for bin laden or a few of his associates."
SIDOTI: "Do you fault the administration for not catching him though? I mean, they've had quite a few years going after him."
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "There are many things that have not been done perfectly in any conduct of war. In the Second World War, we paratroopered in our troops further than they were supposed to be from the beaches. We landed in places on the beaches that weren't anticipated. Do I fault Eisenhower? No, he won. And I'm nowhere near as consumed with bin Laden as I am concerned about global Jihadist efforts."
Another bit of context that must be understood: At the time, the media and the liberal Democrats (but I repeat myself) was attempting to claim the War on Terror was a failure due to the single variable "Have we got bin Ladin?" (Of course, had Bush gotten him, they would have changed the premise to "The war is a failure unless we get Zarqawi," or whoever was left.)
Bush's political strategy at the time was reminding people that this wasn't just some global posse set to arrest or kill a single man-- that terror was not the work of a single man, Al Qaeda was not the work of a single man, 9/11 was not the work of a single man, but rather of a million-plus strong movement and ideology, and that that ideology -- not a singe standard-bearer -- had to be defeated.
— Ace 4th quarter 2011's growth rate was 3.0%.
First quarter 2012 is 2.2%. Unexpectedly.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but when it comes to gangbusters growth and economic activity, Obama peaked too soon.
Watch CNBC spin this to make it sound as if this rate beats expectations:
While that was below economists' expectations for a 2.5 percent pace, a surge in consumer spending took some of the sting from the report. However, growth was still stronger than analysts' predictions early in the quarter for an expansion below 1.5 percent.
So it was below expectations, but really, earlier in the quarter less-accurate predictions were for it to be lower than it turned out to be, so, going by those dated predictions, we're really looking good.
— LauraW Have fun, dearest Morons! But take it easy. Ace is still 'under the weather' from last weekend. This was him, last Saturday morning.
Brought to you by Jägermeister.
MAN!! If I had a nickel for every time I was shot out of a tree...I'd have, what? Seventy-five cents? Something like that. Dang.
AOSHQ PSA: It's a crappy way to start a day, guys. They don't always put a mattress under there.
Take it easy and have a good weekend.
Thanks to Dave in Texas for the pic. Clicking it links to the story, if you're curious about the bear.
— Gabriel Malor FRIDAY!!
A judge in Florida has blocked Gov. Scott's order that state workers get drug tested. The judge found that there was no evidence of a drug problem at state agencies and so no basis for the testing.
Lava spirals spotted on Mars, and they're much larger than lava spirals here on Earth. I'm assuming that gravity plays a role.
At least three bombs have gone off in eastern Ukrainian city Dnipropetrovsk. Twitter reports say there's been a fourth bomb. At least 15 are injured.
Judge rejects request to order Obama to release the Osama bin Laden photos. The CIA, which is apparently in possession of the photos (DOD said it didn't have them), says it cannot release them for reasons of national security. The judge won't second-guess the CIA.
The only legal bright spots yesterday were a judge in Illinois, who found the state's tax on internet sales to be unconstitutional and preempted by federal law. Also, the Army judge overseeing the Bradley Manning court martial refused to throw out the charge of aiding the enemy. more...
April 26, 2012
Well I'm still kinda sick and also under multiple deadlines. So tonight you're gonna get The Sandwich. And like it.
Because it's got bacon.more...
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