September 29, 2014

FBI: Oklahoma Beheading of Woman by Jihadist is Obviously Just a Case of Workplace Violence
— Ace

I wondered last week if the media would completely cover up this story, as they embargoed the Jihadist Serial Killer in Seattle.

I forgot to ask if the FBI would, too.

Posted by: Ace at 09:29 AM | Comments (253)
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They're Now Building... Shipping-Container Apartments
— Ace

The shipping containers are specced out with interior walls and plumbing and such and then they're just stacked on top of each other to form an apartment complex.

In the sci-fi novel Ready Player One, the very poor protagonist lived in a place called "The Stacks," which were just mobile homes stacked one upon the other (to save space, because of overpopulation and the impossibility of poor folks owning any actual property), then laced together with ramshackle fire escapes.

I thought that was a cute attempt to hyperbolize the drama of the poor, but a dumb one. An interesting image, but there's no way that would happen.

Well, something like that is happening. Shows what I know.

Posted by: Ace at 07:50 AM | Comments (408)
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The Proper Use of Pronouns, As Demonstrated by Barack Obama
— Ace

Demonstration One: The Second-Person Singular Pronoun "You."

Barack Obama: "All around the country, wherever I see folks, they always say, oh, Barack, we're praying for you -- boy, you're so great; look, you got all gray hair, you looking tired. (Laughter.) We're praying for you. Which I appreciate..."

Demonstration Two: The Third-Person Plural Pronoun "They."

The United States underestimated the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, President Obama said during an interview, to be broadcast Sunday night, in which he also acknowledged the Iraqi army’s inability to successfully tackle the threat.

According to transcript from Sunday's "60 Minutes" on CBS interview, correspondent Steve Kroft referred to comments by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, in which he said, "We overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi Army, to fight."

"That's true. That's absolutely true," Obama said. "Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria."

Demonstration Three -- INCORRECT Usage of the Third-Person Singular Pronoun "He."

Reached by The Daily Beast after Obama’s interview aired, one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted. "Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he's getting or he's bull****ing," the former official said...

Kidding aside, Geraghty then (in the second link) demonstrates the various warnings the intelligence committee has made about Iraq and Syria.

Thanks to JustTheTip and @comradearthur.

For Further Consideration:

Historical Demonstration: The Proper Use of The First Person Plural Pronoun "We."

"We got him." -- Barack Obama commenting upon the killing of Osama bin Ladin

Posted by: Ace at 06:55 AM | Comments (184)
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Speculating Bloggers: Hong Kong Protesters Are Using "Hands Up" Posture in Conscious Echo of Ferguson, MO
People Who Bother To Do Their Jobs and Ask Questions: No They're Not

— Ace

Why does this keep happening? Is every single stray thought, twitter speculation, and phantom bridge in Israel breaking news for Vox?

Incidentally, did they really imagine the "hands up" posture was something unknown to the wider world until Ferguson protesters began using this?

Seems very provincial to me -- conceiving of the world as having the same agendas and reference points as American bloggers who either live in Brooklyn or intend to move there ASAP.

Thanks to @benk84. Just a quick one as a slumpbuster.

Updated: This wasn't just Vox claiming this pulled-out-of-the-ass speculation as fact -- it was a lot of the media, including a blogger for the WaPo and, naturally, MSNBC.

Posted by: Ace at 06:26 AM | Comments (185)
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Open Thread
— rdbrewer


Posted by: rdbrewer at 05:25 AM | Comments (135)
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Top Headline Comments 9-29-14
— Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

I missed this great rebuttal last week to Democratic claims that Obamacare is just hunky-dory.

Greg Orman, the dude running against GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas, is a complete coward. When asked who he would caucus with in the Senate, he now answers, "It's not in the best interests for us to say that." His answers on other issues are as vague.

Pro-democracy demonstrations continue in Hong Kong.

Another former TV property hit it big at the box office.

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

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:44 AM | Comments (99)
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September 28, 2014

Overnight Open Thread 9/28/14 (tmi3rd)
— Open Blogger

Hi there, Morons and Moronettes. Maetenloch is tied up with other things at the moment, but my understanding is that it’s not contagious and the burning sensation should clear up fairly quickly.

Burns.gif more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 03:59 PM | Comments (549)
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What A Bargain! - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
— Open Blogger

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a $5 cell phone holder which attaches to a car's air conditioning vent. Yesterday I finally got around to opening the package and installing it in the car. It took approximately .5 seconds for me to decide that it had to come out. So, 5 minutes later, pliers in hand, I broke off the clips and tossed the entire device. $5 down the drain.

Marketeers (yes. I call them marketeers) know that there is a break-point at which a customer will make the effort to return a bad product and, for many people, $5 ain't it.

So, think about it. How much money do you suppose you have wasted buying bad products? How's your luck with As-Seen-On-TV products?

Is there anything you've purchased which exceeded your expectations?

Just a curiosity.

Some of my favorite purchases of the non-infomercial variety include, well, besides my handbags and shoes, a 4' scaffold for about $80 and a coffee table I picked up from a thrift store for $25.

What are some of your favorites?

Open thread.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:07 PM | Comments (489)
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Food Thread: Beerslinger Returns! A Beer Primer[CBD]
— Open Blogger

Ales & Lagers - A Beer Primer, with ampersands....

Now here I go dropping science about beers; ales and lagers.
Well...maybe we can skip the science, what with all the postulating theorems formulating equations, this is, after all, a primer, and, it's a Sunday.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:15 AM | Comments (135)
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Weekend Travel Thread: Funny Bone Edition [Y-not]
— Open Blogger

Greetings morons and moronettes!

While we all nervously scan the German newspapers for signs of moronette, HR's, arrest for disorderly conduct at Oktoberfest, how about a few chuckles?

Courtesy of Travel and Leisure, here are some funny signs you might encounter while on your travels. As co-author of the Garden Thread, I like this one:


(I'd hate to see the dogs in that neighborhood!)

Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:49 AM | Comments (35)
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OK Horde, here's your chance to tell me I'm wrong [WeirdDave]
— Open Blogger

Or right, I dunno, that's why I'm asking. I have this buddy on Facebook. Good guy, good friend, I like him a lot. He's an ex-nuc, if you've ever read Blind Man's Bluff, his boat was the subject of one of the stories in the book (he won't tell me which one, which is how it should be). In spite of the fact that he glows gently in the dark, I respect him a great deal.

Which is why I was surprised when he posted a link to this article and indicated his approval. If you don't want to click the link, the article was published at Talking Points Memo, it's from a group of former service members who work for The Truman Project (A Soros funded non-profit), who are outraged, just outraged, that Greg Gutfield made a pun on The Five. They were discussing the female pilot from the UAE who led one of the airstrikes in Syria. Greg referred to it as "boobs on the ground" and one of his co-commentators made a joke about her having trouble parking the airplane when she got back. This, apparently, is the greatest outrage since the Holocaust. I replied:

Couldn't disagree more. If it was on a newscast? Maybe. The Five is a humorous, satirical commentary show. Notice who is doing the complaining: The Truman Project, one of George Soros' web of non-profits dedicated to advancing left wing causes. This is all part of the coordinated effort to manufacture an imaginary "war on women" leading up to the mid terms, a desperate attempt to distract people from the fact that 6 years of "progressive" governance has been a disaster. I know more than one female member of the armed forces, and any one of them would reply "Goddamn right we needed boobs on the ground, you swinging dicks weren't getting it done".

He responded no, he found it offensive, and furthermore, the UAE stuck their necks out by having a woman lead the attack, they are sure to be monitoring American news outlets, and stuff like this wasn't doing us any favors with a much needed diplomatic and military ally. (I'm not quoting him because I don't have permission to, but I am trying to present his arguments honestly as he made them).

I thought about this. I thought about it for a day, as I said, this is a friend and I respect his opinion. Ultimately I came back with:

Posted by: Open Blogger at 08:30 AM | Comments (307)
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Sunday Football Thread
— Dave in Texas

All the footballs, all day long.

Sept 28 2014.jpg

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 07:37 AM | Comments (149)
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 09-28-2014: Hegemony [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger

The interior of the Leuven University Library in Leuven, Belgium.

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that

Found: Another Progressive Anti-Text

OK, so I was reading this article here wherein a number of horror enthusiasts were asked what was the scariest book they ever read. I didn't find anything noteworthy to comment on, except for one exception, a book I had never heard of before, Wisconsin Death Trip by historian Michael Lesy:

In the late 1960s, another desperate time, historian Michael Lesy...examin[ed] a collection of several thousand glass plate negatives and historical documents from Jackson County, Wisconsin, he concocted a sprawling treatise on a past that had been willfully forgotten, a brooding rejoinder to Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology. First published in 1973, Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip...became a key text of the counterculture...alongside Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Custer Died for Your Sins--and it sometimes reads like a hip product of its time.

"A hip product of its time." Ugh, that can't be good. So, how did this book come about?

Lesy stumbled across a cache of 30,000 glass plate images made by a local town photographer named Charley Van Schaick and spools of microfilm from the local newspaper - and combined the most compelling of these images and newspaper excerpts to create a vivid examination of Victorian prairie life.

Emphasis mine. So my question is, out of the 30,000 photos he had available, how did Lesy decide which ones were "most compelling"? Let me guess: he picked the absolute worst ones he could find, the ugliest, the most disturbing, the most shocking. And any that conveyed any hint at all of joy or beauty or happiness were not used. I don't know this for a fact, but considering all I've been able to read about this book, I think it's highly probable.

Pre-progressive America, as settled by the descendants of Europeans, must always be presented in the worst possible light. Dee Brown beat this particular horse to death in Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (as did Howard Zinn in the execrable People's History of the United States), and I think Lesy is doing yeoman's work here.

The Amazon blurb contrasts Wisconsin Death Trip with Spoon River Anthology, another book which I had never heard of, so I had look it up, too. The WDT Amazon review suggests Spoon River is a "everything was great in the good old days" type book, but that turns out not to be true. It's a collection of free-verse poems that, taken all together, describes life in the fictitious small town of Spoon River, the people, their hopes, their dreams, their disappointments and anguish. Many of the poems read like epitaphs. Here's an example:

Ollie McGee

Have you seen walking through the village
A Man with downcast eyes and haggard face?
That is my husband who, by secret cruelty
Never to be told, robbed me of my youth and my beauty;
Till at last, wrinkled and with yellow teeth,
And with broken pride and shameful humility,
I sank into the grave.
But what think you gnaws at my husband's heart?
The face of what I was, the face of what he made me!
These are driving him to the place where I lie.
In death, therefore, I am avenged.

I don't see anything even remotely pollyannaish about this. And other poems in the anthology are similar, speaking frequently of heartbreak, heartache, and death. Anyway, I bought the 99-cent Kindle edition, and I think it's going to turn out to be a more worthwhile read than WDT. No that I don't think the turn-of-the-century photos from Wisconsin wouldn't be interesting, I think they would, but I am also interesting in looking at some of the other 30,000 photos that didn't get picked. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:43 AM | Comments (264)
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Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
— Open Blogger

Good morning.

I have a hankering for a long drive into the woods.

If you feel the same, a word of caution: Remember to be careful out there.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:39 AM | Comments (213)
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September 27, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (27 Sep 2014)

Critics blast authorities for treating Oklahoma beheading as workplace violence. Good luck on that. The victims of the Fort Hood jihadi weren't successful in getting it called an act of terrorism either. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:07 PM | Comments (547)
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Saturday Open Thread
— Ace

This post will be sticky until 8 PM.

New content will be posted below this thread.

Posted by: Ace at 02:56 PM | Comments (568)
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Old And Busted: Chinless Attorney General; The New Hotness: Tri-Chinned AG [Y-not]
— Open Blogger

Well, here's something to chew on...

It's oddly fitting that Attorney General Eric Holder -- a stubbornly independent career prosecutor ridiculed by Barack Obama's advisers for having lousy political instincts -- would nail his dismount.

But Holder, who began his stormy five-plus-year tenure at the Justice Department with his controversial "Nation of Cowards" speech, has chosen what seems to be the ideal (and maybe the only) moment to call it quits after more than 18 months of musing privately about leaving with the president and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, a trio bound by friendship, progressive ideology and shared African-American ancestry.

It was now or never, several current and former administration officials say, and Holder -- under pressure to retire from a physician wife worried about a recent health scare, checked the "now" box.

Have no fear! Fearless Reader is apparently considering this person as Holder's replacement:


Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:20 PM | Comments (109)
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Saturday Gardening Thread: Bugs [Y-not and WeirdDave]
— Open Blogger

Greetings Gardeners! Welcome to your Saturday gardening thread.

Today's thread is brought to you by the RHINOCEROS BEETLE:

I have no idea why I decided to post that video... lol!

Earlier this week a friend and I went to the Red Butte Gardens at the University of Utah's campus. It was a gorgeous day and while we were there I spotted this guy buzzing around some Syrian oregano flowers:


I'd never seen anything quite like this wasp before, so I snapped a bunch of pictures and when I got home discovered that he was most likely a Great Golden Digger Wasp, which is a beneficial insect. (So is the rhinoceros beetle and its relatives, by the way.) 'Seemed like a good topic for the gardening thread so here we go!

This is a type of predatory wasp that preys on grasshoppers and katydids. They are not particularly aggressive. (I can attest to this as I had to really hover over the wasp I was trying to photograph, something I would not have risked with a hornet or yellow jacket.) As far as I can tell, they only eat insects, but the one I spotted was hanging around flowers behaving as if it was foraging. I'm not sure how to interpret that.

Cognitive scientists are interested in studying these insects because of their genetically-programmed behavior:

Upon capturing a suitable prey, the female Great Golden will paralyze it with toxins in her sting. If the prey is small, she flies it directly to the nest. If prey is too large to transport aerially, the wasp will walk with it across the ground. The prey is clasped beneath her body by grasping its antennas with her mandibles.

Once the Great Golden reaches the opening of her nest, she sets the paralyzed insect down. Leaving the prey outside, she goes into the tunnel for inspection. When satisfied that all is well, she comes partially out from the nest and again grasps the prey's antennas pulling it backwards into the nest's interior where it is deposited in a cell with its head turned to the bottom.

Though the prey is permanently paralyzed, it is able to eliminate feces and slightly move its antennas and mouthparts. Great Golden females close the nest each time prey is placed inside. When she re-enters for egg laying, she emits a set of buzzing sounds as she compacts the earth closing the entrance.

There are several behavioral aspects to this "self-programmed" wasp that continue to fascinate as humans tend to think such rote habits denote forethought and logic. Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, two professors of Cognitive Science, created a controlled environment to study the Sphex routines more closely.

After the Great Golden dropped her prey and was inspecting her nest's interior, the professors moved the prey a few inches away from the opening. When the wasp emerged ready to drag the prey in, she found it missing. Quickly locating the prey, the professors believe her "behavioral program had been reset" as they found that, once again, she dragged the prey back to the threshold of the nest, dropped it and repeated the nest inspection procedure.

During one study, this was done 40 times, always with the same result. This test can be replicated again and again, with the Sphex never seeming to notice what is going on, never able to escape from its genetically programmed sequence of behaviors.** The wasp never "thinks" of pulling the prey straight in, but continually drops it outside until she is done with her nest inspection.

**Hmmm, reminds me of the RNC.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 12:02 PM | Comments (112)
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Open Thread: KABOOM Edition [Y-not]
— Open Blogger

It's been a couple of hours, so here's a fresh thread for you corgis, brought to you by The Other Kaboom:


In case you missed it, a few days ago Israel shot down a Syrian jet that had violated Israel's air space:

The Israeli military shot down a Syrian fighter jet that infiltrated its airspace over the Golan Heights on Tuesday morning -- the first such downing in decades, heightening tensions in the volatile plateau.

The military said a "Syrian aircraft infiltrated into Israeli air space" in the morning hours and that the military "intercepted the aircraft in mid-flight, using the Patriot air defense system."

And, speaking of "kaboom," we're sending over some warthogs to provide close air support for the troops we do not have on the ground. Here's some Warthog pron to warm the cockles of your evil conservative hearts:


Posted by: Open Blogger at 08:52 AM | Comments (216)
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