July 31, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (7-31-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I - Mental Virus Edition

Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.

-- Thomas Sowell

Quote of the Day II

Godzilla fails by trying to get too flashy, attempting a spinning tail shot rather than just going for a run of the mill kick. He kicked over enough buildings in Japan over the years...is that not good enough for soccer? This new Godzilla really needs to get back to his roots.

Why Bernie Sanders Never Had A Chance

The fix for Hillary may have been in as far back as 2008.

Hillary never stopped wanting to be president. She was just was going to have to wait for eight years. But how could she take the steps necessary and maneuver so she wouldn't be faced with another loss in the primary in 2016? Well, the strategic thing would be to have a plant become the head of the DNC so that if a thumb on the scale had to take place, she'd at least own the thumb. That's where Barack Obama and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz come in.

And if you follow the timeline and movement of the pieces, it seems pretty clear that everything was structured (and powered by quid pro quo) to guarantee that the Dowager Queen of Chautauqua would never be embarrassed by a primary loss again.

When you look back at this chain of events, post-DNC hacking scandal, it sure is a lot easier to understand why there was a thumb, a fist, hell, a side of beef, on the scale against Bernie Sanders and his supports in the 2016 primary cycle.

Bernie voters, you sad saps, you never had a chance. Now, we can reasonably suspect that the chance you didn't have goes back eight years. We can also deduce that the Democratic Party is a top-down organization, not a grassroots organization. They claim to be, of course, but the power at the top has nothing to do with the will of the people in its base. It's a club where only the opinions of a couple of members count.


End Stages of Socialism: Venezuela's Socialist Government Gives Itself the Power To Require Forced Farm Labor

Here is your shovel comrade.

"A new decree establishing that any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country's fields as a way to fight the current food crisis is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labor," Amnesty International said in a statement released on Thursday.

President Nicolás Maduro signed a decree at the end of last week that gives powers to the labor ministry to order "all workers from the public and private sector with enough physical capabilities and technical know-how" to join a government drive aimed at increasing food production.

They can be required to work in the agricultural sector for a 60-day period that can be extended for another 60 days "if the circumstances require it."

Posted by: Maetenloch at 06:19 PM | Comments (465)
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Open Thread [Mis. Hum]
— Open Blogger

Hard to believe tomorrow is August 1st. Might as well have one of these.

Straw Hand Dip Cone.jpg

This might hold you over until Maetenloch comes along for your ONT pleasure.

(Update) Sharknado is on.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 03:06 PM | Comments (754)
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Food Thread: Stuffed Burgers: Because We Can [CBD]
— Open Blogger

stuffed burger1.jpg

There was a spirited chat recently about burgers -- I think "best toppings" was the original impetus -- but stuffing them came up in the conversation. Somebody suggesting making a compound butter, freezing it into a disk, and using that to stuff the burger. And that sounds pretty decadent and drippy and good. But plain old cheese works wonderfully, although I have found that shredding it beforehand makes it much more prone to melting then simply slapping a thick slice of cheese into the middle. Cheddar works well, and goat cheese is a damned fine choice too. The tanginess really goes well with the richness of the meat. I haven't tried brie yet, but it's on my list.

But there are lots of other things besides cheese to experiment with. Thin sliced jalapenos, sauteed onions. salami, foie gras, pulled pork....the list goes on and on.

My technique is pretty simple, but if any Morons have a surefire way to do it, speak up...don't be shy.

I make an eight ounce burger by default, so for stuffing one i will grab about five ounces of the ground beef, form it into an oversized patty, and simply sprinkle the stuffing in the middle, with a small margin around the perimeter. Then I form the remaining meat into a slightly smaller patty, slap it on top, and mold the edges together while I also knead it gently into the thickness I want. It sounds tougher than it is. I make sure that none of the stuffing is poking out the side....and that's it! more...

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Now Breathe....Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger


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There Is A Big Difference Between Trump Criticizing General Allen And Him Criticizing The Father Of A Fallen Soldier [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Khan's son Humayun, a Captain in the United States Army, was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple heart.

Khizr Khan spoke to Trump onstage, saying "Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave Americans who died defending United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing." Khan also questioned if Trump had ever read the Constitution and offered to lend him his copy.

Trump's response?

"Who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writers write it?" .... "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard."

Dave in Texas is 100% correct. more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:00 AM | Comments (735)
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-31-2016: Up Against The Wall [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger

Rose Reading Room, NYC Public Library.jpg

Rose Reading Room, New York Public Library

A good Booke is the pretious life-blood of a mafter fpirit, imbalm'd and treafur'd up on purpofe to a life beyond life

John Milton, Areopagitica
(Sign above the entrance to the Rose Reading Room)

That reading room is breathtaking. Unfortunately, the tiny pic doesn't do it justice. Click on it for a yuuge version to get the full effect.

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, all the 'ettes are lovely, safe spaces are for losers, and nobody cares about what kind of snowflake you are, so suck it up, buttercup. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. And anything you buy in this store doesn't count.

Reduction of the Innocent

"Why do we have so many people in jail?"

I found myself asking this question a few days ago.

Pretty much all of the statistical data I've been able to find puts the United States at or near the top of all of the countries in the world, ranked in order of incarceration rates (number of prisoners per 100,000 population). For example:

In October 2013, the incarceration rate of the United States of America was the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percent of the world's prisoners. Corrections (which includes prisons, jails, probation, and parole) cost around $74 billion in 2007 according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

I'm not sure what happened in 1975, but as you can see from the chart on this page, that was when a hitherto stable (more or less) incarceration rate started going up, and up, and up.

Oh, now I see. According to this advocacy group, this was about the start of the "War on Drugs". I thought the WoD was a Reagan initiative, but it actually comes from the Nixon administration. Either way, it hasn't been a resounding success.

"Highest in the world". Ugh. This is supposed to be the land of the free, but it is increasingly becoming the land of the jailed.

I must admit there were some conservative policy initiatives back in the 90s that I'm having second thoughts about. Tired of rising crime rates and of liberal judges handing out lenient sentences to hardened criminals, a number of states passed mandatory sentencing, "three strikes and you're out" laws, and other get-tough-on-crime statutes, supported by conservatives. I'm not sure I can criicize these measures without getting smacked by the Butterfield Fallacy, but I think what be an unintended consequence of all of this is a new breed of hyper-aggressive prosecutor, as in the Duke Lacross and George Zimmerman cases, who will, in fact, indict a ham sandwich. And as lawyers are many times asked "would you defend a man you knew was guilty?", perhaps these state-appointed attornies should be asked if they would prosecute someone they knew was innocent.

And, of course, one of the dirty little secrets of the American prison system is the high recidivism rate, i.e. prisoners tend to keep coming back as repeat offenders. I have worked a little with convicts and ex-convicts over the years and I'm more than a little convinced that for many of them, three hots and a cot provided by the state penal system suits them fine. They may not like prison, but taking responsibility for yourself on the outside is a lot more work.

Solzhenitsyn famously complained that the Soviet legal system was so constructed that any citizen would be guilty of something or other at any time, which made arresting them more convenient.

We're heading in that direction.

The overcriminalization of America is the subject of One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty by Paul Rosenzweig.

Just when you thought it was safe to leave your home, the federal government may have made you a criminal for very innocent actions. This book includes staggering true stories and information that make Kafka novels sound like Dr. Seuss...Literally thousands of laws exist that most people don't know about and which penalize conduct that few would even imagine was criminal. This book tells the story of ordinary Americans who were prosecuted and even jailed for everyday activities that ran afoul of the multitude of statutes and regulations that can be used by governments to trap the unwary.

There's also Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything by Gene Healy, which looks like it covers much of the same ground:

The American criminal justice system is becoming ever more centralized and punitive, owing to rampant federalization and mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Go Directly to Jail examines these alarming trends and proposes reforms that could rein in a criminal justice apparatus at war with fairness and common sense.

Martha Stewart just e-mailed me and said "I know, right?"

The Kindle edition is $6.99.

Also of interest is False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent, Revised Edition, by former Attorney General of Ohio Jim Petro. Spoiler: the eight myths are

Myth 1: Everyone in prison claims innocence.
Myth 2: Our system almost never convicts an innocent person.
Myth 3: Only the guilty confess.
Myth 4: Wrongful conviction is the result of innocent human error.
Myth 5: An eyewitness is the best testimony.
Myth 6: Conviction errors get corrected on appeal.
Myth 7: It dishonors the victim to question a conviction.
Myth 8: If the justice system has problems, the pros will fix them.

But on the other hand, if Hillary! is elected, perhaps some the innocents will be freed since they'll have to make room for climate change deniers, Tea Partiers, regret rapists, and other political criminals.

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EMT 7/31/16 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

August is coming.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (285)
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July 30, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (30 Jul 2016)

The two giant reasons the IRS is investigating the Clinton Foundation. The investigation won't be complete before the election and in the end, I'm sure they'll trot out the Hillary Defense and say no reasonable prosecutor would file charges. Kabuki theater. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:28 PM | Comments (513)
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Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 07-30-2016 [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger


The Chess Players - Lucas Van Leyden ( 1508 )

Good afternoon morons and moronettes, and welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread, the only AoSHQ thread with content specifically for all of us chess nerds who pay homage in the temple of Caïssa, goddess of stalemates and perpetual checks. And, for those of you who aren't nerdly enough for chess, you can use this thread to talk about checkers, or politics, or whatever you wish, only please try to keep it civil. Nobody wants to get into a pie fight on a Saturday afternoon

White Mates In 1

20160730 - Mate in 1.jpg
FEN: [1kr1r3/2p1q1bp/3p2p1/p4p2/P7/3P2P1/1BPQ1PBP/1R3RK1 w - - 0 1]

Notes On Lucas van Leyden's Painting

Sometimes I look at these old chess-themed paintings where the board and pieces don't look quite right, like this one, and I think that the artist probably didn't know much about chess, or didn't care, so he drew some chess-like pieces and a chess-like board and deemed it sufficient for his purposes. I mean, whoever heard of a playing chess on a 12x8 board? Click on the pic for a larger version. The board and pieces look quite odd.

But my criticism of the artist's supposed lack of precision is wrong.

What's being shown here is actual chess, not chess as we know it, but rather an old variant known as "courier chess", which dates back to the Middle Ages, and is indeed played on a 12x8 board. The rules, as near as I can tell, are the same as medieval chess with some addition of some funky pieces, the Courier, the Sage, and the Jester.

There's an entire website devoted to this particular variant. It even has for sale a set of courier chess pieces based on what they've been able to reconstruct from the painting, and other historical sources. more...

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Ace of Spades Pet Thread [Mis. Hum]
— Open Blogger

zz pet thread cover.jpg

Good afternoon animal lovers. The damn computer took a dump this past week. So, this old dog is trying to learn new tricks computer & programs. Hoping that photos show up without blowing up Ace's blog and his bandwidth allowance for the year.

Thanks for stopping by this afternoon. more...

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Saturday Gardening Thread: The Hog Days of Summer [KT]
— Open Blogger

coral hibiscus.jpg

Coral Hibiscus 'Mango Dainty'

High temperatures have been at 110 degrees or higher for most of this week. Electronic hazard signs over the freeways in Fresno display warnings about severe outdoor watering restrictions. There is haze from wildfires, though not close ones. I have let most of the yard go, but I am still watering trees, grapes, permanent shrubs and a few things in pots (mostly in shade or part shade). Wish my garden looked more tropical. I have been dreaming about tropical trade winds, like maybe in Hawaii. Maybe whilst eating a nice mango.

I haven't felt like being outdoors much. How about you? Sometimes I think about farm animals in this kind of weather. This riddle is dedicated to Traye's Hogs:

Q: What did the pig say on a hot day? more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:45 AM | Comments (93)
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Thread below the Gardening Thread: Little Bloodsuckers [KT]
— Open Blogger

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

Sometimes, little irritants can seem pretty big.


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This Just In: Bad Guys Commit Crimes...Good Guys Don't [CBD]
— Open Blogger

And Gun Thread, because you reprobates will turn it into one anyway.....

Vast majority of guns recovered by Pittsburgh police not in possession of legal owners

Nearly 80 percent of perpetrators carrying a gun recovered by Pittsburgh Police were not the lawful owners, a strong indication that theft and trafficking are significant sources of firearms involved in crimes in southwest Pennsylvania, a new University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis reveals.

But the authors couldn't be content to report the numbers....they had to toss in the obligatory sneering oblique reference to the mantra of the academy: "We must do more about guns!" Never mind that they have the answer at their fingertips. Just enforce existing laws against...you know....theft!

Given the pandemic threat in the United States of firearm violence, immediate improvement in firearm surveillance is needed to save lives. It is estimated that there are more than 300 million guns in the U.S. And we know that firearm production is increasing. In 2013, nearly 11 million firearms were manufactured in the U.S., more than double the number produced in 2008.

This Orwellian statement suggests very little that doesn't run counter to the U.S. Constitution, and ignores the large amount of data that suggest firearm violence is decreasing. And if anyone can explain what "firearm surveillance" means, other than the obvious...registration and regular visits from our friendly neighborhood BATF SWAT teams, I'm all ears.

There is a AoSHQ Platinum membership with Troll-B-GonTM and ampersand utility for any Moron who finds some other holes in their interpretation of the data.

And take a look at a linked study in the lower left, conducted by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Repeal of Missouri's background check law associated with increase in state's murders.

So we are to accept as dispassionate and unbiased research, a study that correlates complex societal events with the repeal of a single law that was in most respects duplicative of Federal and other laws, done by a school funded by and named after the most famous anti-gun politician in the United States.

I promise...just the tip! more...

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Saturday Morning Weird News [Mis. Hum.]
— Open Blogger

Happy Saturday!

Well Horde have a great weekend. Play nice in this open thread.

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EMT 7/30/16 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

6 a.m. on a Saturday. Today I'm introducing my 2 1/2 year old daughter to the pool. She is very excited about learning to swim.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (179)
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July 29, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (29 Jul 2016)

Tis the season. Waves of thunderstorms to pave way for uptick in Atlantic tropical storms, hurricanes during August.

BTW, we're in the window for viewing the Perseid meteor shower (peak is on Aug. 12th). It's supposed to be spectacular this year with double the usual rates so if you're outside, check it out. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:05 PM | Comments (716)
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Good News: They've Made a Whole New Category of Sexy Slinky Lingerie
Bad News: For Dudes

— Ace

Via @rdbrewer, I know what I'm getting myself as pick-me-up self-gift.

Sometimes a boy just wants to feel sexy, you know?

Long, long week. I'm going to watch a movie. Of pornography. Later on I might do some reading. Of pornography.

Then finally I'll just spend some time meditating. About pornographic images.

You do you. If you want.

PS, remember the Medical Monitoring thread, especially if you take weekends off.

Also, if you have any tips for articles or topics, let me know.

Posted by: Ace at 02:42 PM | Comments (680)
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Home Ownership Dives To Lowest Point Since 1965: Basement Renovation Companies Cheer! [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Even though the headline is incorrect, and the article is mostly crap, Millennials Cause Home Ownership to Drop to Its Lowest Level Since 1965 is interesting for the points it unintentionally raises. By the way, the headline should have been, Coddled Children Of Coddled Children Aren't Growing Up, which is the story of our times.

Millennials are not only burdened by student loan debt, but they have also delayed life choices like marriage and parenthood, which are the primary drivers of home ownership.

I accept the fact that Millennials owe a lot of money for their "Lesbian Poetry of 16th Century Low-Country Wiccans" degrees, but I categorically reject the idea that the debt was somehow thrust upon them by unnamed evil capitalists. Nobody "burdened" them with anything. The fact that many of these basement-dwelling, X-box-playing retards were insufficiently aware of the state of the employment market when they decided to 1) go to college instead of working for the local plumber and, 2) take 5+ years to finish a bullshit major that will never provide the income to pay back those loans is entirely their responsibility. more...

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Hillary Clinton Campaign Servers Hacked
— Ace

Though I can't justify being amused at criminal intrusions into the US political system, I will still laugh like f*** about it.

Posted by: Ace at 12:24 PM | Comments (502)
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Daredevil to Skydive Without a Parachute, or a Wingsuit
— Ace

He'll be, um, "free-diving," I guess-- he'll be aiming for a net, and I know some people are now saying "Oh what a cheater, a net is perfectly capable of stopping a fall," but come on, that's still pretty wild.

Posted by: Ace at 11:13 AM | Comments (427)
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