December 21, 2008
— Ace This is actually just a work-in-progress site. It's half-done. Right now it's not used, except as an emergency back-up when the main site goes down.
The actual site is at http://www.ace.mu.nu, or aceofspadeshq.com, which will redirect there.
If you're not seeing pictures on this site, it's because it's not really working yet.
If you've posted comments and no one seems to respond -- that's because most users can't see them. Comments from the real site get posted here, but comments from here don't show up on the real site.
Basically, you should come to the real site. It looks a little crappy right now and it breaks down a lot, but this one isn't quite ready yet.
Sorry.. should have put up this notice long ago.
Note from Pixy: Posts and comments automatically sync from the old site to this new site within 60 seconds, but some authors aren't set up on the new site, and will show up as Open Blogger. We'll get those sorted out soon.
March 07, 2014
— Ace It's the International Day of Women.
This probably isn't being noted widely on the right, but we're proud at AoSHQ that we have a fairly big population of female readers.
And we don't take the time to acknowledge that enough, and thank the ladies for gracing us with their wit and ideas.
So I thought I would rectify that with a Pictorial Essay to thank the Women of AoSHQ for just being You.
You've earned this, ladies. No need to thank me in advance.
Now go out there and Be Somebody. more...
— Ace Ted Cruz named the Republicans' three most recent losing candidates -- Dole, McCain, and Romney -- as having failed to stand on principle, which then, he suggests, caused them to lose.
McCain asks, rhetorically (and arguably demagogically), if Bob Dole had failed to "stand on principle" on "that hill in Italy" in which he lost his limb defending the country in World War II. He wants Cruz to apologize to Dole, but not, he says, to himself or Romney.
If I try to give McCain a break here, here's how I do it. Both sides of the RINO/TrueCon war have insults for the other side that drive the other side crazy.
RINOs hate it when you suggest they're "cowards" who "lack principle" or "the will to fight." I've gotten that a lot myself, and it is, as intended, quite personally insulting.
On the other side of it, RINOs have their own disparagements of TrueCons -- starting off with the suggestion that they're crazy, that they lack sophistication and don't understand politics, are overemotional, and so on.
So while I think it's a bit of stretch for McCain to claim Cruz was claiming Dole shirked his duty in World War Two (come on, he said nothing of the sort), I can guess that what rankles McCain here is this frequent messaging that RINOs, such as himself, are "cowards." Cruz's formulation -- that these men failed to "stand on principle"-- doesn't explicitly make the "coward" argument, but it does suggest it.
On McCain's side, of course, he has called Tea Partiers "hobbits" and other terms of disparagement. And in his call for an apology to War Hero Bob Dole, he's not-too-covertly reminding the audience that Ted Cruz didn't serve.
There are several real arguments going on in the conservative movement. Most of these have to do with real things -- policy, tactics.
I think what the party is doing, wrongly, is attempting to dodge the actual arguments by resorting to personal-level attacks.
Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Rather than engaging and arguing about the stuff that actually divides us, we're attempting to hide these arguments (which everyone knows we have) under a cover of personal attacks.
Which are in fact worse and more embittering than just having the argument we're trying to avoid.
Arguments about ideology and tactics are not exactly pleasant, but there is, at least, a small bit of detachment from them, on a personal level. If I argue with a commenter about X position, the fight could get edgy and hot, but at least we're arguing about something other than one another's personal value.
Once something gets personal, forget about it.
This is why I say this is all backwards. We're avoiding a fight (which could be productive and clarifying) on the actual issues (which do need to be discussed) by instead resorting to personal stuff and argument-by-categorization.
That is, rather than discuss the actual issue, we tend to simply categorize the position -- "RINO," "buying into the left's premises," "crazy," etc. -- and let the categorization do our arguing for us.
But this isn't an especially useful way to discuss things, just tossing disparaging labels at each other or each other's positions.
I've given up, personally, deciding what position I support based on how "conservative" it's alleged to be, or not to be. The party is in a state of flux. When Rand Paul can be applauded for advocating a fairly isolationist position at CPAC -- imagine such a thing in 2003 -- I think it's clear we're in a rebuilding, and reconsidering, and rethinking period.
There is no point fighting that, and no use trying to avoid it. And it doesn't advance the ball any by calling things either "RINO" or "crazy" based on 2004's now-obsolete definitions.
We should decide which ideas are part of the core of conservatism based upon how true and useful those ideas are rather than resorting to how true and useful and idea might be according to how "conservative" someone says it is.
Oh, and let me say this about the unending Cruz/McCain feud: They should insult each other honestly. I think honesty, even in insults, is better than dishonesty.
Here is what Cruz plainly thinks about McCain: That McCain is essentially a Democrat, who values the opinions of liberals (especially liberal journalists) far more than those of conservatives. And we all seek to please those we think the most highly of. And so McCain is consistently critical of conservatives. He flatters liberal sensibilities in hopes they will flatter him in return.
And here is what McCain plainly thinks about Cruz: That he's a charlatan who's offering people looking for Big Wins the illusory promise of a Big Win, that he's conning people, that he's not being "straight" with constituents. That he's undermining Republicans to advance his own personal political position.
Now, a fight between McCain and Cruz in those terms would be ugly. But at least it would have the benefit of being an honest fight, not this bullshit we have going on right now.
And one more thing: "Moderation" in the Republican party is currently a slur because no one at all speaks up for it. Everyone claims to be The Most Conservative Possible, Ever. Except for a few people, like Collins and Kirk, almost everyone claims to be the Most Conservative, and claims to think the Most Conservative always wins.
Moderates plainly do not believe this. And it does them no credit that they pretend to believe it while plainly not really believing it.
And if they want to make a bit of moderation -- as McCain clearly has in him -- not a term of disparagement, they have to speak up in favor of it, and explain to people why they think moderation is not always some kind of sell-out position.
You know, I used to fight this characterization myself. People would say I was a moderate or not as conservative as they are, and it really used to bug me. I felt like I was "losing" the race. I mean, someone says he's more conservative than I am; I can't let that insult stand.
But in fact, look: In the wild west, there's always gonna be someone faster than you, and there are in fact going to be an awful lot of people further to the right than any particular person.
We're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou precisely because we're letting this be a silly game of More Conservative Than Thou.
If McCain believes that some people are too conservative, then why does he not just forthrightly say so, and make a case for a Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft brand of conservatism?
Why continue this endless posturing over the game show Quien es Muy Macho? ?
If he thinks it's a silly game, he should say so. I'd respect him more for that.
I really think this system we've developed where all our actual debates are either sublimated or squelched is a bad one. All that ends up happening is that what should be discussed on an ideological plane winds up becoming personalized trash-talk, and everyone feels lied to, because no one's being straight with each other.
— CDR M
You'd think making a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline would be easy, especially when a new poll says there is overwhelming support for it. In fact, Keystone XL would only swell U.S. pipelines by 0.033 percent.
The first U.S. pipeline to transport oil started carrying crude from Coryville to Williamsport, Penn., in 1879. In the intervening 135 years, the continental USA became interlaced with 2,600,000 miles of these steel tubes. And how many more such miles would KXL add? A grand total of 852. Thats an increase of 0.033 percent, or the rough equivalent of delivering an extra faucet to the plumbing department at your local Home Depot. Believe it or not, this microscopic change in Americas pipeline profile fuels this massive controversy.
— andy Matthew Continetti, Editor of the Washington Free Beacon (the Nation's Leading Anti-Clinton Publication; poised for global expansion) joins Ace and John for the debut of our revolutionary Chill Groove Infotainment Format.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Essential reference: Charles Krauthammer's In Defense of the F-Word
Questions & comments here: Ask the Blog
Open thread in the comments.
— Ace Of course.
When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, Obama said to the general laughter of the audience....
CNN was quick to cover for Obamas misspelling. Ashley Banfield said Obama just wanted to throw us all, see if we were actually all paying attention.
John Berman then said, I get hot flashes whenever people spell on TV because I cant spell. I would misspell respect, so I have sympathy for him.
Berman asked if people would be making a bigger deal out of this than we are, if it were, say, Dan Quayle who misspelled a word. Is this liberal media bias? he said.
No, not at all.
Ashleigh Banfield's defense is preposterous. If Obama were making some kind of joke, he'd elide the second e in "respect" (because that's the one Aretha Franklin famously elides with the p, doing a combined pee-ee sound), not the first.
But the High Exalted Precious must be defended against all slurs against his potency.
Of course, this is not the most egregious media story of the day. It's not even close.
IThe image showed a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an unusual angle. The APs original caption on the photo said they were reciting the organizations creed during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas.
It took the AP several days to acknowledge their error. But by then, the unfortunate comparison to Nazi Germany had spread on the Internet faster than Hitlers invasion of Poland.
New Trail Life scouting group excludes gay kids & they do a Sieg Heil! Style salute, tweeted Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service.
And thats exactly what it looked like.
It looks like some kind of German salute that was used during the Nazi period, Stemberger told me in a telephone interview.
The photograph ran last Sunday in newspapers across the nation and generated hundreds of angry emails and some threatening telephone calls to Trail Life headquarters.
But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing Taps, a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.
The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.
It really misrepresented what was going on, Stemberger told me. There are children involved and that made it more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.
So AP caught a group of kids slowly lowering their arms from straight up to down by their side, shot the picture in the mid-point, knowing it looked like the Sieg Heil Salute -- and also knowing it wasn't that at all -- and then took days to delete the deceptive photo.
Good God. They just framed kids as Nazis and then defended their doing such.
They claimed to the WaPo's Eric Wemple that the picture was accurate enough, by AP's standards.
All because Trail Life doesn't permit gay scouts.
Are You Going to Believe the White House Reporter Pool or Your Lying Eyes?
The official WH pool report indicates Obama spelled RESPECT correctly. Hmmm— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 7, 2014
— Ace Interesting.
The founder of the conservative media company Newsmax is planning to launch a cable TV network to compete with Fox News, but not quite the same. Christopher Ruddy wants to launch Newsmax TV later this year, and is billing it as a kinder, gentler Fox that will be more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.
Bloomberg Businessweeks profile of Ruddy notes that he himself isnt a Republican and is more moderate than you might expect from the head of Newsmax. But Ruddy thinks theres room in the cable landscape for a conservative competitor to Fox News, which hasnt been done effectively to date.
It's a good idea. Fox would benefit from some competition, in terms of quality, though of course not in terms of ratings.
As far as Newsmax's suggestion they'd be a "kinder, gentler" Fox, I take that largely as brand differentiation, seizing upon Fox's perceived weakness (or at least its weakness as divined by critics). I'm not sure how serious they are about that.* End of the day, controversy and argument seems to be good for ratings.
Beck's Blaze TV, a commenter tells me, is being picked up by cable stations, too.
But I think this is for the good. More voices, not fewer. In addition, any Fox competitor would actually help to mainstream the idea of actually reporting fairly on conservative positions -- right now Fox is essentially ghettoized, by being all alone in offering a fair take where conservatives are more than props or punchlines. Multiple stations with the same basic mission takes them all out of the ghetto.
* Hmm: If "kinder, gentler" is a code for female-skewing, that would be a more interesting attempt at brand differentiation. Conservative-leaning women are probably an underserved market, as conservative media, generally, skews male in tone.
At least it seems that way to me.
For example: Why hasn't Fox launched a "View" clone? (Or have they already and I just didn't know about it?)
Every other channel has a View clone. Why not Fox?
— Ace If you don't have time for the eleven and a half minute speech, you can take Allah's advice and skip to 10:00, for his closing ninety seconds.
It's a decent speech. (I'm a jaded critic on speeches, so I tend not to get too excited about them.)
Perry Version 2014 seems to be fighting the ghost of Perry Version 2012. He's much more energetic in this speech than he was in any of the debates. (But of course people tend to be more energetic before friendly crowds.) One can speculate about his reasons for the nerd-cool choice in spectacles.
Another thing he's doing is projecting optimism, hope, and buoyancy, which is of course the advice given to practically any candidate. He also takes time to praise his fellow Republican governors, including, notably, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, both of whom are considering a run for the nomination themselves. So he gets some Nice Guy/Good Guy points. (Notably absent from his list of successful Republican governors: Chris Christie.)
As most readers know, I jumped on the Perry train big-time in 2012, seeing him -- on paper -- as not only the best candidate among the crowded (and uninspiring) 2012 field, but just a good candidate in any cycle. His economic portfolio was/is solid -- Barack Obama hasn't presided over the creation of many jobs in America, but Rick Perry can account for nearly half (48%) of those jobs that Obama wishes to take credit for. (Oh, and Perry's jobs were actually created, not "saved or created or funded" or which "positively impacted" people.)
Of course, there is the candidate on paper, and then there is the candidate under the hot lights and pressure.
As @rdbrewer4 notes in the side bar, Perry says that his 2012 back surgery played a large role in his unpreparedness for the campaign.
In an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," Perry said he learned a lot from his 2012 campaign experience when he exited the primaries early on.
"I won't have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement," says Perry, of the next possible run for the White House.
When he announced his presidential bid in August 2011, Perry said he felt invincible, telling himself: "I'm 61 years old, I'm bulletproof, I'm 10-feet tall, I can do anything."
But 2012 was "a very humbling experience."
"Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But thats not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure? How do you pick yourself up and go forward?
Surely that did have a lot to do with it -- but how much? Perry was plainly unprepared to discuss federal policy and issues in any kind of detail. In fairness, most governors, for whom federal matters are not a day-to-day job (as it is with dummy senators like Biden and Obama), usually cram from a briefing book on such things before their run; plus, most candidates get to begin their runs by stumbling along in low-prominence venues where few people notice them screwing up. Later they get more comfortable and commanding, hopefully.
Perry's back surgery -- maybe combined with an arrogant "I'm Superman, I don't need to study" attitude -- plus his extremely high-profile entry in the race, allowing for no confidence building minor events before his announcement -- probably did result in his general lack of intellectual preparedness. What accounts for his complete lack of political strategic preparedness -- informing a debate hall full of bright-red conservative primary voters that those who oppose in-state tuition for illegal alien children "have no heart" -- I have no idea, but of course judgement is impaired along with mental sharpness when someone's run down.
As someone who's frequently run down -- and not feeling mentally sharp -- myself, this all makes sense to me.
But... I need to see proof that the page has turned from Perry's near-disastrous 2012 run.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm open to Perry, but he does have to show me he's on the ball and has thought more seriously not just about the general principles of conservatism but the practical application of them at the present moment. (For example, on reforming entitlements.)
He speaks (as he always has) forcefully enough on general principles of conservative philosophy and governance; my concern is that details may again be his undoing.
But if they're not -- if he takes his time off to hit that briefing book and study it like he's about to take the SATs -- then he'd be a good candidate.
He says 2012 was humbling, and that the mark of a man is not how he fails, but how he picks himself back up. Which is an incontrovertible sentiment. So I'm watching to see how he's picked himself back up.
— Ace Failure will be subsidized, and success will be ruthlessly stamped out.
Success Academy is run by Eva Moscowitz, someone hated by the teachers unions and the left. So of course she must be destroyed, and if there is some collateral damage in the form of children, so be it. Such things happen in war.
What a small and politically vicious man New York's new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn't like charter schools. They are too successful to be tolerated. Last week he announced he will drop the ax on three planned Success Academy schools. (You know Success Academy: It was chronicled in the film "Waiting for Superman." It's one of the charter schools the disadvantaged kids are desperate to get into.) Mr. de Blasio has also cut and redirected the entire allotment for charter facility funding from the city's capitol budget. An official associated with a small, independent charter school in the South Bronx told me the decision will siphon money from his school's operations. He summed up his feelings with two words: "It's dispiriting."
Some 70,000 of the city's one million students, most black or Hispanic, attend charter schools, mostly in poorer neighborhoods. Charter schools are privately run but largely publicly financed. Their teachers are not unionized. Their students usually outscore their counterparts at conventional public schools on state tests. Success Academy does particularly well. Last year 82% of its students passed citywide math exams. Citywide the figure was 30%.
These are schools that work. They are something to be proud of and encourage.
We close with a little red meat because there's something in this storyfrightened children, cold political operatorsthat gets our blood up.
In this move more than any so far, Mr. de Blasio shows signs he is what his critics warned he would bea destructive force in the city of New York. When a man says he will raise taxes to achieve a program like pre-K education, and is quickly informed that that program can be achieved without raising taxes, and his answer is that he wants to raise taxes anyway, that man is an ideologue.
And ideologues will sacrifice anything to their ideology. Even children.
There's a lot more at the link.
De Blasios rally in support of a higher tax on wealthy New Yorkers was not specifically targeted at education, but across town, Andrew Cuomo joined Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz at a different rally promoting charter schools. Although de Blasio downplayed the significance of the charter rally, its a big deal. Moskowitz is his chief opponent in the charter school co-location fight. Indeed, de Blasio specifically mentioned the need to reduce Moskowitzs influence as a reson for the policy shift, and Moskowitz has responded with plenty of harsh words of her own. By appearing at the rally, Cuomo effectively endorsed de Blasios biggest rival. And hes not just a silent partner; he spoke forcefully about the need to protect charter schools. . . .
More at Mead, who calls NY state the chief battleground in the war on charter schools, where their fate will be determined in a struggle between the liberal coalition's moderate/liberal wings, and its leftist wing -- the tail that now actually wags the dog.
— DrewM What our old friend Oliver Willis thinks when he sees Mitch McConnell walking on stage with a rifle.
@NoahCRothman we're not in the damn stone ages. most americans live within quick response sphere of police. they dont need armed response.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 6, 2014
Official legal position of New York City: Cops have no obligation to protect an individual being attacked by a guy with a knife.
What "explanatory journalist" Sarah "Gosnell is a local crime story" Kliff thinks about ObamaCare's lousy poll numbers.
It would be bizarre if a majority of people thought Obamacare helped them. It doesnt touch the vast majority of insurance.— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) March 6, 2014
Reality: Obama said his plan would, "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
Reality based community guys!
— Open Blogger
- Obama, Solipsist
- Democrats Filibuster An Obama Nominee
- The Tyrant In The Gray Flannel Suit
- Few Uninsured Signing Up For Obamacare
- De Blasio's Numbers Already Cratering
- Harry Reid's Two Minutes Of Hate
- National Crisis Averted: Obama Going On Vacation After All
- Republicans Just Want To Be Left Alone
- Bitcoin Firm CEO Found Dead
- Not Sure Why, But Issa Apologizes To Cummings
- It's Time To Increase The Size Of The House
- Senate Control Could Decide Opportunities In Tennessee
- Texas Down To Six Abortion Clinics
- Bad News, The New Hoverboard Is A Hoax
Follow me on twitter.
— Gabriel Malor Happy Friday.
Programming note: I'm doing another segment of Huffpost Live's "Legalese It! with Mike Sacks" this afternoon around 3:15.
The Congressional Black Caucus calls for Rep. Issa's removal as House Oversight chair. Let me tell you what's not going to happen . . .
At what point do Democrats start admitting that the best thing that could happen on healthcare is to start from scratch? The report from McKinsey is only 9 pages and most of it is graphs. Definitely read it.
Mayor de Blasio's approval rating drops to 39 percent just two months after he took office. Such fickle beasts, New Yorkers.
This? I liked it:
Here's Mitch McConnell's gun picture - What's yours? pic.twitter.com/dpJCMOdufE— Wash. Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 6, 2014
March 06, 2014
As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out unlike your family, friends, or neighbors the government cannot love you. Nor can the government love other people on your behalf. That's one reason why de Tocqueville believed that America's 'mediating institutions' based on voluntary, personal interactions were so critical to its success.
But the left only believes in and trusts government:
In the view of the left, there are only two entities that matter: the individual, and the state.
...This desiccated vision of society is in direct contrast to what Alexis de Tocqueville observed as being the genius of the American experiment. He celebrated the countless ways in which Americans interacted with and influenced the public square through what later came to be called "mediating institutions"-churches, civic societies, fraternal organizations, and innumerable other voluntary associations that served not only their members, but their communities as well. These institutions, he said, were the backbone of American life, and the primary bulwark against the kind of tyranny that had long dominated Europe.
When the left views American society, it simply doesn't see these institutions, or worse, dismisses them as reactionary and obstructive of "progress." They are viewed purely as expressions of private interests, needs, or desires, and at best of no consequence to the real work of improving the country, and at worst positive hindrances to be caged or, if need be, destroyed.
And this story from MN where a soaking wet high school girl in a bathing suit was forced to stand outside barefoot in sub-freezing weather by teachers during a fire alarm is a classic example of how big government and its rules end up robbing average people of their basic human decency and making them behave like monsters. The girl is okay thanks to the help of her classmates but suffered some frostbite to her feet.
"My father had taught me to be nice first, because you can always be mean later, but once you've been mean to someone, they won't believe the nice anymore. So be nice, be nice, until it's time to stop being nice, then destroy them."
But as my mother also taught me when you're a teacher - or really anyone in a position of authority - you always start out super-strict, demanding and merciless and then slowly loosen up once the ground rules have been established. Of course both of these pieces of advice are correct in their own circumstances.more...
— Ace Only one in ten of the uninsured who qualify for Obamacare have bothered to sign up for it. Seems like a pretty good reason to take away everyone else's insurance.
Obama, for his part, thinks Obamacare is working exactly the way it should.
Completely unrelated I'm sure, but Bobby Jindal thinks it's time to revisit our assumption that Barack Obama is a smart man.
At Sarah Hoyt's place, a guest post about the science-fiction community's descent into busybodying, witch-hunting intolerance.
From @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar, @charlescwcooke notes the downside -- for Democrats -- of a filibuster-free world. They had to kill the nomination of that Adegbile character themselves. There was no Republican filibuster which would allow them to hide.
From @tsrblke, Volokh considers one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, and when I say it's one of the dumber posts ever appearing at Salon, I really mean only that it's a post appearing at Salon. When you're drowning in a sea of stupid, you really can't parse out the relative heights of stupid-waves.
Also from @rdbrewer4, scientific proof that nothing's funny if you analyze it to death.
One of the coolest things of the day comes from @comradearthur, who links this tour of the solar system, which is -- for once -- in proper scale.
Your usual depiction of the solar system cannot display distances to scale because the distances between planets are so enormously huge the planets would be smaller than a single pixel and hence invisible.
Well, this link aims to show you what Douglas Adams meant when he had the Hitchhiker's Guide define space's size in this way:
Space, it says, is big. Really big. You just wont believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think its a long way down the road to the chemists, but thats just peanuts to space. "
And it defines infinity thus:
Infinte: Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real "wow, that's big," time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we're trying to get across here.
It's a neat link. I'd like to tell you the first billion kilometers are the hardest, but in fact the solar system is relatively action-packed with planets in the first billion kilometers. It's the last four and a half billion kilometers where you start to get a sense of what "empty space" really means.
So that's why they call it that.
Thanks for help on the Hitchhiker's Guide quotes to Mike in the Hinterlands.
March 07, 2014
— Ace The Meatball analyzes the competitive races.
He begins by noting five "firewalls" Democrats are counting on to stop a wildfire, each set back a little deeper into Democratic territory than the last.
Most of the firewalls are now on fire.
However, as of March 2014, the GOP has locked away two races, closed in on a third, well on their way with two more, and slight favorites in yet two more, giving the Republicans room to make an effective push into more purplish territory. They are fiercely contesting an open race in Michigan and now an incumbent in Colorado, and are threatening to do so in Iowa and New Hampshire. The higher they raise their maximum potential gains, the lower the number of races the Democrats can afford to write off. Despite the slacking off in Virginia, this remains a challenging map for those left-of-center.
As of today, the Democrats are in deep trouble. We arent forecasting a landslide win for the GOP eight months is a lifetime. But with the second firewall already burning and Republican advancements into states they failed to win in 2012, they may be well on their way.
March 06, 2014
— Ace Jonathan Ross is a television host well-loved in Britain because their talent pool is small and they don't know any better.
No just kidding he's fine, I kind of like him. Most Americans will know Jonathan Ross, if at all, from accidentally leaving on BBC America after Doctor Who ends, or by searching for Doctor Who interviews.
I barely know the man's work at all but the thing that puts me off him, a bit, is that he's so ingratiating and ass-kissy with his guests. I get the need to ingratiate oneself, but he goes too far for my tastes.
This is actually germane to this story. I'm not entirely wasting your time.
Jonathan Ross was asked to host this year's Hugo Awards, science fiction's most prestigious awards. I made that last part up. When I say "most prestigious" I only mean "I've heard of them."
Why was he asked? Well, in addition to being a host on TV shows every single day (in Britain he's as ubiquitous as Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends from the Philip K Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), he's also a science-fiction fan. He reads comics, he writes comics. He went to Comic Con last year as a guest of fanboi fave rave Neil Gaiman. He apparently hosted the Eisner (comic book) Awards there and did such a good job they immediately invited him back for next year's duties.
Plus, he's married to a science fiction writer -- a woman named Jane Goldman, who has herself won the Hugo Award. The very show he was to be hosting.
So let's be clear: He has a reason to respect the Hugo Awards, if he didn't already. If he suggested they were trivial or stupid, he would hear about it from his wife.
The perfect host, yes? Kismet, no?
Because his hiring sparked a Nerd Rage in the sci-fi community -- including among sci-fi writers and those in charge of other aspects of the Hugo Awards show. Their main complaint was that he is "controversial," meaning, I guess, that as a comedian, he has told some mean jokes. They objected not so much to jokes he had told before, however, but, in a science-fiction timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly sort of way, to the jokes they feared he might tell in the future, while hosting the show.
Let me repeat: this guy is no Ricky Gervais. I don't know him all that well, but if you define "edgy," one picture that will not appear next to that definition is Jonathan Ross' face.
And apparently it's caused a huge Twitter rage, with lots of attacks on the anodyne Ross.
At Loncons request, [Neil] Gaiman asked Ross to take the stage at this years Hugos. I think Jonathan would have been an excellent host, he told me. One of the things Jonathan is great at is making a room full of people feel comfortable. To be a Hugo host you need to be genuine, funny, respectful and he is respectful, while still being cheeky. Jonathan would do it better than I did. And he agreed to do it for free because he is SFF family.
Despite this, a vocal contingent resorted to petty name-calling on the Internet. Does calling someone a grating fatuous bellend not count as bullying if your subject is famous? I call bullshit. Does saying horrible things about someone because you think they might possibly say horrible things about you make you the better person? In this tirade about insults and slights, nasty bullies with little self-awareness recast themselves as the victim.
What was peculiar about the attacks was they had constructed an ad hominem straw man to attack, who was sexist, sizeist, hates women and likes making everyone feel bad, said Gaiman. It doesnt bear any resemblance to Jonathan. While he has occasionally said things that make you go Oh god, your mouth opened and that thing came out, he is a consummate professional.
(Regarding the sizeist accusation, heres what Ross teenage daughter Honey Kinny tweeted to Seanan McGuire, the most vocal of the Twitter pitchfork mob: I was horrified by your outrageous and unfounded assumption that my father would ever comment negatively on a womans body. Im Jonathans overweight daughter and assure you that there are few men more kind & sensitive towards womens body issues. When I emailed asking McGuire to pinpoint a moment in which Ross had ever made a fat joke, I got no reply.)
A "bellend," by the way, is apparently the glans. Yeah, I had to look that one up myself.
Ross agreed to do host the show for free, because he's sci-fi family (through his Hugo Award winning wife).
But nah: Let's attack him mercilessly and get him fired because being cruel to strangers is how we prove We Matter.
So now Jonathan Ross is fired, and the Hugo Awards will find some unobjectionable, totally-into-sci-fi host like, I don't know, Sarah Silverman.
Thanks to @slublog.
— Ace FAUX NOIZE!!!!
Just thought I'd say that before the trollz.
Although other polls have had Obama below the 40% mark, this is the first time FAUX NOIZE!!! has had him below that level.
Fifty-four percent disapprove. Before now Obamas worst job rating was 40-55 percent in November 2013. Last month 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved (February 2014).
Approval of Obama among Democrats stands at 71 percent, near its 69 percent record low (September 2013). For independents, 28 percent approve, which is also near the 25 percent all-time low among this group (July 2013). And approval of Obama among Republicans hits a new low of five percent.
Overall, a 59-percent majority thinks the White House has mostly failed at creating jobs, up from 52 percent who said the same in October 2012. Likewise, 56 percent feel it has failed on growing the economy. Thats also up from 52 percent.
The poll goes on to note a major loss of support on his handling of foreign policy, which, you know. I'm sure that doesn't exactly shock you guys. Although many of you may be shocked to learn that some Americans noticed he was screwing up big time.
In other polling news, the Washington Post now finds support for gay marriage at the 59% mark, with 34% disagreeing, and with half of all respondents saying that a right to gay marriage actually exists in the Constitution.
You know, I used to -- I used to not link polls like this. I know they are unpopular and even accused of being "trolling" or posted in aid of the leftist agenda.
But it's important for people to know what the facts actually are. The fact that support for gay marriage is at nearly 60%, while opposition is down to 34%, doesn't prove anyone's right on this point, nor that anyone is wrong. As they say, the Truth makes a majority of one.
But very often people seem mystified as to why their representatives are not prioritizing their policy preferences to the degree they liked.
And I think sheltering people from stuff like this -- cocooning them, as the New York Times does -- is simply a bad practice, which leads to misunderstandings and a skewed notion of what the actual political reality looks like.
And this poll is not an outlier -- Pew found that support for gay marriage had jumped to 53%, not quite as high as the WaPo now finds it, but above 50%. (Pew also finds that more people oppose SSM, 41%, than the WaPo.)
Pew also finds that most of the country supports gay marriage. Except in the South... which splits perfectly on the question.
Today, majorities of Americans in the Northeast (60%), West (58%), and Midwest (51%) favor allowing gay and lesbians to legally marry, while Southerners are evenly divided (48% favor, 48% oppose).
This isn't a winning issue anymore, which doesn't mean people are required to counterfeit their preferences.
But the other parts of the agenda regarding the stigmatization of homosexuality: Those are now simply radioactive. Those will have to be jettisoned, at least on a political level.
Most People Don't Realize How Far the Ground Has Shifted on This: Interesting take-away from Allah-- see the graph about how many people accurately say that gay marriage gets majority support in polls.
Only one group, those strongly in favor of gay marriage, say so. (In their case, it's either because they're very interested in the topic or are, like most people, just assuming that most people agree with them.)
Only a small fraction of those opposed to gay marriage know this particular polling result, somewhere between 19-22%.
— Ace Allah discusses this and provides links to people, like @freddoso, who were there.
Below is linked excerpts from his speech. I cannot judge if the speech is standing-o worthy because the excepts are, of course, the most basic, obvious things. Stuff like "we have to start saying what we're for, and not just what we're against." This is an obvious thought which virtually everyone says, and the only way to judge whether or not this was an effective part of the speech is to hear the details he then turned to, which the excerpts, of course, leave out.
Of course Christie also had to contrast Republican governors, such as himself, who do things, with Republican congressmen who, in his telling, only talk about doing things.
I think in another context this would be a standard piece of puffery that raises no objections, but these words from Christie provoke a certain suspicious response from many. Because many people in the conservative movement think he's throwing the rest of the party under the bus to advance himself.
Which is standard political behavior, to be sure, but I think many people are alarmed by the suggestion that the federal-level GOP ought to just roll over for Obama and Reid.
As Christie, I'm sure, would remind you, when speaking about himself, doing the right thing is not necessarily doing the popular thing, but I don't hear him defending the congressional Republicans for doing the right, if unpopular, thing.
Eh, maybe I'll listen to the whole thing when it gets released.
In the meantime, there are excerpts, and also this report on McConnell's "lukewarm" reception and his own speech.
— Ace Well.
Music industry analyst Mark Mulligans MIDiA Consulting has published a new report exploring the superstar artist economy. It suggests that while artists share of total recorded-music income has grown from 14% in 2000 to 17% in 2013, the top 1% of musical works are now accounting for 77% of all those artist revenues thanks in part to a tyranny of choice on digital services.
The democratisation of access to music distribution has delivered great benefits for artists but has contributed to even greater confusion for fans, ironically culminating in an intensification of the superstar effect, with the successful artists relative share of the total pot of musical works getting progressively smaller, as he puts it.
The report takes pains to point out that superstar artists arent necessarily just those signed to major labels, noting that a number of independent artists have broken into the 1% tier. Its also clear that this isnt just a digital phenomenon witness the 75% share that the top 1% of artists take in physical sales. But the report is likely to fuel more arguments about whether streaming pays off for smaller artists.
Whether they're "independent" or not, they're still the top 1%. Technology is making the idea of a "record company" obsolete to the point of quaintness, anyway.
I'd be interested in hearing from the top 1% of the recording industry about their thoughts on the top 1% of earners in all other fields -- and why they (presumably) support their own claim to the vast majority of all income, but oppose 1%ers in other fields similarly taking home a greatly disproportionate share of all revenues.
Stratospheric revenues are had when someone is either selling the same thing (the same book, the same song) to a massive group of people (like the huge American market) or when someone is in charge of a large corporation serving a huge national market (NABISCO -- the National Biscuit Corporation -- demonstrated this 100 years or so ago).
Some jobs will never pay all that much, either because it's too easy to find someone else to do the job (too much supply) or because the worker spends a great deal of his personal time on each run of production. A brain surgeon, for example, has a skill in ridiculously high demand -- people would, if needed, trade most of their income just to live. But a brain surgeon, unlike Beyonce, cannot just print up 100,000 copies of his brain surgeries and sell them to people. Every surgery requires at least days of research and consultation and at least a day of actual surgery. No matter how important his skill, he can never sell it in a massively reproduced way such as to make as much money as Jay-Z.
This is the way of the world. It's not fair, but it's also not plainly unjust, either.
But I do notice that people who can reap the huge benefits of massively reproduced labor being sold many times -- such as movie stars -- never seem to notice that they themselves are the beneficiaries of the same basic principle that makes the CEO of a large corporation so rich.
Years ago, Warren Beatty was asked about this unfairness -- the unfairness that a star like him could (at one point) command a fee of $5 million or more while most actors were paid scale or just above it, and could barely find work 8 months out of every year. He was asked to reconcile this with his own well-known socialist leanings.
All Beatty said was this: "The star system is central to how Hollywood makes movies." As if this answers the question at all.
What he was really saying is "That's just the way it is, and I'm the beneficiary of that system, so eff you, I'm fine with it."
Would that he were capable of generalizing from his own experience.
— Ace Interesting document.
You should know going in she's not firmly against global warming theory. But she is honest enough to confess that the theory, as currently understood, is wrong, at least in important details, and she's willing to "go there," at least in a speculative way, and consider the possibility that the theory is wrong in the main as well.
She seems extremely skeptical of last year's spin that the ocean is "hiding" huge amounts of heat by some unexplained mechanism.
She does seem to see some plausibility in another theory, the "stadium wave" theory, which isn't terribly surprising -- the Stadium Wave hypothesis is her own pet theory.
One of the most controversial issues emerging from the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is the failure of global climate models to predict a hiatus in warming of global surface temperatures since 1998. Several ideas have been put forward to explain this hiatus, including what the IPCC refers to as unpredictable climate variability that is associated with large-scale circulation regimes in the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar of these regimes is El Niño/La Niña. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
A new paper published in the journal Climate Dynamics suggests that this unpredictable climate variability behaves in a more predictable way than previously assumed. The papers authors, Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry, point to the so-called stadium-wave signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a wave propagates through the audience. In like manner, the stadium wave climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo.
The stadium wave hypothesis provides a plausible explanation for the hiatus in warming and helps explain why climate models did not predict this hiatus. Further, the new hypothesis suggests how long the hiatus might last.
But this seems to me a pure speculation. She's offering a possible explanation for how various forces come together (well, they nearly conspire) to push temperatures down (which then offsets, I guess, the increase in temperatures predicted by Global Warming theorists).
We are very far from "The Science Is Settled" when we're still thrashing about for the best speculation as to why temperatures aren't rising as predicted.
You can't say "the Science is Settled" and then propose the speculation that maybe the ocean is "hiding" heat by some unknown mechanism (and hiding it, by the way, in some place we can't actually find or measure), or the speculation of a chaotic system that self-organizes towards a cooling tendency.
Either of these speculations may turn out to be true -- but at the moment, they are mere speculations, which not only aren't proven but are still in fairly early stages of theorization.
That is, they're still pretty half-baked. They're hardly past the brainstorming phase.
A theory is as strong as it its weakest proof. Global Warming now relies, unavoidably, not only on mere speculations, but on speculations people can't even agree upon (in a "The Speculation is Settled" sort of "consensus").
This reduces all of global warming theory to the level of mere speculation.
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