Friday, October 31, 2014

Bayou Bizzare

Yes, she really is this desperate:
Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu said Thursday that the issue of race is a major reason that President Barack Obama has struggled politically in Southern states.

“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu told NBC News in an interview. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
Except that, well:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted Landrieu’s comments as desperate and out of touch.

“She appears to be living in a different century. Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity,” said Jindal. “That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana, and I flatly reject it.”
As may the voters-but maybe they're racist...

Repeal Returns

At long last, reconciliation?
“Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he’ll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won’t be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation,” McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire wrote in an emailed statement…

It remains an open question as to how much of the law could be repealed through the complicated reconciliation process. For instance, the law’s spending provisions could probably be repealed this way, but regulations that aren’t directly related to the budget likely couldn’t be.
Turnabout is fair play...

Ride Along

finally weighs in on nurse Hickox's excursions:
The White House said on Thursday that it did not support the decision by a nurse in Maine to flout the voluntary quarantine imposed upon her by state authorities concerned about her exposure to Ebola.

A spokesman for Barack Obama said that it was up to states to set their own public health rules, although he believed they should be guided by science.
I thought that was the point...

SpaceShipTwo Down

A grim reminder of how important testing is:
SpaceShipTwo was testing a new plastic-based rocket fuel for the first time today. Eyewitness told The Daily Beast that the spacecraft exploded shortly after the rocket motor was ignited. The spaceship had not flown a powered flight in about nine months because engineers were switching out its original engine that used rubber-based rocket fuel for the new engine that used plastic-based fuel.

Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft, had experienced some problems with the new rocket, which until today had only been tested on the ground. While the new motor holds much promise of greatly increased performance, there were also some serious risks associated with the new rocket—as today’s incident proved.
Space X will continue, but hopefully future disasters will be avoided.

Rangle Roasted

Even CNN is fed up with him:

Zombie Meds

Just because you're dead, doesn't mean you still can't keep getting your medication:
Investigators examined claims from 2012 for a tiny sliver of Medicare drugs — medications to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — and then cross-referenced them with death records. They found that the program paid for drugs for 158 beneficiaries after they were already dead. The cost to taxpayers: $292,381, an average of $1,850 for each beneficiary.

Medicare's "current practices allowed most of these payments to occur," said the report. It underscored that the problem extends beyond HIV drugs.

Investigators found that of 348 HIV prescriptions dispensed for dead beneficiaries, nearly half were filled more than a week after the patient died. Sometimes multiple prescriptions were filled on behalf of a single dead person.
Well, they do have the right to vote, as well...

Hungarian Tax Goulash

Hungary's tax revolt succeeds:
Opponents of the tax, who said it would have hurt consumers already struggling with a faltering economy, described the U-turn as a major victory.

But Orban's announcement was unlikely to end discontent among liberal Hungarians who accuse him of being an autocrat and are frustrated there is no prospect of removing him until elections in 2018. Recent anti-tax rallies have been a catalyst for broader anti-government protests.

"This tax in its current form cannot be introduced," Orban told public radio. "If the people not only dislike something but also consider it unreasonable then it should not be done."
Good, but Orban's not exactly democratic:
In his four years in power, Orban's government has ordered an audit into civil society groups, has tightened state oversight over the media and slapped costly levies on foreign companies.

The European Union and the United States have voiced concerns that Orban, who made his name opposing Communist rule in the 1980s, has acquired too much power and is back-sliding on democracy.
Autocrats are only as democratic as they choose to be...

Thug Time

Ya wanna vote, don't ya?
Democrats are telling voters that they had better head to the polls — or else.
The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.
“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.
“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”
It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”
It's nothing personal-it's just politics...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

On The Case

In politics, timing is everything:
National Review Online is reporting that the FBI (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DOJ) has made the highly unusual decision to disclose their investigation into Mike Rounds (pictured above), a Republican Senate candidate in South Dakota, less than a week before next Tuesday’s vote.

The alleged misconduct being investigated is somewhat obscure–something involving a work visa program in the state–but it is notable that the alleged misconduct was to have occurred three years ago, and the FBI’s announcement comes a year after the state’s own attorney general closed its own investigation without bringing any charges.

The concern, of course, is that the FBI announcement was timed to influence Rounds’ prospects in next week’s voting. When asked for more detail, the FBI replied that the agent in charge of the investigation would be unavailable to provide additional information until late next week, after the election, thus leaving a cloud over Rounds’ candidacy through election day.
I'm sure it's just a coincidence...

The Elephant In The Election

Obamacare isn't helping:
Most Americans don’t want to get rid of Obamacare. They just don’t share its fundamental goal of universal coverage anymore.

And not only did the political benefits that Democrats thought the 2010 law would eventually bring them not materialize, opposition has only grown, according to an analysis of multiple polls taken between 2010 and last month.

Only 47 percent of Americans agree that it’s the government’s job to make sure everyone has health coverage, down from 69 percent in 2006, the analysis found.
Looks like the village doesn't want to be burned...

Non-Firing Firing

She wasn't fired; she got her job eliminated:
“We reorganized and eliminated the position that I had, and I left that organization in charge of two other people who reported directly to the U.S.,” said Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor. Burke is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s election.

Burke was responding to claims by multiple former Trek employees who told Wisconsin Reporter that Burke was fired from her family-owned business over poor performance and conduct issues.

She characterized the Wisconsin Reporter article as “ridiculous.”

“Frankly, this is the sort of nonsense, six days before an election, baseless allegations that are deterring frankly from the issues that are really important here,” Burke said on the campaign trail in Green Bay, according to a story from the Wisconsin Radio Network.
Maybe she's worried about her campaign being eliminated by the voters...

The Devil's Case

The exorcist made him do it?
When Moore confessed, he told police Deaton ordered him to kill his wife to stop her from telling anyone about sexual assaults against her in the house, according to police records. The three lived in a communal house with other male members of the group.

"This is a horrible, horrible crime," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. "A young woman lost her life. She lost her life in a very violent way and today, we do know what happened to her."

Now Moore claims he only confessed to killing Deaton because he was under the influence of what some have called an exorcism. Moore, who is scheduled for trial next month, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

"They were the statements of a distraught and confused young man," his attorney, Melanie Morgan, said.

The medical examiner has also changed the manner of Deaton's death to undetermined.

"We are aware of no evidence that a crime has occurred," Morgan said.
No spinning head?

History Not Repeating Itself

Ted Cruz has a warning:
"If we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president," Cruz said Thursday morning on CNBC.

Cruz, a conservative firebrand who is considering a presidential campaign, urged Republicans to "learn from history."

"We need to look to history and what works and what doesn't," he said. "The one thing is clear is if Republicans run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney — and let me be clear, all three of those are good, honorable men. They're decent men. They're patriots. But if we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result."
You get the nominee you deserve?

The Great Moderator Debate

Should George Stephanopoulos be moderating debates?
On Wednesday morning, Brown said he had “concerns” over Stephanopoulos being the debate moderator in the wake of a report from Breitbart News that a top campaign adviser to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has longtime ties to the former Bill Clinton campaign official and White House adviser.
That appearance from Brown on Fox News came before a second report from Breitbart News that shows Stephanopoulos was actually sent as Clinton’s emissary to accept Shaheen’s and other Democratic women’s endorsement of his re-election campaign in 1996. Stephanopoulos then served as a “senior adviser” to the president. The exchange is on video, captured by C-SPAN at the time.
An ABC News spokesperson hasn't responded to a request for comment about Paul's comments on Stephanopoulos.
Paul raising concerns about Stephanopoulos comes at a time when the former Clinton operative is aiming to rehabilitate his image as a newsman. Last presidential cycle, as Paul noted, Stephanopoulos sowed the seeds of the “war on women” campaign theme that helped incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in the general election by inserting contraception questions into a GOP primary debate when no candidate had made the issue part of his or her platform.
It would seem to be a valid concern...

Peace Through Punching

How to get a non-violent beatdown:
Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, accused their former roommate of stealing their property, and allegedly punched and kicked him in the street until he had seizures. Arrested moments later, Ardeno was still wearing the same "Stop the Violence" T-shirt she had on the night before when she coordinated a march protesting two recent shootings, Washington Police Chief Chris Luppino said.

The victim, Joshua Magraff, also is a community organizer with the anti-violence group, and shared an apartment with the suspects until recently.

Online court records don't list lawyers for the defendants, who face a preliminary hearing Nov. 10 on charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Give fists a chance?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Traveling Man

Everything is under control:
“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.
So I'm sure we can trust those health workers who complain about their quarantines...

Outer Orbit

The outer circle versus the inner space:
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel, meanwhile, are struggling to penetrate the tightly knit circle around the president and carve out a place in the administration. Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, and gets credit for putting together the coalition of Arab states that conducted military strikes in Syria. But he often seems out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered from the White House.

In separate interviews, Mr. McDonough and Ms. Rice rejected that portrait, saying Mr. Kerry dials into meetings and is heavily involved in the policy process.
Some would argue that the entire administration is already lost in space...


All it needs is its own talk show:
Like all good comedians, Ginger must read the crowd. In this case, that involves programming the machine to pick up on social cues like clapping and even smiling.

"Things like laughter, applause, these are symbolic things that we all do," says Knight. "So when you're in a theater you can have hundreds of people that are also data points.

"In the past I've given the audience feedback cards that were red on one side and green on the other, so they could explicitly tell the robot through its vision whether something was working or not."

Regardless of Ginger's comedic powers, the adorable bot could one day influence the "personalities" of other machines.

"For example, if you had a robot that's delivering juice boxes in a pre-school, then you'd want it to be pretty warm," explained Knight.

"But if you have a robot that's a security guard in a garage at night, with some suspicious people hanging around, then being a little intimidating can totally be appropriate."
So at least Ginger's descendants will still have day jobs...

Dark Net

This could actually happen:

The Doctors Are Out

More doctors agree-Obamacare isn't for them:
Over 214,000 doctors won't participate in the new plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA,) analysis of a new survey by Medical Group Management Association shows. That number of 214,524, estimated by American Action Forum, is through May 2014, but appears to be growing due to plans that force doctors to take on burdensome costs. It's also about a quarter of the total number of 893,851 active professional physicians reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

HHS requires that insurers cover customers for an additional 90 days after they have stopped paying their premiums: the insurer covers the first 30 - but, it's up to the doctor to recoup payment for the last 60 days. This is the number one reason providers are opting to not participate in the exchange plans.
It literally just isn't worth it to stay in...

Disaster Report

The Red Cross screwed up:
The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”

The problems stand in stark contrast to the Red Cross’ standing in the realm of disaster relief. President Obama, who is the charity’s honorary chairman, vouched for the group after Sandy, telling Americans to donate. “The Red Cross knows what they’re doing,” he said.
Except that they didn't...

The Distance

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz insists Democrats don't need whats-his-name:
"As someone who is on the ballot myself in six days from now, I can tell you that any candidate wants to be able to stand on their own," Schultz told MSNBC on Wednesday.

"That's what our candidates are doing. They're focused on the issues that matter to their constituents," she said, adding "of course we have a common agenda that really unites us all," citing jobs and the economy.
What was his name, again?

The Illinois Way

Illinois voters experience the old Democratic switcheroo:
"Two nights ago, I took a call from a supporter of mine who said that his mother-in-law had gone to the library to vote and that every time that she went to push my name that it automatically bounced up to my opponents name," Schilling told KWQC, the local NBC affiliate, on October 24. "I thought, well, maybe she mixed up, she's an older gal, but come to find out in the last two days I've taken 17 calls of people saying the exact same thing."

The two Moline voters say they didn’t expect to experience problems. They figured the problem was older people were having difficult with the machines' touchscreens. But both said their attempts to vote for Republicans on several races were switched to select the Democrat. One of the voters said he tried to vote for the Republican candidate in the races for U.S. House and the state senate, and that both his votes were registered as those for the Democratic candidate. The second voter said he had the same problem for those races as well as those for the state house and the Rock Island County clerk race.

“I pressed the top of the box for [Republican state senate candidate] Neil Anderson, and it clicked for [Democratic state senator] Mike Jacobs,” he said. The machines, both voters said, require the use of fingers, and no stylus or other device is provided.
It's the Democratic way...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Send Out The Clowns

Evil clowns continue to spread in France:
Complaints have poured in recently over "armed clowns" wreaking havoc in various parts of the country, and police have detained several people dressed as the pranksters - some carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats.
The phenomenon has even prompted anti-clown vigilantism, forcing police to try to quell the hysteria by saying there have only been a few sightings of the terrifying clowns.

Theories abound as to the origin of the not-so-funny trend of violence in a country where Halloween has yet to take hold.
The suggestions include a challenge launched on social networks, a popular video on YouTube showing a terrifying clown pranking people or even a recent episode of the popular TV series American Horror Story featuring Twisty the killer clown.
And then there are the fake zombies.

Who's Not Your Daddy?

How can you be a father when you're not? Like this:
Alexander explained to the judge and court again and again his situation. He says in hindsight, he didn't understand the formal legal steps necessary to make things right.

Eventually he, by chance, ran into someone he knew would know where the woman was, and got a DNA test. It proved what he had been saying all along: the child he had never met was not his.

The mother had realized that, and the real father was in the child's life. Alexander took this information to court. The judge was unmoved.

“Case closed. I gotta pay for the baby,” said Alexander.
Who's not your daddy?

The Sexism Within

You stay classy, Democrats:
Sheheen was caught on video at an appearance in Florence last week stating “we are going to escort whore out the door” referring to Haley. His gaffe appeared to be a slip from the tongue and he quickly corrected himself stating “we’re going to escort her out the door.”
But immediately after correcting himself, Sheheen has an almost gleeful interaction with the crowd and laughed at his gaffe. Video of the event has gone viral.
One of Haley’s biggest champions, Ann Romney, blasted Sheheen and told CNN that his comment “hit me right in my gut.”
“My nerve endings went haywire,” the wife of former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shared with CNN. “It’s so upsetting when you know someone can say something like that about a woman, and not have any kind of reaction. It’s so unacceptable. Nikki is a great girl and has been a great governor.”
Ann Romney added that Sheheen’s reaction to his gaffe is discouraging to women who want to pursue political careers.
“We need to make sure we have a safe place so that other women can feel like they can do this and these kinds of things aren’t going to happen to them,” Romney said to CNN. “You get so sick of saying there is bias out there, but if a Republican had said this, it would be blowing up in their face like nobody’s business. Where is EMILY’s List? Where is N.O.W.? Where are they?”
Fighting an imaginary "War on Women" somewhere else...

The Big One

Obamacare is so unpopular, it's popular in ads:
According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), Republicans ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 13-19. That’s almost twice as many ads as they ran on jobs/unemployment, more than twice as many as they ran on international affairs, and more than three times as many as they ran on taxes. In fact, it’s more than they ran on jobs/unemployment, taxes, and social issues combined. It’s also more than they ran on jobs/unemployment and immigration combined.
Everybody knows about it, and they seem to want to get rid of it once and for all.

The Invisible Czar

Whaterver happened to Ron Klain?
It’s a theater of the absurd. It’s laughable,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University and a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering with much experience in Africa.

He said the lack of a visible leader quarterbacking the Ebola effort, coupled with the scattered, decentralized realities of the American health care system, created a confounding muddle.

At the White House, reporters confronted press secretary Josh Earnest with questions about the Ebola czar.

“What has changed since he started his job?” one reporter asked. “It appears as though this week there’s more confusion than there was last week, given what we’re seeing in New York and New Jersey, and more differences between how the states are dealing with it.”

Earnest insisted Klain was “coordinating the government response,” but he did not directly answer whether the Ebola czar needed to do more to coordinate with state governments.
Has anyone checked the golf course? that seems to be the place to disappear to...

Voices In The Wilderness

Angry black woman: Are you sayin' the Democratic Party don't care about the African-American community?
Bulworth: Isn't that OBVIOUS?

Monday, October 27, 2014

From The Heartland

Meet Joni Ernst:
A year ago she was nobody, a small-town Republican state senator with a vision of filling a U.S. Senate seat that had, for 30 years, belonged to a liberal Democrat. Now, she is seen nationally as a rising star in a field of duds — if she can pull off an upset in a race few expected her, or any Republican, to win. With a little more than a week before the election, she maintained a slim lead in the polls in one of the country’s closest ­races, within hoping distance of becoming the state’s first female senator and ahead of the expected Democratic shoo-in, Rep. Bruce Braley. The White House had sent out Michelle Obama to campaign for Braley a week before and, Ernst loves to tell people, the first lady mispronounced his name.
I'm sure the Obamas know hers by now...

Big Brother Is Regulating You?

Could online speech be curtailed? The chairman of the FEC is worried:
“There are hundreds of thousands of blogs, websites, podcasts, webcasts, and I can’t image a regulatory regime where the federal government starts culling websites and YouTube posts on a daily basis to identify those that might not have registered and reported their expenditures,” Goodman told Fox News. “It really is a specter of a government review board culling the Internet daily. … I don’t know how we could begin to regulate all the hundreds of thousands of political commentaries online.”

It’s unclear whether Ravel’s intention is to focus solely on recognized political groups and declared candidates, or also everyday Americans who freely post their political sentiments in videos online.
Or, not so freely, soon...

Spooked Software

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't spying on you:
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
Careful; they may have questions for you later...

About That Lawsuit

Whatever happened to John Boehner's Obamacare lawsuit?
Lawyers close to the process said they originally expected the legal challenge to be filed in September, but now they don’t expect any action before the elections.

Some attribute the delay to electoral politics — suggesting that Republicans were worried it could rile up the Democratic base — though the GOP is mum on why the suit has yet to be filed.

Whatever the reason, the delay means the core of the suit could effectively be moot before the Obama administration even has to respond to it in court. The case was expected to center on an employer mandate provision that Obama twice delayed but is now set to kick in for many employers on Jan. 1.

“I thought this was a constitutional crisis and the republic was in jeopardy because Obama overstepped his bounds. Now, they can’t even get around to filing it?” asked former House Counsel Stan Brand, a Democrat. “It, to me, emphasizes the not-serious nature of it.”
Unfortunately, that seems to be the case...

Team Spirit

Meet the other Redskins:
Most of the people in Red Mesa not only reject claims that their team’s nickname is a slur, they have emerged as a potent symbol in the heated debate over the name of the more widely known Redskins — Washington’s NFL team. More than half the school’s 220 students eagerly accepted free tickets from the team for an Oct. 12 game near Phoenix, where they confronted Native American protesters who were there to condemn Washington’s moniker.

None of that mattered to the Red Mesa Redskins as they marched onto the field for their game against the Lobos of Many Farms High School. It was homecoming, and the players knew they needed to keep winning if they wanted to make their first appearance in the state playoffs in five years.

Red Mesa students, parents and alumni stamped the bleachers, clutching signs that read “Fear the Spear” and “Redskin Nation.”

There were 62 high schools in 22 states using the Redskins moniker last year, according to a project published by the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. In addition to Red Mesa, two others are majority Native American: Wellpinit High School in Washington state and Kingston High School in Oklahoma.
That's an awful lot of bigots...

Internal Shakedown Service

It's your money-just don't have too little of it:
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”
If you can't charge them, extort them...

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Are we in line for the next Big One?
Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That's an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

It’s clear that recent "great" earthquakes "triggered" related major quakes, says study author Thorne Lay, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“If we look at all earthquake magnitudes, the past 10 years is not unusual in terms of the rate of events; the rate increases are just seen for events with magnitudes larger than 7.5 or so," he said. "This suggests that great events were ‘catching up’ on the plate boundary motions in several regions with fortuitous similar timing.”

And by fortuitous, Lay means that he thinks it’s just coincidence that all those big earthquakes happened over the last 10 years.
Tread carefully, Cascadians?

Womb With A Real View

The age of the artificial womb:
For now, artificial wombs are the stuff of science fiction. Those of you who read Brave New World in high school will recall its chilling portrayal of the “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre,” where vast numbers of identical children spring from the same genetic soup. If ectogenesis, a fancy word for the use of artificial wombs, ever happens in the real world, it will be a more banal next step from the technologies that already keep premature babies alive. Ectogenesis will start out as a way to allow older women to have children or to abet pregnancy for women who would otherwise be unable to carry children. Eventually, it will be considered safer to have children via ectogenesis than the old-fashioned way, and the practice will spread far and wide.
But will actually making babies still be as much fun?


Plants know when they're being eaten:
The researchers were seeking to answer an unusual question: does a plant know when it’s being eaten? To do that, the researchers had to first make a precise audio version of the vibrations that a caterpillar makes as it eats leaves. The theory is that it’s these vibrations that the plant can somehow feel or hear. In addition, the researchers also came up with vibrations to mimic other natural vibrations the plant might experience, like wind noise.

Turns out, the thale cress actually produces some mustard oils and sends them through the leaves to deter predators (the oils are mildly toxic when ingested). And the study showed that when the plants felt or heard the caterpillar-munching vibrations, they sent out extra mustard oils into the leaves. When they felt or heard other vibrations? Nothing. It’s a far more dynamic defense than scientists had realized: the plant is more aware of its surroundings and able to respond than expected.
Sorry, vegans. Looks like you're out of options...

Old Man's Lament

Bob Woodward has questions:
Woodward said, "The reality now in my view that in the Obama administration, there are lots of unanswered questions about the IRS, particularly. If I were young, I would take Carl Bernstein and move to Cincinnati where that IRS office is and set up headquarters and go talk to everyone."
Oh, to be young again...or at least willing to find somebody to talk to them for you...

Saturday, October 25, 2014


RIP Jack Bruce:
Considered one of the greatest rock trios of all time, Cream was formed by Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker in 1966. The band produced such hits as "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," "Crossroads" and "Strange Brew," many of which Bruce wrote and sang. He also helped come up with the memorable guitar riff in "Sunshine of Your Love."
The band members' infighting and drug use became almost as well-known as their musical talent, and the group parted ways in 1968.
"Jack felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to rediscover his musical and social roots," according to his official biography.
Born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1943, Bruce played in various dance bands and jazz groups before joining the Graham Bond Organization in 1962, where he met drummer Ginger Baker. He later joined John Mayall's Blues Breakers and met guitarist Eric Clapton, leading to the formation of Cream.
After group broke up, Bruce went on to record solo albums and front bands. He released more than a dozen solo LPs over the next four decades, including his latest, "Silver Rails," in March. Cream reunited briefly in 1993 for the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It was well deserved:

The "B" Word

Charles Barkley on keeping yourself down:
While appearing on “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis,” Barkley was asked about a rumor that Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was getting criticism from his black teammates for not being, quote, “black enough.”

Barkley went on a long monologue on the subject: ”Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”

Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.”
One that, unfortunately, has been ongoing for a long time...

The Bill Comes Due

David Cameron doesn't take kindly to extortion:
In an angry intervention, he interrupted a summit discussion on economic policy to confront European Commission President Jose Barroso over the cash demand.

He accused the Eurocrat of having “no idea” of the impact the “vast” invoice would have on the UK.

Speaking at a news conference at the end of the summit, he said the “completely unjustified and sudden production of a bill for Britain of £1.7billion” had provoked “downright anger” in him.

Mr Cameron insisted: “It is an unacceptable way for this organisation to work, to suddenly present a bill like this for such a vast sum of money with so little time to pay it.

“And it is an unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the European Union.”

Repeatedly thumping his lectern with a clenched fist, he added: “I am not paying that bill on December 1st.

"If people think I am, they’ve got another thing coming; it is not going to happen.

“As an important contributor to this organisation, we are not suddenly going to get out our chequebook and write a cheque for two billion euros; it is not happening.”
Welcome to the EU collection agency...