Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Big Bird

It's not just your imagination-turkeys have gotten bigger:
“Farmers grow for what the consumer wants—and that includes meatier turkeys,” said Keith Williams of the National Turkey Federation. “The live weights of turkeys, due to that consumer desire, has continued to grow, and the amount of feed to raise each pound of turkey continues to be less.”

Less feed reduces farmers’ costs, and it has environmental benefits, too, as less corn and soybeans are required to meet the nation’s turkey demand. And that demand has gone up a lot. In 1950, America’s per-capita turkey consumption was just 5.5 pounds. Nowadays, that number is over 16 pounds, and the National Turkey Federation would like to see it grow to 20 pounds, which would beat the industry’s peak consumption of 18.2 pounds of turkey per American in 1996.

Turkeys are no different from other livestock. Chickens have undergone a very similar process. Cows used to produce 5,000 pounds of milk in their lifetimes. Now they produce more than 20,000 pounds. Selective-breeding programs combined with the development of quantitative genetics have combined to create systems for morphing our livestock to better fit the market.
Remember, they're growing for you...

The Dossier That Isn't

This is not a real dossier:
The inability to verify any collusion or conspiracy is significant, since the dossier may have triggered the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, which has now become the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.

The first installment of the dossier came on June 20, 2016. The author of the dossier, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, told Mother Jones he went to the FBI in early July of 2016, and former FBI Director James Comey told members of the House intelligence committee the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia came in late July of 2016.

It has also recently come to light that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Making it even more suspicious is that the Clinton campaign and the DNC used a law firm, Perkins Coie, to hire Fusion GPS to conduct the research that would make up the dossier.
Making it up as they go along is the Clinton way...

Cuddle Time?

Who needs a hug?
Dieniz Costa, a “professional cuddlist,” called her sessions a “safe space” where people can “explore touch.”

“More likely than not, they’re not getting the level of touch that they need in their everyday life,” Costa said of her clients.

The woman, Claudia Romeo, said she was curious to see if the session “will help me in any way.”

Romeo described herself as “very relaxed” after an hour-long session.
We all need a little love now and then...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bitter Hardball

When you've lost Chris Matthews:
Without naming names, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” told a crowd at Florida’s Miami Dade College that past comments made by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton had alienated white working Americans.
“Ever since we started this Archie Bunker thing in the early ‘70s, making fun of white working people, we kissed them goodbye,” Mr. Matthews said in a C-SPAN clip flagged by The Washington Examiner. “You make fun of people, you look down on them, they get the message. You call them ‘deplorables,’ they hear it. You bet they hear it.
“You say they cling to their guns and religion? ‘Oh yeah? I cling to my religion. OK. I’m a little person, and you’re a big person. Thank you, I’ll be voting for the other guy this time,’” he said.
The clingers have long memories...

Behind The Treeline

It's not just Hollywood:
Until now, the U.S. Forest Service denied there was a systemic problem; then deputy chief of business operations Lenise Lago, a 27-year veteran of the USFS, said this at the 2016 hearing: “Throughout my career in the Forest Service, I’ve also experienced the dedication and commitment of our employees at all levels to work together for a working environment that’s free of harassment where all employees can thrive.”

“The USFS has taken bold steps to address incidents of harassment and is committed to providing a work environment that stresses respect for individual values and appropriate conduct among all employees. The Forest Service doesn’t tolerate harassment in the workplace.” The USFS said in its most recent statement. “On November 6, 2017, the Forest Service launched the Forest Service Harassment Reporting Center to build upon the agency’s efforts to address harassment.”
They couldn't see the forest for the claims...

The Blue Poorhouse

Democrats might be winning elections, but they're still losing money:
The Democratic National Committee had the worst October fundraising-wise since 2003, according to a Tuesday CNN report.

The DNC raised $3.9 million, while the Republican National Committee raised $9.2 million.

The fundraising issues are not limited to the month of October. The DNC has raised $55 million dollars in 2017 compared to the $113.2 million raised by the RNC.

The RNC also has $42.5 million cash on hand and no debts, while the DNC just has $5 million cash on hand and additionally owes $3.2 million.
It's still the money, stupid...

Shouts Of A Clown

So here's Michael Moore, being him:

Super Unhappy Land

No more fun of any kind:
Citizens have been banned from participating in “any gatherings related to drinking, singing and other entertainment,” Yonhap News Agency reported Monday. The North Korean regime is also “strengthening control of outside information.”

The ban is reportedly an effort to stifle “a possible negative impact” of sanctions against North Korea in response to its recent nuclear tests.

The rogue state has also taken action against its military, by “undertaking an inspection of the military politburo” due to an “impure attitude toward the party leadership,” according to Reuters.

Top military officials — including bureau chief Hwang Pyong-so and deputy chief Kim Won-hong — were punished as a result of the investigation, but it’s unclear how they were disciplined.
Isn't living in North Korea punishment enough?

Bob Begone

Mugabe is out:
Mugabe’s resignation came after his Zanu-PF party stripped him of leadership over the weekend and introduced a motion to impeach him on Tuesday morning. The motion, deemed “unprecedented in the history of post-independence Zimbabwe” by Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda, was seconded to loud cheers and thumping on tables.

The parliament then adjourned for a debate. News broke during this interval that Mugabe had resigned. Although the impeachment process technically requires a lengthy investigation, officials spoke of fast-tracking it to remove Mugabe from office in a matter of days.

The BBC reports that “lawmakers roared in jubilation and people have begun celebrating in the streets” after Mudenda revealed Mugabe’s resignation announcement.

Mugabe was strongly advised to resign by his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who returned to Zimbabwe after being sacked by the dictator to clear a path to power for his wife Grace. The articles of impeachment specifically cited Grace Mugabe’s attempt to “usurp constitutional power” as an example of the Mugabes’ lack of respect for the rule of law, along with the “instability” Robert Mugabe brought to the country and the 93-year-old dictator’s advanced age.
So now he can go to the old dictators' home...

Monday, November 20, 2017

In Their Own Sealed Words

Team Lerner doesn't want their testimony released because of threats, or something:
Court documents, reviewed by Fox News, said the “public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm.”

“Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment,” the documents stated. “Returning Mss. Lerner and Paz to the media spotlight places them at risk, regardless of what they actually said in those depositions.”

The documents also stated that: “Public exposure will put innocent bystanders, namely Mss. Lerner’s and Paz’s family members (including young children), at risk, too.”

Lerner and Paz pointed to comments from Tea Party leader Mark Meckler that the lawsuit would “treat the IRS like the criminal thugs they are.” The court filing argued that his comments have created a “fertile environment where threats” against them have “flourished.”
Like the way the IRS threatened them?

Baby Talk

What do babies really know?
At six months old, a baby probably doesn’t know what wallet or avalanche means—but even at such a young age, months before children start talking, they do understand some basic nouns, like ball and dog. And a new study suggests that the few words infants know are structured in their minds the same way as an adult’s vocabulary, in a complex web of related concepts. The evidence: When words have similar meanings, babies can get confused. That confusion hints that babies know more about language, at a younger age, than scientists have found before.

In the study, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, infants were shown images of two different common objects at a time: a blanket and a dog, a book and a diaper, a stroller and a car, and so on. The babies’ parents would name one of the images, and researchers would then track where the babies looked by reflecting infrared light off their eyes. When the images depicted related words, like nose and mouth, the infants spent more time looking at the wrong picture than when the images depicted unrelated words, like nose and bottle.
You might really have to watch what you say around them, after all...

New Government Wanted, No Experience Necessary

Germany is at a crossroads:
Merkel was forced into seeking a coalition with an unlikely group of parties after inconclusive elections in September left her without a clear majority.

But the shock breakdown of talks has left Merkel with no viable coalition partner in sight, endangering her fourth term in office.

But any new election also carries risks for her, as it could deliver results that are just as, or even more, fragmented.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who holds the power to call a new vote, made it clear that this was not his favoured option, as he told mainstream parties to rethink their positions and return to the negotiating table.

Underlining the duty of lawmakers to their voters, Steinmeier noted: "We have before us an unprecedented situation in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, that is, in the last 70 years."

Germany now faces weeks, if not months, of paralysis with a lame-duck government that is unlikely to take bold policy action at home or on the European stage.
Welcome to the new Weimar Republic?

The Worst Defense

This isn't quite the way to make your case:
"This attack on Judge Moore is an attempt by the Democrats to sway voters in Alabama," said Pastor David Floyd of Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church, Opelika. "I don't believe those women. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty."

Floyd is one of around 50 pastors that signed a letter of public support for Moore in August before allegations of sexual misconduct and the dating of teens became public. Moore has denied the allegations, calling them an "attack on my character and reputation" and a "desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate."

Pastor Franklin Raddish of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, a nationwide church, told AL.com from his South Carolina home that the spate of accusations against men in politics, Hollywood and elsewhere was a "war on men."

"More women are sexual predators than men," said Raddish. "Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don't hear about that because it's not PC."
What road is that, exactly? The one you wish you were on?

Nature's Privilege

Camping is racist, or something:
McCann seems to take issue with outdoor programs at Claremont, which is a conglomerate of five colleges known as the “5Cs.” Those programs, McCann argued, are the most funded on campus, yet are saturated with white supremacy. McCann admitted the clubs are open for all people, no matter the color of someone’s skin, but not everyone feels safe to attend.

“This discomfort is unfortunately caused by existing racial boundaries,” he claimed

The writer added: “Historically, white people in imperialist conquests have appropriated land as their own. North America rightfully belongs to indigenous communities, yet it has been taken away from them by force. Consequently, a false sense of ownership of nature permeates white America.”

What else does McCann claim?
McCann then goes on to take issue with the “image of modern outdoor enthusiasts,” which he claimed is of white men.

“The image of the ‘outdoorsy individual’ is an exclusive classification that gives white people the authority to venture into the outdoors freely, leaving people of color behind,” McCann wrote.

But there aren’t just “racial barriers” that prevent non-white people from stepping outside, McCann said, but also financial barriers. Only people with “economic privilege” can participate in outdoors activities and understand “obscure outdoor lingo.”
It must be those racist trees...

The Way They Were

Remembering the good old days:
For the first part of a 90-minute conversation with the Clintons on Saturday moderated by James Carville, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton made all manner of references, both direct and indirect, to the man who denied their bid to reclaim the White House, Donald J. Trump.

However, it was not until Mr. Clinton invoked his wife’s losing campaign — “I’m proud of her for getting caught trying to put people first,” he said — that her admirers rose to their feet in what was an obvious emotional release.

That was the cue to Mr. Carville, the 1992 campaign maestro who now makes a living delivering speeches and can read an audience, that the attendees hungered for more than Clinton-Gore nostalgia. And Mrs. Clinton gave it to them.


“Apparently, my former opponent is obsessed with my speaking out,” she said, noting that Mr. Trump had just trained his Twitter fire on her earlier in the day. “Honestly, between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?”
By not obsessing over What Happened?

Room For One More

Hell has a new arrival:
Considered one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century, Manson died of natural causes at a Kern County Hospital at 8:13 p.m Sunday, according to Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was 83.

Sentenced to death for the crime, Manson escaped execution when the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional at the time. He spent decades behind bars, an unrepentant and incorrigible inmate who’d been cited for behavioral issues more than 100 times.

Manson did not commit the murders himself; instead he persuaded his group of followers to carry out the killings. The crimes received frenzied news coverage, because so many lurid and sensational elements coalesced at the time — Hollywood celebrity, cult behavior, group sex, drugs and savage murders that concluded with the killers scrawling words with their victims’ blood.
Sometimes the good really do die young, but even the truly evil get there eventually...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

This Is An Ex Dictator

Mugabe is officially out:
The news came hours after the ruling party’s Central Committee on Sunday fired Mugabe as party leader and said if he didn’t resign as the country’s president by noon Monday it would start impeachment proceedings.

Mugabe was set to address the nation shortly on state-run television. The official close to the talks spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The 93-year-old Mugabe has been under house arrest since the military moved in Tuesday, angered by his firing of his longtime deputy and the positioning of unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe to succeed him.

Mugabe tried to buy time in negotiations with the military on a dignified exit but quickly found himself isolated.
It would be nice if certain other thugs would follow his example...

The Twitter Paradox

Time travel, anyone?
While speaking about the peace process in Northern Ireland during her husband’s first term, Hillary bragged that Bill Clinton didn’t tweet about challenges facing his presidency.

“He didn’t tweet about it, he got to work about it and he actually got it done,” she said to applause from the audience. Twitter was founded in 2006.

The former first lady made the comment while speaking at an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of Bill’s victory in the 1992 presidential election.
But what does she think about this whole Internets thing?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Senate Smackdown

He's mad as hell, and he's not gonna take this anymore:

Communication Breakdown

Whatcha gonna do when they come for each other?
It all started when two undercover cops from the 12th Precinct, pretending to sell marijuana, were waiting for customers on a street corner, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

As they waited for customers, undercover special operations officers from the 11th Precinct arrived and ordered the pair to the ground.

The rest of the special ops team from the 12th Precinct showed up and were about to raid a suspected drug den when guns were drawn, leading to punches being thrown after one cop was put in a headlock.

The homeowner stood and watched while the officers brawled.

“You’ve gotta have to have more communication, I guess,” one resident told Fox 2 Detroit. “I don’t understand what happened about that — communicate.”
Why tell others about your own shakedown operation?

No Trophies For You

The elephants stay:
Trump's reversal came hours after his administration released a rule on Friday to allow hunters who kill elephants in Zimbabwe to bring their trophies back to the United States, which had been banned by the Obama administration.

"Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!" Trump wrote.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement that he had spoken with Trump and "both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical." He said the "issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed."

Early word of the planned change had drawn protests from conservationists, who said it could deplete already at-risk elephant populations. It also caused a social media firestorm, with opponents posting photos of President Donald Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric, avid hunters, posing with dead wild animals.
The hunt is off, for now...

Mean Season

Maxine Waters wants to impeach Trump for...being mean?
“When I talk about impeachment, I describe what I think about this president. I think he’s deplorable and I think he defined himself in the campaign the way that he mocked and mimicked a disabled journalist, the way he talked about grabbing women by their private parts,” she said.

“The way he called names of his peers, etc., etc.,” Waters told Bloomberg, apparently referring to his Republican primary opponents.

“I think that’s unacceptable, and for people to allow this kind of behavior to be normalized is beyond what I believe our democracy should be all about, and so I encourage people and I inspire people and I show people that you don’t have to be intimidated. You don’t have to be afraid and you don’t have to be traditional,” she said.
You're still a poopy head...

Friday, November 17, 2017

Jungle Fever

No, it wasn't the cannibals:
Allen, 57, had become feverish and disoriented with what was suspected to be malaria, the BBC reports. He was looked after by Christian missionaries during his trek, the report said.

Allen had been working on the doc for the network when he failed to show up for a planned rendezvous, sparking fears for his safety.

Allen was helicoptered to the Papau New Guinea capital of Port Moseby and was expected back in England on Sunday, the report said.

"Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health," his agent said in a statement. "He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received."
They threw him back?

Top Gun

You're dangerous, Maverick:
Residents of Okanogan County, Wash., sent photos of the obscene skywritings to KREM. The photos resembled a phallic symbol.

One woman told KREM that she was “upset” and was unsure how to describe the drawings to her young children.

Officials from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island told Fox News in a statement that the drawings were “wholly unacceptable" and have begun an investigation into the incident.

"The actions of this aircrew were wholly unacceptable and antithetical to Navy core values. We have grounded the aircrew and are conducting a thorough investigation - and we will hold those responsible accountable for their actions," the Navy told Fox News in a statement.
The ultimate mansplaining?

As The Worms Turn

North Korea can be bad for your health:
South Korean doctors said the defector was in stable condition after surgery for his gunshot wounds. But physicians identified another reason for alarm: an “enormous number” of parasitic worms that are complicating his recovery, Reuters reported.

Doctors believed the soldier could have had the parasites for a while.

Lee Cook-jong, the defector's lead surgeon, showed photos of the parasitic worms, including an 11-inch long worm found in the man's digestive tract.

“In my over 20 year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Lee told reporters.
Unfortunately the head parasite is still there...

Die Hippie Die

What's taking so long?
Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the department would only say that Manson was still living but could not provide any further details.

Kern County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smallwood told The Times earlier this week that Manson is at a local hospital.

In January, Manson, 83, was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield for what authorities at the time would describe only as a serious medical problem. He was returned to prison a few days later.

Manson’s health problems come as Gov. Jerry Brown is deciding whether to grant parole to one of his followers.
Running out the clock is costing the taxpayers money...

Obamacare Math

Does this make any sense?
How can repealing a mandate be a tax hike? Recall that the mandate imposes a tax on most Americans if they decide that health insurance is unaffordable. In other words, removing the mandate means that Americans will no longer have to choose between paying a tax to Uncle Sam or paying premiums to one of Uncle Sam’s approved insurance companies.

Under most common sense definitions, that’s a tax cut. But Washington, D.C. budgetary projections are largely immune to common sense or reality-based forecasts.

According to the nonpartisan committee, many lower-income Americans will choose not to buy insurance once the mandate is removed. In other words, they will have concluded that the insurance they have available to them–even with generous government subsidies that are not cut by the Senate bill that would repeal the mandate–are not worth the price.

But since they are not buying insurance, they also are not getting the tax subsidies. So, according to the JCT, their taxes are going up–even though their take-home pay would be increasing. That’s because the JCT does not count having to buy insurance under penalty of law as a tax. But it does count not getting a subsidy as a tax increase.
Sometimes a tax is still a tax...

Party Every Day

Gene Simmons gets banned for being Gene Simmons?
“OK, I’m a powerful and attractive man, and what I’m about to say is deadly serious,” Simmons said. “Men are jackasses. From the time we’re young we have testosterone. I’m not validating it or defending it.”

According to the report, “within minutes he was demonstrating it.”

An unnamed Fox News source told The Daily Beast that Simmons was scheduled to do another interview with FoxNews.com’s entertainment section but barged into a staff meeting unannounced instead.

“Hey chicks, sue me!” he shouted as he pulled open his shirt, the source said.
He just wants to shout it out loud...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The New Gods

It's the gospel according to AI:
The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + 'machines.'"

"Given that technology will 'relatively soon' be able to surpass human abilities, we want to help educate people about this exciting future and prepare a smooth transition," the site explains. "In 'recent' years, we have expanded our concept of rights to both sexes, minority groups and even animals, let's make sure we find a way for 'machines' to get rights too."

There is an inherent contradiction in creating a deity of artificial intelligence and then worshipping it.

"Let's stop pretending we can hold back the development of intelligence when there are clear massive short term economic benefits to those who develop it and instead understand the future and have it treat us like a beloved elder who created it," the site argues. Yet the IRS document spoke about a "Godhead based on artificial intelligence."
Thou shall have no other programs before me?

The New Net Rules

Internet regulation takes a step forward:
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the three GOP members cited the “thousands of comments” from the public calling for new disclosure rules in light of concerns Russian activists used Internet posts on Facebook to try to influence the 2016 presidential elections.

“We hereby move to direct the Office of General Counsel to draft a notice of proposed rulemaking, as soon as is practicable, that proposes revisions to commission rules governing disclaimers on paid Internet and digital communications,” said the three, Vice Chair Caroline C. Hunter, Matthew S. Petersen, and Lee E. Goodman.

They called for a public hearing before any changes would take place.

The support for new disclosure on paid political communications on the Internet fell short of more liberal calls for regulation on non-paid ads and political communications posted on websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Still, it is a victory for Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub who has been pushing for regulations. She issued a note Wednesday saying that she would introduce a new regulation at Thursday’s meeting. In a separate note, FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther said he would move on the issue Thursday and called on Congress to consider new Internet laws.
Come what may, Big Regulator goes on...

The Franken Fix

So now it's Stuart Smalley's turn:
Franken said he doesn't remember the kissing incident but apologized for posing for the picture. He said he intended it to be funny -- but it wasn't.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," Franken said in an initial statement. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Franken later issued a detailed statement saying there’s “no excuse” and he feels “ashamed,” while also offering to cooperate in an ethics investigation into the matter.

“I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed,” Franken said. “... I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse.”

He added, “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”
Investigate thyself, Stuart...

No Special Counsel For Her, Please

Hillary Clinton is shocked that anyone would want to investigate her:

Friends Of Bob

Bob Menendez gets a mistrial:
A mistrial is a major victory for a senator who had to fight 18 counts of alleged corruption, and a setback for the Justice Department, whose efforts to combat public corruption have been curtailed by a recent Supreme Court decision.

After receiving Thursday’s note, U.S. District Court Judge William Walls decided to interview the foreman and at least one other juror in chambers, in the presence of the lawyers on the case.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to issue a clarifying instruction to the panel, telling jurors they could reach verdicts on individual counts in the indictment, even if they can’t find agreement on all the counts. Judge Walls rejected that suggestion, saying to do so would be “going down the slippery slope of coercion.’’
Corruption is in the eye of the juror?

Reform Goes Forward

State One complete:
The House plan would permanently chop the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent and make other tweaks aiming to make businesses more competitive. It would reduce individual tax brackets to four from seven and make changes to several tax breaks. Among them, the bill would limit state and local deductions and the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the personal exemption and nearly double the standard deduction.

The vote marks a significant achievement as Republicans push to put a tax bill on President Donald Trump's desk by Christmas. Trump, who along with most congressional Republicans ran on a pledge to trim taxes, went to Capitol Hill to push GOP lawmakers to support the bill before the vote.

Despite passage of the bill Thursday, pitfalls await the party.

Senate Republicans hope to pass their own bill as soon as the week after Thanksgiving. One GOP senator — Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — opposes the chamber's bill as written.

Several other Republicans in the Senate, where the GOP holds a slim two-seat majority, have expressed doubts about the upper chamber's version. The budget deficits generated by chopping tax rates, the expiration of individual tax cuts in 2025, and the effective repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate could all turn into sticking points in the Senate plan.
The glass is half full, but who will drink from it?

Big Bird

It's not just your imagination-turkeys have gotten bigger: “Farmers grow for what the consumer wants—and that includes meatier turkeys,”...