It's Close To Midnight
They Finally Closed The Sears Store In Galt Gulch
This is a super shocking development: How An Ayn Rand-Loving CEO Tanked Sears.
Perhaps if he'd tried more Thunderdome and less Lord of the Flies his pathetic moocher workers wouldn't have failed him so badly. Hopefully he can bounce back and provide some much needed business perspective to our public policy.
I Dressed As A Damned Papist This Halloween
Jesus Christ, this makes me giggle:
“When you go out on Halloween and see all people dressed in costumes and see someone in a great big bobble head Obama costume with great big ears and an Obama face, are they honoring him or poking fun?” the actor asked last week. “They are poking fun at him.”
Cameron further claimed that the holiday entailed Christians dressing up “in costumes as the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches precisely to make the point that those things were defeated and overthrown by the resurrected Jesus Christ. The costumes poke fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publicly humiliated by Christ at His resurrection. That’s what the Scriptures say, that He publicly humiliated the devil when He triumphed over power and principality and put them under his feet.”He encouraged listeners to throw “the biggest party on your block [to] show how Christians celebrate the day that death was defeated, and you can give them Gospel tracts and tell the story of how every ghost, goblin, witch and demon was trounced the day Jesus rose from the grave.”
But Mike Gendron, of ProclaimingtheGospel.org, toldChristian News Network that Cameron is gravely mistaken, because historically the rituals of Halloween are connected to the “pagan” practices of Roman Catholicism, and are therefore not consonant with biblical Christianity.
“The two faiths are diametrically opposed to one another,” Gendron said. “I strongly disagree with Kirk Cameron and would encourage him to avoid celebrating anything that has to do with the pagan practices of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.”
Die, heretic scum!
Moochers On Parade
Damned Activist Judges
Science wins in court:
Make that Kaci Hickox 2, quarantine-happy governors 0.
A Maine judge on Friday rejected the state’s request to quarantine Hickox in her home, ruling that the Doctors Without Borders nurse does not pose enough of a health risk to justify her forced confinement. Judge Charles LaVerdiere’s order states matter-of-factly that Hickox "currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious." That's more or less the argument the public health community and the White House have been making for weeks.
LaVerdiere agreed late Thursday to temporarily restrict Hickox’s movements while he considered the state’s request to quarantine her for the remainder of the virus’ 21-day incubation period. There could still be a full hearing on the matter on Tuesday, although that now appears to be mostly a formality given the force of Friday's decision. "The court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science, and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola," the judge wrote. "The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational."
But what if a fever develops while she's riding her bike and she passes out, knocking into a reporter or state trooper who's following her, then sneezes right in their mouths? Everybody in Maine will die and this judge will be responsible for armageddon not seen since leptospirosis cleared New England for the Pilgrims.
They Think Warm Days Will Never Cease
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mournAmong the river sallows, borne aloftOr sinking as the light wind lives or dies;And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble softThe red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Following up on a post about social justice earlier this week, I see that Ohio's Governor (for all his other obvious flaws) isn't getting much credit from our good Christian conservative friends for expanding Medicaid.
Brought to mind a snarky comment I'd made at Adventus about the True Meaning of Acts, alluding to our earliest moral forebears:
God had offered a covenant of grace to just a small minority of people, known as the Saints.
The Puritans believed that the identity of the Saints had long since been determined by God. This meant that there was nothing a person could do to win salvation. But instead of being a reason to forsake all hope, what was known as predestination became a powerful goad to action. No one could be entirely sure as to who was one of the elect, and yet, if a person was saved, he or she naturally lived a godly life. As a result, the Puritans were constantly comparing their own actions to those of others, since their conduct might indicate whether or not they were saved. Underlying this compulsive quest for reassurance was a person’s conscience, which one divine described as “the voice of God in man.”
A Puritan was taught to recognize the stages by which he or she might experience a sureness of redemption. It began with a powerful response to the “preaching of the word,” in which God revealed the heights to which a person must aspire if he or she was to achieve grace. This was followed by a profound sense of inadequacy and despair that eventually served as a prelude to, if a person was destined to be redeemed, “saving grace.” From this rigorous program of divine discipline a Puritan developed the conﬁdence that he or she was, in fact, one of the elect.
Only A True Waistline Can Save The Princess
More of this, please:
Buzzfeed's Loryn Brantz decided to digitally edit six famous Disney ladies -- Ariel ("The Little Mermaid"), Pocahontas ("Pocahontas"), Jasmine ("Aladdin"), Belle ("Beauty and the Beast"), Aurora ("Sleeping Beauty") and Elsa ("Frozen") -- to show what the cartoon heroines would look like if they had more realistic physical proportions. After all, since these characters are supposed to represent people in films made for children, they should probably look more like real people, right?
Last year, artist Meridith Viguet got some press for a tutorial she created on how to draw a Disney-friendly version of a princess. Disney's animated female figures, she noted, typically have long, slender necks; "demure" shoulders; B- or C-cup breasts and "soft but very defined" waists. But don't look for hips, because Disney princesses tend not to have them, Viguet pointed out in her tutorial, using Meg from "Hercules" as an example. "[H]er curves DON'T come from having really round hips, but from connecting the top of her legs (which are at their widest) to a slim waist," Viguet writes of Meg.
A real woman, however, has a thicker neck, wider shoulders and a less defined waist with actual hips.
I hope when this 2yo princess grows up, she'll scold Disney.
This World Is Being Watched Closely By Intelligences Greater Than Man's
The ants are walking under the ground,
And the pigeons are flying over the steeple;
And in between are the people.
Quick, alert Bill O'Reilly!
Extraction Economies And The Environment
Loomis is no scientist:
The global deforestation problem is primarily one of a post-colonial economy, with rich nations importing the raw goods of developing world nations for their own luxurious lifestyles, leaving poverty and ecological catastrophe in their wake...
Brings to mind some stuff in Mann's 1493:
As human communities grow...they open more land for farms and cut down more trees for fuel and shelter. In Europe and Asia, forests were cut with the ax. In the Americas before Colon, the primary tool was ﬁre—vast stretches of it. For weeks on end, smoke from Indian bonﬁres shrouded Florida, California, and the Great Plains. Today, many researchers believe that without regular burning, much of the midwestern prairie would have been engulfed by an invading tide of trees. The same was true for the grasslands of the Argentine pampas, the hills of Mexico, the Florida dunes, and the high plains of the Andes.
American forests, too, were shaped by ﬂame. Indians’ “frequent ﬁering of the woods," remarked English colonist Edward Johnson in 1654, made the forests east of the Mississippi so open and "thin of Timber” that they were "like our Parkes in England." Annual ﬁre seasons removed scratchy undergrowth, burned out noxious insects, and cleared land for farms...
Enter now the Columbian Exchange. Eurasian bacteria, viruses, and parasites sweep through the Americas, killing huge numbers of people—and unraveling the millennia-old network of human intervention. Flames subside to embers across the Westem Hemisphere as Indian torches are stilled. In the forests, ﬁre-hating trees like oak and hickory muscle aside ﬁre-loving species like loblolly, longleaf and slash pine, which are so dependent on regular burning that their cones will only open and release seed when exposed to ﬂame. Animals that Indians had hunted, keeping their numbers down, suddenly ﬂourish in great numbers. And so on.
Indigenous pyromania had long pumped carbon dioxide into the air. At the beginning of the Homogenocene the pump suddenly grows feeble. Formerly open grasslands ﬁll with forest—a frenzy of photosynthesis. In 1634 fourteen years after the Pilgrims land in Plymouth, colonist William Wood complains that the once-open forests are now so choked with underbrush as to be "unuseful and troublesome to travel through." Forests regenerate across swathes of North America, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Amazonia.
[T]he destruction of Indian societies by European epidemics both decreased native burning and increased tree growth. Each subtracted carbon dioxide from the air...[R]eforesting former farmland in American tropical regions alone could have been responsible ﬁat as much as a quarter of the temperature drop...In the form of lethal bacteria and viruses, in other words, the Colombian Exchange..."signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced Earth's carbon budget." lt was today's climate change in reverse, with human action removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere rather than adding them—a stunning meteorological overture to the Hornogenocene.
Removing forest cover, blocking regrowth on fallow land, exhausting the soil, shutting down annual burning, unleashing big grazing and rooting animals, introducing earthworms, honeybees, and other alien invertebrates—the colonists so profoundly changed [Virginia] that it became harder and harder for its inhabitants to prosper there. Meanwhile, it was easier and easier for Europeans to thrive in an environment that their own actions were making increasingly familiar. Despite starvation, disease, and ﬁnancial meltdown, immigrants poured into Chesapeake Bay. Axes ﬂashing, oxen straining before the plow, hundreds of new colonists planted spreads of tobacco across every accessible river bluff. When they wore out the soil, they gave the ﬁelds over to cattle and then moved on.
Ecologically speaking, [Virginia] was becoming ever more like Europe—the hallmark of the nascent Hornogenocene. By 1650 the Indian empire was mainly inhabited by Europeans.
But, you know, humans don't have any impact on the environment.
Footrace with Little C on the way to pick up the big kids.
Dancing at the playground after Quiet Time.
Rolling down the hill before heading home.
Dance Partners In Space And Time
The Real Reason That Rocket Exploded
Heads, Fox Wins; Tails, NASA Loses
These guys really are too much:
When Orbital Science’s latest launch of the Antares rocket was preparing to lift off of the pad for the ISS resupply mission, Fox News had a colorful title promoting how the launch vehicle was being managed by a private company.
When the rocket failed a few seconds after liftoff, they immediately turned on their heels, and called it a “NASA Cargo Rocket.”
Private industry cannot fail, it can only be failed.
Learning The Alphabetimus Spell From Harry Potter
Ah yes, American Exceptionalism seizes the moral high ground:
Keith Ablow, a doctor and Fox News analyst, thinks that the United States should aggressively export its system of government to every single country on earth. What could go wrong?
In a comically unhinged column posted to Fox News' website on Tuesday, Ablow calls for an "American jihad" in which the U.S. would aggressively move to America-ify the entire world, which totally makes sense because "the Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth."
How would this ambitious plan work? Well, Ablow explains, "we would tie American aid to incremental changes not just in the attitudes, but in the fundamental structures, of countries. These changes would move those countries, slowly but inexorably, toward reflecting our Constitution in their own charters." The plan would also involve doubling the budget for the CIA and Special Forces, presumably to counter any foolhardy resistance to American domination. There's more, but you get the idea.
It's like the Marshall Plan with just a touch of Mein Kampf and total cray...
Maybe It Is The Climate Channel
I'm sure Fox will give this all the fair and balanced attention it deserves:
The Weather Channel has released an official position statement on global warming, just two days after the channel’s co-founder told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that climate change is based on “bad science” and does not exist.
In the statement, The Weather Channel said the planet is “indeed warming,” with temperatures increasing 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. The statement acknowledged that humans are helping make the planet warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. It says the future effects of climate change will be more negative than positive.
“The bottom line is that with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing, a significant warming trend is expected to also continue,” the Weather Channel’s statement reads.
Dewey Defeats Clinton!
Um, yeah, okay:
Many Democrats in the first-in-the-nation caucus state who rejected Hillary Clinton seven years ago say they’re keeping their options open and aren’t quite ready to crown the former secretary of State in 2016.
This is shocking news on the eve of the 2014 election. How do Iowa Dems feel about Michelle Obama in 2024?
Saint Francis and the Sow
By Galway Kinnell:
The budstands for all things,even for those things that don’t flower,for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;though sometimes it is necessaryto reteach a thing its loveliness,to put a hand on its browof the flowerand retell it in words and in touchit is lovelyuntil it flowers again from within, of self-blessing...
Social Justice, Schmocial Justice
RMJ noticed something:
The Pope drew a lot of internet attention for saying evolution is not antithetical to Christianity.
He drew far less attention for saying the teachings of the gospels are not antithetical to Communism. Or rather, that "love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel". I had to work to find that quote. Maybe because it's old news by now for this pope...
Maybe because news really is all about tittle-tattle, gossip, what is interesting now, and what isn't interesting now because it was interesting a few months ago, but we've moved on? Or maybe it's because we'd rather fight over abstractions like the theory of evolution, than do the gritty work of enacting social justice in our own backyards.
I take a slightly different tack, and see our fight over evolution as the tip of an iceberg. It shows that we can't even agree on scientific facts so it's difficult to expect us to agree on anything with a deeper moral, social component (let alone the clear factual case that inequality is bad for society itself).
What Would Staff Sergeant Gorman Say?
Goddamn army panic train:
CNN has an interview: Army major general speaks to CNN from inside Ebola quarantine. That’s right, the US Army has ‘imprisoned’ the commander of Africa Command and the inspection team he headed to West Africa.
None of these people dealt with patient care and none of them have any symptoms of anything, but they are in an isolation building on their home base in Italy for three weeks. I have a feeling that the local Italian officials had a lot to do with this. The Department of Defense has always done a lot of stupid things that were listed as ‘community relations’.
Stupidity is epidemic.
Senate Rules Is As Senate Rules Does
Lyle Denniston over at the National Constitution Center:
From time to time, critics of Senate filibusters – the prolonged debate by one or more members to keep that chamber from reaching a vote on a controversial measure – have been trying to persuade the courts that the power can be abused and, when it is, flatly contradicts the Constitution’s embrace of action by a majority in each house (an idea that gets mentioned specifically in Article I).
In nearly all of those cases, the courts have turned aside the constitutional challenge for procedural reasons, finding that no challenger was in a position, legally, to raise the issue in court. The Supreme Court has not disturbed that kind of result.
The most recent court ruling on such a challenge, however, has led a new group of challengers to try again, and they are now attempting to persuade the Supreme Court to finally rule on the complaint. They believe that the way they lost the case in the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., actually makes their case fundamentally different, and thus a better test of Senate filibusters than any previous challenge.
Instead of turning aside the challenge of four members of the House, three young individuals, and the advocacy group Common Cause on the premise that each lacked a sufficient interest to justify their challenge, the D.C. Circuit Court issued a more sweeping ruling.
If bills that the House had passed — bills that the four lawmakers had voted for, and that would have benefitted the three individuals and Common Cause – never came to a vote in the Senate, the blame lay with those senators who refused to vote to cut off debate and allow a final vote on passage, the Circuit Court ruled.
In other words, any frustration of the challengers’ interests, the Circuit Court said, came from those senators, or from the Senate itself. But, of course, the individual senators and the Senate itself cannot be sued for anything they do in the legislative realm, because that is flatly forbidden by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. Article I, Section 6, says that members of Congress “shall not be questioned in any other place” for any speech or debate, and that is understood to mean any legislative activity.
That ruling, the new appeal argued in Supreme Court filings, goes so far that no one could ever sue to challenge a legislative rule and that, as a result, Congress could even adopt a rule that flatly discriminated in the legislative process on the basis of race, and yet there would be no one who could go to court with a challenge.
The rules can be convoluted and annoying, but this dog really will not do the constitutional hunting dealio on filibusters. Don't like how that works? Elect better people. Change the Constitution. You know, follow the rules.
Get A Hold Of Yourself!
Everybody Gotta Die Some Time, Red
Something about Kardashians and Americans infected with Ebola:
While the Ebola virus has infected more than 10,000 people — nearly half of whom have died — in West Africa, it has been a different story in the United States and other regions with a stable infrastructure and an abundance of medical personnel and supplies. After six domestic cases, the survival rate here currently stands at 83 percent, compared to that of 30 to 40 percent at the virus’ epicenter.
Actually, the survival rate of caregivers after exposure in the United States is currently 100%. Only reason Duncan died is because we don't have universal healthcare, so he was turned away at the ER and lost precious treatment time.
Weather Is Not Climate
It ain't the Climate Channel:
Fox News host Megyn Kelly gave a platform Monday night to John Coleman, a retired TV weatherman and a co-founder of the Weather Channel who firmly believes climate change is a myth.
After thanking Kelly for giving airtime to a climate change "skeptic" like himself, which he said was hard to come by "ever since Al Gore made it a plank of the Democratic Party," Coleman slammed the scientific community's focus on man-made climate change.
"It's very difficult for anybody to be against it because the media has told the nation over and over again, day after day for 20 years, that the oceans are rising, the polar bears are dying, the ice is melting, that storms are going to sweep the Earth and that we're all going to die of a heat wave," he said. "I mean, this is an incredible bad, bad science."
Kelly repeatedly asked what data Coleman had to show to the contrary.
"Well, there are 9,000 Ph.D.s and 31 scientists who have signed a petition that says [carbon dioxide] is not a significant greenhouse gas. Oh it's a teeny, itsy-bitsy greenhouse gas, but it's not in any way significant," Coleman said. "And we are sure of it. It's not like something I just made up or just thought of. I've studied and studied and studied."
There is consensus among the scientific community that global warming is caused by human activity -- 97.1 percent of studies expressing a position on climate change agree on that fact, to be precise -- but Coleman went on to argue that despite what Al Gore may say, the polar ice caps are doing just fine.
Fuck consensus, we've got PhDs like Jack Schmitt, who learned geology not climatology: HE WAS AN ASTRONAUT, FFS!
Drones Are No Match For My Walther PPK
The Man can never keep US Senators down:
[I]f Ernst is talking about some hypothetical situation in which government’s disregard for her rights may necessitate an armed response it’s fair to ask her: What exactly is it? Is she saying that when law enforcement officers come to arrest her on some trumped-up charge, instead of submitting and fighting the charges in court she’ll shoot those officers? Who else is an appropriate target here? Members of Congress who pass laws taking away her rights? FBI agents? Who?
Oh, hold on, here's me:
[T]he biggest problem with the insurrectionist theory of militias: if they are given free rein to fight whatever they view as tyranny, then no political compact can ever last for long (just look at threats of rebellion and secession over healthcare, of all things) and we'd be almost constantly devolving into civil war as England had done. We didn't overthrow British tyranny in favor of anarchy with armed warlords (hello, Somalia). No, we exercised extra-constitutional rights to sever ties to an unrepresentative regime, then established a popular government whose republican structure and institutional stability would preserve our liberties.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. Oh, and the human right of self-defense is sacrosanct, and the Wild Wild West is freedom, amirite? An Army of One, and Government of One, men are all angels, bitches! But I'm talking to myself and my Precious...
The Years Of Rice And Salt
Because learning about something is worshipping it:
An angry father has been banned from a Maryland high school’s campus after he made vague but ominous threats against the school because his daughter’s history homework mentioned the Islamic faith.
Charles County School District Superintendent Kimberly Hill met with Wood and his wife to discuss their concerns on Monday. The couple reportedly asked the school to excuse their daughter from world history class for the duration of the segment studying Islam.
After the meeting, Wood told reporters that his daughter, a junior at La Plata High, should not be forced to study a faith that she “does not believe in.”
Morris told the Woods that an alternate curriculum could be created for their daughter, and that any assignments she refused to complete would be given a failing grade.
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],” Wood said on Monday. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
Wood told Superintendent Morris that the school is violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights” and threatened to “bring down a shit-storm on them like they’ve never seen.”
But hey, I'm sure nobody would ever ever ever ever ever force non-Christians to study a faith they don't believe in...
Check It And See
They Don't Seem To Ever Learn
Thin red lines on a
child's small fingers: hard teachers
are the kitty's claws.
"Discover the force of the heavens O Men."
I swear, this guy is Kepler and Galileo reincarnated:
“He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things,” the pope said.
“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
This Halloween Is Something To Be Sure
By Sylvia Plath:
Pure? What does it mean?The tongues of hellAre dull, dull as the tripleTongues of dull, fat CerberusWho wheezes at the gate. IncapableOf licking cleanThe tinder cries.The indelible smellOf a snuffed candle!Love, love, the low smokes rollFrom me like Isadora’s scarves, I’m in a frightOne scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel,Such yellow sullen smokesMake their own element. They will not rise,But trundle round the globeChoking the aged and the meek,The weakHothouse baby in its crib,The ghastly orchidHanging its hanging garden in the air,Devilish leopard!Radiation turned it whiteAnd killed it in an hour.Greasing the bodies of adulterersLike Hiroshima ash and eating in.The sin. The sin.
Somehow seemed apt.
Roman Sunset: They Hate Us For Our Force Projection
Steve Benen, who perhaps is having second thoughts about urban Vermont and considering moving to the boonies if we have Internet services not offered over barbed wire:
As we discussed this morning, Christie’s administration pointed to a shift in posture overnight, and this morning, the governor agreed to allow Hickox to leave.One day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he had “no second thoughts” about forcing a quarantine on a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who had tested negative for Ebola, the Republican loosened his grip and agreed to transfer her to Maine where she lives.The governor’s office announced Monday morning in a statement that the nurse – after being symptom-free for the last 24 hours – would adhere to her request to be moved to the state. At that point, Maine can “make a determination under their own laws” on whether to continue the quarantine, the statement read.A spokesperson for Christie insisted that New Jersey’s protocol “is not changing,” and Hickox’s release technically isn’t a shift since she’ll be leaving the state to return to Maine.It’s worth emphasizing that the nurse, who has treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone as part of her work with Doctors Without Borders, has not displayed any symptoms. Christie said over the weekend that Hickox was “obviously ill,” but this was apparently only obvious to Christie – who has no medical background and who wasn’t even in New Jersey when the nurse was detained against her will.Hickox has secured legal counsel. Whether the threat of litigation prompted Christie’s change of heart is unclear.
Christie is obviously ill and should be quarantined.
Platonic Ideals In Space!
This is a reasonably stunning piece of information: You Can Fit Every Planet In The Solar System Between Earth And The Moon.
For some reason that reminded me of Kepler's solids.
The Great Disappearing
“It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the Capitol to the federal courthouse just down the hill,” Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported last Friday, “but House Republicans haven’t managed to make that trip in the four months since they announced they’d be suing the president.”
Boehner’s slow-foot approach to the lawsuit is a bit puzzling, given that he justified the lawsuit in part by arguing that the Constitution was under imminent threat from Obama’s “lawlessness” and action had to be taken immediately. “The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people,” Boehner wrote in an Op-Ed for CNN, “and America’s constitutional balance of powers — before it is too late.” Now Boehner’s people are telling Politico that they’ll get around to it when they get around to it: “A spokesman for Boehner said the date for filing the litigation remains up in the air. ‘No decisions on timing at this point,’ spokesman Kevin Smith said Friday.”
[T]he suit was considered a wild longshot even before the House voted to authorize it, and since then it’s only faced more and more setbacks. The most recent was turned up by Constitutional Accountability Center attorneys Simon Lazarus and Elisabeth Stein, who found a Congressional Research Service report from September that, in their view, leaves zero doubt that Boehner’s suit has no legal merit:
Although shrouded in twelve pages of fine print and protectively bureaucratic phraseology, the report’s bottom line is clear: not merely are the legal underpinnings of the Republicans’ planned lawsuit weak; the report turns up no legal basis – no “there” there – at all.
Per Lazarus and Stein, the report “bears the earmarks of an inquiry, requested by the Speaker or his allies, to give some color of legitimacy to their charges of rampant presidential illegality. Instead, the result validates the lawyers’ maxim not to ask a question when unsure of the likely answer.”
Perhaps I Should Start A Write-in Campaign
A drive through Downtown Fletcher reminds me there's an election coming up. Feel like Scrooge at Christmas right now--complete political malaise.
Reading Fucking Rainbow
Dead Pets Society
A Lament for the Dead Pets of Our Childhood by AE Stallings:
After the death of pets, dolls lay too still
And wooden in the cradle, sister, after
We learned death: not hell, no ghosts or angels,
But a cold thing in the image of a warm thing,
Limp as sleep without the twitch of dreams.
Been thinking about companions, recently lost and long dead...
Queen Fucking Elsa Agrees
I'm sure one day our children will accidentally use "at-home words" in public. Hardly a sin compared to the societal obstacles our daughter faces as she grows up (and influences that, despite our best intentions, compelled her to choose a queen costume for Halloween). Fuck that sexist shit.
It Was A Slow Day
Health Security Theater
Following up on my previous quarantine post, Bryan notes:
Kaci Hickox is a nurse who has been part of an MSF [Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières] team helping Ebola patients in West Africa. Upon her return to the US she was given a 21 day jail sentence in a New Jersey hospital isolation ward for that apparent offense, and she makes it clear that she isn’t happy.
Christie tried to slam the CDC and hinted that they'd try the quarantine route eventually (Federal action that I'm sure states' rightists would vocally support), despite the rather prevalent expert opinion that it's unneccessary and possibly dangerous. Interestingly, he didn't make any mention of the MSF protocols that don't require people to go to jail for 3 weeks regardlss of infection status.
Anyway, it is certainly within the states' police power to quarantine. Just as it's in the states' power to cut taxes for the rich and gut the social safety net, or to impose confiscatory tax rates and give everybody free cigarettes. That doesn't make it a good idea.
I would personally hate putting my life on the line to stem the tide of epidemic at its source, only to come back and be locked away from my life for 3 weeks when I don't even show signs of a disease that's only communicable when I'm symptomatic. Sure the type of person who does that type of volunteer work already is motivated to sacrifice, but does seem cruel and counterproductive.
We're All Rebels Now
King George III, 1775:
Those who have long too successfully laboured to inflame my people in America by gross misrepresentations, and to infuse into their minds a system of opinions, repugnant to the true constitution of the colonies, and to their subordinate relation to Great-Britain, now openly avow their revolt, hostility and rebellion.
They have raised troops, and are collecting a naval force; they have seized the public revenue, and assumed to themselves legislative, executive and judicial powers, which they already exercise in the most arbitrary manner, over the persons and property of their fellow-subjects: And altho' many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.
The rebellious war now levied is become more general, and is manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire. I need not dwell upon the fatal effects of the success of such a plan. The object is too important, the spirit of the British nation too high, the resources with which God hath blessed her too numerous, to give up so many colonies which she has planted with great industry, nursed with great tenderness, encouraged with many commercial advantages, and protected and defended at much expence of blood and treasure.
Within a few months, Washington's soldiers were in New York after driving the British from Boston. Isaac Bangs describes a scene in April, not long after the Continental Army arrived:
[N]ear the Fort, is the Equestrian Statue of King George 3rd, a Present from himself to this City. The design was in imitation of one of the Roman Emperors on Horseback. The Man George is represented about 1/3 larger than a Natural Man ; the Horse, in proportion, both neatly constructed of Lead guilt with Gold, raised on a Pedestral of white Marble, about 15 Feet high, enclosed with a very elegant Fence about 10 feet high, the 2 lower feet Stone, the remainder of open worked Iron ; the inclosure was oval, containing about 1/4 of an acre of beautifull green.
And then after the Declaration is read to the troops:
Last Night the Statue on the Bowling Green representing George Ghwelph alias George Rex...was pulled down by the Populace. In it were 4,000 Pounds of Lead, & a Man undertook to take of 10 oz of Gold from the Superficies, as both Man & Horse were covered with Gold Leaf.
The Lead, we hear, is to be run up into Musquet Balls for the use of the Yankies, when it is hoped that the Emanations of the Leaden George will make as deep impressions in the Bodies of some of his red Coated & Torie Subjects, & that they will do the same execution in poisoning & destroying them, as the superabundant Emanations of the Folly & pretended Goodness of the real George have made upon their Minds, which have effectually poisoned & destroyed their Souls, that they are not worthy to be ranked with any Beings who have any Pretensions to the Principles of Virtue & Justice ; but would to God that the unhappy contest might be ended without puting us to the disagreeable Necessity of sending them to dwell with those beings for the Company of whom alone their Tempers & dispositions are now suitable.
Indeed, part of it was made into precisely 42,088 balls (perhaps half of what could've been). As Ebenezer Howard wrote to General Gates: [The king's] troops will probably have melted Majesty fired at them.
At least George didn't appoint an Ebola Czar...
Kosher Is As Kosher Does
Quarantines Is As Quarantines Does
A Republican admits the government has a responsibility to the public good when it comes to health matters:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday defended the mandatory quarantines in New Jersey and New York for all health workers who return from treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
"I think this is a policy that will become a national policy sooner rather than later," Christie said on "Fox News Sunday." "We have taken this action, and I have no second thoughts about it."
Christie said that Centers for Disease Control protocol on Ebola was a "moving target" and that he thinks the CDC will eventually adopt the mandatory quarantine.
The governor said he doesn't have confidence in the CDC's "voluntary system with folks who may or may not comply."
"I don’t think, when you’re dealing with something as serious as this, that you can count on a voluntary system. This is government’s job," he said.
Still not sure it's a necessary step (let alone a potentially bad step) as opposed to "health security theater," but it's well within state police power, upheld by SCOTUS over a century ago. And as the CDC has noted, quarantine has a long, rich history in America.
Centrism Is As Centrism Does
It’s an amazing thing: Obama is essentially what we used to call a liberal Republican, who faces implacable opposition from a very hard right. But Obama’s moderation is hidden in plain sight, apparently invisible to the commentariat.
This is also why I don't buy critiques from the likes of Cornell West: Obama never posed as a progressive, and no progressive who actually paid attention would've been fooled.
Yeah, he's relatively left compared to the GOP and even Blue Dogs, but he's still way far to the right for my taste. Which is why I didn't support him during the primaries.
Speaking Of Golden Staircases
PS--I think I've bitched about disabled embeds before. This is the one I wanted. YouTube fascists suck.
What Would Negativland Do?
For decades, Led Zeppelin has faced claims that they plagiarized their iconic 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” from the rock band Spirit. Now it looks like Zeppelin is headed for a difficult legal battle.
Back in May, family members of Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe (a.k.a Randy California) filed the suit against Zeppelin, seeking monetary damages and a writing credit for the now-deceased Wolfe, NBC Philadelphiareports. Wolfe’s family claims that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page ripped off the chords for “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 tune “Taurus.” (The two bands at one point toured together and had thus become familiar with each other’s music.)
Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, I hear tell...