Wednesday Reads: New Year 2014

477fb761096e907d8ce9b32bc4540dc4Good Morning

Ah, another damn year has gone by, 2014 has to be a hellalot better than 2013, it has to be!

If you missed New Years Worldwide, there are plenty of pictures here:

Photos: Bringing in 2014 – CNN.com

Now for a few links, did you see the latest on the booze front:  Moderate alcohol consumption ‘boosts immune system’

The study researchers, led by Ilhem Messaoudi of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, say their research may help lead to a better understanding of how the immune system works, and how to improve its ability to respond to vaccines and infections.

To reach their findings, the researchers trained 12 monkeys (rhesus macaques) to consume alcohol freely.

That has to be a beginning of a joke, at the very least.

Prior to this, the monkeys were vaccinated against smallpox. One group of the monkeys was then allowed access to either 4% alcohol, while the other group had access to sugar water. All monkeys also had access to normal water and food.

The monkeys were then monitored for a 14-month period and were vaccinated again 7 months into the experiment.

9ab8c288922fd7d4c833c67007bcbe5fDuring this time, the investigators found that the monkeys’ voluntary alcohol intake varied, just as it does in humans. This led the investigators to divide them into two groups.

You had some monkeys that were “heavy drinkers” and some that were “moderate drinkers.” (I really can’t help but get images of those little monkeys dressed up like little people, and acting like the comical drunk in silent movies.)

Anyway, the study showed:

The monkeys classed as heavy drinkers showed diminished responses to the vaccine, compared with the monkeys that consumed sugar water. But the investigators were surprised to find that the monkeys deemed as moderate drinkers demonstrated an enhanced vaccine response.

Not sure if 12 monkeys is enough of a group of “individuals” to quantify the experiment…but my husband is a “heavy drinker” and he never gets sick. According to him, it is because of his alcohol and tobacco use that colds and disease do not take hold in his body…maybe he is on to something?

d939c7a32cdf8cd9113643e629cd9932And since we are on the topic of experiments on animals: Animal-Rights Activists Bully Dying Italian Girl – The Daily Beast

When 25-year-old veterinary student Caterina Simonsen posted an update on a Facebook page supporting the use of animals in medical research before Christmas, she was trying to say how lucky she felt to be alive.  The Padua native suffers from four rare genetic pulmonary diseases that require her to use breathing tubes and experimental medication to thin the mucus in her lungs in order to breathe.  Her extreme illness makes her quickly immune to treatments, and, as a result, she has been a human guinea pig in a host of medical trials as doctors search for ways to help her live longer.  At 18, her doctors told her she couldn’t be cured, but this year, she had survived another birthday and simply wanted to say thanks.  “I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals.  Without research, I would have been dead at nine. You have gifted me a future.”

Simonsen’s comments, on the heels of a hotly contested national telethon in Italy soliciting money for medical research, triggered a flurry of hate comments from animal-rights extremists.  “You could die tomorrow, I wouldn’t sacrifice my goldfish for you,” a poster named Giovanna wrote on the Facebook page “A Favore Della Sperimentazione Animale” (In Favor of Animal Experimentation). Another wrote, “If you had died as a child, no one would have given a damn.”  In all, Simonsen received 30 death threats and 500 cruel insults, which are being investigated by local police.

You should see what some of the people wrote to this woman, hateful disgusting stuff. But it may be that some of those asshole may get their wish because Giovanna is in the hospital again with a lung infection that the doctors say is stress induced, read more at the link.

I hate to start the new year with a shit news filled post…so I will just post the rest of the depressing links in dump format:

Iowa voter fraud investigation possibly financed by misused funds | WQAD.com

255b4578507d0045ac0f22f9144f00a7Iowa’s Secretary of State has been warned by the State Auditor’s Office that funds used for a voter fraud investigation may need to be repaid.

According to a report by the Des Moines Register, in July of 2012 Iowa’s Secretary of State Matt Schultz launched an investigation with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to look into cases of alleged voter fraud.

Schultz reportedly used Help America Vote Act funds for the investigation, which may have violated how the HAVA funds are supposed to be used.

Can you hear the laughter from my house? All that money to catch 5 people(or some ridiculously low number like that…), three of which turned themselves in…only to find out that the money they used was “misused funds” from their “Help America Vote Act” funds.

In other crime news: Can hidden information in photographs be used to spot criminals? – latimes.com

Pupil images

A new study concludes that people are very good at recognizing the faces of familiar people reflected in the pupils of portrait subjects. (Courtesy of Rob Jenkins, Christie Kerr, PLOS One / December 26, 2013)

Wow.

ca863546d5fd02a5075b6d33d76e3d73Gunman went bowling before Arapahoe High School shooting, police say – That is an update on the shooting in Colorado.

When the Mentally Ill Own Guns – An op/ed from the New York Times.

Reverse Nazi salute, all the rage in Europe, is now coming to America -This is scary…go to the link to see the pictures.

We need to talk about TED | Benjamin Bratton -An op/ed on those TED Talks…

In our culture, talking about the future is sometimes a polite way of saying things about the present that would otherwise be rude or risky.

But have you ever wondered why so little of the future promised in TED talks actually happens? So much potential and enthusiasm, and so little actual change. Are the ideas wrong? Or is the idea about what ideas can do all by themselves wrong?

Of course I have to bring you something medieval for new years…what about a medieval baby, in the making? Bet some GOP folks would believe it works this way…

British Library, Harley 4425, f. 140 ‘Nature forging a baby’. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Roman de la Rose. Bruges, c.1490-c.1500.

British Library, Harley 4425, f. 140 ‘Nature forging a baby’. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Roman de la Rose. Bruges, c.1490-c.1500.

Another medieval history link on Iceland: Beauty and brutality: Iceland’s literary landscapes

Yup, that is drawn by Dr.

Yup, that is drawn by Dr.Seuss

And one on Germany: Cheating and Cheaters in German Romance and Epic, 1180 – 1225

A picture of “What If?” here in America: The 124 states of America

What would the U.S. look like if all of the secession movements in U.S. history had succeeded?  Well, Mansfield University geography professor Andrew Shears built a map to answer that question. (It covers secession movements through the end of 2011.)  His 124 states of America is below. Click the map to enlarge it.

Map courtesy of Andrew Shears

Map courtesy of Andrew Shears

It is missing some of the more recent movements out in Colorado…California…Idaho…Texas, etc.

Hey…for you Movie Buffs…Critics Poll: What Was the Worst Movie of 2013? — Vulture

5d1a5b81e8061518cde8818e889c8778A year in movies is often split between stunning works of art and jaw-droppingly awful films. For example: 12 Years a Slave hit theaters on the same day as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wait-this-actually-happened? team-up Escape Plan. So as Vulture celebrates the finest films of 2013 (you can see critic David Edelstein’s top ten here), so must we celebrate the worst. Welcome to the seventh edition of our annual worst-movies roundup, as voted on by critics, where soon-to-be-forgotten misfires earn a last turn in the spotlight.

This year, Vulture polled film critics on the year’s most torturous moviegoing experiences (some publications submitted collective ballots). Those responses, combined with a number of notable worst-of lists published elsewhere, added up to 42 lists, which were tallied to produce the final ranking of the ten worst films of 2013. It was a tight race, with critically maligned mainstream disasters (Gangster Squad, R.I.P.D.,The Hangover Part III) rubbing shoulders with polarizing auteurist efforts (Paul Schrader’s The Canyons, Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder) just outside the bottom tier. Below, see the official ten worst of the worst for 2013, then peruse all of the individual critic ballots.

Fortunately I did not see any of the shit on that list. Did you?

Which brings me to another list for you this morning: The Year’s Very Worst Words Are So “Problematic”

Language is wonderful and language is alive, but language is also a form of psychological assault—especially when everybody suddenly starts using awful new terms and phrases just because everyone else is doing it, on Twitter. We are not so naive as to think we can “ban” this or that word, because “ban” is one of the words we would ban, if words could be banned. They cannot. 19c31e52520d40bf09ad247ae96b4fd0Thanks to 2013, we’re stuck with this bunch of linguistic garbage.

[…]

bless your heart
Antiquated southernism for “fuck you,” often heard in open-plan offices where people are uncomfortable saying “fuck you.”

Yeah…that is one that is getting too much play from those northerners if you ask me…just leave it to the southern fuckwads, and just say it like it is.

just sayin’
Shorthand for “I have completed my bigoted statement.” See also: #sorrynotsorry.

Actually, one word I am fucking tired of is DUCK…funny that it does rhyme with FUCK?

Alright, that is it for the link “dump.” And…now we will end with a story about what kind of things gets “dropped” for the New Year:  Pickles, Possums, Peeps: The Things We Drop to Ring in the New Year

Why do we celebrate the New Year … by dropping things?

It started with ships. Maritime vessels, back before they could turn to more precise forms of time measurement, relied on “time balls”: spheres that were dropped from masts and other shipboard poles at precise intervals to help insure that their chronometers were aligned with Greenwich Mean Time. In 1906, those time balls lent themselves to another kind of time: Times Square. New York City had just banned fireworks displays, and Adolph Ochs, the owner of The New York Times, wanted to give the throngs of people who would gather around his building another kind of show.

The Times Square ball drops to ring in 2013. (Countdown Entertainment via NYCGo)

Ochs, as the Los Angeles Times reports, called on the paper’s chief electrician, Walter Palmer, to come up with another source of the spectacular. Palmer borrowed the maritime tradition and combined it with something that would work on land: electricity. And the Times Square Ball Drop was born.

Since then, the “dropping things” tradition has been modified by cities across the country, in ways both wondrous and weird. Plenty, still, drop their own balls—smaller versions of New York City’s. Many others, however, drop food (cheese, fruit, Peeps). Some drop animals (cows, fish, possums, goats). One (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) has dropped a person.

Below, re-categorized from Wikipedia’s amazingly extensive, state-by-state list, are some of the objects that people have chosen to ring in the New Year. They reflect regional pride, municipal quirk, economic diversity … and the rich weirdness that makes America what it is. Happy New Year, everyone.

I think I will now drop my fat ass into bed, since I am writing this post at 3:14 in the morning on January 1, 2014!

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Happy New Year’s Day Y’all…

And, Bless Your Hearts….hee-hee.


63 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: New Year 2014”

  1. Hope everyone had a safe new year party/eve night, enjoy your day!

    • dakinikat says:

      I have a silly head cold. Stayed home and vegged out. Watched a quirky little movie with Matt Damon and a bevy of comedy and tv stars called “The Informant”. Tom and Dick Smothers played bit roles in the movie. It’s got all these weird little cameos. Damon plays a whistle blower that led to a huge price fixing investigation against agribusiness in the 1990s and his real life counterpart had some real issues. You actually feel sorry for some FBI agents played by Scott Bakula and Joel McHale. Really quirky casting, characters, story, which is usually the kind of thing I like to watch when I really need to be entertained. Weirdest thing is it is based on reality.

    • NW Luna says:

      We walked to a neighborhood restaurant, had some wine, a meal, listening to some good jazz standards by two young pianist and double-bassist brothers (would have been nicer still if the crowd noise wasn’t so loud!) and walked home under stars. Got to sleep all cuddle in bed with cats until the midnite firework armaments went off. Grrr. None of the boomstarters synchronized their iPhone clocks so the blasts kept coming for a while.

      May go visit the art museum today. I went to see the Seattle Art Museums’s Peruvian exhibit, and was disappointed at how few textiles there were. And too many paintings and artifacts from the Conquistador era, which I find oppressive.

  2. This is, wait…well bless their hearts:

    Governors make college bowl bet to help feed the hungry – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad have a lot riding on Wednesday’s Outback Bowl between college football’s University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the Louisiana State University Tigers.

    The two Republican governors have made a friendly wager aimed at helping feed the hungry in Iowa and Louisiana.

    If the Tigers win the bowl game, which is being played in Tampa, Florida, Branstad will donate 100 pounds of Iowa pork to a Louisiana food bank and another 100 pounds to an Iowa food bank.

    But if the Hawkeyes come out on top, Jindal will donate 100 pounds of Louisiana seafood to an Iowa food bank and another 100 pounds to a Louisiana food bank.

    Isn’t that special?

    “In the spirit of friendly competition, I’m pleased to join Governor Jindal in this friendly wager which aims to help feed the less fortunate in our states,” said Branstad in a statement.

    “I am looking forward to a great game between the Tigers and the Hawkeyes, and I am thrilled to make this friendly wager with Governor Branstad to benefit the hungry in both states,” added Jindal.

    While the bet is all about helping the hungry, for Jindal it may also pay off in another unintended way.

    The two-term governor is considered a possible contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, so it probably doesn’t hurt to have his name in the news in Iowa, the state which traditionally kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar. Some of the state’s leading newspapers and television news broadcasts made mention of the wager.

    As if these poor people had enough problems to contend with, now they have to hold out and see if their asshole governor’s twisted version of “Hunger Games” come out in their favor.

  3. Beata says:

    Happy New Year, Sky Dancers!

  4. Fannie says:

    Jesus H. Christ…………Amazing, I wish they would both take their PORK and SHELFISH, and give it to Southern Bapt. Church of Phil Robertson. He speaks their language. I resent their fucking attitudes about the poor people in this country. Both of them should need to let go, they have no place serving the public, and today is NOT the day to promote their bullshit on the outcome of football, no wonder nothing is ever accomplished for the good of this country.

    I just read where the republicans, bragging like they are going to win the senate this year, and that the first thing they will do is impeach Pres. Obama. No they didn’t give a reason of impeaching him, just that they are. They are going to repeat this everyday up until they win, along with Benghazi and Repeal Obamacare……….that’s all they look forward to in the days ahead. They are making the biggest mistake evah.

  5. RalphB says:

    In consumerific fashion, let me remind you Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Apparently, we haven’t bought enough junk yet.

  6. RalphB says:

    Wow, true colors are being shown now…

  7. NW Luna says:

    JJ, I liked the medieval news, and the pics.

    And the map of states …. I think Cascadia was proposed as Western Washington, Oregon, and northwestern California plus southwestern BC. Sigh. Too many splinter groups these days!

    Health, happiness, contentment and peace to all!

    • RalphB says:

      In looking at that map, in Texas only Jacinto would have been a slave state. The other four were free regions even at the time.

  8. RalphB says:

    Good interview with a great woman. Should be a fine book.

    Raw Story: The ‘secret Capitalist cabal’ behind austerity

    The ‘How to Win the Class War’ satirist tells Claire Provost about the ‘shadowy plot’ to claw back working-class gains

    In a discreet villa in Switzerland, carefully chosen experts have been assembled by a shadowy group of wealthy and powerful commissioners and tasked with answering a single big question: how, amid the global financial crisis, can a renaissance of western capitalism be best ensured?

    This is the Machiavellian scene that opens the latest book from Susan George, the prolific Franco-American political scientist and global justice activist. While perhaps best known for her work on world hunger, poverty and debt, George has turned to Europe and the US in How to Win the Class War, a satire of the 1%, or the “Davos class”, as she puts it, in reference to the elite annual gatherings of the World Economic Forum.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Meanwhile, back in the category of finding the Duck Dick’s “sermons” we find this gem:

    http://aattp.org/duck-dynasty-patriarch-hates-on-chinese-says-muslims-are-famous-for-murder-video/

    This bigoted individual that only the extreme right would call a Christian, in a speech before the Hillsboro Church of Christ in El Dorado, AR began to discuss what would do the “Muslims” and “Chinese” in. The answer, of course, is that they do not subscribe to the same religious ideology as Phil–or as he says, “violations of the law.” To emphasize his point, he held up the Bible he often cites as a basis for his hatred…but seems to have never opened. Of course, Robertson did not stop there in his newest hateful rant! He went on to explain that Muslims, Communists, Shintoists, and Nazis (when discussing non-Christian ideologies, it is always important to include an association to Hitler’s crew) were under the control of the “evil one.” The “Christian” told the congregation that “That’s why they run jet aircraft into buildings, because they’re under control of the evil one, that’s why they rob and kidnap and rape and pillage, because they’re under control of the evil one. That’s why they murder, from the Nazis, to the Shintoists, to the communists to this latest crop!” According to Robertson, “Because all of them, those four groups, 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus, and they’re all famous for murder.”

    Guess he is unaware of how he sounds a lot more like Hitler who actually considered himself a Catholic and some of his most outrageous hate speeches were wrapped up in what he considered christian thought.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/23/list-of-hitler-quotes-he-was-q/

    • dakinikat says:

      Here’s a taste of a Hitler Campaign speech for ya

      “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
      fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded
      by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and
      summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest
      not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian
      and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord
      at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the
      Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight
      against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with
      deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact
      that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As
      a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
      the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is
      anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is
      the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty
      to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and
      work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only
      for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning
      and see these men standing in their queues and look into their
      pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very
      devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two
      thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people
      are plundered and exposed.”

      [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a
      political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on
      his personal Christian feelings. Published in “My New Order”, quoted
      in Freethought Today April 1990]

      • Beata says:

        That early speech by Hitler was made when he was trying to appeal to Munich Catholics who were disturbed by his anti-Semitic views. The other Hitler quotes must also be looked at in historical context. Nazism was anti-Catholic. Just ask the Poles.

        • dakinikat says:

          There were plenty of catholics that wound up in concentration camps and there were plenty of catholics that were collaborators. Hitler even stuck with the I’m a Catholic point at the end. I think the church excommunicated him some time in the 1960s if I remember correctly. I don’t think that just because one is aligned with a particular faith that makes them a spokesperson for that faith. Think it’s more important to look at what the Vatican did at the time in lieu of Hitler’s claim he was a “good” catholic.

          “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”

          [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

          and he committed suicide which is anathema in catholic doctrine too. Most of the inner circle who did the real dirty work were lutherans. I don’t really blame either traditions for their worst practitioners, I guess.

        • bostonboomer says:

          That’s true, Beata.

    • RalphB says:

      Oh look, another scumbag wants to get into the act.

      Franklin Graham chides Christians for not fighting beside Phil Robertson in ‘religious war’

      In a statement issued on Monday, Franklin Graham — son of legendary televangelist Billy Graham and CEO of his Evangelical Association — complained about Christians who were unwilling to fight beside Phil Robertson in the “religious war against Christians and the biblical truths [they] stand for.”

      “I appreciate the Robertson family’s strong commitment to biblical principles and their refusal to back down under intense media pressure over Phil Robertson’s comments in a recent interview,” Graham wrote. “As the Robertson controversy winds down—at least for now—I have been amazed at how many churches have apparently ‘ducked’ out on the issue (sin).”

      He chastised those churches that “have fallen into the trap of being politically correct, under the disguise of tolerance.”

      • dakinikat says:

        “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of
        the Almighty Creator.”

        [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

        “What we have to fight for…is the freedom and independence of the
        fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission
        assigned to it by the Creator.”

        [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 125]

        “This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the
        practical existence of a religious belief.”

        [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.152]

        “For the political leader the religious doctrines and institutions of
        his people must always remain inviolable; or else has no right to be
        in politics, but should become a reformer, if he has what it takes!

        [Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

        “The great masses of people do not consist of philosophers; precisely
        for the masses, faith is often the sole foundation of a moral
        attitude. The various substitutes have not proved so successful from
        the standpoint of results that they could be regarded as a useful
        replacement for previous religious creeds. But if religious doctrine
        and faith are really to embrace the broad masses, the unconditional
        authority of the content of this faith is the foundation of all
        efficacy.”

        [Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]

  10. Mary Luke says:

    Well I will be honest here. I just find the state of the world so depressing I’ve been holding off on the “Happy New Year’s because, frankly, I don’t feel very hopeful right now. If anything, I feel damn scared.

    That said, I wish all the happiness and joy you can find to all the wonderful people who post and comment here, and especially to Kat, JJ, Beata, BB, and all the wonderful people who come here and continue to believe that together we can survive this life.

    Happy New Year!

  11. dakinikat says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-the-gops-darwinism/2013/12/31/60c86524-7264-11e3-8def-a33011492df2_story.html

    The gap on social issues between Democrats and Republicans (and independents who lean toward one party or the other) has nearly doubled over the past quarter-­century.

    Republicans are by far the more ideologically homogenous of the two (seven in 10 are conservative vs. fewer than four in 10 Democrats who are liberal). Because Republicans were already about as religious as they could get, most of the growing gap in recent years has come from Democrats becoming more secular: The share of Democrats who say they never doubt the existence of God has dropped 11 percentage points over the past quarter-century, to 77 percent, while the proportion of Republicans who have no doubt is 92 percent vs. 91 percent 25 years earlier.

    That’s what makes the evolution survey extraordinary: The Republican Party is achieving the seemingly impossible feat of becoming even more theological. Democrats and independents haven’t moved much in their views, while Republicans took a sharp turn toward fundamentalism. “The increasing gap isn’t surprising,” says Alan Cooperman, my former Post colleague who is now director of religion research at Pew. “What’s surprising is it’s the Republicans shifting, not the Democrats.”

    As a matter of political Darwinism, the Republicans’ mutation is not likely to help the GOP’s survival. As the country overall becomes more racially diverse and more secular, Republicans are resolutely white and increasingly devout

    This follows up JJ’s post the other night

  12. dakinikat says:

    Here’s some hope:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/new-mayor-bill-de-blasio-keeps-it-real-on-his-first-day?bftw

    Nice picture of Bill Clinton swearing-in De Blasio surrounded by his wonderful family too.

    De Blasio didn’t use a hater like RIck Warren for his opening speech either.

    Bill de Blasio used his inauguration Wednesday to send the opposite message. His opening speaker, Harry Belafonte, is a rare figure of American radicalism whose stature and talent have carried him unreconstructed into the second decade of the 21st Century. He denounced Mike Bloomberg’s New York as “Dickensian” as the outgoing mayor sat by, stonefaced. The chaplain for the Department of Sanitation, Fred Lucas, then described the city as a “plantation.”
    This is not some kind of departure for de Blasio: Belafonte is a popular figure in a liberal city, a revered figure in part of it, and he was a staunch and visible campaign supporter. The message of economic and racial inequality was at the core of de Blasio’s campaign; his most ambitious policy proposals are about taxing the rich to pay for preschool and his successful choice to run as the clear progressive option.
    The mayor’s speech was equally clear: He used the word “progressive” seven times (“New York” got eight mentions). He invoked the Occupy phrase, “The One Percent.” And he did in his inauguration what Obama didn’t: He promised to stay true to his detailed and ideological agenda.
    “I know there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just political talk in the interest of getting elected. There are some who think now, as we turn to governing – well, things will continue pretty much like they always have,” the new mayor said. “So let me be clear. When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it.”

    And!!! A literature reference!!!

    BTW, Ralph FIennes has done a biopic on DIckens for those of you that are fans of both!!! It’s about his young mistress who at 18, picked up with the Brit writer who was mid 40s, had like 9 kids and a wife.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/entertainment&id=9376492

    Charles Dickens film ‘The Invisible Woman’ a challenge for Ralph Fiennes

  13. NW Luna says:

    Seattle’s new major is gay. (yawn). :-) Got sworn in holding his husband’s hand and his grandmother’s rosary beads.

    Ed Murray with husband Michael Shiosaki is sworn in as Mayor of Seattle by City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons at his home on Capitol Hill at 7:30 pm on Dec. 31 among friends and family.

    Murray took the oath of office holding Michael’s hand and beads from a rosary his grandmother brought into this country when she immigrated here in 1905, atop a Bible from 1850 written entirely in Gaelic. The tie he wore was the same tie he wore when he first took the oath of elected office in 1996.

    I’m looking forward to the public ceremony on the 6th, and the swearing in of Kshama Sawant, our Socialist Councilmember. :-)

    • Mary Luke says:

      Love it! The Gaelic bible and Grandma’s rosary! OK, conservative, hate-mongering Catholic bishops, it just doesn’t get any better than this. I hope he gets a congratulatory message from Pope Francis.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Not sure how I missed this one earlier, but it’s interesting and the graphic is just priceless!

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21591624-republicans-should-worry-unmarried-women-shun-them-marriage-gap

    Like boffins squabbling about quantum physics, some political types wonder whether “unmarried women” amount to a discrete voter block at all, or whether the label merely sweeps up various left-leaning slices of the electorate: ie, younger voters, poorer ones, more secular Americans and non-whites. That would be no more than an interesting metaphysical question, but for three big and inter-related developments.

    • RalphB says:

      Jennifer McClellan, a Democratic state legislator for some tough bits of Richmond, makes a related point: the single mothers she represents know that life is “complicated”, and want politicians who recognise that too. Such appeals to compassion and pragmatism have favoured Democrats to date. It would not kill Republicans to listen too.

      Yes, it would kill them. If they had the common sense to listen, they wouldn’t be members of this Republican party in the first place.

  15. RalphB says:

  16. RalphB says:

    short reminder…

  17. RalphB says:

    This is a good story!

    Salon: Why I fled libertarianism — and became a liberal

    I was a Ron Paul delegate back in 2008 — now I’m a Democrat. Here’s my personal tale of disgust and self-discovery

    The night before the 2008 Nevada Republican convention, the Ron Paul delegates all met at a Reno high school. Although I’d called myself a libertarian for almost my entire adult life, it was my first exposure to the wider movement.

    And boy, was it a circus. Many members of the group were obsessed with the gold standard, the Kennedy assassination and the Fed. Although Libertarians believe government is incompetent, many of them subscribe to the most fringe conspiracy theories imaginable. Airplanes are poisoning America with chemicals (chemtrails) or the moon landings were faked. Nothing was too far out. A great many of them really think that 9-11 was an inside job. Even while basking in the electoral mainstream, the movement was overflowing with obvious hokum.

    During the meeting, a Ron Paul staffer, a smart and charismatic young woman, gave a tip to the group for the upcoming convention.

    “Dress normal,” she said. “Wear suits, and don’t bring signs or flags. Don’t talk about conspiracy theories. Just fit in.” Her advice was the kind you might hear given to an insane uncle at Thanksgiving.

    Then next day, I ran into that same operative at the convention, and I complimented her because Ron Paul delegates were being accepted into the crowd. I added, “We‘re going to win this thing.”

    “Bring in the clowns,” she said, and smiled before I lost her in the mass of people. …