Lazy Saturday Reads

I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

Boston buried in snow last winter. I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

 Good Morning!!

To my horror, a good-sized winter storm is working its way across the middle and upper Midwest. A previous storm already dropped a lot of snow on Colorado and Nebraska. This one is more widespread.

Associated Press via ABC News: Storm Blankets Parts of Midwest With More Than Foot of Snow.

The first significant wintry storm of the season blanketed parts of the Midwest with a foot of snow and more was on the way Saturday, creating hazardous conditions as some travelers prepared to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snow blowers were out from South Dakota through southern Minnesota, Iowa and southern Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service said the snow would continue in Illinois and Indiana on Saturday and move into Michigan. The front will head northeast to Canada late on Saturday and into Sunday.

Selfishly, I really hope it heads to Canada and skips New England entirely.

Snowfall reports so far

Snowfall reports so far

The Weather Channel reports in depth: Winter Storm Bella Dumps Up to 18 Inches of Snow in South Dakota; First Snow of Season For Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.

Winter Storm Bella will continue to bring the first, not to mention locally heavy, accumulating snow of the season for some in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Saturday after dumping up to 18 inches of snow in the Missouri Valley Friday.

Parts of the Sioux City, South Dakota metro area picked up over a foot of snow in an intense snowband Friday. Snow has since ended, there, but has now spread into the Great Lakes, with some totals over 10 inches already coming in from parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Winter storm warnings continue from parts of eastern Iowa into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Quad Cities, Madison, Rockford, Milwaukee and Chicago.

In the much of the Upper Midwest, this means a likelihood for at least 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.

Winter weather advisories are posted for much of Lower Michigan and far northern Indiana, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing, where somewhat lower snowfall totals are expected.


When I spoke to my mom this morning, she was headed out to the grocery store, because they are expecting snow and then heavy rain this afternoon. This much snow this early is pretty rare in much of the Midwest. Can you believe even Arkansas got a small amount of snow from this storm?

One factor in how much snow will fall this winter could be El Nino. The Weather Channel: The Impact of El Niño on Seasonal Snowfall.

El Niño, the periodic warming of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean, can have a number of effects on weather around the world, from heavy rain to extreme drought, persistent warmth to stubborn cold, and inactive versus hyperactive tropical cyclone seasons.

Does El Niño also influence how snowy your winter is?

To answer that, we examined NOAA seasonal snowfall data for 51 U.S. locations for which sufficient data exists and snowfall is at least typical once a year.

We grouped these seasonal snowfall totals into El Niño, La Niña (its opposite, namely, a cooling of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean) and neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) seasons.

el-nino-typical-winter-pattern 2

Since no two El Niños/La Niñas are alike and the intensity of each matters for impacts, we further examined moderate and strong El Niño seasons, based on the categorization by Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.

For most of the 51 locations, we had 23 El Niño, 20 La Niña, and 22 neutral seasons of snowfall data. One admitted drawback to this study is the rather limited sample size of strong El Niño seasons (five such cases), given NOAA’s Oceanic Niño Index dates only to 1950.

Finally, given El Niño/La Niña is not the sole driver of the atmosphere at any time, we thought it would be interesting to examine another atmospheric influencer during the winter months, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

Put simply, a positive NAO typically means cold air will drain from west to east across Canada, rather than plunging into the eastern U.S. Conversely, in a negative NAO, more blocking of the upper atmospheric pattern over the north Atlantic Ocean sends cold air deep into the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Read the results of the Weather Channel study at the link. As you can well imagine, I’m hoping that Boston will not get a repeat of last winter–the worst one on record with more than 100 inches of snow.

So….I decided to write about the weather so I could stave off the even worse news of the day. Here’s a sampling.

The Guardian: Brussels in lockdown after terror threat level is raised to maximum.

Brussels has been blanketed with security after the Belgian government raised alert levels on terrorist threats to the maximum, warning of the “serious and imminent” possibility of a Paris-style attack involving firearms and explosives.

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

The city’s metro system was closed down on Saturday until Sunday afternoon at the earliest as shops shut, shopping malls were partly shuttered, professional football was cancelled, concerts were called off and music venues, museums, and galleries closed their doors for the weekend.

The heightened alert level followed meetings of the national security and counter-terror services late on Friday, which concluded, on the basis of undisclosed evidence, that a major attack was being planned in Brussels. The rest of the country was put on a level three alert, one level short of the maximum.

“Following a new assessment, the terror alert level has been raised to level four, very serious, for the Brussels region,” said a government statement. “Analysis shows a serious and imminent threat that requires taking specific security measures as well as specific recommendations for the public.”

People were told to avoid rail stations and airports, shopping centres, concerts, and other public events where people congregate.

“We’re mobilising very strong security capacities,” said Charles Michel, the prime minister. “There’s a threat of attack by several individuals in several places. The [crisis centre] took this decision following information on a risk of attack similar to Paris.”

I sure hope this is a false alarm, but it will probably make Republican politicians even more panicked than they already are.

 A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel
Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

Another terrorism report from ABC News: Mali Hotel Attack Survivor Barricaded Himself as Gunmen Stormed Grounds.

Mukesh Chellani, a businessman from Indian, said he and his employees locked themselves in a room at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako on Friday. The country’s Ministry of the Interior said 21 people were killed — 18 hotel guests, a Malian policeman, and two attackers.

“We covered the door with lot of heavy stuff,” Chellani recalled. “At some point of time, we heard someone is knocking the door and lots of bullets.” ….

President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.

“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorismthreatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.

President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.

“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorism threatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.

Slate reports: Obama Meets With Refugees: “They’re Just Like Our Kids.”

President Obama tried to put a human face on the global crisis that has become a political battle back back home as he sat down with migrant children in Malaysia on Saturday, vowing that the US would keep its doors open to refugees “as long as I’m president.” Obama met with elementary-school-age children in Kuala Lampur at a humanitarian center who had already been cleared to enter the United States. “They’re just like our kids,” Obama said.

“They were indistinguishable from any child in America,” Obama said. “And the notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave us to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.” The words were clearly directed at the politicians—including governors, lawmakers, and Republican presidential candidates—who have spoken about the possibility of blocking the arrival of Syrian refugees into the US after the Paris terror attacks.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after speaking to disappointed opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court's decided to uphold the law, voting 5-4. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Of course, Obama’s words will have no effect on Republican politicians. Here’s the latest ugly example from Buzzfeed: Steve King, Citing Obama’s Time In Indonesia, Says Obama Is Filling U.S. With Terrorists.

Republican Rep. Steve King, while discussing on Thursday the Obama administration’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, said President Obama is “filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us” and cited Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia as giving him an entirely different idea of what America should be like.

“We just should remember that, when — where we grew up is — when we were in our grade school that’s when the world was right and we tend to want to recreate that idyllic scene in our adulthood thinking that’s the best thing for America. And in my case, it is. I grew up with ‘Fun with Dick and Jane,’” said King onBoston Herald Radio. “Wonderful. But you know, while I was going on, he was going to a school in Indonesia, so his idea of America is entirely different than the idea that most Americans have of what we ought to be like, and he’s filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us.”

What a sweetheart Steve King is, bless his heart.

I’ll have more links in the comments. What stories are you following today?

Wednesday Reads: Enough already.

0199ecf3197e42b376b86d6e59e249f46be376cbff*Updated to add pictures*

Good Late Morning

These Republican Debates. I have only seen 10 minutes of the very first one, and that was it….not another one has graced my eyes (in a visual sense) or ears.

018e881692a156bcb02dee65b788ae376e236834d2If I can get away with it, I won’t even read up on it, in depth. My depression and agitation is way too elevated now as it is….So, I don’t know how bad it got last night. I am sure it sucked tremendous ass.

With that thought in mind, here are your morning reads.

Starting with the Debate round-up:

Fact checking the Republican debate via PBS News Hour:

Ben Carson botched the economic effect of minimum wage increases. Jeb Bush again pitched a dubious target for economic growth. And Marco Rubio, in a tale about plumbers and philosophers, undersold the value of a college education.

The fourth Republican presidential debate was thick on economic policy — and with that came a variety of flubs and funny numbers.

0145ba691d8f1011435e2deb16c10642cfcf4609dbSome of the claims Tuesday night and how they compare with the facts:

CARSON: “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.”

THE FACTS: Actually, that usually doesn’t happen. When the minimum wage was increased in 1996 and 1997, the unemployment rate fell afterward. In June 2007, when the first of three annual minimum wage increases was implemented, the unemployment rate was unchanged until the Great Recession began six months later.

Economic research has found that when states raise their minimum wages higher than neighboring states, they don’t typically fare any worse than their neighbors.

It’s not known, though, what would happen to jobs if the minimum wage were doubled to $15— as many fast-food workers who demonstrated before the debate were demanding.

What does Ben Carson believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues.

RUBIO: “Welders make more money than philosophers.”

Not so, on average.

013637ea3bde08dd8e36cbad0407f9cdad00a8ad7eRubio is arguing that the U.S. has failed to invest in vocational training — a point also stressed by President Barack Obama’s now-defunct jobs council. But Rubio is wrong to suggest that studying philosophy is a waste of money and time.

PayScale, a firm that analyzes compensation, put the median mid-career income for philosophy majors at $81,200 in 2008, with welders making $26,002 to $63,698.

And Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce said in a 2014 analysis that median incomes were $68,000 for people with an advanced degree in philosophy or religious studies.

So knowing Plato and getting a college degree still pays off.

More revelations at the link.

Look How Jeb Winned The Debate! – Wonkette

Jeb Bush has not been doing so good at this running for president thing. Thus, the pathetic Jeb Can Fix It reboot of his campaign, which will lead Jeb to a glorious “comeback” … eventually. One of Jeb’s problems, among the mazillion problems he has — such as, for example, being Jeb — is doing real bad at the debates. Even he has admitted he’s “got to get better as a performer.”So. Did he do it? Did he Fix It at the Fox Business Network debate on Tuesday, where, according to Very Serious Pundits, it was do-or-die now-or-never other-cliches for the poor pathetic Jebenator? His campaign seems to think so so, because shortly after the debate ended, it released a fresh new Jeb! web ad featuring the only two minutes of the debate when Jeb was not visibly smearing himself with his own feces.

01637ab2528b7aef9ac972321bd067adb5ec3da9d7Hillary Clinton bad? Check. Unemployment numbers — which Jeb’s brother doubled while in office but President Obama has cut in half — also bad, THANKS OBAMA? Check. More or less complete sentences with almost no stuttering or dick-tripping? Check. Please if you wouldn’t mind and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, suck on this, Donald? Check.

Oh, what a victory. What a glorious triumph. What an impressively mediocre but not failtastic two minutes of highlights during which Jeb managed to deliver his memorized lines without literally choking to death on his own tongue.

Somebody….help me!

Republicans in Debate Oppose Hike in Minimum Wage | Al Jazeera America

Gawd…these fucking people.

Though many of the candidates on stage in Milwaukee in Tuesday’s Fox Business Network Republican debate used parts of their closing statements to highlight how they would be best positioned to take on the Democrat’s presumed nominee, Hillary Clinton, viewers needed only make it through the first fifteen minutes of the more-than-two-hour debate to spot an issue that could become central to the general election contest next fall.

Fox’s Neil Cavuto, one of the night’s three moderators, led off Tuesday’s debate by turning to Donald Trump, positioned center stage as the leader in recent national polls, and asked if the billionaire businessman was supportive of those calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

016d4e658db7fe0e75c06022bf5942ab659966a725“I can’t be, Neil,” said Trump, who, after mentioning his “tremendous” tax plan, added, “wages are too high.”

Cavuto confirmed with the candidate that he would not raise the minimum wage — “I would not do it,” said Trump — and the partisan audience burst into applause.

The moderator then turned his attention to Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has challenged Trump for the top spot in recent surveys. Referencing Tuesday’s nationwide demonstrations by those seeking a hike in the hourly wage, Cavuto asked, “Those protesters outside are looking for $15 and nothing less. Where are you?”

Carson said people needed to be “educated” on the minimum wage. “Every time we raise the minimum wage,” he continued, “the number of jobless people increases.”

“Actually,” noted a post-debate fact check by the Associated Press, “that usually doesn’t happen.”

The AP explained that when “the minimum wage was increased in 1996 and 1997, the unemployment rate fell afterward.” After a wage hike in 2007, the unemployment rate remained unchanged for six months, increasing only after the start of the Great Recession.

If you go back to the late 1970s, as PolitiFact did after Tuesday’s debate, four of the five times an increase in minimum wage was followed by job losses came during recessions, when higher unemployment is part of the general economic picture. And that fifth time came only months after the end of the 1990 downturn.

PolitiFact rated Carson’s claim as “False.”

But Trump and Carson were not alone in their opposition to the fight for $15.

“If you raise the minimum wage, you are going to make people more expensive than machines,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio when his turn came to address the subject. Rubio, who has been gaining ground in some recent opinion polls, called the minimum wage “in the 20th Century” a “disaster.”

The senator was not asked if he instead supported paying people less than machines. But what Trump, Carson, Rubio, and many of the other candidates in the main debate made abundantly clear is that they stand in a very different place from the Democrats seeking the presidency.

0106cf6b029191f848a405267d3cce25be69e38a47Fast-food, home care, child care workers: Your advocacy is changing our country for the better. #Fightfor15 –H,” tweeted Clinton in support of “Fight for 15” demonstrations held at fast food restaurants in hundreds of U.S. cities Tuesday.

The former secretary of state has not endorsed a $15 federal wage floor, saying that such a big increase was not “politically viable” and would not necessarily be appropriate for some poorer parts of the country. Clinton has instead voiced support for a Democratic proposal in Congress to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour from its current $7.25.

Her main rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has been more direct about support for a $15 minimum. “It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty,” said Sanders in July, when he introduced a $15 living wage bill in the Senate. “In the year 2015, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it.”

On Tuesday, Sanders took time out from his preparations for Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate to stand with federal workers in Washington, D.C., who joined the nationwide $15 wage action. “My debate prep today is to stand with workers who are trying to get a living wage from a contractor with the United States government,” Sanders told CNN on Tuesday. “That’s the kind of debate prep that inspires me.”

01527caeb9d623b719ffb636fd628f7a57a05dca5cHmmmm….I do think that Hillary is missing something there.

n 2014, a midterm election year that saw the GOP dominate in almost every region of the country, state minimum wage hikes were on the ballot in four states, all considered staunchly Republican. And in all of those states — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — the wage increases passed easily.

Ted Cruz’s memory comes up a little short | MSNBC

Looks like he pulled a Perry. You can read it at the link.

Meanwhile: Hullabaloo

Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino summed up last night’s GOP presidential debate with this tweet late in the game:


There is no time this morning to attempt a play-by-play on last night’s fourth GOP debate, but perhaps a few standout moments.

01b7bde5b5b5a33f74ff905a917557455400fa0c86Cerabino was perhaps referring to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s sense of the coming election. Maria Bartiromo had asked Rubio and other candidates why Americans should choose them over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, what with her “impressive résumé” and all. The crowd booed loudly. Instead of making a case for himself, Rubio made a stump speech on American exceptionalism, traditional values, and the future:

And so here’s the truth: this election is about the future, and the Democratic Party, and the political left has no ideas about the future. All their ideas are the same, tired ideas of the past.

This came after more saber rattling at ISIS from the group, a defense of coal mining from Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, and a call to return to the gold standard from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. I guess tired ideas of the past are all shiny and new again when you’re young and Republican.


See, it just makes me ill and more depressed and disgusted.

I need to wrap this up, I have a crying puppy that wants attention.



imageMissouri Protesters Are Acting Like Republicans Again | Crooks and Liars


‘It is an outrages’: Illiterate racist trolls greet Obama’s arrival on Facebook with complaints and Trump chants


An example of white male privilege – The Washington Post


Kansas to Execute White Supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller | emptywheel


imageGOP Sen. Dan Coats dismisses claim of secret KKK membership as ‘baseless Internet garbage’

(My senator Isakson was on that list too.)


VIDEO: John Oliver on How Upcoming State Elections Could Spell Disaster for Thousands Uninsured – Truthdig


imageHealth Insurance Literacy Is Key to Reaching Uninsured Populations This Open Enrollment Period | Bruce Caswell


Vatican Arrests Cleric And Laywoman In Latest Leaks Scandal


Russian Aviation Official Criticizes Airline For Claiming ‘External Impact’ Caused Crash


Next few real disturbing, be warned…


imageTeenage schoolgirl repeatedly raped by 13 men in Keighley, court hears | Crime | News | The Independent


Human trafficking survivor: I was raped 43,200 times –


And nothing says rape culture like this ad:

Bloomingdale’s creepy holiday catalog – Imgur


Eight-year-old Alabama boy charged with murder after 1-year-old girl is beaten to death


Next up, like we didn’t know already: Religious upbringing associated with less altruism, study finds | UChicago News

A Byzantine lament for a lost wife –

Finally, our last link:

UK’s oldest tree is undergoing sex change, botanists say | Environment | The Guardian

The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire has always been recorded as male but has started sprouting berries – something only female yew trees do

The Fortingall Yew
The Fortingall Yew is thought to be up to 5,000 years old Photograph: Alamy

The UK’s oldest tree, thought to be up to 5,000 years old, is undergoing a “sex change”.

Records have always noted the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire as a male tree but it has recently started sprouting berries – something only female yew trees do.

Experts at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh spotted three berries on a high branch of the tree, located in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall, Perthshire, and have now taken them for analysis as part of a conservation project.

Dr Max Coleman, of the Royal Botanic Garden, said yew trees have been known to change sex before but discovering the process on “such a special tree is what makes this a special story”.

The Fortingall Yew is believed to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old, and is one of the oldest living organisms in Europe.

It has survived the ravages of time and the attention of eager tourists, who in previous centuries took clippings from it as souvenirs.

The trunk changed shape many years ago and has lost its centre and one side, and the tree is now protected by a small wall.

Coleman said: “Yew trees are male or female usually and it is pretty easy to spot which is which in autumn – males have tiny things that produce pollen and females have bright red berries from autumn into winter.

“This process may have happened before but we know the Fortingall Yew has been classed as male for hundreds of years through records.

“The sex change isn’t the amazing bit in this case, it’s the fact it’s this particular tree.


Here is an autochrome of a WWI soldier in France:


This is an open thread.  Have at it.

Thursday Reads: A Quick Rundown

woman-reading (1)

Good Morning!!

This is going to be a quick post, because I think my tooth is getting infected. This is the tooth I was supposed to get a temporary crown for on Tuesday. I’m going to have to call the dentist’s office and see if I can get in on an emergency basis. There’s lots of news this morning, so I’m going to give you a quick rundown, and I’ll try to do something more substantive later on.

First, a dispatch from the “forever war,” intelligence sources in the U.S. and Great Britain are claiming that the recent crash of a Russian plane was caused by an ISIS bomb. CNN reports:

Days after authorities dismissed claims that ISIS brought down a Russian passenger jet, a U.S. intelligence analysis now suggests that the terror group or its affiliates planted a bomb on the plane.

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said his government believes there is a “significant possibility” that an explosive device caused the crash. And a Middle East source briefed on intelligence matters also said it appears likely someone placed a bomb aboard the aircraft.

Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed Saturday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula after breaking apart in midair, killing all 224 people on board. It was en route to St. Petersburg from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The latest U.S. intelligence suggests that the crash was most likely caused by a bomb planted on the plane by ISIS or an affiliate, according to multiple U.S. officials who spoke with CNN.

The officials stressed that no formal conclusion has been reached by the U.S. intelligence community and that U.S. officials haven’t seen forensic evidence from the crash investigation.

Intelligence also suggests someone at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport helped get a bomb onto the plane, one U.S. official said.


We’re never going to get out of the Middle East, thanks Bush and Cheney. Speaking of those two, there’s a new book out in which George H.W. Bush claims that Dubya was betrayed by his advisers–you know, all those long-time Bush family pals that George senior passed on to his son?

In “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush,” author Jon Meacham quotes Bush as saying that Cheney and Rumsfeld were too hawkish and that their harsh stance damaged the reputation of the United States, the cable news network said.

Speaking of Cheney, who was vice president under President George W. Bush, the senior Bush said: “I don’t know, he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” according to the report….

“The reaction (to Sept. 11), what to do about the Middle East. Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East,” Bush told Meacham in the book to be published next Tuesday….

On Rumsfeld, secretary of defense for most of the two terms served by his son, Bush is even more critical. He is quoted as saying: “I don’t like what he did, and I think it hurt the President,” referring to his son.

“I’ve never been that close to him anyway. There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that. Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow,” he was quoted as saying in the biography. Read more about the book and the Bush interview at The New York Times.


The Democratic Party is in deep trouble, as demonstrated by Tuesday’s election results. Greg Sargent: A brutal reality check for the Democratic Party.

The news that Tea Party Republican Matt Bevin snatched the Kentucky governor’s mansion away from Democrats is a particularly stark reminder of how deep a hole Democrats have dug for themselves at the state level, and of the consequences that could have for the long-term success of the liberal and Democratic agenda.

Bevin will replace Democratic governor Steve Beshear, who was perhaps the leading evangelist for the Affordable Care Act in the South. Beshear famously set up a Kentucky health insurance exchange and opted in to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion amid a region of hostility towards the law. Bevin has pledged to transition people off of the exchange to the federal one, and to shut down the state’s Medicaid expansion. But in Kentucky, the law has succeeded at its primary goal: Early on it successfully brought health coverage to some of the state’s (and the country’s) poorest and unhealthiest counties, and Gallupfound earlier this year that Kentucky boasted the second largest drop in the uninsured rate of any state in the country.

Now those policy gains may be in some doubt.

Read the Rest at the WaPo. And from Chris Cillizza: Matt Bevin is the next governor of Kentucky. He has President Obama to thank.

Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee in the Kentucky governor’s race, wasn’t a very good candidate.  By all accounts, he was standoffish and ill at ease on the campaign trail, and inconsistent — to put it nicely — when it came to policy.  The Republican Governors Association, frustrated with Bevin and his campaign, pulled its advertising from the state.  Polling done in the runup to today’s vote showed Bevin trailing state Attorney General Jack Conway (D).

And yet, Bevin won going away on Tuesday night. How? Two words: Barack Obama.

Obama is deeply unpopular in Kentucky. He won under 38 percent of the vote in the Bluegrass State in 2012 after taking 41 percent in 2008. In the 2012 Democratic primary, “uncommitted” took 42 percent of the vote against the unchallenged Obama. One Republican close to the Kentucky gubernatorial race said that polling done in the final days put Obama’s unpopularity at 70 percent.


Again, read the rest at the WaPo. Too bad Obama didn’t stick with Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, while the Republicans ran with it.

Some updates on 2016 GOP primary campaigns . . .

David Wasserman at FiveThirtyEight: The GOP Primary Rules Might Doom Carson, Cruz, and Trump.

In a few months, after Iowa and New Hampshire begin to winnow the field, the GOP nomination race could boil down to an epic final between a candidate with a more pragmatic image, such as Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina or Jeb Bush, and a more conservative one, such as Ted Cruz, Ben Carson or Donald Trump.1

If that happens, the moderate finalist — like Mitt Romney and John McCain before him or her — will have a hidden structural advantage: the party’s delegate math and geography.

There are plenty of reasons to be cautious of national polls that show Trump and Carson leading. They may fail to screen out casual voters, for instance, and leaders at this point in past years have eventually tanked. But perhaps the biggest reason to ditch stock in these polls is that they’re simulating a national vote that will never take place.

In reality, the GOP nominating contest will be decided by an intricate, state-by-state slog for the 2,472 delegates at stake between February and June. And thanks to the Republican National Committee’s allocation rules, the votes of “Blue Zone” Republicans — the more moderate GOP primary voters who live in Democratic-leaning states and congressional districts — could weigh more than those of more conservative voters who live in deeply red zones. Put another way: The Republican voters who will have little to no sway in the general election could have some of the most sway in the primary.

As The New York Times’ Nate Cohn astutely observed in January, Republicans in blue states hold surprising power in the GOP presidential primary process even though they are “all but extinct in Washington, since their candidates lose general elections to Democrats.” This explains why Republicans have selected relatively moderate presidential nominees while the party’s members in Congress have continued to veer right.

The key to this pattern: “Blue-state Republicans are less religious, more moderate and less rural than their red-state counterparts,” Cohn concluded after crunching Pew Research survey data. By Cohn’s math, Republicans in states that Obama won in 2012 were 15 percentage points likelier to support Romney in the 2012 primary and 9 points likelier to support McCain in 2008 than their red-state compatriots. Romney and McCain’s advantage in blue states made it “all but impossible for their more conservative challengers to win the nomination,” Cohn wrote.

Read much more interesting stuff at the link.


Ed Kilgore’s take on Ben Carson from TPM: Why Ben Carson Isn’t Going Away — And What Makes That So Scary.

During the last month the long-awaited, heavily-promoted decline in Donald Trump’s standing in the Republican presidential nominating contest has finally begun to occur. But aside from a small reshuffling of the order in the “lanes” (e.g., Rubio moving past Bush among Establishment Republicans and Cruz moving past Huckabee, Santorum and Jindal among experienced Christian Right candidates) to which the candidates have been assigned by the punditocracy, the big beneficiary of softening support for Trump has been another candidate with no experience in elected office, Dr. Ben Carson. He is running either first or a strong second in virtually everynational poll, and is now routinely leading polls of Iowa as well. His approval ratings, moreover, are extremely high, and best in the field. It’s safe to say he is almost universally admired by GOP voters.

The conventional wisdom is that Carson is beloved for being a genial, soft-spoken figure and a non-politician with a distinguished biography. That may be true, though this does not necessarily distinguish him from many thousands of his fellow Americans. An equally obvious factor is that he is African American, and Republicans frustrated with being accused of white identity politics if not outright racism love being able to support a black candidate who is as conservative as they are.

Less obvious — and finally being recognized by political reporters spending time in Iowa — is that Carson is a familiar, beloved figure to conservative evangelicals, who have been reading his books for years.

Another factor, and one that I emphasized in my own take here two months ago, is that Carson is a devoted believer in a number of surprisingly resonant right-wing conspiracy theories, which he articulates via dog whistles that excite fellow devotees (particularly fans of Glenn Beck, who shares much of Carson’s world-view) without alarming regular GOP voters or alerting the MSM.

As David Corn of Mother Jones has patiently explained, the real key for understanding Carson (like Beck) is via the works of Cold War-era John Birch Society member and prolific pseudo-historian W. Cleon Skousen, who stipulated that America was under siege from the secret domestic agents of global Marxism who masqueraded as liberals. Carson has also clearly bought into the idea that these crypto-commies are systematically applying the deceptive tactics of Saul Alinsky in order to destroy the country from within—a theme to which he alluded in the famous National Prayer Breakfast speech that launched his political career and in the first Republican presidential candidates’ debate.

Head over to TPM and read the rest.

There’s plenty more news this morning; I’ll try to put a few links in the comments. What stories are you following today?

Sunday Reads : “I’m just the beard…”

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley 1872-1898 Incipit Vita Nova Here begins a new life

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley 1872-1898 Incipit Vita Nova: Here begins a new life

Good Afternoon

It is crazy, when you get an idea and then spend time looking for pictures or creatures or artist to see the thought through.

That said, you will obviously guess the theme of the post as you go along…

The articles for today really do not have anything to do with beards.

Anyway, this first image is an illustration from Aubrey Vincent Beardsley. I love the expression on the fetus face.  It looks like it is about to put the smack down on someones ass.

eaf1ad3e6bba2772cbecee909e1a38d1Maybe he has heard of this new app…that allows you to rate people. Wait I am not explaining it properly.

Check this out: The problem with rating people on the new app Peeple

The web is bemused and irate about an app that will let people rate other people as if they were baubles purchased on Amazon.

Its cofounders, Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, plan to launch the app in November. They trace its origins to a conversation about McCullough’s frustrations with finding a reliable babysitter. Although inspired by a prosaic concern, their intentions are grander. Their motto is “character is destiny,” and, in interviews, Cordray says that she wants “character to be our new form of currency.”

Aubrey Vincent BeardsleyIf legitimate, it sounds as if their app is to serve as the digital equivalent of the ancient Fates. Whereas the three Fates controlled destinies by way of the threads of life, Peeple aims to shape destinies by way of professional, personal and romantic ratings. Supposedly, employers and romantic interests will be able to search for people of good “character,” and the company plans to charge for searches beyond a single daily freebie.

Much of the response to the app is negative and ill-informed. The negativity arises because this is a platform through which we might be negatively evaluated (at best) or harassed (at worst) without any say other than to buy into their system. The confusion arises because it’s not yet released and their website was inaccessible much of Wednesday – an indication of popularity or the consequence of a denial of service attack.

01c57eda519c5d10f74ff8419c95428f6143f5141aYa know, “negative and ill-informed” I may be…but what the fuck?  Please read about this more at the link, but I wanted to put this little nugget from the creators…

McCullough and Cordray speak of personal ratings as a positive – even virtuous – undertaking. They say Peeple is a “positivity app for positive people.” In “An Ode to Courage,” a defensive note posted on Peeple’s website, the cofounders declared:

We know you are amazing, special, and unique individuals and most likely would never shout that from the rooftops. The people who know you will though…. As innovators we want to make your life better and have the opportunity to prove how great it feels to be loved by so many in a public space. We are a positivity app launching in November 2015. Whether you love us or our concept or not; we still welcome everyone to explore this online village of love and abundance for all.

Dancing Bears William Holbrook Beard

Dancing Bears William Holbrook Beard

I am Sicilian, we are a negative people…we are born that way.  But I don’t see anything positive about this website. Do you?

Okay, now…on with something positive that kicked some real ass, and was something that should be getting more attention.

High School Girls Fight Dress Code With The Scarlet Letter-Inspired Protest | The Mary Sue

HI!!!! As many of you heard there's a new dress code policy being enforced as of tomorrow that will require students to leave class and sit in the office until their dress code violation is 'dealt with'. Also, for a teacher to send you to the office they do NOT have to dictate whether or not you're in dress code, simply question it. Many students find it incredibly offensive that their outfits are being held at a higher importance than their education. many ideas have been tossed around about how to let admin know that we are dissatisfied with the way they're handling dress code violations. the solution we've reached is : Tomorrow, September 24th 2015, it would be AWESOME if we could get as many people as possible to incorporate a red A into their outfits as the red A is a famous symbol for 'sin'. We'll keep this page updated as frequently as possible so that the movement is cohesive and effective. Thank you for standing up for what's fair. (that everyone should be treated with equal respect) IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING PLEASE JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT "NOT 'A' DISTRACTION"

A photo posted by Reese Fischer (@reesefisch) on

girls handy book…students at Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston, South Carolina wore red A’s last week to protest the school’s dress code policies (which you can read here). About 100 students took part, and also shared their As with the hashtags #NotADistraction and #NotADistractionSOA.  Reese Fischer, a student at CCSOA and organizer, also started a petition to protest the dress code. She emphasizes that the issue they want to combat is not dress codes themselves, but rather the ways in which they’re enforced. Junior Peyton Corder told Post and Courier that a counselor “told her that heavier girls needed to wear longer skirts.” Fischer also points out that boys wearing muscle shirts, sagging pants, and other violations rarely face consequences.

5294a70cded6d05be85fbfb856e6ec38It must be noted, the school principal seems to support this protest, at least he put out a statement:

Principle Robert Perrineau’s response seems supportive of the initiative. He states:

This is just a reminder of what was is already in place, that we need to be consistent and be equitable and be fair to everyone. We do want to make sure that we’re all giving that reminder and giving attention to any individual student situation in the same way. We want the point to be made, but we want to be respectful.

Read more at the link, including the full statement from Fischer.

Bearded Iris German Supreme Sultan

Bearded Iris German Supreme Sultan

Other social media shit, well… not “shit” but newsy shit: Margaret Cho Destroys Biblical Arguments Against Abortion With One Glorious Tweet 

Comedienne, Margaret Cho, has been very vocal on twitter in her impassioned defense of Planned Parenthood in the wake of the GOP’s relentless assault on women’s rights. Well, she has taken that a step further, and tweeted out the ultimate defense of a woman’s right to choose — with a tweet that uses the one book today’s Republican Religious Right uses to defend every one of their positions, including their rabid opposition to abortion: the Bible.

Cho tweeted out a link to a Bible verse that completely eviscerates the idea of life beginning at conception, and, further, it shows that the Religious Right’s belief that the Bible opposed abortion is beyond false, to put it mildly. Here is the tweet:


enhanced-buzz-16225-1349573027-2I guess there is a shitload of Old Testament quotes that go against the whole idea that life begins at arousal.

That’s right. Not only does the Bible not oppose abortion, it gives a how-to on how to make it happen. Further, the anti-choicers’ favorite book actually says life begins with the first breath, not conception as they would have us believe.


ArmchairJamesBeardThere is another bigot making headlines, this one is in Alabama: Alabama judges stop issuing marriage licenses altogether to avoid gay marriage –

As Alabama’s all-white Legislature tried to preserve racial segregation and worried about the possibility of mixed-race marriages in 1961, lawmakers rewrote state law to make it optional for counties to issue marriage licenses.

Now, some judges who oppose same-sex marriage are using the long-forgotten amendment to get out of the marriage business altogether rather than risk issuing even one wedding license to gays or lesbians. In at least nine of Alabama’s 67 counties, judges have quit issuing any marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in June.

WalrusWhile the precise reason that lawmakers gave for making the 1961 change has been lost to time, the 54-year-old provision says probate courts “may” issue rather than “shall” issue wedding licenses.

And fuck it if the excuse is these assholes are falling back on is Religious Freedom.


Nick Williams, a Baptist minister who also serves as probate judge in Washington County, is among those who have left the marriage license business. He says issuing a license for a same-sex union would violate his Christian beliefs.

Like Davis, Williams said he would go to jail before he would approve a marriage license for a gay or lesbian.

Three of the counties near Washington County are also no longer issuing marriage licenses…for the same reason, they also have hateful bigots who won’t do their jobs.

…creating a region in southwestern Alabama where marriage licenses aren’t available for 78,000 people. As a result, Bo Keahey and fiance Hannah Detlefsen will have to spend nearly two hours on the road traveling to and from Monroe County before their November wedding because their native Clarke County has downloadquit issuing licenses.

“I pay taxes here and it’s kind of ridiculous that I can’t get a license here,” said Keahey, an attorney.

Whether it is creating a vacuum of healthcare for women…or a fuck you to anyone wanting to get married, these people really know how to make functioning in this world, actual living in this world…Romare Beardenimpossible.

Now here is the truly bad news, stuff that I have nothing to say about, except silence:

Gallery of Transgender Women Killed in 2015 (PHOTOS) – The Daily Beast

Weather related news:

Death toll rises in Guatemala landslide – Al Jazeera English

Hundreds of people are still missing but chances of survival are low after massive landslide killed at least 86 people.

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden

French floods: 19 feared dead after storms sweep French Riviera | World news | The Guardian

Hurricane Joaquin soaks eastern US, leaves devastation in Bahamas


Life ring from missing U.S. cargo ship found adrift – NY Daily News


El Faro, a 735-foot cargo ship with 33 crew members aboard, went missing Thursday in the Bermuda Triangle during Hurricane Joaquin.

zz_top2crop1-e1282126491265 frank beard drums

Drummer Frank Beard…has no beard.

In related news, Climate Change:

Climate Change Literally Moves Mountains: Scientists Say Warming Temperatures Shape The Earth : SCIENCE : Tech Times

No, it isn’t love that moves mountains. Climate change does and scientists have evidence that could prove it.

Global warming has caused erratic weathers and is responsible for rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities. Now, a new study has revealed that climate change can also alter the shape of our planet.

Matthew Beard aka Stymie

Matthew Beard aka Stymie

In a five-year study published in the journal Nature on Oct. 1, Michele Koppes, from the University of British Columbia, and colleagues compared the glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula.

They found that the glaciers moved faster and caused more erosion in warmer Patagonia compared with those in Antarctica as warmer temperature and the melting of the ice contribute to the lubrication of the glacier bed.

Koppes said that the glaciers in Patagonia erode up to a thousand times faster than in

Three Birds by Jackson Beardy

Three Birds by Jackson Beardy

Antarctica but as Antarctica warms up and moves to temperatures over 0 degrees Celsius, glaciers now all start to move faster.

The researcher said that they have already seen ice sheets that start to move faster and become more erosive, which creates deeper valleys and pour more sediments into the oceans.



Read about how that affects the landscape at the link.

This next story is not good. (And that is putting it mildly.)

Artist: James henry Beard

Artist: James Henry Beard

Afghan hospital attack in Kunduz possibly criminal – UN – BBC News

Air strikes on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 19 people were “tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal”, the UN human rights chief says.


At Least 19 Dead After Us Airstrike Hits Hospital | Al Jazeera America

A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz hit a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Saturday, killing at least 19 people at the medical center, the medical charity said.

In a statement, MSF said the “sustained bombing” took place at 2:10 a.m. local time and continued for 30 minutes after staff raised the alarm to U.S. and Afghan military officials. Three children are believed to be among the dead.

North Carolina Emigrants Poor White Folks By James Henry Beard

North Carolina Emigrants Poor White Folks By James Henry Beard

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the United States still was trying to determine how the airstrike hit the hospital.  “A full investigation into the tragic incident is under way in coordination with the Afghan government,” Carter said in a statement.

Barack Obama promises full probe into suspected US airstrike on Kunduz hospital | World news | The Guardian

Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 19 People – Truthdig

Okay, now a few more stories and we are done for the day.

bearded pig

bearded pig

Scientists Identify Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria : LIFE : Tech Times

Micropigs: Scientists In China To Sell Genetically-Altered Hogs For $1,600 : SCIENCE : Tech Times

If micromini-pigs aren’t your thing, maybe a firefly theme park is?

Firefly Park Is Illuminated By 10,000 Lightning Bugs | Mental Floss

The headline to this next article:

Catholic priest ‘happy to be gay’ – BBC News

Made me think of this:

Big Gay Boat Ride – Video Clip | South Park Studios

It’s Okay to Be Gay

We’re all gay, and it’s okay
‘Cause gay means happy and happy means gay.
We’re not sad anymore, cause we’re out the closet door.
It’s okay, hey, to be gay!

01bd8cd205b9c2fc8371299e16659c2350e76a102cOkay, so there is one article about beards:

World Beard and Moustache Championships’ hairy competitors – BBC News

Some weird pictures of beards there.

And now a couple of videos,  yeah they deal with beards…of the metaphorical kind.

If y’all catch my meaning…



-Don’t move or I’ll blow your goddamn brains out!
-Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! I’m just a beard.
-You’re making a mistake. He’s just a beard!
-Don’t tell me you’re the beard, you goddamn little rat.
-Run, Tina, run! He’s outta bullets!
It’s our chance! Tina! It’s our chance!
-All right, I’m coming!
-You little rat! You’re never gonna get outta here! I’ll find you.


Watch Seinfeld Online – The Beard | Hulu

At Jerry’s apartment.

Jerry: Look at you. Why don’t you use a fork? You’re no good with the sticks.

Bearded Emperor Tamarin

Bearded Emperor Tamarin

Elaine: I know. I need a lesson.

Jerry: You stink. You know you stink. What is this?

Elaine: Oh. My ballet tickets.

Jerry: Oh. Your ballet tickets.

Elaine: Hey, have you ever been to the ballet?

Jerry: No, but I’ve seen people on tiptoes.

Elaine: You know, I’m going as a beard.

Jerry: A beard?

Elaine: Yeah. This friend of a friend knows this banker guy, he’s, I don’t know, 30 years, unbelievably

enhanced-buzz-32689-1389652454-10gorgeous, of course he’s gay.

Jerry: Yes.

Elaine: So anyway his boss has a box at the Met and he invited us to see Swan Lake, which is fine, but he’s

afraid that his boss can’t handle his orientation, so I’m going along as his date.

Jerry: Why are you doing this?

Elaine: Swan Lake, at the Met.

And last video clip:


WATCH: Hillary Clinton plays ‘Val the bartender’ on SNL and nails a hilarious Trump impersonation

SNL castmember Kate McKinnon, Hillary Clinton - (NBC SNL screenshot)

Hillary Clinton made her return to Saturday Night Live and delivered a dead-on impression of GOP rival Donald Trump as she played a bartender commiserating with herself as played by Kate McKinnnon.

01a3f0186bd784d41e60690b6b5fdd7d5c39caa19aThe bit was full of self-deprecating humor, with Clinton poking fun at herself over topics like gay marriage and the Keystone pipeline.

Watch the video at the link.

I think the bit about Hillary being real nice in person was genuine. You will see what I am talking about when that part of the scene comes around in the clip.

Well, that is all folks. Have a wonderful day and please comment below.

Thursday Reads

Kandinsky at Tea, by Gabrielle Munter

Kandinsky at Tea, by Gabrielle Munter

Good Morning!!

It sure looks like Vladimir Putin is trying to embarrass President Obama with the Russian air strikes in Syria. The Russians have bombed U.S.-supported rebels rather than ISIS. From The Guardian:

Russia has bombed targets in north-west Syria for a second day, as the Kremlin said it was going after a list of well known militant organisations and not just Islamic State.

The Russian defence ministry said planes hit 12 Isis targets, including a command centre and two arms depots, though the areas where it said the strikes took place are not held by Isis.

Activists reported a number of strikes in the country’s north and centre, including strikes in the province of Hama, which they said hit locations controlled by the US-backed rebel group, Tajamu Alezzah.

A spokesman for the Syrian civil defence said a strike also hit Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province.

“They targeted the northern neighbourhood of the town, which only houses civilians, but there are very few people there because of repeated airstrikes,” the spokesman said.

Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese pro-Assad TV channel, separately reported that Russian aircraft had launched 30 fresh airstrikes against Jaysh al-Fateh, a powerful rebel coalition that includes Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Autumn Study, Kandinsky

Autumn Study, Kandinsky

The Daily Beast: Putin Hits West’s Rebels Instead of ISIS.

A Russian general asked the U.S. to remove its planes from Syrian airspace Wednesday, just hours before Russian airstrikes began there.

The Russian three-star general, who was part of the newly formed intelligence cell with Iraq, Iran, and the Syrian government, arrived in Baghdad at 9 a.m. local time and informed U.S. officials that Russian strikes would be starting imminently—and that the U.S. should refrain from conducting strikes and move any personnel out. The only notice the U.S. received about his visit was a phone call one hour earlier.

The Russian strikes were centered about the city of Homs, according to initial accounts in the local press and in social media. That’s significant, because Homs is not known to be an ISIS stronghold.

This can’t be good.

“The northern countryside of Hama has no presence of ISIS at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army,” Major Jamil al-Saleh of the Free Syrian Army told Reuters. U.S. officials corroborated this account to The Daily Beast.

The FSA has receieved U.S.-made anti-tank missiles; the CIA and Pentagon have been recruiting FSA soldiers as proxies against ISIS.

“There is no Islamic State in this area,” another FSA commandertold Reuters. “The Russians are applying great pressure on the revolution. This will strengthen terrorism, everyone will head toward extremism. Any support for Assad in this way is strengthening terrorism.”

Autumn Landscape, Kandinsky

Autumn Landscape, Kandinsky

The Washington Post: Obama administration scrambles as Russia attempts to seize initiative in Syria.

Blindsided by the unexpected swiftness of Russia’s air attacks in Syria, the Obama administration scrambled Wednesday to retake the diplomatic and military initiatives, saying that it would not be bullied into supporting President Bashar al-Assad and that it was about to significantly expand its own Syrian air operations.

After spending much of the day together here behind closed doors, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, said in terse evening statements that U.S. and Russian military officials would meet, perhaps as soon as Thursday, to “deconflict” their operations in Syria.

Standing side by side outside the U.N. Security Council chamber, they said they had reached some preliminary agreements on a way forward toward a negotiated political solution to Syria’s civil war but indicated they were far from agreed on its outcome. They took no questions.

“We have a lot of work to do, understanding fully how urgent this is,” Kerry said.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off Western concerns, suggesting that other countries “get involved” in Syria under Russia’s leadership. Senior foreign policy spokesmen in Moscow said the action proved Russia was a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

Administration officials countered that the airstrikes showed only Russian weakness and what White House press secretary Josh Earnest said was growing concern “about losing influence in the one client state they have in the Middle East.”

This is really making me nervous–probably even more so because I’m not sure how to interpret this news.

Autumn in Bavaria, Kandinsky

Autumn in Bavaria, Kandinsky

Back in the USA, Republicans in Congress are still focused on such non-issues as Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and trying to cripple Planned Parenthood–although I’m sure they’ll find a little time to criticize Obama’s foreign policy as well.

The media is filled with descriptions of the contents of meaningless Clinton emails and suggestions that her server may have been hacked. Of course the State Department server actually has been hacked several times and so have a number of other government servers. So perhaps Clinton’s private server was actually safer.

Associated Press reports: Russia-linked hackers tried to access Clinton server.

Russia-linked hackers tried at least five times to pry into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email account while she was secretary of state, emails released Wednesday show. It is unclear if she clicked on any attachments and exposed her account.

Clinton received the infected emails, disguised as speeding tickets from New York, over four hours early the morning of Aug. 3, 2011. The emails instructed recipients to print the attached tickets. Opening an attachment would have allowed hackers to take over control of a victim’s computer.

Security researchers who analyzed the malicious software in September 2011 said that infected computers would transmit information from victims to at least three server computers overseas, including one in Russia. That doesn’t necessarily mean Russian intelligence or citizens were responsible.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign, said: “We have no evidence to suggest she replied to this email or that she opened the attachment. As we have said before, there is no evidence that the system was ever breached. All these emails show is that, like millions of other Americans, she received spam.”

Practically every Internet user is inundated with spam or virus-riddled messages daily. But these messages show hackers had Clinton’s email address, which was not public, and sent her a fake traffic ticket from New York state, where she lives. Most commercial antivirus software at the time would have detected the software and blocked it.

The phishing attempts highlight the risk of Clinton’s unsecure email being pried open by foreign intelligence agencies, even if others also received the virus concealed as a speeding ticket from Chatham, New York. The email misspelled the name of the city, came from a supposed New York City government account and contained a “” file that would have been a red flag.

Sigh . . .

Autumn Study near Oberau, Kandinsky

Autumn Study near Oberau, Kandinsky

On the Benghazi front, erstwhile Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy opened his big mouth yesterday and gave Democrats an amazing gift. Bloomberg:

…the Republican leading the race to replace John Boehner as House speaker said it for them, boasting Tuesday that his party has spent nearly three years dragging her through investigations of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi in hopes of doing serious damage to her presidential campaign.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy boasted on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

Wow. The longest investigation in House history–longer than the Watergate hearings!–was totally trumped up, and the next House Speaker admits it publicly. Democrats quickly responded.

“It’s just jaw-dropping,” said former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who has endorsed Clinton. “The Republicans lied through their teeth when they said this wasn’t about politics.”

Clinton herself said on Wednesday that McCarthy’s comments were “deeply distressing.”

“When I hear a statement like that, which demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise, I feel like it does a grave disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that we lost but of everybody who has served our country,” she said in an interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton.

Earlier, Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon called McCarthy’s words “a damning display of honesty by the possible next speaker of the House,” who has “just confessed that the committee set up to look into the deaths of four brave Americans at Benghazi is a taxpayer-funded sham. This confirms Americans’ worst suspicions about what goes on in Washington.”

The Benghazi committee’s top Democrat, Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, said in a Wednesday statement that McCarthy had simply acknowledged what “Republicans never dared admit in public.” He added that Republicans “have blatantly abused their authority in Congress” by spending more than $4.5 million in taxpayer funds on the Benghazi committee “to pay for a political campaign against Hillary Clinton.”

New York Representative Louise Slaughter, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, added: “That’s not what we’re here for and, in fact, I think that might be impeachable for crying out loud.”

Autumn Landscape with Boats, Kandinsky

Autumn Landscape with Boats, Kandinsky

Someone in the government also chose the day after Republican members attacked Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards for nearly five hours, someone in the government to leak some embarrassing information about the committee’s chair Jason Chaffetz. From the Washington Post:

An assistant director of the Secret Service urged that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a congressman ­critical of the service should be made public, according to a government watchdog report released Wednesday.

“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an e-mail to a fellow director on March 31, commenting on an internal file that was being widely circulated inside the service. “Just to be fair.”

Two days later, a news Web site reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and been rejected.

That information was part of a Chaffetz personnel file stored in a restricted Secret Service database and required by law to be kept private….

The Chaffetz file, contained in the restricted database, had been peeked at by about 45 Secret Service agents, some of whom shared it with their colleagues in March and April, the report found. This prying began after a contentious March 24 House hearing at which Chaffetz scolded the director and the agency for its series of security gaffes and misconduct. The ­hearing sparked anger inside the ­agency.

In another slap in Chaffetz’s face the organization that has been running the right wing campaign against Planned Parenthood admitted that the video that Carly Fiorina described in the last Republican debate had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood and the baby Fiorina saw had not survived an abortion. Raw Story: ‘This wasn’t an abortion’: CNN forces anti-Planned Parenthood group to admit Fiorina was wrong.

David Daleiden, the project lead Center for Medical Progress’ anti-Planned Parenthood campaign, admitted on Wednesday that an alleged fetus on a table that GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina described during a graphic anti-abortion rant was actually from a miscarriage.

Read the rest at the Raw Story link.

Landscape with two poplars, Kandinsky

Landscape with two poplars, Kandinsky

Finally, some reactions to Kim Davis’ meeting with Pope Francis for you to explore:

Vanity Fair: Kim Davis and Pope Francis’s Curious Meeting.

Tuesday night, lawyers for Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after she was jailed, announced that she had been invited to a secret meeting with Pope Franciswhile they were both in Washington, D.C.

The Vatican initially refused to confirm or deny those reports, which suddenly made things far more confusing. On Wednesday morning, however, the Vatican changed its tune, and confirmed the meeting to The New York Times.

“I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Robert Moynihan at Inside the Vatican, a magazine covering Catholic news, broke the story on Tuesday night, citing “Vatican sources” as confirmation. The New York Timesfollowed up with an interview with Davis’s lawyer, Mathew Staver, who said that yes, totally, the meeting definitely took place.

During the visit, Staver said the Pontiff gave Davis two rosaries and told her to “stay strong.”

According to Staver, the invitation was extended through the Vatican itself, and seeing as Davis and her husband, Joe, were in town to receive an award from a conservative advocacy group, they decided to briefly visit the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature right before he left for New York City.

Staver added that he expected the Vatican would soon send them photos of the visit.

As far as I’m concerned this is so disgusting that I think it might overshadow anything good that came from the Pope’s visit to the U.S. The fact that the meeting was kept secret until Francis was back in the Vatican makes it even more awful and shameful. The Pope probably doesn’t understand the damage he did, but along with the canonization of Junipero Sera  this will leave a very bad taste in the mouths of many Americans.

More links to peruse:

Vanessa Urquhart at Slate: Why Pope Francis’ Meeting With Kim Davis Is Such a Disaster.

Trevor Martin at The Guardian: Pope Francis’s meeting with Kim Davis should come as no surprise.

Washington Post: Meeting with Kim Davis has pope-watchers asking, what did Francis mean?

So . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a terrific Thursday!


Wednesday Reads : Sanity by the numbers, one…two…three.


IMG_0269It’s as easy to learn as your ABCs.

I can’t remember the exact date, but it has been a while.

It must have been around the time when Hobby Lobby was in the news? Or maybe it was before that, Troy Davis? Perhaps.

No, it was after Davis…after the Jesus in my Uterus decisions…and the Bundy Ranch militias, the Wendy Davis defeat and the countless scenes of police brutality and idiotic right-wing shitheads stoking the embarrassing political cable TV dumb ass reality show that stands for our elected officials.

Y’all know what I am talking about. We have seen it here on the blog, Mona aka called it Political Affected Disorder. It was really something serious for a few of us…like me. What would have taken just an evening to bring me down from an anxiety and depressed mood brought on by the absolute ridiculous hate filled rant of Bachmann back in the day, now took days to calm down.

01dbdc170d6dd355a6193c16cee70ce34432f820c6There was other things going on at home, yeah but there was something else about the feelings of defeat and real disgust that were different this time around. I didn’t have that anger like I did in 2008. That anger that pushed me, with a vengeance. No, this was not the same.

I’ve been worn down, depression does that I guess.

My only way to keep some sense of sanity was to avoid the news and stop going online all together.

I could not bring myself to comment on the blog anymore. Doing the afternoon news threads was unbearable. I avoided almost anything, just researching articles the evening before my post…and catching up on the threads that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat had written the days before. (Actually, I still do this…I can’t help it, it is my only way to protect myself because I feel like if I get back involved as I once was…I will really loose it. Mentally.)

So. I check out. Only to “check in” on Tuesday evenings or Wednesday mornings…same goes for Saturday nights and Sunday mornings….that is when I will look at what has happened with the circus show of current events.

The reason I bring all this up, is because I felt I had to explain. The reasons for why I am hardly ever here.

01b41dc1a4e96508765900f5356c0326e1cfa5d679Now a few links to illustrate my point…and then I can toss it over to you.

Better Watch Your Mouth, Donald Trump Suing Everyone Who’s Mean To Him – Wonkette

We decided Steve King and Ben Carson were wrong about Muslims holding public office in 2006 – AMERICAblog News

Digby at Salon: Ted Cruz’s diabolical shutdown strategy: Why the GOP senator wants to watch the world burn –

Hillary Clinton Confronted on Whether She Created Birtherism | Mediaite

Jimmy Carter says democracy is dead: You need at least $200 million to run for president of US ‘oligarchy’

01c56254b774595814be41cad582d1b606ae3de4dfA stunning stat about pay seems impossible but actually is true – The Washington Post

Once upon a time, American men used to get something called a “raise.”

That is when your employer would actually pay you more money. Now, it is true that some people still have experience with this all-but-forgotten practice, but even the ones who do tend not to get pay increases that keep up with price increases. That is why, as David Wessel of the Brookings Institution points out, the typical male worker actually saw his after-inflation pay fall between 1973 and 2014.

What is four lost decades between friends?

01114ef2c238d003fab0228e72d59c08827f563788I won’t go into the discussion of women and their earning power, cough….cough.

When the Womb Is a Crime Scene – ProPublica

Alabama has turned hundreds of pregnant women into felons for using drugs — even when they’re legal and the kids turn out fine.

Mathematician Declares War On Kansas Republicans For Committing Election Fraud (VIDEO) «

Donald Trump Heading To Extremist Religious Right Summit | Right Wing Watch

Constitution 101 for Presidents | Linda R. Monk, J.D.

Obama to Pope: “We Stand With You In Defense Of Religious Freedom” | Video | RealClearPolitics

This next thread from Wonkette is something you have to read in full: Let’s Meet The Biggest Loser Candidate In America. His Name Is Carl! – Wonkette

Look at this bunch of . . .

Four candidates are vying for the seat: 1. a dreamy young GOP lawyer who is on the Richmond School Board, 2. a filthy rich Democrat who is a real estate developer and a county supervisor, 3. an independent community organizer who used to be a county supervisor, and 4. our subject today: Libertarian Carl Loser.

Forgot to ask him where I could get one of those sweet lapel pins.

And other stories of note:

New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra dies at 90

The baseball world got some sad news late Tuesday evening when the Yogi BerraMuseum announced via their Twitter account that the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher had died at the age of 90.

Berra is considered the greatest catcher of all-time, and is a New York Yankees legend. His No. 8 jersey is retired at the Yankees monument park.

"1953 Bowman Yogi Berra" by Bowman Gum - Heritage Auctions. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.



The 18-time All-Star took home three MVP awards in 1951, 954 and 1955. He is one of just six managers to lead both the National and American league teams to the World Series.

More than the man himself, Berra was a larger-than-life personality who would speak to the media freely, delivering some of the most memorable quotes in history often known as “Yogi-isms.”

Here are some of the most memorable Yogi-isms from the Yankees’ legendary backstop.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

“Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

We promise there will be a lot of people at your funeral, Yogi. Rest in peace.



That is it for today, this is an open thread.

BTW, Happy 18th Birthday Jake…wow…




Thursday Reads: #IStandWithAhmed


Good Morning!!

After the horror show that was the second Republican debate, we can at least celebrate the fact that massive numbers of Americans–and people all over the world–stand with Ahmed Mohamed after the disgraceful and humiliating treatment he received from his teachers, school administrators, and the Irving, TX police department.

The Dallas Morning News reports: Ahmed Mohamed swept up, ‘hoax bomb’ charges swept away as Irving teen’s story floods social media.

Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.

At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.

“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”

Asked if the teen’s religious beliefs factored into his arrest, Boyd said the reaction “would have been the same” under any circumstances.

“We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,” he said. “Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen, so we have to err on the side of caution.”

The chief touted the “outstanding relationship” he’s had with the Muslim community in Irving. He said he talked to members of the Muslim community this morning and plans to meet with Ahmed’s father later today.


Good luck with that, Chief. Ahmed’s family  is already talking to lawyers about suing your department and the high school for damages. You should be ashamed.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference outside the family’s home, Ahmed’s father said he’s proud of his son and wowed by his skills.

“He fixed my phone, my car, my computer,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said. “He is a very smart, brilliant kid.”

Mohamed said he’s lived in America for 30 years, but this was a new experience for him.

“That is not America,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said of his son’s humiliation after being handcuffed in front of his classmates.

But Mohamed said he’s also been touched by the outpouring of support for his son.

“What is happening is touching the heart of everyone with children,” he said. “And that is America.”

Ahmed speaks at his family’s press conference.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, Irving, TX police chief tries to explain away his officers’ and MacArthur High School officials’ stupidity and racism.

The good news is that so far, Ahmed has been invited to visit the White House and to tour labs at M.I.T. and Harvard. He’s been invited to meet Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters and offered an internship at Twitter. He has been offered a scholarship to NASA’s Space Camp, and a tour of Mission Control. In Texas, he has been offered a lifetime membership in the Dallas Engineering Club and has been invited tour the telescope lab at UT Austin. There have been many more invitations and expressions of support.

Last night Ahmed was interviewed by Chris Hayes. Max Fisher wrote about the interview at Vox:

“People will always have your back”: The amazing lesson Ahmed Mohamed took from his arrest.

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who was arrested at school and accused of trying to make a bomb because he’d brought in a homemade clock, appeared on MSNBC for an interview with Chris Hayes on Wednesday night.

“I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist, I felt like all the names I was called,” he said of the experience of being handcuffed, finger-printed, and interrogated by police. The treatment was not totally new: “In middle school I was called a terrorist, called a bomb-maker. Just because of my race and religion.”


Yes. That is what this intelligent and poised young man has had to deal with in his hometown.

Even for all he went through, Ahmed seems to have come out of the experience, amazingly, more optimistic about the world. When Hayes asked him what he thought about the outpouring of support, this was his answer, and it’s really something:

I feel really well after, because before I didn’t think I was going to get any support because I’m a Muslim boy. So I thought I was just going to be another victim of injustice. But thanks to all my supporters on social media, I got this far, thanks to you guys. I see it as a way of people sending a message to the rest of the world that just because something happens to you because of who you are, no matter what you do, people will always have your back.

The lesson that “people will always have your back” no matter what you look like is perhaps not the one that I might have taken had I gone through what Ahmed did. It is truly amazing to see him come out from this so optimistic about the world, willing to see the silver lining from his experiences rather than to be embittered by the many ways he was mistreated. It’s yet another lesson we could all stand to learn from him.

The entire video of Chris Hayes’ interview with Ahmed is posted at the All In website at MSNBC.

More links to explore:

Also from Max Fisher at Vox: It’s not just Ahmed Mohamed: anti-Muslim bigotry in America is out of control.

Chris Gayomali at GQ: Ahmed Mohamed Is a Goddamn Genius.

Ken White at Popehat: Willful Paranoia: The Classic Excuse for Willful Paranoia #IStandWithAhmed.

Shaun King at DailyKos: Definitive proof that ninth-grader Ahmed Mohamed is smarter than police officers who arrested him

At CNN, a surprisingly excellent, detailed article about what happened to Ahmed: Muslim teen Ahmed Mohamed creates clock, shows teachers, gets arrested.

Amanda Taub at Vox: The message Ahmed Mohamed’s school just sent: creativity isn’t for Muslim kids.

ABC News: Texas Teen Arrested for Clock Gets Warm Welcome From Silicon Valley.

Al Arabia: #IStandWithAhmed shows America at its best, and worst.

Reactions to last night’s GOP debate

The GOP candidates, USA Today

The GOP candidates, USA Today

I thought this interview with Ronald Reagan’s sons was interesting. Although Ron Reagan is a liberal and Michael is a conservative, both men are sick and tired of Republicans who try to claim they are just like Ronald Reagan. (The interviews took place before last night’s debate.) Politico:

Ronald Reagan’s sons have one thing to say to Donald Trump: We knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was our father. And you’re no Ronald Reagan.

The conservative 40th president has been a touchstone in practically every presidential race since he left office, but this year, from Scott Walker’s fawning tweets to Jeb Bush’s custom T-shirt, Reagan fever seems to have reached a new high. And you can bet it will be a main feature of the debate tonight, at the Reagan Library in California.

But if you ask Reagan’s sons Ron and Michael, they’re not so keen on the comparisons. In two exclusive interviews (both published below), which span what the former president would think of the 16-strong Republican field (“I think he’d be kind of appalled”) to who’s most like Reagan (“Rick Perry. … They have the same hat size”) to what Reagan would think of Jeb Bush (“lacks charisma”), the sons of the former president both reject the idea that any Republican today really is the next Ronald Reagan. Plus, as Ron Reagan, a liberal political commentator, points out, “my father never went around comparing himself to someone else.”

Not only is the whole party “certainly getting him wrong as a Republican,” says Ron, the idea of comparing Trump to his father disgusts him. “I can’t think of two people who are more diametrically opposed. This egotistical, narcissistic guy with the weird comb over swanning in his private plane. … I mean, look in the mirror, fat boy. Look at that hair, you’re ridiculous! Where do you get off talking on anybody’s appearance? It’s just so unchivalrous. My father would recoil at that sort of thing.”

Michael Reagan, a conservative political strategist who hosted a talk radio program for 26 years, also questioned the idea that Republican candidates today are just like his father, especially Trump. “It’s interesting to see how many of them … recreate my father in their image and likeness instead of his,” he says. “Ronald Reagan would never take 11 million people or three million people or a million people and throw them out of the United States of America.” Plus, Michael says, talking about Reagan all the time is just bad strategy: “I have a 32 year-old daughter named Ashley. She knows who Ronald Reagan is, but name another 32 year old who does.”

And as for Donald Trump being the next Ronald Reagan? That’s ridiculous, says Michael. “To say what he said about Carly? … Is that the face we want for the Republican Party? If that’s the face, then the Democrats have to be going, ‘Go Donald!’”

Read the complete interviews at the Politico link above.

A few more debate reactions:

CNN: Republican debate reactions, captured in GIFs.

Chuck Todd and friends: Winners and Losers from Last Night’s Debate.

John Cassidy at The New Yorker: Carly Fiorina Tests Donald Trump’s Indestructibility.

Chicago Tribune: What happens if the new Donald Trump is just boring?

USA Today: Fact check: The second Republican debate.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?