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Desperately seeking Dejah Thoris

[ 161 ] July 19, 2017 |

Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) offers a reminder that one of the more obscure torments in Hades is attempting to rank RepubliCons by stupidity.

The hearing was respectable, with on-point witnesses and mostly incisive questions. That is, until California Republican Dana Rohrabacher had his turn at the microphone. After asking a reasonable, if rambling, question about NASA’s plans for a Mars sample return mission and the kind of fuel used by spacecraft, Rohrabacher got down to business.

He asked, “You have indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?”

The job of answering this question fell to Kenneth Farley, a project scientist on the Mars 2020 rover mission and a professor of geochemistry at California Institute of Technology. He calmly answered, “So the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago. Not thousands of years ago.”

“Well, yes,” Rohrabacher says. As if duh, of course he knew that.

“And, umm, there would be, there’s no evidence that, uhh, I’m aware of,” Farley continued, gamely trying to answer the question.

Now Rohrabacher wanted to make things crystal clear: “Would you rule that out? See, there’s some people… Well, anyway.”

“I would say that is extremely unlikely,” Farley responds.

It is not clear what Rohrabacher meant by “some people,” but last month InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones entertained the notion that Earth children have been kidnapped and sent to slave camps on Mars.

Where they’re forced to make landing strips.

On Thursday (June 29), a guest on Alex Jones’ radio show named Robert David Steele claimed that Mars is inhabited — by people sent to the Red Planet against their will.

“We actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20-year ride, so that once they get to Mars, they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony.”

Questions such as Who is kidnapping them? Who is guarding them? What are they being forced to do? and What the fuck is wrong with you, anyway? don’t need to be answered because that isn’t the point. KIDNAPPED BABIES FORCED INTO SLAVERY is the point.

For Jones, the point is to continue to foment distrust of the government in a manner that allows him to deny responsibility when some Concerned Christian Citizen attempts to 2nd Amendment the poor, sweet, fictional tots to safety.

Whatever the details may be, Jones seemed open to the possibility.

“Look, I know that 90 percent of the NASA missions are secret, and I’ve been told by high-level NASA engineers that you have no idea,” Jones told Steele, who the show billed as a “CIA insider.” “There is so much stuff going on.”

They told Jones ‘You have no idea what you’re talking about,’ and hung up on him.

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Chris Cillizza’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad answers about why he’s so damn dreadful

[ 112 ] July 18, 2017 |

Chris Cillizza had an ask me anything (AMA) on Reddit. He was treated with far more respect he deserved.

Hi Chris,

I’d like to present to you some of your headlines from last year during the election.

I’m wondering if you think that your relentless hammering of Hillary Clinton over a bunch of supposed “scandals” that went nowhere (along with your obvious Bernie-bias) helped turn people against Clinton, and put Trump in the White House?

Some of your articles:

  • Hillary Clinton’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad answer on whether she’s ever lied
  • Hillary Clinton can’t make you love her if you don’t
  • Hillary Clinton’s week just went from bad to worse Drip, Drip, Drip.
  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign needs a slogan. Here’s your chance to help. It’s time to think up a message for Hillary!
  • Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign problem may be, well, Hillary Clinton Sometimes the problem is you.
  • Why ignoring Hillary Clinton’s emails might cost Bernie Sanders Iowa An opportunity, missed.
  • Why we shouldn’t give Hillary Clinton a pass for losing New Hampshire
  • Why Hillary Clinton should be worried about Nevada
  • Why Hillary Clinton won’t release transcripts of her paid Goldman Sachs speeches She has her reasons.
  • Hillary Clinton’s email defense just hit a major bump in the road Cue Democratic worry.
  • Note to Bernie Sanders: Negative ads are good. Negative ads work.
  • Hillary Clinton STILL doesn’t have a good answer for questions about her emails
  • Why Bernie Sanders should talk A LOT more about Hillary Clinton and Goldman Sachs
  • What a tuxedo tells you about the race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Authenticity.
  • Hillary Clinton says she’s ‘not nervous at all’ about Bernie Sanders. She should be. Danger, Hillary Clinton. Danger!
  • Here’s exactly how Bernie Sanders can beat Hillary Clinton
  • Why aren’t Hillary Clinton’s exaggerations of her life story bigger news?
  • Bill de Blasio’s ‘Okay fine, I will endorse her’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton
  • Why Joe Biden must destroy Hillary Clinton
  • Just when you thought the e-mail story couldn’t get worse for Hillary Clinton … Drip. Drip. Drip.
  • Hillary Clinton’s e-mail issues have become a massive political problem It’s not getting better.
  • It might be time for Hillary Clinton to start panicking
  • Hillary Clinton finally apologizes for her private e-mail server. What took so long?
  • The reinvention of Hillary Clinton almost certainly won’t work
  • Hillary Clinton’s new approach to her e-mail controversy? It’s complicated.
  • Hillary Clinton’s e-mail problem isn’t going away FBI!
  • Hillary Clinton’s Worst Week in Washington
  • Hillary Clinton’s honesty problem just keeps getting worse
  • Maybe Hillary Clinton just isn’t a very good candidate
  • Hillary Clinton is trying to make the e-mail controversy political. But, really, it isn’t.
  • This isn’t a good trend line for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 prospects The more people see, the less they like.
  • These 9 words prove that Bill Clinton still doesn’t get it on the Clinton Foundation

Also, are you HA Goodman in disguise?

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna play Gears of War all day

[ 139 ] July 17, 2017 |

The crew of the Red Dwarf play Better than Life

Once upon a time the entertainment favored by the kidsthesedays was fraught with mundane risks: Drug use. Satan worship. Suicide.

Incredibly bad books and movies created to exploit the moral panic du jour.

Now, according to an article in Fortune, researchers have discovered that men aged 21-30 are choosing to live with their parents and play video games, rather than work a low wage job. Or two. Shocking, no?

A research team including faculty from Princeton and the University of Chicago now argues that “innovations in gaming/recreational computing”— and not, say, lower demand for less-skilled workers—explain as much as 79% of the difference in working rates between younger and older men.

From the outside, the lives of the young men in question may seem grim. The researchers found that 67% of non-working young men now live with a parent or close relative, compared to 46% of the same group in 2000, suggesting that many are relying on family to support them long-term. They average 520 hours a year on their computers, and 60% of that is spent on gaming.

But the paper further cites survey data showing that these men reported increased happiness overall despite their reduced circumstances, suggesting that advances in gaming are making imaginary worlds more enjoyable than the real one.

Or perhaps to the man aged 21-30, the real world is starting to stink so much that online ones are preferable? Table 5 on p. 19 of the study indicates that other people, such as women of the same age, are not succumbing to the alleged allure of eTopia. I haven’t had a chance to see if the researchers explored why – beyond a greater increase in leisure time compared to other groups – men in that age group have increased the amount of time they spend gaming.

That sense of satisfaction with giving up on work might be the paper’s scariest finding for those concerned about the health of the U.S. economy.

And that says not good things about capitalism. But those concerned will have to stay concerned. This country is not moving in the direction of entry-level jobs that are more attractive, or available. Perhaps they should go ahead and advance to anxious.

But the new research points to the possibility that it also reflects permanent lifestyle changes for some. Lower labor force participation is a serious headwind for the economy, meaning video games could ultimately cause a permanent downshift in U.S. growth—particularly since the advent of virtual reality is making permanent escape even more alluring.

And here I was thinking that the chain of corporate greed which results in outsourcing and stagnant wages, which in turn restricts people’s buying power, might be the problem.

Republicans fit discrimination against transgender, non-binary Americans into busy Be Evil schedule

[ 119 ] July 16, 2017 |

The title of HR 2796 gives a hint of how horrible the text will be: The Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017.

It begins with a repurposing of the man/woman marriage tradition/science argle that moderate Ha ha ha Republicans used during their last fight to stop same sex couples from marrying:

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSE.

(a) Findings.–Congress finds the following:
(1) Over the past half century, Congress has passed numerous civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “sex”, a designation long understood to be grounded in objective biology up to the present day. There is no evidence that Congress or the American people ever understood the word sex or gender in civil rights laws to include subjective self-identification.

There’s a lot of waffling about Executive Overreach, but the main purposes of the bill are to:

  1. Eradicate protections transgender and non-binary people received during the Obama administration.
  2. Make it clear that discrimination against these Americans is OK with Republicans.
  3. Allow Republicans to define gender as Boys are Boys and Girls are Girls, so there!
  4. Warn normal people that the Republican Party is full of perverts who are always thinking about their naughty bits.

(9) The Obama administration’s actions are an affront to the rule of law, the separation of powers, the will of the people, language, history, safety, privacy, and biological realities.

Whereas vicious Republican wankbags are an affront to everything.

This bill prohibits the word “sex” or “gender” from being interpreted to mean “gender identity,” and requires “man” or “woman” to be interpreted to refer exclusively to a person’s genetic sex, for purposes determining the meaning of federal civil rights laws or related federal administrative agency regulations or guidance.

It isn’t possible to tell what Pete Olson (R-Texas) – the bill’s author – means by genetic sex. Coming up with a definition that is central to his point exceeded the mental capacity of a person who recently claimed that Bill Clinton confessed to the murder of Vince Foster. Quelle surprise.

At any rate, I assume the basic idea is to permit and encourage atrocious behavior towards anyone who doesn’t fit into whatever weird definition of Gender Appropriate happens to be au courant at any particular moment.

Provided the intended victim doesn’t look like they could fight back.

I never like to guess whether a bill will make it to the twit with the tiny mitts. Olson introduced the bill in early June and and it has picked up five co-sponsors. Not a mad rush, but my concern is that if the Break Health Care in America bill doesn’t make it through Senate, the Republicans will start looking around for something they can send to the bigly Desk Resolutely in the Ovaly Office toute de suite.

Also, these people are mean and hateful. Making it easier to persecute people is something they want to do, and would make them look good to the mean, hateful people who voted for them.

Time Lord #13

[ 223 ] July 16, 2017 |

Hint – Not Idris Elba.

(Found via: Malcalypse.)

Neither is it Rowan Atkinson.

Or Joanna Lumley.

 

Privilege + ignorance = violence

[ 52 ] July 16, 2017 |

Frederick Sorrell – who unsurprisingly also has a history of violence against women – unintentionally demonstrates the development of supremacists who can’t keep their ugly little fantasies to themselves:

Step 1. Soak vicious little brain in lies that portray marginalized groups as flawed/dangerous.
Step 2. Ignore and avoid facts about marginalized groups.
Step 3. Attack members of marginalized groups based on the lies.
Step 4. Claim ignorance-induced fear caused you to attack.

“I yelled at them, I said, ‘Take that off. Go back to your country if you want to wear that.’ Yes, I did,” Sorrell told KATU News after his court appearance Monday, adding he’s never seen anyone in a burka before. “I’ve never seen where it’s [niqab]. I’ve seen other hijabs, colorful and I smile at them. I think they are very colorful and I don’t hate Muslims. I don’t have anything against Muslims. I was scared when I saw it.”

[…]

Sorrell then admitted the only thing he knows about the Muslim faith is what he sees and reads on media and social media. When asked why he did not take an opportunity to learn about the Muslim faith Sorrell said, “because of my ignorance.”

A bigoted sex offender who admits he’s ignorant. I wonder how long it will be until tRump puts him in charge of something?

Update: Please forgive me, I forgot the punchline.

He says he’s now afraid for his own life.

What’s disgusting about homelessness – Ooo, that smell update

[ 336 ] July 15, 2017 |

A biweekly paper written by people who are or have been homeless

As one might imagine, D.C. has a large population of people who are homeless. There are many who live right in the heart of this nation – where the monuments and museums and Big Gubbermint buildings are scattered between the Capitol and the river – but they live in the suburbs as well. Any clump of trees and undergrowth that is dense enough to conceal a tent and close to a public transportation route probably contains an encampment.

What I find disgusting about this is that people – many of them suffering from at least one untreated illnesses – have to live outdoors because paying to house and care for them is seen by many other people as a waste of money. People who also bitch and moan about homeless people.

But according to Mr. Drum, my disgust is pointed in the wrong direction, and this means I’m crazy.

A pair of researchers conducted a survey on homelessness and claim to have been surprised at the results:

We uncovered a strange pattern. On one hand, majorities support both aid (60 percent) and subsidized housing (65 percent), with only a small percentage opposing these policies — by 19 and 17 percent, respectively. On the other, a majority supports banning panhandling (52 percent) and a plurality supports banning sleeping in public (46 percent) — while only about a quarter of the public opposes these policies, by 23 and 30 percent, respectively.

This does not seem strange to me at all. Most people don’t like being accosted by panhandlers and don’t like their park benches being taken over by potentially dangerous vagrants.

I never liked being accosted by shitheads who seem to think their purpose in life is to shout at passing women. Especially the shitheads who become abusive when they are ignored or given a very polite center digit salute. And a look at crime statistics indicates men are potentially dangerous. However, I would never suggest men ought to be barred from walking around in public.

As for the park benches, I disagree with the assertion that they are the exclusive property of those who aren’t homeless. It’s also worth noting that Drum provides stats about mental illness and substance abuse rates for the homeless, but the statistic to back up his claim that they are potentially dangerous never appears. However, I do realize he is attempting to rationalize the irrational and that means taking as many logical fallacies as possible out for a spin.

The researchers solved their conundrum by suggesting that most people are disgusted by the homeless. No kidding. About half the homeless suffer from a mental illness and a third abuse either alcohol or drugs. You’d be crazy not to have a reflexive disgust of a population like that.

You have to be crazy, ad hominizes the man who seems to be on the verge of leaping around shouting Outcast unclean!

But so be it. If my refusal to assume all homeless people are dangerous and suffer from untreated illnesses, or to be disgusted by them for being sick means I’m crazy, then to hell with Kevin Drum.

None of this means we can’t or shouldn’t have empathy for the homeless. Of course we should, if we want to call ourselves decent human beings.

A couple of problems: First, it is impossible to see people as a clot of stereotypes and have empathy for them. That would be like trying to have empathy for a man’s shadow or his fun house mirror reflection.

Second, decent human beings aren’t disgusted by people who are extremely vulnerable.

Even if one claims a learned hostility towards people who are unfortunate and powerless, is really natural and uncontrollable.

In fact, overcoming reflexive feelings is what makes us decent human beings in the first place. There’s just no need to deny that these reflexes are both innate and perfectly understandable.

Disgusting.

Update: People keep bringing up the way some homeless people smell as a defense of Drum and/or being disgusted by the homeless. A few thoughts.

First, Drum never mentions smell as a cause of disgust. He mentions mental illness/substance abuse, panhandling and calls homeless people potentially dangerous vagrants. I think if one feels he is worth defending, it would help to stick to the points he makes.

Second, trying to bundle reaction to an odor into a reaction to an entire group of people is at best, incredibly dishonest. Here’s a little story to help illustrate why this is so:

Every day when I take the train home, there are always a few passengers who have gone to the gym after work. Normally, they smell bad. When the train car is warm, they fucking reek. The smell of post-Zoomba armpit, foot and groin is disgusting. But I would not say people who exercise after work are disgusting. That would be ridiculous.

Third, what’s really disgusting is some people can’t bathe regularly because they don’t have homes.

Post title here

[ 109 ] July 14, 2017 |

Don’t bother writing anything, the readers can fill in the blanks.

I guess Newsmax, parent organ of GOP Insider Briefs, just got excited.

Fortunately, the idea that the oldest Innsmouth Kid was set up by the wily Democrats was explored in more detail by none other than Erick Erickson.

Senator Grassley described Akhmetshin as “Russian immigrant to the U.S. who has admitted having been a “Soviet counterintelligence officer.” In fact, it has been reported that he worked for the GRU and allegedly specializes in “active measures campaigns,” i.e., subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda.”

So we have Fusion GPS, a Democratic opposition research firm, working with a Russian company whose lawyer is Natalia Veselnitskaya. And we have this. And we also know it was the Obama Administration that allowed Veselnitskaya into the United States to meet with Trump, Jr.

This sounds more and more like a set up.

Because everyone knows Trumplings can no more resist meeting with shady characters than a fly can resist a decaying carp, apparently.

It’s been a long time since I studied this sort of thing but if I recall correctly, a set up requires a bit more than putting two people in the same county and hoping nature will take its course. Not that this will matter for the sort of people who read the Regurgent or Newsmax products. Erickson could have written “Obama sneaky thing Russian Don Jr. truefacts,” and the readers would immediately develop a full blown conspiracy theory complete with an explanation for the death of Seth Rich. And then go shoot up a pizza parlor or something.

And now for the mandatory feeble display of never tRumpism.

Keep in mind that this does not excuse Donald Trump, Jr.’s judgment in taking the meeting, but it does put it in perspective.

what Junior did was bad.

BUT IT’S OBAMA’S FAULT!!

Ain’t enough whiskey

[ 53 ] July 12, 2017 |

The sale of campaign paraphernalia, minus any sort of campaign, is the inevitable next step in the politics as grift long con.

But this is preferable to what will come after: heavily-armed thugs accosting people for campaign donations.

Patriarchal society is highly dependent on the frequent repetition of dubious anecdotes masquerading as facts

[ 94 ] July 12, 2017 |

The ones that downplay violence against women while portraying them as life-wrecking liars have been cherished for millennia.

The only thing that can stop a bad guy exercising his 1st Amendment rights is a good guy exercising his 2nd Amendement rights

[ 172 ] June 29, 2017 |

I did wonder what the NRA would do to keep gun sales – and white fury – at Obama-era levels. I wish I were surprised that the answer is Jumping up and down shouting “Kill! Kill! I want to see dead, burnt bodies and veins in my teeth! Kill!

The video prompted Drum to ask a question to which I think he knows the answer.

This raises a question for “both sides” apostles: Can you think of a recent video anywhere near as vicious as this one from a left-wing group? I don’t mean some dude on Twitter. I mean some significant organization associated with mainstream liberalism. It’s an honest question. I don’t watch a lot of propaganda videos, so I could easily have missed something. Any takers?

But remember: Telling campus-lurking Nazis to fuck off (or mentioning that the GOP’s plans for health care will kill people) is naughty and bad.

 

13 Angry Men release draft of their Make Americans Sick Again bill

[ 38 ] June 22, 2017 |

Better pull harder on those bootstraps, America.

Full text of the discussion draft.

What’s in the bill: To help people pay for insurance, the Senate bill proposes tax credits based on income level, a feature of Obamacare, rather than on age, as the House bill calls for. The bill would make anyone earning up to 350% of the poverty level eligible for credits; Obamacare caps that at 400%. Additionally, the credits would be capped at a lower percentage of overall medical costs than those under Obamacare, making them less generous overall.

What it means: While the tax credits would be more generous for older Americans than the House bill, fewer middle-income people would get financial support to pay for coverage — and those who do would get less.

[…]

What’s in the bill: Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which extended the program to those making 100% to 138% of the federal poverty limit, would be phased out over four years. 90% of the current federal funding would be provided in 2020 and it would decrease by 5% each year until 2023, after which it would be eliminated. People would not be allowed to join the expansion from 2020 onwards. The tax credits will be available to people that fall off the expansion.

What it means: While this would save the federal government money, it also means the millions of people that have gained access to Medicaid would be rolled off. These people would be able to fall back on the less generous tax credit and access coverage through the individual insurance market.

And of course there’ll be attempts to stop women from receiving health care.

What’s in the bill: No plans purchased using funding from the bill can cover abortions. Additionally, none of the funds allocated by the bill can be given to healthcare providers that are involved with abortion.

What it means: In addition to restricting anyone who uses the credits or other funds from getting plan that covers abortions, this would effectively defund Planned Parenthood. It is unclear if this will pass Senate rules.

If you don’t already have it in your contacts, here’s how to get in touch with your senator.

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