1. David Marjanović says

    Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, has problems: 1, 2.

    Americans: we love paying more for less” – no, not just healthcare this time.

    Petition to the EPA not to allow BP to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico again, which is what the EPA is planning in all seriousness.

    Petition with trigger warnings: “The woman has been charged with 2 more counts in her criminal trial, which is now underway. The new charges are immensely serious, and include prostitution and adultery, punishable by death. Further, if her trial concludes the evidence used in this case will be inadmissible for a rape case because in Sudanese law the evidence and facts used in once a case concludes cannot be used again in a new trial. Send this notice to the Sudanese government that the world is watching.”

    Also, The Skepchicks rock

    Yay! :-)

  2. David Marjanović says

    Also, the phenomenon isn’t quite super-cooling – apparently it’s blue ice, a slightly different process.

    Huh. That’s very different.

    …But, coming to think of it, it’s very surprising that water in contact with ice would supercool.

  3. David Marjanović says

    Oh, also:


    Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:33:45 AM
    The Center for North American Herpetology
    Lawrence, Kansas

    The Southwestern Research Station in Portal, Arizona is pleased to announce the following 2014 summer workshops.

    The workshop is being offered for the second time this summer. The workshop is designed for undergraduates and graduate students in Conservation Ecology, Wildlife, Biological Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine who expect to study, breed, and manage populations of amphibians and/or reptiles in the field and in captivity. “What does Conservation Medicine Mean” and “How can it be Functionally Used to Manage Populations of Amphibians and Reptiles” will be explored. Concepts of infectious diseases, anesthesia, use of pain medications, sampling techniques, surgical techniques, and handling of venomous species will be covered.

    HERPETOLOGY FIELD COURSE: 16 July – 25 July 2014.
    Participants will gain knowledge on the outstanding biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles found in a wide diversity of habitats throughout southeastern Arizona and parts of southwestern New Mexico. Participants will obtain hands-on experience in amphibian and reptile identification, collecting and marking techniques, and data documentation.

  4. David Marjanović says

    Whoa. Just got this one:


    Friday, February 21, 2014 8:50:18 AM
    The Center for North American Herpetology
    Lawrence, Kansas

    The Michigan Society of Herpetologists Conservation Grants are now available and we are accepting applications. We have two grants available each in the amount of $500 and go towards research in Michigan.

    Our General Conservation Fund Grant can cover any project including a Massasauga Project. Our Massasauga Conservation Fund Grant can cover only Massasauga projects.

    Applications are due by March 31st and will be awarded by May 3rd.

    Visit the Grants webpage at for more details. And thank you for helping us conserve Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians. Feel free to forward this to whomever you think may be of interest.

    Eric Tobin
    Michigan Society of Herpetologists

  5. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I am ponderous.

    Ever been in a situation where you’re upset and someone else (frequently an Authority™ person) comes along and says in a soft, gentle voice, “You seem upset. Let’s talk about this.”? This has happened to me, and I find it incredibly patronizing. Do that to me, and I’m likely to transfer my upset to that person and either lash out or shut down.

    Is that just me? Because today we got a “how to deliver painful news to patients and manage their reactions” lecture and we were explicitly told to do this. I found this baffling.

    Am I just atypical?

  6. cicely says

    David: I hadn’t read that!
    I particularly like Scenario #5.
    :) :) :)
    Oooh! And Scenario #8!


    Esteleth: *whap!* Boot to the head!

  7. Dhorvath, OM says

    It’s the one size fits all mode of dealing with people. Obviously people are just interchangeable avatars and will respond well to the same input regardless of who they are. For myself, no, I wouldn’t find such an approach appealing, if I want to talk, I will find someone in the know and ask some questions.

  8. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Sometimes I just want to resign from the human race.

    Well, the little bit of me that hasn’t failed completely anyway.

  9. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    *hugs* for Ogvorbis.

    What happened? Did I miss something?

  10. Nutmeg says


    Ever been in a situation where you’re upset and someone else (frequently an Authority™ person) comes along and says in a soft, gentle voice, “You seem upset. Let’s talk about this.”? This has happened to me, and I find it incredibly patronizing. Do that to me, and I’m likely to transfer my upset to that person and either lash out or shut down.

    Yeah. In general, I would be mortified if some type of authority figure did that to me. I try very hard to hide my negative emotions from authority figures, and I think it’s only polite of them to pretend not to notice what leaks through. I used to get that kind of treatment a lot, when I was a quiet teenager who hadn’t learned to a) hide my negative feelings and b) find ways to reassure people that I’m okay, even though I’m quiet, without having to say so directly. Unless the authority figure was someone with whom I already had a very close relationship, I would deny having any problems and then shut down with that person in the future.

    I don’t know about the specific “delivering bad news to patients” scenario. Maybe, just maybe, my family doctor could get away with talking to me like that. And it would still be weird. From any other medical professional, it would be profoundly unwelcome.


    if I want to talk, I will find someone in the know and ask some questions.

    Exactly! Generally, if I want help from another person, it’s of the “I want to pick your brain about how to handle this specific thing” type of help. I don’t always understand how other types of help are supposed to work, and I definitely wouldn’t go looking for anything other than factual information from a non-close person.

  11. Portia says


    I hope you are okay, and if you feel impelled to stay away from here, I will genuinely miss you. *hugs*

    Yesterday, I argued with a male attorney (at a bar, after work) who told me “you can’t change [sexist judges and lawyers] and you’ll be stronger for [the sexist abuse] because it gives you a thicker skin” Over the course of an hour (during which S chimed in and said my point more clearly than I did at one point!) we went back and forth, and the end point was the best moment of my feminist life: He, of his own volition, promised to express disapproval next time he witnessed a sexist remark. I convinced him he does possess the power (as a white, cishet, middle class man) to change the social acceptability of sexism, and thereby change the effect it has.

    What put him over the edge was me saying “It would just make my life if another man in the room looked at the sexist remarker and said ‘Dude, sexist much?’ or any indication of disapproval” It was my lived experience and my telling him that he would make a positive impact if he put out the effort. I’m just tickled pink. After the fact, S said he realized that he needs to make the same promise.

    I nearly cried.

  12. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I may have been unclear – the specific situation we were being lectured on was that the patient has been given painful news, and we (the students and the nurses we will be) need to address their confusion/upset/etc.

    The person who delivers the news is usually the doctor. The task of managing the situation is usually left to the nurse. For various reasons.

  13. Dhorvath, OM says

    That is what I thought you were talking about. Not some random situation, but one that is, although not desired, largely scripted for the professionals involved. I am not a healthcare professional, I know that any nurse is better equiped than I am to deal with any situation I find myself in while interacting with them professionally. Which is why having one make an attempt to open communication would make me shut down. You have the power, let those who don’t dictate how and when communication occurs.

  14. Dhorvath, OM says

    That’s encouraging. I try to be that person too and hope to see more people raising an eyebrow, saying a word, or flat out opposing behaviour.

  15. says


    That’s a very cool story.

    I agree with you about the script, yes. As Dhorvath notes, I find that most job-required scripts make the person who has to use them come off as a total asshole of some variety or another, usually smarmy, IME. This is one reason I have difficulties with a lot of customer service work; I don’t like having to be a dishonest asshole all day, and the scripts almost always pretty much require acting like one.

  16. says

    In a classic case of über radical fringe conservative ideas becoming mainstream, that is, being adopted by Republican politicians in general, a bunch of senators are backing Dinesh D’Souza (a guy whose theories have been debunked by PZ in the past).

    Four Republican senators have sent FBI Director James Comey a letter regarding conservative author and political commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who was indicted for campaign finance fraud last month.

    In the letter, Sens. Charles Grassley, Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee quote Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz as saying, “I can’t help but think that [D’Souza’s] politics have something to do with it…. It smacks of selective prosecution.”

    “To dispel this sort of public perception that Mr. D’Souza may have been targeted because of his outspoken criticisms of the President, it is important for the FBI to be transparent regarding the precise origin of this investigation,” the senators write.

    So, first it is fringe whackadoodle fluff, then it gets picked up by Fox new, the Drudge Report, Limbaugh and others. Next, the whackadoodle fluff is miraculously transformed into an all important basis for new policies, new bills, and, of course, for attacking President Obama.

    D’Souza has done and said a lot of stupid things, but this latest “to the barricades!” defense by Republican Senators is based on the fact that they think D’Souza is being unfairly persecuted for having used straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions.

  17. says

    Not feeling well at all today; didn’t sleep hardly a wink last night, terrible nausea and not holding down food. Probably a flu. Had to cancel the dental appointment I made yesterday to have someone look at that lost crown finally, much to my annoyance. I’ll have to reschedule next week, which is also when I’m having an endoscopy to see what’s actually been going on in my digestive tract, as it looks like not pancreatitis after all, so cause currently unknown there.

  18. says

    In the Fox News universe, things are always worse than you thought they were.

    Continuing his defense of draconian state legislation to allow individuals and businesses to refuse services to gay people on religious grounds, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson suggested that businesses serving gay couples were “aiding and abetting sin.” […]

    Media Matters link.

  19. rq says

    In an ordinary situation, I may not like that approach much.
    In a medical situation, where I may know little, that phrase may indicate to me that a door is, at least, open. And while I may not use the opportunity to talk, it may do wonders for my psyche, just knowing that if I want to, I can talk.
    This is, of course, assuming that I have trust in this medical professional saying these words, that they say them sincerely, and that they have not, up until now, been running circles around my trust and faith in the medical sciences (incl. obliteration of, or obstructing access to, clear, specific and pertinent information).

    (Also, because no one in my direct family is a medical professional, and I do not see them becoming such in the near future, and in a medical situation, I just may want answers from a medical professional. That kind of thing.
    Also, I do not talk to my family much of painful/medical matters (we all put our stoic faces on), so an outside source making themselves known as available would be at least partially welcome.)

  20. says

    The religious right frequently comes up with new schemes to attract young people. That they fail so hilariously says something about why young people are leaving Fundie Town in droves.

    Salon link. Comments in brackets were added by me.

    It’s evident that social conservatives have a serious demographics problem. If they are realistic, they realize that appealing primarily to white rural Christian fundamentalist males over 55 has its limitations. As a result, some of them have been making an attempt at youth outreach. But when social conservatives try to flaunt their hipster credentials and demonstrate that they aren’t as old, as white, as male, as uptight and sexually repressed as you think, the results can be embarrassing or awkward. And in many cases, their message is still one of repression. […]

    Chicks on the Right is full of the usual Christian right clichés one hears nonstop on AM talk radio: caring about the poor is “socialism,” the ACLU is anti-religion and anti-family, Sarah Palin is a “true patriot,” health insurance should not cover female contraception, etc. Chicks on the Right is an obvious attempt to lure young women over to the Republican Party, but Daisy and Mockarena certainly aren’t trying to accomplish that with a lot of original ideas. [Daisy and Mockarena wear skinny jeans and stiletto heels, so that makes up for everything else, right?] […] isn’t the only website using sexual imagery to sell Christian conservatism. Another is Christian Nymphos, which bills itself as a site that promotes “married sex, spicy the way God intended it.” […]

    One of the sites that likes to think of itself as having a hip, humorous, intellectual bent is the Cool Conservative, which describes itself as an “opinion and intelligence depot for the savvy, witty and well-informed” and asserts, “It is the movement of the left and the establishment media that have decided that liberals are cool and that conservatives are nerdy and stodgy. ENOUGH OF THAT!” [If you have to label yourself as “cool,” you have a problem. Worse yet, Cool Conservative comes off as stupid and/or ill-informed, as well as stodgy.] […]

    Pastor Mark Driscoll, founder of the Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle […] wears jeans and biker boots rather than business suits and power ties in the pulpit […] Driscoll maintains a neo-Calvinist approach, preaching angrily against gays, feminists and any Christians he considers insufficiently fundamentalist. [Yeah, so the biker boots didn’t deliver a message to the Swaggart-like brain.]

    There are also several christian and mormon websites that sell modest clothing, insisting that “modest is hottest,” or that modesty is “cool.” Everyone is certain that bikinis are too revealing. No word yet on nude beaches.

  21. says

    Well, this is not going to make Dalillama (#522) feel any better (or maybe it will, since not eating anything may be the way to go):

    The news went national when we found out that beef produced from “diseased and unsound” animals may have ended up in our Hot Pockets. But the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recalled all of the beef processed in 2013 by Rancho Feeding Corp., a slaughterhouse in Petaluma, Calif. That’s 8.7 million pounds of beef in total – enough, Mother Jones calculates, to make a burger for every resident of New York, London and Tokyo. The tainted meat is being pulled from the shelves of thousands of grocery stores across 30 states. On Thursday Rancho, which is being investigated for criminal activity by the USDA’s inspector general, was sold.

    That meat wasn’t just going toward processed snacks that we should know better than to eat anyway, either. About 25 percent of Rancho’s customers were small, local and sustainable ranchers who sold “niche” products like grass-fed and organic beef. […]

  22. opposablethumbs says

    Dalillama, I’m so sorry about the health issues. Really hope you get some improvements soon.

    Portia, that is actually pretty awesome. Getting blokes to understand this is great. Actually, let me re-phrase that – you are pretty damn awesome!

  23. says

    Chemical spill in Utah:

    U.S. Magnesium “released” 8,000 pounds of dangerous waste into an unlined retention pond last month, releasing some onto adjacent public land in Tooele County, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Although the magnesium producer, which operates near Rowley on the Great Salt Lake’s west shore, reported the spill on Jan. 23, the EPA only disclosed the incident Friday when they agreed to a mitigation plan with U.S. Magnesium.

    According to a press release, the company spilled hydrochloric acid, which can harm humans and animals if they touch or inhale it. The EPA did not specify if the acid release was deliberate or accidental. […]

  24. says

    Mormon Moments of Madness on Dr. Phil: YouTube link

    Not a fan of Dr. Phil, but even his annoying manner can’t diminish the story of Rebecca Musser, who was married to an 85-year-old “prophet,” Rulon Jeffs (Warren Jeff’s father), when she was 19. The part Rebecca’s father played in this scenario is disgusting. The father is also one of Dr. Phil’s guests.

    When Rulon Jeffs died, Warren Jeffs tried to “break” Rebecca and also tried to get her to marry another old guy, preferably him. Rebecca ended up testifying against Warren Jeffs during his Texas trial.

  25. says

    The recent law that enshrined discrimination based on exercising one’s “religious freedom” in Arizona is, in part, a Moment of Mormon Madness. Senator Steve Yarbrough is Mormon and is one of the authors of the bill and one of the staunchest supporters of the bill.

    […] Your place of business is now a church. Or a mission, of sorts, and any infringement on your right to use it to practice your faith is prohibited. This is the heart of the argument. Your business = Your Church. […]

    Yarbrough said it’s possible that, under the terms of his legislation a hotel owner could turn away a gay couple without fear of suit simply because there are other nearby facilities.

    Daily Kos link.

  26. ledasmom says

    Dalillama, sorry to hear of your unwellness. Hope this can be pinned down as to what it is and some way found that you can feel better.

  27. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Hugs to Dalillama.

    I got pissed off listening to an Air Force Major, Chaplain Corps, telling some of his nine children that obedience to adults is paramount, that they should obey their father (him) as he is to them as god is to all mankind.

  28. Dhorvath, OM says

    Ah, no fun at all. Hope things get better.

    Wanna have fun? Go shopping with a kid wearing a lobster plushie bicycle helmet. Everyone is intrigued. Now if I could just find one with a space alien…

  29. cicely says

    Esteleth: I was describing my likely impulse (not to be followed through on because 1) I’m not a physically violent person, 2) I can’t kick that high any more, and 3) why get Obnoxious Patronizing Smarmer all over my boot?) to the situation you described in 507.
    (For clarity: Boot to the Head

    *hugs* for Ogvorbis. Remember that not all humans are colossal asshats. And that some of us are only asshats on a part-time basis.

    *hugs* for Dalillama. I hope they find out what’s wrong. I worry about you.

    Giant isopod plushie is soooo kyoooot! Want!

  30. says

    Good morning
    #1 is sweet, sometimes. They were asked to write their daily routine, what do they do in the morning, at midday and so on.
    She truthfully wrote after “getting up” “going to pee” :)

    I think that routine could be vastly improved with some simple hedges:
    would you like to talk
    Would you like to talk to me or would you like me to find XYZ/somebody

    I wish that person well, but honestly, if I never hear from her again that will be too soon. What she did was somewhere between total manipulative asshole and having issues that cannot be solved on the internet, but I feel no obligation to even worry about this.

  31. blf says

    Extraterrestrials don’t’ wear lobster plushie bicycle helmets.

    At least not on both heads…

  32. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Remember that not all humans are colossal asshats. And that some of us are only asshats on a part-time basis.

    I know. This is shit I have heard before.

    Some years ago, I heard a mother tell her ~7-year-old daughter that when a grownup tells her to do something, she does it, no questions asked.

    One of the advantages of the way our public areas are set up is that there are lots of almost-hidden-away places. One of those is right by a vent that ends right next to my desk. So I got to hear Major Asshat, Chaplain Corp, USAF, lecturing a child on obedience and punishment.

    This asshat was telling a ~9-year-old girl that the only way that she could be good in the eyes of Jesus was to love and fear her father, and her future husband, the same way that she loves and fears god. And that he, as her father, and her future husband will love her but that part of love is the forceful correction of wrong behaviour that may lead into sin.

    Nine kids in that family. I wonder how many will escape?

  33. rq says

    I have some ribs and I don’t know what to do with them, but I would like something delicious. Suggestions?

  34. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Rub the ribs with a mixture of 1/3 smoked salt (or regular salt if you don’t have smoked), 2/3 brown or raw sugar, and add some garlic powder, paprika, dried chile powder and whatever other spices you want. Wrap very loosely in foil, poke a couple of holes in the bottom of the foil (to let the grease drain out) and place in a warm oven (180F) sitting over a pan full of water (the water stops the grease adhering to the drippings pan) for about 5 or 6 hours until the ribs are falling off the bone tender. Open the foil, spread barbecue sauce on the top of the ribs, and place under a broiler until the sauce thickens and slightly chars.

    Enjoy with bread, a salad, and a nice beer.

  35. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    If you are unable to obtain BBQ sauce, there are many recipes on line — most involve ketchup, molasses, and stuff.

  36. plainenglish says

    “One of the advantages of the way our public areas are set up is that there are lots of almost-hidden-away places. One of those is right by a vent that ends right next to my desk.”

    I’d be tempted to get a small bullhorn and use the vent by your desk to blow the brains out of ignorant abusers, maybe in a firm whisper through the horn: FIRST DO NO HARM about three times so it blasts out the other end in his face. And hear the child say, See, daddy, God’s on my side! (I fucking hate hearing shit like that in public and do a lot of physically moving into their space to try and distract the pricks and to try say what I feel. Most often, I say nothing though. It feels so defeating to know all these commonly held hatreds being lived out. One of the hardest is how much we hate our children, how often and readily we harm them in many ways. There is a guy named Norm Lee, who wrote a .pdf called Parenting without Punishing…. a very great help in my fatherhood.
    Now, I have a sudden, unexplainable hankering for ribs and am going to town to get some.

  37. rq says

    I’ve subbed my own version of BBQ sauce before, usually using tomato paste, dark sugar syrup (molasses as such is unavailable here), some balsamic vinegar plus pepper and other stuff. It’s not the same, but it’s close – thanks for the recipe, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  38. says

    A retiring Newark archbishop is supervising renovations to his digs. Valued at $800,000 now, the renovations will add another half a million. Catholics are paying for this. More than one to be obscene I guess if you are a member of the catholic leadership.

  39. rq says

    Thanks for the link, I don’t agree completely with all of it (mostly the fact that talking/concepts are too complicated for children, ours seem to understand things rather well for the most part), but it seems to be a pretty good guide. :)
    Enjoy your ribs!

  40. says

    Scientifying is a word?


    The oldest black bookstore in the US could lose its home:

    When Raye and Julian Richardson started selling books to friends out of their print shop in 1960, they were founding the first black bookstore in San Francisco. Since 1981, Marcus Books has been housed in a tiny storefront on the street level of an unmistakably San Franciscan purple Victorian house on Fillmore Street. Now the oldest continuously open black bookstore in the nation, Marcus Books is run by the Richardson’s grandchildren, Karen and Gregory Johnson, and staffed by assorted family members. But the bookstore and the community it serves are scrambling to stay in the Fillmore as a multiyear eviction drama threatens to displace them from their building. To keep its home, the store needs to raise a million dollars. In one month.


    What’s very clear is what the store’s supporters need to do now. In January 2014, a deal struck with the new owners allows the Johnsons to repurchase the building. The catch? They need to raise the fair market value: $2.6 million. The Johnsons already have $1.6 million in assistance offered from a local nonprofit. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day they launched a crowdfunding campaign that seeks to raise the additional funds through a combination of private investors and individual donors. They have until the end of February 2014 to raise a million dollars. In the meantime, it’s business as usual at the store

    more at the link


    22 bucket list destinations for science nerds.
    The list seems US heavy.

  41. says

    Wrong in way leads to being wrong in many more ways? Inability to think straight shows up at various level?

    Infamous racist August Byron Kreis III, who once led a faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in order “to save the white race,” has been arrested again — this time on six counts of sexually abusing children in South Carolina.

    The 59-old-year-old white supremacist, whose racist theology of Christian Identity disparages Jews and minorities, was taken into custody Wednesday in Richland County, S.C., and is now being held without bond in the Alvin Glenn Detention Center in Columbia.

    He is charged in Richland County with one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 16 and one count disseminating obscene material to a minor 12 years old or younger. Kreis also is charged in Lexington County, S.C., with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and in Kershaw County, S.C., with one count of that same crime. […]

  42. says

    Here’s the answer to slowing down and regulating fracking projects: make it personal for billionaires.

    As ExxonMobil’s CEO, it’s Rex Tillerson’s job to promote the hydraulic fracturing enabling the recent oil and gas boom, and fight regulatory oversight. The oil company is the biggest natural gas producer in the U.S., relying on the controversial drilling technology to extract it.

    The exception is when Tillerson’s $5 million property value might be harmed. Tillerson has joined a lawsuit that cites fracking’s consequences in order to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower next to his and his wife’s Texas home. […]

  43. says

    Mother Jones has posted an informative article on the ways in which evangelicals from the USA created and are sustaining Russia’s anti-gay movement:

    […] Larry Jacobs, vice president of the Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families (WCF), an umbrella organization for the US religious right’s heavy hitters, told the audience that American evangelicals had a 40-year track record of “defending life and family” and they hoped to be “true allies” in Russia’s traditional values crusade. […]

    Since Jacobs first traveled to Russia for the Sanctity of Motherhood conference, he and his WCF colleagues have returned regularly to bolster Russia’s nascent anti-gay movement—and to work with powerful Russian connections that they’ve acquired along the way. In 2014, the World Congress of Families will draw an international group of conservative activists together in Moscow, a celebratory convening that Jacobs foreshadowed on that first visit, when he ended his speech triumphantly: “Together, we can win!” […]

  44. says

    More on the anti-science coming out of Republican-controlled states:

    The abiotic oil idea is geologic nonsense, but it’s found a second life by being highly useful for disarming concerns among the faithful over the finite supply of fossil fuels. As Rachel Maddow correctly points out above, this is an outgrowth of young earth creationism aided by wishful thinking and the willful ignorance now in the process of utterly consuming a once relatively normal political party. It becomes a big problem for the rest of us when they put anti-science nutcases in charge of large departments […]

  45. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Mum was watching a movie about a family with an autistic daughter, with my father. Apparently he was being his asshole self about it.
    Mum : “He was lucky never to have a family member with a mental illness. He should be punished like that.”
    Me: “You’ve just wished illness on any child I might have.”
    Mum: “I didn’t mean it like that, just that he doesn’t know what it’s like and he should be punished.”
    Me: “Punished by whom? And really, you’re wishing a difficult mental illness on a child and having the child deal with my father. Who’s getting punished there?”

    Mum gets angry because she can never say anything, I always nitpick everything she says and attack her.

    I should work on my diplomatic skills.

  46. rq says

    Nah, I think your diplomatic skills are fine.

    Your recipe has earned a resounding thumbs up from several members of my family (that is, all of them). More ribs were definitely required.
    It was delicious, and I will try to repeat sometime soon in the future.

  47. David Marjanović says

    One of the sites that likes to think of itself as having a hip, humorous, intellectual bent is the Cool Conservative, which describes itself as an “opinion and intelligence depot for the savvy, witty and well-informed” and asserts, “It is the movement of the left and the establishment media that have decided that liberals are cool and that conservatives are nerdy and stodgy. ENOUGH OF THAT!”

    …”Nerdy” means something quite different now than what it apparently meant when that stodgy man grew up. Does anyone associate it with being conservative!?!

    The EPA did not specify if the acid release was deliberate or accidental.

    Does that make a difference…?



    that He wrote the constitution

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    A retiring Newark archbishop is supervising renovations to his digs. Valued at $800,000 now, the renovations will add another half a million. Catholics are paying for this.

    Because, obviously, the scandal around Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg here in Germany, wasn’t enough and hasn’t driven enough people out of the Church.

    To be snarkily fair, though, here we’re talking about 40 million € rather than 1.3 mere megabucks.

  48. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    Good morning loungers. Just here to let you know that I was unable to stick the flounce. Seems I just can’t quit you, especially when I’m desperate for amusement or good conversation. As a footnote to the corporal punishment thread, my horribly egregious battering (according to some) of the violent tyke occurred 30 years ago, but it bothers me still. And you’ll be glad to know that I have been able, during that entire time, to refrain from visiting assault upon any living thing. It’s been tough, but my good sense and iron will have prevailed.

    Carlie, a special thank you. And ajb47, apology accepted.

  49. David Marjanović says

    Oops. Should have refreshed.

    Marriage equality goes into effect in Illinois on June 1, according to the law passed last November. But in Cook County, home of Chicago’s large population, equality starts now, thanks to a ruling from U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman

    Yay! :-) :-) :-)

    Wrong in way leads to being wrong in many more ways? Inability to think straight shows up at various level?

    He’s quite the case of crank magnetism, but I don’t think that is related. The only common strand there could be authoritarianism.

    The exception is when Tillerson’s $5 million property value might be harmed. Tillerson has joined a lawsuit that cites fracking’s consequences in order to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower next to his and his wife’s Texas home. […]

    How deliciously hypocritical. :-)

    Mum gets angry because she can never say anything, I always nitpick everything she says and attack her.

    She’s been living with you for so long and is still not used to the idea of reexamining her silent assumptions? Her fault – not yours. *offers heap of fluffy hugs*

  50. says

    David M. @563:

    The EPA did not specify if the acid release was deliberate or accidental.

    Does that make a difference…?

    It should make a difference in terms of court actions, fines, etc. However, Utah has a reputation for laxity when it comes to EPA regulations, lax in enforcing them that is. And the offending company has a reputation for filing bankruptcy whenever the fines get too big, and then it just reopens under a new name.

    After a federal lawsuit was filed against the company in the late 1990’s, claiming nearly $1 billion for environmental infractions, the company that owned the plant, MagCorp, filed for bankruptcy protection. A new company, called U.S. Magnesium, now operates the plant. It dumps almost nine million pounds of chlorine into our atmosphere every year. [from the reader comments]
    US Mag is always in the top 5 US polluters. Utah government does nothing to protect our citizens- unless you count taking campaign bribes, er, “contributions” from them. Utah & the Feds should make US Mag. pay for a fulltime pollution monitor to be stationed there. Crooks!

  51. says

    Regarding the EPA in Utah (see comment #566), mormon legislators recently brought to the floor anti-EPA bills that would make it okay for Utah to ignore EPA regulations that apply to coal-fired plants in Utah. Probably not legal, but they are trying it anyway.

  52. says

    David M. @563:

    …”Nerdy” means something quite different now than what it apparently meant when that stodgy man grew up. Does anyone associate it with being conservative!?!

    Well, I certainly don’t associate “nerdy” with being a conservative, nor with being a Republican. I think you are right that only old stodgy religious conservatives remember or use “nerdy” as a negative descriptor.

  53. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Good to hear.

    Works really well on my electric grill — I can keep the temperature in a very narrow range to produce really good faux-BBQ.

  54. says

    That sentiment your mother expressed, it’s cruel.
    I’m always wondering: Won’t somebody think of the children, once for real?
    Especially when somebody wishes a gay child on a homophobe.
    But yeah, I know the “I can never ever say anything, look at me, I’m the victim here” routine *hugs*

  55. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    you mentioned potato and leek soup the other day.
    Recipe please?

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Welcome back Morgan.
    A minor correction if I may:

    It is a woman’s [human] prerogative doncha know.

    Yes I do.

  57. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says


    …except for this:

    To the anti-pornography feminists out there: I very much respect your opinion. Nevertheless, I want you to consider how you marginalize a group of women by condemning their actions. Consider that when you demean women for participating in sex work, you are demeaning THEM, and consequently, YOU become the problem.

    Please do not continue to make the mistake you have made in the past of ignoring the voices of minority communities. Listen. Listen to the women who have for so long been silenced. Listen to their thoughts and their needs. Only then can we achieve solidarity and true progress within our movement.

    …does she think they don’t know, and that isn’t the entire point..?

  58. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And, from Miri’s Tumblr:

    What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.

    …wait, WHAT?

    …are other men/socially male-coded people actually able to openly express anger without being stigmatized? Because all my life I’ve been either assured that showing I was upset was a sign of literal insanity, or had body language and vocal tones that suggest it is, without the explicit statement, depending on the relationship. O.O

  59. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    As usually when we talk about privilege, it doesn’t mean all men experience this, always.

    You know about gaslighting? Men in abusive relationships can get gaslighted too.

  60. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    It is a woman’s [human] prerogative doncha know.

    Thanks Nerd, I stand corrected. ;-)

  61. opposablethumbs says

    I’ve been reading over at the Everyday Sexism project …

    now I’m angry. And depressed. But at the same time it’s good to see that a lot of people posting there feel validated and supported by the existence of the project, and people (mostly women but with a tiny sprinkling of men) are also posting messages of support. And a few encouraging messages about having fought back successfully. But fuck, it’s heartbreaking. And enraging.

  62. carlie says

    I’m glad you’re here, morgan. :)

    rq, you need to be on twitter so I can just RT everything you post. :)

  63. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    As usually when we talk about privilege, it doesn’t mean all men experience this, always.

    I’m having a really hard time reconciling this with 95% of the conversations I’ve seen…but okay.

    You know about gaslighting? Men in abusive relationships can get gaslighted too.

    Yes. I’ve experienced quite a bit of it.

  64. Crudely Wrott says

    [delurks; rupt from about #500]

    I really, really like radio. The best thing about radio is that I don’t have to look at it. I can move about, focus on tasks at hand, even leave the room and still enjoy. No screen required. Just what the doctor ordered.

    Doctor’s order tonight?wunc

    North Carolina Public Radio. The station is the work of NPR and the University of North Carolina. I pick it up out of Rocky Mount at 90.9 on my FM dial.

    Yes, the stream. If you hurry you can catch some great acoustic music until midnight EST. Blues, bluegrass, country and western.

    Boy howdy, neighbor, they are tearin’ it up tonight.

    Happy listening! =)

    [relurks; returns to solitaire game; I’m winning]

  65. chigau (違う) says

    I like talk-radio ( a la CBC (Canada)) when I’m driving in the car.
    I like TV when I’m knitting.
    I like Crudely Wrott.

  66. rq says

    The ‘it’ that is snowing – is it the same ‘it’ that is raining?
    And is it the same ‘he’ that winds in French (il vent)?

    When I get twitter, I’ll let you know – there’s that whole thing with having a smartphone and having internet wherever I go… :)

    Hello, Crudely, I hope the solitaire doesn’t get too competitive!


    Because 7AM is when I want to be woken… :P
    Random question: I am finally trying to read the classic (?) 2001 Space Odyssey by Clarke, and I’m wondering – is it really as boring as it seems? I remember being bored with it back in high school, so much so that I never finished it (which was unusual for me). Now I’m reading it, and there are moments, but then there are long stretches of ‘hey, this is kind of dull’ (plus the casual sexism, hoooo-boy).
    Is it dull? Or am I just a product of my time, where I have read other such books, and have lost the new-and-exciting concept of it? I’m determined to finish it this time no matter what, though. So… I suppose we’ll see.

  67. says

    Hey ya’ll!
    Cool news:

    Welcome, dear listener, to the Secular Broadcasting Network. We’re a 24/7 streaming radio network that features the very best in secular programming. We’re supported solely by listener patronage and every month we give 25% of that support to a new secular non-profit. But not this month. This month we’re donating 100% of all new patron support directly to the Foundation Beyond Belief. All of it. To kick it all off we’re hosting a 24-hour podcast-a-thon from February 22nd through February 23rd (noon to noon, EST) with the help of and some big names in the secular community.

    See, Facebook is good for a few things…

  68. says

    More on the Secular Broadcasting Network:

    Aside, from one of the guests*, this is a nice lineup:

    Guests include:

    Dale McGowan, Seth Andrews, Jessica Ahlquist, David Silverman, D.J. Grothe, Nate Phelps, JT Eberhard, Dan Arel, Mark Sandlin, Jerry Dewitt, Jamila Bey, Shelly Segal, James Croft, and many more!

    *This being the Lounge, and the need to be kind, I won’t mention this person, but those who have followed Pharygula long enough likely know who I’m talking about.

  69. says

    I’m listening to the Secular Broadcasting Network, and just heard of several more guests. The name ‘Emery Emery’ was mentioned. That name sounds familiar but I can’t recall where I’ve heard that name. Dave Silverman is on at 10 am.
    From what little I’ve heard, I am curious if they’ll deal with social justice issues. Thus far, the focus of the speakers has been on religiously oriented issues, which is ok…up to a point.

  70. rq says

    I AM SO CONFLICTED!!! The whole point of going to work this morning was to watch bobsleigh runs 3 and 4 in the evening… Except some idiot didn’t co-ordinate these schedules with me, and the bobsleigh runs will be happening right while I’m at work! :( I could stay home and watch, but I’ll lose valuable time. Maybe the security guard will be sensible this time…

  71. says

    So there’s this convention called Pensacon here this weekend. Of course I have to work, so I can’t attend. Which means I don’t get to meet Nicholas “Xander” Brendon of Buffy TVS fame. A good friend of mine did meet him *and* she got a pic with him.

    What color is envy?

  72. Crudely Wrott says

    Chigau 591& Tony! 592

    Dadburn it, you guys! You make the water come to my eye.

    [all kindnesses are like gentle rain, refreshing the high countries, becoming freshets flowing down, joining others in streams in mutual regard, giving and sharing simple joys, shaping the terrain and growing into streams full of promise, building rivers with banks that invite all varieties of life as they take the lands down to the seas; each drop is needful, is precious, is vital, for without them there would be no sea from which to draw the rain.]

    I like ya’ll, too. Lots. ;^>
    *and in the middle of writing this FireFox highjacked my system memory and I could do nothing but wait for twenty minutes to type this last — I do like my FireFox but this shit dries up my stream bed I hope to tell you*
    RQ: When I read that book, years after having seen the movie upon its initial release, I did not find it boring at all. As is to be expected, the book contains more than the movie can hope to cram into abridged time. I suggest that you just haul off and read it and then plow directly into the sequels. With the possible exception of the very last installment, you will have read a story that extends through not only time and space but also the capacity of mere mortal minds to deal with the greater unknown out there . . . and what that expanse just might contain.

    I just failed to win six games in a row. By myself. *grumble grumble*
    Oh, Tony!, thanks for the info and link re: Secular Broadcasting Network. I’ll definitely check it out.

  73. rq says

    I haven’t seen the movie, either. :)
    Challenge yourself to a seventh game! Vow to win! Good luck!

    Envy is green. Several shades available.

  74. Crudely Wrott says

    RQ, cool. Read first then watch. Please, do watch. The movie has no equal. Trust me, I’m a science fiction fan from waaaaaayyyy back.


    And yes, envy is green; a green triangle, in fact.
    Closed solitaire window to regain enough memory to post. I really need a new computer, this one is definitely showing its age.

  75. Crudely Wrott says

    Just in case someone does not know about Public Radio, this:

    In addition to not requiring a screen and demanding your eyes, Public Radio is commercial free. While they do, politely and without loud noises, ask for listener support ($$), they will never try to sell you a car and you will almost never hear the same song more than once in a given day.

    *and to think I used to listen to Boss 40 AM radio! That stopped when I started stealing Ma’s FM receiver at night and listening in bed through an ear plug. Fifty years ago . . .*

  76. says

    Good morning
    Leek and potato soup

    Lightly fry your washed and cut leek, a bit of garlic and some parsnip (if you have) in butter. Add a thick bacon rasher, diced starchy potatoes (do not use other type unless you need wallpaper glue), beefstock enough to cover everything, thyme and cook until potatoes start falling apart. remove bacon and lightly mash the soup. Add milk/cream until you have the desired thickness, season to taste. Dice the bacon and put back into the soup again.
    Do not ask “how much leek”. Enough, obviously ;)

    Emery Emery is one of the Grothe gang.
    ‘nough information? Look for “great penis debate” at Almost Diamonds

  77. Bicarbonate is back says

    Nerd and Nerdy.

    When I was growing up, we used “nerdy” to describe boys who were socially awkward, whose pants were too short and who went around with a calculator (there were no personal computers then) strapped to their belts.

    I suppose that since Steve Jobs has become an icon, “nerd” acquired a positive connotation.

    Now, my daughter, finishing up a Ph.D. in cellular biology, proudly reports that her advisor calls her a nerd.

  78. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Thanks, Giliell.
    “Enough” is a measurement I use frequently.

  79. Bicarbonate is back says

    Marjanovic @ 563

    Nerd and nerdy 2.

    As per my 609, so “nerd” and “nerdy” were definitely NOT “cool”, cool as in a socially desirable trait. But no, nerdiness had nothing to do with where one stood on the political spectrum. And yes, the use of that word in that sentence does betray the writer’s age, an age that puts him in the category of folks too old to arbitrate what’s cool.

  80. rq says

    I believe Caine is now Inaji. Someone confirm?

    Thanks for the recipe! “Enough” is always an excellent measuring volume.


    I’m sorry, but PZ’s post on the ‘peaceful transition’ in Ukraine has pissed me off a little bit. I think a quick look at the actual events and facts of the case will show that reality is a bit more active than peaceful. It’s not like, you know, the (monolith) protesters came skipping to Janukovic with a petition “Please leave the government”, and he was all “Oh, sure, just let me pack a few things – and here’s the feeding schedule for the zoo”. That’s a peaceful transition, and if that’s how it happened, then I’ve been reading the wrong news sources.

  81. rq says

    In better news, I got a new computer at work. Colleague helpfully created a new password for me – except now I don’t know if the transition from unicorn (old password, topic of) to rhinoceros (new password, topic of) is a translational error, or a deliberate joke. :D I am, in any case, amused.

  82. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Ugh, I got a bit upset over that thread too. I can see where it’s a more close-to-home worry for you.

    Just like PZ seems to have some trouble grasping European situations and politics, I’m not as familiar with Russia as with some more closer worries in my part of Europe.

  83. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I wrote more closer

    more closer

    That’s so embarrassing.

  84. opposablethumbs says

    tsk, it should of course be more closerer.

    Eh, I know what you mean, though, Beatrice – but we all do stuff like that in moments of distraction, especially when habitually and seamlessly using (how many languages do you function in, again? At speed? Was it 2, 3, >3???)

  85. rq says

    If you hadn’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have noticed. Also rather embarrassing. ;)

    Inaji, formerly-known-as-Caine.

  86. rq says

    I suppose he read a news headline about Janukovic being voted out, without looking at how that happened. Because when it is said like that, “Janukovic got voted out”, it’s all shiny and sparkly. Context matters.
    Sorry, I’ll stop going on about it here, I just have a hard time understanding how the situation in Ukraine can be so easily dismissed – which leads me to think that, should similar things (with all ensuing consequences) occur elsewhere (such as here!), it will be just as easily dismissed, and that scares me.

    Then again, I have been known to be a worrier. :)

  87. rq says

    Silver in 4-man bobsleigh! Woo hoo! And only 9 hundredths of a second from gold… Ah well, better luck next time, Captain Blackbeard!
    That’s 4 medals for Latvia these Olympics, best result ever, ever. And all medals in sliding sports (luge, luge relay, skeleton, bobsleigh). Yay!!

  88. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Ok, there’s something I’m not sure how I feel about.

    You know I’m 27, so is my best friend. She has started going out with a guy, but doesn’t want to say anything at home and when they meet she tells them she’s out with me.
    I don’t really mind, except that’s really really stupid. Her family isn’t religious or forbidding her from dating or anything like that. They’re just busybodies and they would tease her. Or possibly stay quiet because her dating someone would surprise them into silence.

    Anyway. Besides this lying being really stupid, I feel silly for the indirect role I have in it.

    And we can’t actually meet since she’s already out with “me” often, and meeting up a couple of times a week would be a bit weird.

    As I said, I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s just… 27, you know? And getting a call how she’d love to meet for coffee, to talk, but she’s can’t since she just left from a coffee with “me”.
    I’m happy for her, but at the same time a bit ok, yeah, whatever. Never mind me. I’ll just hang a “convenient excuse” sign around my neck.
    That’s probably selfish. I’ll try to curb that, but it doesn’t seem to be going well.

  89. carlie says

    Beatrice – ouch. That hurts. You’re not being selfish at all, she is. She can’t even pretend to be be out by herself, she has to make up someone else to be out with? Not cool at all. If you don’t want to be confrontational about it, you might need to mentally reset what your relationship is for yourself. Instead of “this is my friend X, who is my very good friend”, it’s “this is my friend X, who is a nice person but who I don’t really want to get too close to because she accidentally treats me badly a lot”. If you want to really salvage the friendship it would mean a discussion about how you don’t like it, but another option is just to hold her at a further emotional distance now.

    *squeezy hugs Crudely*

    rq – I wasn’t thrilled with 2001 either – read it last year. I think part of my boredom is that everything else that came after it was based on it, so by the time I got to the original a lot of it felt like overdone tropes (when it was the one that created them in the first place!)

  90. anteprepro says

    Beatrice: You might want to sit down and have a talk with her. Let her know that you aren’t perfectly comfortable with her using you as an excuse, one, and let her know that you don’t like how she is using you as an excuse to her parents as an excuse to not hang out with you anymore, two. The easy solution is for her to either suck it up, take the plunge, and admit she is dating to her parents, or for her to just vary her lies a little more. You feeling sidelined by this isn’t selfish because she is being insensitive and probably doesn’t even realize how this is infringing upon her relationship with you, because she is just very focused on her dating situation right now. You definitely need to talk about it.

  91. rq says

    I don’t think you’re being selfish at all. If she can’t make time to see you at the same time she’s using you as an excuse, I don’t think you’re wrong to feel uncomfortable in the situation.
    She is 27, and her family will most likely find out sooner or later anyway (or not, but still… she’s 27!).
    It’s not fair to you or your friendship to use you as an excuse. Uncool, that is. :(

    Well, I’m nearly done the book, and I’m not all that impressed (still), and I’m pretty sure it’s for the same reasons you state. Reading it too late, I suppose!

    (Also, I feel kind of offended at the idea that great powers out there are So Awesome because they raised humanity up from being apemen (word used consciously) to spacemen (word used consciously), because humanity would never have achieved it themselves. Too close to that whole ‘god’ concept. I’ve never liked the idea of necessarily benevolent and wise aliens – I prefer the ones that come to earth as warring species and act like actual beings/animals/people – one of the first such books I read was about a composer who falls in with a crew of dog-like alien warriors, and now I can’t remember what it was called, but it wasn’t a particularly good book, but it was nice because the aliens weren’t here to deliver Peace, Hope and Love.)

  92. Dhorvath, OM says


    Random question: I am finally trying to read the classic (?) 2001 Space Odyssey by Clarke, and I’m wondering – is it really as boring as it seems? Or am I just a product of my time, where I have read other such books, and have lost the new-and-exciting concept of it?

    Clarke often reads dull in my experience, but I surely enjoyed certain parts of that book due to the dimension they add to the film, (which can also come across as dull.) The truth is, we are a modern readers, Clarke is an author from an earlier time, and writers have learned a lot about story telling since he wrote that book.

  93. anteprepro says

    She is 27, and her family will most likely find out sooner or later anyway (or not, but still… she’s 27!).

    Please do understand that this kind of attitude is probably part of why she feels so awkward bringing her family’s attention to it. Not everyone is at the same place in their life, or has the same attitudes and aptitudes with sex and relationships, as people in the same age group. And not everyone’s family situation is the same. Obviously Beatrice will know whether or not these caveats apply better than any of us here, but you gotta give people a little leeway. Just as Beatrice is uncomfortable with being used in a lie and feels like she is being snubbed, we don’t know just what kind of discomfort, exactly, this woman is trying to avoid by bringing her family into this.

  94. Dhorvath, OM says

    Ouch, that’s messed up. You are fine, she is being selfish. I think Carlie has good advice.


    Also, I feel kind of offended at the idea that great powers out there are So Awesome because they raised humanity up from being apemen (word used consciously) to spacemen (word used consciously), because humanity would never have achieved it themselves.

    It’s a cheat, Contact does similar, and I feel robbed by that story development. Just another step back under protective wings of angels. I can hate that aspect and enjoy the ride though, discovery catches my attention in SF.

  95. rq says

    Good point, thanks for pointing that out to me. I’ll try to do better in the future! :)

    Don’t worry about your timing, thanks for your input!

  96. anteprepro says

    It’s nothing to serious, but I know as someone who was a late bloomer myself, that not everyone goes at the same pace. And for late bloomers, sometimes…it is actually rather distressing.

  97. says

    Crudely @590, the NPR station in my neck of the woods is run out of BYU-Idaho, and you know what that means. Mormonism by any and all means, sneaking it in around NPR news, etc. Faux local news that is actually advertising for a mormon-flavored book, written by a mormons, and a sin against literature to boot. Etc.

    My defense is to listen to other NPR stations via iTunes. I go to the “Radio” section (which is in the menu on the “Music” page of my personal iTunes library), check the list of stations under the sub-menu “Internet.” In there you’ll find a drop-down menu called “News/talk radio” — There are hundreds of options, including some fine NPR stations. Canadian broadcasting is also well-represented.

    I like KQED, but will often choose an NPR station based on what time it is in my culturally-deprived neighborhood. If I want news, I choose a station from a time zone likely to be broadcasting news, etc.

    I have speakers attached to my computer and can fill the house with NPR or a broadcast of poetry, whatever suits me.

    It is somewhat disheartening to see how many religious and whackadoodle radio stations are streaming live on the innertubes, but you know how to avoid that.

  98. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    The trouble is, she’s my closest friend. As I am hers.
    So, carlie’s advice.. I realize it’s good, but it’s difficult.

    I guess I’ll just wait and see. It’s possible that I’m worrying prematurely, the whole thing is just beginning. But then again… if a relationship that is only beginning messes up with our friendship already I’m scared of what I should expect.
    Thanks for the advice. I’m not experienced in romantic relationships at all and I have no idea how people reconcile suddenly having a new Very Important Person with their relationships with other people.

  99. carlie says

    Beatrice – oh, that makes it so much harder. Waiting a bit might be the kindest thing to do, then – if she snaps out of it fast, then no lasting harm done. That initial rush of infatuation adrenaline is a hard and capricious taskmaster. Has she always been a bit self-centered? You probably know better if her slighting you this way is just part of who she is or if it’s out of the ordinary.

  100. says


    one of the first such books I read was about a composer who falls in with a crew of dog-like alien warriors, and now I can’t remember what it was called,

    That would be A Call To Arms by Alan Dean Foster, with two sequels making a trilogy collectively called The Damned. That said Humans Are Warriors is nearly as old a trope as Godlike Precursors.

  101. says

    There’s a lot of sci-fi novels out there, most of which are closed books to me, but I’m at least somewhat familiar with most of the fairly popular ones published in English in the last 30-odd years. :) Even the ones I haven’t read I can often give a quick synopsis of through cultural osmosis.

  102. Nutmeg says

    Beatrice: It sounds like your friend doesn’t really know how to handle romantic relationships + friendships yet. Could you maybe say something to the effect of, “I want to hear all about how it’s going with X! Can I help you come up with a different thing to tell your parents, so that we can go for coffee?” If she’s just being clueless about how her actions affect you, that might help her realize that she needs to make time for you too. And it’s a very gentle approach, for starters.

    If she realizes that she’s using you/cutting you out and she doesn’t care, that’s another story. But I hope she’s just being inexperienced and excited about her new relationship, and she’ll start behaving more normally soon.

  103. says

    Just in case anyone needs this resource:

    The site is new, the debunking is current, and the attention to facts is excellent. For anyone confused by the word salad of mormon apologetics, this site will clear things up for you.

    Recently, (most likely in response to the mormon prophet, Thomas S. Monson, being charged with fraud in the U.K.), mormon apologists have been working overtime to stem the tide of doubt and controversy. In some cases, the apologists have managed not clarity but obfuscation. For some mormons, obfuscation is good enough to hide the truth.

    Thankfully, the new cesletter site takes the time to scrub all the obfuscation away.

    […] This is a very fascinating, dangerous, precarious, and unstable time for Mormonism. The Church is entering uncharted territory unprecedented in its history. It is experiencing, what Church Historian Elder Marlin K. Jensen described as an “apostasy not seen since Kirtland.” Disaffection and doubts are now penetrating leadership within the Church. A General Authority Emeritus came out with his doubts to the New York Times in July 2013. Stake Presidents and Bishops are struggling with the new facts that are coming out and some are resigning. Many Mormons are discovering facts about Joseph Smith and the Church’s origins and history in the Information Age that the Church was able to conceal from them in the pre-Google Age; and they are leaving. […]

  104. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Took the afternoon off from work. Picked up Wife at work. Prepared a bakers-dozen egg rolls (turkey, cabbage, peppers, onions, celery) which I will cook later.

    Right now, watching a rain-dalay Daytona 500.

    Not to worry. I am drinking beer.

    Okay, it is an Ommegang Witte, but it is beer.

  105. rq says

    It really was great, the whole competition!
    I follow the bobsleigh season and they had a decently rough one, only getting into stride towards the end. One of the pushers (? not sure what they’re called in English) has been striving for an Olympic medal his entire career, and he couldn’t finish any of his sentences in the interview they showed here. The captain himself has been captaining for only 3 or 4 years, but has made remarkable progress, and the technical and physical aspects have come together so well for the entire team this year.
    (Also, as an interesting note – I know the Latvian team’s skeleton sleds are manufactured and built here in Latvia, by the same family/dynasty that rides them, and I think the bobsleighs are also made in Latvia. I think we plan on continuing our domination of sliding sports. :) )

    That link on Darwin’s children is great, absolutely beautiful and touching, thank you for that!

  106. Pteryxx says

    Somewhat back, and never going to catch up… good to see you, Ogvorbis!

    But has anyone heard anything from JAL in the last couple of weeks? Last I saw she was asking for help.

  107. says

    Thanks, rq, I didn’t know about the skeleton sleds and the bobsleighs being made in Latvia. That just makes their win sweeter.

    Here’s bad story associated with the Sochi Olympics:

    In November, Milenko Kuljic left Bileca, his rundown town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for Sochi. He was lured by a recruiter who promised he’d make about 2,000 Euro ($2,700) a month building infrastructure for Sochi’s winter Olympics .

    Kuljic says he began working for a major construction company overseeing work at some of the games’ most iconic venues, where he says he never got anywhere near the amount of money he was promised. Instead over two months of working, he says he was only given the equivalent of about $1000 for basic living expenses. living in a dormitory with pay-to-use showers, sharing four toilets with some 200 other workers. All the while, he says his employers promised to eventually pay him in full.

    At the end of the two months, he was suddenly arrested, detained for a week, and then flown home with 122 other workers from the Balkans on a flight chartered by the Serbian government.[…]

  108. says

    Also from the Mother Jones article (link in comment #648):

    Simonov estimates that since the start of Olympic construction, about 90 percent of migrant workers—at least 14,500 people—were denied some portion of their promised pay. Since their wages were usually paid in cash, expulsion all but guarantees they will never recover lost wages

    90% of the workers?! Well that definitely points to a premeditated crime on the part of employers, recruiters, and possibly the Russian government. Also, if this is true, then why was Putin’s Olympics the most expensive on record if many laborers were underpaid or not paid?

  109. rq says

    Most of the money probably got pocketed by those supposed to do the paying. After all, everyone knows migrant workers won’t complain.

  110. rq says

    By the way, Lynna, back to the bobsleigh for a moment – took a few moments to look into it, and yes, all the Latvian bobsleighs are designed and built here in Latvia, and what’s more, they build sleds for other teams, too – most notably, the American team headed by Holcomb has previously used a Latvian-designed and -constructed bobsleigh in championship competitions (specifically, 2012, and most likely since then, too). I did not know this!

  111. vaiyt says

    I’m sorry if I’m interrupting any discussion here, but anyone remembers my diploma business about 47 or so Lounge threads ago?
    Today, I finally managed to clear my 100 hours! Woohoo!

  112. carlie says

    Dalillama – Oh, can I try? There’s a short story about a guy who is trying to disconnect from his society, but can’t. The only part that sticks out in my mind was that citizens had to have an ID chip in their shoe so that relevant personalized holographic ads could pop up everywhere they walked, and if they didn’t they’d get into huge trouble with the government because they weren’t doing their part to contribute to the ad revenue that ran the cities. One of those things I haven’t been able to shake because we are so basically there now.

    Og – I saw a trailer for Planes 2 (disney) today. The first Planes movie looked horrible and got awful reviews, but this looks like a case of the sequel far outpacing the original. I thought of you because the planes are National Park Rangers who fight forest fires! :)

  113. says

    Lynna #649
    Rampant corruption will explain it as well as conspiracy; Not ‘a’ premeditated crime but thousands of them, perpetrated by probably dozens or hundreds of people acting semi-independently (by which I mean that there must have been knots of collusion, between a few or a dozen people at a time, but not any mass organization), some of whom undoubtedly worked for all of the agencies you mention, but it needn’t imply that the organizations had a collective policy of doing it; they simply lacked an effective policy of not doing it. Not that this lessens the magnitude of the criminality involved, but the solution tree looks different.
    Cool. Congrats.
    Short stories are tougher, but I’m 95% certain that’s a Philip K Dick story you’re describing. Themes like that were ubiquitous in Dick’s work, which makes it hard to tease out of my brain. Do you happen to recall roughly when you read it, and in what context(magazine, single-author short story collection, anthology, other)?

  114. carlie says

    Dalillama – I don’t remember even reading it; I think I heard it on an episode of Selected Shorts, a few years ago. That’s enough info for me to calm the itch of wondering what it was, though. :)

  115. carlie says

    Dalillama – I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Minority Report, but it may have been a related story. Thanks!

  116. says

    Not Minority Report, no, but like I said, Dick was positively obsessive about that sort of thing, and it showed up in a lot of his stories, of which there’s 100+, that being why I can’t put my finger on the particular title. :)

  117. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Congrats to Portia, though, for feminist success.

    Congrats to vaiyt on the diploma business*

    General love, hugs, and chocolate.

    *you have a diploma business? Can you make 3 or 4 for me? A master’s in Econ, another in Psych, PhD in Gender studies, and a JD would be great, please.

  118. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Carlie & Dalillama –

    No, it wasn’t minority report, but that story was used to inspire some of the tracking problems for Tom Cruise in the Minority Report movie. I don’t remember the name of it either, but it was in a collection I read 20 years ago…

  119. says

    WTF? This is the third time in the last couple months someone’s come knocking on our door asking for someone who doesn’t live here (different people each time, asking for different names).

  120. BMcHell says

    My apologies if this has been shared before, but anyone needing a good laugh ought to watch this video of a Nigerian Christian talk show being hilariously trolled again and again.

    Please enjoy.:

    This is brilliant work, IMO, worthy of a major award. Needless to say, I was almost in tears when he started in on the Family Guy theme.

  121. ChasCPeterson says

    Here‘s my buddy Tim giving a TED talk in Berkeley a couple weeks ago on his Big Idea for a new approach to planet-saving. It’s a pretty good idea and might appeal to many here.

  122. Crudely Wrott says

    Oggie @645:

    Right now, watching a rain-dalay Daytona 500. Not to worry. I am drinking beer.

    Man, I am so happy to hear you say that. I know I’m not alone any more! There is, right here on FTB, another fan of Motor Racing!!.

    For so long I was afraid to mention that I love to spend Sunday afternoons watching overpowered ground rockets turning left. My relief is profound. Thank you, Oggie. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    Now it can be told! Some of us really do like the smell of burning rubber, the incredible sound of highly tuned engines roaring like an apocalypse, the crunching of sheet metal and the quarter-mile-long power slides through the corners. Yeah!

    Just speaking of NASCAR, Oggie, who is you all time favorite driver? For me it has to be “Humble” Harry Gant. Don’cha know nobody could run with him in the high groove. I used to boggle to realize he was sixty mumble years old when he was dubbed “Mr. September” back in ’85 (or was it ’86) when he swept all four races that month. My old partner Gene and I put away a few tall and frosties that season, I hope to tell you. (and now I’m suddenly sixty mumble. time, how the fuck does that work?)

    *I like all sports that put a human inside an insanely tweaked racing machine; cars, trucks, bikes, boat, airplanes . . . used to race a bit myself until I scared myself out of the habit . . .*

    You have redeemed yourself fully, old Ranger, by making such a personal admission. Fans of racing are too often classed as loudmouthed rednecks driving old beaters home from the track. Well, you’re proof that the stereotype is misguided and misinformed. You’re bravery has given me courage to come out and stand with you in solidarity. Wow. I feel free for the first time in years. I feel liberated; I feel . . . fast. I feel the wind in my hair again. I feel . . . racy!!

    *race you to the fridge for that last Whitte — ready?*

  123. Crudely Wrott says

    I’ve always been fascinated by the impulse of people to push the envelope. To create a mechanical beast that they willingly ride into unknown places. The Wright brothers were not the first to try to fly. Less than sixty years later Chuck Yeager went where many said no one could go. Patty Wagstaff showed her right stuff not long ago. Now folks go way up past the air, terrifically fast. Not many remember that Alan Shepard flew a ballistic path with wet pants. In striving to faster and higher the damnedest things can happen.

    Long ago our ancestors climbed a hill to see farther, or shinnied up a tree to catch a glimpse or built a tower. Ages later came balloons that widened the perspective by orders of magnitude. Then airplanes that increased in performance in a display of inventiveness that has little equal in human endeavor. Rockets with cameras, then with people aboard allowed a cosmic perspective and all the time the mantra has been higher, faster. Until now we send our camera eyes far beyond the boundary of human travel, turn about, and snap a picture of ourselves floating in the void, a tiny oasis of blue in a overwhelmingness of black.

    My father was a professional bull rider back in the days of barnstorming pilots. His rides were much closer to the ground yet even he had his chance to do “airs above the ground”. So did I since he put me on the back of a horse in the same year I started first grade. I soon learned that going fast was a grand adventure. Ol’ Lightning saw to it that I had some air time long before I had learned to ride a bicycle or even started to think about driving a car. I think I caught the fast bug just about that time.

    I also got to fly on airliners in the 50s when it was special and an adventure. How I loved the sound of those massive Wright Cyclones burning av-gas and the roar of the props as they tore at the air.

    The synergy of human and machine is not such a deep mystery; it is a natural result of the desire to go higher, to go faster, to see farther. Just like I’d race my old pony against all comers, and usually win, that rascal was well named and deceptively fast, people simply must stretch the bounds, to clock a faster time. And in doing so to refine that interface between the human eye, hand and brain with the brute metal beast.

    Dangerous? Of course. What endeavor at the edge of performance is not? Hell, I nearly got killed several times by large animals long before I was allowed to sit at the wheel of a tractor, an old pickup truck or the family car. Sublime? Oh, my lands and stars, yes! Did you ever play music with the throttle of a motorcycle while charging along a twisting road? If you ever get the chance, you might want to try.

    The edge of that irresistible dance is perfectly displayed in this video of Redbull Air Racing pilot Matt Hall.

    I don’t push the limits much any more. I’m much more sedate. But the memories of certain exploits remain as does the knowledge that I could do it some more if I wanted to. ;^>

  124. says

    Good morning
    Yesterday #1 complained that her sister was cheating at the memory game: “She stores the loction of the cards in her brain and then she knows where everything is and then she wins. That’s unfair!!!!”
    I had to break it to her that this is actually how the game is played and that “fair” doesn’t mean “whatever, as long as I win”.

    beatrice and rq
    Yes, that post about the Ukraine was really naive.
    And I see that now the vultures are out by the dozen already to get their share of the country.

  125. bassmike says

    Giliell, rq & beatrice the Ukraine situation is of great interest to me too. My wife is of Ukrainian descent and obviously following what is happening very closely. Her family all come from the pro-Europe side of the country and were not impressed with the recently deposed leadership. She’s rather worried as to how things will develop. The recent track record of countries that have deposed their leaders is not good.

    Otherwise, I’m back home again. My father is still hanging in there at the moment. He’s getting progressively weaker and sleeping more. The bed at the local hospice has failed to materialize as yet. They said it would be available in a few days to a week and it’s now nearly 2 weeks. It will be his 80th birthday on Friday and I think there’s a good chance he’ll make it. It’s just that he hates the life he’s enduring at the moment. Staying with my parents for the week has been a pretty depressing experience.

    I’m glad to be home, but my daughter is playing up more than usual. It’s probably the disruption to her routine.

    All in all, it’s not a great time for me and my family.

    Sorry to dump.

    PS: why has my browser stopped acknowledging my paragraph breaks?

  126. birgerjohansson says

    The evidence for a habitable Earh 4.3 billion years BC actually trumps bishop Ussher’s estimate of the age of the (habitable) Earth by a factor of one million.
    But watch out for those asteroids -only bacteria would have thrived.
    “Oldest bit of crust firms up idea of a cool early Earth”

    — — — — —

    Lynna, OM @ 648

    Swedish TV has covered the horror of the abuse in Sochi. It is not only migrant workers that suffer.
    A local worker complained about not getting paid , and the company promptly accused him of stealing. Cops showed up, brought him to the police station and started torturing him.
    The sodomised him with an iron bar after which he signed a “confession” and had to be sent to a hospital. The company later said they would drop the accusation if he did not press his demands, so the cops and the company worked hand in hand.

    He filed a complaint but the investigation against the policemen has been dropped, and now he is facing charges for lying.

    Even white-collar people can be beaten up. A company involved in work in Sochi got ripped off by a subcontractor owned by FSB (KGB with a new name). The court told the company to pay up. The CEO wrote a letter to Medvedev complaining, and shortly afterwards the local manager of the company got beaten up by thugs.

    This is Putin’s Russia. The prosecutor’s office owns companies. The police owns companies. The FSB owns companies. This creates a perfect state of corruption where it is impossible to get justice and bandits wear uniforms.

  127. rq says

    Looks like I’ll be pruning the roses in February.


    *hugs* for the family situation, I’m glad you can be home for a while. I hope things (and small people!) settle down enough for you to get a bit of a breather.
    Also, you can have some of my paragraph breaks. My keyboard suffers from an overly sensitive Enter key.

  128. opposablethumbs says

    bassmike, you’ve got a hell of a lot to handle all at one time – with your daughter having been ill so recently too. General stress levels must be pretty high all round! Sorry you’ve got so much to cope with, it must be really hard. Bound to add to the disruption to her routine emotionally as well as logistically; I guess she takes out her own stresses by playing up, maybe? Making it all pile up just that little bit more … oy.

    I really hope you get a bit of respite, and that your father is not in pain. e-Hugs sent your family’s way, if you’d care for ’em.
    Went to a very crowded jam session last night at Really Rather Serious Jazz Venue (it was the 1-year anniversary of their Sunday night jam sessions, so they held a sort of birthday party for it) (so there were loads of pros in the audience) and SonSpawn got to play (twice). Cool.

  129. rq says

    Also, bassmike, if your wife has any friends or relatives in Ukraine, I hope they are all well!

    That’s awesome, what a great experience for your SonSpawn! :D

  130. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    The USNPS does have helicopters — nominally for search and rescue (GRCA, YELL, YOSE, GLAC, etc) — which can be used for wildland fire suppression. The NFS does have two ex-AH-1 attack helicopters converted as sensor platforms. They do have some aircraft used for jump crews, but I don’t think the USF or BLM have any fixed-wing slurry bombers. Those are private contractors.

    Crudely Wrott:

    Didn’t stay up for the race. Bravo to Junior. Yeah, NASCAR is kinda a guilty pleasure for me and Wife. We mute the prayers at the beginning, though.

    The egg rolls were wonderful.

    My favourite driver? Mikey Waltrip. He is wonderfully honest — once, after an accident, a reporter approached him as he left the care center and asked for a moment, and Mikey said, “My momma always said that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything. I ain’t saying anything.” Refreshingly honest.

  131. rq says

    So my dad flew in today, which has been surprisingly (though latently) stressful. It’s not like we’ll be hanging out all the time, or living with my parents, or anything like that… But it still makes me feel awfully nervous (and subsequently guilty). We’ll be visiting this evening, and the nerves should settle quite a bit after that (because it’s never as bad as I imagine).
    I’m just terrified that he’ll be bringing up that whole christian upbringing/religion topic. Which he won’t do, but it’s still there, on the table, for anytime he decides is appropriate, and that ‘anytime’ can be… any time.
    Though I’ve been considering just telling him I don’t want to talk about it, period. And I have a right to do that. I just don’t know if I have the guts, because what lies beyond is uncharted territory.

  132. vaiyt says

    Fans of racing are too often classed as loudmouthed rednecks driving old beaters home from the track.

    I thought that was just NASCAR fans.

  133. Portia says


    *hugs* I’m so sorry things are so rough right now. I can’t imagine the emotional strain.

    Ugh. I hope your dad brings it up early, so you don’t feel like you’re under the gun, and since I’m wishing for things, I hope you can feel comfortable dismissing the subject airily and that he respects that and doesn’t act grumpy about it and the two of you (six of you) can have a lovely visit for the rest of the time he’s there. *hugs*

    As soon as you said “Jam session” I hoped the story included SonSpawn playing :D

  134. Pteryxx says

    oy, PZ, take care.


    xposting from Brayton’s post on the Idaho anti-gay bill being withdrawn, this is the latest I could find on all the others:

    So, that leaves Arizona’s bill at the front of the pack, with the Kansas bill (temporarily?) stalled, Oregon’s anti-celebration initiative still being worked on, and Utah’s bills yet to be introduced. The Oklahoma and Hawaii bills still seem to be under consideration – boycotting Hawaii could really get major. Ohio, Nevada, Maine, Tennessee, and South Dakota all have bills that are dead now, assuming they stay that way. (Midnight motorcycle safety bills anyone?)

    sources: MSNBC, MoJo, Box Turtle Bulletin

    and I just found the Mississippi discrimination bill, which is in a House committee now. Part of the text, bolds mine:

    (c) “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion. “Exercise of religion” includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

    (d) “State action” means the implementation or application of any law, including, but not limited to, state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, or any other action by the state, a political subdivision of the state, an instrumentality of the state or political subdivision of the state, or a public official that is authorized by law in the state.

    (3) (a) State action or an action by any person based on state action shall not burden a person’s right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that person’s exercise of religion in that particular instance is both of the following:

    (i) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest;

    (ii) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    Bill status page with links to text

  135. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Gah. Take care, PZ. I hope everything goes as well as humanly possible.

  136. says

    Pteryxx @689, thank you for the masterful round up of pro-discrimination bills. It was great to see all the info in one place, and to have an update on the status of those bills in each state.

    PZ, hope you have lots of loving care as well as good medical care. One of my brothers called an ambulance to take him to the emergency room yesterday. He may have the flu. We don’t know yet.

    rq, thanks for additional info on bobsleigh construction. The American team was soooo happy with the bronze. It was good to see. I had no idea that they used to drive a Latvian-made sleigh.

    birger @671, thanks for the additional info on Sochi corruption and criminality. Well, “thanks” is not exactly the right word. It’s all so depressing. So disrespectful of the workers, and so indicative of what can happen when police (etc.) own companies, companies whose business they control in part with thuggery. The Koch brothers must be jealous. Swedish TV certainly did better than USA media in covering the story.

  137. says

    It’s great news that Bob Corker’s threats are being fought. Now there’s some thuggery right here in the USA.

    The UAW alleges that Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and other politicians interfered in the closely watched vote at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, and is asking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to order a new election.

    “It is extraordinary interference in the private decision of workers to have a U.S. senator, a governor and leaders of the state legislature threaten the company with the denial of economic incentives and workers with a loss of product. We’re committed to standing with the Volkswagen workers to ensure that their right to have a fair vote without coercion and interference is protected,” UAW President Bob King said.

    The union said their appeal filings, also known as objections, “detail a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign conducted by politicians and outside organizations to deprive Volkswagen workers of their federally protected right to join a union.”

  138. says

    Yep, the far-right is still attacking the Girl Scouts. They’ve been doing this for some time, but have lately entered a more blatant stage of Crazy as they accuse the Girl Scouts organization of all kinds of evil.

    During the controversy over Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights issues, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes said that people boycotting the restaurant chain are “un-American” and warned that “the days of persecution are upon us.”

    But apparently boycotts aren’t “un-American” as long as Starnes supports them, as today he endorsed the Religious Right boycott of the Girl Scouts over bogus accusations that Girl Scout cookies fund Planned Parenthood. Right Wing Watch link.

    A few hours after Fox News’ Todd Starnes endorsed a boycott of the Girl Scouts, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly complained on his show about the “homosexual overtones” surrounding a Girl Scout spokesperson.

    It may seem odd, if not ridiculous, to think Girl Scouts could be at the center of a culture war, but this has been going on for a while.

    We last talked about this a couple of years ago, but the push seemed to begin in earnest in 1994, when James Dobson’s Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group “lost their way” after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership.Maddow Blog link.

    I remember the hullabaloo a few years ago when the Girl Scouts organization was accused of fostering “radical lesbian feminist” agenda. The Conference of Catholic Bishops even got into the act. Mormon church wards have long refused to sponsor Girl Scouts, though they are really big on sponsoring Boy Scouts.

    Gladys Padro-Soler, the Girl Scouts’ director of inclusive membership strategies, told the AP at the time, “It’s been hard to get the message out there as to what is true when distortions get repeated over and over.”

    Conservative criticism of the Girl Scouts became so common that Comedy Central responded with the appropriate derision: “Don’t be fooled by those cute little outfits or merit badges. The Girl Scouts aren’t just selling you a pack of cookies – they’re selling you a pack of lies, with a light coating of toasted coconut communism. Why do the Girl Scouts teach survival skills? It’s clearly an attempt to build some kind of liberal tween militia. Volunteering and ‘helping’ others? Just another strategy to mobilize the working poor and other key Democratic voting blocs.”

  139. says

    This is a good article from Paul Krugman. He really puts a pin in the conservative claims of Affordable Care Act horrors visited upon the innocent citizens of the USA.

    Remember the “death tax”? The estate tax is quite literally a millionaire’s tax — a tax that affects only a tiny minority of the population, and is mostly paid by a handful of very wealthy heirs. Nonetheless, right-wingers have successfully convinced many voters that the tax is a cruel burden on ordinary Americans — that all across the nation small businesses and family farms are being broken up to pay crushing estate tax liabilities.

    You might think that such heart-wrenching cases are actually quite rare, but you’d be wrong: they aren’t rare; they’re nonexistent. In particular, nobody has ever come up with a real modern example of a family farm sold to meet estate taxes. The whole “death tax” campaign has rested on eliciting human sympathy for purely imaginary victims.

    And now they’re trying a similar campaign against health reform. […]

    In the official G.O.P. response to the State of the Union address, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers alluded to the case of “Bette in Spokane,” who supposedly lost her good health insurance coverage and was forced to pay nearly $700 more a month in premiums. Local reporters located the real Bette, and found that the story was completely misleading: her original policy provided very little protection, and she could get a much better plan for much less than the claimed cost. […]

    Krugman goes on to carefully debunk all of the recent conservative scare stories. It’s impressive. Koch brothers money is behind some of the ads spreading the misleading and outright false ads that feature the scary stories.

  140. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Holy Crackers, PZ! I’m so sorry. Hope this gets addressed competently, thoroughly, and affordably.

    Will be looking forward to updates on your condition. Be as well as you can, there are tons of people who will be thinking about you.

  141. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you rq and Portia! :-D
    Shit, PZ, hope you are OK. Sounds unpleasant in the extreme – hope you have great medical care, the good drugs and also plenty of family/friend support and tlc. We’ll all be thinking of you!

  142. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    jam session last night at Really Rather Serious Jazz Venue (it was the 1-year anniversary of their Sunday night jam sessions, so they held a sort of birthday party for it) (so there were loads of pros in the audience) and SonSpawn got to play (twice). Cool.

    I would love to have the skill to do that. I’m just practicing getting my fingers in the right positions to play individual chords used in “Girl from Ipanema”. Playing the actual song seems like a dream right now.


    You have been through a ton lately. I wish that I had more to offer you than this: I read all the updates, and I always wish you well (which I consider more extreme than “I wish you much better than you’ve had lately”), even if I’m not always typing it.