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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Inside the Cold, Calculating Libertarian Mind

When libertarians reacted to moral dilemmas and in other tests, they displayed less emotion, less empathy and less disgust than either conservatives or liberals. They appeared to use "cold" calculation to reach utilitarian conclusions about whether (for instance) to save lives by sacrificing fewer lives. They reached correct, rather than intuitive, answers to math and logic problems, and they enjoyed "effortful and thoughtful cognitive tasks" more than others do.

Obama administration tries to block sequester layoff notices

Read the whole thing at Hot Air: the White House will press government contractors to hold off on issuing layoff notices in October in anticipation of the sequestration cuts, afraid of the political backlash that will ensue.  In fact, the Obama administration is offering to indemnify government contractors for losses and fines for delaying those notices.

So, defense companies are required to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires companies to give advance warning to workers deemed reasonably likely to lose their jobs.  Obama doesn't want them giving notice, as required by WARN, 60 days before sequestration, because that's just before the election.  Sooo...

If an (government) agency terminates or modifies a contract, and the contractor must close a plant or lay off workers en masse, the company could treat employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability, attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs as allowable costs to be covered by the contracting agency—so long as the contractor has not issued those 60 day (required) notices.

In other words, break the law and we (the government, financed by the taxpayers) will pay for whatever problems arise.

RIP Arthur O. Sulzberger, New York Times publisher

He is survived by his newspaper, but just barely.

Disabled woman uses her cane on burglar

"I  saw him put his foot in, his butt in, his arm in, his face in,  and then this (waving her cane)  took care of him."

What Battlestar Galactica gets right about space warfare

Aircraft Carriers in Space

Full list of Obama's tax hikes to date

President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes on the American people. The full list is here.

It’s International Coffee Day!

::Slurping my second cup as I write::

Friday, September 28, 2012

How to see Uranus in a telescope this weekend

How to see Uranus

Iranian News Agency fell for Onion article: “Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama

Details at Politico.

Onion editor Will Tracy released an equally satirical statement about Fars’ slip-up.

“The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion. They have acted as our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s, when the Onion’s publisher, T. Herman Zweibel, founded Fars with the government approval of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage,” Tracy joked.

The Greatest Worst Movie Death Scene Ever

Laughing Squid has a longer version.

Nine Drawn and Quartered at Renaissance Fair (may be NSFW)

As I make plans to visit Maryland's Renaissance Fair this weekend I was reminded of this old Onion article -Read the whole thing:

Nine people were torn limb-from-limb and skewered through the anus with wooden stakes this weekend at the city’s annual Renaissance Fair. Organizers boast that the “Drawn and Quartered” show made this year’s fair one of the most authentic ever.

And this:

In the skit, victims were randomly selected from the crowd, strung up on posts, and read official “charges.” A dirt-encrusted dagger was then used to saw off vital parts of the condemned. One man’s scrotum was cut off, causing his testicles to fall to the ground. According to witnesses, children at the festival then tossed the testicles back and forth as the victim watched.

Vital organs such as the liver were cut out of further victims, then cooked and force-fed to them. The pale and barely conscious victims were then taken down from the posts and prepared for the next stage of their torture amid taunts and bellows from the crowd.

Sununu: 'Lazy and Detached' Obama Set Stage For Ambassador’s Murder

“Look, one of the key responsibilities of a president is to keep up with the intelligence data that’s coming in and what’s going on around the world. This president has skipped about 60 percent of his personal contact Presidential Daily briefings, the PDB. That document that he skims on his iPad is a summary,” .

“This president thinks he’s so smart, he doesn’t have to go through that! He thinks he doesn’t need to put the extra work in for going through that process. That’s why I say he’s lazy and detached. And unfortunately, Ambassador Stevens suffered the consequences of us not providing adequate security there,” Sununu said.

Man shot wife dead after mistaking her for monkey.

Hey, these things happen.

Did the DoJ play Let’s Make a Deal with St. Paul, MN?

Ed Morrisey has comments and links at HotAir - read the whole thing.

On February 10, 2012, the City of St. Paul abruptly abandoned a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that observers said it was poised to win.[2]  Slumlords had sued the city to prevent it from enforcing its housing code on the grounds that it disproportionately decreased the amount of housing available to minorities.[3]  The City argued that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA) prohibits only intentional discrimination, not neutral practices like code enforcement that happen to impact particular groups disproportionately.[4]

Mr. Perez fretted that a decision in the City’s favor would dry up the massive mortgage lending settlements his Division was obtaining by suing banks for housing discrimination based on disparate effects rather than any proof of intent to discriminate.[5]  Accordingly, as documents reviewed by Committee staff show, he orchestrated a deal to induce the City to drop its Supreme Court challenge.  In exchange for St. Paul dropping its case before the high court, the Justice Department declined to intervene in an unrelated False Claims Act (FCA) case that had the potential to return over $180 million in damages to the U.S. treasury.

‘Piss Christ’ Causes Bloody Riots in Manhattan

Enraged Christians were brutal: Shouting frenzied slogans such as, “what I’m praying for is for people to be touched by this,” “I just want to give people hugs, actually,” and “we think this art is passé,” the protestors demonstrated the harrowing face of modern American theocracy.

Friday links

Firefly Provides Lessons in Contract Law.

William Faulkner’s Resignation Letter

Gallery of vintage calculators.

What if a rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?

Are You Pooping Wrong? Sort of related, A toilet you can wear while you sleep.

Cry havoc! 17 weird ways we used (and use) animals for battle.

Soldier Charged With Manslaughter After Trying to Cure Another of Hiccups. With a Gun.

Personally, I'd rather just suffer through the hiccups.

Both soldiers, joined by a third man, were drinking alcohol and watching football at the time of the incident.

Watch 32 discordant metronomes achieve synchrony in a matter of minutes

If you place 32 metronomes on a static object and set them rocking out of phase with one another, they will remain that way indefinitely. Place them on a moveable surface, however, and something very interesting (and very mesmerizing) happens.

The metronomes in this video fall into the latter camp. Energy from the motion of one ticking metronome can affect the motion of every metronome around it, while the motion of every other metronome affects the motion of our original metronome right back. All this inter-metranome "communication" is facilitated by the board, which serves as an energetic intermediary between all the metronomes that rest upon its surface. The metronomes in this video (which are really just pendulums, or, if you want to get really technical, oscillators) are said to be "coupled."

The math and physics surrounding coupled oscillators are actually relevant to a variety of scientific phenomena, including the transfer of sound and thermal conductivity. For a much more detailed explanation of how this works, and how to try it for yourself, check out this excellent video by condensed matter physicist Adam Milcovich.

via io9.

Reminded me of this, at The Onion:

Lilith Fair Performers, Attendees Achieve Largest-Ever Synchronized Ovulation

Thursday, September 27, 2012

SEIU Pays Protesters $11 an Hour to Protest Romney in Cleveland

Video at JWF

Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on Obama family last year

In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.

12 Proposed U.S. States That Didn’t Make the Cut

12 states that could have been.

On this day in 1825 the first steam locomotive pulled a passenger train

A celebration of railways:

Railway termini... are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them alas! we return. In Paddington, all Cornwall is latent and the remoter west; down the inclines of Liverpool Street, the fenlands and the illimitable Broads; Scotland is through the pylons of Euston; Wessex behind the poised chaos of Waterloo.*
- E. M. Forster (1879-1970) (Howard's End, Ch. 3)

A contrary view:

Along the iron veins that traverse the frame of our country, beat and flow the fiery pulses of its exertion, hotter and faster every hour. All vitality is concentrated through those throbbing arteries into the central cities; the country is passed over like a green sea by narrow bridges, and we are thrown back in continually closer crowds on the city gates.
- John Ruskin (1819-1900) (The Seven Lamps of Architecture, "The Lamp of Memory," Sct. 20)

A humorous take:

Railroad, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.
- Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) (The Devil's Dictionary)

An American voice:

Lord, you ought to been uptown
And seen that train come down
You could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
A hundred miles, a hundred miles
A hundred miles, a hundred miles
You could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

Oh, I'm walking these ties
With tears in my eyes
I'm trying to read a letter from home
From my home, from my home
From my home, from my home
I'm trying to read a letter from my home

If this train runs right
I'll be home Saturday night
I'm five hundred miles away from my home
Away from home, away from home
Away from home, away from home
I'm five hundred miles away from home

You could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
- "Hear the Whistle Blow a Hundred Miles" (traditional)

Today is the 187th anniversary of the day in 1825 when the first steam locomotive to pull a passenger train was operated by English railway pioneer George Stephenson (1781-1848).** This epic journey of 21 miles on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in County Durham was the modest beginning of the "railway revolution" that took the world by storm in the next half-dozen decades. Stephenson's locomotive was originally named the Active, later Locomotion No. 1, and the Stockton and Darlington was the first railroad to haul both passengers and freight on a regular basis.

Arlo Guthrie singing City of New Orleans:

One of the classic steam-train photographs by American photographer O. Winston Link (1914-2001):

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RIP Andy Williams

Legendary singer Andy Williams passed away last night (Tuesday) at home in Branson, Missouri following a year long battle with bladder cancer, it was announced by his family.

New Questions About How Obama Got Into Harvard

According to a newspaper column released in 1979 by Vernon Jarrett, father-in-law of Obama confidente Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama might owe his success to a very controversial benefactor.

Al-Mansour who made news in 2008 when it was revealed that he had been a patron of Barack Obama and had recommended him for admission to Harvard Law School in 1998

Finger inside trout traced to owner. Of the finger, not the trout.

Detectives were able to get a fingerprint off the severed digit. They matched it to a fingerprint card for Haans Galassi, 31, of Colbert, Wash., and called him Tuesday morning.

Investigators learned that Galassi lost four fingers from his left hand in a June 21 accident on the same lake where the fish was caught.

The Fiscal Costs of Nonpayers

Correlations: 1 percentage point increase in the share of tax filers who are nonpayers (from 40 percent to 41 percent, for example) is associated with a $10.6 billion per year increase in transfer payments.

Iowahawk: Seething Midwest Explodes Over Lombardi Cartoons

Seeking a unified Lutheran caliphate.

Actually from 2006, but Iowahawk never gets old.  ;-)

via Instapundit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lingerie Football League says it fired several of the refs now working for the NFL

I suspect that's BS, but I like the idea.

Will Obama Free the Blind Sheik?

The theologian of terrorism inspired the 1993 and 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. The White House should state clearly that he will serve out his life term in the U.S.

Obama: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”

Comments and links at HotAir.

The private school where the Obama girls go don't have to deal with gov't mandated lunch restrictions

According to the school's website, pepperoni pizza is on the menu today:
French Mushroom Soup
Classic Caesar Salad
Boston Bean Salad
Pepperoni Flatbread Pizza
Variety Flatbread Pizza
Variety Veggie Flatbread Pizzas
Sauteed Local Greens
Sliced Melon

Eunuchs lived up to 19 years longer than uncastrated men

Eunuchs reveal clues to why women live longer than men.

via Marginal Revolution.

Man arrested in DUI case also had squirrel inside his shirt

The squirrel was released without charges.

Like the gov't imposed school lunch mess? Wait til you see the gov't imposed national curriculum

Problems with Common Core

And this: Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide.  A "moms-versus-monolith battle".

Previous post:

Wasted Food, Hungry Kids: Predictable nanny state chaos

Group sues Secret Service for info on cost of Malia Obama’s spring break trip to Mexico

Judicial Watch announced on Tuesday that it has filed the lawsuit, known as Judicial Watch v. U.S. Secret Service, for the records. The agency has so far, according to the group, not responded to a Freedom of Information Act request made on March 29.

Pigford III? Obama USDA offering women, Hispanic farmers over $1.3 billion in discrimination payouts

If I remember Pigford correctly, you didn't even have to have applied and been turned down - you could just say you thought about it and didn't apply because you assumed you'd be discriminated against.

Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices from the USDA must file a claim by March 25, 2013 in order to have a chance to receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness,” Vilsack explained in a statement Monday.

Tuesday links

Sandy Koufax and the Year The World Series Opened on Yom Kippur.

How A Steam Locomotive Works.

The Best Sci-Fi Sidekicks.

Zimbabwean city asks residents for mass synchronized toilet flush.

RIP Washer of the Sovereign's Hands.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Global Bacon Shortage 'Unavoidable' Next Year

Says U.K.'s National Pig Association

Read more here:

Wasted Food, Hungry Kids: Predictable nanny state chaos

Michelle Obama’s Bill in Action

Ohio University Marching Band does Gangnam Style

via Neatorama

Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help?

Everything you ever wanted to know.

Teledildonics update

In 2012, a couple of designers are hoping to make teledildonics a reality with LovePalz, an iPhone sex toy that allows you to "remotely control your partner's device through your body movement."

Feds scramble to halt stink bug invasion

Hmmm... Maybe this falls under providing for the common defense.

Jonah Goldberg: The Dumbest Anchormen

Ron Burgundy has nothing on Chris Matthews.

What makes media bias so infuriating is not its existence but the stubborn refusal of the guilty parties to admit it. It’s all part of the larger con of American liberalism, which sees itself as immune to ideology, on the side of facts and logic and all things “pragmatic.”

Monday links

The physics of chicken soup.

History lesson: When did women start covering their breasts?

Why Do Girls Throw Like A Girl? 

How to Use the Telephone, 1917 

The Time Abraham Lincoln and a Political Rival Almost Dueled.

The Effects of Peanut Butter on the Rotation of the Earth.

Car Rental Agency Charged With Discriminating Against Heterosexual Renters

Volokh has links and details.

AVIS charged Plaintiff more money for her car rental than it would have charged Plaintiff if Plaintiff had been a member of the favored gay and lesbian groups.

Obama Hurt My Feelings When He Destroyed the Constitution

Read the whole thing.

Apparently, the world's only superpower is now in the business of kissing the boo'boos of murderous Muslims aggrieved by our Constitution.  And, of course, handing out $2-billion hankies of foreign aid to wipe away their precious little tears of America-induced rage.

VDH: The Fantasy House of Barack Obama

But what is surprising is not that Romney is not ahead, but that he is even close

There is not really any free press anymore, but instead a Ministry of Truth, in which PBS, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Newsweek, Time, AP, McClatchy, and Reuters are de facto extensions of the Obama campaign — far more highbrow and adept in disguising their partisanship than an overt Hannity or Limbaugh. Their “journalists” are fed favorable administration leaks when in the old days they had to sue to publish a hit piece. They care little whether ambassadors are left unguarded, or that the U.S. suffers the most costly attack on its air assets since Vietnam, or that administration officials offer lies about Libya that they know cannot be true.

Remember that the grandees of the universities, the foundations, the arts, the unions, and the government employees are all heavily invested in Obama — the class warrior who assures those of the upper classes that class and racial resentment will be turned against others. Remember the powers of presidential incumbency. Remember that millions are still mesmerized by teleprompted eloquence. Remember that each month thousands more go on food stamps, receive disability insurance, obtain unemployment insurance extensions, and are excused from the federal income tax rolls — and are loyal to those who enable them and hostile to those who might not. Remember that to criticize Obama still almost immediately earns the charge of “racist.”
It is not easy to overcome all that.

Elizabeth Warren’s been practicing law without a licence

Read the whole thing: Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection provides great detail of Elizabeth Warren’s law license problem.

Warren represented not just Travelers, but numerous other companies starting in the late 1990s working out of and using her Harvard Law School office in Cambridge, which she listed as her office of record on briefs filed with various courts.  Warren, however, never has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winston Churchill on governmental redistribution

"You may, by the arbitrary and sterile act of Government—for remember, Governments create nothing and have nothing to give but what they have first taken away—you may put money in the pocket of one set of Englishmen, but it will be money taken from the pockets of another set of Englishmen, and the greater part wil be spilled on the way."

And this: a passage that never grows stale, but that has become especially timely — from the conclusion of Churchill’s great speech of October 5, 1938 condemning the Munich Agreement:
[D]o not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
 via Powerline.

Obama Wages War Against Cheap Energy

Forbes: He believes that there is something wrong with Americans living so comfortably when there are poor nations in the world.

via NRO's Planet Gore.

Why does Homeland Security need 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition?

These huge inventories are extremely troubling from the standpoint of a free society.