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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Swaziland Outlaws “Rape-Provoking” Clothing.

Police in Africa's last absolute monarchy Swaziland have banned women from wearing miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops, saying they provoke rape, local media reported on Monday.

And this:

However, the ban does not apply to traditional costumes worn by young women during ceremonies like the annual Reed Dance, where the ruling King Mswati III chooses a wife.

The flamboyant king already has 13 wives.

Presenting The Shocking Source Of US Treasury Demand In The Past Year

Links and comments at ZeroHedge.  Domo arigato Japan. Don't expect to get any of this money back though.

P.J. O'Rourke: Dear Mr. President, Zero-Sum Doesn't Add Up

The worst thing that you've done internationally is what you've done domestically. You sent a message to America in your re-election campaign. Therefore you sent a message to the world. The message is that we live in a zero-sum universe.

There is a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box. You had no answer to Mitt Romney's argument for more pizza parlors baking more pizzas. The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we've got—with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners.

Dave Barry’s Year in Review

So, OK, basically we need to forget about 2012 as soon as possible. But just so we can remember exactly what it is we need to forget, let’s pour ourselves a stiff drink and take a look back at the train wreck we’re staggering away from.

US sailors sue Tokyo Power for masking radiation danger

Eight US Navy sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for hundreds of millions of dollars over allegations the Japanese firm lied to them about radiation dangers after a tsunami-triggered meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The sailors accuse TEPCO of deceiving their commanders about radiation levels as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan took part in relief operations following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, according to a complaint filed in US federal court in southern California.

Links and comments at HotAir.

Biblical self-defense: the musical version

via IMAO.

Nine scary bird attacks that really happened

In the wake of last week's phony Eagle-Steals-Baby viral video, Mary Katherine Ham does some research.

Ammunition Levels Less Than 10% of Pre-Election Levels

Nation running out of ammo

Philadelphia arson site targeted because it is being built with nonunion labor.

The site where Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is building a new meetinghouse was damaged by arsonists during Christmas week, and police are now "absolutely" sure the attack was the result of a dispute between members of a Philadelphia construction union and the project's nonunion contractor.

Thomas Friedman Op/Ed Generator


Before there was Laffer: Churchill on the fiscal cliff

Churchill was part of the early supply-side revolution, arguing for—and succeeding—in reducing Britain’s high wartime income tax rates when he was chancellor of the exchequer in the 1920s. From one of his speeches in the House of Commons, from May 1925.

"I believe most firmly that the rate of direct taxation upon income was producing a chill and a check upon the enterprise and upon the conceiving energy of the country to an extent certainly far higher than in any other country in the world, and far more heavy in its effect than in any other country in the world. Yet this country, where direct taxation has reached unprecedented and unparalleled dimensions, is also, we find, the country where, at the other end of the social scale, this extraordinary phenomenon of unemployment has manifested itself in the most distressing form. It is said by some that there is no connection between the two. The theory of the hon. Gentlemen opposite is that, the more taxes you pile upon wealth, the greater the benefit to the working classes. Our theory is exactly the opposite, and we are prepared to confront you, not only with continuous argument on that subject, but we hope, having three or four years of power and authority, to confront you with the proved results of the opposite theory.

The hon. Gentleman spoke about the relation of the rate of Income Tax to unemployment. He said, “How foolish it is to imagine that by reducing Income Tax you improve employment.” The fact, however, is that the country with the highest rate of direct taxation is also the country with the highest unemployment. That is the fact. It may be a coincidence. But when the Income Tax was reduced by 1 shilling and then by 6d., there was a great improvement. When the Income Tax was 6 shillings in the Pound there were over 2-1/4 million persons unemployed. Now that the Income Tax has been reduced to 4 shillings 6d. in the Pound that figure has fallen to 1-1/4 million people unemployed. . .

I think, in the time at our disposal, we shall succeed in establishing the soundness of the grounds on which we have acted, and the results which will be effected in the general life of the country by three or four years of steady policy from one broad point of view will be sensibly appreciated by all classes in the State."

Still another reason why Obama doesn’t want that Churchill bust around the Oval Office to remind him of what a real statesman is like.

Labor Union Fights Liquor Store Privatization in Pennsylvania

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which counts about 3,000 state liquor store employees among its members, is the most visible and vocal opponent of privatizing the state-owned liquor monopoly.

French court overturns "millionaire tax"

Not in principle, though: The court's ruling took issue not with the size of the tax, but with the way it discriminated between households depending on how incomes were distributed among its members. A household with two earners each making under €1 million would be exempt from the tax, while one with one earner making €1.2 million would have to pay.

And this:

The largely symbolic measure would have only hit a tiny number of taxpayers and brought in an estimated €100 million to €300 million - an insignificant amount in the context of France's roughly €85 billion deficit.

In recent weeks, Gerard Depardieu — France's most famous actor — announced his intention to turn in his French passport and move to a village in a tax-friendly Belgium.

Friday, December 28, 2012

FBI files on 'Communist' Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller revealed for first time in 50 years

The files had previously been heavily redacted, but more details are now public in a version of the file recently obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act.

Video: Clifford the big red fiscal cliff dog

Will 'Fiscal Cliff' Accelerate Millionaire Deaths?

There is good evidence that there is some "elasticity" in the timing of important decisions about life and death.

"Death elasticity" does not necessarily mean that greedy relatives are pulling the plug on the dying or forcing the sickly to extend their lives into a lower taxed period. According to a 2008 paper from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Doctor G. Stuart Mendenhall, while tax increases give potential heirs large economic incentives to limit care that would prolong life, distressed patients may "voluntarily trade prolongation of their life past the end [a low tax period] for large financial implications for their kin.

"Whether these incentives are explicitly specified in wills or communicated to their power of attorney over the dinner table, they are clearly present and affect the ability of all involved parties to make unbiased decisions," Mendenhall writes.

Ozzy Osbourne International Airport?

If an idea to rename a city airport after one local hero takes off, Black Sabbath fans will be very happy.

Boy Uses AR15 To Stop A Home Invasion

Thank God they had the gun.  Via Doug Ross.

What Kind Of Dinosaur Meat Would Taste Best?

An ostrich-like dinosaur known as an ornithomimid would probably yield the most consumer-friendly cut of meat, while still maintaining a unique dinosaur taste.

Much of the flavor in a cut of meat comes from its fat composition, and an animal’s diet contributes significantly to this. However, due to the average consumer’s taste for meat that is not too strong-tasting, it is more important to figure out what we don’t want the animals we consume to be eating. Dinosaurs that ate marine animals would definitely be off the list, not only for their fishy flavor, but also because the high amount of oil in fish would make the meat more susceptible to oxidation, which would give it a rancid taste. In fact, any carnivorous dinosaur would not fare too well in the supermarket. Most people prefer meat that comes from herbivorous animals—think cow, deer, bison— since animal fat found in a carnivore’s diet adds a significant amount of “gamey” flavor. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The 25 Funniest AutoCorrects Of 2012

These are funny as hell - see the whole list here. NSFW (language)

Fiscal cliff put in perspective

Lesson # 1:
  • U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent Budget cuts: 38,500,000,000
Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budge:
  • Annual family income: $21,700
  • Money the family spent: $38,200
  • New debt on the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Total budget cuts so far: $385
Got it?…. OK now…
Lesson # 2
Here’s another way of looking at the Debt Ceiling:
Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.  What do you think you should do?
Raise the ceiling or remove the shit?

The Greatest SciFi Porn Movies 1961-1991 [NSFW]

There's no way to condense this down - go see the whole thing at io9.  They say they'll be doing the films from 1992 to the present soon.

RIP General Norman Schwarzkopf (1934 - 2012)

Ave atque vale.

Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died.

The story of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"

Written by Robert Plant (lyrics) and guitarist Jimmy Page (melody) Stairway to Heaven is not only Led Zeppelin’s signature song, it may well be the most beloved rock song of all-time. If not, it is generally on almost every rock critic’s, expert’s, and fan’s list of greatest and/or favorite songs.

One of the most discussed and dissected facets of Stairway to Heaven is its actual meaning. Robert Plant has touched on the subject on more than one occasion. According to Plant:

My hand was writing out the words “There’s a lady is sure (sic) all that glitters is gold and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” I just sat there and looked at them and almost leapt out of my head… It was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving any thought or consideration. That first line begins with that cynical sweep of the hand… and it softened up after that.”

Fair enough, but in a later interview, Plant is less nebulous and fairly clear that Stairway to Heaven has no actual meaning. Plant: “Depending on what day it is, I still interpret the song a different way- and I wrote it.”

Twas The Night Before Fiscliff

Twas the night before Fiscliff, when all through the House
Not a statesman was stirring, not even to grouse.
Neither bills nor amendments have much of a prayer
Since hope and change fever brought gridlock to bear.

The citizens pondered in fear and in dread,
What will happen if off the cliff we go instead?
Obama was sure he set Boehner a trap
To force taxes higher, give rich folks a slap.

When on CNN there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the set to see what was the matter.
Wolf Blitzer was shouting, he had a news flash,
Was a formula found that would scare up fresh cash?

The gloom had sent stock markets gyrating so,
While the luster of gold lured all those in the know.
When, what on the six o’clock news should appear,
But a fat helicoptering cash bombardier.

With a bearded bald driver, both facile and quick,
It must be the man with the Keynesian shtick.
Like a fire hose shower, liquidity came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and passed out the blame.

“Now Geithner! Now Sperling! More interest rate fixing!
On, Krugman! On, Goolsbee! It’s cash we’ll be mixing!
We must make sure aggregate demand won’t fall!
Now spend away! Spend away! Spend away all!”

If you give me control of the money supply,
I will make the debt grow ’til it reaches the sky.
If this starts to give you stimulus déjà vu,
Just you wait ‘til you see infinite QE2.

So have no fear, kick the can, you don’t need proof.
Go ahead and let spending go right through the roof!
By this point my head was fast spinning around,
When fat Ben Bernanke came up with a bound.

He was dressed all in greenbacks, from head to his foot,
That must have stuck to him, their value kaput.
A bundle of cash he had flung on his back,
Like every historic inflationist hack.

His eyes, how they shifted! His glibness so merry!
Pretending to be a prudent actuary.
“I know what I’m doing!” his words much did flow.
“My magic will make unemployment go low.”

How easily this man can lie through his teeth,
Yet the smoke he was blowing gave me no relief.
He turned to make yet one more speech to the telly,
His statements as firm as a bowlful of jelly!

Then back to his copter, as quick as a whistle,
He unleashed one more fiat currency missile.
And as he took off, all heard just what he said,
“In the long run remember that we are all dead.”

Ancient Conehead-Like ‘Alien’ Skulls Unearthed In Mexico

I thought they were from France.

An archaeological discovery of 13 “conehead”-shaped skulls in Mexico has people recalling the famed Saturday Night Live sketch. The bones, which are about 1,000 years old, dating from 945 A.D. to 1308 A.D.

The rise of alternative schooling

Iran dismisses only female minister

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked Health Minister Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole woman in his cabinet, state television reports.

Ms Dastjerdi was also the first woman minister in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.

Rick Santelli Screams 'The Fed Doesn't Have A Clue' As Traders Cheer

CNBC's Rick Santelli has done it again.

During today's rant, Santelli went absolutely nuts on Jim Iurio of TJM Institutional Services screaming, "The Fed doesn't have a clue neither does the president neither does congress...Neither does Tim Geithner who gives a speech about the debt ceiling. I'd like to see if he could count to a million much less 16.4 trillion!"

Traders from the CBOT floor then started cheering.

Senate Debating Warrantless Domestic Spying Today; Vote Pending

A vote is expected today.

Flatulence pants fly off the shelves in Japan

"Our initial target was old people with bowel issues", Mr Imai tells me.

"We were targeting nursing homes and hospitals, but then young people started buying them.

Apparently, people in all age groups have flatulence problems", he says.

JibJab Year In Review 2012: The End Is Here!

Thursday links

Is it Better to Walk or Run in the Rain?  Two convincing videos that come to opposite conclusions.  Kind of related: Half the Facts You Know Are Probably Wrong.

A History of Wine Labels

There's a new World's Largest Pizza record.

A Brief History of Nerf.  And Twister.

Trampled Snow Art.  More here.

Baby Jesus Soothed with Bagpipes

Frank J.: Math Is Coming

Read the whole thing:

Right now the Republicans and Democrats are hotly debating which of their two wholly inadequate plans we should use to avoid the fiscal cliff, but looking at the size of the deficit, they’re proposing different-sized Band-Aids where a tourniquet is needed. If you point this out, you’re called a Tea Party extremist who wants to throw old people off a cliff and deny underprivileged Ivy League law students free birth control. “You silly person. Budgets don’t have to balance. That’s just a superstition.”

Obama wants Math locked completely out of the fiscal cliff talks and instead wants unlimited power to raise the debt ceiling and then tax the rich because of the demands of Fairness — Fairness being the left’s favorite imaginary friend. Math won’t stop laughing at Obama’s plan to pay for everything by taxing the rich, so Obama just won’t work with it at all.
The Republicans at least acknowledge that Math exists but are only trying to compromise with it. We’re broke, and Obama wants to buy a Ferrari we can’t afford, and they’re trying to argue him down to a BMW we can’t afford. I guess they think if they make some changes to entitlements, Math will just relent and allow 2 + 2 to equal 5 so the rest will add up.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ex-President George H.W. Bush in intensive care unit at Houston hospital

Boston Herald.

Peter Parker's fate in the final issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man," comic


Read the whole thing here.

In a heart-wrenching plot twist for one of Marvel's most relatable superheroes, the comic book giant has killed the nerdy, down-on-his-luck science-whiz who first developed an arachnid alter-ego in 1962 and decided to use his "great power" for good. In "Amazing Spider-Man's" 700th and final issue, Spider-Man loses a final showdown with his arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus, after which the latter assumes Peter Parker's body, mind and memories.

German tax collectors suggest toilet logs

Authorities recommended the 1.5 million truck drivers in the country keep records of how often they go to the restroom and how long they spend on the toilet, so they can accurately determine how much of their income should be written off when their taxes are calculated.

Doctors save man's life by injecting alcohol directly into his heart

UK doctors have saved a man's life using an unconventional treatment - a shot of neat alcohol into the arteries supplying his heart.

Where's Hillary?

On December 15, the day after the day after the shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, State Department officials notified the press that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had fallen ill. "While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion," deputy assistant secretary Philippe Reines said in a statement to the press. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jack Klugman, RIP (1922-2012)

Jack Klugman, best know from his work in televsion playing Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and the starring role in Quincy, M.E., passed away today at age 90.

Study: Women with large breasts are smarter

A study by a Chicago university sociologist of 1,200 women found that large-breasted women tend to have higher intelligence. The study divided the women into five groups ranging from virtually flat-chested to extra-large breasts.

Suburban NY Newspaper Releases Interactive Map of Where Local Gun Permit Owners Live

Ever wonder why people don't want to register their weapons?

Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?

Good news: incredible Norwegian kicker may get an NFL offer. Bad news: from the Jets.

More info here.


via Protein Wisdom.

DEATH BATTLE! - Batman VS Spider-Man

Forget About Chimneys: Think Wormholes If You Want To See Santa

Science says Santa's been tricking us with that reindeer stuff.

Man with mechanical heart overdoses on Brussels sprouts

The traditional Christmas vegetable contain lots of vitamin K which promotes blood clotting.

However, this counteracted the effect of anticoagulants the man was taking because he had a mechanical heart.

image via Arbroath

Should Santa Claus still be fat?

Bah, humbug at CNN.

Grandma Got Indefinitely Detained (A Very TSA Christmas)

Christmas Eve links

Why Did NORAD Start Tracking Santa?

Ralphie teamed up with Flash Gordon in a deleted scene from A Christmas Story.

A collection of downloadable templates for Star Wars snowflakes.

The story of the real life George Bailey of It's a Wonderful Life.

A Field Guide To Christmas Plants and Animals

The 1914 Christmas truce.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Festivus

Wow, I've got a lot of complaints to air this year.

Lots of Festivus info here.

It's a Pole

(Sung to the tune of 'Let it Snow')

Oh the Festivus party is starting,
And the guests are just arriving.
What's that thing over there?
It's a pole! It's a pole! It's a pole!

It doesn't require decorating,
Because tinsel is way too distracting.
It's unadorned and made of aluminum,
It's a pole! It's a pole! It's a pole!

Finally we air our grievances,
There's problems with all you people.
But if you really do it right,
Somebody will be sobbing tonight.

There's still more fun to unfold,
Cause it's time to pin the head of the household.
The feats of strength will happen now!
Move the pole! Move the pole! Move the pole!

Is it Better to Walk or Run in the Rain? (Updated)

Via It's Okay To Be Smart, a video on the logical and physical analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of various mid-precipitation avoidance strategies.

And here's Mythbusters proving the opposite:

UPDATED: As per an anonymous commenter, Mythbusters re-visited the question and came to the opposite conclusion:

REVISITED: You end up drier running in the rain than walking. 


When retrying the test in actual rain it was conclusively proven that the running test subject got less wet than the walking test subject. The use of artificial rain in the original test led to a false negative.

Finally - realistic looking stick on public hair

A pair of students in Japan reckon they've got the practical joke market by the short and curlies - after inventing realistic looking stick on public hair.

Police in riot gear stop brawl among parents at kids´ football game

Police in riot gear flooded the field of a youth football game in Southern California to stop a brawl that involved dozens and possibly hundreds of adult spectators.

20 Very Interesting Photos From The ’30s

Einstein with an Einstein puppet
Stalin making a face at his bodyguard

Churchill's 1941 Christmas message

From a broadcast Churchill made from the White House on his visit to FDR in December 1941 a few weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked:

Let the children play and have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.

And so, in God’s mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.

via PowerLine.

During eulogy for Senator Inouye, Obama refers to himself 63 times...

In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times.

7 Codes You’ll Never Ever Break

Read the whole thing at Wired: We've asked Kevin Knight – the University of Southern California computer scientist who recently helped crack the 250-year-old Copiale cipher – to walk us through seven of the most confounding codes and give us an idea of what makes these things so tough to break.

Video: Die Hard Christmas tribute

NSFW (language)

Fascinating story: the real life George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life"

Read the whole thing: The real life “George Bailey” (It’s a Wonderful Life), who founded the Bank of Italy which became Bank of America, was A.P. Giannini.  

Taxpayers Aren't Stationary Targets

Good article at Reason on why tax increases, which are disincentives to productivity, don't increase tax revenue.  It seems extraordinary to me that people are still ignorant of this blindingly obvious fact, but there you are.

12/23/1823: The Poem “The Night Before Christmas” was Published Anonymously

Before this poem was published, traditions surrounding St. Nicholas were numerous with no real set, near universally accepted idea of “Santa Claus” like we have today. As such, many of the Santa Claus traditions we have set today actually were popularized by this poem. For instance: the names and number of Santa’s reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen, with the latter Donder and Blitzen meaning “Thunder” and “Lightning”); Santa’s means of transportation; that Santa Claus visited houses on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day; the overall appearance of Santa Clause; and that Santa brought toys to children.

There's a dispute about authorship.