A.M. Links: Government Doesn't Know How Many Secrets Edward Snowden Will Reveal, John McCain Question's CIA's Forthrightness, Peter O'Toole Dead at 81

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  • didn't win a raspberry either
    Artistry Limited/"Supergirl"

    Government officials claim they may never know exactly how many secrets Edward Snowden took with him before leaving an NSA facility in Hawaii, because the center didn't have software controls. They'll just have to find out by reading it in the newspapers.

  • John McCain suggested the CIA hasn't been open with Congress about Robert Levinson, a former FBI analyst gone missing in Iran who it was revealed was working an off-book mission in the country for a team of CIA analysts. The young senator will learn the CIA's ways eventually.
  • A Colorado high school student who shot two classmates before killing himself was reportedly an outspoken advocate of gun control and other left-wing policies, so the media is unlikely to try to use the incident to smear his ideological fellow-travelers.
  • Toronto Star city hall beat reporter Daniel Dale is suing Mayor Rob Ford for libel for calling the reporter a pedophile.
  • Israeli soldiers shot two Lebanese soldiers near the border after seeing "suspicious movements." The IDF believes they were responsible for the fatal shooting some hours earlier of an Israeli soldier by a Lebanese sniper.
  • Norway's government won't consider Bitcoin money, but will consider it an asset and apply the appropriate taxes.
  • Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a robotic design company, the tech firm confirmed this weekend.
  • Actor Peter O'Toole, who was nominated for eight Academy Awards but never won one, a record, died aged 81.

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  1. It all makes sense now:

    Surprising study reveals warty comb jellies are our earliest relatives

    A new genome sequencing study places the comb jelly ahead of the sponge as the first animal in the evolutionary chain, Sky News reports. Comb jellies are a marine animal better known as the sea walnut, the sea gooseberry or the Venus girdle…

    1. Oh dear; somebody beat Fisty again.

      1. Beat him with a Venus Girdle, of all things …

    2. It’s over. I have come to accept our new paradigm.

      1. Ah, you young ‘uns. The paradigm is always changing. Why, I remember the good old days when Suki was always the first to post.

        1. Ah, yes. Suki. She still *occasionally* stops by, even though apparently dead.

          1. Wow, really? I haven’t seen her in what seems forever.

  2. A Colorado high school student who shot two classmates before killing himself was reportedly an outspoken advocate of gun control and other left-wing policies…

    I thought those guys only used firing squads.

    1. This adds some credence to the theory that the strongest opponents of anything are often acting out of projection or self-loathing. Like the gay bashers that are closeted homosexuals, perhaps? I can’t put my finger in it, but it does seem to be a thing.

      1. Any basis for that in fact?

        1. Of course not. It’s projection all the way down.

    2. You mean death panels.

    3. Hey now! At least he used a shotgun… a Joe-Biden-approved shotgun.

      Quips aside, it’s really great that everyone survived. Good move on that teacher to immediately leave the school after learning he was the target. I don’t know how serious that girl’s injuries were or how she’ll be affected after her recovery, but glad everyone is alive.

      1. Saved by an armed person (po-po school resource officer) since he got to the library quickly, at which point looser-lefty decided to off himself.

  3. ‘Billy Jack’ star Tom Laughlin dies

    Laughlin wrote, directed and starred in four films about Billy Jack, a half-Indian Vietnam War veteran who uses his martial-arts expertise to battle small-town bigots and baddies. Three of the movies were big hits — 1967’s The Born Losers, 1971’s Billy Jack and 1974’s The Trial of Billy Jack. The fourth, 1977’s Billy Jack Goes to Washington, was never released in theaters.

    1. On the blood-y morn-in’ af-ter-er-er / One tin sol-dier walks a-way.

  4. Government officials claim they may never know exactly how many secrets Edward Snowden took with him before leaving an NSA facility in Hawaii…

    American intelligence, it turns out, isn’t very good at finding things out. Just gathering things up.

    1. To be fair, Fist, if the government just gathers a big enough haystack it might be able to know exactly how many secrets Edward Snowden took, so … isn’t it obligated to *try*?

      1. We have to collect it so we can find out what’s in it.

        1. Exactly! To *not* collect would be burying our heads in the sand!

  5. Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a robotic design company, the tech firm confirmed this weekend.

    Sounds like a fringe event to me.

    1. Does this mean we will have robotic mules delivering to us the answers to search engine questions?

      1. Maybe not answers, but will be delivering something. I for one welcome our robotic overlords

      2. It’s to walk the footpaths with streetview cameras.

    2. +1 kickable robot dog

      1. Just wait until the AMEE thing from Red Planet comes to take revenge.

  6. Health care law seen as eroding medical insurance coverage, AP-GfK poll finds

    The poll found a striking level of unease about the law among people who have health insurance and aren’t looking for any more government help. Those are the 85 percent of Americans who the White House says don’t have to be worried about the president’s historic push to expand coverage for the uninsured.

    In the survey, nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year — mostly for the worse. Nearly 4 in 5 (77 percent) blame the changes on the Affordable Care Act, even though the trend toward leaner coverage predates the law’s passage.

    Sixty-nine percent say their premiums will be going up, while 59 percent say annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.

    1. Feature, not bug

      /libtard

    2. A poll! How are you not satisfied after last week’s H&R Pollapalooza, Humungus?!

      1. The overload caused a purge, now he’s hungry again. It’s very Roman.

  7. Secret Inside BofA Office of CEO Stymied Needy Homeowners

    Instead of helping homeowners as promised under agreements with the U.S. Treasury Department, Bank of America stalled them with repeated requests for paperwork and incorrect income calculations, according to nine former Urban Lending employees. Some borrowers were sent into foreclosure or pricier loan modifications padded with fees resulting from the delays, according to the people, all but two of whom asked to remain anonymous because they signed confidentiality agreements.

    HAMP was the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s attempt to prevent foreclosures by lowering distressed borrowers’ mortgage payments. Under the program, homeowners are given trial modifications to prove they can make reduced payments before the changes become permanent.

    1. Delicious – I wonder how the folks at Treasury feel about being on that end of it?

      1. I wonder how the folks at Treasury feel about being on that end of it?

        They were as surprised to read about it in the papers as you were.

      2. Geithner told proggy bloggers in 2011 that HAMP was intended to help bank’s balance sheets, not homeowners, and that it was a success by that standard.

    1. I just cough up the $1k a month as part of my mortgage payment.

      1. Yeah, a lot of people do that. I like to torture myself by having to write a check to my beloved gov. twice a year. It makes me feel like I belong.

      2. Some companies don’t offer that. I tried but when it’s up for renewal I will do that.

        12k a year on property taxes?

        1. New Jersey, yea!

          1. You deserve it for living there.

            1. It’s not forever.

              1. Drake the type of nigga to buy a house in New Jersey and complain about taxes.

      3. A MONTH?! I don’t live in the biggest house in the world, but the state/local government’s vig is only 1/10th of that on my shack.

        1. $1900 per year for me.

          Plus another $200 because two cities are taxing me, so $2100 total.

          1. Man, I’m jealous.

            5k for me.

            1. House is valued at 184k.

              Its rate that matters, not total amount. Im paying roughly 1.15%, it looks like.

              1. Mine is evaluated at 287k.

        2. In the 70’s, the geniuses running NJ decided that property taxes were getting too high. So, they enacted a wealth redistributing income tax. The Liberals Whitman appointed to the state Supreme Court decided something wasn’t fair or something – so the income tax revenue was highjacked and sent to schools voters in the cities.

          So now I pay giant income, sales, and property taxes.

          1. and now you basically rent your own property from the government.

        3. Mine is about 400 a year, but it is in rural Oklahoma. It would be half that if the local sheriff did not use the ladies in prison as his personal brothel, but it is still Oklahoma.

        4. Pick a nice one and see what you owe the town.

          http://www.trulia.com/for_sale…..ice/x_map/

          This is actually a nearby town with a slightly higher tax rate – my town is smaller and doesn’t have any comparable listings right now.

          1. My parents live in one of the wealthiest parts of the province and pay about 10k – but get little in return.

            1. We were looking for land, incidentally, in Vermont last year. Property taxes were similar 2ndclassprole.

              1. Maine might be better for tax purposes, if less scenic.

                1. Yes, Maine is more rustic – and a little too far off. Depending on where we go (and we visit NE often) anywhere between 5 to 6 hours.

                  Vermont is 2.

      4. Dang. I’m glad I don’t live wherever the hell you live. I cough up $100 a YEAR as part of my mortgage payment.

        1. $100 a year! alan_s, where do you live?

          Until you respond I’ll be packing.

            1. LA has the lowest median rates in the country. Check out the link I posted above.

              1. Yeah, not only is the rate low, but as long as you occupy the house, you get a homestead exemption on the first $75,000 of your home’s value.

                http://www.actualtitle.com/inf…..exemption/

  8. The milk advertisement too dangerous for Australian television

    http://mumbrella.com.au/devond…..ore-196287

    1. I don’t understand, ifh — the kid’s wearing a helmet.

    2. Huh. The only difference between my childhood and this commercial is that we couldn’t find five kids stupid enough to lie down so we could jump over them.

      1. *sheepishly raises hand*

        I… I was stupid enough to do this as a kid.

        Granted, not dumb enough to be the last kid in the line, but yeah

      2. I once let a friend jump his RC car over me. Not when I was a kid, either, it was a few years ago. It was a big RC car with gas-powered engine, and he’d made a ramp for it, which was high enough for me to lie next to. It was fun, but the car hit me in the face/neck. So 1. you don’t have to be a kid to do stupid stuff. 2. Adults were modeling bad behavior for their kids. 3. Alcohol may have been a factor (maybe).

        1. RCUI.

          Bad.

    3. But on the plus side, the Poms are on the bad end of an Ashes shellacking.

      1. Raven Nation, you’ll appreciate this – after Joe Root’s disappointing performance in the first test, one of the paper here had the excellent headline “Dud Root”*

        * This is Australian slang for a poor sexual partner

        1. God, I love Australian (& British) headline writers. Hardly ever kowtow to the PC bullshit from either side.

    4. “… to contrast with how sensible the low-fat chocolate milk is …”

      Australia TV’s “Catalyst” S14E16 on sugar:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0xFgBPtz_8

  9. Ross Douthat: The Daughter Theory

    Or the pleasure that I took recently from the headline: “Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican.”

    Why pleasure? Well, because previous research on this question had suggested the reverse, with parents of daughters leaning left and parents of sons rightward. And those earlier findings dovetailed neatly with liberal talking points about politics and gender: Republicans make war on women, Democrats protect them, so it’s only natural that raising girls would make parents see the wisdom of liberalism …

    But the new study undercuts those talking points. Things are more complicated than you thought, liberals! You can love your daughters, want the best for them, and find yourself drawn to … conservative ideas! Especially if you’re highly educated, which is where the effect was strongest!

    1. Wow the comments at NY Times.

      Douthat: One obvious solution ….is a romantic culture in which more is required of young men before the women in their lives will sleep with them.

      Commenter Anne Russel: Rather than padlock virginity devices upon our daughters (I have 4, and 5 granddaughters) and cloak them in burkas or performing genital mutilation on them, I suggest that we address the Penis Problem which results in so much rape, child molestation, procreation of children abandoned by their fathers, porn addiction, use of prostitutes, sex slavery. Let us civilize our males into learning to control their baser selfish instincts, rather than behaving like wild animals. If we must, let us padlock male genitalia to prevent inappropriate erections.

      Whooosh…the point going right over Miss Russel’s head, who it seems, is the one with the “penis problem”.

      1. Feminists will assure you, however, that they don’t hate men.

      2. What about use of birth control? If birth control were more restricted, the possible side effects of unprotected sex would be that much more imminent (pregnancy, possible disease), which would force men & women into more traditional roles. But this is not the outcome the left wants.

    2. Don’t read the comments. Just don’t.

      Let’s see.
      Obama: two daughters
      Clinton: daughter
      Carter: daughter
      Should we go on?

      Sure, go on!

      GWB: two daughters
      Dick Cheney: two daughters
      John McCain: three daughters
      Sarah Palin: three daughters

      1. What is it with daughters and presidential ambitions?

      2. Hmm. So GHWB is the last guy with a son? I can see why we don’t elect fathers of sons.

        1. So GHWB is the last guy with a son?

          Well, Obama had a son, but a certain white Hispanic put an end to that.

          1. *Golf Clap*

  10. John McCain suggested the CIA hasn’t been open with Congress about Robert Levinson…

    In their defense, they may have been trying to keep him alive.

    1. This is pretty much what I thought. “Oh they didn’t mention that a person in a hostile government’s custody was an agent? Gosh, what could have possessed them?”

      1. McCain is mad because he’s been beating the war drum against Iran and using the Levinson case as one of his talking points.

        The mean Iranians were holding an innocent American tourist.

        Those monsters!

        Now that it turns out that the guy was actually a spy, McCain looks stupid.

        The question of why McCain cares so much about this particular instance of looking stupid, when he cares so little about all the others, is of course an open one.

  11. Snowmobile nudist confuses Swedish town

    “I was down at the boat houses on Siljan Lake taking a walk,” a witness told the local Dalarna Tidning (DT) newspaper about his Thursday night outing. All of a sudden, a young man darted past on a snowmobile, with nothing but a white sheet to cover his shoulders.

    “I could see his arse, that was bad enough,” the witness lamented, noting that there were several people down by the lake taking a walk who were thus forced to witness the spectacle.

    It was the second outing by the naked young man in less than a week. On Tuesday night, he braved the December chill completely naked, presumably leaving the bed sheet at home. The risqu? behaviour had locals in F?rsn?s, located near the the town of Mora, wondering who the nudist among them could possibly be.

    1. I assume the sheet was a cape.

    2. What’s Swedish for The Naked Avenger?

        1. Is he around anymore?

          1. He shows up late nights and on weekends, when he thinks no one is paying attention. The greatest sin in Tulpa’s eyes is for someone to actually remember the dumb shit he says.

            1. The greatest sin in Tulpa’s eyes is for someone to actually remember the dumb shit he says.

              He’s not asking us to do anything he doesn’t do himself.

          2. Speaking of which, where’s Tony?

            Just when he was finding an ally with some troll named ‘Rollo’ to join him and Palin in an unholy prog Triple Alliance.

            Maybe his sockpuppet got tired and muffed him.

            1. He’s in the afternoon threads when shrike needs a break.

      1. I tried to babelfish this for you. But they had no translation for Scandinavian languages! Racist!

        1. Naken H?mnare according to Google Translate.

    3. I hollered over to Ethel, I said, “Don’t look, Ethel!” But it was too late. She’d already been icicled.

      1. Snowballed, right there on the lakefront.

        1. Are you fucking kidding me?

          You fucking DARE quote THE STREAK on a talkback?

          What if someone else accidentally quotes THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED, or maybe CONVOY?

          We could open up an AM Singularity that could destroy the entire Earth!

          Think, man.

          1. When a man named Al Capone tried to make Siljan Lake his own; and he sent his gang to war, with the forces of the law…”

            1. Hey! I haven’t finished this season of Boardwalk Empire yet. No spoilers!

    4. Archer: You seriously have to get out of here before the cops come… Or wait, what do you have in Switzerland? Some kind of pikemen?

  12. Pa. police: Driver hid pot as Christmas presents

    Police say they became suspicious after Valdivia was stopped Thursday afternoon, and got him to agree to a search.

    They say they found 20 pounds of weed vacuum-sealed inside large boxes wrapped as Christmas gifts.

    derp!

  13. No Ruling Class O’Toole reference?

    I am disappoint.

    1. Me, too. The battle of the schizophrenics was awesome.

    2. I’ve always liked Murphy’s War
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOy9GRqqVE

      I see IMDB only gives it a 6.8

    3. I tried to recreate the attack on Aqaba scene from Lawrence of Arabia. But all I has was Iraqi 14th Division soldiers, no camels and I wasn’t drunk. Damn, that was a disappoint.

      1. Did you get any pictures?

        1. Or at least expand on your story instead of leaving us wanting more.

          Maybe write it up in the CGSC journal?

    4. Pretty fond of My Favorite Year myself

  14. Don’t use the ACME branded fire extinguisher

    Firefighters mistakenly pump jet fuel on fire instead of water

    During a training exercise, firefighters mistakenly pumped jet fuel instead of water onto a flaming mock-up of an airplane crash.

    KING 5 obtained video that shows an enormous fireball erupted when the fuel hit the flames at the training site.

    “When the firefighters put water on a fire that had been deliberately developed for training the fire got bigger instead of smaller,” said Bob Calkins of the State Patrol, which is investigating the incident.

    1. They haven’t seen Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur?

  15. CIA Benghazi team clash led to ‘stand down’ report

    Those CIA leaders decided they and their security contractor team should wait before rushing from their annex into the violence roughly a mile away. They said they were trying to first gather intelligence and round up Libyan militia allies armed with heavy weapons, according to the testimony by the CIA officers in charge.

    Some CIA security contractors disagreed with their bosses and wanted to move more quickly.

    1. Gee, I wonder what all those CIA types were doing there? What a coincidence!

    2. FAKE SCANDAL!!!111!!! BOOOOOOOSH!1!!1

    3. What difference, at this point, does it make?

      1. There’s no sugar coating it, this is a fake story.

        1. I think you mean it’s part of the “cycle of manufactured crises”

    1. The second thing could be good news. If there are certain electromagnetic fields that inhibit plant growth couldn’t that be useful for preventing unwanted growth in remote areas with sensitive equipment?

      1. I’m thinking more along the lines of:

        1. Launch wifi satellites into space.

        2. Point satellites at plant growth of entire northern hemisphere.

        3. Get sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads.

        4. Demand Elizabeth Warren admit she lied and said she was a fucking Indian.

        1. 1. Doable

          2. Possible

          3. Plausible

          4. When monkeys fly out of my butt

    2. Oh, well if a couple of ninth graders have found the effect of (and the article is so poorly written I’m presuming here) Wifi specific EM radiation to be harmful, we should just go ahead and ban it.

      (Full disclosure: My router is next to the baby’s crib, and I plan on keeping it there unless I find it causes him to cry more.)

      1. Turn the strength up to max – maybe you can stream soothing music into his head directly!

        1. Nah, I have a monitor cam that has tilt/pan/zoom a microphone and music. My wife is going to wonder why our child is so weird in about 16 months when he starts having two-sided conversations with his toys.

      2. *** knock knock ***

        “This is CPS, Mr L. We know you’re in there!”

    3. “Natural News?” Yeah, that’s probably unbiased.

    4. I used to work on high frequency radios in the sub-terahertz band. I’d be willing to bet that their experiment did not operate over temperature swings. The sensitivity of the system to oscillator glitches at that frequency will be tremendous. Still, it’s an impressive achievement.

  16. Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup

    Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.

    The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials ? not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom ? helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.

    1. few lawmakers in fact have bothered to read the classified section of arguably the most important investigation in US history.

      Sheesh, they don’t even read the legislation they vote on, so ….

      Seriously, this is some, um, interesting stuff.

    2. Clearly blowback

    3. 15/19ths of the hijackers were Saudi.

      So those whose names cannot be used blamed Saddam Hussein.

      1. So those whose names cannot be used blamed Saddam Hussein.

        But in a tragic mistake, they accidentally invaded Afghanistan instead.

    4. Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”

      Bullshit! They can take the report and read it out loud in Congress when they have the floor. It’s perfectly legal.

      1. What they meant to say is that they are too chickenshit to rock the boat, so they’ll defer to the president and wring their hands so nothing comes back on them.

  17. Obviously a minimum wage issue.

    Wal-Mart Employee Arrested For Shooting Co-Worker’s Car Over Award

    Investigators said they’re still stumped on the exact motive for the shooting.

    “Perhaps (Mitchell) wanted to be employee of the month but clearly these actions that we saw in response to this, I think we see why he wasn’t chosen as employee of the month,” Coleman-Wright said.

    A Wal-Mart representative told CBS 4 News that Willie Mitchell no longer works for the company. The spokesperson also said that the employee of the month does not receive any money or gifts. She said it is strictly a recognition from the store.

    1. But I hear the Employee of the Month gets to hook up with a cute/thin Jessica Simpson… though she has dumbo ears.

      1. Some people find dumbo ears sexy. (No, I’m not one of those people; it’s just that there are some strange fetishes out there.)

    2. Perhaps they’ve overlooked the possible Monk scenario.

    3. If the minimum wage were higher, this never would have happened. More blood on the hands of the rethuglicans.

  18. French police make arrests over claims horses used in Sanofi drug tests sold as meat

    http://www.news.com.au/lifesty…..6784504616

  19. Stunt backfires on man in fishnets

    A chainsaw-wielding man wearing fishnet stockings chased a Mr Whippy van down the street after a stag party got out of hand.

    The stunt failed to amuse Mr Whippy, who feared for his safety and phoned police.

    Officers responding to the “quite bizarre” incident in Rangiora about 9pm on Saturday were able to easily identify the offender and arrested him for disorderly behaviour.

    After interviewing him at the police station they decided to release him with a pre-charge warning.

    1. “I fully understand the fears of the complainant,” Sergeant Colin Stewart said.

      “[But] it was a drunken antic. We used common sense and saw it as that.”

      These cops would never make it in America.

      1. American cops would have shot him.

        “he had a chainsaw!” “he was coming right at us” BLAMBLAMBLAM

    2. And almost all the Kiwis I have met have been level headed folk – maybe there are some sort of local conditions that cause them to act like this at home…?

      1. Perhaps they’d had to deal with one Aussie too many?

      2. A surfeit of sheep. Also they are not Australians. I don’t know why the latter is important, but they seem to feel it is.

        1. Sheep fumes and too much Steinlager?

        2. “Kiwi Dave” was a former poster here. He once ended a comment by mentioning that he wasn’t upset by something.

          I replied “no, what Kiwi Dave gets upset by is when Americans think he’s Australian.”

          He replied “This is true.”

    3. NZ cops are probably used to that sort of thing

    4. What’s a precharge warning?

    5. I blame The Rocky Horror Picture Show

  20. A Colorado high school student who shot two classmates before killing himself was reportedly an outspoken advocate of gun control

    “See, I just proved my own point!”

    1. “He walked the walk!”

  21. The content of today’s AM links are for Lame Depot.

  22. So I got a view on my LinkedIn profile from “Someone in Law Enforcement in Manhattan Beach”. I sure hope that was playa or jesse. Thank FSM I don’t have a dog.

    1. I don’t think Jesse or playa are in law enforcement.

      Unless they’re playing a practical joke on you.

      1. Maybe Dunphy is down there for a surfing exhibition.

        1. or a lifting competition.

          1. Doesn’t Morgan Fairchild live just up the way in Malibu?

            1. Yes, I think it is by the Fire Station.

              *If I remember he said he was a fireman, too.*

  23. Sikh newsstand owners fire Wiccan employee, UK tribunal grants large damage award for religious discrimination, the Sikhs believe it will bankrupt them.

    h/t religion clause blog

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..ation.html

    1. The great thing about the unimportant minorities is you don’t have to pick sides.

    1. The teacher should refer to Obama as a mulatto and see what happens.

      1. “That’s ‘Mulatto-in-Chief’ to *you*!”

        1. I prefer our Heroic Mulatto, m’self.

          1. Oh, snap!!

        2. Yes, but is he heroic?

      2. They could give the students the option of dressing up as a mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, or my libido. Neatly dodges any possible religious discrimination complaints as well.

          1. here we are now. Entertain us

    2. I hate it when people stereotype fictional characters like that…

      1. You know who else stereotyped fictional characters ….

      2. Claus is clearly a central european name, and no self-respecting minority would take it. Thus he must be white, or lack self-respect.

        1. Well, the fictional character is also based on the historical St. Nicholas, who was Greek.

          1. The American version is pretty much a knockoff of Father Christmas characters, who himself was a knockoff of one aspect of Odin.

            So he’s pretty damn white. Like, Scottish girl ass white.

            1. Like, Scottish girl ass white.

              I’m intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

              1. My boss’s boss is German/Irish and she has a lot of freckles, but frequently she wears tops that bare a significant amount of usually sun-hidden breast. Even after 48 years of the rest of here being in the sun, that stuff is blazing white.

            2. Pretty much. And the historic person, St. Nicholas, was a Roman soldier in Turkey. So I don’t see how you can get anything but white in there. It is what it is.

            3. Scottish girl ass white

              I’d prefer Pictish, but still, *drool*.

          2. Oh, no wonder he gives away everything, he has the fiscal prudence of the Greeks.

    3. Should have told them about his helper, BLACK PETE

      1. The tasks of the Zwarte Pieten are mostly to amuse children

        and to piss off political-correctness adherents.

        1. I like the Icelandic Yule Lads.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule_Lads
          Stekkjarstaur rapes sheep.

          1. each individual Lad ranging from mere pranksters to homicidal monsters who eat children.

            You know who else ranges from mere pranksters to homicidal monsters who eat children…

  24. Just started watching The Following yesterday. Holy shit, that show is intense! Very graphic, but good.

    Now that The Killing has been cancelled, I have a go-to crime drama again.

    1. If you like them bleak and depressing, Broadchurch was pretty good. I had to torrent it, though.

      1. Mr Free, have you watched The Fall yet? I watched that right after Broadchurch. Life is forever wintry and bleak now.

        1. The Fall was pretty good as well, but where they left it worries me.

          I’ve been on British crime show binge. Since Thanksgiving I’ve watched Wallander, Ripper Street, Copper, Broadchurch, The Fall and Case Histories. And the first season of Black Mirror and the entire run of Sugar Rush.

          As you might imagine, my insomnia has been at epic levels.

    2. Hannibal was much better in its first season. It was incredibly weird and genuinely disturbing… to the point where you kind of don’t want to watch it all.

      1. Good suggestion! I’ll make that my next binge.

    3. I hate crime dramas. Just thought I’d say that.

  25. Politico on Washington’s horizontal woes

    http://politi.co/1fgMBdi

    (Wait, never mind, it’s about architecture and city planning)

  26. So we held our yearly Christmas Party this weekend and I went to another. Yes, real Washington cocktail parties, though not exactly A list. At least when it comes to healthcare, it was like some kind of reverse universe universe where Spock wears a beard. Suddenly, a whole lot of people think the the government meddling in health care and health insurance is a really bad idea.

    1. And you didn’t chainsaw murder everyone in the room – you showed more restraint than I would have…

      1. I am perhaps a better Christian than I give myself credit for being.

        1. Humble and self-serving… bravo!

          1. The humblebrag.

          2. Well, I didn’t kill anyone this weekend. Not sure that is much of a brag. But it isn’t a bad thing.

    2. It wasn’t a bonafide cosmo cocktail party unless it was a Holiday Party.

      1. No. I am a heretic in Cosmo land. We have Christmas Parties.

      2. A Holiday Party… or a Holigay Party?

        1. The answer is obviously “yes”

    3. Peoples political opinions are usually based on how something affects them personally rather than actual moral principles, so it’s not too surprising.

    1. I have been watching sports for a long time, at both the college and pro levels.

      And I have never, ever, seen an athlete who was LESS clutch than Tony Romo.

      It’s like he thinks he’s the villain in everybody else’s sports movie.

      1. I see your point Fluffy, but I’ve always hated that term ‘clutch.’

        How can we really objectively measure it?

        1. How can we really objectively measure it?

          We can solve for it as X by:

          Z – Y = X

          Where Z is the number of Romo fuckups, and Y is the number of fuckups made by anyone else.

      2. So, do we assume that Jerry Jones goes back on his earlier statements and fires Jason Garrett?

        1. judge for yourself:

          “I was firm for one night at that time and that doesn’t call for me having to be firm every morning I get up,” Jones said, via Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.” (in response to his earlier vote of confidence of Jason Garret)

          Also, cue the viagra jokes in 3…2…1

          1. Yep, he’s done. I’d say even if they make the playoffs he may get fired if they don’t make progress.

            1. Have to agree. I would have thought JJ would understand his winning formula by now:

              1. hire a great coach and give him complete authority for 2-3 years.
              2. Fire coach after putting together a decent team and hire a Yes-Man who will do what you want.
              3. Win with good team (with diminishing returns) for 2-3 years
              4. Rinse and repeat

      3. I suggested earlier this year that the Cowboys need a closer QB.

        If they have the lead in the 4th, the coach goes to the bullpen. They dont need a great QB in the 4th, just one who wont lose them games. There are plenty of cheap backups that could do the job.

        1. It’s funny, but I’ve jokingly suggested when talking football with people that Dallas should sign Tim Tebow and let Romo play the first 3 quarters, and then Tebow plays the fourth. Since Romo has a habit of playing great for 3 quarters only to fuck up at the end, and Tebow is the polar opposite: plays like shit for 3 quarters and then turns it on at the end for the miracle win. I’m starting to think maybe it shouldn’t be a joke…

          That said, Tony Romo wasn’t on defense yesterday. They gave up 5 TDs in the 2nd half to an offense that didn’t do shit in the first half.

        2. Or, a December QB.

      4. He seems to be cursed. It is not only that he is not clutch it is that the Cowboys never seem to bail him out. Even the most clutch QBs would fuck up sometimes. But when Elway or Montana would fuck up, their defense or receivers would often bail them out. But that never happens for Romo. Any other quarterback might have gotten lucky and had the defense stop the Packers from scoring after that int. But not Romo. He is like some figure out of Greek tragedy.

      5. I have never, ever, seen an athlete who was LESS clutch than Tony Romo

        Tony Romo’s shittiness explained.

        “We always want to highlight the athletes who perform on nearly superhuman levels,” “Sports Science” host John Brenkus said. “And really, nobody in sports presents a better case study of a player who spectacularly collapses under the pressure of a professional athletic stage than Tony Romo.”

    2. Yeah, well, it was pretty retarded of the coaches to not run the ball more often.

      A real coach would know how to handle Romo. He’s a solid QB.

      Favre was pretty much an INT wreck too.

      1. You don’t think Romo could learn to throw the ball out of bounds once in a while?

        1. The team puts up points.

          How about the defense take some shit.

          Oh wait. No easy scapegoat there.

          I hate the Cowboys but Romo is not alone on this.

          1. “Oh wait. No easy scapegoat there.”

            Yes there is.

            Jerry Jones

            If you’re going to be the Owner/GM then you take full blame for only fielding half a team

            1. Jerry Jones plays defense?

              Kidding aside, in the end I guess it does end with him.

            2. I, for one, blame Bush.

      2. Jason Garrett said that one of them was a called run play, and The Loser audibled and changed it to a pass. You could tell that Garrett was pretty pissed off.

        1. Meh. They should have been running the ball draining the clock with such a lead.

          Mike, on the sidelines it looked as though Romo and Whitten were pissed.

          1. “They should have been running the ball draining the clock with such a lead.”

            “Jason Garrett said that one of them was a called run play”

            I guess you don’t fucking speak english, they were trying to run the ball, and idiot choke artist QB called an audible, which changed the play from the correct choice, a run, to a pass.

            What are you not getting here? The fucking coach called a run, he can’t run the fucking play himslef, so I don’t understand what you’re bitching about here.

            THEY WERE RUNNING THE BALL. Or at least trying to, until idiot choke artist QB decided to change the fucking play to a pass, and throw a pick.

        2. Yeah. And the play audibled to was not a quick thing, like a slant, but some elaborate bullshit.

          That is ultimately a coaching problem, but the Cowboys are just idiots top to bottom.

      3. And with that defense, I don’t see how running the clock was a winning strategy. The Packers had the ball six times in the second half and scored five touchdowns and took a victory knee on the last possession. Romo was playing the odds by going for it. Giving the ball back to the Packers was almost certainly giving them a touchdown.

        1. Packers are 25th in run defense, and they were giving up 8 yards on average against us in the run. Running the ball would not have hurt us.

          1. when the defense knows you’re running, and in those situations runs tend to be safe up-the-middle things, it’s not tough stop. It’s like the prevent offense.

          2. But they were putting 11 guys in the box. The running game worked in the first half because Green Bay played a normal defense and are as you point out terrible. But even a terrible defense can stop the run with 11 guys in the box.

            But I was more referring to the interception on the pass to Austin. I think in that situation Romo was right to go for the pass. Running the ball and running clock was not going to work considering how badly Dallas’ defense was playing.

            1. ^^This. I’ve seen “playing it safe” work less frequently than being aggressive. It just gets called into question more when the aggressive move ends with a bad result. Which is why coaches still insist on playing the prevent defense in the last two minutes, despite the fact that they so often get burned. No one calls them out on it.

            2. But they were putting 11 guys in the box.

              IIRC, on the pass play to Austin they had so many guys in the box because they were blitzing. I’m not sure if that’s the play where the coaches called a run and Romo audibled to a pass or not, but if so, he should have audibled to a screen I would think. Or just take the sack and live to play another down or THROW THE FUCKING BALL AWAY. Instead, he tried to force it late to a reciever who wasn’t all that open by the time he threw it (Austin was open for a split second, but by the time Romo avoided the rush and threw the ball he wasn’t, plus he threw it a little behind Austin, all of which allowed Shields to catch up).

        2. Yeah but John, 14 of 15 plays was it were pass plays? Man, run half of those and maybe you hang on.

          1. I was referring to the play to Austin in particular. But yes, Dallas should have run the ball more in the second half.

          2. “14 of 15 plays was it were pass plays? ”

            And as has been explained to you, Romo called audibles.

            PLease try to keep up, you’re just repeating the same stupid crap over and over, well after it’s been explained why you’re wrong.

      4. Still, that was an epic comeback, even if the Cowboys choked.

    3. I will defend Romo on this. He made a ballsy play to audible to the pass. And it was an incredible piece of athletic genius to avoid Clay Matthews getting the sack. The reason why Green Bay intercepted the pass is because Mile Austin had his head up his ass and deepened the route. Had Austin run the route correctly running on a knife edge straight accross them middle instead of drifting deeper allowing the defensive back to step inside, the ball would have never been intercepted. From the first day of high school football receivers are taught to run sharp straight routes. That is football 101. And Austin didn’t do that because Dallas is an undisciplined team that constantly fails in the small details. And that is not Romo’s fault. That ultimately comes from the undisciplined owner.

      1. I agree with John. I don’t think the criticism is fair. Too easy to pile on Romo.

        Now, if we want to eviscerate the Eagle for dropping a lemon in Minnesota, then I’m all for that.

        48 points allowed with no Peterson. Ridiculous. Inexcusable. They could have sealed the division.

        1. The Eagles let Matt Cassel, one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history, light them up. There is no excuse for that. I was ready to buy into the Eagles until this weekend. Now, no way.

          1. Hyperbole Much?

            Cassel isn’t that bad. Watched him play in NE and KC. He is more in the mold of a Kyle Orton. Put him in the right situation and he’ll do well, but don;t expect him to carry you like an elite QB. Afterall, he’s had past successes and has more TD’s than INT’s for his career. He’s a good back-up.

            1. I watched him be responsible for 28 turnovers in his last year in Kansas City. He is horrible. Kyle Orton is Payton Manning compared to Cassel. I have never seen a quarterback who turned the ball over that much and was that worthless. The only two seasons he has ever had where he wasn’t an abject embarrassment was in NE in 08 and Kansas City in 10. In both years, the entire offense was built around managing Cassel’s incompetence and doing everything to keep him from losing the game. On his best day, Cassel is a game manager that offensive coaches pray can properly hand off the ball and make the most basic of throws when asked to.

              1. Matt Cassel
                Comp Perc 59.1
                TD?INT 91-62
                Passing yards 14,999
                Passer rating 81.3

                Kyle Orton
                Percentage 58.4
                TD?INT 81-57
                Passing yards 14,621
                QB Rating 79.7

                Thanks for playing. See the receptionist on your way out about the consolation prize

                1. Go look at Cassel’s numbers outside the two years I mentioned. The average for a career doesn’t tell the entire story. Outside of those two years, his QBR is 50, 30 and 31. He has two years of a QBR below 32. That is epically bad. Orton in contrast is just a consistently crappy QB. He has never had a QBR under 60 since his rookie year. Cassel is something much worse.

                  Thanks for playing. And you can thank me later for the lesson in how to properly use statistics.

                  1. Actually, i disagree. First, you need to check your stats, Cassel has ONLY one season with a rating below 60 and in that season he went 4for7 for 38 yards and an INT for the entire season. You sir, are JUKING and straight up mutilating the stats to get where you want to go.

                    Second, since you can never fully evaluate the talent and coaching around a player (ie rebuilding or throw-away year for a team) it is much better to look at both the overall arch of a players career and individual seasons. While I will concede that Orton has a slightly more consistent QBR, he also played for teams that asked him to do a lot less (the entirety of his Bears and Denver career). While with the bears he just had to not turn the ball over. Cassel OTOH has had years where he was the entirety of the offense (2 out of 3 years in KC). Also, although he deviated from his career mean less than Cassel, he showed a slightly lower overall ceiling than Cassel while having a slightly higher floor.

                    Also, when you look at the various Offensive coordinators, they have had they both excelled under McDaniel/Weis OC and were sub par under the dregs of the OC coaching pool like Haley and Ron Turner.

                    Third, if we only look at seasons where they made more than 75 attempts (otherwise stats are quite skewed with small sample size – ie playing in mop up time and making 7 total attempts)

                    you get:
                    MC – QBR-TD-INT
                    90-21-11
                    70-16-16
                    93-27-7
                    76-10-9
                    67-6-12
                    91-9-5

                    KO:
                    60-9-13
                    80-18-12
                    87-21-12
                    88-20-9
                    76-8-7

                  2. Also, both players only had 1 season (with more INT’s than TD).

                    That is about as close as you can get without being the same player. Methinks you might be relying too heavily on anecdotal evidence rather than true production. It’s easy to do and it’s whats terrible and great about sports!

        2. That was just embarassing.

          I’m not sure that a single division has ever had a worse day than the NFC East had yesterday.

        3. The Vikings always seem to play a little better against the NFC East.

          I remember a few years ago when they beat the Giants in New York by returning a kickoff, a punt, and an interception for a touchdown. They won 24-21 on a last second field goal.

          Truly amazing and pathetic at the same time, but it was a W.

      2. I agree with this (and I’m an Eagles fan!).

        Though I hope Jerry Jones lives another 50 years.

        1. I’m thoroughly frustrated with the Eagles.

          Like, John, I was on the cusp of believing in them. Maybe they had a chance against Seattle or SF.

          Now?

          Not so sure.

          Let’s see how they finish up.

          1. This week is what I feared the defense would be all year. I’m not sure how they’ve done it up to this point. But it certainly collapsed yesterday.

            At the very least, the worst that can happen to the Eagles is that the Week 17 game is for the division, though they could possibly clinch it next week. I’m not sure what to believe. I didn’t think the rebuilding could happen this quickly though. Had figured on a 7-9, 8-8 season. Knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

            (And the draft next year needs to be defensive backs in the first 3 rounds)

            1. They’re 9-29 against the Bears historically.

              Just saying.

              The Bears can move the ball and fighting for a division too. With that Eagles defense…

              Again. Just saying.

            2. At the very least, the worst that can happen to the Eagles is that the Week 17 game is for the division

              Which pretty much guarantees they’ll win it. The Cowgirls are, what, 1-7 in playoffs and/ or elimination games with Romo at QB. Simply pathetic.

      3. I suspect Austin isn’t 100% healthy too. He’s normally better than that. Romo still should have thrown the ball away or led Austin a little more in addition to throwing it lower so that the only person who could possibly make a play on it was Austin.

        I can’t remember if it was 3rd down or not, but even if it was, worst case scenario is it’s 4th down and you punt it away and make Green Bay drive a lot further, possibly the length of the field if your special teams can down it deep in their territory. Although the way Dallas’ defense was playing it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, but you still have a better chance than turning it over to them on the 50.

        Really that 2nd half was just a clusterfuck all the way around. You can blame the coaches, the defense, Miles Austin, Tony Romo, or all of the above. I choose all of the above.

      4. “is because Mile Austin had his head up his ass”

        Nope.

        As was explained on the broadcast by a professional who know way more than you, the recievers did exactly what they were supposed to do, and Romo threw the ball to the wrong place.

        You’re simply wrong.

        1. The audible called by romo send to recievers to specific spots. They were in them when romo threw to the wrong place.

          It’s not up for debate in any way.

          1. Yes it is. Austin ran a shitty inpercise route that allowed the DB to undercut the route and intercept the ball. As for the last interception, the slot receiver stopped short in the flat because he was afraid to get hit by the DB who was covering the wide out but had mistakenly broken off to double cover him. The receiver should have kept going and caught the ball and taken the hit. Instead he stopped short and the DB got the INT.

            Both of those INTs were the receiver’s fault not Romo. Anyone who knows anything about football and has watched the tape knows that.

        2. I know what a proper crossing route should look like. And it should not involve the receiver drifting deep and allowing the DB to undercut the route. the broadcast professional was full of shit.

    4. did Romo give up those Packer scores, too?

    5. My uncle is a huge Romo apologist and still denies the loss is his fault.

      1. Yeah I have a friend who is a Cowboys fan and he loved arguing with me in the past over Romo vs. Flacco.

        He hasn’t talked football with me since February.

        1. Flacco operates within a very strong coaching system. Sorta like Brodeur with the Devils in the hey-day in the 90s and early 2000s.

          The Cowboys are just a mess.

      2. Never a Cowboys a fan, but I too didn’t get on the Romo-Hate-Train.

        I’m beginning to turn though. Yes, the D gives up a lot of scores, but he does fuck up quite a bit. You can qualify the situation all you like, but his Hall Of Fame highlight reel isn’t going to be very exciting or memorable.

    6. Related: I was flying yesterday, so I missed football, but I come home to find out that Eli has thrown 5 fucking INTs. And the Bears have won.

      No, but seriously… wtf with Eli this year? Secret injury or something?

      1. Kevin Gilbride’s offense is no longer obsolescent but full obsolete.

      2. Eli is fucking lucky to have the receiving corps he’s had – imagine Brady if he’d have that! I’ve rarely seen a QB float passes like him and get away with him. I still can’t believe he was two rings.

    7. NNOOOOO! Not a football thread.

  27. Rarely do I consider an actor or entertainer to be a hero or someone I would like to be. But Peter O’Toole was an exception.

    I once had the pleasure of interviewing O’Toole for my college newspaper when he came to my home town of Fair Oaks, Calif., to shoot scenes for his 1980 movie The Stunt Man. We had a beer at the local Stockman’s Bar and he proved a delightful raconteur. But when it came to politics, the son of a bookmaker made it clear he was loyal to his Labour-party roots. He had some biting words for his fellow actor Ronald Reagan, who was preparing to run for president.

    But O’Toole could also laugh at himself. He recalled that after he struck it rich in the 1960s, he tried to bully everyone in his household into voting Labour. He thought he had succeeded with everyone, until his working-class driver told him he had taken the Rolls down to the polling station and voted Conservative because his own taxes were too high.

    That, he said, got him to thinking. He admitted his fellow actors Michael Caine and Sean Connery had a point when they said Britain’s high tax rates did discourage work, and moved themselves overseas.

    http://nationalreview.com/corn…..-john-fund

    Would love to have had a beer with him.

    1. George Harrison wrote ‘Taxman’ because they realized the government stole most of their money.

      1. Mick Jagger was a bit of a closet Tory as well. People forget that the really important people in the 1960s were not Boomers. They were all born in the 30s and early 40s and part of the silent generation. And a lot of them had more commons sense about things and were much less leftist than their Boomer fans like to believe.

        1. and people born in the 30s/40s had parents who saw the Depression up close and personal. Might have influenced their perspective a little bit.

        2. There was a story earlier this year (I think) where Jagger told one of his ex-wives that he wasn’t going to be giving their kids houses & money that she demanded. Basically he said if people get something for nothing it screws up their work ethic.

          1. Jagger apparently is one of the few people who attended the LSE in the last fifty years who actually seemed to have learned something about incentives.

          2. Rod Stewart has said the same thing. I believe I heard him on Howard Stern.

            Same with Daltry.

            They seem to have their heads screwed on properly now.

        3. My Dad was in that generation and he had little respect for Boomers. He once told me to remember that not everyone in the 1960s was a hedonistic irresponsible fool dancing around bonfires and living off the work of others.

          1. My parents were both in that generation. And they had much of the same disdain for the boomers. They also hated the way popular culture portrayed the 1950s as this strange conformist family sitcom. At least according to them, most of the interesting stuff that the 1960s takes credit for happened in the 1950s and in a much more interesting way.

      2. George Harrison wrote ‘Taxman’ because they realized the government stole most of their money.

        From what I understand, Harrison was the only one perturbed by it, and Lennon more or less thought him an ignoramus for it.

        1. Just finished reading a book on Harrison’s film company, which fell apart because his manager was ripping him off. I wonder if he tolerated the guy for so long because he was always trying to minimise his tax

          1. Didn’t Shanghai Surprise bankrupt that company?

            1. Nope, but it was a bruising experience* and it didn’t help. The manager was raising money for films and naming Harrison as guarantor, and then taking the profits, despite not having put anything in. Money got squirrelled away, swapped between the manager’s and Harrison’s companies, and generally disappearing to exciting Caribbean islands. Harrison nearly went bust.

              * Sean Penn is described in the book simply as a cunt

              1. I heard Harrison describe making that movie as “trying to make a comedy with two people (Madonna and Penn) who were not funny.

                Amazing how many shady managers rip off entertainment figures. Billy Joel lost every dime he made in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was bankrupt in around 1984. He had to start from nothing and make it all back because he accountant literally stole every dime he had.

                1. I saw a little bit of that story about Billy Joel in the doc “Last Play at Shea.” His kid said that the accountant was a family friend and Joel just trusted him even when there was evidence that he was stealing b/c he just couldn’t believe his old friend would do that. Apparently the fiasco was also a significant factor in his break up with Christie Brinkley.

                  1. What a scum bag. Your friend makes it huge in the music business and takes you along for the ride by making you his accountant and you pay him back by stealing all his money. That brings scumbag to a new level. There are a lot of thieves out there. But it takes a particularly loathsome brand of thief to steal from their friends.

                2. Badfinger got it bad too.

                  Shortly after Molland’s departure, management sent the band back into the studio again in an apparent ploy to receive another advance from Warner Brothers. Badfinger recorded for two weeks at Apple Studios with Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise producing. The proposed album was to be called Head First. In the meantime, Wish You Were Here was released in November of 1974 to glowing reviews and brisk sales without the benefit of a single being released yet. Many consider it Badfinger’s greatest album.

                  Unfortunately, disaster would strike the band yet again. Warner Brothers’ publishing division had become increasingly troubled by missing escrow funds. Unbeknownst to the band, Stan Polley had been ignoring inquiries into the missing funds for nearly a year. Because of the missing funds, WB Music sued Badfinger and the label pulled Wish You Were Here from release. Furthermore, when Head First was submitted, it was rejected by Warner Brothers due to the litigation and remained unreleased until November of 2000. Salary checks to the band soon stopped and the band’s financial situation worsened. Polley would not take or return calls. On April 24, 1975, Pete Ham hanged himself in his garage studio. He left a note cursing Stan Polley. This was the final page?in the final chapter?of the original Badfinger band lineup.

                  http://www.badfingersite.com/h…..-brothers/

        2. Lennon was back then. But at least according to his girlfriend he changed in the 70s and became a bit of a Reagan Democrat who would laugh at both himself for having such dumb views when he was younger and his friends’ who continued to hold such.

          1. Reagan Democrat as a comparison, right? Not arguing with your overall point but Lennon was murdered 12/1980 and I’m not sure the RD term was being used that early?

            1. I didn’t mean it literally. I meant it as a descriptive term of someone who was liberal when young but got older and realized that taxes and regulation were a problem. According to his g/f Lennon really liked Reagan. They met once in the mid 1970s in the booth of a Monday Night football game of all places and by all accounts got along famously. Wouldn’t that have been a hell of a sight to see?

              1. Imagine all the people…

              2. Truly. Would have short-circuited more than a few political brains seeing that.

        3. John Lennon was an arrogant fuckwit. In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

  28. Google is moving into the robotics realm in a big way: Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company the internet giant has acquired in the past six months. What Google plans to do with all this robot knowledge hasn’t been made expressly known.

    Skynet isn’t going to build itself. Well, not at first.

  29. Ugh. Florida Public Defenders to back warning shot bill. Instead of repealing 10-20-Life, they want to put an exception in for people who would otherwise have a 20 year minimum for discharging a gun in “self-defense” while committing a separate crime. Their poster girl is Marissa Alexander (the Jacksonville woman who claimed to fear for her life while illegally being in her baby daddy’s house, and later violated a no contact order by confronting him with a gun). Its a fractal of suck. Just repeal the 10-20-Life law.

    1. The issue is that the prosecutor’s bar is far, far too powerful in this state. I mean, they’re far too powerful in all states, but Florida sometimes seems worse than most. That and I don’t see any movement in the legislature that could possibly push a bill like that through.

      1. Maybe. I’ve seen general agreement from some friends who work at the Capitol that any Pot amendment will pass if it gets on the ballot. I think the law & order has hit its max and is pulling back. Prisons or Medicare/Medicaid is going to be the issue for the rest of the 20-teens. Prisons will lose, is my guess.

        1. Oh, I have no doubt that medical marijuana will pass if it gets on the ballot (should even get the 60% requirement, though it’d be close). I’ve been working in a few respects in that for a few years. But I doubt that a repeal 10-20-Life could make it through the legislature. And I can’t see it hitting the 60% requirement for a constitutional amendment if it went to a public vote.

    1. how will next week’s “light work schedule” be distinguishable from the norm?

      1. Not so many dead kids

    2. 17 days of vacation while millions live in anxiety wondering if they’ll have health insurance come Jan.1.

      Sounds about right.

      1. Dude, do you really want him providing control inputs to correct the chaos his created ny his narcissism?

        1. Just think of the Pacific as a giant moat to keep the angry masses away from his lordship.

  30. The right-wing fanatics at Vanity Fair warn about the deadly dangers of the NuvaRing contraceptive –

    http://fb.me/25dZp23rT

    1. And if that article were written about any other class of product you would be arguing how stupid it was

      1. And you know this hecause…?

  31. When I read the headline that both sides in the Senate support slashing the ethanol mandate, I thought I had entered bizarro world. Then I saw that the corn guys had just lost the subsidy battle to the new guys who are more geographically diverse.

    Odd-couple pairing Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced a measure to remove the corn ethanol segment of the mandate, which accounts for an overwhelming majority of domestic biofuel production.

    Their concerns lined up with those expressed by the EPA, the oil industry, automakers, and agriculture and poultry groups. The lawmakers said the mandate’s annual targets are accelerating too fast, forcing refiners to pump out fuel with higher concentrations of ethanol that opponents say harm car engines. They also said that corn ethanol is having an adverse impact on crop land and is driving up food prices.

    “I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy,” Feinstein said.

    1. and I suppose no one will bother to ask why ethanol or any other biofuel is the business of Congress, will they?

    2. I hope they kill it. But if they do, the giant bubble in farm land is finally going to pop. And that is going to be pretty ugly.

      1. It will be good for barley production.

        Corn was eating into barley land.

        1. Corn was doing a lot of things. It was putting all kinds of land into production that shouldn’t be there. And it has driven the cost of farmland to insane levels.

          My wife and I were thinking of buying some land out where my Grandparents’ farm was for a tax write off and just to be able to own land near where my grandparents did. We decided against it after we found out that land that produced around $20 an acre per year in income was selling for around $1800 an acre.

          You never buy farmland to get rich and you have to be prepared to lose money. But that is ridiculous. It is the result of a enormous speculative bubble.

        2. The ethanol lobby here in the midwest ran some ads a couple of years back when there were stories that corn for ethanol was contributing to food shortages elsewhere (still don’t know if that was true). They said this wasn’t true because the land used to grow ethanol corn had not been used to grow non-ethanol corn.

          Yep, really, that was their argument.

        3. It’ll be good for 6-row barley and stuff that will make fuel alcohol but not necessarily good for beverage alcohol feed stocks.

          1. The two are relatively interchangeable, at least according to a presentation I saw last year.

            Whether you sell to maltsters or to feed stock depends in part on the quality of the growing season.

            1. I’ve always thought the six-row was higher yield but considered lower quality for brewing.

              1. For 6-row, mostly true.

                2-row is used for both beer and feed stock.

                And 6-row is commonly used by the big brewers, it has some advantages, in that it has more diastatic power than 2-row, so can help conversion if you have large rice or corn percentages in the mash.

                http://morebeer.com/brewingtec…..hwarz.html

    3. God, I hate ethanol fuels. The whole reason I went into chemical engineering was that I thought I could design a process that would make it profitable (corn, cellulosic, whatever). What I found out was that no way would it be profitable or even economically competitive without serious subsidies, and I refused to be party to that. Well guess what? It’s not economic without significant subsidies and mandates.

      1. Apparently it is actually competitive if you use sugar rather than corn. But using sugar would require us buying the stuff from Brazil. Since buying it from Brazil doesn’t get any cronies rich, Congress has effectively banned the import of Brazilian ethanol.

        1. It’s not, really, as far as I remember. The sugar industry is heavily subsidized (especially in Brazil).

          1. That doesn’t surprise me. The thing is drilling for oil is really expensive and risky as hell. If it were possible to make gas out of food, that is what people would have done rather than drilling for oil. As risky as farming can be, it is rock solid safe compared to exploring for oil.

            It never fails to amaze me how people believe their own lies. I think a good number of people in Congress and government honestly think that the only reason the economy uses so much oil is because of some evil plot by the oil companies and not because oil is an amazing product that produces huge amounts of energy from a relatively small amount of fuel.

            1. What’s interesting is that as expensive as drilling is, some of the oil companies out here in Western PA are drilling and then capping the wells immediately. I think that has a lot to do with leases that lapse after seven years or so if no action has been taken by the company. There’s a big drill pad about 5 miles from my house that I fly over occasionally. It’s just the pad, with no well yet, but that’s probably enough to keep the lease going.

              1. You have to drill in so many years or you lose the lease. You also have to pay so much an acre every year to keep the lease if you don’t drill. So they drill to ensure they have the lease forever. Unless it is a big producing well, the smart thing to do is to cap it and wait until the price is high and then let it produce. Every well only has so much oil or gas. So it makes sense to sell it when the market is high rather than all at once.

                Small producing wells are shut in in all but the highest of markets.

                1. Yeah, we’re looking at leasing our property now. The old lease (negotiated by the previous owners) expired and there are rumors that there is going to be another drill pad going in nearby. They are doing blocks of, I think, 600 acres, around here.

                  1. Just pray for oil DB. Pray for oil. A good oil well really will make you rich. A gas well will give you some walking around money if you are lucky.

                    1. A gas well will give you some walking around money if you are lucky.

                      My uncle has natural gas wells. He doesnt make a lot off it, but it provides the secondary benefit of free natural gas for his house and his daughter’s house (both on the farm).

                      So they have, obviously, switched everything they can over to running on gas instead of electricity.

                      So that, plus some walking around money, as you said.

                    2. My family has a piece of the gas wells that on my grandparents land. In good years my dad will get a couple of thousand dollars. In bad years five or six hundred. It is basically free money so no complaints here. But oil wells will produce ten or twenty thousand a month.

            2. Did you know that some engineer invented a car that runs on water, and the oil industry bought him off with a million a year guaranteed income and destroyed his notes and prototypes?

              True story, man.

              1. I used to have an employee who believed that kind of shit. Too bad his father was VP of HR.

              2. I remember hearing that bullshit when I was a kid. My father being a lot smarter than me put it to bed in my mind by pointing out one simple fact. If there was such a thing as the 200 mpg carburetor or car that runs on water, don’t you think the USSR, who would obtain a huge advantage from it and have spent the last 60 years stealing industrial secrets from the West, wouldn’t have already stole it and be using it?

                Somehow I guess the Soviets didn’t use it out of kindness to the evil capitalist oil companies I guess.

                1. Did you know that the Soviets invented a car that runs on water, and the oil industry hired kulaks and wreckers to sabotage the effort to make it look like a failure? The engineers were sent to siberia, and the sabotaged prototypes were melted down for scrap.

                  True story, man.

        2. The other thing is that the separation of ethanol from water (a necessity in fermentation-based processes) is very energy intensive, making the net energy yielded from the fuel vs. used in its production very low to negative.

          1. The best plan I’ve seen is some guys who have a salt water based process in giant, long plastic bags in FL that get a preferential evaporation so the gas-phase is lie, 40 proof before it goes to the ‘still. Its still a long way from 20% to 99.99%. Not sure what they were using to break the azeotrope. Probably something “dirty” like toluene.

            1. I think that until there is a low pressure membrane capable of separating ethanol from water that the separation costs will dominate the economics. Some nanotech mirqcle may.make.it happen but I am not holding my breath.

            2. I messed around with the concept.of pervaporation for a while using hydrophilic membranes. It sounds like maybe they are making it work to a degree using the large bags and sunlight. Neat.

              1. IANAE, but it does seem like solar would be more effective in that application since there’s much less conversion loss.

                1. This was a company doing pilot plant testing on the Gulf Coast, south of Tampa. They had some sort of brackish, estuarial critter that lived in salt water and shat ethanol. They then got passive solar evaporation. So something like 40x concentration “for free” since they wanted to segregate their critters from the outside world anyhow. I’m not doing them justice.

                  1. “These are my pet amoebas. They poop booze.”

                    1. Best. Pets. Ever.

                    2. You don’t have pet yeasts who will do that for you? Are you the only non-brewer on this board?

                    3. Fuck no, man. I’ve been brewing for years.

      2. Huh. I did the same, only mine was going to be algae biodiesel at wastewater plants. Fairly closed loop, using the waste glycerine to treat the water and the dried proteins for methanol fermentation and sale as forage material. I still think I could save a city utility some money, but it is definitely a value-add, not stand alone profitable, business model and I don’t happen to own a wastewater plant.

        1. I was pretty disillusioned by the time I realized it couldn’t really be profitable absent much higher energy prices or subsidies. Of course, it all makes sense in a sci fi book that “free energy” from the sun is cheap and efficient, but in reality the background costs overwhelm the enterprise.

  32. SANTA BRAWL!
    http://deadspin.com/drunken-sa…..1483649522

  33. Mike Rowe posts his interview with Nick on the Facebooks and for reasons I have yet to comprehend, the comments are actually very good.

    1. It is because women are the lead in any social situation. And women generally consider Rowe to be really hot and thus will listen to what he says causing the men to follow.

      1. What’s weird(est) is that you would usually see at least one brain-dead proglodyte shitting up the comments, but not a single one here.

        1. They don’t want to offend their wives and g/fs who all have crushes on Rowe.

          1. Also, people who watch a show called Dirty Jobs probably have views more market sympathies than say, the Oprah demographic.

  34. The teenage gunman who entered Arapahoe High School on Friday afternoon and shot two fellow students with a shotgun was outspoken about politics, was a gifted debater and might have been bullied for his beliefs, according to students who knew him.

    The important thing is this is still the fault of those nasty EVUL RETHUGLIKKKANZ. They bullied him into it, you see. /DERPITY DERP

    1. Who is the bully here? I think the “debater” who resorted to a shotgun is a strong candidate.

      1. Dammit, this has happened twice, today.

    2. I believe the girl who got shot point blank is the one who got bullied. Is there no level they will sink to.

      1. Is there no level they will sink to.

        To smear their political opponents? No. No there isn’t.

        1. There isn’t. If he had been a conservative, the shooting would be a direct result of the climate of hate created by the right. But since he was a communist, the shooting is the result of the evil republicans in his school bullying him.

          The are so obsessed with believing that the Right is violent. It is getting increasingly reasonable to believe that they want to Right to be violent or better yet perceived to be violent so that they will have a justification for the violence they wish to inflict on the Right.

  35. NYSlimes reports Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Laws on Gun Control

    I implore you, DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS!

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