Monday, February 29, 2016

"It Speaks!"

The Daily Mail's headline "IT SPEAKS! Justice Clarence Thomas asks a question in court for the first time in 10 YEARS in gun case" would be considered racist if they weren't talking about a conservative.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ted Cruz: Zodiac Killer?

While a 62 percent majority of voters answered "No" when asked if they believed Cruz was responsible for the string of murders in the early 70s, 10 percent answered "Yes" and an additional 28 percent said they were unsure.
Maybe Cruz spent his pre-birth and infancy killing people, but I seriously doubt it.

Maybe people who answer polls are idiots. The circumstantial evidence for this one is pretty good, although some could be trolls, answering annoying questions with obviously wrong answers.

The poll was done in Florida, so it could be bored, lonely seniors or drug dealers, because, really, who else is going to answer when they don't know who's calling?

Maybe They're Homeopathic

Tests on some top store brand herbal supplements showed that four out of five didn't contain any of the herbs shown on the label.
Among the attorney general’s findings was a popular store brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens, promoted for “physical endurance and vitality,” that contained only powdered garlic and rice. At Walmart, the authorities found that its ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhancer, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat — despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat- and gluten-free.
Three out of six herbal products at Target — ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root, a sleep aid — tested negative for the herbs on their labels. But they did contain powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots. And at GNC, the agency said, it found pills with unlisted ingredients used as fillers, like powdered legumes, the class of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans, a hazard for people with allergies. 

Those Poor Trains

Bill Wants to Answer Question About Benghazi

Not really. He says he does, but he never does answer.

Instead he says that the marine's mind has been poisoned by lies.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Because That's What Leaders Do

There's a NYT editorial asking Hillary Clinton to produce the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs. When previously asked to do this, she replied:
I am happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups.
Because that's what leaders do, wait for everyone else to do something first, then do it.

Her refusal to release the transcripts just makes it all look sketchier. More than what she said to them, I'd like to know how much time before/after the speeches she spent with them. How much opportunity did they have to tell her what they'd like in return for paying her $225k per speech?

Christie Endorses Trump!

This is yuge!
At Friday’s news conference announcing the endorsement, which was peppered with demeaning insults of Mr. Rubio by the two men, Mr. Christie repeatedly attacked Mr. Rubio, calling his behavior at the debate “desperate” and reflective of a “losing campaign.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Bersih 4" T-shirts Illegal in Malaysia

So a hundred thousand people wore the yellow t-shirts. What's the government going to do, arrest everyone?

The t-shirts are in protest to government corruption. Nearly $700 million had been deposited into the prime minister's personal bank account. No explanation of who or why, just his assurance that there's been no wrongdoing.

People being dissatisfied with this and expressing that dissatisfaction by wearing protest t-shirts is being called a national security threat. More like job security threat (for the politicians), but it's not as if they're suppressing free speech:
“The reality in Malaysia is that there is freedom of expression without fear of prosecution,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

No 1st Amendment Right to Take Cellphone Videos of Police

A federal judge in Philadelphia has ruled that citizens don’t have a First Amendment right to take cellphone videos of police unless they are challenging or criticizing the police conduct.
 The judge did allow that they had a 4th Amendment claim, just not one under the 1st Amendment since they weren't expressing anything to the police by taking the video.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Crocuses Are Blooming!

This means Spring is coming, right? I'm ready for it, even if it means sinus headaches from allergies. It's better than cold winter weather.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Boxers or Bikinis?

The winner of a transgender beauty pageant was stripped of her title for not being transgender enough. It seems there's footage in a new documentary that shows her wearing boxer shorts.
"When Jai entered the competition, she said she was full time and she is not - she is a drag queen. The documentary showed her living as a gay male in her boxer shorts.
Underwear is very important to transgender females - one of the first thing people do is change their underwear as it makes us feel like we are finally a woman."
So, it's not whether you have an X or a Y chromosome. It's not whether you mentally and emotionally feel like a man or a woman. It's your underwear that decides your gender. I don't know what that means for those of you who go commando.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Build a Wall or a Bridge

Sometimes you can do both.

Hadrian's Wall "was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in 122 AD during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea. It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum (another ditch with adjoining mounds). It is thought that the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been used as customs posts."

The Bridge of Angels "is a Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber, from the city center to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant'Angelo. The bridge is faced with travertine marble and spans the Tiber with five arches, three of which are Roman; it was approached by means of ramp from the river."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chuck "Voice of Wall Street in Washington" Schumer Totally Didn't Say What He Said

Senator Chuck Schumer claims that the situation now is completely different from what it was when he said what he claims he didn't really say. Of course it's different, there's a Democratic president now.

With respect to the Supreme Court at least, I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances. They must prove by actions, not words, that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not. 
I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining Roberts and Alito on the court.
In 2006, it was Schumer's amendment to legislation that kept the S.E.C. from over-seeing credit rating agencies. The next year he was pushing for relaxation of regulations over Wall Street financial companies. He sponsored legislation to cut fees that banking firms paid to finance government oversight. He pushed for banks to be able to have lower capital reserves.

After the financial crash of 2008 he said that he hadn't realized how much risk Wall Street had assumed and how much damage its risky practices could affect regular people. It seems he has a habit of saying things that are advantageous to him at the moment with no thought of what the consequences will be long term.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee has 20 members who conduct hearing on nominees for federal judges before the Senate votes on their confirmation.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How 1400 People Suddenly Decided to Vote for Trump (Or Maybe Bernie)

The Carrier Air Conditioner manufacturing plant in Indiana is closing and moving to Mexico. The distribution center is moving also.
I want to be clear, this is strictly a business decision.
I guess that's the corporate way of saying, "It's not you, it's me."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hillary's Super Power

With the Iowa caucus a near tie between the two leading Democrats, and with a win in New Hampshire for Bernie Sanders, how is it that Hillary Clinton has 394 delegates and Bernie only has 42? Superdelegates.

In the Democratic Party, there are delegates whose vote isn't determined by the voters in their state. They are free to support any candidate they choose. There are 4,051 regular delegates and 721 superdelegates (for the Democrats) so Hillary's current lead does not guarantee her a win.

The superdelegates are made up of Democrats currently in office as the Congressional Representatives, Senators, or Governors of their state plus some people who are considered party leaders. The idea behind having them is to prevent the nomination of an unelectable candidate.

(I'm sure there's a reason for them besides the Democratic Party thinking its voters are too stupid to be trusted, but I can't think of what it could be. The Republican counterpart of the superdelegates are required to vote the way the voters in the state did in their primary.)

The people in power, and those close to them, want to keep things the way they are and their choice right now is Hillary. They could change their support if they see enough of the popular vote going to Bernie. (Even if they want Hillary, they're not going to commit political suicide for her.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

All the Young Girls Love Alex

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros works the crowd.

All those young people just make Bernie look older. Maybe it feels different when you're actually there.

You Want President Trump? This Is How You Get President Trump

Clinton says Sanders is smearing her by saying she's been bought by Wall Street.
Sanders supporters have started booing Clinton. Some engage in nasty online attacks and vitriolic trolling of Clinton supporters. Speaking to a New Hampshire audience on Sunday, Bill Clinton noted that the language of these attacks is “literally too profane… not to mention sexist, to repeat.”
Poor Bill, he's such a delicate flower. He shouldn't have to hear such "profane" remarks. (Profane - relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious.) Are the Bernie bros supposed to treat Hillary as if she were holy? For a man who is a careful about word use as Bill Clinton is ("it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is") one might think he would be more careful about saying whether the remarks against his wife were obscene or just disrespectful. Or maybe he really does mean profane, in the sense that any non-religious speech is profane, but he wants to imply that it is worse than it is.
In certain Sanders circles, the contempt for Clinton nearly matches that of the Republicans. Some have gone as far to say that they won’t support her if she wins the Democratic nomination. They’ll abstain from the election entirely, or consider the Republican nominee instead.
Voters don't have to vote. Abstaining is a way of saying "none of the above". If you don't like who the  Democratic or Republican candidates are, or the platforms they support, don't vote for either of them. Vote third party. Or abstain from voting for the president but still go to the polls and cast votes for the people running in your local elections. If you stay home it just looks like apathy, but if you go and vote in the down ticket races but not the president, that sends the message to the DNC and RNC that we're not buying what they're selling.

Pancake Day

It's Shrove Tuesday, a day for pancakes!


2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs into the milk. Add the cooled butter, then mix that all into the dry ingredients. Stir just until just moistened - it will be lumpy. If the batter seems too thick you can thin it out with a little milk - add a spoonful and stir to test thickness.

Heat a griddle or flat frying pan with a tablespoon of frying oil (oil that can heat to a high temperature like peanut oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil). Using a ladle, spoon the batter onto the hot griddle. (You can use a teacup or other cup if you don't have a ladle.)

Don't be too eager to turn the pancakes. Watch the tops of them. When you see bubbles forming on the top, they should be ready to flip.

Cook both sides to a golden brown - about 2 to 4 minutes per side.

You can keep the first batches of pancakes warm on an ovenproof dish in a 200 degree oven while you finish cooking the rest.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Serve with maple syrup and butter. Or jam. Or Nutella and bananas. Or chocolate chips and whipped cream.

Monday, February 8, 2016

For My Next Party Trick...

A cocktail inside an ice ball.

This is cool, too. It shows how to freeze balls of nonalcoholic drinks. (No alcohol, otherwise it won't freeze.)

Worst Kept Secret Ever

The FBI confirmed that it is investigating Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hillary's Favorite Vodka

Why can't Google tell me the answer to that?

I did find a New York Post article about the favorite drinks of all the presidents, but some of the ones they list are more like "this beverage was mentioned once by this president" than actual known favorites.

And there is this video where she talks about a drinking competition with John McCain.

No mention of what brand they were drinking. (It happened in Estonia, so who knows if her favorite was available.) She says it ended in a tie but her former campaign manager Terry McAuliffe and the owner of the restaurant where it took place both say that Clinton won.

I did find where she said that her favorite drink is a vodka martini. That may or may not be code for "put vodka in a cocktail shaker with ice, wave an unopened bottle of Vermouth in the general direction of the shaker, shake, strain into glass." Or not.

I'm going to assume her favorite is Sobieski (because who's going to contradict me?). I think this is a generous assumption - that she cares enough about the flavor and not just what will get her drunk the fastest.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why the Girls Like Bernie

Feminist Gloria Steinem says young women support Bernie because they want attention from boys.

Steinem was a feminist leader in the 1960s and '70s. She tarnished feminism for a lot of women in the '90s by supporting Bill Clinton over the women accusing him of sexual assault and rape. (And before that time, a personal relationship in the workplace between a powerful man and a woman with relatively little power would have been seen as abusive. That kind of power imbalance was seen as exploitative, even when the woman was in the relationship by choice.)

Apparently sacrificing her feminist ideals once for the Clintons wasn't enough. Now she's saying that young women are choosing Bernie just to find a boy. If she had just been trying to make a point about how some people say that men support feminism just to get laid, then I could see saying this.

She also talks about her book, My Life on the Road, and how the road used to be for men while women remained at home. She says that "the road" was considered dangerous but, statistically, the home is more dangerous. Well, duh. More accidents happen at home because people, even those that travel, are at home some of the time.

Maher asks if Feminism is something that goes beyond our borders. The answer is that it was great when Hillary (as First Lady) went to China and said that women's rights are human rights but it's not our business when women in Muslim countries suffer. The women in those countries need to take care of it themselves.

She does say that Islam being attached to the government is the problem, theocracies are the problem...but then she says that Christian theocracies are a problem. Is the Vatican acting up again?

I didn't Know I Needed It Until I Saw It


"Hillary Clinton will always be there for you," Albright said. "And just remember — there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

So, if a woman doesn't "help" Hillary by voting for her, there's a special place in hell for her? Does that mean that Hillary, who helped run the"Nuts and Sluts" campaign against the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, rape, or consensual affairs, will also be in that special hell?

Spending eternity with Hillary Clinton would be a special kind of hell. An especially excruciating one, but I think I'll risk it and not vote for her. Yes, that's right. I'm willing to risk spending eternity with her just to help keep her from ruining the next four to eight years for you. You're welcome.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hillary's Goldman Sachs Transcripts

During the most recent debate, Hillary Clinton said she would look into releasing the transcripts from speeches she made at Goldman Sachs events. Joel Benenson, a consultant and pollster, said that he doesn't think that voters are interested in the transcripts.

I think they are.

Voters want to know what she said that was worth over $675,000 for three speeches. And that's just what she was paid for speaking, it doesn't include the donations the company's employees have made to her campaign. Clinton says that the donations don't influence her and that she's not offering anything in return for the money. People are understandably curious as to whether she was making any "behind closed doors" promises.

Together, Bill and Hillary Clinton have been paid $153 million in speaking fees between 2001 and the beginning of her campaign last Spring.

In total, the two gave 729 speeches from February 2001 until May, receiving an average payday of $210,795 for each address. The two also reported at least $7.7 million for at least 39 speeches to big banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner, collecting at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to big banks.
Nice work, if you can get it.

Super Bowl Trivia

50 weird things about the 50 Super Bowls. There's one fact listed for each of the 50 games.

In Super Bowl IV, the cost of one 30-second commercial was $78,000. Ads were going for about $1 million per 30 seconds by Super Bowl XXIX. Now it's close to $5 million. Budweiser can always be counted on to make a good one. It's interesting (more than the game itself, to me, anyway) to see who else comes out with a really good commercial.

At the time of Super Bowl XV, the Oakland Raiders were suing the NFL over a proposed move to Los Angeles.


And for Super Bowl XLIX, two words - Left Shark.

My Power Animal

Follow the link and click on the photo of a forest to find your power animal.

Mine was the dolphin. The powerful, and rare, forest dolphin!

Sadly, a forest dolphin is not the least plausible thing about this.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Raised by Narcisists

As if having terminal cancer wasn't enough, this boy's parents stole computers from the cancer ward where he was being treated. At first they blamed him for the thefts!

The computers had been donated by a charity (Candlelighters) and were attached to the hospital beds. The father cut them off the chains that were holding them and then the parents sold the computers over Facebook. The mother even bragged that they could get "as many as you want".

I guess the world is lucky that these conscienceless creeps are stupid. Imagine the trouble they could have caused if they were halfway intelligent.

Wall Street Lobbyists: Follow the Money

From Who is getting the most donations from Wall Street Lobbyists?

Hmmm, the top four recipients for donations from lobbyists for commercial banks are Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. And while what Cruz and Rubio got isn't a paltry amount, if you add together what they got they're still a good bit short of what either Clinton or Bush got individually.

That's weird. The lobbyists for hedge funds also prefer Clinton and Bush.

Okay, now I'm starting to think there's a trend. The security and investment lobbyists also are big donors to Clinton and Bush.

I wonder what kind of return they're expecting on that investment?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

French Hot Chocolate for Those Cold, Snowy Nights

French Hot Chocolate

It's very thick, rich but not too sweet, and perfect to combat the polar vortex that's coming.

3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
4 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, not unsweetened (60-70 % Cacao) broken into pieces
whipped cream for topping

Heat milk, cream and Confectioners sugar in heavy pan over medium high heat until mixture bubbles.

Remove pan from heat, and add chocolate.  

Whisk until chocolate is melted and blended well.

Pour into small cups and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

Serves 2

It's Like James Bond Fan Fiction...

Miike Snow - Genghis Khan

Get up and dance!

Oh, Henry!

Researchers are suggesting that repeated injuries from jousting and other athletic activities may have caused Henry VIII to become erratic and violent.

The king whose erratic behavior (he executed two wives, one more than O.J. Simpson allegedly managed) is the subject of such works as “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” and “Wolf Hall” may have suffered from traumatic brain injury similar to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), the same brain injury Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered in the cadaver of Webster, a Hall of Famer, in 2002.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy can happen when there have been repeated hits to the head and the symptoms gradually become worse over time. Obviously we can't be certain if this was the cause of Henry's behavior, or, at least, one of the causes, since we can't go back in time and do an MRI to check out his brain, but it is an interesting theory.

Rand Paul Drops Out Of Race

Rand Paul has called off his run for President.

Paul, in his statement, cast his eye toward his re-election bid to the Senate. “Although, today I will suspend my campaign for President, the fight is far from over" he said. "I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."
I like Paul and would have liked to see him succeed, but I also like what he's doing in the Senate so I'm not too upset at the idea of him remaining there.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I Wish I Could Get a Game of Thrones Happy Meal

I want a Game of Thrones Sure-You're-Happy-Now Meal. (Because it couldn't be a Happy Meal. Happiness in Westeros doesn't last.)

It's true that I'm way past the demographic age that McDonald's intends for Happy Meals but let's not pretend that I'm the only adult who gets them.

What toy should come with it? Characters or plush dragons and direwolves? Or a code that would get me special speed gear for GoTA?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Further Proof That the Republican Candidate Will Be Trump

How Clinton is plotting to go after Trump:

The emerging approach to defining Trump is an updated iteration of the “Bain Strategy” — the Obama 2012 campaign’s devastating attacks on Mitt Romney’s dealings with investment firm Bain Capital, according to a dozen Democratic operatives and campaign aides familiar with the accelerating planning inside Clinton’s orbit. This time, Democrats would highlight the impact of Trump’s four business bankruptcies....

All she has to do first is beat Bernie and avoid indictment.

Uninstalling Facebook

A test by a reddit user found that removing the Facebook app and the Facebook Messenger app from Android phones made the phone launch other apps on the phone 15% faster. Other redditors also reported similar results.

A reporter for The Guardian found that removing just the FB app saved 20% of his battery life. He replaced the app with Metal, which still let him access Facebook.

Does it really make this much difference if you already close the app so that it's not running in the background all the time?