Monday, August 31, 2015

SCOTUS Refuses Kim Davis Request. Sort Of Like What She Does to Gay Couples

Her pro bono legal help from the Liberty Counsel seemed optimistic earlier.
“Providing religious conviction accommodations is not antithetical for public employees,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Throughout our history the courts have accommodated people’s deeply held religious beliefs,” Staver said.
 But as of 7:51 pm (EDT) that door was slammed shut. What's a judgmental Christian bigot to do? Why, "pray about it" overnight.  Maybe Dog will tell her that Mary Kay gig looks pretty good after all.

Kevin Cronin Can Suck It!

San Francisco circa 1925. "REO touring car at Golden Gate Park." Ready to carry these ladies in style. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin

Houston Shooter Had Lengthy History of Mental Illness

It doesn't sound as if "Black Lives Matter" mattered so much in this tragic case. It does sound like Texas may want to examine its mental healthcare system. And maybe how its lax gun safety laws might have contributed to a mentally ill man obtaining a semi-automatic weapon.

The man accused of shooting and killing a suburban Houston officer has a history of mental illness and once lived in a homeless shelter, authorities said Monday.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Could Trump Actually Win the Nomination? Yup.

Looks like the RNC rules make a Trump nomination entirely possible. And if so, then

...the real question at the next debate should not be whether Trump will pledge to support the nominee, but, instead, whether each and every one of the others will promise, on national TV, that they will support Trump.  Enquiring minds want to know.

Congressional Investigations - Elapsed Times

As a general thing, certain events follow a crime. Investigation, for example. Then there's indictment and arrests, prosecution, conviction and sentencing. Here's why I just can't take Republican-fueled "scandals" and "investigations" too seriously.

*The IRS hearings began 30 months ago.
*Congress has been investigating Fast & Furious since June 2011 – 52 months.
*The Congressional investigations into Benghazi have been ongoing for 39 months.
*The House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation into Planned Parenthood handling of donated fetal tissue - 2 months.

No indictments, no arrests, no prosecutions, no convictions, no sentences.

Bobby Who?

This might be a big deal - if anyone knew who Bobby Jindal actually is.

Serendipitous Sunday: I Googled "Hog" When I Meant "Hot" And Here's What I Found

I remember my uncle's farm had special fencing for his hogs -  and they'd still get into the corn fields. This old New Yorker piece is fascinating. I think we should skip The Walking Dead and get worried more about the Hog Apocalypse.
 Of all the domesticated animals, none become feral more readily, or survive better in the wild, than the hog. Of all the larger animals, none reproduce as quickly and abundantly as the hog. The combination of the first fact with the second means that the number of wild hogs in the United States—maybe four and a half million, maybe five—is unlikely to go down. The wild hog is an infestation machine.

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave. - Blade Runner

When Pew polled Americans about guns, this entirely unsurprising result turned up:

Men are more likely than women to say that gun rights are more important than gun control by a 10-point margin. While big majorities of black (72 percent) and Hispanic (75 percent) people say gun control is more important, a majority of white people (57 percent) disagree. (emphasis added)
Too bad they didn't stratify by state.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Christian Students Object to Optional LGBT Novel

Oh, jesus christ, stop whining. You weren't required to read the damn thing. But basing your objections on your Bible is a little rich, considering some of the behaviors your religious heroes engage in. Like this, for example,

Numbers 31:9-18 New International Version (NIV)
9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.
13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.
15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

I'm not opposed to reading memoirs written by LGBTQ individuals or stories containing suicide. I'm not even opposed to reading Freud, Marx or Darwin. I know that I'll have to grapple with ideas I don't agree with, even ideas that I find immoral."
Freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst told the Duke Chronicle that he also refrained from reading the book because of the novel's graphic nature. He added that he might have read the book if it did not include pornographic cartoons, an argument Grasso also made in his op-ed.
"The nature of 'Fun Home' means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature," Wubbenhurst wrote in an email.

But as the autobiographical book was written by a lesbian and carries LGBT undertones, some Duke freshman were stunned to learn that they were being asked to read a book that included two graphic sex scenes between women, and graphic cartoons depicting women mastrabating as well as multiple women engaging in oral sex.
"Gimme that old time Christian privilege
Gimme that old time Christian privilege
Gimme that old time Christian privilege
It's what Duke owes to me." 

Voter ID Might Be OK As Long As You Can Get An ID.

Alabama's legislature is proposing serious cuts to budgets, some of which would drastically reduce the number of offices where citizens can go to obtain driver licenses and state-approved identification.

The trouble is Alabama  has a voter ID law, and a failure of the state to provide access to the approved identification is not only de facto voter suppression but also likely to provoke lawsuits aimed at forcing Alabama to restore the funding.

This bears watching.
33 part-time rural drivers' license offices will close Oct. 1, Collier said. More closures Jan. 1, 2016 will leave 12 offices statewide, and that number will drop to four on March 1 – one each in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile.
That means an estimated 40,000 people a year will funnel to four offices for new drivers licenses and examinations, Alabama licenses for new residents moving from other states, and renewal of licenses after suspensions, department leaders said.

A Conservative Group Pissed at Todd Akin? You Bet.

I'm sure you remember the time Missouri's Todd Akin tried to take Senator Claire McCaskill's seat. His "legitimate rape" comment became the emblem of tone-deaf white guy commentary and has shown surprising staying power (although with Donald Trump free-associating in real time that may change at any moment).

But the landscape has changed and the now a group that actually read a book has decided Mr Akin is somehow as culpable in election finance misbehavior as their primary target Sen. McCaskill. The divide within conservatism couldn't be more clearly demonstrated than by this:
The conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust earlier this month filed a complaint alleging that McCaskill, D-Mo., broke federal campaign laws covering in-kind contributions by allowing her pollster to talk with an Akin campaign adviser about the effectiveness of an advertisement Akin had run in the 2012 Republican primary. A McCaskill spokesman said then the actions were "above board."

Afternoon Interlude: The Band "Forever Young" Remastered

Is Joker really the Dark Knight that Gotham deserves?

There's something familiar about this style of logic... or have I been reading too much political press lately?
According to this theory, all the Joker's "chaos" in "The Dark Knight" was just a well-executed plan to rid the city of criminals and corruption, which it kind of did. Because of this, Gotham's real hero is that crazy clown guy and not the dude with the cool black motorcycle.

May I Recommend...

My new favorite movie review site: Review in Haiku

Review in haiku
Brevity in film review
Everyone happy.

Best Sentence You'll Read Today

From Dave Weigel's piece on Rand Paul's Northwest Passage,
"If this ends up between Trump and Hillary, I'm gonna volunteer for the Mars mission."

The Cost of Being Wrong

This has to sting:

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has agreed to pay $58,000 in legal fees and costs associated with a federal lawsuit that challenged the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Court documents show that nearly $7,000 will be paid to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The remainder will be split by lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis Appeals to SCOTUS

The Kentucky clerk who seems to think issuing a marriage license leads blowjobs, cunnilingus and anal sex wants the Supreme Court to take her side. Represented by Liberty Counsel, her appeal contains the following pearl-clutching phrase,
“If Davis’s religious objection cannot be accommodated, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,” 
My apologies to the clerk, but the whole point of elected government officials acting in accordance with the law is to assure secular behavior.  (

150 Years of Coney Island in Pictures

H/T to the wonderful Atlas Obscura. (

Like basketball? Love data? Try this.

NBA basketball teams have tracking systems installed in their arenas called SportVu, essentially a system of cameras pointed at the court to track player movements. Some of that data is browsable through the NBA site...
Texas, still smarting from having its onerous voter ID law overturned in federal court, has requested an en banc review by the 5th Circuit. As ElectionlawBlog reports,

It is not clear if the 5th Circuit will take this en banc (it is not clear if the votes are there), but my guess is that if it does not that Texas is likely to ask the Supreme Court to review the case, and I think such review would be fairly likely to resolve issues about the proper scope of Voting Rights Act section 2 in vote denial cases.
Access to the ballot box may be profoundly altered if Texas prevails. Stay tuned.

The Best Trump Commercial, and I Mean It's Great, It's Huge. The Chinese Are Jeaous!

Rubio & Walker Deny Climate Change

In separate speeches today two trailing Republican Presidential contenders dismissed the idea of climate change as a foreign policy issue. Ignoring science is routine for conservative Republicans and I suppose it's natural enough for the barely-educated governor of a landlocked state to blow off the dangers the USA will face in coming decades.

But Senator Rubio of Florida? Wouldn't it be horribly ironic if President Rubio was challenged to get a future Democratic Congress to fund levees for Miami?

Things to Do in NOLA

Timely information on this anniversary of the city's darkest period.

If you haven't been to New Orleans since Katrina, by all means book that flight now. While I don't necessarily recommend an August visit (unless perspiration is your thing) April and October are great months in the Crescent City. In April you can choose between the French Quarter Fest and one or both weekends of JazzFest. I have to tell you, though, no city on earth takes Halloween more seriously - or hilariously -than NOLA.

And if you're lucky, the amazing Trombone Shorty might be in town.

Don't Mess with Jen, Ben

"...for heaven’s sake if you want women to have fewer abortions you should stump for long-acting reversible contraception. To ignore this elephant in the room means you care nothing about medicine and everything about pandering to a sub set of voters."

The Next Generation of Fitness Trackers May Do More Than Take Your Pulse

A wearable that monitors your health and reports to your physician may be on its way soon. But what if your insurance company or your boss wants to see that data, too?

Everyone Believes in Something. I Believe I'll Have Another Beer

Beautiful bars.

Sadly, No Grateful Dead

Need music emojis? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's All About the Demographics

"As long as Clinton remains at near parity in the white vote (among whites she trailed Sanders by six in the Fox poll but led by 12 in CNN’s newest survey), her strength among nonwhites should buoy her in a number of states."

New Q Poll Shows Biden Likeable, Trump Dominating

"Vice President Joseph Biden runs slightly better than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton against leading Republican contenders in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, and has the best favorability rating among top Republican and Democratic candidates..."

Hospitals Get Healthier

Moody's has analyzed the financial health of not-for-profit hospitals, and things are looking better. Bad debt is declining even while patient volume is climbing. Whether this will become a trend remains to be seen, but it's clear that non-expansion states are going to face a more difficult healthcare financial environment as time goes on.

"The impact is most evident in states that expanded eligibility for their Medicaid programs. In these states, self-pay patients account for only 3.8% of revenue compared with 9.2% in non-expansion states."

Your Chart of the Day: Healthcare premium increases requested and increases approved:

#Healthcare  #Premium #Insurance
George Will has his bow tie in a knot over the Trump phenomenon.

"The white percentage of the electorate has been shrinking for decades and will be about 2 points smaller in 2016 than in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first president elected while losing the white vote by double digits. In 2012, Hispanics, the nation’s largest minority, were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the electorate. White voters were nearly 90 percent of Romney’s vote. In 1988, George H.W. Bush won 59 percent of the white vote, which translated into 426 electoral votes. Twenty-four years later, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote and just 206 electoral votes." #Trump #2016 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why Josh Duggar Isn't Nearly the Sick Fuck You Think - Well, He Is, But Also Deeply Pathetic, Too

Ashley Madison subscriber and former sister-fingering sick fuck Josh Duggar may have just lost his last, best reason to have an erection: turns out of the millions of AshMad paid subscribers, there were probably less than 6,000 actual women.

I can see why Josh disappeared into a 28 day rehab program today. In addition to whatever debris he carries from his teenage proclivities now he has to process his newly-revealed history of masturbating to another man's female sexual fantasy.

"the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile."

So There's This: Another Mathematical Demolition of Climate Denialist "Science"

While I'd like the chance to review their R language coding I'm impressed at the volume of study data the authors were able to collect. Credible study.

What if the tiny sliver of scientists that don’t believe global warming is happening, or that human activities are causing it — that two to three percent of climate contrarians — are right?
That’s the hypothetical question that a new study, authored by Rasmus Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, and John Cook, sought to answer. Published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the study examined 38 recent examples of contrarian climate research — published research that takes a position on anthropogenic climate change but doesn’t attribute it to human activity — and tried to replicate the results of those studies. The studies weren’t selected randomly — according to lead author Rasmus Benestad, the studies selected were highly visible contrarian studies that had all arrived at a different conclusion than consensus climate studies. The question the researchers wanted to know was — why?
Looking for evidence some GOP legislators have placed ideology over biology? Here's an example from Colorado. In a letter to the head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, they go full throttle suspension of disbelief over the fraudulent CMP videos.

Dear Dr. Wolk,
Videos recently released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) have surfaced showing barbaric, unethical and potentially illegal actions relating to the trafficking and sale of aborted babies, the human organs of aborted babies and other aborted baby body parts by some Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates; including Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains right here in Colorado.
To his credit, Dr. Wolk declined the request, noting that no fewer than four Congressional investigations will fire up after Congress gets back from vacation. I'll add that not one of the state level investigations have found any irregularities, and the CMP videos are not validated by independent  reviews.

If Her Server Is Illegal Her Candidacy Is, Too! Or Maybe Not. It's Complicated.

There have been some partisan suggestions to the effect that if Hillary Clinton's email server violated State Department rules or  federal law her eligibility to run for the Presidency would be damaged, perhaps beyond repair (although similar arguments seem to not be applied to the indicted Rick Perry). There's an argument to the contrary, and if you're the sort of person who likes legal argument this might interest you.

The power to judge members’ qualifications is expressly and unambiguously committed to each house of Congress, but no such express power is unambiguously committed to Congress in regard to adjudicating a president’s (or presidential candidate’s or president-elect’s) qualifications. It would seem to follow that if Congress has no power to add to the standing qualifications of its own members, it cannot add to the standing qualifications for the other elected constitutional positions,[10] i.e., the President and Vice President. Any other result risks congressional aggrandizement at the expense of the presidency; any other result risks Congress’s manipulating qualifications for the presidency so that Congress chooses the President, rather than the People of the United States.[11]


So I Guess Tim Tebow Won't Mind Retiring at 28?

So in the process of competing to be the third string quarterback, vastly over-rated Tim Tebow seems to have made peace with his final shot at a pro career:

For years Tebow, a former Heisman trophy winner, has made it clear that he is not defined by his football career. In 2013, he told Liberty University's 10,000 students that serving is more important than his NFL career.
"In the end, football is just a silly game. Greatness comes from serving," Tebow told the crowd. "... You want to be great? Be a servant. You want to be great? Humble yourself."

Hindus Now Less Than 80% of Indians

Picture an American-style media reaction to this - cries of a "War on Vishnu" would reverberate across India!

"India's Hindus have dropped below 80 percent of the population for the first time since independence.
Census data, released on Wednesday by the ministry of home affairs, showed that Hindus declined to 79.8 percent of the country's 1.2 billion people in 2011, from 80.5 percent a decade earlier. Muslims, India's largest minority group, now make up 14.2 percent of the country, up from 13.4 percent in 2001.

Christian numbers stayed put at 2.3 percent, while the Sikh population fell to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent.

Sakshi Maharaj, a Hindu priest-turned-politician, caused an uproar earlier this year when he said Hindu women should give birth to four children to ensure that their religion survives."

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