Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Extra Crispy

The phoenix is a mythological bird that bursts into flames, dies, and is reborn from the ashes.  It looks like they have two-thirds of that equation going on at a solar energy plant in California.

Phoenix-4Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version.

The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

The deaths are “alarming. It’s hard to say whether that’s the location or the technology,” said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. “There needs to be some caution.”

If they could get chickens to fly by, Col. Sanders would be out of business.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beyond Belief

From the Washington Post:

A Manassas City teenager accused of “sexting” a video to his girlfriend is now facing a search warrant in which Manassas City police and Prince William County prosecutors want to take a photo of his erect penis, possibly forcing the teen to become erect by taking him to a hospital and giving him an injection, the teen’s lawyers said. A Prince William County judge allowed the 17-year-old to leave the area without the warrant being served or the pictures being taken — yet.

The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life.

I have a couple of questions.  First, how is it not committing the same felony for the cops to take a picture of a 17-year-old kid’s erection?  Second, how many of the adults involved in this case have been guilty of doing exactly what this kid is accused of?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Check For Pods

The election results in Oklahoma brought to you by SyFy:

Timothy Ray Murray 06-28-14On Tuesday, Timothy Ray Murray (pictured) challenged longtime incumbent Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional district. Murray lost, but he did manage to pull in 3,442 votes, good for 5.2 percent of the total. Now Murray says he will contest the outcome of the election. Because, he says, Lucas is dead and has been replaced by a “look alike.”

“The election for U.S. House for Oklahoma’s 3rd District will be contested by the Candidate, Timothy Ray Murray,” Murray wrote in a press release posted on his campaign website. “I will be stating that his votes are switched with Rep. Lucas votes, because it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike.”

On the website, Murray claims that Lucas and “a few other Oklahoma and other States’ Congressional Members,” were executed “on or about” Jan. 11, 2011 in southern Ukraine.

[...]

The bizarre charge was first reported by KFOR TV in Oklahoma City. The station reported that while Oklahoma election board officials had also received Murray’s press release, Murray had yet to file a formal petition to contest the election. The station also sought comment from Lucas, who said that he had never been to Ukraine.

“Many things have been said about me, said to me during course of my campaigns,” Lucas told KFOR. “This is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being a body double or a robot.”

I think we’ve seen this movie before.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Surprise, Surprise

David Brooks says President Obama was right.

It doesn’t matter if Bergdahl had deserted his post or not. It doesn’t matter if he is a confused young man who said insulting and shameful things about his country and his Army. The debt we owe to fellow Americans is not based on individual merit. It is based on citizenship, and loyalty to the national community we all share.

Soldiers don’t risk their lives only for those Americans who deserve it; they do it for the nation as a whole.

It doesn’t matter either that the United States government ended up dealing with terrorists. In the first place, the Taliban is not a terrorist organization the way Al Qaeda is. America has always tried to reach a negotiated arrangement with the Taliban, and this agreement may be a piece of that. In the second place, this is the dirty world we live in. Sometimes national leaders are called upon to take the sins of the situation upon themselves for the good of the country, to deal with the hateful and compromise with the loathsome. That’s their form of sacrifice and service.

So President Obama made the right call.

Naturally he has to find fault somewhere, so he does it by complaining about the Rose Garden announcement with Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, but that’s his instinctive (and probably RWN-mandated) response.  He can’t help it.  But I give him credit for the rest of it.

If that’s not enough to make you spit-take your Starbucks, here’s Charles Krauthammer, who has never had a nice thing to say about President Obama ever, also on his side.

Speaking on “Special Report,” Krauthammer told Fox News host Bret Baier that Bergdahl should face an investigation over allegations that the soldier left his post in Afghanistan on the night he went missing. However, he insisted that the White House did the right thing by bringing him home first.

“Look, had the choice been mine, I would have made that same choice,” Krauthammer said. “It’s a difficult decision and I would not attack those who would have done otherwise.”

[...]

Krauthammer said that the United States, along with other Western countries, “always comes out on the short end” in hostage swaps. He included Israel in this, pointing to when the country gave up 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for one sergeant.

“The reason we put a value on the individual human life the way that the ones at the other end of the table don’t,” Krauthammer said. “That’s why we always end up with unequal swaps.”

If neither of them backtrack in the next twelve hours after getting tons of hate mail from real ‘Murkins, then I’d say we have something noteworthy going on here: sensible and reasonable response from the right to something Barack Obama did.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On The Menu

It’s the first day of Passover, so what do you think the cafeteria at the office has on the menu?  Your choice of either baked pork chunks or shrimp pasta.

Oy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lost and Found

History takes a beating at Fox News.

Fox News host Bill Hemmer on Wednesday referenced a peculiar hoax in order to help explain just how long it might take to find the missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

“So what it took us what 100 years to find the Titanic? It took us 2,000 years to find Noah’s Ark. Do we ever find flight 370?” Hemmer asked his guest, aviation attorney Salvatore Lagonia.

Lagonia didn’t seem to think it would take that long.

“Oh, I think we find flight 370 much sooner than those two things, thank God,” Lagonia said. “Until then, it’s the greatest reality show in the world.”

Some claim they found remnants of Noah’s Ark in Turkey, however that has been debunked by multiple scientists.

Well, first, it didn’t take 100 years to “find” the Titanic.  It took 73 years (1912-1985), and it wasn’t really lost in the first place; we knew approximately where it was the whole time.  It took that long to develop a submersible that could go down to 12,000 feet underwater.

Second, no one’s ever found Noah’s Ark because it’s a fable.  It’s like saying “Well, it took 2,000 years for Gollum to find the One Ring.”  So unless Mr. Hemmer was being clever with his metaphors, he should stick to reporting about the latest unicorn sightings.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sick People

Measles is making a comeback in New York thanks to scare tactics by uninformed people.

This is sheer lunacy.  Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country, and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing.There is no legitimate scientific controversy about whether or not vaccines are safe.  The original study that started us down this insane path by linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been retracted outright. The evidence against administering the MMR vaccine to healthy individuals is utterly without merit.

But people continue to make the utterly baffling choice to refuse it anyway.  Dispiriting new information seems to indicate that they are immune to persuasion when confronted with facts inconvenient to their worldview. Indeed, writers at prominent online media outlets chide us for “demeaning” vaccine-deniers, saying to do so “defies explanation.”

Measles is not just some childhood disease.  People die from it.  And now more could because of some prominent stupid people and junk science.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Trick Question

Guess which got more attention in the press yesterday: President Obama’s appearance on a sketch comedy video promoting Obamacare or Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s charge that the CIA had hacked into Senate staff computers.

Like I said, it’s a trick question.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What The Heil Is Wrong With This Picture

Via the San Jose Mercury News, not The Onion:

Trail Life Boy Scouts

This is the response by anti-gay Christians to the half-assed concession by the Boy Scouts of America of allowing openly gay boys into scouting, but not adults.

Trail Life has established units in more than 40 states, mostly from Boy Scouts and parents who feel their old organization has lost its way. It has about 600 units up and running or in the process of registration, executive director Rob Green said. As many as half of those who have expressed interest were not affiliated with the Boy Scouts beforehand, Green said.

It is still a tiny movement compared to Scouting, which has nearly 2.5 million youth members and remains a powerful force in American life, even with a 6 percent drop in membership last year.

Trail Life promotes itself on its website as the “premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens.”

And for the Fatherland.

Update: John Stemberger, chairman of Trail Life, wants the AP to remove the photo from its archives and says that the image was “unintentional.”

Unfortunately the reporter (either intentionally or unintentionally) caught this photograph at the exact angle which makes their arms look like they are in some kind of a stationary mid-air salute– which they are not.

He went on to note that “”several unfriendly blogs online are likely still carrying the highly misleading photo.”  Hey, I’m a Quaker.  You can’t get more Friendly than that.

HT to Balloon Juice.

Alive and Kicking

Via NBC 6′s Weird News:

A 78-year-old man was discovered alive and kicking inside a body bag hours after he was pronounced dead.

Walter Williams was deemed dead the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 26, and taken to a Lexington, Miss., funeral home to be embalmed.

Hours later, workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home noticed something kicking inside his body bag.

“I asked the coroner what happened, and the only thing he could say is that it’s a miracle,” Holmes County Sheriff Willie March told WAPT News in Jackson.

Paramedics took Williams to a hospital, where he is now alive and stabilized.

It’s reminiscent of the story of the man who woke up in a coffin.  He said to himself, “If I’m alive, what am I doing in here, and if I’m dead, why to I have to go to the bathroom?”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

God Save the Tsar

I had no idea there were still Cossacks roaming the earth.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Cossack militia attacked Russia’s Pussy Riot punk group with horsewhips on Wednesday as the artists — who have feuded with Vladimir Putin’s government for years — tried to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics.

The last time I heard of them, they were the bad guys in Fiddler On the Roof.

Mitch McConnell vs. The Cocks

There’s a lobbying group for everything.

A group associated with cockfighting in Kentucky is promising political retribution against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his vote in favor of the farm bill last month, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

“This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky,” Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, told the newspaper.

The bill made attending a cockfighting event a federal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Davis, who confronted McConnell with hundreds of other “cockfighting enthusiasts” at a Monday event, said he could move “as many as 60,000 votes” if McConnell doesn’t address the issue.

The last thing a Republican wants to do is arouse the cocks.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Think Of The Children

Since the Kansas legislature has tabled for now the discrimination laws against the LGBT community, they’ve got to find someone else to go after.

A Kansas lawmaker is proposing a bill that would allow teachers, caregivers and parents to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

Current Kansas law allows spanking that doesn’t leave marks.

Rep. Gail Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, says she wants to allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and that could leave redness and bruising. The bill also would allow parents to give permission to others to spank their children.

It would continue to ban hitting a child with fists, in the head or body, or with a belt or switch.

Finney says she wants to restore parental rights, and improve discipline.

Please explain how legalizing child abuse will restore parental rights.

HT John Cole.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014