Saturday, November 8, 2014

Early November Weekend Links

Some interesting-looking stories for your weekend perusal:

Black Hills Brawl: The longest running rivalry you've never heard of - SB Nation.  Black Hills State and South Dakota School of Mines playing for the Homestake Trophy:

The Sea of Crises - Grantland. Sumo wrestling and a failed coup, among other things.

Adding Lightness: One way or another, Ford's new aluminum truck is a game changer - The Economist

The last farmer: At 94, one rural Missouri farmer continues to till his land - Washington Post

Impact of Earned Income Tax Credit on Rural People - Center for Rural Affairs.
The EITC has become a major source of income support for low-income rural taxpayers, particularly in the South. Greater non-metropolitan area usage of the EITC follows general economic trends in the nation, including:
  • Concentration of poverty in many rural locations across the nation.
  • Rural per capita income that is 78% of urban per capita income (2012).
  • Rural earnings per job that is 71% of urban earnings per job (2012).
  • Rural poverty rate that is nearly 19% higher than the urban poverty rate (2012).
The EITC has become a “rural program,” or at least a non-urban program. It is important to rural people and their well-being. It is also important to the economies of rural communities.
Meet the Queen Bees Building Buzz for the Honey Industry - Modern Farmer.  Mouthpieces for Big Honey.  The picture of the girl wearing the tiara and bee beard is awesome.

Chicken of tomorrow - Aeon.  A history of the rise of Big Poultry.

Fascinating Photos of NASA's Abandoned Launch Sites - Wired

Collapse: The Oro Mudslide and the Community That Survived It - Seattle Met

The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol became America's most out-of-control law enforcement agency - Politico.  Considering the LAPD, NYPD and Ferguson PD are competition, the Border Patrol has to be pretty wild.

Four Ways to Innovate Through Analogies - Wall Street Journal.  An obvious analogy that helps me understand things better are the analogies between electricity and water/air.  For example, the greater the current/flow, the greater the resistance, while the larger the wire/pipe the lesser the resistance. Voltage to head pressure, etc.

Tony Robbins, CEO Whisperer - Fortune.  From infomercial pitchman to multimillionaire to power-brokers.  Hey, everybody is susceptible to sales pitches.

Life in the unemployment capital of America - Vox.  Yuma, Arizona.  See also, The hidden truth about job growth, lost amidst the statistical noise and optimists' hopes - Fabius Maximus

How the U.S. Government Tested Biological Warfare on America - Priceonomics

How Boy Bits First Came To Be - All Things Considered.  The evolution of penises.

The two things you need to know about the Supreme Court's new Obamacare case - Vox.  What a legalistic, and totally nihilist case to try to fuck over poor people.  The refusal to set up state exchanges, expand Medicaid and fix these little mistakes in the law show how un-Christian the self-proclaimed Christian Republicans like Jim Jordan and Tim Huelskamp really are.  If there is a Hell, there is a special place in it for these hypocrites.

In Heart of Eagle Ford, Karnes City Peers Beyond Boom - Texas Tribune  See also Shale Drillers Idle Rigs From Texas To Utah Amid Oil Rout - Bloomberg.  The Bloomberg article is kind of a mixed bag, but I also think that the price drop won't last an extremely long time.   Three to twelve months, maybe.

Five Reasons Why Texas Won't Turn Blue This Year (or Anytime Soon) - Texas Monthly

What are you reading?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cityscape Chicago II

My sister already posted this on Facebook, but I'll copy her.

Cityscape Chicago II from Eric Hines on Vimeo.

Sixth Circuit Ends Gay Marriage Winning Streak

Breaking ranks with a wide array of other federal courts, and coming close to setting up almost certain review by the Supreme Court, a divided federal appeals court in Cincinnati on Thursday upheld bans on same-sex marriage in four states.  Dividing two to one, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned lower-court rulings in cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Probably the only way that this ruling would not predictably lead to Supreme Court review, it appears, is if there is a request for en banc review in the Sixth Circuit, and that request is granted.
The decision was based largely on the two-judge majority’s view that the question whether to move the nation toward same-sex marriage in every state is for the people or the states, and not for judges applying the national Constitution.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, the author of the main opinion, wrote:  “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers.  Better, in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”
The opinion was joined by Circuit Judge Deborah L. Cook.  Senior Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtry dissented, calling the Sutton opinion “an introductory lecture in political philosophy,” but one that failed, as an appellate court decision, “to grapple with the relevant constitutional issue in this appeal.”
At this point, the decision conflicts directly with federal appeals courts in the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits — precisely the kind of division of judgment that ordinarily will lead the Supreme Court to step in to resolve the split, especially on an issue of fundamental constitutional significance.....
In one sweeping decision, the Sixth Circuit has given all of the states in its geographic region a victory for their bans on both initial marriages of same-sex couples and official recognition of such marriages performed outside of the couples’ home states.  By contrast, other federal courts have nullified identical bans in thirteen states just over the past few months, with the prospect that the number would soon rise to sixteen — for a total of thirty-five states, plus Washington, D.C., allowing such marriages.
 I'm definitely not a Constitutional scholar, but I can't see the Supreme Court leaving the issue up to the states.  A decision in support of the Sixth Circuit decision would throw all of the states under the other Circuits' rulings into chaos.  People married in states where the courts had ruled their bans unconstitutional may find themselves unmarried again.  The direction of the arc of history is clear in this case, and I would expect the liberal bloc on the Court, along with Justice Kennedy, to end the patchwork mess we currently have.  Judge Sutton's decision leaves the fate of thousands of citizens' civil rights in the hands of reactionaries who refuse to acknowledge the basic nature of those citizens themselves.  As I see it, the decision is a cowardly way of allowing his preferred ideology to triumph.  Anyway, I'll leave the real legal analysis to the professionals.  I'll just say that I lost some respect for the Federal Court of Appeals with jurisdiction over me today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Republic's Representatives are Selected

Well, polls are starting to close in the Eastern Time Zone, and with that, bringing to a merciful end this cycle's electoral shitshow. It is pretty clear that almost nobody is happy with the way things are going, with the only real disagreement being about who or what is to blame.  Around here, the majority opinion is that everything is Obama's fault.  In other places (and in this household), Republicans garner the most criticism.  It looks like Republicans will come out somewhat ahead in this round of spilling gall, although I currently don't think they will be able to take too much pride in the outcome of this election.

I would say that my experience voting is a decent summary of how bad things are in our political process.  It is a widely acknowledged fact that our county traditionally has trouble conducting elections.  These days, we have the electronic voting machines with printed records to allow recounts.  I was the third person in line at the precinct this morning when the polls opened.  I cast my straight Democratic ballot (well, except for the judge on the state district court of appeals, because I couldn't remember who the Republican candidate was to vote against), even though I considered almost all of the Democrats unqualified to hold office.  Mine was a protest vote against a government run by anti-government jackasses, which I think it is logical to assume is a total fuck-up, with the main question being whether that government is intentionally or unintentionally incompetent.  After making all of my selections, the machine asks me to review my votes, and as I approve each page, the machine prints my votes on the paper backup.  After printing all of my votes, the machine asks me to cast my ballot.  When I hit the button, my machine turned off.  One of the poll workers came over with a new voting card, booted up my machine, and told me to vote on another machine.  As I recast my ballot, this time successfully (I think), another guy's machine shut down at the exact same time as mine had.  I don't know how things went after that, but at that point about 2 of the machines in my precinct were out of commission.  That is a pretty good analogy for our political system in general.

As the night goes one, I plan on posting real-time updates.  I will also drink moderately, to moderately heavily.  Enjoy.

A Farmer +2.

7:05 PM.  The BBC declares Mitch McConnell the winner in the Kentucky race for Senate.  [Getting up for another beer]

7:08 PM.  Races I'm interested in: Senate elections in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia, kind of.  Governor elections in Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and Kansas.

7:11 PM.  Newt Gingrich is talking.  Please shoot me.

7:13 PM.  Another race to watch: Ohio Treasurer.  Please, God, if you exist you will make sure Josh Mandel is looking for a job tomorrow.

7:14 PM.  Some dude is reading results for some ward in Manchester, NH.  Whoopty shit.

7:21 PM.  Democrats describing why they are going to lose the Senate: "Well, it's a well-run campaign- midget and broom and whatnot."

7:27 PM.  I'll beat CNN to the punch and declare John Kasich the winner in the Ohio governor race.  See above video clip for explanation [chugging beer #3].

7:32 PM.  Fox News projects John Kasich as winner of Ohio governor race.

7:35 PM.  Watching 3 minutes of Fox News coverage drives me to the fridge for a Christmas Ale.  I can't handle much of that coverage.

7:45 PM.  CNN interviews faux-Democrat Joe Manchin bitching about "war on coal".

7:52 PM.  After 2012, Karl Rove still is employed as an election analyst?  #makesmelookgood

7:55 PM. Maria Bartiromo is a fucking useless Republican hack. [not drunk yet, because I didn't use the c-word. God help me if I see Sarah Palin anytime soon.]

8:01 PM.  Fox News host proud to use "vanquish".  #gonnabealongnight

8:02 PM.  Fox News calls Pennsylvania governor's race for Democrat Tom Wolf.  Blames Tom Corbett's loss on his prosecution of Jerry Sandusky investigation and not on terrible governance.

8:10 PM.  Is Forrest Gump on the ballot in some southern state?  Sure, it should be Alabama, but, hey, Scott Brown.

8:11 PM.  Al Sharpton says Corbett lost because Corbett tried to pass voter ID law to suppress black vote.  Racism versus soft-on-pedophilia.  1 point for MSNBC.

8:13 PM.  Juan Williams gives up the best explanation for Republica success in 2014.  Voters hate incumbents, and there are more Democratic incumbents.  I think the governor races in the Midwest may prove that point.

8:15 PM.  Christmas Ale is gone.  Time for a whiz and another beer.

8:23  PM. Shit, Evan Bayh is an analyst?  Fuck me.

8:25 PM.  It is hard for CNN to build up the suspense for this shitshow.

8:30 PM.  CNN reports on what bag votes are delivered in in Arkansas. #24hournewssucks

8:32 PM.  Mitch McConnell sounds like a professional politician, looks like a geezer at the coffee shop.

8:37 PM.  Who the fuck is Noelle Hunter?

8:44 PM.  A Farmer +5.  Still on the heavy beers.

8:49 PM.   538 has called New Hampshire for Shaheen.

8:52 PM.  If Republicans don't roll tonight, they are fucked for the foreseeable future.

8:55 PM.  Come 9 o'clock, we may get some interesting news in the Michigan governor's race.

9:00 PM.  Mike Rounds in South Dakota.

9:04 PM.  A look at minimum-wage votes

9:12 PM.  CNN: Ryan budget is Republican suicide pact.

9:14 PM.  WTF?  CNN projects GOP win in U.S. House. No shit, Sherlock.

9:18 PM.  A Farmer +six (the number six doesn't work on my computer, either the number over the keyboard or the number on the numerical pad to the right of the keyboard).
9:24 PM

Me too.

9:25 PM.  I think Sully is beating me on pageviews. #noshitSherlock

9:35 PM  [bottles to cans]

9:44 PM.  I'm guessing Mark Warner is shitting his pants.

9:52 PM.  I'm bored.  I'm changing the channel to Fox News.  So said the drunk guy.

9:54 PM.  Fox News just called Colorado for Gardner.  Dems are fucked.

9:57 PM.  When Iowa goes for Joni Ernst, all hopes are gone for Democrats.  If democrats had balls, Joni Ernst would castrate them.

 9:58 PM 

10:01 PM.  CNN projects the Republican will beat the Democrat of last resort in Montana.  No shit.

10:03 PM.  CNN projects Pete Ricketts breaks family tradition (with Cubs and anti-Obama spending) and wins election for Nebraska governor.  #cantbuymelovebutcanbuymegovernorship

10:05 PM. #cantbuymeloveorpennantbutcanbuymegovernorship

10:15 PM.  A Farmer +7

10:22 PM  CNN: 53-47 Obama electoral victory in 2008 is a landslide.  Landslides ain't what they used to be.

10:24 PM  CNN: Gardner won Colorado because he's rural, and rural folks show up for off-year elections.  #whyrepublicanswininoffyears

10:37 PM.  It's all about Iowa, and we expect the castrator to win.

10:40 PM.  Some Perdue asshole wins Georgia.

10:45 PM.  Some Deal asshole wins Georgia.

10:54 PM. A Farmer +8.

10:55 PM.  Until right now, I was confusing Ed Gillespie with Ed Rollins.

11:00 PM.  Polls are closing in Hawaii?  WTF?  I't's like 5 PM.

11:01 PM.  Scott Walker won again.  Why do Wisconsin folks love no-personality assholes?

11:14 PM.  CNN: America hates Obama.  What fickle assholes.

11:19 PM.  A Farmer notices that asshole has been used a lot lately on this website.

11:35 PM.  Tom Tillis won in NC? Fuck, this is an assholes night.

11:37 PM.  Excuse me, Thom Tillis. (WTF? Thom?)

11:39 PM.  A Farmer +9

11:41 PM. Joni Ernst will be the next Senator from Iowa. Sane people cry.

11:47 PM.  Now CNN is talking to dumbfuck Ted Cruz.

11:51 PM.  Ted Cruz is one of the worst people in the world.

11:54 PM  CNN jackass says Ted Cruz is somehow a leader in the Senate.

11:58 PM. I really hate the Republican party.

12:02 AM.  CNN just projected a Tom Udall victory in  New Mexico. I'm more interested in the Conrad James race.

12:05 AM.  A Farmer +10

12:12 AM.  Things will not get better soon.

12:15 AM.Who is this douchebag on CNN blaming the Senate for a fucked up Congress?

12:21 AM.  I don't understand this analysis.  Obama made Illinois go with a Republican governor?  George Will just wrote a column saying that if Pat Quinn won, then Republicans would come out ahead because Illinois is really sucking. Does that mean that Republicans own the future?

12:44 AM.  I'm going to bed, because I've got a big day ahead of me. +11.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Astronomy Photo of the Day

November 2:

Titan Beyond the Rings 
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging TeamISSJPLESANASA
Explanation: When orbiting Saturn, be sure to watch for breathtaking superpositions of moons and rings. One such picturesque vista was visible recently to the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. In 2006 April, Cassini captured Saturn's A and F rings stretching in front of cloud-shrouded Titan. Near the rings and appearing just above Titan was Epimetheus, a moon which orbits just outside the F ring. The dark space in the A ringis called the Encke Gap, although several thin knotted ringlets and even the small moon Pan orbit there.