Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mid-Harvest Weekend Links

Well, the beans are harvested, we're putting a dent into the corn, the Republican party is losing its collective mind, and this big old world keeps on spinning.  Here are a few interesting stories to check out:

Two Words: Not Sportswriting - SBNation

Why Comedians Love the Mets - Wall Street Journal

Qatar's Wealth Fund Said Interested in Glencore Agriculture Sale - Bloomberg

Could A Mushroom Save The Honeybee? - The Salt

How Agriculture Controls Nutrition Guidelines - The Atlantic.  How did they not use Big Ag?  Who's writing this shit?

The Great Pumpkin Shortage: They Are Available for Halloween - But Maybe Not Thanksgiving - NBC News

Rudy's Testicle Festival: A Nutty Syracuse tradition for more than 20 years -  Bull balls aren't bad.  Never had the others.

It's Time to Come Clean With Iowans About the Problems With Ethanol - Pacific Standard.  Of course, what about modern life is sustainable?

The Last Blast Furnace in England's Capital of Steel - Bloomberg.  Built in 1979?  That is surprising.

Jeremy England: The Man Who May One-Up Darwin - Ozy

The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof - Nature

The Great Surrender - GOOD

Reefer Madness - Cincinnati Magazine.  I think the marijuana legalization referendum is as screwed up, if not more screwed up than the gambling referendum that passed in 2009.  In spite of that, the fact that the state legislature prefers to ignore issues as opposed to being proactive, encourages such crappy proposals.

The Party's Over - Politico.  But the clown show isn't.

Grass-Roots Anger Transforms Republican Party in Congress and Presidential Campaign - Wall Street Journal.  The combination of racism, hate, nihilism and impotent rage are not attractive characteristics of the rural Republican base.

The Return of the Middle American Radical - National Journal.  An interesting piece touching on the group mentioned above.

Bernanke: I'm not really a Republican anymore - Quartz.  Neither am I, Ben.

Most Americans Get 'Free Stuff' From The Government - FiveThirtyEight

What Infographics Looked Like Before Computers - Wired


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Who Wants To Be the King of the Idiots?

Not Kevin McCarthy.  You know, this might be worse than when the party had a hard time finding a Speaker candidate who wasn't an adulterer, and had to settle for a a serial sex offender.  Ok, maybe not.

Update: More here:
“It is total confusion — a banana republic,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a Boehner ally, as he recounted seeing a handful of House Republicans weeping Thursday over the downfall of McCarthy and the broader discord. “Any plan, anything you anticipate, who knows what’ll happen. People are crying. They don’t have any idea how this will unfold at all.”
One would assume one of the people crying is Boehner.  So who might be the next Speaker?  Here are a few names:
The committee chairmanships, long a grooming area for future leaders and the path Boehner took to the speakership, have been filled in places by youthful members such as Chaffetz, 48. And the leadership slots below Boehner and McCarthy – majority whip and chief deputy whip – are occupied by Steve Scalise (La.) and Patrick McHenry (N.C.), respectively. Both have served in the House for a decade or less and are inexperienced as national spokesmen — inside operatives but far from recognizable voices.
That left Republicans searching Thursday for new names to add to mix. King floated Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a respected former House GOP campaign chairman, as a person who could be a calming presence. Several conservatives suggested House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), a former leadership member who has strong relationships with the party’s conservative bloc.
Others on the right said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which was wary of McCarthy, would best reflect the political drift and impulses of the House. But he told reporters that he is not interested.
 Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jordan isn't going to do anything remotely like work.  The dude has never done anything of note as a politician other than bitch, vote no, and collect paychecks and pension contributions.  I think being Speaker would mean not being able to be a do-nothing backbencher, so he's out.  Plus, he's an asshole.  However, he's probably qualified to be the king of the idiots.  He's definitely one of the biggest ones in the House.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Paris Day & Night

Paris Day & Night from Teeter-Totter-Tam on Vimeo.

Protecting Billionaires From Competition

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact the antitrust exemption it conferred on professional baseball almost a century ago, rejecting an appeal stemming from an effort to move the Oakland Athletics to San Jose, California.
San Jose tried to sue Major League Baseball for thwarting the city’s courtship of the A’s. Two lower courts rejected the 2013 lawsuit, pointing to Supreme Court rulings that insulate pro baseball from antitrust liability.
The rebuff leaves intact an exemption that the high court itself has described as an “aberration.” Baseball is the only sport that enjoys antitrust immunity, and critics say that special status gives teams too much leverage over communities.
The Supreme Court last considered baseball’s status in 1972, when outfielder Curt Flood challenged his trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood said baseball’s “reserve system,” which at the time barred free agency, violated U.S. antitrust law. The court in that case said it was bound by a 1922 decision immunizing the sport.
In its appeal, San Jose called the antitrust exemption “a relic from another era.” The city, which began wooing the A’s in 2009, says Major League Baseball was improperly trying to shield the San Francisco Giants from competition.
MLB considers San Jose to be part of the Giants’ “operating territory,” even though the state’s third-largest city is actually closer to Oakland than to San Francisco. The definition means no team can move to San Jose without the consent of three-quarters of the 30 clubs.
The A’s have shifted their focus away from San Jose toward efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland.
I've never understood the antitrust exemption, or why the Court continues to respect it.  Does Major League Baseball really need protected from market forces?  I'd guess no.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

NASA Photo of the Day

September 29:

Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse and Lightning Storm
Image Credit & Copyright: Jose Antonio Hervás
Explanation: What's more rare than a supermoon total lunar eclipse? How about a supermoon total lunar eclipse over a lightning storm. Such an electrifying sequence was captured yesterday from Ibiza, an island in southeastern Spain. After planning the location for beauty, and the timing to capture the entire eclipse sequence, the only thing that had to cooperate for this astrophotographer to capture a memorable eclipse sequence was the weather. What looked to be a bother on the horizon, though, turned out to be a blessing. The composite picture features over 200 digitally combined images from the same location over the course of a night. The full moon is seen setting as it faded to red in Earth's shadow and then returned to normal. The fortuitous lightning is seen reflected in the Mediterranean to the right of the 400-meter tall rocky island of Es Vedra. Although the next total eclipse of a large and bright supermoon will occur in 2033, the next total eclipse of any full moon will occur in January 2018 and be best visible from eastern Asia and Australia.

Minster Oktoberfest Weekend Links

I didn't make it to the local Oktoberfest celebration, but that still didn't prevent me from being late with the weekend reads:

Not Just Another Number 30 - SBNation

Donald Trump's Misadventures in Professional Football - Priceonomics

Sneaker Wars: Inside the Battle Between Nike and Adidas - GQ

Monsanto To Chart Growth Plan as Farmers Feel Squeezed - Wall Street Journal

Drought Is Driving Beekeepers And Their Hives From California - The Salt

Beef Isn't For Dinner Anymore as Americans Devour Cheaper Pork - Bloomberg

Farmer digs up woolly mammoth bones in Michigan soy field - Washington Post (via the journalist)

Why It Was Easier To Be Skinny in the 1980's - The Atlantic.  Fingering the feeding of antibiotics to livestock, which screw with gut bacteria.  Don't know if I buy that, but it is interesting.

Dick Cantwell's Beer Is Immortal - Seattle Met

Volkswagen's Villains - Slate

Atomic Summer: An Essay by Joni Tevis - Longreads

The Man Who Launched The GOP's Civil War - Politico

How Steve Jobs Fleeced Carly Fiorina - Backchannel

Voter ID and driver's license office closures black-out Alabama's Black Belt -

Closures announced Wednesday will leave 28 Alabama counties without a place to get a driver's license.