Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pour a cuppa and support a veteran

Airman Brian Kolfage lost both legs and his right hand in Iraq in 2004, becoming the most severely wounded US Airman to survive.

When he returned he started supporting his wife and two children with an online coffee company, Military Grade Coffee Company. He publicized it on Facebook, and ended up paying Facebook $300,000 for ads to promote it. Kolfage also has a website, Right Wing News, which had a Facebook page.

Then this month, with the election weeks away, Facebook took down both of his pages. Right Wing News had more than 3 million followers at the time of its blacklisting by Facebook.

“My income as a father and husband is threatened. Facebook cut off all contact we had with the millions of people who signed up to follow us, the millions of people who liked what we were sharing online. We had a coveted, verified blue check mark, 3.5 Million fans, and I invested over $300,000 in ads at Facebook’s own request, nearly begging us to spend spend spend just to reach our fans… whom they kept making more difficult to reach with every passing year.”

He's set up a new website to fight Facebook. I'm not sure the squishes at Facebook, secure in their safe spaces, have faced this kind of warrior before. 

At any rate, I love coffee, and I like it bold, so I've ordered some of his K-cups. They cost more than the ones I buy now, but I suspect the coffee is better. He advertises it this way: "Premium, organic coffee that offers rich, bold flavors from start to finish. Has subtle notes of chocolate and caramel with a deceptively smooth, never bitter taste."

Works for me. You can find the type you like here.

Bonus: 10% of the profit goes to Combat Wounded Coalition and other veteran charities such as The Gary Sinise Foundation to help with PTSD, housing and other important needs.

Shame on you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The flu shot: It's not about you, dummy

We all know the reasons not to get the shot. Aaron Carroll, professor pediatrics, points out a reason to do it.
It’s possible that so many adults ignore the danger because it seldom affects them directly. Most of the hospitalizations and deaths occur among children and older people. 
The C.D.C. estimated that in 2015-2016, the flu shot prevented more than five million cases of the flu. If just 5 percent more people had been immunized, we could have probably avoided 500,000 illnesses, 230,000 medical visits and 6,000 hospitalizations.
Here's the real point: You don’t get immunized just to protect yourself. You also get immunized to protect those who can’t protect themselves. It's all about herd immunity.
A study in 2011 made the case for why thinking about only yourself is the wrong way to look at chicken pox vaccination. The first thing it showed was that from 2001 through 2007, as rates of vaccination rose, the rates of death from chicken pox were low, with just a few children dying each year. But more significant, from 2004 through 2007, not one child younger than 1 year old died in the United States.

What was amazing about this finding was that we don’t vaccinate children that young for chickenpox — therefore, those babies’ deaths were not prevented because they were vaccinated. Their deaths were prevented because we vaccinated their older siblings. That achieved the herd immunity necessary to slow or prevent the rates of infection significantly. 
Adults need to get vaccinated to protect children and babies. They need to get vaccinated to protect older people and the immuno-compromised. This is true for almost all diseases, including the flu. 
Do it for the babies!

L. M. Montgomery: acceptance

"Don't believe in imagining things different from what they really are. When the Lord puts us in certain circumstances He doesn't mean for us to imagine them away."

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Vespers: A Mercy of Peace

The Novospassky Monastery Choir sings "A Mercy of Peace."

Novospassky Monastery (New monastery of the Saviour) is one of the fortified monasteries surrounding Moscow from the south-east. The abbey traces its history back to Moscow's first monastery established in the early 14th century at the location where the Danilov Monastery now stands. During the Soviet years, the monastery was converted into a prison, then into a police drunk tank. In the 1970s it was assigned to an art restoration institute, and finally returned to the Russian Orthodox church in 1991.

"A Mercy of Peace" is part of Holy Communion in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Scripture: The first shall be last

Christ and the rich young ruler.
From The Lectionary:

Mark 10:17-3110:17 

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

10:18 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

10:19 You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'"

10:20 He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth."

10:21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

10:22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

10:23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

10:24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

10:26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?"

10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."

10:28 Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you."

10:29 Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,

10:30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age--houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life.

10:31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

Ralph Waldo Emerson: learning

"Every artist was first an amateur."

Friday, October 12, 2018

Casual Friday: All She Wants To Do Is Dance

Just two working days til Monday!

"My friend would spend all of his time practicing limbo. He got pretty good. 
He could go under a rug." ~ Stephen Wright

Going Mad: We're still running out of time

It's almost Friday the 13th so let's pause to look in on the globalistical warmening loonies.

I blame Jim.
Blaming the victims. Does University of Saint Thomas thermal sciences professor John Abraham actually believe Florida Panhandle residents deserved to get hit by a catastrophic hurricane for electing “climate deniers?” “Victims of Hurricane Michael voted for climate deniers,” reads the headline an article by Abraham. “Elections have consequences. Denying science has consequences. And we are reaping what we sow.”

Still running out of time. Former Vice President Al Gore warned the world was “running out of time” to stop catastrophic global warming.

Oh no, another scholar. A visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment was blunt: In order to save Earth, capitalism must be destroyed: "The world's top scientists just gave rigorous backing to systematically dismantle capitalism as a key requirement to maintaining civilization and a habitable planet." Holthaus also tweeted that he is available to lend his expertise to “any TV/radio news program this week to put this report in its appropriate context” — but with a special exemption for Fox News due to their not accepting science. “Because f*** them.”

Better pay off the mortgage now. Terrifying climate change warning: 12 years until we’re doomed.

Oh no, another scholar. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the future of the Democratic Party: “Our children’s lives are on the line. Americans are dying because of a government too coward (sic) to save the planet.”

Still running out of time. Former Vice President Al Gore warned the world was “running out of time” to stop catastrophic global warming.

Somebody do something about this right away! As CO2 levels change, sperm concentrations in male semen change right along. As the authors put it, “Our global manhood is being steadily shriveled into effeminancy by our huge and rising emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” We need to do something about this right away."

Top off your tank now. A new U.N. report suggests a $240 per gallon gas tax equivalent is needed to fight global warming.

Oh no, another scholar. A lecturer at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom and colleagues issued a news release this year asking journalists to banish the term "natural disaster" from our lexicon. "By blaming nature on disasters, we're saying there is nothing we can do about this. The frequency of the high category events like Michael should go up as a result of climate warming."

Still running out of time. Former Vice President Al Gore warned the world was “running out of time” to stop catastrophic global warming.

It's not all bad. Environmental activists showed their apprehension for fossil fuel production by taking off all their clothes and going on a 10-mile bike ride.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Idiots: Rhode Island Sen. Ralph Boof

Jealous of Connecticut's senator, Dick "Danang" Blumenthal, neighboring Rhode Island elected Sheldon "Ralph" Whitehouse, a place, incidentally, he'll never live in.

What kind of name is Sheldon?

At any rate, Ralph, as we'll call him, decided that he alone could turn back the encroachment of sanity upon our Supreme Court, and so he set about attacking Brett Kavanaugh. Ralph was curious about some words that Kavanaugh may have used when he was a teenager. Let's watch:

Rhode Island must be so proud just now.

Sheldon gets to be on TV with the Chipmunk.
Ralph Whitehouse is the latest evidence that elite families don't reproduce well. Ralph Whitehouse is, as judged by The New Yorker, "a politician with a great name, a bad haircut, and a pissed-off attitude. He’s descended from the Crocker railroad fortune, his father was a career diplomat (which included stints as ambassador to Laos and Thailand), and Sheldon himself is the product of St. Paul’s and Yale. Good breeding, however, has not assured him good manners, at least politically."

It's a shame he couldn't interview Ted Kennedy.

"I am the exception to the rule that all senators see themselves in the Oval Office." ~ Sheldon Whitehouse

So if you eat bacon are you gonna die?

Here's the headline: A new meta-analysis concluded that bacon and several other types of meat are tied to an increased risk of breast cancer.

A meta analysis means these researchers looked at 15 previous studies, including a total of more than1.2 million women, focused on the link between breast cancer and processed meat.
The researchers found that individuals who consumed the most processed meat — between 0.9 ounces and 1 ounce (25 and 30 grams) a day — had about a 9 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared with those who ate the least processed meat, which was 0 to 0.07 ounces or 0.17 ounces (2 to 5 grams) a day.
Researchers read previous research on rainy afternoons when they're bored and need write them up when they need another bullet point on their resumes.

One slice of cooked bacon can weigh from 0.5-0.75 oz. (14.17-21.26 g). So, we're here that one to two slices of bacon a day may kill you.

Leslie Nemo, a science journalist, breaks all this down for us.
1. It's important to know that there are limitations to the type of research that aims to link certain foods to the risk of health conditions. In this case, the research available to study meant that the authors could only assess the impact of high- and low-processed meat consumption — there wasn't enough data available to see what risks consumers run when they eat 0.35 ounces to 0.5 ounces (10 or 15 grams) of the product.
2. What's more, the studies included in the meta-analysis relied on participants remembering what their diet had been like at certain points in the past. This research technique that depends on memories has a lot of room for under- and overestimation.
3. The 9 percent increase in risk that this report found could be a statistical error, and is not enough to warrant alarming people — a point that others have made when criticizing the 2015 WHO-associated report, which labeled processed meats as "likely carcinogens" after finding the food increased colon cancer risk by 18 percent.
Not being a science journalist, I can confidently say that the day you decide to give up bacon you just may walk outside and get run over by a big green truck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Trump trumps the Deep State

Here are some rather curious bits of recent news  regarding the coup inside the DOJ and FBI against The Donald.
1. The Donald postpones releasing documents that would prove the coup exists and implicate Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who is up to his neck in the coup and who supervises the Bob Mueller probe. 
2. Rosenstein is scheduled to testify to a congressional committee about it all. 
3. Rod gets to ride with The Donald on Air Force One. 
4. Two top FBI officials involved in the coup say that they believed Rod when he said he wanted to wear a wire to record The Donald and wanted to enlist cabinet members in removing him under the 25th Amendment.
Well, well, as we like to say in The Gumbo Blog Newsroom when we're baffled.

Mark Wauck, a retired FBI agent, has a good explanation for all of this, and we're going with it. It's long but it's fun:
There's a reason why President Trump has not unilaterally declassified the documents exposing perfidy against him: leverage. As the whole Russia hoax is beginning to come into some sort of global perspective – quite literally, as we'll see – the extent of the advantage he now maintains by holding back declassification as a threat outweighs the benefits of transparency. Recent posts by observers who write from widely varying perspectives give us the ability to discern the current state of play. 
Let's start with the domestic front of the Russia hoax. Sundance at Conservative Tree House has an excellent post up: "President Trump and DAG Rod Rosenstein – "No Collusion", No Immediate Worries..." The overall theme is one that's dear to Sundance's heart: leverage. The state of play is this: the congressional investigation has progressed to the point that it's clear beyond cavil that the entire Russia narrative is, in fact, a hoax and fraud – both on the American people in general and on our legal system. This is to say real criminal liability exists for the key players who developed the plot against Trump. John Solomon summarizes what Congress has discovered in succinct fashion:

There is now a concrete storyline backed by irrefutable evidence: The FBI allowed itself to take political opposition research created by one party to defeat another in an election, treated it like actionable intelligence, presented it to the court as substantiated, and then used it to justify spying on an adviser for the campaign of that party's duly chosen nominee for president in the final days of a presidential election. 
And when, nine months later, the FBI could not prove the allegation of collusion between Trump and Russia, unverified evidence was leaked to the media to try to sustain public support for a continued investigation. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

What your next car may look like

I'm not sure we're ready for cars that drive themselves, but they're coming. Here are three indications.

Look ma, no steering wheel. Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. Two bills in Congress aim to achieve such goals on a national level, in many cases overruling states and localities.

The Congress should know: It seems to drive itself without a steering wheel.

How about a signal, pal? It’s not enough for a robocar to play nicely with others—it must also be seen to be playing nicely. And that will happen only if the industry can agree on a standard for communication, the Ford Motor Company said. The standard would go beyond the wireless one that cars use to talk to each other; it would include a visual component. That way, pedestrians and drivers of cars without transceivers can see right away what the robocar intends to do.

What if it doesn't know what it wants to do?

What stop light, officer? New technology allows cars to collaborate, using their onboard communications capabilities, to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely without the use of any traffic lights whatsoever. It is time to ditch the traffic light. We have nothing to lose except countless hours sitting in our cars while going nowhere.

Watch this ... here, hold my beer.

Monday, October 08, 2018

The elephant in Christine Blasey Ford's room

Most people are tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, but I'll give it a big old kick to see what happens: Christine Blasey Ford is lying and participating in an elaborate hoax.

It is little different from the Russian collusion hoax perpetrated against The Donald. That is slowly crumbling as we now see the links to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

There's just too much wrong with Ford's account. Start with her erasing her social media footprint. Why would she do that? What would it reveal? Add her refusal to turn over therapist's notes, communications with the Washington Post, and polygraph details. Somebody's hiding something. She cited all this as part of her case, so she should release it all.

Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar and historian, examines the facts as we know them.
In the end, the Christine Blasey Ford accusations collapsed. With them went the last effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court. 
After thousands of hours of internal Senate and FBI investigations of Kavanaugh, as well as public discussions, open questioning, and media sensationalism, Ford remained unable to identify a single witness who might substantiate any of her narratives of an alleged sexual assault of nearly four decades past.

To substantiate her claim, the country was asked to jettison the idea of innocent until proven guilty, the need for corroborating testimony, witnesses, and physical evidence, the inadmissibility of hearsay, the need for reasonable statutes of limitations, considerations of motive, and the right of the accused to conduct vigorous cross-examination. That leap proved too much, especially when located in a larger progressive landscape of street theater antics, including Senate disruptions, walkouts, and sandbagging senators in hallways and elevators. 
At the end of all things, Ford remained scarcely knowledgeable about the location and time of the assault than she was months earlier in her original anonymous complaint. Nor could she yet describe how she arrived at or left the party that may or may not have taken place in 1982. That Ford retained a crystal-clear account of having consumed just one beer and that Kavanaugh played the Hollywood role of a cruel, smirking, drunken, and privileged preppy groper were sensational accusations but not supportable. 
After two weeks of the televised melodrama, the country rejected the therapeutic mindset and preferred what was logic and rational—without dismissing the chance that Ford somewhere at some time had experienced some sort of severe trauma.

In Ford’s case, that meant that being empathetic or even sincere did not translate into being credible. Logos (word) and ergon (deed) have never been synonymous. The country was finally asked to believe that because Ford told others of the assault 30 years later, that admission was de facto proof that the event really happened—and happened just as Ford described. But since when was sharing a story proof that the story therein was believable? 
Serial Fibs and Fables
The Democrats’ strategy to derail Kavanagh encouraged the appearance of serial accusers—on the theory that the quantity of accusations could do what the quality of any individual testimony could not. Activists had little idea that the opposite usually occurs when such serial testimonials lack substantiation: like falling dominos one knocks down the next all the way back to the beginning. And so the wreckage of serial fibs and fables from all sorts also helped to undermine Ford’s credibility. 
When the Deborah Ramirez yarn and the Julie Swetnick fantasy collapsed, along with those of accusers four, five, six, etc. (that inter alia had included charges of rape while out to sea off Rhode Island, a tag-team sexual assault with Mark Judge in the backseat of a car, and throwing ice), Ford’s narrative appeared even less credible. Instead it became just one of many fictions; the first accuser became different from the rest only in the sense of being the first rather than the only one credible.

But Ford’s problem was not just that her memory was inexact and often nonexistent about the details necessary to substantiate her quite serious charges aimed at destroying not just a nomination but the totality of an individual and his family, 36 years after an alleged teenaged encounter. Instead, the rub was that Christine Blasey Ford inadvertently became the best witness—against Christine Blasey Ford. 
She had claimed that she was afraid of flying, but by her own admissions she was a frequent flyer. 
She claimed the event took place in the early 1980s but also the mid-’80s—but also summer of 1982. Thus, her reported age at the time of the incident was equally fluid as a middle teen or late teen. 
She swore that she had no idea that Senate investigators were willing to fly to California to interview her to accommodate her aerophobia—an offer splashed over the media for days. 
Her halting answers to questions about her legal assistance funding, her past experiences with lie detector tests, the existence of any tapes or videos of her lie detector interview, and the content, accessibility, and nature of her therapist notes were either self-contradictory, illogical, or incomplete. 
An ex-boyfriend turned up to question her narratives in a sworn affidavit alleging that she was demonstrably neither aerophobic nor claustrophobic—and perhaps far from being a novice in matters of taking lie-detector tests. Instead, he suggested that she had used her psychotherapy skills to coach her doppelganger friend how to massage such a test—a Zelig-like best friend who unfortunately also turned up at the hearings, and may well have hosted Ford before the Senate circus, and also allegedly may have tried to pressure one of Ford’s friends to massage her earlier condemnatory denials. 
Reporters had noted Ford’s two-front-door remedy for anxiety was not necessarily a result of post-Kavanaugh stress syndrome as much a far earlier mercantile gambit to cash in on the Silicon Valley rent boom, where an extra room with a separate roadside entry meant a lucrative attached rental. 
That the same ex-boyfriend claimed that an unfaithful Ford had also ripped him off for $600 in credit card bills (presumably a demonstrable accusation given banking records) did not help her case that she was a babe in the financial woods without a clue about her growing and lucrative GoFundMe account, or who in fact had paid her legal and prep bills and how—facts at odds with Ford’s adolescent demeanor of supposedly lost innocence. 
So Many Stories
Senate prosecutor Rachel Mitchell might have proven in court more a depositioner than an inquisitor in her seemingly circular questioning, but in retrospect she proved a brilliant interrogator nonetheless in getting Ford to testify to a host of things that simply could not all be true—and would come back to haunt Ford in Mitchell’s damning summary of Ford’s likely untruths. 
And why exactly were there so many contradictions as outlined in Mitchell’s written summation? 
Christine Ford in July may have had no idea that her original anonymous accusation would ever become sensationalized publicly, much less put her into a position of trying to reconcile a number of irreconcilable narratives. 
Instead, Ford had initially thought a single anonymous but poisonous letter would do the trick far better than had previous weeks of grandstanding Democratic baiting, demonstrations, and walkouts. A last-minute drive-by and anonymous charge of sexual assault would panic Republicans with the mere whiff of #MeTooism, shock and cower a goody-two-shoes, family-man Kavanaugh, and thus force a beleaguered, pre-midterm-anxious President Trump to withdraw the nomination—all without the disclosure of Ford’s name and thus without any further need to substantiate her narratives. 
As a side note, in this context, I am confused by the bipartisan outrage solely directed at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s or her staff’s lowdown leaking of Ford’s name. Of course, it was unethical and so typical of the twilight years of the senior senator from California. 
But, then again, so is authoring an anonymous hit piece without any corroborating evidence but with misleading written assertions (such as how Ford sought “medical treatment” for the assault—without disclosing she meant marriage counseling 36 years after the fact.) It seems far less noble to charge Kavanaugh with sexual assault anonymously than to have come forward at the outset and demonstrate the charge transparently. The cloak of anonymity does even more damage to the idea of jurisprudence than does the unethical removal of it by a would-be enabler. 
Yet the radical change of events that followed the disclosure of Ford’s name did lead to discovery of lots of Ford narratives with still more to come. 
There was the narrative in Ford’s original letter to U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), which wound up in Feinstein’s hands. 
There was the therapist-notes narrative (released in part to the press but strangely not to the committee). 
There was the Washington Post interview narrative.
And there was the Senate committee testimony narrative.
By the time of the last narrative, Ford had given one too many.
Sincere, Empathetic . . . But Not Credible 
Taken as a whole, Ford’s problem was not just that she couldn’t remember key details, but that she remembered all sorts of different things depending on when and to whom she related the latest narrative. More incriminatingly, her narratives seemed to change key facts about the number and sex of apparent partygoers and the vague date and general area of the assault in ways that might enhance her latest iteration of the story.
What destroys credibility is not just a lack of memory, but more so the presence of too many memories that are selective, self-serving, and mutually contradictory. 
Thus far the consensus has been that Ford was sincere and empathetic, but not credible. But more and more, it appears that she was all at once not credible, quite insincere, and perhaps completely unfeeling, at least in saying so many things that were not only unprovable, but demonstrably false and sometimes quite hurtful to her friends—and all apparently for the progressive end of stopping a qualified right-leaning jurist by destroying his character and reputation. 
Ford had insisted on privacy concerning her own health problems, but gratuitously questioned the veracity (and by extension selfishness) of her friend Leland Keyser’s testimony by suggesting to the world that Keyser was suffering certain with “health challenges” (specifically, “Leland has significant health challenges, and I am happy that she is focusing on herself”), that might explain their differing memories. In other words, we were presented with something like “my friend perjures herself when she contradicts me but does so because she has medical problems and focuses on her treatment for them rather than on the ‘truth’ about me.” 
Finally, the new progressive Democratic Party was especially dense in all this. Senate Democrats kept clamoring for more testimonials to buttress Ford’s charges, but at each juncture of a new witness offering relevant knowledge, the very opposite effect followed of further eroding her veracity. And in a brave new world without evidence, in which “sincerity” and “empathy” mutate into “believability,” and “her truth” is synonymous with “the truth,” why would the counter-testimonies of a boyfriend or best friend be any less believable than Ford’s, much less required evidence of their own? Why call for a supplemental, one-week FBI investigation (months after Feinstein had prevented just that) when all knew that after a week a once-praised FBI would summarily be damned for not finding Kavanaugh guilty of something? 
In the end, Ford was perhaps fortunate that the entire circus ceased when it did. Had investigators probed any more deeply the recent accusations of her once long-term boyfriend, the strange but multifaceted role of her lifelong but apparently conniving friend Monica McClean in the Kavanaugh allegations, the passages of the therapist tapes, the exact circumstances surrounding the lie-detector test, the long odyssey of Ford’s original accusation through Feinstein’s staff to Democratic committee members and the media, and the sources of Ford’s judicial support, there might well have been more incompatibility with the ever growing number of Ford’s narratives. 
In the end, we were left only with the Stalinist mantra “to accuse is to be believed”—but, of course, not even the current accusers in the future would be exempt from the very nightmare they now would create for others.
This hoax is unraveling much faster than the Russia collusion tale.

The Idiots: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

So many idiots have revealed themselves this week. We're starting a new Gumbo Blog series on The Idiots.

Here's our first. Listen to her, then listen to her again. We're accepting suggestion in what she imagines she means. Please email us at your earliest convenience.

That's a really interesting thought.

This woman will soon join Nancy Pelosi and Maxine  Waters in the House of Representatives of the United States of America, and she will be there forever, or until she decides to take Schumer's place in the United States Senate or run for President of the United States of America.

Why you should feed your mouse an apple a day

Will live forever.
New research has identified a natural compound found in many types of fruit, such as apples and strawberries, and vegetables that can slow down the aging process.
Researchers tested 10 flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, in aging mice. Of all the compounds they looked into, the one that was most effective was fistein, which naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables — including apples, strawberries, onions, and cucumbers.
When treating aging mice with fistein, the team saw that it reduced the levels of senescent cells in the animals, prolonging their lifespan and contributing to better health.
Who wants an old mouse?

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Vespers: Be Thou My Vision

The High Kings perform "Be Thou My Vision."

The High Kings are an Irish folk group formed in Dublin in 2008. The High Kings has toured Ireland, the United States, and Europe on multiple occasions.

Dallán Forgaill
"Be Thou My Vision" is a traditional hymn from Ireland. The words are based on a Middle Irish poem often attributed to the sixth-century Irish Christian poet Dallán Forgaill, although it is probably later than that. The best-known English version, with some minor variations, was translated by Eleanor Hull and published in 1912. Since 1919 it has been commonly sung to the Irish folk tune "Slane."

The text reflects aspects of life in Early Christian Ireland (c.400-800 AD). The prayer belongs to a type known as a lorica, a prayer for protection. The symbolic use of a battle-shield and a sword to invoke the power and protection of God draws on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:16-17), which refers to "the shield of faith" and "the sword of the Spirit."

Such military symbolism was common in the poetry and hymnnology of Christian monasteries of the period due to the prevalence of clan warfare across Ireland. The poem makes reference to God as "King of the Seven Heavens" and the "High King of Heaven".This depiction of the Christian God as a chieftain or High King is a traditional representation in Irish literature; medieval Irish poetry typically used heroic imagery to cast God as a clan protector.

Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

High King of Heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, oh, bright heaven's sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision, oh Ruler of all

Thou and Thou only first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art

How to know if there's an emergency

A few days ago everyone got an emergency notification from the federal government, which was testing its emergency alert system.

Many objected to receiving the notice from The Donald, but this system was created long before he took office. I recall not liking the idea that Obamaman could send out such a text. And I don't like it no matter who's president. It's just to Orwellian for me.

Nevertheless, it's just the latest in a long line of federal efforts to notify us that the Russians are coming. Read the history here. They've tried everything. Read about the current system here.

So what's the best way to get notified that something's up?

First, get the FEMA app on your phone. It will notify you if there are any weather things headed your way, and it also has all kinds of emergency information. Any of the weather apps will notify you, as well. I have about six on my phone, and when we had a tornado watch the other day they all went off. You can usually tell these apps what you want to know about.

You can also use Facebook and Twitter. Most towns publish warning information on these platforms. You can also follow the National Weather Service in your area on Facebook.

The next thing to do is find out if your state or town uses a reverse 911 system to broadcast emergency information. We have this in Connecticut. State and local authorities notify us when we're all going to die. The system will call your primary number and if you don't pick up it will call your second number and on and on. So if you have a landline and a couple of cell phones, they will all start ringing like crazy. But it works.

Scripture: Out of the mouths of babes

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 8

8:1 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

8:2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

8:4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

8:5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

8:6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

8:7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

8:9 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Joseph Murphy: Vision

"We go where our vision is."

Friday, October 05, 2018

Casual Friday: Goodbye Stranger

Just two working days til Monday!
"Doctors can’t eat apples because if they do they’ll never come back." ~ u/dskutnik

The Madness: Partying with goats and lobsters

"As a psychiatrist, I see this as the biggest challenge facing psychiatry today. A large part of the population – perhaps even the majority – might benefit from some form of mental health care." 
~ Joseph Pierre

It's Friday, so that means it's time to explore The Madness all around us.

Lobsters are exempted because they have shells. Day care center tells parents they must give their kids helmets for recess.

Around here we just use lobsters. Spanky and Pippin are literally party animals in the Los Angeles nightlife scene. The Nigerian Dwarf goats are professional party-goers, bringing their special brand of magic to city celebrations and starry soirees.
Not good for goats, either. Maine officials say getting lobsters stoned with marijuana before killing them is illegal.

Especially when worn by women. In case you were wondering what the Left has on its racist list now, The Atlantic just let us know. It’s beards. Apparently beards have a “racially fraught history,” or something.

And doesn't have a single lobster. The big problem with the animal crackers “cage free” box redesign: The new art doesn’t address any of the underlying issues about ethics, exploitation, and corporate greed.

Want a lobster roll with that? Furious customers threaten to attack restaurant owner and his CHILDREN after he changed the shape of his famous $4 french fries.

Imagine how a lobster feels. Dear Sugars, I’m riddled with shame. White shame. This isn’t helpful to me or to anyone, especially people of color. I feel like there is no “me” outside of my white/upper middle class/cisgender identity. I feel like my literal existence hurts people, like I’m always taking up space that should belong to someone else.

Not sure about lobsters. A student editor at Durham University has been fired in a transphobia row after he tweeted that "women don't have penises."

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Idiots: Where do we get such men?

One might reasonably wonder how these people ever got elected.

Jeff Flake: “Kavanaugh's interaction with the members was sharp and partisan and that concerns me. We can’t have this on the court. We simply can’t.”

Does this wimp think he'll ever be elected to anything ever again?

Chuck Schumer: “It’s not a legal proceeding, it’s a fact-finding proceeding…this is standard operating procedure. There is no presumption of innocence or guilt when you have a nominee before you.”

Okay, you molted carp. We'll apply this to all Democrats.

Mazie Hirono: “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”

No, YOU shut up.
John Kerry: "Ted Kennedy stood up and owned moments where he knew he'd stepped over the line, so I think that—and he wasn't about to be nominated to a lifetime position."

Neither was Mary Jo.

Kirsten Gillibrand. "Kavanaugh doesn’t believe that reproductive rights are in the Constitution anywhere. Truly, women will die if this law is changed.”

Mary Jo could not be reach for comment.

Cory Booker: “Ultimately, not whether he's innocent or guilty -- this is not a trial -- but ultimately, have enough questions been raised that we should not move on to another candidate?”

No, but throw some more mud and we'll see.

Dick Durbin: “Over and above all those things is this: you [Kavanaugh] are the nominee of President Donald John Trump.”

Oops. Did he just say what I think he said?

Dick Blumenthal: "He'd be a fifth vote that would eliminate people's right to marry the person they love, for women to decide when they want to become pregnant, for workers' rights and other rights. I think our core principles and values would be violated."

That includes the right to lie about military service.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Notice that we're destroying a good Christian family?

A word to my Christian brothers and sisters: If you support the campaign against Kavanaugh, you are joining in the persecution of a devout Christian man and family.

Any practicing Christian would recognize Brett Kavanaugh's daughter praying for the woman accusing him. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." ~ Matthew 5:44

And his wife taking cupcakes out to reporters on the lawn. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." ~ Matthew 5:44

And Brett Kavanaugh serving food to the homeless. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink." ~ Matthew 25:35
At what point would you admit that this man and his family just may be suffering persecution? Would  USA Today suggesting that he might be a pedophile do it? How about this from cartoonist Chris Britt?
Hahahah. That's funny.

Perhaps your inclination to help a Christian in distress has been overcome by your hatred of Donald Trump.

Perhaps your feminist impulses keep you from logically reasoning that some women are telling the truth and some women are lying; that some women come forward on their own and some come forward at the urging of politicians who have an agenda; that some have evidence or corroboration and some don't. 

Perhaps you are afraid, as many are, that Kavanaugh will find in the Constitution no right deliver a baby half way and then puncture its skull and suck its brain out. 

Are you an activist or just a fellow traveler or useful idiot?

Well, I'm shaking the dust from my feet.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The presumption of innocence

Back in the Sixth Century, about the time Dianne Feinstein was born, the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" appeared in the Digest of Justinian. It provides, as a general rule of evidence: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat—"Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies". It is there attributed to the second and third century jurist Paul. It was introduced in Roman criminal law by emperor Antoninus Pius.

Dianne was hungover from a wild drunken high school party, so she missed the class where this was taught. We don't teach it anymore, because #MeToo!

Well, it kinda caught on:
"Presumption of innocence" serves to emphasize that the prosecution has the obligation to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt (or some other level of proof depending on the criminal justice system) and that the accused bears no burden of proof. This is often expressed in the phrase innocent until proven guilty, coined by the English lawyer Sir William Garrow (1760–1840). Garrow insisted that accusers be robustly tested in court. An objective observer in the position of the juror must reasonably conclude that the defendant almost certainly committed the crime.
Garrow: Looks guilty to me.
This right is so important in modern democracies, constitutional monarchies and republics that many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence."
Although the Constitution of the United States does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments. The case of Coffin v. United States (1895) established the presumption of innocence of persons accused of crimes.

Dianne, call your office.

You can't prove a negative

Among the many logical fallacies is one called "proving non existence." This is:
Demanding that one proves the non-existence of something in place of providing adequate evidence for the existence of that something. Although it may be possible to prove non-existence in special situations, such as showing that a container does not contain certain items, one cannot prove universal or absolute non-existence. The proof of existence must come from those who make the claims.
Logical Form:
I cannot prove that X exists, so you prove that it doesn’t.
If you can’t, X exists.
God exists. Until you can prove otherwise, I will continue to believe that he does.
Dr. Philip A. Pecorino, an instructor of philosophy at Queensborough Community College for nearly 40 years, writes:
The burden of proof is always on the person making an assertion or proposition. Shifting the burden of proof, a special case of argumentum ad ignorantium, is the fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion being made. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise.
And then he says:
Most people as young children appear to have a “commonsense” understanding of the burden of proof. When young people hear a claim being made and it is, in their minds and experience, an extraordinary claim being made, quite often the response is one of asking for something to support the claim. The most common retorts are along the line of “Prove it”, “What makes you say that”, “Show me” or something like “Oh, yeah?”. 
Somewhere along the way too many humans lose that sense and too often suspend their inclination to accept the principles underlying the “Burden of Proof”. Going a bit further it is to be noted that not all people care to be considered as being rational or reasonable or willing to use their intellect as best as possible but for any person who cares at all about being rational and using reason then operating with the "Burden of Proof" rule of reason.
He's right: there's a good bit of childish thinking at large today.

Joan Didion: character

"Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs."