Early Morning Open Thread: February Blues (Spring Dreaming Antidote)


For us gardeners, February is prime dreaming season — planning this year’s garden, seed-starting, or (if you’re lazy/skill-challenged, like me) ordering the tomato plants!

And I’m guessing this has to be good news, right?

In response to a White House petition that drew more than 65,000 signatures, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy confirmed that the Obama administration will make all scientific research and journal articles supported by federal tax dollars freely available online… Federal agencies will be allowed to keep all research material confidential for up to 12 months, or possibly even longer. So, if you’re in a hurry to read the latest and greatest in cutting-edge research, you’ll still have to pay for those subscriptions.

Apart from dissecting last night’s Oscars, what’s on the agenda for the start of a new week?

54 replies
  1. 1
    sharl says:

    From the Dept. of Irrelevancy:

    Jon Huntsman is holding his own quite well with host Stephen Sackur on BBC’s Hardtalk.

    This can only help him, should he choose to run… for British Parliament.

  2. 2
    Randy P says:

    Isn’t that the issue Aaron Swartz died for? He put a bunch of scientific papers into the public domain & was being threatened with 35 years in jail.

  3. 3
    Calouste says:

    @sharl: You don’t run for Parliament, you stand. I don’t know what that says about the differences between Americans and Britons though.

  4. 4
    Calouste says:

    @Randy P: It just shows that he could probably have achieved a lot more towards his goals if he had used his skills and fame to work with people and existing organizations rather than against them.

  5. 5
    sharl says:

    @Calouste: Thanks, I stand corrected; and ol’ Jon continues to stand hopeless, so to speak.

    On your #4, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the affect that Swartz’s suicide – in tandem with his hounding by the Boston AUSA – had on the way events proceeded. Who can say for sure? But given the kind of relatively high-powered folks who showed up for Swartz’s memorial in Washington DC a couple weeks ago – e.g., Elizabeth Warren and Darrell “Car Thief” Issa – I wouldn’t be surprised if the White House took notice. And when Sen. Warren asked bank regulators giving testimony, why they let miscreants off the hook with fines, without “setting an example” with jail sentences, as is done with so many of the little people, there was considerable speculation that she had Aaron Swartz in mind. That may have also swayed the WH.

  6. 6
    Schlemizel says:


    Most of our pols will stand for anything

  7. 7
    sharl says:

    @Randy P: I’ve had a grim fascination with the folks around Aaron Swartz since his suicide. Some are still too shook up to address the issues Swartz left on the table, while others (e.g., Larry Lessig) are concentrating more on changing the laws that were used to go after Swartz (the so-called “Aaron’s Law”, details of which I haven’t gotten into myself).

    A guy named Carl Malamud (Twitter: @carlmalamud) works on this stuff, and interacted with Swartz extensively. He re-tweeted a blog post on this topic, which wanted more (natch), but welcomed the White House action as a positive step.

  8. 8

    Back to work after a long weekend of infiltrating the Republican strongholds of Lakeland and Boca Raton, Florida, attending antique car shows. Yesterday I put on a navy blue blazer, red tie, and khakis to mingle unnoticed with them and learn their secret plans for exploiting the 47%. Saw some cool cars, too.

  9. 9
    Sly says:

    @Randy P:
    Swartz was indicted for various computer related crimes for illegally accessing articles on JSTOR (he downloaded close to 5 million over the course of a few weeks). JSTOR maintains a database of many different types of documents, like those from academic journals, and very little of it is public domain.

    As part of the agreement with their publishing partners, JSTOR is required to maintain any and all copyrights. So accessing them without permission is a crime. But the big charges against Swartz pertained to the manner in which he accessed those documents; he connected his laptop to a private university network switch and ran a python script to bypass JSTOR’s retrieval system; opening up to charges of both wire and computer fraud. That JSTOR went offline during the download didn’t help his legal position much, either.

    By comparison, Swartz had downloaded documents from the government’s PACER database (a database of Federal court documents) before JSTOR and wasn’t charged with a crime because those documents were all public domain and Swartz didn’t do anything as serious to access them. The government doesn’t hold any copyright claims, and PACER only charged a maintenance fee to those who wanted access.

    The rule change made by the administration simply expedites the process of scientific research developed through public grants becoming public domain information. Separate issue.

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    You didn’t drive the 426 Shelby Cobra down to the Rats Mouth?

    As for me – same shit different week. I have found that the disease in my current organization literally starts at the very top, it is pervasive, accepted and fostered. I am trying to come to peace with that because there are some extenuating circumstances that make this particular job necessary. I have 3 weeks less than 6 years until I give it all up for a slow decline to the inevitable. I am trying to figure out how to do those 6 years and retain my sanity – what little I have left of it anyway.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    We had a break in the rain so we are experimenting with how the gardening is going to work with the awful back problems my wife is having. We are about to start a major addition to our house so yesterday was a day to move plants out of the way of the new digs. Getting the plants out of the ground was fairly easy except for the azalea that had been in for over ten years. I dud and dug and couldn’t get it so it was time for the log chains and come-along. Even though I told her what I was going to do she had the sad that the chain pulled bark off the base of the plant. Overall it went ok even though my authority issues make it really hard to have someone follow me around and tell me what to do!

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I don’t know if you saw the post when we went to the Mini Car Museum a couple of weeks ago? It was the last weekend before the owner auctioned off the whole shebang and made over 9 million bucks.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I’m hoping to make it five more in my gig but mine is good, especially working from home.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    So we have this in Athens:

    In October 2012, after a lengthy court battle to keep them private, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Boy Scouts of America to release files naming nearly 1,200 volunteers accused of child molestation.

    Among those listed is Ernest P. Boland, a prominent businessman active in the Athens community for decades. He recently passed away at age 88.

    The guy was a huge Paul Braun supporter and the paper has disabled the comments on their website.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @raven: Broun

  16. 16
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    I think Mika may punch Joe Scar soon.

  17. 17
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Right after she. . .never mind.

  18. 18
    raven says:

    Now the asshole is weaseling out of it an her toes are curling.

  19. 19
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Planted tomato seeds, hoping for seedlings. This is new for me. Plan B involves scrounging up plants later on.

    The next project is peppers. We’ll try some sweet peppers and one hot pepper, hot fish. Is anyone familiar with that? Apparently it’s been active in the African-American community since 1870 or so. It takes a pretty picture if nothing else.

  20. 20
    Schlemizel says:


    Given the way the outfit is run if they allowed me to stay home I’d probably end up looking & smelling like a derelict in about 2 weeks.

    The big excitement at the moment is how long before my immediate supervisor is fired or stuck in some no-window-basement cubicle. He is a total incompetent who has never finished a project on time, comes in late, leaves early, skips meetings with his upper management and generally is a useless appendage. The hilarious part is he was that way before the promoted him but they did it anyway. In the mean time he has made life for all us peons under him nearly impossible.

    As lead engineer I get these 1AM emails from him (and this is a direct quote of the entire email) “we need to start thinking of goals”. The other lead (who also got the email) wrote out a list of goals for his team and steps to reach them. Around 10:30, when the boss rolled in, he looked at that guys email and said, “No, thats not the kind of goals I meant” – and then offered no more explanation or guidance. I figured out a couple months back to ignore those sorts of emails because that is the usual results. Any effort is wasted.

    I’ll stop whining now – sorry

  21. 21
    Linda Featheringill says:

    A new feature in my life is a cardiologist. Damn, those specialists are expensive, even with insurance! And their tests are crappy and …… complain, complain . . . . . .

  22. 22
  23. 23
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    I’ve learned from Joe, Willie, Barnicle, and Richard Haass that the sequester will not be a problem. Now I wonder why I spent all that time in grad school studying Economics.

    @Schlemizel: Sure your boss isn’t our Special Timmeh?

  24. 24
    Phylllis says:

    @Schlemizel: I have ten years to go, and it’s getting harder and harder to get up every day and try to rev myself up to do my best. If the economy doesn’t get blown all to hell again in the next few years, I should be able to purchase my remaining time and blow the popstand.

  25. 25
    scav says:

    The Catholic Church continues to amuse. At least this time it’s adults and seems to have blown up quickly. Uh oh O’Brien.

  26. 26
    Ramalama says:

    I want so badly to plant an edible garden – we had very little direct sunlight in the yard though. Ferns and weirdo ground cover were about the only things we could grow — and the requisite pine trees. Fast forward 2 years and maybe 15 fallen trees (we get a lot of lightning in our little redneck Quebecois mountain town) later, we got us some sun. But I wonder what to do about the wildlife. We don’t want to attract deer because we don’t want to attract black bears, both of which are neighbors. Anyone have ideas?

  27. 27
    Linda Featheringill says:


    One avid gardener I knew solved the deer problem with tall fences.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @scav: I’m shocked that the Cardinal preached against same sex marriage. What if they gave a conclave and no one showed up.

  29. 29
    scav says:

    @JPL: Well, Benedict just altered the rules to rush things a bit so they might have a new hat by Easter. NYT

    Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules of the conclave that will elect his successor, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if all of them arrive in Rome before the usual 15-day transition between pontificates.

    Transition is not working out as a thing of grace, beauty and timing at the moment.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    @scav: Hmm. Makes me wonder what the reason for the rush is.

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:


    He’s special alright.

    I did an architectural design for a new system we are going to have to install (regulation required) and sent it to him for review 3 weeks ago. He finally scheduled a meeting to present this with to people involved & in the middle of the meeting started redesigning the thing by dragging items around the visio diagram. When I explained to him why that was not an acceptable design because of the regulator requirements he started moving stuff again. When he was done I explained to him why the equipment would not work with his new design. This is all during the con call where we are supposed to be presenting the design for approval.

    He then stopped and said “Well, its obvious we need to spend more time thinking about this architecture.”

    He walked over to my office & said we simply had to do it the way he first redesigned it. I showed him the regulations that specifically prevent us from using the design. He sort of blinked and then said we should use his second design so I had to explain to him why the equipment wouldn’t work in that configuration (BTW – this is all stuff he is supposed to understand). Then he said he’d have to think about it some more. I have tried to schedule meetings with him to discuss be be keeps skipping them.

    He has spent most of the last 3 years fighting to get $1.5 million for an application he really wants. It was approved & will be purchased. It just occurred to him that he needs $2 million for hardware to run it on and he didn’t plan on that.

    I guess I really want to vent

  32. 32
    Ramalama says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I’m trying to avoid anything involving building stuff since I’m so terrible at it. But it might be the only course to take.

    As for cardiac issues, there was a recent piece on Montreal TV talking about a new look at an old study involving longevity (in men, alas). At the time the study was done (20 years ago?) no one looked at vegetable oils used in the men’s diets. But the recent re-evaluation took the data and concluded that vegetable oil was a key component in heart disease, and other diseases. I took note of the heart thing since that’s an issue with some members in my family.

    All of which to say, keep on visiting your cardiologist, but maybe switch oils if you’re using anything that’s higher in ratio of Omega 6 over Omega 3.

    Unfortunately a quick google search did not yield a link (yet) in this study. Thus concludes this unhelpful, rambling anecdote.

  33. 33
    TS says:


    I think Mika may punch Joe Scar soon.

    It’s all make believe Mika just loves him – now she is attacking the Transport Secretary & being the true RWNJ saying the President’s plan does not suit the GOP & he is just scaring everyone. Right wing b.s.

    They are perfectly happy for the sequester to take effect – they have not a clue about economics – NOT A CLUE

  34. 34

    Overly discussing the Oscars turns BJ into the CNN of the blogospere.

    Will this get me banned? I just hate watching Hollywood pat themselves on the back.

  35. 35
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I am beginning to think Joe and Mika are just an act like pro wrestling, and everyone goes home afterward and votes for Obama.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    rachel says:

    Has anyone here tried growing artichokes in containers?

  38. 38
  39. 39
    different-church-lady says:

    Man, this is really going to disappoint the GOS folks who told me Obama personally ordered the targeted killing of Aaron Swartz.

    What, too soon?

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Schlemizel says:


    Don’t know how many here have seen “Pardon the Interruption”. I thought it was an amusing sports talk show. There is a place online where you can catch audio from the show. A few months back a freind sent me a link to the page with a note saying – see this soon, when they find out they will pull this.

    It was audio from before the show started where the two guys are setting up the fight they are going to have on a subject & who would take which side.

    I assume a lot of these shout-fests do the same thing

  42. 42
    TG Chicago says:

    I’m loving the wingnuts’ anti-FLOTUS Oscar backlash. So ridiculous.

    You point out that Reagan did it in ’81, and they say “Well, he was an actor, so it’s okay!”.

    So how about when Laura Bush was in the Oscars’ opening montage in 2002? (at 2:14)

    Or when Reagan did the coin toss for the 1985 Super Bowl? Was Reagan an NFL player, too?


  43. 43
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Schlemizel: I would assume that of PtI. And you’re probably right. It just seems too smooth for live to tape broadcast.

    ETA: I wonder if Deadspin or someone would ever do a story about that. You should send them that link or tell them about it.

  44. 44
    Schlemizel says:

    @TG Chicago:

    A friend of mine had a satellite dish & back in the day the networks sent their feed unscrambled. He would often just pop a tape in and record everything that was going on across the ‘secondary’ feed. They usually had 2 feeds, East Coast & West coast but often only one was going out live & the other was used to send news stories for local affiliates etc. He has video of Dan Rather getting make up before going live & some NBC news guy throwing a tantrum at some poor schmuck.

    The gem though is St. Ronnie practicing the coin toss before the actual event. He does it twice, once for heads and then for tails just to make sure he remembers his lines!

    Pure comedy goals

  45. 45
    Ramalama says:

    @marleedog: well a good cause to de-lurk.

  46. 46
    Calouste says:

    @Ash Can: Well, usually when they need a new Pope, the old one has died and there is a funeral and all the cardinals have to travel to Rome etc., so a 15 day waiting period makes sense. Now that the Pope retires, everyone knows it in advance and there is no funeral, so why not start ASAP? And they’d like to have a new Pope before Easter, which is a pretty big event in the Catholic Church.

  47. 47
    MomSense says:

    I took a break from shoveling yesterday to come inside and look at the photos of my garden from last year. Starting to imagine what is under all the snow and can’t wait for spring.

  48. 48
    quannlace says:

    Going through my cache of seed packets to see what I’ve still got and what I need/want to order. I’m worse than a kid with the old Sear’s toy catalog when it comes to seed catalogs.

  49. 49
    YellowJournalism says:

    @The Other Bob: Yeah, it’s not like other hobbies and interests like sports, pets, reading, music, or gardening are ever posted about here or take over threads.

  50. 50
    artem1s says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    this is my third year starting tomato plants from seeds. The first year it was far too wet outside all summer to get good yield but last year was excellent. I generally only use heirloom seeds because I hate the hybrid varieties. And I enjoy trying new varieties to see what sticks in my region.

    I started mine a week ago and spent the whole day yesterday checking to see if any of them had sprouted. It will probably be another week before I see results but I really look forward to seeing them get started.

    just as an tip, invest in a grow light or three. I got much healthier plants for transplanting last year when I used a grow lights for 14-16 hours a day. More of the sprouts lived, had healthier stems, and they were much less ‘leggy’.

  51. 51


    Yeah, I know. I just hate the Oscars and the media coverage of the non-event.

  52. 52
    YellowJournalism says:

    @The Other Bob: I get it. I get tired of Superbowl coverage and arguments over “controversial” Volkswagon ads. And even I as a movie fan get sick to death of the coverage and refuse to watch all those per-pre-pre show coverage things. But I see nothing wrong with us having discussions in specific or open threads. We need distractions or we will go nuts. :)

  53. 53
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @raven: http://www.democraticundergrou.....1320#post8

    Boland speaks. The fucker.

  54. 54
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @scav: Coerced fucking of an adult (and ruining a priest!) is far more serious than raping a child. Did I say rape? I mean initiating in the holy sacrament. Little blighter was asking for it, if you ask me. This wicked little generation.

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