Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Gonna Have to Face It

This badly Photoshopped image was inspired by a comment from Corner Stone last night, in which he noted that Trump’s victory speech tableau resembled a Robert Palmer video:


It’s not the fault of Trump’s spouse and female relatives / hangers-on that they seem to form a phalanx of interchangeable backup singers whenever they gather behind the presumptive Republican nominee. But it is funny in an OMG-a-strutting-pageant-maestro-has-a-significantly-lessGREATER-than-zero-chance-of-becoming-POTUS kinda way.

Good Christ, Hillary and Bernie — don’t fuck this up!

We are having a hellacious storm this morning in West Central FL, complete with frequent lightning and sideways rain. One bolt of lightning struck so close that it propelled my hard-sleeping teen from her bed to the hallway before she was even fully awake.

As for me, Imma get more coffee; the adrenaline shot wasn’t sufficient. Open thread!

Open Thread: There’s Always A Market for Food Faddism

When the ancient appetite for hummingbird-tongue pie and pearls dissolved in vinegar filters through childhood memories of Captain Picard demanding “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”… From the NYTimes article:

Is it a juice-ordering app? Is it just another kitchen-counter contraption? Or is it a 111,000-square-foot food processing factory, staffed by dozens of hourly workers, washing and slicing up fruits and vegetables in Los Angeles?

It is all of these things. “It’s the most complicated business that I’ve ever funded,” said David Krane, a partner at GV, formerly Google Ventures. “It’s software. It’s consumer electronics. It’s produce and packaging.”

Many of the tycoons who inhabit Silicon Valley are obsessed with health and longevity while harboring the conviction that technology can improve anything, even one of nature’s most elementary foodstuffs — in this case, juice. And they believe that niche trends, if properly disrupted, can become billion-dollar markets. Juicero is the latest expression of these techno-utopian impulses…

The machine itself is a white plastic slab roughly the size of a food processor. To get some juice, you insert a pouch that resembles an IV bag and press a button. A couple of minutes later, a thin stream of vividly colored liquid squirts into a glass.

For health nuts willing to pay a premium, Juicero promises the platonic ideal of juice. Plus, the machine never needs to be cleaned.

But getting from farm to glass involves a daunting mix of hardware, code and food processing. The arrangement relies on a smartphone app, always-on Wi-Fi, QR codes, high-tech packaging and an army of workers slicing fruits and vegetables in very particular ways…

How long after it hits the market will it take for some tv comedian to bait C-list celebrities with a fake Juicero dispensing doses of V8?

For that matter, how long before Ronco comes out with a $19.95 ‘Youceroo’ that sits on your kitchen counter and dispenses V8, Welsh grape juice, or Motts from ‘convenient storage paks’?

Horror Movie Open Thread: Teach Screen the Controversy!

Zombie lies, they’re not just for economics any more! Per the NYTimes:

In a decision that has dredged up the widely debunked link between vaccines and autism, the Tribeca Film Festival plans to screen a film by a discredited former doctor whose research caused widespread alarm about the issue.

The film, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” is directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, an anti-vaccination activist and an author of a study — published in the British medical journal The Lancet, in 1998 — that was retracted in 2010. In addition to the retraction of the study, which involved 12 children, Britain’s General Medical Council, citing ethical violations and a failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest, revoked Mr. Wakefield’s medical license…

On Friday, Robert De Niro, one of the festival’s founders, said in a statement issued through the festival’s publicists that he supported the plan to show the movie next month, although he said he was “not personally endorsing the film,” nor was he against vaccination.

Mr. De Niro’s statement seemed to suggest that this was the first time he has expressed a preference that a particular film be shown at the festival.

“Grace and I have a child with autism,” he wrote, referring to his wife, Grace Hightower De Niro, “and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening VAXXED.”…

The plan to show the film has unnerved and angered doctors, infectious disease experts and even other filmmakers…

According to the festival’s website, “Vaxxed” will be screened only once, on April 24, the festival’s closing day. A talk with the director and the film’s subjects will follow.

An earlier version of this article suggested that perhaps Mr. de Niro intended to rebut the film during his talk, but that doesn’t seem to be what he’s planning, per Deadline:

[T]he TFF promotional material could easily be taken to endorse Wakefield’s cause. “Digging into the long-debated link between autism and vaccines, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe features revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what’s behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.” Also this: “The most vitriolic debate in medical history takes a dramatic turn when senior-scientist-turned-whistleblower Dr. William Thompson of the Centers for Disease Control turns over secret documents, data and internal emails confirming what millions of devastated parents and ‘discredited’ doctors have long-suspected.”…

One happy effect of De Niro’s statement, according to the LA Times: “The De Niro news does quell reports that actor Leonardo DiCaprio was involved in backing the film — as Wakefield apparently told reporters on a promotional cruise — and even may have been orchestrating its Tribeca screening.”

Late Night Open Thread: Encouraging the Two-Bit Racists

One can only hope Bill Bratton is correct about Ted Cruz. And that Donald Trump similarly fails.

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

I’ll have actual analysis on today’s bombing in Brussels either tomorrow or Thursday once more solid information has been reported out. In the meantime, and in response to some of the responses from elected officials in the US regarding today’s bombings in Brussels, I’m going to simply post these pictures. They say far more, and speak far more eloquently than I could, about what happens when we respond to challenges, crises, and threats in an emotional and politicized manner and attribute guilt by superficial association.




Heart Mountain Internment Camp***


Kooskia Internment Camp****


Minidoka Internment Camp*****


Dining Hall at the Fresno Assembly Center******

* Image from here.

** Image from here.

*** Image from here.

**** Image from here.

***** Image from here.

****** Image from here.

NSFW Debate Roundup: Nothing But Pricks & Dick Jokes

And, as we all know, The Internet was made for dick jokes!

Read more

Late Night Open Thread: CPAC 2016 – There Will Be Blood Sweat &Tears

Professional cynic Jim Newell, in Slate, “CPAC Is Irrelevant”:

… To look at the schedule for the three-day conference is to look at a movement in denial. There’s no indication on paper that a television-performing nationalist is overthrowing conservatism as the engine of the Republican Party. One early Thursday panel, “Three Approaches to Conservatism,” featuring Sen. Ben Sasse, Rick Santorum, Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff, and libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, is probably not going to delve into the conservative literature behind Donald Trump’s approach of calling his rivals mean names on television. Speaker Paul Ryan’s session about conservative approaches to poverty will offer few ideas that migrate into Donald Trump’s nonexistent policy platform. The panel on “How to Grow Conservatism” will have its work cut out for it, now that Trump’s candidacy has revealed how the real motivating force behind the Republican Party is nationalism and #winning instead of ideological conservatism…

Expect Trump to be greeted with some coldness at CPAC when he delivers his speech Saturday morning. He will throw out some sops to conservatives, mostly about his immigration proposals. But he doesn’t need to. The conservative movement’s opinion is of little value to Trump. That is going to make this CPAC at once a historic snapshot of a movement in existential crisis, and unusually irrelevant to the outcome of the Republican presidential race...

Politico, of course, is extremely interested in the stage machinery behind Trump’s CPAC speech…

Donald Trump’s speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday is prompting an acrimonious backlash from the conservative critics desperately trying to mount a last-ditch campaign to block the GOP presidential front-runner from winning the party’s nomination.

A top aide to Trump rival Marco Rubio has accused CPAC organizers of being in the tank for Trump and clearing the way for his acceptance into mainstream conservatism, while an anti-Trump super PAC is pressuring organizers to rescind their invitation to the surging GOP front-runner.

Potentially complicating matters further, sources tell POLITICO that Trump has made multiple donations ― including a $50,000 check last year ― to the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC. That dwarfs the amounts donated in recent years by allies of Trump’s rivals, all of whom are also scheduled to speak at the annual gathering, and seems likely to fuel already percolating suspicions among his opponents that the ACU has its thumb on the scale for Trump.

Even by the standards of CPAC, which over the decades has been in the middle of more than its share of contentious fights about the future of the conservative movement, the one brewing around this year’s gathering is shaping up as historic ― and historically nasty…

Yeah, CPAC’s always been pay-to-play — but that Drumpf guy can afford to buy up all the slots! My heartstrings remain unplucked; if Donald Douchenozzle takes down the ACU on his voyage to damnation, that would be one small credit in his favor.

Today’s hot Repub topic Mitt Romney, Man on a Dancing White Horse, will not be at CPAC. Per the Boston Globe:

Mitt Romney is planning to give a speech on Thursday morning about the “state of the 2016 presidential race,” a further reflection of the 2012 Republican nominee’s efforts to influence a presidential contest that has been rocked by the rise of Donald Trump.

Romney is planning to speak from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah at 11:30 a.m., hours before the Republican presidential candidates gather in Michigan for another debate. It also comes two days after Trump swept up many state contests on Super Tuesday, including Massachusetts, where Romney governed for four years.

A source close to Romney said, “this is not an endorsement or announcement of candidacy,” adding that the former Massachusetts governor wanted to speak about “the state of the 2016 presidential race and the choices facing the Republican Party and the country.”…

The only actual sources I can find on Romney’s purported candidacy announcement are gauzy some people say wishcasts from the NYTimes and a frenetic “bombshell” from Infowars tying him to the Koch Brothers (which does not seem plausible, just from the personalties of the billionaires in question). Maybe my Google-fu just isn’t strong enough…