Wake up, little Susie

I still have to figure where there’s a Mitch, there’s a way, but….



Life Hacks (Open Thread)

For many years, when I washed produce in the sink prior to consumption, I’d scrape the little stickers off and allow them to get washed down into the drain trap. This habit irritated the mister exceedingly, and one day he asked why I couldn’t just throw the damn things away.

It was a reasonable complaint, but when engaged in the task of washing produce, I didn’t want to stop that activity, open the door where the trash can is and dispose of the sticker. Nor did I think it likely I could retrain myself to scrape the stickers off prior to washing the produce. Who gives stickers advance thought?

However, in the interest of maintaining marital harmony, I hit upon another solution: I started scraping the stickers off and applying them to the bottle of dish soap that sits on the ledge of the sink. Those bottles get tossed in the recycling anyway; who cares if they’re covered with produce stickers? Problem solved!

I realize this isn’t rocket surgery, but little things that make life easier, well, make life easier. Do you have any to share?

If not, feel free to discuss other topics. Open thread!








Open Thread: You Come At the Queen…

Cue the Somewhat Soiled Lady, a day late and a hot-take short — “Nancy Pelosi Tells Democratic Critics, ‘I Think I’m Worth the Trouble’”:

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, strolled before the cameras on Thursday with defeat at her back once more, projecting a well-worn swagger — brash, defiant, more than a little off key — as she insisted that her moment had not passed…

With six words, Ms. Pelosi, 77, demonstrated the self-assurance that has powered her as one of the most successful congressional leaders in the modern era. Yet even as Democrats enjoy a surge of grass-roots energy that could resurrect their House majority, some members of Ms. Pelosi’s own party are impatient for her to give up her 15-year grip on power.

She is the Democrat most crucial to determining whether her party can take back the House and torpedo President Trump’s agenda — an avatar of the kind of coastal excess that Republicans abhor and that some progressives have come to view suspiciously in an age of ascendant populism.

“Everybody wants leaders,” she said in an interview in her office at the Capitol, during which she was often as dismissive of critics in her own party as she was of the Republican opposition. “Not a lot of people want to be led.”
Read more



Poultry Puzzlement (Open Thread)

This is Joan Jett, erstwhile (now deposed) boss hen:

Joan recently adopted an odd routine. Shortly before sunrise, she leaves the hen house, hops up onto a crossbar in the coop, faces east and makes a bizarre, strangled cawing sound for 30-60 seconds. Then she goes on about her business.

We think it’s possible she identifies as a rooster now. That’s okay with us — who are we to judge? I looked it up, and while rare, this kind of thing does happen with chickens.

But the situation may become awkward with the neighbors if Joan ever gets the hang of crowing at dawn. We promised we’d keep hens only due to the noise factor.

Open thread.








Some Thoughts on Today’s Shootings

I’ve done a technical post on mass shootings before. Specifically what simulations and simulated recreations can tell us in terms of potential outcomes. And as the author of the US Army report on Soldiers who commit mass shootings (authorized by the Office of the Provost Marshall General and US Army Corrections Command via my office at USAWC), I’ll most likely have another technical post on the subject in a few days. And I’ve done numerous posts here on stochastic violence and terrorism – domestic, international, right wing extremist, religious, etc. And it is the stochastic element that I want to talk about right now.

As numerous others have referenced today there is a lot to unpack behind today’s events. Both the shooting targeting Republican members of Congress in Alexandria and the active shooter/mass shooting in San Francisco. And we’ve seen a variety of calls for comity and a reduction in heated and divisive political rhetoric and pointing of fingers as to who is responsible for what. I’m not linking to all of it as I don’t feel like going to dig up the different reporting, but we’ve seen it all day. All of it misses the point.

The real reason we see so much stochastic violence and terrorism in the US is because it is part of our foundational myths and ethos. We rightly, as a point of pride, celebrate our revolutionary success against the British. We turned the first verse of a hard to sing song based on a poem about a slightly obscure battle against the British in a subsequent war into our national anthem. And we have carried through the decades a mistaken belief that citizen militias, still often considered or referred to as the hallmark of American civic pride and engagement, were actually an effective force during the American revolution. As opposed to the actual professional army that General Washington required his aides and lieutenants create – two of whom weren’t even American, because the militia was absolutely useless for his needs in stopping the British forces.

We have a deep seated tradition of civic engagement that refers back to and is rooted in political violence. The first use of stand your ground as a defense was from the 1790s in Philadelphia. It was related to and rooted in this tradition. In this case a radical localist – an extreme, minority offshoot of the anti-Federalists –  member of a citizen militia decide to use his firearm in self defense while posting political handbills. His defense argument – that he had an enumerated right to self defense through using his firearm – was rejected by the court. The actual coverage of the event and trial from one of the local Philadelphia papers at the time is attached as a pdf at the bottom of the post.

The reason we have so much stochastic violence and terrorism is because we’re Americans. We have a civic inheritance that includes the justifications for it. Including that of the radical localist offshoot of the anti-Federalists that teach us that all government above the municipal level is always potentially tyrannical and the purpose of the armed citizen, as part of the citizen militia, is to provide a check on tyrannical government. We are the inheritors of a revolutionary state and society. And the inheritors of political traditions that are rooted in the revolutionary politics of the Founding – the Federalists, the anti-Federalists, and the radical localists. Each had different understandings and views of the citizen militia, of the proper role for an armed citizenry, but each were reflections of and responses to the revolutionary ethos that led to the split with Britain and the founding of the US.

And we have stochastic violence and terrorism because Americans just aren’t joiners. Despite Putnam’s Bowling Alone, which makes the mistake of understanding American social interactions through the forty to fifty year window between the end of WW II and the late 90s/early 00s, and ignore everything that came before the 1940s, Americans just don’t like to belong to groups. We self atomize. We don’t like to associate. And while modern technology has made it easier to form new associations, it also makes it easier to isolate ourselves into groups that are insular and insulating.

What happened today, and what will happen next week with the next mass shooting or terrorist attack or hate crime, isn’t an aberration. It is pure Americana. It is at our core of who we are as a people. If you spend enough time promoting the idea that one’s political opponents aren’t really even human or that the 2nd Amendment exists to prevent governmental tyranny, then you’re going get what happened today in both Alexandria and San Francisco. It doesn’t matter if the people making the assertions were just being hyperbolic or really didn’t mean it. Nor does it matter if you were actually and only messaging to the people who you identify as your side. All that matters is that someone hears the message over and over and over again, internalizes it, and then acts on it.

What happened today has happened many times before in the US. The ideas and messaging that promote and produce it have a long lineage in the US. And it will all happen again. The saying that “G-d made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to people that look like you, vote like you, worship like you, and behave like you. And, as a result, you get what happened on both the east and west coast today.

And all of this is why you get this type of paradox:

Versus Senator Paul today as quoted by NBC:

“We’re just like normal people, I go to the grocery store like a normal person. I buy my groceries. I go to the gas station. We practice out there and we just … we live in a country where we hope there’s not such hatred or craziness and, I don’t know, disappointing, sad.”

Here’s the pdf:

Duane 1799 – Report of extraordinary transactions at Philadelphia (1)



Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Live Feed: Attorney General Sessions Testimony

Here’s the live feed for AG Sessions testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

We now know that the source of the allegations of a third meeting between then Senator Sessions and Russian Ambassador Kislyak is from signals intelligence (SIGINT) captured last year.

The origin of the Mayflower story can be traced, according to several American officials, to raw intelligence picked up by American spy agencies last year that is now held at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia. The intelligence appears to be based on intercepts of Mr. Kislyak discussing a private meeting he had with Mr. Sessions at a Trump campaign event last April at the luxury hotel.

Lawmakers have reviewed the intelligence — which remains classified — as part of the congressional investigations into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential election. Several news outlets have reported that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior White House adviser, may have also attended the meeting.

Here is a link to Ryan Goodman’s, Just Security‘s co-editor in chief’s five not so obvious questions for Attorney General Sessions.

Update at 2:35 PM EDT

Don’t forget to call your Senators!



Florida Judge Set to Release Radical Islamic Terrorist in Tampa

So, here’s a crazy story: A Tampa-based judge is about to release a 21-year-old radical Islamic terrorist (RIT) to the custody of his mom and grandma. The RIT came to the attention of authorities when one of his roommates murdered his other two roommates and led cops to the scene of the crime.

In the ensuing search, the cops found bomb-making materials, a photograph of Osama bin Laden and the collected works of Anwar al-Awlaki in the apartment, along with internet activity suggesting that the surviving RIT, who is slated for bail as early as today, thought it would be a good idea to “kill civilians and target locations like power lines, nuclear reactors, and synagogues,” according to the feds.

After the murders but before he was arrested due to the items found in the search, the RIT fled to South Florida, where he hooked up with a pal he’d met on a radical Islamic terrorist fan site. The online pal quit his McJob, liquidated his $3K life savings and visited a Bass Pro Shops outlet in South Florida, where he and his friend bought two guns and 100 rounds of ammo.

The cops caught up with them at a Burger King in Key Largo. What were they going to do with those guns and rounds? No one knows. The pal who quit his McJob isn’t under arrest, but he declined to elucidate on the pair’s aims when contacted by a reporter.

So, this judge is about to release a radical Islamic terrorist in my community today, unless prosecutors can get him to change his mind at a hearing this afternoon. Why isn’t Donald Trump screeching about this on Twitter instead of demanding media apologies for FAKE NEWS? Why aren’t people like Pam Geller freaking out about this reckless endangerment of the community?

Because — haha, just kidding! — the menace who is set to make bail in Tampa this afternoon is in fact a neo-Nazi, not a radical Islamic terrorist. All other details relayed above are correct — just swap out “neo-Nazi” for “RIT,” “Timothy McVeigh” for “Osama bin Laden” and “The Turner Diaries” for the “works of Anwar al-Awlaki.”

America is so weird sometimes. The end.