Monday Evening Open Thread: Happy Stories

In approximate order of seriousity, NYMag says Vice President Biden got asked to a high school prom:

… “Joe Biden makes me laugh,” said Talia Maselli, a high schooler in Connecticut. “He just cracks me up.” She asked Biden to be her date in a note, threatening that her second choice was John Boehner. “And we can’t have that now can we.”…

“I am flattered, but my schedule will not permit me to be in Connecticut on Friday evening,” the vice president wrote back, along with an invite to the White House. “But I hope you will accept this corsage and enjoy your prom as much as I did mine.” A white rose and baby’s breath accessory were included…

Also via NYMag, #OWS protestor Cecily McMillan will only serve three months in jail for smacking the cop who grabbed her boob from behind:

Facing up to seven years in prison — and expecting at least two — activist Cecily McMillan was sentenced this morning to just three months, including the two weeks she’s already served, for hitting a police officer in the face during the Occupy Wall Street protests… She will also be responsible for community service and five years of probation.

McMillan’s became the single most watched case of the Occupy Wall Street arrests as most of the 2,600 people arrested during the protests had their charges dropped or settled without jail time. McMillan fought because she says she only swung her elbow back at the officer’s face involuntarily, after he grabbed her breast

More detail at the link. Finally, much as I hate to say it, Mitt Romney did a good thing this weekend:

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Town officials confirmed Monday that the 82-year-old police commissioner who was heard publicly calling President Obama the n-word — sparking nationwide outrage — has tendered his resignation.

Robert Copeland, 82, the vice chairman of Wolfeboro’s three-member police commission, turned in his resignation to the head of the police commission late Sunday night, town officials confirmed.

His resignation comes as several of New Hampshire’s most prominent politicians — including Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Gov. Maggie Hassan — had called for Copeland’s ouster

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who owns a vacation home in Wolfeboro, has also called for Copeland to resign.

“The vile epithet used and confirmed by the commissioner has no place in our community,” Romney said in a statement to the Boston Herald last week. “He should apologize and resign.”

Much as it grinds my gums, I give Romney full credit here, because in the “Live Free or Die Trying” state, every single elected politician of any party or none could call for Copeland’s resignation with no effect whatsoever, but the money spent at the Romney clan’s multi-million-dollar “summer shack” probably gets a separate line in the town’s annual budget.

(Probably redundant) trigger warning, stay away from the comments in any local coverage of the Copeland story, where the common (as pig tracks) theme is resentment of Masshole summer blow-ins with their dainty-minded liebral devotion to crushing First Amendment FREEDUMBS!!!
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Apart from celebrating the small victories, what’s on the agenda for the evening?








Afternoon Open Thread

Via valued commenter SiubhanDuinne, possibly the worst political ad…ever? That’s overstating it. But it’s truly horrible.

This guy is running to succeed Georgia Rep. Paul “Evolution is a lie from the pit of hell” Broun.

Please feel free to submit links to even worse ads or discuss whatever.








Monday Morning Open Thread: KITTEN!

werebear Mithrandir-meets-Tristan

Frequent commentor and Cat Whisperer, Werebear:

I mentioned we were going to an adoption event on a couple of threads last night, and here’s the new addition:

Mithrandir (he’ll grow into it) Shelter Name: Fudge

werebear fourpack

Mr WereBear saw the announcement go by on Facebook last night, and we were there extra early because Mithrandir was in the center of the pic they used to announce the event. So we were not about to be scooped on this little treasure. He turned out to be their first adoption of the day!

I blame Mr WereBear for falling in love. AND we only got one, which was great restraint on my part.

I thought some folks might like to give him a big Balloon Juice welcome.

Our former baby, Tristan, has never seen a kitten before. And it shows.

You hit the lottery, young Mithrander. Congratulations, Werebear!
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Apart from warm fuzzies, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?








Open Thread: Competent Multitasking As A Rare Brain Anomaly

Maria Konnikova, in the New Yorker, on “Multitask Masters“:

… Strayer believes that there is a tiny but persistent subset of the population—about two per cent—whose performance does not deteriorate, and can even improve, when multiple demands are placed on their attention. The supertaskers are true outliers….

So what are we going to learn from them, exactly? For one, Strayer thinks, that the ability is probably genetic to a large extent. You are either born with the neural architecture that allows you to overcome the usual multitasking challenges, or you aren’t. Already, with their admittedly limited sample, Strayer and his team have found that supertaskers exhibit different patterns of neural activation when multitasking than most of us. There is less activity in those frontal regions—the frontopolar prefrontal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex—that have been implicated in multitasking and executive control in the past. Supertasker brains, in other words, become less, not more, active with additional tasks: they are functioning more efficiently. “Their brains are doing something we can’t do,” Strayer says….

The irony of Strayer’s work is that when people hear that super-taskers exist— even though they know they’re rare—they seem to take it as proof that they, naturally, are an exception. “You’re not,” Strayer told me bluntly. “The ninety-eight per cent of us, we deceive ourselves. And we tend to overrate our ability to multitask.” In fact, when he & his University of Utah colleague, the social psychologist David Sanbomnatsu, asked more than three hundred students to rate their ability to multitask and then compared those ratings to the students’ actual multitasking performances, they found a strong relationship: an inverse one. The better someone thought she was, the more likely it was that her performance was well below par…

Much more at the link — including a web version of the supertasker challenge, if you want to establish whether you’re a slan among the Two Percenters.

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Apart from reinforcing the sad reality that most of us can’t text and walk (much less drive) at the same time, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?








BBQ Sauce (Open Thread)

I like all kinds of BBQ sauces, though Memphis style is my go-to sauce. Today I put together a vinegary East Carolina sauce because I found out the mister has never tried it.

I’ve got tons of cousins and aunties in the Carolinas, so I grew up with Piedmont-style sauce. It’s certainly different.

The recipe I’m using is similar to Meathead Goldwyn’s, except with cider vinegar rather than distilled.

What’s your favorite BBQ sauce, if any? Please feel free to discuss non-BBQ topics as well — open thread!