Late Night Open Thread: Everyone’s A Cynic Now

It is tree-pollen season here, and while I have a bunch of Serious Constructive articles tabbed up to post about, all I want to do is take another mouth-breathing, stunned-into-submission nap!



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Where Are the Patriots?

The class clown showed up, though!…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Things Do Improve, However Slowly

She’s seventy years old. (I couldn’t have finished a marathon when I was twenty!)

Georgia special election today, finally…

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Oh, yeah, one less glibertarian in California…

You tried to put this guy in a satirical novel, any decent editor would reject him as “entirely too broad.”

… Marinelli, who campaigned for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders but said he ultimately voted for President Donald Trump, described Yes California as a progressive initiative aimed at establishing a “liberal republic” independent of the United States. But his decision to align Yes California so publicly with Russia alienated him from the other, albeit smaller, California separatist movement known as the California Nationalist Party…

He added that he hopes that “after the false allegations about me vanish, and after this period of anti-Russian hysteria subsides,” it will be “said of this campaign that we spoke the truth” and “set in motion a series of events that led California to independence from the United States.”…



Wednesday Night Open Thread: Yeah, (Un)Pretty Much…

David Roth, at Vice Sports:

Two months and change into his presidency, it is perhaps too easy to say that Donald Trump has distinguished himself from his predecessors mostly if not entirely through his thermonuclear oafishness. There’s an obvious reason for that, but for all his material success in signing executive orders that will restore profit-optimized amounts of mining detritus to Appalachian tap water and his more amorphous achievements in the war against the concept of objective reality, there is one achievement that Trump unquestionably owns at this point in his Presidency. No one that has previously occupied the office has ever made it so clear how difficult even the ostensibly easy stuff about the job is.

One of the defining attributes of Trump’s Presidency has been the speed and strangeness with which apparently simple tasks unfold their manifest difficulty in public. In previous administrations, Presidents have thrown out ceremonial first pitches on Major League Baseball’s opening day. Sometimes they have done it well, and sometimes they have done it less well, but never has it seemed like a difficult thing.

But apparently it is!…

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Apart from well-deserved mockery, what’s on the agenda for the evening?








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Stee-RIKE!


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Apart from booing the Coward-in-Chief, what’s on the agenda for the day?

A trip to the mound for Donald J. Trump in the near future would be anything but ceremonial. It would mark the first time our president, who ran on the platform of American Toughness, showed his face in public since his inauguration. Over the last three months, Trump has been safely chauffeured from the White House to one of his hotels to his campaign rallies to his private club and back again, insulated by a gauzy cocoon of yes-men who tell him that any polls that show him to be unpopular are fake, and any people protesting against his agenda are paid. In the early days of his own presidency, Barack Obama participated in town halls, appeared on The Tonight Show, and sat courtside at an NBA game between the Wizards and the Bulls. Trump on the other hand was forced to cancel his only public appearance yet, a friendly trip to a Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee, out of fear that protesters would steal his headlines and undercut his populist narrative.

Potential booing aside, Trump would surely welcome a chance to show off his athletic prowess and Adonis-like physical form. After all, according to his personal physician, the soon-to-be-71-year-old is the “healthiest individual ever elected president”—George W. Bush’s six-minute miles and Barack Obama’s visible abdominal muscles be damned.

Trump has actually already thrown out a ceremonial first pitch once, as a civilian back in 2006 in honor of the Jimmy Fund (see photographic evidence here), so I know it’s possible. And with the baseball season rapidly approaching, I decided to sleuth it out myself….

[NSFB Warning: Do *not* click on that link during breakfast or while consuming fluids]



NCAA Basketball Second Round Open Thread

By request.

Schedule, if I understand correctly, here.



Long Read: “Death on Derby Day in N.H.”

We’re getting the coldest snap of the winter so far right now (just in time to frost the daffodil buds!), so it seemed like a good time to share this. From the Boston Globe, a cautionary tale about the dangers of even small-scale climate shifts and the unconscious assumption that humanity has turned the whole world into an adventure park:

LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE, N.H. — Temperatures were in the single digits and a light snow was blowing as the sun rose over Meredith Bay, but the carnival atmosphere was already well underway on the frozen waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Bob houses dotted the ice, filled with fishermen dropping their first lines of the derby, as thousands of spectators streamed onto the lake, gawking at the scene, surveying the catches, and visiting the many food vendors selling out of trucks parked out there with them.

It was Saturday, Feb. 11, opening day of the 38th annual Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby, a giant ice fishing competition that draws upward of 10,000 people to the state’s largest lake.

Everything looked postcard-perfect. But looks can be deceiving.

Down in Concord, where the state’s Fish and Game Department is headquartered, Colonel Kevin Jordan was worried. He’s the chief of law enforcement for a department whose mission includes search and rescue work, and he already had teams in place all around the lake, patrolling on snowmobiles and ATVs and trucks, doing their usual job of checking fishing licenses and making sure everyone was behaving.

But that wasn’t what had him uneasy that morning. It was the weather. He always worries about derby weekend, with so many people on the ice, but this year was different. It was, he knew, the “perfect storm of conditions for a disaster.”

It had been warm that Wednesday, a high of 47 degrees, and stretches of the lake had been open water. Then it got cold for a few days, enough to form a light layer of ice in those spots. And then came the real kicker — it had snowed just enough to cover those thin areas.

The ice in Meredith Bay, where the derby is headquartered, was plenty thick. It was the rest of the 28-mile-long lake he was worried about. The usual advisories had gone out, from his department and the derby organizers, warning people to use caution on the ice and never assume it is safe.

People would go through the ice. He knew that. It happens every year. Trucks. Snowmobiles. ATVs. Typically, people can get themselves out or rescuers can get to them in time.

What he did not know, what no one knew, was that Saturday morning was the beginning of the worst day in the history of Lake Winnipesaukee…

When the human body is plunged into icy water, it reacts quickly and severely. “For lack of a better term, the body freaks out,” said Dr. Stuart Harris, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Wilderness Medicine. “You get this dumping of adrenaline that causes your heart rate to go up, your blood pressure to go up, and most importantly, it triggers an involuntary gasping where you’re taking deep breaths involuntarily. If the head goes underwater, you can drown almost immediately.”

If you can survive the initial gasping and get breathing under control while keeping your head above water, then you have about 10 minutes of meaningful movement — to swim, to grasp things, to try to pull yourself up on the ice. After that, the ability to self-rescue diminishes rapidly. If you can’t get onto the ice in those 10 minutes, or at least secure yourself to some means of flotation, you have about an hour before multisystem organ failure and death.

“If you don’t have someone coming to rescue you right away,” Harris said, “or you
haven’t made preparations beforehand to keep from getting into trouble, it is unlikely that you’re going to get out alive.”…