Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme III Alright!!!!

Later, in the privacy of his own apartment, Raxton peels off his outer clothes, again to revel in his awesome power...
-- Amazing Spider-Man #35

   
 

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    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Due to my hiatus and other factors we have a few weeks to go through here. By the way, spoilers below!

    Infinity Man and the Forever People #2 - I'm sorry that for my Speed Review for the first issue i just called it Forever People. I didn't notice the smaller print "Infinity Man and the" part. And that shows you how observant i am and how seriously you should take my reviews. Anyway, Wanyas is getting this and sharing it with me because of the Giffen Kirby-homage art, and guess what this issue doesn't have? And this is issue #2. I mean storywise it's fine, and Tom Grummet's art is pretty good too, but it's like someone tricked me into reading a random DC comic for no good reason. At least if you're going to do this plot, you can play up the space hippie angle that was apparently in Kirby's original series. The communal weirdness with the Mother Box at the end was a good start but there needs to be MORE MORE MORE of that. Also Giffen art.

    Daredevil Road Warriors #0.1 - This was a digital only book that became non-digital only with the printing of this book, and it tells the story of Daredevil's trip from New York to San Francisco. Which may sound boring, but he fights the Man-Bull, a Super-Adaptoid, and the Mad Thinker along the way. I say "a" Super-Adaptoid because this was was built by the Thinker making it not the Super-Adaptoid and so i don't know why it's not just an Awesome (or perhaps Spectacular, Uncanny, etc.) Android. But the story is done very well and Waid again does a good job making a classic villain (the Thinker, not so much the Man-Bull) seem like a credible threat the way we don't see much of lately, and there's just a lot of cool fighting as well as some good downtime scenes between Matt and Kirsten McDuffie. I know Min, looking over my shoulder, had some problems with the art but i thought it was ok (it's no Chris Samnee, ofc). I also thought these Infinity Comics were specifically laid out in some way to take advantage of modern touchscreens, but you can't tell by looking at this paper copy. Unless it's the fact that the book is all nice rectangular panels, but that's what comics are fricking supposed to be. I'm glad i didn't read this in realtime since it kind of spoils the fact that Foggy is still alive and i liked the actual reveal in the actual series, but i'm glad this made it to paper format.

    Daredevil #5 - And this issue tells us exactly how Foggy Nelson faked his death, and it's a fun story involving Ant-Man, who sure appears a lot in this Daredevil series, and a new Leap Frog (of sorts). I got a little uncomfortable about the implications of Pym being inside Foggy blasting away cancer cells, but then Waid clarified it and showed that it wasn't really effective anyway.

    Daredevil #6 - Aaand here's another Daredevil book. This one's an Original Sin tie-in, my first and possibly only. The idea with these is that we're revealing something awful in the character's past thanks to the explosion of the Watcher eye (i have to admit i got a little thrill typing that even though i'm not reading the main series). I actually thought they were all going to be about the characters themselves, literally their original sin, like (as Waid started to hint in earlier issues) maybe Matt Murdock was actually a bully when he was a kid, or maybe he beat the original Fixer to death or something in his first appearance. But here at least, it's actually the emergence of a suppressed memory regarding Daredevil's parents (it turns out the reason mom left is because dad was a wife-beater). Not sure how i feel about it yet, but it does seemed to be designed for maximum unobtrusiveness, i.e., it doesn't seem like it should contradict anything that's already been published and i'm not sure in the long run it'll be too much of a drag on DD considering everything else he's been through. Somehow from there, though, we get into a conflict with non-Black Panther Wakandans and so this is stretched into a two-parter, so we'll see where it goes.

    Captain Marvel #5 - Ok, i think it's fair to say the past few issues have been meandering but i like the resolution to this story, in a general sense, which is that the reason the planet is making the people sick is because of the mining of a particular substance that's been going on there. Again, it makes the past few issues, where CM and her motley crew were roaming the galaxy looking for ships to defend themselves with against the Spartax empire, nearly pointless. We could have had CM sensibly decide to investigate why the people were getting sick directly and saved us a few issues of water treading. But we're here now and it's an interesting twist. Now, as to the particular substance that they are mining, i think i have a problem with that. It's vibranium, and i just don't trust writers today to handle this correctly. Vibranium is special on Earth because it's a rare metal that came to Earth on an asteroid. If we now have a planet in space where it's being mined, then suddenly every alien in the galaxy has some (the Spartaxians already did) and that quickly works its way to every villain and government on Earth. It looks like DeConnick is already making sure that doesn't happen (i.e. the Spartaxians have lost all their vibranium-lined warships in the fight with the Builders and this planet seems to be the only supply, which is why it's so important). Which is good, although it doesn't prevent later writers from discovering caches of the stuff all over the place now that the door is opened (but i guess that could have happened anyway). In any event, next issue we have Captain Marvel fighting people in space, which is what we've been saying we wanted since issue #1.

    Elektra #4 - This continues to be an entertainingly weird little book.

    Black Widow #8 - Somewhat less weird, somewhat less entertaining.

    She-Hulk #6 - Who threw up all over my comic book?

    Ms. Marvel #6 - At first i was disappointed to not see Adrian Alphona's art, but Jacob Wyatt draws some cute scenes. Love the Thomas Edison Parrot Clone. And the Wolverine guest appearance is well done. I'm liking this book a lot.

    Savage Hulk #2 - I already raised my continuity concerns, so i'll just say i enjoyed the Hulk/Abomination fight (with added X-Men) that i didn't quite get in the recent Waid/Bagley version, and this is enjoyable.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13 - I was a little down on last issue, which was the first after some fill-ins, but i think things have fully rebounded here. The legion of losers are all wrapped up basically off panel, and we are back to the fun of earlier issues, with the group mostly being back together, except Shocker and i'm amused by his bonding with the head of Silvermane. It's funny and there still good character work here. One of my favorite Marvel books, rivaled only by...

    New Warriors #7 - ...which matches your talking Cockatiel with a talking Cat and Dog (named Jake Waffles!) and has lots of other great humor besides (I sense... that i am hungry), but also makes good use of the Inhumanity set-up and promises us Phobius, Helio, and Gronk for next issue (and presumably Maelstrom too). A really well written book that makes use of lots of elements of the Marvel universe and is just a lot of fun.


    By fnord12 | July 31, 2014, 2:41 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    More Nerd Rage

    Here, here (this one has some particularly good analysis), and here (this one might be a little hard to follow; this is what she originally posted to generate such outrage). (First via Atrios, second two via MightyGodKing).

    It's not just nerd rage that's the problem, though. Min and i have plenty of nerd rage! The problem is that it's always expressed in sexist, racist, and violent attitudes. Delve into the comments on any of those posts and you'll see even the sympathetic commenters devolving into conversations about whether or not the original Village Voice review was any good, or if the ending to Mass Effect 3 was good, or if the historical research by the lady in the third link is accurate. And that's not the point! The point is you don't respond to someone you disagree with by calling them a whore and threatening to kill them.


    By fnord12 | July 31, 2014, 12:49 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage & Movies & Video Games | Comments (0) | Link




    What's wrong with Mario Kart?

    And what the hell is this guy talking about?


    By fnord12 | July 30, 2014, 7:53 PM | Boooooks & Comics & D&D & Godzilla & Liberal Outrage & Movies & Science & Star Wars & TeeVee & Video Games | Comments (1) | Link




    Shang-Chi meets the Avengers

    I was poking around looking up stuff on Master of Kung Fu, and i came across this cover, which i thought was pretty awesome. This is from Marvel UK's Avengers Weekly, which reprinted (obviously) Avengers stories. With this issue they got kicked (hah, hah) to the back of the book and Master of Kung Fu became the headliner. Looks like all the covers of this series were reprints of the original covers except this issue which got something special.


    By fnord12 | July 30, 2014, 8:57 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    Seriously?

    Thanks to Wanyas including the Forever People in my comics pile (even though it doesn't even have Giffen art this time! But i'll save that for the speed review) i am getting a rare glimpse at DC's house ads, and, well, this one stuck out:

    It's not that i find it offensive or anything, although i'm surprised DC isn't worried about what parents might think. It just seems dumb, and i guess confirms that the target audience is 13 year old boys.


    By fnord12 | July 30, 2014, 7:50 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    Grey water

    Min's post below, especially the part about the 50 liter flush, reminds me that at this point in my life i had really hoped to be living in an Earthship somewhere out in the wild. For a variety of reasons (including, but not limited to, inertia and risk aversion), that never happened. But one of the interesting things about an Earthship is the grey water system design, wherein the water from your sinks and shower don't go straight out to the sewer (and/or septic tank), but instead feed your toilet. Because your toilet water really doesn't need to be pristine. So let's take the moderately dirty ("grey") water from washing your hands and showering and use it to make that 50 liter flush a little less wasteful. It's something that i could see being useful even in a "regular" house. The only challenge is figuring out where to store the excess grey water. In an Earthship it's filtered through an in-house plant feeder first. But in a regular house it could go into a tank next to your hot water heater, i suppose.

    I imagine this would never actually happen since local planning boards would probably think that reusing the sink water is squiky. But it's something to think about as the water situation situation continues to get worse. Although if Peter Brabeck continues to go the full Eco Protectorate (unlike Min, Solarbabies instead of Tank Girl is my dystopian water scarcity sci fi film of choice), we may first want to consider the Earthship's rain water collection system.


    By fnord12 | July 29, 2014, 1:02 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life & Science | Comments (0) | Link




    Malcolm McDowell Will Be Playing the Role of Peter Brabeck

    Because Tank Girl.

    This summer, however, myriad business forces are combining to remind us that fresh water isn't necessarily or automatically a free resource. It could all too easily end up becoming just another economic commodity.

    At the forefront of this firestorm is Peter Brabeck, chairman and former CEO of Nestle.

    In his view, citizens don't have an automatic right to more than the water they require for mere "survival", unless they can afford to pay for it. For context, the World Health Organization sets such "survival" consumption levels at a minimum of 20 liters a day for basic hygiene and food hygiene - higher, if you add laundry and bathing. If you're reading this in the United States, the odds are that flushing your toilet consumes 50 liters of water a day.

    ...

    Nestle's Nestle Waters North Americas Inc division - the largest bottled water company in the country - has continued to pump water from an aquifer near Palm Springs, California, thanks to its partnership with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Their joint venture, bottling water from a spring on land owned by the band in Millard Canyon, has another advantage: since the Morongo are considered a sovereign nation, no one needs to report exactly how much water is being drawn from the aquifer.

    In the Canadian province of British Columbia, Nestle has been using another loophole.

    Until this year, British Columbia didn't have rules that required the company to report how much it drew from the province's aquifers - or pay a penny to the government's coffers in exchange for the resource.

    As of last year, therefore, Nestle was able to bottle 265m liters of fresh water and pay nothing for the resource that Brabeck believes should have an economic price attached to it - at least, when it is consumers that are paying that price.

    Thanks for being an asshole, Nestle. The warm and fuzzy image you project of children baking Toll House cookies at home makes your assholery that much more offensive.

    I've posted about water and land being snatched up by corporations in the past, so this is more of an update that it's still a thing that's happening. Also, i was enraged and needed an outlet. There is much gnashing of teeth occurring right now. I'm pretty sure Toll House cookies will trump outrage with most of the population.


    By min | July 28, 2014, 2:46 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    People in the South are just angry about a lot of stuff

    I was just reading up on New Coke and found this on Wikipedia:

    Most Coke drinkers resumed buying the new drink at much the same level as they had the old one. Surveys indicated, in fact, that a majority liked the new flavoring.[23] Three-quarters of the respondents said they would buy New Coke again.[22] The big test, however, remained in the Southeast, where Coke was first bottled and tasted...

    Despite New Coke's acceptance with a large number of Coca-Cola drinkers, a vocal minority of them resented the change in formula and were not shy about making that known -- just as had happened in the focus groups. Many of these drinkers were Southerners, some of whom considered the drink a fundamental part of regional identity. They viewed the company's decision to change the formula through the prism of the Civil War, as another surrender to the "Yankees".[24]

    Company headquarters in Atlanta started receiving letters expressing anger or deep disappointment... The company hotline, 1-800-GET-COKE, received 1,500 calls a day compared to 400 before the change.[14] Coke hired a psychiatrist to listen in on calls and told executives some people sounded as if they were discussing the death of a family member.


    By fnord12 | July 27, 2014, 12:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Recap 58

    Search for the Lizard God Egg, Part III

    Recap 58.1 with the Erintrah adventure to be added in the near future.


    By min | July 24, 2014, 12:36 AM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link




    Travel reading

    "You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists." - Wednesday, The Man Who Was Thursday


    By fnord12 | July 23, 2014, 10:29 PM | Boooooks | Comments (0) | Link




    Hiatus


    By fnord12 | July 17, 2014, 12:43 AM | Comics & My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link




    The New York Times wants environmentalists to get off their TTIP

    Dean Baker is on a tear about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership:

    The article tells us that the TTIP appears to be facing troubles because of the opposition of environmental and consumer groups and the recent spying scandal in Germany. This opposition is presented as sort of tragic given the need for a deal...

    You've got to love this one. Europe just got new data showing that industrial production was weak last month, therefore it needs to push ahead with a trade agreement, that in the most optimistic scenario will not be signed before the end of the year. It will then be phased in over the next decade. Yeah, that's a good way of addressing weak economic data from May.

    But the piece goes on to tell us that the negotiators are interested in much more than eliminating trade barriers. According to the article, they want to take away Europeans' right to set their own health, safety, and pollution standards. The article tells readers that the working proposal is that if a product meets standards in either the U.S. or Europe then it can be sold in both places.

    This means, for example, that Europeans would have to give up plans to impose energy efficiency requirements on cars or other products, if the U.S. Congress didn't agree to the same standards. Given that a large segment of the Congress claims not to believe in global warming, it is understandable that Europeans would not be inclined to accept this position. The same would apply to regulations of food, drugs, and other consumer products.

    This is all a ploy by Pepsi to put brominated vegetable oil back in their Mountain Dew.


    By fnord12 | July 15, 2014, 10:12 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Maybe it's how they prevented people from wearing things "ironically"

    What makes it "custom designed"? You can't ask for specific text to be put on it, you can't specify the length or width, choose the colors, or anything.

    I also love when it's not enough for you to pay for your crappy shirt or hat that's going to advertise their product. You also have to send in proof of purchase of their candy product. We wouldn't want some skater guy who's not really into M&Ms wearing one of their shirts, would we?

    (Ad is from Marvel comics with Oct 88 cover dates.)


    By fnord12 | July 13, 2014, 5:19 PM | Comics & Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link




    Days of Future Reboots

    Paul O'Brien has some interesting speculation in his review of the latest arc of Bendis' All New X-Men. People have been thinking that Marvel is headed for a reboot since the teaser art from AvX was first released, and the events of Age of Ultron certainly sound like they are settings things up. If so, it's a crazy slow shamble towards a reboot, but that's the pace all Marvel's stories work at now so i suppose it's not impossible. I haven't read Age of Ultron (but i did read the follow-up in Hulk that suggested pretty clearly that continuity is broken) and i dropped All New X-Men after (*checks*) oh my god, eleven issues of nothing happening, so i don't know how plausible O'Brien's speculation is, although his review makes it sound convincing. And i've already given my thoughts on the various outcomes of a Marvel reboot on multiple occasions, so i don't want to get into all that again at least until we have some kind of confirmation.

    I just wanted to say that if the idea is that the All New X-Men are leading the way to this line wide reboot, it explains why this series seemed to go off the rails from its original remit. Paul O'Brien summarizes it like this:

    The high concept of All-New X-Men is that the Silver Age X-Men are brought to the present day, and are appalled by seeing how the world has turned out. As of course they should be. The Professor is dead; Scott killed him; Jean is dead and (sort of) responsible for genocide; Hank is a giant blue ape; Warren is a grinning idiot; and Bobby... well, things actually turned out okay for Bobby, but there's plenty left for the X-Men to be horrified by. Plus, it's not as though the X-Men seem to have made any real headway in their goal of co-existence between humans and mutants. It's not a happy picture.

    The thing is, that's not exactly how i thought the series would be. O'Brien is right that the general idea was that the Silver Age X-Men go to the present and see that things haven't turned out the way they would have hoped. But you'll notice that most of O'Brien's examples are personal - Jean is dead, Beast mutated, Angel's in whatever weird state the X-Office has put him in nowadays. He does say that they also haven't made "headway" on the mutants right issue, but he's right to only mention that in passing, since Bendis' book, at least in the eleven issues i read, also focused on the personal more than the bigger mutant picture.

    And when i originally heard about this series, i thought the concept was pretty brilliant. Take Days of Future Past and flip it on its head by having the Silver Age X-Men come to the present and react to it as a dystopian horror the way the 1980s X-Men reacted to the Days of Future Past future, i.e., because of the way it showed that Professor X's dream of mutants and humans living together was destined for failure, not because some individual characters were dead or whatever. The subtext would be like bringing George Orwell to the present and having him learn about the NSA and state secrets privilege and the abuse of the Espionage Act and the like. In the Marvel universe there was Civil War and the 198 mutant camp and the mutants segregating themselves in Utopia and lots more stuff like that. So the idea could be that the Silver Age X-Men show up for six issues, are horrified by the "future" and then go home resolving to make changes to make their future better, and leaving the present day X-Men realizing how much they've failed.

    I think there's a smattering of that idea with Cyclops having formed a separate group of X-Men with Magneto, but (from what i've read) it really got lost in the sprawl of Bendis' plots, and the focus again seems to be more on the personal (how could Scott have killed Xavier?!?) than anything about the current state of mutant rights. Which is too bad, because while that short story might not have served any long term reboot goals, but i think it would have been a much more powerful story.


    By fnord12 | July 13, 2014, 9:26 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    Cheesey Feet!

    Ignoring the Catholic priest's assertion that yoga, tai chi, and reiki are "unsavoury activities" because who cares, i will highlight for you the part of this article i enjoyed.

    Link

    And an integral part of being into yoga is telling everyone you meet how ah-mazing it is, and how it's not just about being able to touch your toes, it actually brings spiritual calm and makes you an all-round better person - certainly better than you, with your creaking, befouled starch-hips.
    ...
    But probably - no, definitely - the most unsavoury aspect of yoga is the feet. Being in an overly hot room with someone's cheesy feet shoved in your face as they synchronise their spreadeagle makes you wonder how you ended up here.

    This is why i do yoga at home. No stranger's cheesey feet or stinky bottom in my face or line of sight. Toe socks. *shudder*


    By min | July 11, 2014, 9:24 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link




    You Mad, Bro?

    Link

    Diplomatic relations between Germany and the US plunged to a new low after Angela Merkel's government asked the top representative of America's secret services in Germany to leave the country.

    While not formally amounting to a full expulsion, the move nonetheless sends a dramatic signal: after a year-long dispute triggered by the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Merkel seems to have finally run out of patience with Washington's failure to explain itself.

    According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the US embassy staffer who has been asked to leave is a CIA "chief of station" who coordinates secret service activity in Germany, and who emerged as the key contact for two German officials recently arrested for allegedly spying for the US.

    According to German media reports, such drastic action had previously only been thinkable when dealing with "pariah states like North Korea or Iran".

    The officials arrested for spying for the U.S. - they were gathering information on Germany's investigation into the NSA spying and wiretapping.

    Now, how much of this is the U.S. infiltrating the intelligence agency (BND) and how much is it really the BND cooperating with a fellow spy agency?


    By min | July 11, 2014, 8:29 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Well, look what you did

    How Bill Clinton and the Democrats made the Hobby Lobby decision possible back in 1993.


    By fnord12 | July 10, 2014, 7:36 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Please don't feed his paranoia

    I don't know what's actually going on here, and it would be ironically funny if Tucker Carson turned out to be a Communist dupe, but my Senator is so crazily anti-Cuban that i can imagine him latching on to any stray comment and seeing a personal plot to destroy him (even if he actually did the things he's being investigated for).


    By fnord12 | July 10, 2014, 7:33 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Context free reporting

    As anyone can probably tell by the endless links to the site, i regularly read TalkingPointsMemo for my political "news". Unfortunately TPM produces a lot more content than in the early days and a lot of it is more just repeating what some politician said without adding any of the context or analysis that made it a regular site for me in the first place. And which is supposed to be the main distinction between a website like TPM and your basic network news or an AP wire article.

    There are also things i disagree with founder Josh Marshall about, one of which being Edward Snowden. Which is fine; i'm happy to hear other perspectives.

    But it gets weird when i suspect those two things meet. So for example, compare this TPM post about Hilary Clinton saying that "It's Up To Snowden If He Returns To U.S. For Trial" to the Guardian article that is the source of those quotes. What you'll notice is that the Guardian article has additional information like:

    Snowden, who is currently in Russia where he has been afforded temporary asylum, has been charged with three separate violations of the US Espionage Act. These charges include stealing government property and sharing classified documents with the Guardian and the Washington Post.

    The broadly worded law makes no distinction between a spy and a whistleblower and affords Snowden almost no recourse to a defence.

    The former NSA employee is likely to face a number of additional charges should he return to the US.

    When Clinton was asked if she believed the Espionage Act - passed in 1917 - should be reformed in order to allow Snowden a defence, she claimed not to know what the whistleblower had been charged with as they were "sealed indictments".

    Whereas the TPM article just reports Clinton's statements as if they are the be all, end all of the matter. That may just be a matter of simplification reflecting that TPM is turning more into a wire service than an analysis site, but when combined with what i know to be Marshall's position on the matter it seems like they are quoting Clinton approvingly. Even best case scenario it seems like TPM is becoming a stenographer, just reporting what politicians say, and that's been one of the main criticisms of mainstream press that internet sites like TPM were supposed to be the cure for.

    On a related note, here's a post from Kevin Drum about someone trying to declassify documents through "proper channels".


    By fnord12 | July 5, 2014, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Guess who won the 4th of July

    That's right. This monkey won the 4th of July.


    By fnord12 | July 4, 2014, 11:46 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link




    Demon Fish

    Cool stuff can be found in Stephen Chow's Journey to the West, which is a retelling of the Monkey King legend.


    By fnord12 | July 4, 2014, 9:17 AM | Movies | Comments (3) | Link




    Kandy Man fights back

    Min blogged about the proposed changes to nutritional labels a while back, and it's no surprise that the sugar industry is fighting back, taking issue with the "added sugar" line specifically. I clicked through to their open letter on the subject, and i don't see anything substantive to their resistance, which isn't surprising because i can't imagine them having a case. As the article says:

    The reality is that Big Sugar is likely reeling in remembrance of what the addition of trans fat to labels in 2006 did to the ingredient (it's now virtually non-existent).

    As an aside, in the example they use in the article, the percent of dietary fiber goes down in the new label, even though the number of grams remains the same. Are they also increasing the RDA for fiber, or is that just a mistake? Because we're vegans and we can barely hit our fiber targets with the current RDA. I don't know how the rest of you do it.


    By fnord12 | July 3, 2014, 2:55 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link




    No one else is running!

    Ezra Klein has a short interview with Noam Scheiber, and you can click through to Scheiber's longer article if you want to delve deeper. But the gist of the article is that Obama, by failing to live up to his campaign promises or get much done during his presidency, has ruined the chances of a liberal outsider like Elizabeth Warren from beating Hillary Clinton in the primary. At this point people just want someone who will get things done. I'd actually take major issue with the Obama/Warren comparison but i see what Scheiber is getting at and that's not the point i want to make now. The real issue is that Scheiber interviews a bunch of Obama precinct captains and is surprised to find that despite the fact that their politics line up with Warren, they're supporting Clinton. Well... Warren isn't running! She's repeatedly said so! And Clinton is out there campaigning right now and there's no one making a different case. So of course the precinct captains are going to say that they support Clinton. Who else is there?

    If Warren or some other less hawkish, less Wall Street friendly Democrat had put their hat in the ring, i think Scheiber would have seen different results. And if the idea is that in 2014 it's too soon to see other candidates emerge, then i'd say it's also to soon for this article.


    By fnord12 | July 3, 2014, 8:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Can't hide

    A BBC editor got a notice from Google saying that his article about Stan O'Neal, one of the Merrill Lynch execs that share some of the responsibility for the 2008 financial crisis, has been removed from their search results thanks to the new European court ruling. So now these are the top Google search results for Stan O'Neal (after Wikipedia, which also mentions his culpability and also the Google action):

    Google purges negative press coverage of former Wall Street CEO from search results

    Google hides a Wall Street pariah

    Google Alerts Press About Right To Be Forgotten Removals, Putting Those Stories Back In The News

    Well, that didn't work!

    Update: The original BBC editor now says Stan O'Neal may not be the person who requested the Google Memory Hole, but it's impossible to say. If so, that really sucks for O'Neal.


    By fnord12 | July 2, 2014, 4:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




    You have to support the idea after you come up with it

    I take some issue with Paul Krugman's claim that conservatives can't come up with new ideas (i agree with his larger point). Both the Cap and Trade and Affordable Care Act method of universal healthcare are conservative ideas. Granted, they were devised as ways to head off the liberal solutions to their respective problems (i.e. strict pollution regulation and expansion of Medicare) but that's sort of the point. If moderate Republicans wanted to be relevant again, i would welcome support for these ideas and more like them. But instead the Democrats who pre-emptively compromise by advocating these solutions and the Republicans unanimously oppose them.


    By fnord12 | July 2, 2014, 1:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Demand

    Dean Baker reminds us that now would be a great time, economically, to deal with global warming.


    By fnord12 | July 2, 2014, 1:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Now that's a name for a comic

    Although, why not Uncannily Weird Strange Tales of the Unusual Strangeness?


    By fnord12 | July 2, 2014, 8:38 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link




    Bambi in the back yard

    We complain about them eating our flowers or standing outside the window, looking us right in the eye, and pooping with a "So what are you gonna do about it?" expression on their faces, but it's still pretty cool to look out your back door and see a deer chilling in the woods.


    By fnord12 | July 1, 2014, 3:02 PM | My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link




    The earliest online role-playing games sucked


    By fnord12 | June 29, 2014, 5:48 PM | D&D & Video Games | Comments (10) | Link




    Does It Do Away With String Theory?

    Cause if so, i'm all for it. I never really grokked string theory.

    Thinking of spacetime as a liquid may be a helpful analogy. We often picture space and time as fundamental backdrops to the universe. But what if they are not fundamental, and built instead of smaller ingredients that exist on a deeper layer of reality that we cannot sense? If that were the case, spacetime's properties would "emerge" from the underlying physics of its constituents, just as water's properties emerge from the particles that comprise it. "Water is made of discrete, individual molecules, which interact with each other according to the laws of quantum mechanics, but liquid water appears continuous and flowing and transparent and refracting," explains Ted Jacobson, a physicist at the University of Maryland, College Park. "These are all 'emergent' properties that cannot be found in the individual molecules, even though they ultimately derive from the properties of those molecules."

    Not that i did great in Fluid Mechanics lab, but i blame that on my learning disability whereby i never understand what exactly i'm supposed to be doing in a lab experiment. Hands-on learning is so confusing. Can't you just show me with a diagram drawn in different colored chalks and an equation? That would make way more sense.


    By min | June 29, 2014, 2:57 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link




    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Savage Hulk #1 - Due to a certain long term contract written in blood and in exchange mostly for some 1990s X-Men comics that no one every needed to read, i am honor bound to collect every Marvel comic drawn by Alan Davis. Which is fine. I like Alan Davis. But i didn't know the specifics about this series, only that i was required to get it, so i'm only now finding out that it's apparently continuity inserts. Which is also fine in theory. Problem is that this story is potentially overloading the period in the immediate aftermath of the X-Men/Hulk fight at the end of their original series. Both John Byrne's Hidden Years and Gage/Alberti's X-Men/Spider-Man #1 take place then, and my understanding is that Eric Larsen's Fantastic Four World's Greatest Comics Magazine has X-Men appearances there too. Hidden Years actually recaps the Hulk fight and then has a gap of three days before launching into a very long story arc. X-Men/Spider-Man has Xavier "too sick" to make an appearance, during that three day gap. And now this story has a spry Xavier acting in the immediate aftermath of the original X-Men issue. I guess his sickness didn't fully hit him yet and we'll just hope this story lasts less than three days. The other problem is going to be if that is actually the Abomination. During this period, the Abomination, as a guy with normal intelligence in the body of someone who is baseline stronger than the Hulk, was too powerful to just be allowed to walk around in between Hulk fights, so he's generally held as a prisoner of the Stranger or at least stuck in space. So he can't just be showing up here. Hopefully that's explained; it's only a last panel cliffhanger splash so not time to complain about it yet. Anyway, this was a set-up issue, with the only action being the Hulk fighting some missiles while the X-Men stood around and talked, so hopefully next issue will at least have some nice Hulk/Abomination/X-Men battles from Davis, whatever the continuity problems.

    Elektra #3 - Very nice art, the sort of thing you might have gotten in the rare Marvel Fanfare issue that actually lived up to its promise. And i do like the weirdness of the new villain. Storywise, i think it's about time to get the deliberately staid Elektra a supporting cast or maybe a talking monkey or something to infuse some personality into the mix. I also think we're possibly missing out on a more interesting story about a master assassin and his son traveling to the likes of the Savage Land, the Blue Area of the Moon, and sunken underwater kingdoms. That doesn't seem to be the sort of thing you leave to background narration. Overall i'm at the "nice art, but get on with it" stage and next issue's promise of a metaphysical guilt trip doesn't give me high hopes.

    Iron Man #28 - Despite three different pencilers and two inkers, this is a decent wrap-up to the storyline. It's definitely shut down very quickly, with all these guys that were built up throughout the storyline getting stomped very easily at the end, in some cases by empty Iron Man suits. Mole Man dumping his ring and slinking away felt right, though. I found a lot to like in the post-fight wrap up. Any time you reference both Makluans (that's Fin Fang Foom's people, people!) and Rigellians, you've got me hooked. And i also really liked the in-universe explanation (or at least acknowledgment) for why so many alien races are monarchies and empires instead of democracies (or communist).

    Daredevil #4 - Nice continued parallel between the Shroud and Daredevil's pre-Waid days of endless tear downs. And a really minor thing - i liked the Owl's little hand claws. Between his hair and his wrist claws, he's always looked like a fat Wolverine to me (i know he came first), but this slightly different claw style keeps his claws but gives them a more distinct look.

    Ms. Marvel #5 - Nice first loss and subsequent training and spirit boosting. A lot here is right from the playbook of the first year of Amazing Spider-Man and that's a good thing. And this book does have a lot of personality and character development, so it doesn't need the talking monkey, but i see we are getting a talking Pigeon Man.

    New Warriors #6 - As less than 20,000 other people know, this is the best book Marvel is putting out right now. We're taking a break from the High Evolutionary story to see how the Avengers feel about Wundagore suddenly appearing in New York and i see next issue will start something new about the new Inhuman character, so no need to wait for a Point One series if you heard a good buzz and were looking to jump on. This issue has the Elder God Cth'on making Thor look like a cool Lizard Man Warrior, plenty of talking animals, and Hummingbird trying to lift Thor's hammer. And only two pencilers, one of whom is Nick Roche who also drew last issue and is inking himself here.


    By fnord12 | June 29, 2014, 12:04 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link




    John McCain *lost* the election

    Magazines are bathroom reading, so forgive me for talking about an article that came out in April, but i wanted to call something out of this Obama Vs. The Hawks article in Rolling Stone. The article is sourced from anonymous former Obama advisers so i don't know how much stock to put in it. For example, there's a valiant effort to give Kerry credit for his sarcastic offhand remark that gave us an out on Syria and barely mentions Britain's rejection of military action there. But what i wanted to call out was this:

    "In part, the reason why they were focusing on doing something on Syria is that they felt people were pushing them," says another former White House adviser. "McCain, Lindsey Graham - it is unbelievable how influential Senator Graham was in the president's thinking. They desperately wanted Lindsey on their side. It's a fact that those two - and you have to include Joe Lieberman and Senator Kelly Ayotte - have had enormous influence on the way the White House thinks. But why? They have influence far beyond the reality of their power."

    The article doesn't provide an answer. But i agree it's a mind-boggling question. These Senators are the Hawkiest of Hawks whose answer to everything is to bomb, bomb, bomb. Voters at a national level rejected McCain for Obama (and also rejected Lieberman). So why is Obama going to McCain and his little gang for approval? This is beyond the fact that, as everyone is pointing out nowadays, McCain has basically been wrong about everything so it's not like he's got some deep insight into foreign affairs. I'm just talking from a pure "what's the point of an election?" point of view if the guy we voted for is going to spend his time trying to please the guy we voted against. Of course he did the same type of thing by making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State and bringing in people from Bill Clinton's administration (Geithner!) but at least there you can argue they're all broadly part of the same ideological coalition. Almost by definition, if you can get McCain and Graham to agree with you, you're working against your own political party.

    And beyond all of that, does anyone think Obama could ever do anything that would make McCain and Graham run to the cameras and talk about how great it was? For all that they influence Obama, have they ever complimented him for it, or more to the point, worked their connections in Senate to help him get bills passed? Have they ever made any compromise or concession at all with the Obama administration? Consistently wrong, ideologically opposed, and unhelpful and unable to be satisfied. Why in the world would you keep reaching out to them?


    By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 8:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    "Gosh, I'm gonna have to disagree with the doctor here"

    Maybe because he's a madman?


    By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 4:14 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link




    Racism and AP History Exam Grading

    So, WTF?

    T-shirt front:

    T-shirt back:

    At the 2014 grading of AP World History exams in Salt Lake City, conducted by high school and college educators specializing in topics related to world history, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and College Board leadership engaged in culturally insensitive and racist behavior toward Asians, particularly Chinese people. The images above are from the front and back of a t-shirt designed for readers by the leaders of the AP World History exam grading. The images allude to one of the essay questions on this year's exam, a question about the Chinese Communist Party.

    After Asian Americans and others pointed out that the shirt design was offensive, the director of ETS's Human Resources department agreed that it should be altered. But she later changed her mind, deeming it "not offensive," and approved it for printing and distribution. It was subsequently purchased by hundreds of high school teachers and college professors who were in Salt Lake City for the reading.

    Sadly, many AP World History teachers and academics who were grading exams this year were not put off by this racist imagery. Hundreds of educators purchased this shirt and wore it on the last day. It is deeply disturbing that people who teach World History could be so indifferent to racial and cultural insensitivity.

    Link

    Oh, well, i'm so glad the HR director wasn't offended. Guess that means it's totally not racist. Thanks!

    As fnord12 said, what does this say about the bias of the people grading the tests?


    By min | June 26, 2014, 3:59 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    iPod is testing me today

    I have it on random, and Part 3 of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music came up. As i reached for the remote, i thought to myself, "No, if i'm going to have this on my iPod, i'm going to listen to it when it comes up." And i did and i actually mind don't having ambient noise in the background for 16 minutes while i work. Then, five songs later, up comes Part 1 of Metal Machine Music (this is on a 160 gig iPod by the way, but don't get me started on the limitation's of the iPod's "shuffle" feature).

    Ok, iPod, you've made your point!


    By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 2:08 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link




    "Pop" Metal

    Friend Adam passes along an interesting article that uses the latest Mastodon album as a way to explore heavy metal's relationship with the rest of the pop music world.

    One quick note, tangential to the main point. Mastodon is an awesome band, but there is no way they are going to get any kind of mainstream success. Their songs are long, multi-parted and complicated, and about whales. Metallica became popular when they took their 9 minute odd time songs on And Justice For All and cut them down into radio-ready one or two riff tracks produced by Bob Rock.

    As a real unrelated aside, i love the formatting on that article, with the footnotes in a separate column alongside the article. If it were easy for me to do that, my comics reviews might be a lot more readable, as i could remove a lot of my parenthetical rambles.


    By fnord12 | June 26, 2014, 10:55 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link




    Marvel Sales

    May.

    One quick observation is that Avengers books jumped 5K in sales due to the Original Sin tie-in. In the recent past, Avengers book were unaffected by crossover events, with the idea being that anyone interested in the line-wide crossovers was also reading the flagship Avengers titles. That doesn't seem to be the case here (or at least retailers didn't think it would be the case). It's a relatively small jump, but it possibly suggests that Avengers is losing its top slot in the Marvel line now that Bendis is no longer writing. Bendis' All New X-Men is higher on the chart than Avengers (and so is Amazing Spider-Man, but that's coming off the renumbering/return of Peter Parker).


    By fnord12 | June 25, 2014, 2:01 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link




    Big Government Cheese

    Reading Matthew Yglesias about an unrelated topic (a brewing fight about the Export-Import Bank, if you're interested), he says as an aside:

    ...did you know the US Department of Agriculture runs a Dairy Checkoff Program in which it partners with major fast food companies to design innovative cheese-intensive products such as Taco Bell's double steak quesadillas and Pizza Hut's 3-cheese stuffed pizza crust?

    No. I did not know that. And that's pretty crazy. Here is the link.


    By fnord12 | June 24, 2014, 10:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Words mean things

    Or maybe they don't:

    The paper offered an expanded definition of "imminence," noting that "an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require ... clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future."

    Kevin Drum has more to say:

    Thus, the problem I've always had isn't specifically with the targeting of Awlaki, but with the fact that the targeting was based on such a flimsy legal pretext. However, despite the fact that I'm disappointed in Obama's decision to interpret the AUMF widely, most of the blame on that score should be directed not at Obama, but at Congress. The AUMF is now more than a dozen years old, and it's long past time for Congress to emerge from its fetal crouch and write a new law specifically designed for our present circumstances. Among other things, it should address the president's ability to target American citizens for killing. If Congress wants to give the president that power, it should debate and pass a law and the courts should rule on its constitutionality. That's the rule of law. And regardless of whether I liked the law, I'd accept it if Congress passed it, the president signed it, and the Supreme Court declared it constitutional.

    Instead, as usual, Congress prefers to do nothing. This leaves them free to kibitz if they don't like what the president is doing, or to simply avoid having to take a stand at all. It's shameful.


    By fnord12 | June 24, 2014, 10:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    A Slight Underestimate

    Remember when i proudly showed off the one sock i finished knitting back in 2012? Well, i finished the second sock so i now have a pair. And i'm only 25 months and 3 weeks over my estimated completion date!

    From now on, socks will only be knit as a pair at the same time.


    By min | June 23, 2014, 9:39 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



    No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.