Assorted links

by on December 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Atlas of the historical geography of the United States.

2. The tether hypothesis.

3. Iron Maiden is using BitTorrent analysis to plot toursUpdate: it seems the story isn’t true.

4. What will the Republicans do about health care and the ACA now?

5. NYTMinusContext.

6. Why some people don’t like Wolf of Wall Street (I thought it was way too long and simply not that interesting).

Brett December 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm

The market for Wolf of Wall Street is really turning me off. They’re heavily playing up the whole “I’m a killer who’s making bank and doing all this awesome luxury spending stuff”.

Ray Lopez December 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

@Brett: if you don’t like glorifying penny stock operators you probably will not like narcocorrido music either. (for the record neither do I).

I sent an email to the Greek-surnamed daughter of the open letter and pointed out that there’s a chance what her father did (the lawyer to the Wolf) was not illegal, see: (A LAWYER’S DUTY TO THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND TO A CLIENT: DRAWING THE LINE W. FRANK NEWTON)

I’ll be surprised if she answers. An 18 year old girl living in LA can hardly be expected to understand fine points of the law, especially one writing her memoirs at such a tender young age.

Brian Donohue December 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

#1 is pretty cool.

#2 maybe I’m missing the significance

#4 is good.Repeal died in 2012…

Ray Lopez December 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@Brian Donahue – if you liked #1, you’ll like the book “A History of the World in 12 Maps”.

AndrewL December 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm

#3 It helps that Iron Maiden has their own plane and their lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, also pilots it. He must kill it at the pilot’s lounge karaoke night.

Adrian Ratnapala December 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm


And other Republicans are wondering aloud how long they can keep up the single-minded tactic of highlighting what is wrong with the law without saying what they would do about the problems it was supposed to address.

Opposition politics 101: DO NOT EVER propose positive alternatives to government policy. That makes you are target when they should be the target. It’s amazing that Paul Ryan still has all his bodily fluids.

Paul December 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I’d modify that: don’t propose alternatives that are too specific.

mulp December 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

“If you like your health plan, tough,…”:

“Mr. Ryan’s plan will build on one that he and Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, introduced in 2009, according to aides familiar with it. The proposal, called the Patients’ Choice Act, would have eliminated the tax break for employer-provided health care to finance a tax credit of about $5,700 for families and $2,300 for individuals. States would have been asked to create insurance marketplaces like the ones many have created under the Affordable Care Act.

“As with the Obama health care law, the Ryan proposal demanded that insurers meet minimum standards of coverage and be prevented from excluding the sick. But instead of mandating penalties for failing to buy insurance, the approach would have automatically enrolled people unless they opted out.”

That is pretty much along the lines of Clintoncare, to which Republicans responded with Obamacare.

txslr December 28, 2013 at 12:02 am

Which is why the Obama didn’t run on anything remotely like ACA in 2008. Just spout platitudes until you’re in office. Then do what you want to do and hope the voters forget before the next election – or arrange it so that the impact isn’t felt for four more years.

mulp December 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Obamacare is exactly what Obama ran on in 2007-8 because he was crossing the isle and proposing the Republican health reform from the 90s recently signed into law by Gov Romney. Gov Romney’s staff workers on Romnycare were key to the drafting and passage of the law.

What I find interesting is this in the WSJ by a doctor who does not like insurance companies:

“What should have been done? If the government felt that a significant segment of the population was underserved, they should have hired the doctors to serve them and built the clinics to serve them in—and mandated the scaled back, affordable insurance that covers severe illness only.

“What ObamaCare gave us instead is a hybrid that should make both Democrats and Republicans, doctors and patients unhappy: big business combined with big government.

“Dr. Siegel, a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, is a Fox News medical correspondent.”

In other words, the Federal government should have taken over the health care system by building hospitals and clinics and hiring doctors to provide health care to those who could not or would not make sure they could pay for their medical bills out of pocket to eliminate all insurers??

Isn’t that socialized medicine, British NHS style?

Paul December 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

6. Not that interesting because it’s just another rise and fall addiction story?

Dave Barnes December 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

IRS targeting

Z December 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

#3: It certainly appears that popular music is headed to a place where the content is just sales expense for the live show. Since so few modern pop stars can play an instrument or sing without electronic enhancement, the live portion will have to change too. Maybe having some ability to carry a tune or strum an instrument will come back in style. My guess is the producers just get better at covering the stars lack of musical ability. Still, it is fascinating how the pendulum is swinging back to where things were fifty years ago.

#4: I find it amusing how the Left is trying to cope with what is becoming the biggest public policy disaster in American history. It is uncharted territory so I don’t think anyone knows what will happen. The fact that the top of the party is manned by true believers makes for even better theater. The NYTimes piece has a post-Khrushchev vibe to it. That’s the last time the Left face anything like the existential threat it faces today. Conventional wisdom says the panic sets in soon, but I’m not so sure. There’s a People’s Temple thing going on with the democrats and they look like they are prepared to see it through, no matter what happens.

T. Sahw December 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Absolutely right.

#4 – Again, NYT spouts out venal (look it up, geniuses) nonsense. “More than two million Americans are expected to be getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act come Jan. 1.”

That’s hilarious: 315,000,000 Americans, including more than 5,000,000 that had their health skilled by the ACA, will be getting their health from elsewhere.

Only an obama-worshiping imbecile could believe that garbage.

dead serious December 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

T. Shaw foaming at the mouth and sputtering so voraciously his fingers can’t keep up with the bile enough to spell his own name correctly.

Z: Histrionics much? I’m no fan of OCare but what a twat you are. Go back to your blog – readership of 2, if you count your own refreshes.

Claudia December 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

#5 Oh yeah, happy to see a nod to @NYTMinusContext. This was my reaction when I first saw it yesterday RTed into my Twitter feed: “‏@Claudia_Sahm: I’m fascinated by @NYTMinusContext … a new level of Twitter info games & unlike subtweets you can subscribe for the context too”

And this was the @NYTMinusContext tweet that first caught my eye: (note how @NYTPlusContext later tweets the article link aka the context out) and other entertaining ones too. Twitter is definitely my fav info puzzle, keeps getting better (but I wouldn’t want to give up blogs either), I especially like to see ideas pop around and come together.

ziel December 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I don’t get it – could you or someone else explain the joke to me – I feel very stupid.

Claudia December 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

It is not a joke … just something fun. But I can see, as usual, my first comment is about as easy to parse as the minus-context tweets. Another try at it:

The @NYTMinusContent tweets out a few words from some NYT article. The example I gave said: “‏@NYTMinusContext: an iPhone app that purports to measure whether one is good or bad in bed” But there is no article on the first tweet so you have no clue what the context for those words is. They pick funny fragments like this, so a bored/dorky person could spend a few minutes trying to imagine the context. Then a little later a second account @NYTPlusContext tweets out the article to go with the first tweet. Again the example was the NYT article: “‘Interactive’ Gets a New Meaning: Sex Toys and Cybersex Are Enhanced by New Technology” So if you care to you can read the article, the context of the first tweet. Nothing deep here but I thought it was a fun twist on using Twitter to spread the word on interesting articles.

mike December 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

It’s funnier as an inadvertent meta-troll when you realize that this is what the NYT and the rest of the “mainstream” media do to their ideological adversaries every single day, see “legitimate rape” (as if he was saying that rape is OK, rather than distinguishing between forcible rape and statutory rape)

GiT December 28, 2013 at 7:22 am

So not only does Akin not know how fertilization works, he doesn’t know what “legitimate” means. What a winner.

superdestroyer December 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Who cares what the Republicans are going to do about healthcare? Considering that the Republican Party is irrelevant to policy or governance in the U.S., the only thing that is important is what changes will the Democrats make to health care in the future.

Benny Lava December 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Most likely the ACA will end up like Medicare where Republicans reposition themselves into being the ones who will “save” a program that they despise. I’m not the only one predicting this.

Todd December 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm


I’m sure similar criticisms of films like “Goodfellas” or “Casino” or “Scarface” or “Boiler Room” , or any of a million other films that have rendered stylistic and/or exuberant interpretations of criminal/immoral conduct were written. It also seems to me to be an incredibly inane way of evaluating a film (or any work of art).

Classical composers wrote a not insignificant number of concertos and overtures for the glorification of political and/or financial jerks. Ought we to turn the dial when they come on the radio? Should we refuse to look at a portrait by John Singer Sargent in a gallery because it shows a robber baron in the best possible light?

Keeb December 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Except all of those movies have some sort of moral to them. This is just a plain old crook that ripped of everyone, including his family. Robber barons at least actually built something..

Todd December 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

Who cares? “Wolf of Wall Street” is not a documentary.

“M” was a film about a serial murderer of children. Am I allowed to appreciate it and think that it is one of the classics of world cinema.

Keeb December 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Obviously his family still cares. That was the whole point of the article.

Glorifying bad behavior is how we end up living in the 3rd world. The actors are self proclaimed liberals but seem willing to shuck and jive for a nice plot line and chance to win some awards. Not very great role models, but liberals rarely are these days.

Todd December 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I see. Film analysis through a politically determinative prism.

Sorry for engaging him, everyone.

libert December 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

If conservatives made the same movie, would it be OK then?

y81 December 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm

2. This thesis is sort of politically incorrect, since it suggests a difference in kind between humans and other animals. That sort of analysis gives aid and comfort to speciesists, including the most feared of all that dread ilk, the “Christianists.”

mulp December 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm

4.: ” “A few million people are buying a product that has features they don’t want, paying more for it than they should have to pay for it because they had to buy it through this government-mandated mechanism,” said Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think that changes anything fundamentally at all.” ”

Let’s see, he’s talking about cable TV service, right??

Maybe telephone service??

Auto insurance??

Electric service??

mike December 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Not ruined only because of a huge bailout from the family, btw, if you’re curious. Mid six figures.

mike December 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Congratulations on your Good Samaritan Award or whatever for wishing misery on the wrong kind of people, I guess? I mean as long as you’re wishing needless harm on the wrong kind of people, you’re on the side of the angels, in your worldview.

Marian Kechlibar December 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

Well, dead, this is precisely the kind of comment that would earn you a permanent ban, if I were the admin.

This is about as evil as it gets. The only thing that can be appreciated about it is the candidness. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re a good, altruistic, etc. person; the above “wish” is proof to the contrary.

txslr December 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Thomas Sowell compared Obamacare to a house fire, which comparison is more appropriate everyday. When your house is on fire you don’t say, “we can’t put out the fire until we know what we’re going to replace it with.”

prior_approval December 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

Even more apt, a number of Americans don’t have to worry about government interference as their house burns down. Another one of those things that makes America such a unique place – everywhere else in the industrial world has universal fire protection through their fire departments.

Marian Kechlibar December 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

Is there any serious fire problem in the USA? Do many more US houses burn than, say, Australian ones? (Similar climate…)

If not: do not mend what works.

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