The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to “Free the Nipple,” refusing to hear an appeal by three women fined by a city in New Hampshire for exposing their breasts in public who argued that banning female but not male toplessness violates the U.S. Constitution.

Do we really care about the legal niceties? I think women should not only be allowed to go topless, but should be required to do so when the temperature is 60 or higher.

I would allow some women to file for disability exceptions, in a process kinda like applying for a special parking sticker. So, for example, while Alexandra Daddario must be topless, Kathy Bates can slide.

The Democratic party continues its march to winnow out all the youth and diversity and narrow the field to the cranky old white people.

Booker’s exit was inevitable. He had no path to victory.

He’s the Jimmy Carter for a new millennium – nice man, smart, idealistic. He even has a better resume than Carter. In fact, he looks perfect on paper: football star and class president at Stanford; Yale Law School; Rhodes scholar; mayor; senator. People say he is a moving speaker as well, yet all of those credentials couldn’t gain him any traction.

I guess the time ain’t right for Carter 2.0.

That noted, Booker seems like a great V.P. choice when the eventual cranky old white person gets the nomination.

Trump made that up.

I have to give Trump credit. Over the course of his presidency he has learned to make his lies more subtle. His exact words were, “I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.” If you think about it, that may not be a lie at all.

This is tantamount to saying “I can reveal that I believe in God,” as opposed to “I can reveal that God exists.” He wasn’t revealing that there was evidence to establish a fact, but only that he believed it, which may be true. Without the ability to read his mind, it’s not possible to conclude whether he believed it or not.

That is one fire approximately the size of Delaware, or enough to roast three quintillion marshmallows.

“There are about 155 fires burning in NSW, 50 of which are uncontained.”

“The strong winds were reaching speeds of up to 55 mph, lofting embers out ahead of fires to start new spot fires, and propelling the front edges of fires forward at high rates of speed, breaching containment lines.”

Twenty-eight people have died, about 6000 buildings have been destroyed and more than 70,000 square miles of land has been burnt. Conservative estimates suggest more than a billion animals have perished.

“The strategy session, which has not been previously reported, came as mass protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq were gaining momentum, putting the Islamic Republic in an unwelcome spotlight. Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect that rising anger toward the United States, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi’ite politicians, and government officials close to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.”

This is a Reuters report, not the work of some right-wing spin machine. I notice the that liberal American press has almost totally ignored this, or buried it on the back pages.

 

“As optimistic as Mallet might be about his work, though, his peers are skeptical that he’s on the path to a working time machine.

‘I don’t think [his work is] necessarily going to be fruitful,’ astrophysicist Paul Sutter told CNN, ‘because I do think that there are deep flaws in his mathematics and his theory, and so a practical device seems unattainable.'”

He was arguably the most successful sports commissioner in history. Under him, a semi-major niche sport became mainstream and major, everyone prospered, and the fan base just kept growing. He was a tough, pugnacious s.o.b., so he made enemies, but he ultimately made all of that tension work for the league.

And he was also lucky enough to have MJ show up at exactly the right time.

This says it all:

“A league that couldn’t get its finals on live television in the pre-Stern era began to eclipse its fellow pro leagues in follower counts and influence. The NBA’s explosive growth since Stern took over in 1984 is a tidy narrative: The Portland Trail Blazers, as just one example, were sold for $70 million in 1988 and are now valued at $1.6 billion.”

Kubrick’s Lolita is no longer with us.

She was only 73, but it seems like she should have been older, given that her last performances were about 40 years ago. She just retired young. She did everything young. She was a star and Golden Globe winner at 15. She was married at 17 (and divorced at 18) to Hampton Fancher III, the guy who later wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner. While still in her mid 20s, she met, married, and divorced her third husband while he was a prison inmate convicted of murder. She left the spotlight for good while still in her early 30s.

Her only nudity was in an obscure Spanish film called Autopsy, aka Tarot, aka Tarots, aka The Magician. Good luck finding that one. Here is what looks like a third or fourth generation VHS capture of the scene.

TRIVIA: Her paycheck for Lolita was only $25,000.

Those four things are: childhood trauma, a personal crisis, examples that validate their feelings, and access to a firearm

Oh, scientists, you have such a grasp of the obvious. Without your study, who could have guessed that those who committed firearm violence had access to a firearm? It is worth noting, however, that the vast majority used legally obtained firearms that they purchased themselves or took from others in their household. More than half of all mass shooters in the database purchased their firearms personally and legally.

There are two key trends:

Hate is on the rise

There has been a significant increase in shooters motivated by racism, religious hate, and misogyny since the 1960s, especially in the last five years.

    • There were 75 mass shootings between 1966 and 2000, of which only 13 were hate-inspired. That’s about one hate-inspired mass shooting per 32 months.
    • By comparison, of 32 mass shootings that happened in the US since 2015, 17 were hate-inspired, or about one every three to four months.

In other words, hate-inspired mass shootings (those driven by general racism, misogyny or religious zealotry, as opposed to personal grievances) occur about nine times more frequently in the past five years than they did at the end of the 20th century. There were more such incidents in just the past five years than in the last 35 years of the 20th century.

A desire for fame is also on the rise

The percentage of shooters driven by a desire for fame has also risen substantially in the last five years, the study found. In the first 15 years of the 21st century, some 3% of perpetrators were motivated by the desire to go down in history as a mass shooter. Between 2015 and 2019, that number jumped to 12%.

 

One thing the study fails to mention: the other types of mass shootings, those not inspired by general hate or a desire for fame, have remained relatively constant at two per year. In the 1966-2000 period, there were 60 such shootings, rounding to two per year. In the last five years there have been 11 such shootings, also rounding to two per year. Using the precise frequency with the decimal points shows that they have actually gone up from 1.7 to 2.2 per year, but this increase is minimal compared to the vast increases in the other two categories, as seen below.

Per-year 1966-2000 Per-year 2015-2019 Change
Hate-inspired 0.37 3.40 +815%
Fame-inspired 0.06 0.80 +1300%
Other 1.71 2.20 +29%
TOTAL 2.14 6.40 +199%

(% of change calculated from the actual frequency, not the rounded numbers shown above.)

In other words, while the frequency of mass shooting is almost exactly triple what it was in the 1966-2000 era (from 2.14 per year to 6.40), almost 90% of the increase (3.77 more incidents per year out of the overall 4.26 increase) can be attributed to crimes inspired by fame or hate.

Before Howard Stern came along, he was the best thing that ever happened to radio. Unlike Stern, he wasn’t always funny. Sometimes he was just grouchy, and perhaps he never really grew or changed with the times, but in the bland world of early-70s radio, his trailblazing iconoclasm was very welcome. If Stern was the savior of radio, Imus was Don the Baptist.

The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator Miller told investigators. “The guy was toxic,” Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview.

A certain stable genius pardoned the man, and also reversed his demotion. Gallagher was allowed to retire from the service as a Seal, retaining an additional $200,000 pension he would have forfeited had his demotion stood.

The reporter told Giuliani he sounded crazy, but he “insisted he wasn’t,” in his “navy-blue suit, the fly of the pants unzipped.”

Giuliani also claimed that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “controlled” by Soros.

On other zany Rudy news, “Rudy Giuliani raises eyebrows after calling himself ‘Former Attorney General of the United States’ on Facebook page”

“Measured in terms of views and subscribers, it had the third-largest reach of any group of entertainment channels on YouTube in November—outranked only by Disney and WarnerMedia.”

“This is all especially impressive because I have been unable to identify any YouTube channels associated with TheSoul Publishing that were created before 2016.”

The strategy of their sites is fundamentally this:

1. Gain a lot of eyeballs with typical internet click bait.

2. Once you have those eyeballs, use your reach to
(a) spread political disinformation.
(b) make money (YouTube videos gain advertising dollars which are split between the creators and YouTube)

Some of the snake oil they are selling is truly bizarre.

“By 1960, the Soviet Union succeeded, in 1957 the rent of Alaska was over and the country’s leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev, gifted Alaska to the USA. That’s when Alaska became the 49th state of the US.”

(Alaska became a U.S. territory in the 1860s when the USA purchased it from the Czar.)

It would take an exceptionally ignorant and intellectually incurious person to believe this claim, but the same is true of the claim that Crowdstrike is owned by a rich Ukrainian, and yet millions of people seem to believe that.

H.L. Mencken wrote in 1926:

“No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

Adolph Hitler wrote one year earlier:

“The broad masses of a nation, in the primitive simplicity of their minds, more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”

The wisest philosopher in human history wrote in the 1990s:

“There is neither an idea too far-fetched, nor a snake oil cure too improbable, to gain some believers, but the snake oil salesmen of the previous centuries have typically succeeded on a small scale because their reach was limited to the number of people who could hear them orate from a buckboard or hilltop. The modern world has changed that. Mass media extended the reach of their sales pitch. The internet made it infinite.”

Well, then, it must be true. Case closed!

We have wondered where exactly Trump got the utterly ridiculous idea that a company called Crowdstrike, owned by a rich Ukrainian, shipped the tell-tale DNC server to Ukraine. (Previous notes on this: 1, 2). Now we are certain.

“One former senior White House official said Trump even stated so explicitly at one point, saying he knew Ukraine was the real culprit because ‘Putin told me.’”

Short answer no, but Fahrenheit’s convoluted explanation of his scale is fascinating.

Did you know that Celsius was almost as loony? Today’s centigrade scale makes sense in that 0 is the freezing point of water and 100 is the boiling point, but that was decided after the death of Celsius. “The original Celsius scale had 100 for freezing, 0 for boiling. In other words, it was upside down.”

It’s only December, the beginning of Aussie summer, and temperatures are reaching all-time highs. “Several locations are forecast to reach 48C during the next few days

48 centigrade is almost 120 in god-fearin’ non-commie degrees.

To make matters worse, the massive natural bushfire problem is being exacerbated by arsonists. (Their crazies don’t have as many guns as America’s, but they still have matches.)