Conservatives downrate the GOP’s jive Benghazi hearing

conservative tweet

Hillary Clinton is a top-tier politician who’s been the subject of nearly constant national media scrutiny for more than 20 years. She also happens to have worked at the House Judiciary Committee during the most famous and most influential congressional investigation into executive branch misconduct of all time. The Benghazi committee, by contrast, is led by a guy who can’t get a proper haircut and composed largely of random backbench Republicans, most of whom run in districts that aren’t remotely competitive.

Consequently, it’s not so surprising that she ended up mopping the floor with her antagonists — a group that went in with no clear plan of what they were hoping to accomplish and little substantive understanding of any of the relevant policy issues.

And, indeed, the best some conservative pundits could say about it is that the hearing exceeding their low expectations…

This issue has actually been thoroughly examined by previous investigations (including a fairly scathing State Department internal review), and none of them found support for the conspiracy theory version of events.

That, ultimately, is the big problem for Republicans on the committee. The Benghazi attacks have already been investigated a lot, and while those investigations have certainly revealed flaws in the embassy security process, they just don’t show the kind of personal Clinton culpability that would be politically convenient for the GOP. That left many members essentially grasping at straws, and most of the press — including many of its conservative members — impressed with how little ammunition the committee actually had.

Like Bernie, I’m bored to tears with TV Talking Heads just saying the words “Clinton email”. The same goes for conspiracy fans, Left and Right, who waste space and time with prattle over what-ifs and maybes. The Tea Party types can retreat to the white American Legion bar after the show is over and pat each other on the fanny. Achieving about as much nothing as they have day after wasted day since they were elected by ignorant gullible voters. Who will probably re-elect them.

RTFA for more funnies from more embarrassed Conservatives.

A chart putting mass incarceration in historical context

incarceration

The US prison population has exploded over the past few decades, creating the modern era of mass incarceration. But what’s less well-known is that the current incarceration rate isn’t just higher than what came immediately before it — it’s drastically higher than at any other time in American history.

This chart is based on the number of people in state and federal prisons, per 100,000 adult US residents at the time. That’s one major way the incarceration rate was measured during the early 20th century. (Unfortunately, the government wasn’t as consistent in recording the jail population, so that’s not included here — but rest assured that there are a lot more people in jail than ever before, as well.)

Recently, the government has stopped reporting the incarceration rate this way: partly because it’s better at recording how many people are in jail, on probation, or on parole as well as in prison, but partly because the incarceration rate is so damn high that it’s better expressed as a percentage — X per 100 — than as X per 100,000. We calculated the prison rate in recent years by dividing the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ stats for state and federal prisoners by its estimate (and the Census Bureau’s) of adult US residents.

RTFA if you think the details are needed. The process, the politics that lead to this situation – the war on Drugs, the War on Non-White Citizens, all stink on ice.

She can sniff out Parkinson’s disease

joy and les milne
Joy Milne and her husband Les who died in June

Meet the woman from Perth whose super sense of smell could change the way Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed.

Joy Milne’s husband, Les, died in June, aged 65…He worked as a consultant anaesthetist before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 45.

One in 500 people in the UK has Parkinson’s – that is 127,000 across Britain…It can leave people struggling to walk, speak and sleep. There is no cure and no definitive diagnostic test.

Joy noticed something had changed with her husband long before he was diagnosed – six years before.

She says: “His smell changed and it seemed difficult to describe. It wasn’t all of a sudden. It was very subtle – a musky smell.

“I got an occasional smell.”

Joy only linked this odour to Parkinson’s after joining the charity Parkinson’s UK and meeting people with the same distinct odour.

By complete chance she mentioned this to scientists at a talk. They were intrigued…

Dr Tilo Kunath, a Parkinson’s UK fellow at the school of biological sciences at Edinburgh University, was one of the first scientists Joy spoke to.

He says: “The first time we tested Joy we recruited six people with Parkinson’s and six without…We had them wear a t-shirt for a day then retrieved the t-shirts, bagged them and coded them.

“Her job was to tell us who had Parkinson’s and who didn’t…Her accuracy was 11 out of 12. We were quite impressed.”

Dr Kunath adds: “She got the six Parkinson’s but then she was adamant one of the ‘control’ subjects had Parkinson’s…But he was in our control group so he didn’t have Parkinson’s…According to him and according to us as well he didn’t have Parkinson’s.

“But eight months later he informed me that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s…”So Joy wasn’t correct for 11 out of 12, she was actually 12 out of 12 correct at that time…”

Scientists…hope to find the molecular signature responsible for the odour and then develop a simple test such as wiping a person’s forehead with a swab.

The charity Parkinson’s UK is now funding researchers at Manchester, Edinburgh and London to study about 200 people with and without Parkinson’s.

…According to Katherine Crawford, the Scotland director of Parkinson’s UK…”Parkinson’s is an incredibly difficult disease to diagnose…We still effectively diagnose it today the way that Dr James Parkinson diagnosed it in 1817, which is by observing people and their symptoms.

“A diagnostic test like this could cut through so much of that, enable people to go in and see a consultant, have a simple swab test and come out with a clear diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

“It would be absolutely incredible and life-changing for them immediately.”

Bravo to Joy Milne for having the courage to stand up as she did, a lay person, the carer for her husband – stand up before an assembly of professionals when they asked, “Does anyone have a question?”

And she stood and asked if anyone had studied the scent of someone changing before they developed full-blown Parkinson’s disease. And there was silence in the room.

Students protest open carry law — carrying dildos instead of guns


Cocks not Glocks!

Texas students are protesting…legislation that allows you to carry a gun on campus by highlighting what you can’t carry: a dildo.

On August 1, 2016, Senate Bill 11, which allows students to carry concealed weapons on most areas of campus, will officially go into effect. Meanwhile, the Texas penal code and the University of Texas’ rulebook says that engaging with any sort of obscene content in public is prohibited and punishable by fine. Thus, a hilarious juxtaposition of inconsistent legal nonsense.

UT student Jessica Jin is organizing based on this inconsistency.

A Facebook event (subtitled #CocksNotGlocks) hosted by Jin is urging UT students to start strapping dildos on their backpacks in August 2016. As of Monday morning, the event had secured 3,900 confirmed attendees, 768 maybes, and dozens of trolls – this is Facebook after all.

“The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it DOES have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a DILDO to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class,” the Facebook event reads. “Heaven forbid the penis.”

Contradictions never bother law enforcement in Texas. Equal rights, voting rights – for women, non-whites – might be a stretch for some. But, enforcing stupidity? No problem at all.