How many times can a man turn his head

How many times can a man turn his head November 6, 2012

“Disasters are inherently political, because government is political, and preventing and responding to disasters is a primary role of the state.”

The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president, personally, he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area. … The folks at FEMA, Craig Fugate and his folks have been excellent.”

I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.”

(Jack Ohman via

“A Republican strategist defended his party’s presidential candidate Monday for saying he would privatize disaster relief programs or leave states to fend for themselves.”

“Romney’s budget plan would mean at least a 34-percent cut to FEMA’s budget.”

“Willard Romney and Paul Ryan … are on record — and on audiotape, and on video, and all over the Intertoobz, and, for all I know, bellowing from the fillings in your teeth — as recommending that the federal government’s responsibility for things like disaster relief be either handed back to the states, or privatized entirely. They have made this argument in public. They have made this argument as part of the reason why you should vote for them. They also have similar plans for the National Weather Service, and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they have made those arguments as part of the reason why you should vote for them.”

“George Bush the elder turned the agency into a dumping ground for hacks, with bad results; Clinton revived the agency; Bush the younger ruined it again; Obama revived it again; and Romney — with everyone still remembering Brownie and Katrina! — said that he wants to block-grant and privatize it.”

Romney Refuses to Comment on Plans to Eliminate FEMA, 14 Times

“There is no better way to make government ineffective than to appoint people who want to undermine it.”

“Is it solar flares? Is it the Mars wobbles? Is it the Earth’s axis tilting in a different way?”

We who believe in the western renaissance are fighting for our lives.”

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  • “Is it solar flares? Is it the Mars wobbles? Is it the Earth’s axis tilting in a different way?”

    Mars wobbles

    Mars wobbles

    What the actual fuck are these people thinking?

    This is what lack of a basic understanding of how weak gravity actually IS gets you. Quasi-astrological attempts to explain climate change. (>_<)

  • Also: There was a good book I read a while back that pointed out quite succinctly that Republicans have an abiding vested interest in ensuring that governments do not perform to the benefit of people, because creating the perception, if not the reality, of government inefficiency is part and parcel of their ideological crusade.

  • Turcano
  • heckblazer

    I had the Mars wobbles once.  Couldn’t walk in a straight line for a week.

  • Diez

    I must confess, I am a bit nervous today.  My personal stake in this election just went up in a fairly shocking way.

    I spent the last couple of months running around and having every medical test I could done because I knew that on November 1st, I’d be dropped from my parents’ insurance for turning 26.  On October 31st, the DAY BEFORE this happened, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy, an incurable medical condition that can only be treated with a steady stream of expensive medication.

    My doctor and I have actually been treating this with stimulants without knowing it (she prescribed them to me for ADD).  Without insurance, those stimulants will be over two hundred dollars a month.  And they are treating the symptom, not the cause.  The one really effective treatment for narcolepsy is over two THOUSAND dollars a month with no insurance.

    Obamacare means that I can get insurance.  That companies can’t turn me away just because I have a pre-existing condition.  Obamacare means that I have hope of living a normal life.

    If Romney wins, and the Republicans repeal Obamacare, all that goes out the window, and I will likely be left to fend for myself.  I cannot afford any of the medication required to treat my condition on my own.  Without medication, I put myself and others in danger every time I get behind the wheel of a car (unmedicated narcoleptics are ten times more likely to get into an accident than the general population).  Without medication, I will spend the remainder of my life in a miserable, half-conscious haze.  Without medication, I will sleep, and sleep, and sleep, but I will never rest.

    So you can see why I might be a bit nervous.

  • EllieMurasaki

    FiveThirtyEight gives Obama a 92% chance. Breathe.

  • Diez

     I had to googe FiveThirtyEight to figure out who you were talking about, but that’s comforting, at least.  Thanks.

  • Lots and lots of luck! For the doctor to be able to treat you, for the insurance to stay in, and for Obama to win and for the Dems to hold at least one house of Congress so the Repubs can’t steamroller everything flat!

  • Vermic

    Good luck Diez!

    (The Mars wobbles.  Sheesh.)

  • Magic_Cracker

    As bad as Mars wobbles can be, Uranus tremens are are far worse.

  • If you bought the insurance before the Affordable Care Act gets repealed, (supposing that it does), can the insurance company drop you?

  • > So you can see why I might be a bit nervous.
    Yeah. I’ve been in a similar boat (though not as bad) since my stroke. One of the more anxiety-provoking intrusive thoughts as I was lying in the ICU/rehab had to do with what would happen if I lost my job and couldn’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions; realizing I no longer had to worry about that was almost as much of a relief as realizing I could finally marry my partner. (Yet another thing that’s at stake today.)

    If it helps, it does seem pretty likely that Romney is going to lose.

    If it doesn’t help, I suggest thinking about other things. There’s nothing much you can do now, and one way or another this will likely have been decided by tomorrow. Last November I pretty much had to walk away from the Internet and televisions and most of my friends for the day, because I just couldn’t face it.

    And either way, best of luck with your treatment.

  • From the oddly touching file: Chris Christie finally gets to talk to The Boss

    As originally told by worstblogever on the Comic Book Resources forums:

    After Hurricane Sandy, there was much talk of the bipartisan efforts of President Obama and N.J. Governor Chris Christie working together when Americans needed help the most, in the wake of the tragic storm. Well, for years, Chris Christie has gushed about being a HUGE fan of Bruce Springsteen, claiming he’s been to see the Boss and the E Street Band scores of times through the years, and he’s got the ticket stubs to prove it. However, Springsteen has always rebuffed any attempts by Christie to talk to him, for years, because he so strongly disagrees with the governor’s conservative vision for Bruce’s home, the Garden State.Obama called Christie as he’s done several times since Sandy, to see how relief and recovery efforts were going while on the campaign trail, and knowing this bit of trivia about Christie, he said, “Oh, hang on, someone else wants to talk to you…”And he puts Springsteen on the phone with Christie, who thanks him for reaching across the aisle when people needed it so badly. After all that time, they finally got to talk.Now, if that’s not f’n cool of the president to do, I don’t know what the hell is.

    [Confirmation link:

  • VMink

    Mars wo… wait, what?


    I think I see what happened.  A Fox writer apparently did a search on climate change for reasons other than anthropogenic — possibly specifically researching how Earth could turn into a Mars analogue — and seems to have run into an article about how Mars’s axial tilt — considerably more eccentric and variant than Earth’s — could have caused dramatic climate change on Mars.  (Mars has a variation in its tilt — a “wobble” — that makes it change several tens of degrees over a hundred-thousand-year cycle.  In comparison, Earth’s is more regular and less radical, being about 20 degrees over the course of 41,000 years, at least according to the article I found.)  So for Mars, axial tilt caused it to change its climate.  Too bad the scale for Earth’s Anthropocene climate change is over a considerably shorter period of time — too bad for the writer, too bad for us, and too bad for anyone trying to disprove that humans are having an effect on global climate.

    Of course, it doesn’t say much about the writer’s reading comprehension, or the talking head’s credulity or credibility.  But at least we can see how they got from Point A to Point WTFistan!

  • Yeah. The article noted that Mars has an axial tilt comparable to that of Earth’s, but for reasons relating to the Earth-Moon system (which Mars obv. lacks) the Earth axial tilt isn’t subject to the same forces (the Moon’s torque on the Earth’s axis is a lot stronger, for example) and so the analogy doesn’t work.

  • Lori

    Good luck, Diez. I’m sorry about your condition, but glad that you now have a diagnosis and can therefore receive appropriate treatment.  I did my bit this morning to help you retain the ability to be insured. Here’s hoping that things play out as Silver’s analysis would lead us to expect.

    (It’s going to be a long day. I’m actually pretty happy to be going to my 2nd shift job because I’ll miss a big chunk of the pointless speculation and hand-waving. By the time I get home the polls in the eastern time zone will have been closed for 2-4 hours so there will at least be some concrete news for the talking heads to flap about.)

  • Person: Whales, sir.

    Captain who has no idea what really happened: They’re a long way off their usual path, but that’s not uncommon since that, uh…  what are they calling it? Orbital wobble?

    General who knows the disaster was man made: Yeah, that’s what they call it.

  • Lori

    Via SEK over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, a Facebook post for people worried about the election:

    Dear People Flipping Out,

    I’ve mentioned this before, but about a decade ago I was in a sabermetric-oriented simulated baseball league with someone I’ll call “Sate Nilver.” I eventually quit that league because no one could defeat “Nilver,” because “Nilver” cared about nothing but being correct. His assiduous devotion to developing models that could defeat your models sapped all the fun out of simulating baseball games with a group of stats nerds. Now, sleep easy, because tomorrow he will “win” again.

    The phrase ““Nilver” cared about nothing but being correct” pretty much explains why the Right hates him so much.

  • VMink

    My main concern at this point is that, while it looks like Obama is going to win the Electoral College, the popular vote may be rather too close for comfort.  And by ‘comfort’ I mean ‘avoiding weeks and weeks of vitriol, accusations, more court cases, and four (more) years of people tripling down on the “he’s an illegitimate president!” meme.’

  • EllieMurasaki

    Let’s not forget all the voter suppression.

  • Lori

    I do share that concern. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve argued against voting 3rd party this year, even in deep blue and deep red states where such a vote “doesn’t matter” because it won’t change the EC outcome.

    There’s obviously no amount of votes that Obama could get that would stop the Right from declaring him illegitimate, but I would like to keep this election out of the courts.

  • Lori

    OT: Are other people seeing my avatar (the “rainbow bison”) on my posts? I see it next to the comment box and my disqus profile still shows it, but when I look at the threads I just see the generic shadow profile thing. What is up with that?

  • EllieMurasaki

    That is not a generic shadow profile. We know that because it has a stereotypically male haircut.

    ETA: And my avatar isn’t showing up either. BAH. I do not WANT to be a male silhouette. I would MUCH rather be Lady Liberty kissing Lady Justice.

  •  I see the thing that, now that you say it, I can see as a rainbow bison.

  • Lori

    I should have said default, which is what I meant.

    Why does disqus no about my avatar in one place (next to the comment box), but not the other (next to my posts)? Even for disqus this seems fairly nonsensical.

  •  > The phrase ““Nilver” cared about nothing but being correct” pretty much explains why the Right hates him so much.

    I increasingly want English to adopt two different conventional expressions for caring about being correct, one of which unambiguously denotes being eager to change their beliefs when it turns out reality doesn’t match their beliefs, and the other of which unambiguously denotes being eager to change reality when that happens.

  • Nicanthiel

    That line of reasoning is actually the reason why I am (reluctantly) voting for Obama over Stein. Thankfully, I live in a state where I can vote for both him and a third party I love at the same time (NY is a fusion state)

  • Lori

    If you come up with good, easy to use expressions I will adopt them and do my best to help them catch on.

  • Yeah., I can see my generations-of-matter avatar in my comment box thingie, but not next to my previous comments in the actual thread. WTF disqus.

  • depizan

     I’m having the same problem.  Disqus is clearly having a bad day.

  • Lori

    I’m now thinking it was disqus, but patheos or something about the interaction between the two because my avatar showed up on posts at other sites that use disqus. So weird.

  • Rowen

     Mars wobbles but it doesn’t fall down . . .

  •  Yeah, I’ve struggled with this and have never found anything I really like.

    I sometimes use “care about the facts” or “care about reality” for the former; it’s the best one I’ve found, but it’s not great. I sometimes use “care about winning arguments” for the latter, but I don’t think it’s quite fair.

    If anyone has suggestions, chime in!

  • Claude

    Mars wobbles got nothing on Earth wobbles.

  •  Could also be your browser. Currently, my avatar shows up on my laptop (Firefox) but not on my iPad (Safari).

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m on Firefox and I see neither my avatar nor Lori’s.

  • …and now my avatar shows up when I initially make the comment, but when I refresh the page so that it’s in line with everyone else’s comment, the avatar disappears. (Yours is still showing up fine.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    And now I see several avatars including Lori’s but not yours or mine.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Obama could win the popular vote by 99% (with a 3% margin for error), and Republicans would STILL deny that he had a legitimate mandate. He’s The Other; he’s wrong by definition.

  • I’m nervous as hell, and for similar reasons. Attempting to breathe. It’s hard. Taking more than my usual number of painkillers because stress goes straight to my back, which has been getting steadily worse anyway.

    You’re not alone.

  • I’m seeing the obnoxious male avatar on your posts, Lori :(.  I’m always seeing EllieMurasaki’s avatar though. Dunno what’s going on.

  • *Hugs* Good luck for all of you. Our thoughts are with you.

  • Matri


  • renniejoy

     FWIW, the small size of your avatar pic always looks to me like an interestingly colored T-Rex.

    I like the kissing statues, I just have to concentrate to see them. :)

  • Paul Durant

    Oh man, narcolepsy is awful and so is dealing with how the whole medical-insurance industrial complex deals with it. Not only is your medication ludicrously expensive, but you will constantly have to jump through hoops to get it. Because even though you’ve been taking this medication forever and will take it forever, they have to periodically make things inexplicably difficult for you just to make really really sure that you won’t use it to get high. 

  • heckblazer

    Ugh, I had something similar once.  Some things just *shouldn’t* be green.

    (Sadly, I’m not making this one up).

  • Trixie_Belden

    I’m a day late answering your question, but I’m glad you asked – no I’m not seeing your avatar and it was really puzzling me.  Why on earth is that happening?

  • I wish I knew. People’s avatars have been coming and going and it’s kind of irritating. I like my generations-of-neutrinos avatar :D