7 things @ 9 o’clock (10.4)

1. The photo here is of a house guest we’ve enjoyed for the past two days. She seems to like the buffet there by the porch light. We’ve all been checking in on her every little bit because, well, praying mantises are cool. That lousy cell-phone pic doesn’t give a good sense of scale, but this one is huge — about six inches long.

It’s odd to realize that if there were a six-inch spider hanging out by our porch light, we wouldn’t be so much fascinated as creeped out. (Just typing the words “six-inch spider” there creeped me out a little bit.) What accounts for the difference? Is it because we know that praying mantises won’t bite and aren’t venomous? Or is it maybe because their little heads have little faces that somewhat recall our own?

2. Indiana Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman explains the government shutdown: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Steve Benen, a la Walter Sobchak, describes this as “post-policy nihilism” (“No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there’s nothing to be afraid of”). Ed Kilgore disagrees: “They aren’t ‘nihilists;’ they are extremists.” This conversation, overheard on an inadvertently hot mic, seems to break the tie in favor of the Benen/Sobchak thesis. But contra Walter Sobchak, I do think there’s something to be afraid of. People whose main concern is not “to be disrespected” tend to be people who will always feel disrespected, no matter what.

3.I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,” said Butch Matthews, 61, a Republican and retired small business owner from Arkansas. But he changed his mind when the ACA allowed him to save $13,000 a year on health insurance.

Matthews advice to his fellow Republicans: “Be more informed, get more information, take your time and study and not just go by just what you hear on one side or the other. Actually check the facts on it. I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along.”

4. Warren Throckmorton says, “Before David Barton, there was Parson Weems.”

5. “God is love,” the Bible says (1 John 4:8). And if you want to know how the Bible describes love, the go-to passage is the famous and beloved “love chapter” — 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s Richard Beck on part of what it means to read that chapter as a description of love, and therefore as a description of God:

I’ve always applied 1 Corinthians 13 to humans. It never occurred to me to see it as a window into the heart of God. But if God is love then 1 Corinthians 13 is extraordinarily relevant. And if that is so, this aspect of love — love keeps no record of wrongs — has huge soteriological significance.

How does our vision of divine grace and punishment in the afterlife change if God’s love keeps no record of wrongs?

6. Wonkette often features funny headlines, but sometimes it’s funniest when they play them relatively straight: “Attempt at Building White-Supremacist Enclave in North Dakota Bedeviled by Flag-Thieving Native American Grandmas, Poop Crisis.”

7. The Smithsonian on “How the Insurance Industry Is Dealing With Climate Change.” Even the most Inhofian conspiracy theorists who insist climate change is some kind of “hoax” will have a hard time explaining why insurers would be willing to participate in this global conspiracy. Insurance companies have money on the line — a lot of money. They have every incentive to cut through all the partisan opinionating and get to the facts, and they have no incentive at all to do otherwise. And insurers, unanimously, are freaking out over climate change. If you believe in free markets, it seems to me, then you have to take what property insurers say about climate change very seriously.


This day is not imagination's child
Congress sides with predatory lenders vs. military families
'See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum ...'
The earth spins on and on and so much news is bad
  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    Awww! That reminds me of the tarantula my mother used to have. It’s difficult to bond with an insect. They don’t purr or nuzzle or play fetch or anything a cat or dog will do after all. But, the tarantula liked to crawl over people’s hands, and her legs tickled. It was sort of endearing.

  • Diona the Lurker

    The swastika was used in Europe for thousands of years before the Nazis grabbed it – in fact various cultures have used it in all continents of the world. However it became very popular and widely used in the West from the late 19th – early 20th century – to quote Wikipedia:

    “In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of Heinrich
    Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans,
    whose proto-language was not incidentally termed “Proto-Indo-Germanisch” by German language historians. He connected
    it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorized that the swastika was a “significant religious symbol of our remote
    ancestors”, linking Germanic, Greek and Indo-Iranian cultures. By the
    early 20th century, it was used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success.

    The work of Schliemann soon became intertwined with the völkisch
    movements, for which the swastika was a symbol of the “Aryan race”, a concept that came to be equated by theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg with a Nordic master race originating in northern Europe. Since its adoption by the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler, the swastika
    has been associated with Nazism, fascism, racism (white supremacy), the Axis powers in World War II, and the Holocaust in much of the West. The swastika remains a core symbol of Neo-Nazi groups, and is used regularly by activist groups.”
    Diona the Lurker

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Noteworthy: This year, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will fall on the same date for the first time since Thanksgiving’s date was changed to be the fourth Thursday of the month rather than the last Thursday of the month (which could place it on the fifth Thursday, depending on the year) in 1939.

    Unless the dates of either holiday are changed, this will not happen again for at another 70,000 years.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So Happy Thanksgivukkah for our American Jewish peoples, and here’s some recipes to celebrate the holiday mash-up properly! http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/thanksgivukkah

  • BaseDeltaZero

    So you’re working for Bungie now, huh?

  • FearlessSon

    No, but I interviewed for a job with them.* Still keeping my fingers crossed that they accept, but they seemed pretty satisfied with me and they had multiple openings, so…

    * Not the first time I interviewed with them either, but the last time was back in 2008.

  • Matri


  • tricksterson

    They call them “Palmetto Bugs”, but in the words of a friend of mine”Bullshit! They’re three-inch flying cockroaches!”

  • tricksterson

    Go Grannies!

  • tricksterson

    Speak for yourself. My paternal grandmother was a manipulative racist psychotic and I felt no sadness when she made the world a better place by dying.

  • tricksterson

    Very funny in spots with some very good music by, among others, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown. The Brothers themselves, played by John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, while not in the league of the above are surprisingly decent musicians (singer and harmonicist respectively) themselves

  • Lori

    Apparently your friend is correct. The thing that folks in SC call a Palmetto bug or a waterbug is a species of cockroach. Nasty, nasty things.

  • Victor

    (((Unless the dates of either holiday are changed, this will not happen again for at another 70,000 years.)))
    Don’t be silly Sam, what do YA care what will happen 70 thousand years from now unless you think YAR a god like U>S which is but a moment in time and……
    END YA SAY sinner vic?

    “Play “IT” again Sam” :)
    God Bless Peace

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I plan on living forever. So far so good!

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    Yuck! Sorry to hear that. Maybe I should amend that to “nobody should ever be without a kind and loving grandmother.”

  • aim2misbehave

    Same! I’d be fascinated by a praying mantic because I haven’t had the chance to see one up-close a lot, but if there was a six-inch spider on my porch I’d name it and pretend it was one of my pets.

  • Boidster

    Spiders in my house and within my reach are toast, unless they are a) jumping spiders, which are cute as hell, or b) wolf spiders which are just awesome. The jumpers get put out in the yard, the wolf spiders get kept as pets for a couple of weeks and then let go outside. Wasps and hornets are killed on sight. All other bugs & arthropods are fine with me – well, cicadas are kind of annoying – and mantids are especially welcome. Clearly they are actually a species of intergalactic alien invaders who, due to a calculation error involving centimeters, inches, and grzzkbliks (their own measurement system), grossly understimated the size of the native Earth populations.