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Muddling Through

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Member since: Fri Jun 13, 2014, 07:54 AM
Number of posts: 18,479

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Yellowjacket nests as big as Volkswagen Beetles appearing again


Auburn University researcher and entomologist, Dr. Charles Ray says this year we could see huge yellowjacket nets and some could be as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. It's called a perennial yellowjacket nest.

Entomologists believe that milder winters combined with an abundant food supply allow some colonies to survive and enter spring with much larger numbers. Additionally, the normal cues that would cause queens to disperse may not happen. Researchers have documented that these massive colonies often have multiple queens.

A normal yellowjacket nest is usually located in the ground or a cavity. It may peak at 4,000 to 5,000 workers that do not survive cold weather, leaving queens to disperse and form new colonies in the spring.

The perennial yellowjacket nests that concern Ray bear little resemblance to normal colonies.

Balance of article at the link:

Posted by Muddling Through | Mon Jun 24, 2019, 03:40 PM (17 replies)

Berlin Blockade June 24 1948

An under-reported part of this heroic effort by the Free Nations of the West.

""Operation Little Vittles"

US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen, who pioneered the idea of dropping candy bars and bubble gum with handmade miniature parachutes, which later became known as "Operation Little Vittles"
Gail Halvorsen, one of the many Airlift pilots, decided to use his off-time to fly into Berlin and make movies with his hand-held camera. He arrived at Tempelhof on 17 July 1948 on one of the C-54s and walked over to a crowd of children who had gathered at the end of the runway to watch the aircraft. He introduced himself and they started to ask him questions about the aircraft and their flights. As a goodwill gesture, he handed out his only two sticks of Wrigley's Doublemint Gum. The children quickly divided up the pieces as best they could, even passing around the wrapper for others to smell. He was so impressed by their gratitude and that they didn't fight over them, that he promised the next time he returned he would drop off more. Before he left them, a child asked him how they would know it was him flying over. He replied, "I'll wiggle my wings."

The next day on his approach to Berlin, he rocked the aircraft and dropped some chocolate bars attached to a handkerchief parachute to the children waiting below. Every day after that, the number of children increased and he made several more drops. Soon, there was a stack of mail in Base Ops addressed to "Uncle Wiggly Wings", "The Chocolate Uncle" and "The Chocolate Flier". His commanding officer was upset when the story appeared in the news, but when Tunner heard about it, he approved of the gesture and immediately expanded it into "Operation Little Vittles". Other pilots participated, and when news reached the US, children all over the country sent in their own candy to help out. Soon, major candy manufacturers joined in. In the end, over twenty three tons of candy were dropped on Berlin and the "operation" became a major propaganda success. German children christened the candy-dropping aircraft "raisin bombers".

Balance of story at the Wiki link:
Posted by Muddling Through | Mon Jun 24, 2019, 08:27 AM (3 replies)

MSNBC appoints a homophobe and an anti-Semite to host exclusive coverage of South Carolina

Democratic convention.


"MSNBC has been granted exclusive rights to cover the South Carolina Democratic convention this weekend, meaning even C-SPAN has been barred from airing live footage from the first major political event of the 2020 Democratic primary.

But even more amazing than the fact that South Carolina Democrats cut a sweetheart deal with MSNBC is that the left-wing cable news company has chosen noted homophobe Joy Reid and infamous anti-Semite Al Sharpton to host its convention coverage and interview the 2020 Democratic candidates.

Talk about putting your best foot forward.

Reid was discovered in 2018 to have authored multiple homophobic blog posts for which she never really apologized. In fact, rather than blame “youthful indiscretions” or suggest that she has “evolved” on her views of the LGBT community, Reid lied and claimed a shadowy cabal of cybercriminals hacked into her long-defunct personal blog and the Wayback Machine Internet Archive, and maybe even the U.S. Library of Congress, to make it appear as if she authored a handful of homophobic articles nearly a decade ago.

Later, after Reid’s attorney claimed they contacted the FBI to investigate her story alleging hackers had "manipulated material" to “include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to personal beliefs and ideology,” the MSNBC host issued a nonapology apology for her lies."

Balance of article at the link:
Posted by Muddling Through | Sun Jun 23, 2019, 08:22 AM (6 replies)

Hollywood Faces "Devastating" Costs From California Bill Targeting Gig Economy

What was that about the law of unintended consequences?

"The state legislature is considering a proposal that takes aim at Uber, Lyft and others using independent contractors — but it could render the entertainment industry's tax-lucrative loan-out companies useless.

This fall, Hollywood studio executives may be in for a shock when it comes to their budgets. A bill winding through California's legislature that takes aim at gig-fueled companies like Uber and Postmates may upend long-standing showbiz practices by reclassifying scores of independent contractors as employees, and could render tax-lucrative loan-out companies useless.

The bill, AB 5, which the state assembly passed May 29, is designed to protect workers from being misclassified as independent contractors and therefore denied such employee protections as minimum wage, overtime pay and workers' compensation. It seeks to codify and expand the California Supreme Court's 2018 Dynamex decision, and would presume every worker is an employee — with a few exceptions for people like barbers and real estate agents — unless a company can show that the worker meets three criteria under the so-called ABC Test. The requirement that makes Hollywood nervous is that the independent contractor must perform duties outside the usual course of the company's business. "That test will necessarily lock talent out of being an independent contractor if it passes in its current form," says talent lawyer Rick Genow, whose clients include Debra Messing, Anthony Anderson and Henry Golding. "The economic impact would be somewhat devastating to both talent and the studios."

A doomsday scenario for Hollywood would look like this: A law is enacted with no exemption for entertainment workers; companies opt to treat everyone as employees for all purposes to avoid complications; and loan-outs are effectively dead in the water. The last bit would be especially painful because 2017's Trump tax cuts killed business deductions for employees."

Balance of article at the link:
Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Jun 22, 2019, 09:15 PM (2 replies)

Stranger Things Season 3

Anyone else getting impatient for the rollout on July 4?

Posted by Muddling Through | Fri Jun 21, 2019, 12:38 PM (13 replies)

Virginia Democrats see Roy Moore looking at Senate run, tell Republicans to hold their beer


Guy Benson

True story: Virginia Dems have nominated a twice-disbarred lawyer who resigned from the legislature after impregnating a 17-year-old intern. He then won a special election *from jail* and now wants a promotion. Dem voters are like ‘hell yeah!’

3:21 PM - Jun 12, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy

What a Crew: Virginia Dems Nominate Twice-Disbarred Lawyer Who Resigned After Impregnating Teenage...
"15-year history of contempt citations, reprimands, fines, suspensions, and even incarcerations."
Posted by Muddling Through | Wed Jun 12, 2019, 08:25 PM (2 replies)

Where you you the day the Internet died?

Posted by Muddling Through | Tue Jun 11, 2019, 06:14 PM (9 replies)

EXCLUSIVE: Oberlin College insurer likely to reject coverage for Gibson Bakery $11 million verdict

Oh, my. This could put Oberlin under.

"A jury has awarded Gibson’s Bakery and its owners $11 million in compensatory damages against Oberlin College, for libel, intentional interference with business, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The punitive damage hearing next week could add another $22 million, bringing the total to $33 million.

There will be post-trial motions to set aside the jury verdict and/or reduce the dollar amounts, and then appeals. So while the Gibson family won a major victory, it is not over.

An obvious question, and one a lot of people have been asking, is whether the college has liability insurance to cover the verdict.

Based on court filings obtained by Legal Insurrection Foundation, it appears that the insurer, Lexington Insurance Company, is likely to disclaim coverage for the intentional torts which gave rise to the verdict.

The likelihood of refusal to cover the verdict was revealed in a May 1, 2019, Motion to Intervene (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post) filed by Lexington Insurance Company.

The purpose of the motion, according to Lexington, was “for the limited purpose of submitting interrogatories to the jury in order to determine facts at issue in this action that would impact coverage under its policy.”

Here is an excerpt from Lexington’s motion setting forth the nature of the insurance coverage (emphasis added):

Lexington issued a Commercial Umbrella Liability policy that potentially provides coverage to defendants Oberlin College aka Oberlin College and Conservatory (“Oberlin”) and Meredith Raimondo for certain damages in this action. Lexington seeks intervention in this action for the limited purpose of submitting interrogatories to the jury in order to determine facts at issue in this action that would impact coverage under its policy.

The Lexington policy does not provide coverage for “bodily injury” or “property damage” intentionally caused by defendants. While the Lexington policy potentially provides coverage in relation to “personal and advertising injury,” defined to include defamation and/or disparagement in certain circumstances, the Lexington policy excludes any such coverage if “personal and advertising injury” is caused “with the knowledge that the act would violate the rights of another … ,” or if the insured published material it knew to be false. Further, the Lexington policy provides coverage for punitive damages insurable by law, but only where the corresponding award of compensatory damages is also covered by the Lexington policy. In this action, plaintiffs Gibson Bros., Inc., Allyn Gibson, and David Gibson allege that defendants Oberlin and Ms. Raimondo published material that falsely characterized the bakery owned by plaintiffs (“Gibson’s”) as being a racist establishment. While such allegations potentially implicate “personal and advertising injury,” plaintiffs also alleged that the statements were published with malice, were intended to injure plaintiffs’ business reputation, and were part of a purported campaign to harm plaintiffs. If it is established that the defendants knew the alleged statements were false, or if the defendants knew their alleged acts would violate plaintiffs’ rights, the Lexington policy would exclude coverage for any resultant damage. Thus, Lexington seeks to intervene in order to submit jury interrogatories to determine the extent of the defendants’ knowledge in relation to the alleged publications.

Further, the Lexington policy provides coverage for punitive damages only when the punitive damages are assessed relative to covered compensatory damages. Here, plaintiffs seek punitive damages for the claims of libel, tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with business, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. Only the libel claim is potentially embraced by the Lexington policy. Thus, Lexington seeks to intervene in order to submit jury interrogatories and instructions to determine what punitive damages, if any, correspond to each cause of action."

Balance of article at the link:
Posted by Muddling Through | Sat Jun 8, 2019, 06:46 PM (7 replies)


An interesting read on the history of Ben Shapiro's rise and the development of The Daily Wire.

"The night of January 10, 2013, was a triumph for Ben Shapiro, his first big score—but Jeremy Boreing, the Hollywood producer who’s the architect of Shapiro’s vertiginous rise, couldn’t get past the wardrobe.

Dressed in a dark junior-banker suit, with his College Republican flop dangling over his forehead, Shapiro, then the editor at large at Breitbart News, had been booked on Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss his new book, Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, and to debate gun control. But Shapiro’s tactics revealed themselves shortly after the break, when he called out Morgan for “standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook” in order to criticize gun owners. “Honestly, Piers,” Shapiro said, “you’ve kind of been a bully on this issue.” He continued, “You tend to demonize people who differ from you politically.” At one point, he handed Morgan a pocket Constitution to educate him on the Second Amendment. Shapiro was both smart (he has a degree from Harvard Law) and obnoxious (he once described Palestinians as living in “open sewage”), snotty and fearless, and he displayed a preternatural talent for getting under the skin of gibbering libs. Fourteen minutes, and millions of views later, Shapiro had accomplished his goal: he’d gone viral.

As he watched the Morgan hit, Boreing realized that Shapiro’s look, while perfectly adequate for a right-wing think-tank talking head, wasn’t going to cut it in many of the demographics they wanted to conquer. Shapiro quickly agreed to revise the right-wing-dork look, and the makeover began: Boreing and a wardrobe stylist emptied Shapiro’s closet almost completely, took him to Macy’s to re-stock, gave him an objectively better haircut, replaced his personal trainer, and presto, the Ben Shapiro look emerged—a decently-fitted button-up shirt in neutral blues and grays, tucked into better-fitting jeans, and a jacket that didn’t look too expensive. He wasn't exactly a GQ cover subject, but he was, quite crucially, no longer an Alex P. Keaton stereotype. “You can only be good at so many things. Ben is good at a great many things. This is not one of them,” said Boreing. “So, we structure it for him and simplify it for him. That’s why he always looks like Ben.”

Before Shapiro, Boreing was a fairly obscure Hollywood figure, perhaps best known for helping to produce Etienne!, a buddy movie about a dying dwarf hamster. His primary political affiliation was as the managing director of Friends of Abe, a quasi-secretive salon of conservative entertainment-industry professionals, which he had taken over from Forrest Gump actor Gary Sinise. Years earlier, Andrew Breitbart, a celebrity in his own right within Friends of Abe, had introduced him to Shapiro, and they became fast friends, both serving time at Truth Revolt, a now-defunct Web site, started as the right’s answer to David Brock’s Media Matters, which churned out reliable content attacking the mainstream media and their secret funders. Truth Revolt placated its ancient donors at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a nonprofit condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but it was far too earnest, and barely made a ripple."

Balance of article at the link:

Posted by Muddling Through | Fri May 31, 2019, 08:56 PM (2 replies)
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