Open Thread's blog

A Farewell

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (retired) was a naval flight officer who commanded an aircraft squadron and was operations officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier that fought the Kosovo War. He earned a master-of-arts degree in post-modern imperialism at the U.S. Naval War College where many of his essays became required student reading. Jeff’s weekly satires on U.S. foreign policy high jinks appear at and his critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now." - Excerpted nearly completely from Jeff's blog Pen & Sword.

By now, many folks who knew of Cmdr Jeff Huber have heard of his passing, but I just wanted to take a moment to say "Farewell, Commander" and point folks to some of his previous work for ePluribus Media:

Farewell, Jeff. You are missed.

People are invited to use this as an Open Thread, and encouraged to list any other items (ideally with links) to works by Jeff that helped make a difference - and helped to make the world a better place, in spite of the efforts of others to rein it in & rain darkness upon it.


Monday Afternoon Open Thread - There's Something Wrong with the World Today Edition

"There's something wrong with the world today..." - Aerosmith, "Livin' on the Edge" Hat-tip to Jone Johnson Lewis for this disturbing reminder (and excellent example of the hypocrisy inherent in today's extremists - fondly known as the domestic terrorist collective oft referred to as "The American Taliban"...or, more simply, "today's conservatives").

This is a blast from the past - remember way back in 2006, when this video game was announced "in time for Christmas" of all things?

Yeah - that's a special kind of hypocritical hypocrisy, isn't it? Still exists today, too...

Saturday Morning Open Thread: The Blame Game, xkcd Edition

I'm Sorry
Click to enlarge. Attribution: xkcd.1

With all the back-and-forth blaming of one party or person for things that - realistically - are rather silly or ridiculous, it would certainly be nice for the "comity" of political discourse to be reinforced by actual, factual call-outs and admissions of responsibility.

Of course, then some nutcakes may find a new way to undermine ~that~ concept and start taking responsibility for equally ridiculous things.

Anywho, it's Saturday, 3 September 2011. Comments are open - remember, this is an Open Thread.



Only footnote references - and comments - appear over-the-fold.


Northeast Coast Irene Watch: Hurricane Irene heads north (Open Thread)

Northeast states are bracing for Irene's passing this weekend: if you're in the path (or skirting the path) of the hurricane, what's going on near you?

What are the skies like? How's the relative humidity? Are the local animals doing anything out of the ordinary (domestic as well as wild)?

Any overt signs manifesting in the local flora or fauna?

Let us know in comments: tell us your approximate location (Central MA, Rhode Island, MA East Coast, Southern NH, Eastern or Western CT, Manhattan, New York City, etc.) and then tell us what you're seeing. If you can make an update every few hours (electricity & weather permitting), it would help us paint a picture of the storm's passing.

Regardless, please stay safe. If there are any elderly or disabled folks in your area, check in on them or invite them over - be a good neighbor, and help those who may have a rougher time of it.

Thank you, and be safe.


Court rebuffs FCC's attempt to weaken media ownership rules

In support of the public interest, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rebuffed an attempt by the FCC to weaken media ownership rules. From freepress:

PHILADELPHIA – On Thursday , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its long-awaited verdict on the Federal Communications Commission’s disputed media ownership rules. The court threw out FCC rules that would have allowed one company to own a newspaper and broadcast stations in the same market and upheld the FCC’s decision to retain its other local broadcast ownership restrictions. The court also instructed the FCC to better consider how its rules will affect and can promote ownership by women and people of color.

...

Score one more small victory for the people.

And speaking of The People, please feel free to use this as an Open Thread.


Saturday Open Thread

It's Saturday, 2 July 2011 - the July 4 weekend in the U.S. and a major holiday in the States.

What are your plans? Are you going out and about, or hanging in?

Let us know in comments, and remember: this is an Open Thread.


Monday Morning Open Thread: Fires, Floods, Nuclear Plants and Other Minutia - Gadhafi Edition

First up - our environmentally challenged nuclear plants. As in, "the environment around them is going wild."

Regarding the flooding at and around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station - From ABC News, Nuclear Regulator: No Danger at Flooded Nebraska Plant:

That sounds - and looks - a tad scary. But our top nuclear regulators are on the job, and guess what?

Good news for Nebraska: Top Nuclear Regulator Tours Neb. Nuclear Plant.

I'd keep an eye on this until flood waters recede a bit.

Meanwhile, Wildfire threatens Los Alamos National Lab. Fires and floods. Must be the season of insanity.

In world news, just a brief blurb or two. First, the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Gadhafi and loud explosions were heard in the center of Libya's capital. Sounds like things are heating up.

Finally, French banks have agreed to roll-over their Greek debt holdings for 30 years. The deal could help ease some of the issues surrounding the Greek financial crisis.

And that's the news blurb for Monday, 27 June 2011.

If you have any news you'd like to add, please feel free to do so in comments - remember, this is an Open Thread.


Saturday Open Thread: NY Equality and Soul-Sucking Poverty Edition

One of the biggest news topics of the day on the topic of gay rights occurred in New York late yesterday. From Voice of America News:

The U.S. state of New York has approved same-sex marriage, handing American gay rights advocates a major victory in their quest for equality.

After extensive debate, the New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as two previously undecided Republican lawmakers cast the deciding votes in favor of it. A short time later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.

With the final approval, New York became the sixth U.S. state where gay couples can wed, and by far the largest state. Gay couples can begin marrying in the state in 30 days.

As the right to marry spreads from state to state across the nation, perhaps the adult perspective and realization of shared humanity will help quell further foolish attempts to discriminate against others due to factors like race, gender, religion or sexual identity.

Some people may be unable to evolve and grow up, and thus never accept the growing, expanding realization of common humanity that marks an advancing civilization's mental and ethical state, but as more people through the nation are introduced to the concepts of equality it will be just that much more difficult for isolated bubbles of self-interest and hatred to propagate.

Congratulations, New York.

For our second topic: have you ever been in, or witnessed, poverty in the United States - or anywhere, for that matter? Did you realize that poverty in the United States is on the rise, or the impact that it has on individuals and families? Did you know that it's actually more expensive to be poor than not? This is a topic that gets a bit of a review by teacherken of Daily Kos in a piece called Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul. He draws upon a recent piece by Charles Blow and adds his own heartfelt commentary. Here's a bit of it:

America is increasingly becoming morally corrupt. Those who are wealthy and powerful are not even punished when they are caught - they are allowed to pay a relatively small portion of their ill-gotten gains and somehow keep the rest. Hello, Wall Street, and not just Goldman Sachs.

Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.

And not just the souls of those we are condemning to remaining in poverty. It strikes at the very soul of the nation, and should strike at the soul of every person who is part of We the People.

That it does not so strike is to my mind a moral condemnation of America.

You should check out the whole piece here. After reading it, please also check out the comments from some of the insightful commenters.


That's it for this Open Thread. If you've got some news to share, or if you'd like to comment on either of the topics listed here, or something else, the comments are open. You know what to do.


Sunday Morning Open Thread: Fractured Fragments - Classical poem meets classic video game mashup, xkcd Edition

Now that was something I never thought I'd do: put the name "Emily Dickinson" in the same tagline as "Grand Theft Auto." Gotta love me some xkcd. He's at least as twisted as I am.

The Carriage
Click to enlarge. Attribution: xkcd.1

Now that's an image that's sure to cause a few folks to think about Emily Dickinson's work a little differently from now on.

Footnote references only over the fold.


Open Thread: Still going after trial lawyers? USA v Johnny Reid Edwards

One of the raisons d'etre of the Bush White House and for the general ascendance of the Republican revolt, in particular, was the rubric of 'civil justice reform'.

Big business dislikes paying out on tort damage judgements because of the bad publicity and, well, to be honest, just because their shareholders don't like to give up profits.

So, as Karl Rove got his gig together, the Republicans increasingly made their chief objective that of their funders, making the judicial system a friendlier place for profitability.

A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday over massive sums of money spent to keep his mistress in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.

...The case of USA v Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts: one count of conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements. The indictment was returned in the Middle District of North Carolina.

John Edwards is a trial laywer. 

Wednesday Evening Open Thread - Tuscon Twofer Edition

I've heard of "Home on the Range" but this has gotta be a major factor for calling Tuscon "Home of the Crazy." First up: the competency hearing of Jared Lee Loughner. Spoiler alert! - he's incompetent to stand trial:


Loughner found incompetent to stand trial

Jared Lee Loughner’s "major mental illness" leaves him so delusional and psychotic that he is incompetent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled today.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns viewed hours of videotape of Loughner, he said, and agreed with the conclusion of the psychiatrist and psychologist who evaluated him: Loughner can't understand the court proceedings or help his lawyers.

"The defendant was generally unable to provide rational and coherent thoughts," Burns said.


Burns ordered that new evaluations of Loughner be prepared by Aug. 31. He tentatively set a hearing for Sept. 21 but said it may not go forward if the evaluators find he continues to be incompetent.

A defendant can continue to undergo treatment and evaluation for months and even years as officials try to bring him to a level of competency that would allow him to stand trial.

Contact reporter Tim Steller at or at 807-8427.


Hat-tip to amytrine of Pulling to the Left, a Delphi Forum

Who's surprised by the finding?

And the number two crazy Tuscon tidbit?

There are those who are proposing that the entire shooting was a hoax:


Tucson Shooting Conspiracy Theories Upset Victims

On fringe sites around the web, a new conspiracy theory is being cultivated: the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Arizona that took the lives of six and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), never actually took place.

According to the New York Times, believers of the theory, peddled primarily by conspiracy enthusiast Ed Chiarini, claim that the solemn day's events were all part of an elaborate government hoax carried out by Tucson-area actors.

[...More at HuffPo...]


Hat-tip to lordrag of Pulling to the Left, a Delphi Forum

If you happen to be travelling to or through Tuscon any time in the near future, it may be a good idea to not drink the water. And remember: that same water's used to make their deliriously unique brand of tea.

If you've got anything to add, do it below the fold. This is an Open Thread.



Tuesday Open Thread: The GOP's Paul Ryan - Super-Villain Wannabe, The Cape Edition

Does anyone else think that Paul Ryan looks suspiciously like he's trying to pull of a Peter Fleming/Chess look?

James Frain played Peter Fleming, a.k.a. Chess, on NBC's recently cancelled The Cape.

I think that either Ryan's a Fleming/Chess wannabe, or the character Fleming/Chess was derived after watching Ryan.

Chess is, after all, a split personality - the darker half of an already dark-enough Peter Fleming.


...ok, well then - over the chirping of the crickets (and the occassional snicker from that guy in the back), if you've got any better observations or comparisons, or anything different that you'd like to bring up for discussion, then drop it into the comments below the fold.

This is, after all, an Open Thread.



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Bootstrapping Revitalization, Kickstarter Edition

"Money makes the world go round." It's a tired, tiresome and sometimes too-true truism. Some things require money - investment - in order to get anywhere. Without financial backing to help secure the resources required, many projects and businesses fail.

"You have to spend money to make money." Another too-true truism in some cases. Sure - it's not an absolute. But in some cases, it's a pretty reliable and necessary rule of thumb. If you don't have, and cannot secure, investments to help build or expand your business or project, then you'll often find yourself lacking the resources that it requires to continue. It stalls, and sometimes dies on the vine.

There are no magic money trees - but there are many different ways to secure investment funding. One of the most promising projects for "the little guy" can be found at Kickstarter. It's a "crowdsourced" type of funding for creative projects that has resulted in some serious fundraising power.

Kickstarter has been building a reputation of enabling people to raise funding for projects in a straightforward, easy manner since its founding in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler. The basics, according to the Kickstarter FAQ:

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.

We believe that:

  • A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
  • A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

Craig Mod tells the story of one successful Kickstarter project - his own: KICKSTARTUP Successful fundraising with & (re)making Art Space Toky. Here's a quote from his piece:

I never intended to just sell a few books. The last thing I wanted was for this Kickstarter project to be nothing more than the start and end of Art Space Tokyo’s new print run. Instead, I wanted it to be the jumping point for exploring more projects in a similar spirit to Art Space Tokyo; a means to explore digital books and to fund the startup of a publishing venture that could make this happen.

Which is to say, I saw this as micro-seed capital. To not look at fundraising on Kickstarter from this perspective is to miss out on the site's full potential.

With Kickstarter, people are preordering your idea. Sure, they’re buying something tangible — a CD, a movie, a book, etc — but more than that, they’re pledging money because they believe in you, the creator. If you take the time to extrapolate beyond the obvious low-hanging goals, you can use this money to push the idea — the project — somewhere farther reaching than initially envisaged. And all without giving up any ownership of the idea.

This — micro-seed capital without relinquishment of ownership — is where the latent potential of Kickstarter funding lies.

A good project not only appeals to potential investors, but is supported by the project creator who is inherently obligated to think beyond "the low-hanging fruit" and plan for the project's success beyond whatever the current financial roadblock to initiation is.

We'll be revisiting this thought here, on ePluribus Media, soon. Stay tuned... ;)

In the meantime - welcome to Saturday, the apocalypse. Get your shopping done early, and leave a note for us in the comments telling us how you plan to go out when the end comes (or not).

This is an Open Thread.