UKIP have done a deal with a right-wing Polish Party to ensure their Euro group continues to recieve funding. Huffpo: "The Polish MEP recruited by Nigel Farage to save Ukip's group in the European Parliament has joked about wife beating and defended Adolf Hitler's tax policy." Guardian: "Britain's leading Jewish organisation has accused Nigel Farage of putting Ukip's credibility on the line by striking a deal with a far-right Polish party whose leader has a history of Holocaust denial and racist and misogynistic comments." Meanwhile, the Tories own European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) group have done deals with Right-Wing Danish and Finnish groups, for the same reason. Euroactive: The eurosceptic Danish People's Party, and The Finns party, have left Nigel Farage's Parliament group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy, which they previously belonged to. Guardian: Moderates warn that inviting Danish People's party to join Conservative group would damage Britain and the Tories
Pop Culture Twitter Lists
One of the most interesting psychological aspects of Whitehall is that their inability to fix their own lifts in no way dents their confidence in advocating that they manage some incredibly complicated process. If one says, 'given we've failed to fix the bloody lift in four years, maybe we should leave X alone', they tend to look either mystified or as if you have made a particularly bad taste joke.
Dominic Cummings, a former special advisor writes a cutting dissection on the issues of complexity in modern politics and the increasing dysfunction of the executive branch via Bond movies, the First World War, political screwups and some unfixable lifts.
The subject was first surfaced by Jonathan Haidt in a 2011 talk at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Video here. The NYT reported at the time: Can social scientists open up to outsiders' ideas? Dr. Haidt was optimistic enough to title his speech "The Bright Future of Post-Partisan Social Psychology," urging his colleagues to focus on shared science rather than shared moral values. But, this week, it resurfaced with two new pieces. One on The New Yorker: "By a show of hands, how would those present describe their political orientation? First came the liberals: a "sea of hands," comprising about eighty per cent of the room, Haidt later recalled. Next, the centrists or moderates. Twenty hands. Next, the libertarians. Twelve hands. And last, the conservatives. Three hands." And Chris Mooney from the WaPo also took a look at the subject: "Sure enough, the study found that these liberal academics showed a pretty high level of resistance to evolutionary explanations for phenomena ranging from sexual jealousy to male promiscuity."
An American Werewolf In London [Part 2] [~2h total], a radio drama adaptation of John Landis' original script, written and directed by Dirk Maggs.
Library Hack: the results of an open data competition
In October 2012, the Queensland government announced an "open data revolution" aiming to release as much public sector information as possible to encourage the development of innovative services and solutions for Queenslanders.
Fastening Days is a 11-minute long Anime short commissioned by YKK, the mysterious company responsible for the Clasp Locker that helps hold your jeans together.
Japanese audio: Right here
Tom Menino, Boston's 53rd and longest-serving mayor, dies at 71. He had recently published his memoirs, but announced last week that he was suspending both his book tour and his cancer treatments. "Because of his leadership," current Mayor Marty Walsh said in a released statement, "Boston is a better place today." That is an understatement -- some polls showed that more than fifty percent of Bostonians had met him at one time or another; Tom Menino was the People's Mayor.
• 30-minute documentary from 1984, produced by WGBH years before he became mayor: "Meet Tom Menino"
• A remembrance by WaPo's reporter who covered Menino during his last year in office
• "In Boston you know what we call immigrants? Mom and Dad. You know what we call 'same sex couples'? Our friends. Our brothers and sisters. And in Boston, we know government isn't the answer or the enemy. It's a partner." More from his 2012 Democratic National Convention speech.
Skyharbor has recently released their new song, Patience. The animation is by Jess Cope and she has been developing a reputation for doing fantastically creative work with other brilliant musicians.
"I can't remember where I was the first time I saw the KXVO Pumpkin Dance several years ago, or who sent it to me, but I remember the feeling: that I would one day show this video to my children, and their children after them. It effortlessly combined so many facets of contemporary pop culture: the Ghostbusters theme song, an inane costume, dancing so bad that it's good, and — perhaps most important of all — it ran on a local TV station in Omaha, Nebraska."-The Story Behind the Greatest Halloween Video Ever in the History of the Internet
Pseudopod 401: The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife Be careful what you wish for, and be careful of things with labels you can't read.
Written by Dave Beynon and read by Wilson Fowlie.
Some 70s television programming for your Halloween viewing pleasure:
On October 29, the Slovakian company AeroMobil began flight-testing their Aeromobil 3.0 flying car.
When you bring a four-year-old to the Big Apple, things get weird.
Homestar Runner returns for Halloween 2014
When lobbyist Richard Berman gave a speech to the Western Energy Alliance, he was seeking to raise millions from energy companies for his Big Green Radicals campaign attacking groups like the Sierra Club and NRDC. What he didn't know was that one of the executives in the room would be so offended that he would secretly record the talk and hand it to the New York Times. The transcript (pdf) reveals Berman's strategies for creating non-profit groups to influence public debate and policy.
Berman, christened "Dr. Evil" by both friends and enemies, and his firm have been behind corporate-funded non-profit groups such as The Center for Consumer Freedom, The Center for Union Facts, and The Employment Policies Institute, organizations formed to counter anti-smoking campaigns and legislation, fight unionization, and argue against increases to the minimum wage.
The speech tells energy executives that they, as summarized by the Times, "must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn it against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because "you can either win ugly or lose pretty," he said."
A hallmark of his campaigns is the lack of transparency:
"People always ask me one question all the time: 'How do I know that I won't be found out as a supporter of what you're doing?' " Mr. Berman told the crowd. "We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don't know who supports us."A particularly salient bit from the transcript of Berman's speech (the first five or so pages, before his associate starts up, are particularly interesting):
We're reframing this debate so it's not just about going up to $10.10 [the minimum wage], there's some other things that people need to think about.
You want to get people to say, one of my north stars is to get people to say, "You know, I never thought of it that way before."
Because, if you can get people to say that, here's what you get: instead of getting the 'he said, she said debate,' what you will get with the factual debate, often times, you're going to get into people get overwhelmed by the science and 'I don't know who to believe.' But, if you get enough on your side you get people into a position of pralysis about the issue.
We're not experts and so you don't want them trying to be experts. But if you put enough information out there and say, "Well, it could go to $10.10 but ou could also lose a lot of jobs, the Congressional Budget Office says you can lose a lot of jobs." And again, we got a lot of ads on this thing.
You get in people's minds a tie. They don't know who is right. And you get all ties because the tie basically ensures the status quo.
People are not prepared to get aggressive and in moving one way or another. I'll take a tie any day if I'm trying to preserve the status quo.
Here And There Along The Echo is "a guide to the Echo River for drifters and pilgrims" by the Bureau of Secret Tourism and Cardboard Computer, the creators of magical realist adventure game Kentucky Route Zero. Call (270) 301-5797 or download the "dialing software" and hear about historic sites along the Echo River, learn about the river's flora and fauna, or just get help identifying unfamiliar sounds.
The other day Mrs. Crouch, of Olympian Springs, Ky., was employed in the open air and under a particularly clear sky, in the celebration of those mysterious rites by which the housewife transmutes scraps of meat, bones and effete overshoes into soap. Suddenly there descended upon her a gentle shower of meat. (PDF) That's right, in Bath County, Kentucky, flesh fell from an otherwise clear sky on March 3, 1876. Mentalfoss gathered a collection of old news articles about what people said the sky meat was based on taste and more scientific investigations. Theories for the localized "meat rain" ranged from meat descending from space like meteorites, star jelly, and the most likely, overly full vultures who vomited (Google books preview), but while in flight. One Hundred and Thirty Nine years later--on Sunday, March 3, 2015--Kurt Gohde will re-seed the clouds over Olympia Springs with meat.
Kurt Gohde is an artist from Kentucky, whose previous works include the Lexington Tattoo Project (Google image search with examples of the tattoos), and a collection of photos of discarded couches, found around the United States. Kurt's ownership of one of the rare remaining samples of Kentucky sky meat is casually dropped into articles about him from time to time.
Matt Taibbi has left Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media before Taibbi's digital magazine, Racket, ever debuted. First Look is still publishing The Intercept, and that magazine's Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and John Cook have chosen to tell the inside story on Taibbi's leaving.
tl;dr is in Cook's tweet: "what has happened is bad and dumb and needless and not matt taibbi's fault"
There are 6,951,484 names on the target list of the 28 states in the Crosscheck group; each of them represents a suspected double voter whose registration has now become subject to challenge and removal. According to a 2013 presentation by Kobach to the National Association of State Election Directors, the program is a highly sophisticated voter-fraud-detection system. The sample matches he showed his audience included the following criteria: first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits.
That was the sales pitch. But the actual lists show that not only are middle names commonly mismatched and suffix discrepancies ignored, even birthdates don't seem to have been taken into account. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected. The Crosscheck instructions for county election officers state, "Social Security numbers are included for verification; the numbers might or might not match."
In practice, all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state.
The [Crosscheck] lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.
If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week's electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.
"Mid-afternoon on a weekday is a good time for a discreet liaison at The Carpenters Arms – the pub that used to belong to the Krays in Cheshire St – especially if you are meeting a jewel thief." From Spitalfields Life: So Long Lenny Hamilton, Jewel Thief, "a tribute to one of the East End [of London]'s most celebrated rogues." Hamilton co-authored an account of "the Firm," "a criminal organization based on racketeering, fraud and vicious bloodshed" and ruled over by the Kray twins.
Hamilton, in his own words, on a fateful meeting:
Leaving work, I was walking down Maidment St, and on the corner I saw this big fellow wrestling with these two little fellows. So I went to help them, they got away and I got arrested, because the guy I was wrestling with was a police officer. When I got taken down to Arber Sq police station, he said to me, 'Do you know what you've done? Them two young fellows was the Kray twins and now they've got away. They're on the run from the army.' I apologised and they let me go.Also from Spitalfields Life: Billy Frost, The Krays' Driver (violence).
Later, when the Krays got control of a snooker hall, The Regal, I was playing snooker there and they came in and this fellow put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'You don't know who I am do you? I am Reggie Kray – and this is my brother Ronnie.' I thought I was seeing double, you couldn't tell them apart. They took me across the road to a pub called The Wentworth to buy me a drink because I did them a favour. They liked me at first. That's how I came to be going round their house for nearly three years.
So there's this UK punk band. First wavers, '77. Cohorts of Gang of Four (whose pictures were inadvertently printed on the back of their first album). Rivals of The Clash, to whom their first single was an answer record. Their energy is so gregarious, their working-class politics so pointed but relatable, they make a mark for themselves despite the limitation of barely being able to play. They get to the part where they're supposed to break up or fade away. Instead, they learn to play, to play very well, even. They become an ever-shifting collective, picking up new members, people from The Rolling Stones, or people who'd played with The Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello, The Cure. They made roaring post-punk records, shimmering power pop, pint-raising Irish/British folk, and booze-saturated country records. They found a fascination with folk music, American country music in particular. Actually, they may have accidentally invented alt-country. Lester Bangs says they're "The most revolutionary group in the history of rock n' roll." Hyperbole? Nah. Hyperbole was when he called them "better than the Beatles." 37 years in, they're still making records that odds are, you either love dearly, or have never heard of at all. They're The Mekons, friend, and Joe Angio's new documentary looks at them in all of their shambling, lovable, raucous glory.
Currently sporting a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with glowing notices from The Village Voice and The New York Times, Revenge of the Mekons is currently playing the Film Forum in NYC and hits selected US cities in 2015.
Bonus: a complete live show from 2001 at Chelsea Musicplace in Vienna.
Max Gladstone ponders goblins
Generate Color Palletes on the fly. Here's a Halloween theme with MeFi colors to get you started.
Trick or Treat? Anchor Brewing's Bob Brewer on pumpkin beers and why Anchor hasn't produced one.
Pumpkins, by themselves have very little – if any – real flavor that will survive brewing and fermentation. It's sort of the "tofu" of the squash world in that it tastes like what you put on or into it. The flavor that everyone associates with pumpkins is pumpkin pie. What we are tasting in a pumpkin pie is actually the huge load of sugar dumped into it along with the allspice, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, ginger and other spices.