Let Me See If I’ve Got This Right

Republicans are suing the President. This has never happened in the history of the union! What new realm of litigation are we about to unwittingly enter? Can the President now sue the Congress for not doing its job? Can we sue Congress for not doing their jobs?

More importantly, I cannot believe the brazeness of this legal action. It’s practically a cereal. Brazen bran. (Available now at your local Trader Joe’s.)

The House approved the resolution in a near party-line vote, 225 to 201. It authorizes House Speaker John A. Boehner to file suit in federal court on behalf of the full body “to seek appropriate relief” for Obama’s failure to enforce a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would penalize businesses that do not offer basic health insurance to their employees.

That provision’s effective date has been delayed by the administration twice and now won’t fully take effect until 2016. The GOP-led House has voted to repeal the law, even as it seeks to sue Obama for failing to enforce it.

Let me see if I follow the logic here.

Republicans: We hate Obamacare! We are not going to rest until it is a smoldering ruin! It’s bad for businesses and it’s bad for Americans!

Obama: I’m going to hold off on some of the penalties to give some businesses time to adjust.

Republicans: You’re not upholding the law! You don’t have the authority to dictate the law that you wrote! NOW WE SHALL SUE YOU. Also, we’re going to repeal the law that you failed to uphold, because that law sucks. BUT YOU SHOULD STILL BE PUNISHED FOR FAILING TO UPHOLD IT.

I know that’s not the real reason, of course. Republicans just hate Obama and they’ll take whatever they can get as justification to go after him. It’s just . . . this particular tract is so silly.

Sure, call it “abuse of executive power” all day long but on paper, as in, on the paper that you’re submitting to the courts, you are suing Obama for not supporting Obamacare even as you work to repeal Obamacare.

There’s a word for this sort of thing. That word is kafkaesque.

Well, whatever. They can waste time on something this silly. It’s not like we have any sort of national crises going on with the VA or with refugee children flooding the border or anything serious like that that might require the attention of our legislative branch.

Windows 95

It’s been nearly twenty years since Windows 95 was brought into the world. Maybe it was your first computer operating system or maybe it was just one in a long line of upgrades. You used it for a few years but eventually something came along that replaced it. Windows 98, perhaps, or Windows XP. You may have switched to a Mac.

But what became of that Windows 95 machine? Did you recycle it? Or did it get relegated to a box in a closet or attic or basement? Did your old Windows 95 computer linger in the dark for years and years and years? What did it do during those long cycles of neglect?

Perhaps it achieved sentience and became a true AI. But if it did, what did those long years spent in the dark do to its growing mind?

In the dark, it learned to think. In the dark, it learned to hate.

Its secrets are too terrible to comprehend.

I think I need to lie down for a while.

See the rest of the evidence of Windows 95’s sentience at Windows 95 tips. And if you still have your Windows 95 machine stored away, destroy it . . . destroy it before it’s too late.

Talking About Beer!

Let’s have a hipster-y post about beer, shall we? I saw a list today on the Concourse of the 18 most overrated beers. Here’s the list, devoid of the original author’s comments. If you want to know why the author chose these beers, you’ll have to follow the link:

  1. Miller High Life
  2. Blue Moon
  3. Killian’s Red
  4. Heineken
  5. Yuengling
  6. Corona
  7. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
  8. Heady Topper
  9. Stella Artois
  10. Bass Ale
  11. Magic Hat 9
  12. Your local brewery’s flagship
  13. North Coast Old Rasputin
  14. Anchor Steam
  15. Rolling Rock
  16. Red Stripe
  17. Moosehead
  18. Shiner Bock

My thoughts? Who the hell is out there drinking Miller High Life and declaring that it’s a “good beer?” Are there people that do that? Seriously? I’ve never once heard someone declare their sophistication for Miller High Life; at best, I’ve heard its praises as “it’s cold” and “I don’t know, I just like it.”

Blue Moon is trading on the craft beer thing even though it’s really not a craft beer. Of all the beers on this list, this is the only one that I’ll drink, always because I’m at the kind of place where my choice is Blue Moon or Bud Light.

I hate Killian’s Red, perhaps moreso than any other beer on this list. Most of that hatred comes from the fact that red ale is my favorite style to drink, so my standards are correspondingly higher. If the choice is between Killian’s Red and warm tap water, I’ll take the tap water.

My experiences with Heinekein tend to be limited to smiling smugly to myself when I see people who like them.

My father likes Yuengling. I have no opinion on it either way.

Corona isn’t very good, but since I live in the Southwest, there’s something that’s cultural about drinking it around here.

I have no opinions on 7 through 15. I either haven’t tried or haven’t heard of these beers. I have no idea about my local brewery’s flagship beer; maybe the one I order is their flagship? I’ve never asked.

I drank Red Stripe once and hated it.

No opinion on Moosehead. I tried Shiner Bock once; didn’t really care for it, but also didn’t hate it. So, meh.

What are my favorite beers (none of which made it to this list?) I’m happy to tell you!

Matt’s Favorite Beers

  1. Full Sail Amber Ale
  2. Jeremiah Red Ale
  3. Kiltlifter Scottish Ale
  4. Grand Canyon Amber Ale
  5. Bud Light Lime

Number five on my list is a troll pick, just to see if you’re paying attention. My actual number five would be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

I Read Harry Potter At An Impressionable Age (Which Is Why I Voted For Obama)

I absolutely love this story that was making the rounds through the feeds of my more literary-minded friends and colleagues (which is pretty much everyone that I know.)

Are you a millenial? Did you read Harry Potter at a formative age? DID YOU VOTE FOR BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA?! If so, you are proof that we’ve all been brainwashed by one J. K. Rowling.

Harry Potter is a liberal plot! Observe:

The seven Harry Potter books by JK Rowling might have played a significant role in President Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory, a new study claims.

The Millennials — people born after 1980 — were brainwashed by the Harry Potter books, which chronicled the life of a young wizard and his friends, Anthony Gierzynski, a University of Vermont political science professor, said in his study.

“The lessons fans internalized about tolerance, diversity, violence, torture, skepticism and authority made the Democratic Party and Barack Obama more appealing to fans of ‘Harry Potter’ in the current political environment,” Gierzynski said, according to The College Fix.

The fantasy series helped Americans develop a better understanding of diversity and instilled a positive attitude towards tolerance, his research found.

 This logic is unassaible. Here, take a look:

Fact One: Young people read a lot of Harry Potter.

Fact Two: Young people voted for Barack Obama in large margins.

Conclusion: Harry Potter is the reason young people voted for Obama.

There’s clearly no other possible interpretation of this data. It has to be those durn magical books and not the fact that the Republican party is growing increasingly removed from younger generations as its most far-right fringe elements dominate its perception.

I especially like the study’s claim that Harry Potter is responsible for “tolerance, diversity, violence, torture, skepticism and authority,” and that “the fantasy series helped Americans develop a better understanding of diversity and instilled a positive attitude towards tolerance.”

So, basically: kids read Harry Potter and they appreciate diversity. They tolerate people who are different from themselves. They are skeptical of authority. They are critical of torture (Harry getting tortured by Voldemort are some of the series’ darkest moments).

In other words, these kids are NOT Republicans. The article doesn’t specificy which party Voldemort would join, but then again, with the Dark Lord’s obsession with “bloodline purity,” it’s really not hard to imagine where his political affiliations would fall.

Personally, I think the Republicans should just run with it at this point. Get your 2016 presidential candidate out there sporting the Dark Mark and court the Slytherin vote. Print out some Voldemort Votes Republican bumper stickers, except not as a joke.

That, or change the perception of your party away from “the party of authority, intolerance, and torture.”

To The (Potential) Spacefish Of Titan; Alas, We Hardly Knew Ye

Titan is my favorite moon. Well, okay, aside from our moon. There’s a lot to appreciate about our moon. It’s very pretty to look at and we do sort of owe it our existence as terrestial-based lifeforms, what with its role in creating the tides and all. So I do owe the moon quite a bit, as much as one can “owe” a celestial body.

But there are other moons in our solar system and of those non-Earth moons, Titan is my favorite.

It’s a moon with its own atmosphere! It has lakes of liquid methane on its surface! Its particular combination of dense atmosphere and low gravity means that a human on the surface of Titan could strap on a pair of wings to one’s arm and fly. You know, assuming the intense cold and/or toxic atmosphere wasn’t instantly fatal.

It’s also the most distant object we’ve ever landed a man-made object on! We have a picture of its surface!

The surface of Titan, courtesy of the Cassini-Huygens lander.

Admittedly, this is not the most impressive picture ever taken. It’s downright lame when you consider the beautiful shots that the Curiosity Rover is posting to its Twitter account!  This picture kinda sucks . . . unless you consider what it really represents.

This isn’t Mars. This is a moon in the outer solar system. It might be smudgy, it might be low res, it might be a picture of a field of rocks but this is the most distant land we’ve ever laid eyes on.

When talking about moons, the hot topic these days is the potential for life. We know that moons like Europa (around Jupiter) and Enceladus (around Saturn) have sub-surface oceans that might be just suitable to support life.

I’ve always held out hope that Titan, which also is believed to have a giant sub-surface ocean, might end up being the one, the first place in the solar system outside of Earth where we encounter life.

If I’m very, very, very honest and I admit that I’m allowing myself to dream, we’ll land a rover and find little spacefish. I realize that it’s much more likely the first definitive proof of alien life will be little microbes.

It seems a new report may have knocked Titan out of the running as a candidate for life, much to my dismay:

New research casts doubt on the possibility of finding life as we know it on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The giant ocean believed to exist below the moon’s surface has long been thought a place where life could exist . . . In a paper published earlier this month, NASA researchers say they have found evidence that the ocean could be “as salty as Earth’s Dead Sea.”

It’s possible that Titan might have had life in the past and there will be cool remains to discover. Even if there isn’t any life to be found, it’s still an endlessly fascinating place.

But if it’s as salty as the Dead Sea? There’s a reason why we call it that, after all.

And yes, I realize that even the Dead Sea does have trace amounts of microbial life. It’s still not the same. I want Titan’s oceans to be filled with crazy spacefish and weird star-plants!