Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is just Oh. My. God on steroids:

When James Barron went into his smokehouse in southern Alabama to grab an ax, he was alarmed to see a giant wasp nest about seven feet wide extending along the wall. It had been two months since he had last set foot inside.

“You don’t think about looking at the roof,” Mr. Barron said. “It’s just now really showed up, and it’s gigantic.”

Mr. Barron immediately retreated, and later sprayed hornet killer on the nest with his son. He said that just angered the yellow jackets, the highly aggressive wasps that live in such colonies. Mr. Barron was stung 11 times.

This is what experts refer to as a “super nest”:

Charles Ray, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, drove to Mr. Barron’s home and confirmed the colony was a “super nest” — one that survives into a second year. He told Mr. Barron there were probably 15,000 to 18,000 wasps in the smokehouse.

This is the super nest in James Barron’s smokehouse:

(Photo via NYT)

It gets worse. Much worse:

That super nest was one of four in Alabama that Mr. Ray has confirmed this year. There are usually only one or two super nests spotted each year, in June and July, Mr. Ray said. In 2006, however, he recorded 90.

“I expect to approach that number this year,” Mr. Ray said.

“The queens are the only ones who have an antifreeze compound in their blood,” Mr. Ray said. “So normally, a surviving queen will have to start a colony from scratch in the spring. With our climate becoming warmer, there might be multiple surviving queens producing more than 20,000 eggs each.”

In which I discover that I share several traits with these yellow jackets:

Warmer winters contribute to these nests, Mr. Ray said. Most yellow jackets don’t survive the cold months because they freeze to death or have trouble finding food. They need a fair amount of sugar and carbohydrates, he said.

Alabama’s Cooperative Extension System issued a warning to the public about the anticipated proliferation of nests this year, and advised residents to always seek professional help rather than trying to tackle the super nest problem themselves. IOW, don’t try to shake it loose or knock it down.

Meanwhile, James Barron is having his smokehouse removed.

P.S. And for your information, some of these super nests become the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Here is a super nest on a front porch overhang:


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
(photo via NYT)


Kamala Harris: Make Busing Great Again!

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:49 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Surging in the polls after what was widely considered a successful debate performance this past Thursday night, California Senator Kamala Harris has decided that the issue she used to bash former Vice-President Joe Biden is ready to be rolled-out nationally. From The Corner on NRO:

On Sunday, Kamala Harris expressed support for new, federally mandated busing policies. “I support busing. Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated, today than when I was in elementary school,” Harris said. “Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people and in particular where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and a responsibility to step up.”

That ought to go over really well with that middle-class mom who is pro-Planned Parenthood, pro-Sierra Club, pro-Moms Demand Gun Action, and absolutely hates Donald Trump. Tell her that even though she and her husband pinched pennies to afford a home in Hancock Park, her fifteen-year-old daughter is going to be sent to Crenshaw High in order to appease the social justice diktats of bringing more racial balance to Los Angeles public schools. Let’s not even bother to speculate on how the LAUSD, which has no clue how they are going to balance their books in coming years, is going to suddenly find the money for — what? — up to a thousand new unionized bus drivers (for 1,000 schools and 734,000 students) and brand-new school buses. I suppose Sen. Harris will propose that the federal government pay for all of this, adding perhaps another $2-3 billion or so annually to the nation’s bar-tab.

This is such an odd horse for Sen. Harris to ride into battle that one gets the sense that (surprise! surprise!) she’s hadn’t given it anything other than the most superficial thought. With even anti-Trump journalists like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Turley trying to warn Democrats that they are heading off of the deep end on immigration policy, the last thing it would seem the party needs is to resurrect a divisive social program that we thought we had rid ourselves of 40 years ago.

(Hat tip to Powerline.)


Political Cartoonist Depicts President Trump Standing Over Two Drowned Migrants

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:24 am

[guest post by Dana]

We’ve talked at length about various political cartoons, their offensiveness and/or brilliance (or both, simultaneously), as well as the historical place they have in the ongoing political conversations, and whether they ever cross a line.

The subject of this post is an editorial cartoon by Canadian artist Michael de Adder, whose contract with Canadian publisher Brunswick News Inc., was terminated just days after de Adder posted a controversial cartoon. The cartoon was based on the heartbreaking photograph of the bodies of the El Salvadorian father and daughter, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his 23-month-old, Angie Valeria who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas:


This is de Adde’s cartoon:


The president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists told reporters that the timing of de Adder’s exit “was no coincidence,” and that President Trump is considered “a taboo subject”. Meanwhile, Brunswick News claims that it is “entirely incorrect” to suggest the company ended its contract with de Adder over the Trump cartoon. This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media,” the company wrote…”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Boris Johnson on Liberalism

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:10 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Daily Mail‘If we want to uphold liberal values, we must leave by October 31 – and we will’: Boris Johnson blasts Putin over his attacks on the West and claim liberalism has become ‘obsolete’:

Boris Johnson lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin today over his claim that liberalism is dead.

The would-be PM delivered a furious retort, saying Britain was the best modern example of the ‘triumph of liberal values’.

He also insisted the best way of upholding liberalism was to honour the referendum result from 2016 and leave the EU by Halloween.

In an interview before the G20 summit in Japan, Mr Putin said ‘the liberal idea has become obsolete’, jibing that it now conflicts with the interests of the majority.

Johnson combined a defense of British liberalism with criticism of Putin’s Russia:

The former foreign secretary Mr Johnson praised Britain for successfully marrying democracy and the rule of law – as well as describing the UK as a world leader in technology, culture and financial services.

‘The country that possesses these essential building blocks of liberalism will succeed; the country without them will – eventually – face disaster,’ Mr Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

‘I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, Vladimir, but there are some countries where capitalism is believed to be in the hands of oligarchs and cronies, where journalists are shot, and where ‘liberal values’ are derided… and where real incomes have declined for each of the past five years.’

Mr Johnson told a Conservative leadership hustings in Exeter on Friday that the Russian President was ‘totally wrong’.

I think this is a link to Putin’s “liberalism has outlived its purpose” interview, which was conducted by the Financial Times in the Kremlin and published June 27, 2019.


Protecting the Press/Politician

Filed under: International,Politics — DRJ @ 6:37 am

[Headlines from DRJ]


Stephanie Grisham replaced Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary only recently, but Grisham reportedly has already been injured on the job.

Grisham suffered bruises when a scuffle broke out Sunday between North Korean security guards and members of the media trying to get close to President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as they met at the Demilitarized Zone, the Associated Press reported.

The new press secretary was reportedly pushing back against the guards, trying to help members of the White House press corps position themselves to cover the historic moment between Trump and Kim.

Three years ago:

Aronberg and a deputy prosecutor who oversaw the case, Adrienne Ellis, said key evidence against charging Lewandowski was Fields’ leaving an assigned press area and entering a “protective bubble” maintained by Secret Service agents. She then reached out and “brushed or touched” Trump with her left hand. Trump “recoiled,” and Lewandowski, who was just behind them, pulled her away.

“We’re not charging him because he was reacting to what he perceived as a potential threat,” Ellis said.

The prosecutors said they’d relied on an affidavit submitted by a former FBI agent describing how Secret Service agents often created the “protective bubble” to keep unauthorized people, including the press, from the candidate, and that campaign workers often assisted in clearing a “safe pathway.

Good press or bad press? Depends on whether they help the politician.


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