TPRJones' Last 100 Shared Items

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There and back again: a newbie's 92-year voyage to the Mun (
Originally Published May 12th, 2015, 08:39 PM

Submitted by TheHolyChicken86 to KerbalSpaceProgram.



Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Past
Originally Published May 6th, 2015, 10:00 AM

Hovertext: Can we make bio-history a thing? Can we? Pleaaaaase?

New comic!

Today's News:

O Human Star
Originally Published May 1st, 2015, 02:40 AM

O Human Star

Basic Instructions

The Crooked Gremlins

There are many lesser deaths.

Being unable to move is a form of death. For what is life but motion?

Being unable to communicate is a form of death. For what is life, if not shared with others?

Being unable to work is a form of death. For what is life, if not affecting the world around you?

Being unable to think is a form of death. For what is yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea.

Prison is definitely death. To be removed from society, to no longer be able to make choices... I've always mentally thought of a prison sentence as being the same thing as dying and going to Hell. If I'm ever incarcerated, I think the first thing I'd do is go looking for a length of rope and a sturdy overhead pipe. The game's already over, why bother running out the clock? Might as well save the taxpayers some money.

0696------------------------------------- ChA: You don't know the first goddamn thing about law and order. JH: I dunno, I'd say I've had a fair amount of relevant experience. ChA: I was saying that you had to kill your suspect because you weren't involving the police. The police would have options other than killing him. JH: What, like sending him to jail? ChA: Prison. Yes. JH: And how exactly is that functionally different from killing him? ChA: Well, he doesn't die, for one thing. JH: Doesn't he? Locking you up in a metal box where you get shivved and beaten and raped in the showers... and then if and when you get out, how exactly do you reintegrate back into the world of the living? I know we don't hire ex-cons here, and from what I understand, that's pretty standard. ChA: Having difficulty getting a bullshit entry-level restaurant job is not the same thing as being a corpse. JH: Well, it would appear we have different definitions about what being alive is.

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News: Real life heroics
Originally Published April 30th, 2015, 11:40 PM

Scott R. Kurtz: Got to see some real-life heroics today when a woman three rows in front of us had a seizure 20 minutes into Avengers: Age of Ultron. I heard a long moan, and looked towards it. I saw a hand extended out, the wrist bent and the hand and fingers cramped into unnatural positions. I knew immediately someone was having a seizure, but it didn't seem real. My brain witnessed it, but it wasn't until a man two seats to the right of the woman got up and said "Ma'am? are you okay?" That it registered that this was actually happening. "She's having

Van Gogh look-a-like spots himself on Reddit (
Originally Published April 30th, 2015, 08:47 PM

Submitted by CIEGETTE to bestof.



Originally Published April 29th, 2015, 03:04 PM

Link to another poem of mine: Been getting a lot of comments like this lately. This is how they make me feel - and again, all in ONE take, woop! Stalk me! (Or don't, I don't own you...) MAIL: Ashley Mardell, P.O. BOX 13313, Minneapolis, MN, 55414 Second Channel: Merch/Swag! Twitter: Facebook: Tumblr: Instagram: ashleymardell Endscreen music by:
From: Ashley Mardell Views: 121194 14746 ratings
Time: 07:53 More in Comedy

What Is That
Originally Published April 26th, 2015, 11:03 PM

A short and sweet one today! Workin hard finishing up sketches and stuff for the JSPH book that's being Kickstarted RIGHT NOOOWW! The Kickstarter ENDS AT 11 AM ON FRIDAY, MAY 1ST. So you've only got like 4 days to back it. The book is going to be super rad, it's gonna be a giant book chock full of book-exclusive sketches. You gotta get this thing, dudes

"Safe Spaces" And The Mote In America's Eye
Originally Published April 19th, 2015, 05:06 PM

My three kids are sarcastic and irreverent. This isn't a shock to anyone who knows me. Their mouthiness can be irritating, but usually I manage to remember that I don't set much of an example of rhetorical decorum.

Maybe I should start giving the same consideration to other people's kids.

For some time I've been mean to university students who feel entitled to a "safe space" — by which they seem to mean a space where they are insulated from ideas they don't like.

I call these young people out for valuing illusory and subjective safety over liberty. I accuse them of accepting that speech is "harmful" without logic or proof. I mock them for not grasping that universities are supposed to be places of open inquiry. I condemn them for not being critical about the difference between nasty speech and nasty actions, and for thinking they have a right not to be offended. I belittle them for abandoning fundamental American values.

But recently a question occurred to me: where, exactly, do I think these young people should have learned the values that I expect them to uphold?

Today's college students came of age in the years after 9/11. What did we teach them about the balance between liberty and safety in that time?

We should have taught them not to give up essential liberty for a little safety. Instead, we taught them that the government needs the power to send flying robots to kill anyone on the face of the earth without review and without telling us why. The government, we're told, needs to do that for our safety. We also taught them that the government also needs the power to detain people indefinitely without judicial review, again in the name of safety. We taught them that to ensure our safety the government needs the records of what books we read and who we talk to. With that as a model, it seems like small potatoes to say that safety requires disinviting Bill Maher from a university commencement, because he's something of a dick.

We should have taught them that it's noble to speak out for liberty. We didn't. We taught them that concern with liberty is suspicious. They grew up in an America where police say that talking about civil liberties suggests involvement in criminal behavior and that criticizing law enforcement priorities provides a good reason to investigate you. They grew up in an America were the FBI monitors protestors and activists in the name of safety. They grew up in an America where questioning the War on Drugs is called unpatriotic.

We should have taught them that it's shameful to oppose liberty and work to undermine it. We didn't. They grew up in a world where a man can advise the government to disregard our liberties and waffle on whether the state can crush the testicles of children to torture information of of their parents, only to be rewarded by a prestigious position at a top law school.

We should have taught them to think critically when someone says that "safety" requires action. We didn't. We taught them to submit to groping by TSA agents recruited via pizza boxes who single us out based on transparently bogus junk science. We taught them that even if you demand policy changes based on junk science that is demonstrably deadly, you can still be taken seriously if your politics are right.

We should have taught them that our subjective reaction to someone's expression isn't grounds to suppress that expression. We didn't. They probably didn't learn that lesson from the freakouts over mosques at ground zero or in Georgia or in Tennessee. They probably didn't learn it from calls to deport Piers Morgan for anti-gun advocacy or by the steady stream of officials suggesting that dissent is treason or from their government asserting a right to "balance" the value of speech against its harm. They didn't learn it from state legislators punishing universities based on disagreement with curriculum.

We should have taught them to be suspicious of claims that speech is harmful in a way the law should address. We didn't. We taught them that making satirical videos about police is criminal "cyberstalking" and that stupid jokes by teens justify imprisonment and that four-letter words are crimes (or should be) and that swearing at cops online is "disorderly conduct" and that singing a rude song to imaginary children justifies prosecution.

We should have taught them to be suspicious of rote invocation of airhorn words like "racism" and "sexism" and "trauma" and "unsafe," especially when those terms are used to limit liberty. We sure as hell didn't do that. We taught them that jailing grandmas for buying two boxes of cold medication is justified because think of the children. We have taught them that cops can cops can rape and torture people because drugs are bad. We teach them that "terrorism" is an existential threat, a magic word that can be invoked to justify anything. Rather than teaching them to question catchphrases, we teach them to respond to them in Pavlovian fashion.

We should have taught them to question authority. Instead we taught them to submit to it without question if they didn't want to get shot or tased.

Instead, we are teaching them, even now, that climbing a tree outside our view, or visiting a park unattended (as many of us did when children) is a matter requiring state intervention. This is not a Yakov Smirnoff joke: in Russia, complete strangers will approach you on the street to scold you if you're wearing your scarf the wrong way. "You'll catch cold!" We are becoming the Russia our grandparents warned us about: not a Stalinist tyranny, but a tyranny of concern. For our own safety, of course.

Sure, occasionally we manage to assert that free speech trumps feelings or that speculative safety doesn't trump liberty. But those few messages are drowned out by the drumbeat of safety, safety, safety.

Should we expect universities to teach them to value liberty or question safety? Please. Universities think that free speech is something to be confined to tiny corners of campus to protect students from the trauma of being handed a copy of the constitution. Universities are places were administrators censor Game of Thrones t-shirts and Firefly posters then censor the posters complaining about censorship, all in the name of "safety." Universities are places where enraged educators cut down free speech walls and attack protestors and tell students to destroy displays they don't like. Sending people to American universities to learn to respect liberty is like sending them to a brothel to learn chastity.

Today's young people are responsible for their own actions. They are bound, like all of us, by this truth: the government saying something is right doesn't make it right. But it's not fair to ignore our culture's role in shaping the values that lead to an appetite for "safe spaces."

I'm not going to stop calling out university students who assert that they have a right not to be offended, or who claim that they are entitled to spaces safe from ideas they don't like.

But I hope that some of them will call me out — call all of us out — in return now and then.

"Safe Spaces" And The Mote In America's Eye © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

Originally Published April 14th, 2015, 11:00 PM

I want them to change color in water. If you'r wrist band hasn't changed color by Sunday, you can't come in.


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News Post: I spoke at our PTA about games
Originally Published April 8th, 2015, 12:39 PM

Gabe: Last night I was a guest speaker during a PTA meeting at my son’s school. I spoke about video games, ratings and the importance of paying attention to what your kids are playing. I thought it went really well and I figured I’d break down my talk here in case anyone wanted to take some of my ideas and do something similar at their kid’s school. This was an elementary school PTA and this particular meeting (I’m told) had a much better turnout than most. It was advertised as a night discussing kids and games and it seemed like a lot of parents are very interested in the topic. Before I…

Comic: Winnerism
Originally Published April 8th, 2015, 02:01 AM

New Comic: Winnerism

Ten Short Rants About #PizzaMemories
Originally Published April 7th, 2015, 02:55 PM

This is the second in a new series, Ten Short Rants.

Memories Pizza, a modest shop in a small town in Indiana, has experienced a reversal of fortune. Plucked from obscurity, it became a symbol of intolerance: to some, a symbol of anti-gay intolerance, to others, a symbol of religious or viewpoint intolerance. Then, after death threats and a barrage of fake orders and denunciations, it closed down, and then got ludicrously rich.

You already have a strong viewpoint, most likely. So do I.

1. I understand that politics is about lying, but I am annoyed when politicians lack the respect to tell me a plausible lie. The assertion that Indiana's Restoration of Religious Freedom Restoration Act had nothing to do with discriminating against gays is an implausible lie. The model federal statute was passed in the Clinton Administration. You're trying to tell me that it's just a coincidence that the Indiana law was passed immediately after same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana, just a coincidence that some of its strongest backers are express foes of gay rights? Please. Favor me with a plausible lie. Tell me that the RFRA is fair, or reasonable, or needed, or much broader than just about gays. But don't try to tell me that it was anything but signalling.

2. Politicians lie. So we shouldn't be surprised that even though the Indiana RFRA was a signal of defiance of gay marriage, it's a terribly ineffectual way to legalize discrimination against gays or their marriage ceremonies. Say that you believe that a business owner should have a First Amendment right to refuse to cater a same-sex wedding. Would you feel comfortable if someone said "well, if you refuse, after protracted and ruinously expensive litigation, maybe that right will be recognized — or maybe not"? Would that make you feel that your rights are protected? The RFRA, like the federal act it is modeled on, is a litigator's delight, requiring a wonkish multi-factor balancing test. If some hypothetical Indiana local ordinance made it illegal for a hypothetical dough-tosser to refuse to cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding, would that substantially burden the free exercise rights of the dough-tosser, and would the local government be able to show it is essential to a compelling government interest and the least restrictive means of furthering it? Hell if I know. It probably rises or falls with the level of generality. Is the interest protected anti-discrimination or anti-discrimination regarding gays or anti-discrimination of a narrow subset of events involving gays? If you think you know for sure how a court would come out, you're fooling yourself. Look at how widely district courts and federal circuit courts split over application of the federal RFRA to the contraception mandate. RFRA cases are difficult and unpredictable. Does the RFRA protect your right to groom in prison according to your religion? The district court says yes and the appellate court says no! No, wait, the district court says yes and the appellate court agrees! Does that mean that a TSA employee can wear dreadlocks? Not if he didn't jump through the right legal hoops first! Can you possess golden eagle feathers for religious purposes? The district court says no, the appellate court says yes! Must the Post Office give you Saturday off if that's your holy day? No, because not pissing off federal employee unions is a compelling interest!

So. The RFRA may be a signal to people who would like to discriminate against gays that "we got your back," but if so it's a lie.

3. The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion. But it also protects freedom to assemble — free association — and freedom of speech. Why should people who want an exception from the law on religious grounds get one, but not people who want an exception from the law on philosophical or political grounds founded in free association or free speech? Because religious belief has a preferred social status in America, notwithstanding the capacity of some of us to portray ourselves as downtrodden. That's not particularly principled. Also, "let's pass laws and then let's pass more laws to give special exceptions to preferred groups if their rights were violated by the first laws" is no basis for a system of government.

4. As I've said before, America has never really confronted the friction between anti-discrimination principles and First Amendment principles. We'd prefer to pretend that there are no such conflicts that that there's a logical scenario in which everyone's constitutional and statutory rights are respected. But that's wrong. If one set of rights protects everybody from government interference, and another set of rights tells everybody not to be assholes to each other2, sooner or later those rights are going to clash. Recognizing that doesn't mean that you're taking a position on how the clash comes out. Personally? I think you can make a plausible argument that the government has a compelling interest in making public commerce open to people regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference, and that anti-discrimination laws are generally tailored to that end. But I don't think you can make a plausible case that the government has a compelling interest in making business owners participate in particular types of events to which they personally object, or that compelling them is narrowly tailored towards the goal of preventing discrimination.

5. I support same-sex marriage. I think that laws prohibiting private consensual sexual contact among adults are both immoral and unconstitutional, and I think the Supreme Court got it appallingly wrong in 1986 when it said otherwise. I think the downfall of anti-gay laws and the legalization of same-sex marriage is an example of the long road bending towards justice. I think that the trip down that road has been accelerating recently. That's good. But I don't believe the road can't curve back. America has seen social and legal and political backlashes. It may again. We've moved down the road in the right direction because Americans have come to see gays — correctly — as just folks like them. The best way to assure a backlash and retrenchment3 would be to re-otherize gays. Am I saying that gays should pipe down, accept the status quo, not shove their gayitude down the apparently very vulnerable throats of the anti-gays? No. Fuck 'em if they don't like you. What I am saying is that it might be more effective in the long run, when the other side is in rout, not to send the children out onto the field of battle to slit throats. Demanding the destruction of a small-town pizza place owner — who may or may not know whether she knows any gay people — because she says that she doesn't want to cater gay weddings? That's the kind of disproportionate bullshit that doesn't achieve any justice and makes the participants look like unlikeable assholes — like maybe they aren't just folks after all. The narrative gays are bullies is the anti-gay right's best shot at reversing the tide, and they're promoting it skillfully, aided by people who are in fact acting badly.

6. You may not like how effectively conservatives have used the "progressives are bullies" narrative to drive things like making $850,000 for a pizza place over a weekend. Maybe you think that only some people made threats4, and that the rest is not "bullying" or "fascism" or a "lynch mob" but good old-fashioned free expression. It's not a terrible argument. Criticism, after all, is not censorship. Vigorous expression of disagreement is a crucial pressure valve; its availability is what convinces us that we don't need to censor speech we don't like. But if you don't like how "bully" is being used now, ask yourself: did I help release the kraken? Did I help degrade the meaning of the word "bully?" Did I call a vocal group a lynch mob when it was not, in fact, hanging someone? Did I call people expressing themselves vocally a "witch hunt?" If you did, then there's your bed: you made it, go lie in it.

7. By the way: legal, social, and political backlashes often operate along class lines. When an urban college-educated reporter travels to a small town to find a pizza-maker and asks them questions until they say something not approved of in the big city, and then makes them the freak of the week for clicks, what it sounds like to lots of Americans is "Hurr hurr hurr, look at the yokel! Look at how backward the hick is! Look how she even thinks fabulous gays would want pizza at their weddings!" People who like isms and ists who are being honest would probably call it classist. Ask Mitt Romney how classism works out electorally.

8. Making threats is unacceptable.

9. #8 is so short because it doesn't need to be qualified.

10. Not everything is a "threat" for purposes of #8. I'm talking about true threats — at a minimum, threats that a reasonable person would interpret as a statement of intent to do harm. True threats are an increasing problem. That problem is made harder, not easier, by partisans pointing to obvious not-threatening rhetoric and crying "threat!" So, for instance, when someone responded to Pizza Memories' dilemma by saying "adapt or die," that was not a true threat. You might think that the sentiment is noxious or hackneyed or inapplicable, but no rational person would interpret it as an expression of intent to do violence. If you act as if things like that are true threats just because they are uttered by the other side, you're part of the problem — you're part of the reason that people who get actual threats too often don't get taken seriously.

Also, I like pizza.

Ten Short Rants About #PizzaMemories © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)
Originally Published April 6th, 2015, 01:30 AM
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)

There are very few government checks on what America's sweeping surveillance programs are capable of doing. John Oliver sits down with Edward Snowden to discuss the NSA, the balance between...
From: LastWeekTonight Views: 5833442 91934 ratings
Time: 33:15 More in Film & Animation

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Graph Theory of Chinese Food
Originally Published April 5th, 2015, 10:22 AM


New comic!

Today's News:

 Are you an Augie and the Green Knight backer? Check your email!

Op-Ed: Thank You, Angelina Jolie, For Celebrating Our Kids Who Are ‘Different’
Originally Published April 1st, 2015, 11:12 PM

I wrote a blog post for this week, but instead of being published here, it’s published as an Op-Ed on Entertainment Tonight’s website. Check out the links below to have a read.  Op-Ed: Thank You, Angelina Jolie, For Celebrating Our Kids Who … Continue reading

New Atmospheric Effects In Kerbal Space Program
Originally Published April 1st, 2015, 03:54 AM
New Atmospheric Effects In Kerbal Space Program

An exclusive look at a forthcoming enhancements to the atmospheric effects in Kerbal Space Program. We've got used to the reentry heating effect and the approximation of the Prandtl-Glauert...
From: Scott Manley Views: 159111 7543 ratings
Time: 02:23 More in Gaming

Craft Lab | Project Sonic The Hedgehog
Originally Published March 31st, 2015, 12:00 PM
Craft Lab | Project Sonic The Hedgehog

In this episode of Craft Lab, Greg Aronowitz and Anna Akana piece together everyone's favorite hedgehog: Sonic! Hollywood production designer and geek Greg Aronowitz (Jurassic Park: Lost World,...
From: Geek & Sundry Views: 52274 2412 ratings
Time: 07:45 More in Howto & Style

Cards Against Humanity: Aisha Tyler, Laina Morris, & Ali Spagnola Join Wil on TableTop S03E10
Originally Published March 19th, 2015, 12:44 PM
Cards Against Humanity: Aisha Tyler, Laina Morris, & Ali Spagnola Join Wil on TableTop S03E10

WARNING: THIS EPISODE IS UNCENSORED AND NSFW OR CHILDREN Wil Wheaton and guests Aisha Tyler, Laina Morris, and Ali Spagnola play Cards Against Humanity in this episode of ...
From: Geek & Sundry Views: 742700 23749 ratings
Time: 33:00 More in Gaming

Nobody, Including Tom Cotton, Knows What Tom Cotton Is Saying About "Corruption of the Blood"
Originally Published March 16th, 2015, 12:28 PM

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is in the news this month. For reasons that passeth understanding he's been offered up as a spokesperson for the 47 Republicans who wrote a letter to Iran.7 Today I noticed a number of links to 2013 reports asserting that Sen. Tom Cotton offered an amendment to a bill that would allow imprisonment without due process of the relatives of the targets or Iranian sanctions. The Huffington Post's Zach Carter may be Patient Zero on this idea:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday offered legislative language that would "automatically" punish family members of people who violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, levying sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

. . .

Article III of the Constitution explicitly bans Congress from punishing treason based on "corruption of blood" — meaning that relatives of those convicted of treason cannot be punished based only on a familial tie.

That story is getting more play this week because of the controversy over the Republicans' Iran letter, and the phrase "corruption of the blood" is on many a lip.

The proposed language, as described, struck me as an unusual thing for a Senator to do, even if the Senator graduated from Harvard Law School and therefore is not entirely responsible for his actions. Is this real? Or is this another case of journalistic malpractice on legal matters?8

The answer appears to be that nobody in this story understands what's being talked about.

Background: Prohibitions on Trading With Sanctioned Parties

The President has the power to prohibit trading with certain groups. Let's call them "bad guys." The list of bad guys is politically flexible and subject to constant tinkering, as is typically the case for such lists.

If the President prohibits trading with Bad Guys, and you trade with the Bad Guys, or conspire to do so, you can be charged with a federal crime and will face serious consequences.9

In 2012 Congress passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which told the President to "identify foreign persons that are officials, agents, or affiliates of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps," exclude them from the country, and add them to the list of Bad Guys with whom you can't trade.

In 2013 the House of Representatives considered the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which would have emphasized that Congress really really meant it when they passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, in case any Iranian Revolutionary Guard members or likely voters were in doubt. That bill would have tinkered with various parts of the law, including expanding the list of Bad Guys to include Iranian human rights abusers and foreigners who engage in transactions with Iran's central bank.

Tom Cotton Is Serious About Bad Guys And Their Families

The "corruption of the blood" issue arose in connection with an amendment that Tom Cotton — then a Member of Congress — offered to the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013. The minutes of the Committee on Foreign Affairs markup session on the bill tell the tale. Cotton offered this amendment:


You might look at that and ask "what the hell does that mean?" You could pull the bill it's proposing to amend and still ask that, because the page numbers and line numbers don't track with the available versions of the bill. But in effect, then-Rep. Cotton was proposing that the list of Bad Guys with whom one cannot trade be expanded to include not just Iranian human rights abusers, but their relatives. So, for instance, part of the bill would read this way if the amendment were accepted:

(A) the President should include any Iranian person holding a position in the Government of Iran described in paragraph (1) and any family member of such official (to include a spouse or relative to the third degree of consanguinity) on one or more of the [lists of bad guys]

In other words, the amendment serves to establish that not only can't you trade with (for instance) the Commander of the Quds Force, you also can't evade the statute by giving his grandson a lucrative deal for a TV show call QUDS FORCE.

That seems relatively straightforward. The amendment — no doubt drafted by some legislative assistant — is intended to prevent people from getting around the trading sanctions by doing deals with relatives of Bad Guys.

The "OMG corruption of the blood" narrative resulted, in part, from Cotton not understanding his own amendment, and nobody else understanding it either. Cotton's understanding was limited to his prepared (by someone else) statement:

However, I think it is pointless if we let them simply divert assets and income to relatives, so this amendment would also add to the list of sanctions anyone married to those persons or to the third degree of consanguinity which in plain English are parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandkids, great-grandkids.

The first sign of lack of comprehension comes from Rep. Castro:

Mr. CASTRO. Congressman, under your amendment, if they’re trying to funnel resources to family members, how would we investigate and come to that conclusion?

Chairman ROYCE. Mr. Cotton, you’re recognized.

Mr. COTTON. There would be no investigation. If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime, as well. It would be very hard to investigate and demonstrate through conclusive proof, and I think that we would leave a gaping loophole if we didn’t adopt this amendment.

Rep. Castro apparently thinks that relatives only get on the Bad Guy list if there's proof that their family's Head Bad Guy is funneling money to them, when in fact it's automatic. Cotton fails to pick up on the confusion.

Then comes Rep. Grayson with the new narrative:

Again, this is a bill that provides for a prison term of 20 years potentially for people who violate this bill. The amendment that’s being offered doesn’t even indicate a requirement of knowing violation.

Again, my conception of the due process provision in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution does not comport with this amendment. I will vote against it if it comes to a vote. And, also, I hope that we do now have a provision in the bill that indicates that there’s severability at every provision in this bill if this provision is incorporated in the bill because I really question the constitutionality of a provision that punishes nephews on account of the actions of uncles.

Rep. Grayson, wittingly or not, has just suggested that the amendment changes who can be charged and imprisoned under the penalty provision of the prohibition on trading with Bad Guys, or changes the knowledge requirement of that provision. It doesn't. It doesn't change the elements of the crime at all. It only adds to the list of people you can't trade with. It doesn't expose those people — the family members of the Bad Guys — to 20 years in prison. If the government wants to charge you with unlawful trading with the grandkid of a Bad Guy, they would still have to prove the same things:

Accordingly, the elements of the crime of dealing in the property of an [Bad Guy] are: (1) Defendants knowingly dealt in the property or property interest of the [Bad Guy]; (2) the property was within the United States or within the possession of a United States person; and (3) Defendants knew that they were prohibited from dealing in any property or property interests of the [Bad Guy]. See 50 U.S.C. § 1705(c); 31 C.F.R. §§ 595.201(a), 595.204; Sipe, 388 F.3d at 480 n. 21.

In other words, the feds would still have to prove you knew you were making prohibited trades with the grandson of Qud Force.

This would have been a good time for Tom Cotton to clear this misunderstanding up, if he understood himself what he was talking about. Alas.

Mr. COTTON. Iranian citizens do not have constitutional rights under the United States Constitution. I sympathize with their plight if they are harmless, innocent civilians in Iran. I doubt that that is often the case, and the stakes of this bill in our confrontation with Iran could not be any higher.

Wait, what? No, dammit, you're conflating two separate issues. Issue One is whether people have a due process right not to be put on the Bad Guy list, because it has dramatic consequences like being excluded from the United States and prohibiting Americans from trading with you. Issue Two is whether this bill makes it easier to put people in federal prison. You're helping to mix them up.

Then Cotton makes it worse:

Mr. COTTON. I’m happy to follow the procedure you just proposed that we work on language of the amendment in the coming minutes and hours, and then have a final vote on a revised version later, but there is substantive matters here when we’re working on the language, and I am still somewhat confused about the gentleman from Florida’s Constitutional concerns given that we’re not talking about American citizens.

Second, I am worried that if we include any kind of mens rea provision like knowing then how is the United States Government

going to prove what was and was not a knowing transfer inside the Iranian regime that has an ironclad grip on information. The

money may not ever have to be transferred, it may be provided directly from vendors or other people who are offering bribes to senior officials, to children, or spouses, or parents and so forth. But I am certainly willing to work on the language.

STOP TALKING ABOUT LAW, ASSHOLE. This bill doesn't do anything to the mens rea requirement — that is, the level of knowledge of wrongdoing required — for a criminal violation. The elements, quoted above, remain the same. If he's saying that there shouldn't be a knowledge requirement to be put on the Bad Guy list, then that's misleading because there has never been one. Entities put on the Bad Guy list can, and have, sued arguing that they were put on without sufficient cause.

Here comes Grayson again to make it worse:

When the government enforces this provision it either institutesa civil fine, or it institutes a criminal penalty. Every criminal defendant in our system is entitled to the Constitutional rights including, among others, the right under the Fifth Amendment to due process of law.

NOTHING IN THIS BILL SAYS OTHERWISE, YOU IDIOT. Nothing in this bill alters the process if the government wants to charge you with a crime for trading with the grandson of the Quds Force leader. It does not create a Gitmo for violators. It just changes who you can't trade with.

Mr. GRAYSON. If the gentleman is seriously suggesting that a grandchild of a high Iranian public official is subject to sanctions, including 20 years of imprisonment under our laws and our Constitutions, all I can say is that the gentleman is completely mistaken, completely and utterly mistaken. And, frankly, the fact that you would even entertain the possibility that we would put such people in jail in the United States, that we would imprison them in the United States shows that the gentleman may not well understand the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution and underscores my concern.

Is this what a stroke feels like?

Everybody Sucks

In conclusion:

1. Tom Cotton's 2013 amendment did not suggest that the relatives of Bad Guys could be put in jail without due process.

2. It is not entirely clear if Tom Cotton understood that.

3. It is not entirely clear if Rep. Grayson understood that.

4. Tom Cotton's amendment would have added the relatives of Bad Guys to the list of people you can't trade with. You can criticize that on its own terms — for instance, the impact of destroying the business of some poor bastard just because his grandpa is a huge murderous rights-violating bag of dicks. But whimsical definition of folks as enemies of America is a long-standig problem, made far worse after 9/11, and this debate doesn't clarify it at all.

5. This honestly is not rocket science. I figured it out and I move my lips when I read Garfield. Journalists report it inaccurately because (1) doing so promotes their narrative, (2) nobody expects more of them, and (3) they're lazy. YOUR JOURNALISM IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

This is how our laws are made, and nobody is explaining it to us right.

Nobody, Including Tom Cotton, Knows What Tom Cotton Is Saying About "Corruption of the Blood" © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

@TPRJones: What the hell, @MGM_Studios? James Bond: In Service Of Nothing is clearly fair use and you know it. Why do you have to be such shitheads?
Originally Published March 11th, 2015, 10:20 AM

What the hell, @MGM_Studios? James Bond: In Service Of Nothing is clearly fair use and you know it. Why do you have to be such shitheads?

Honest Trailers - Cinderella (1950)
Originally Published March 10th, 2015, 12:16 PM
Honest Trailers - Cinderella (1950)

Screen Junkies approved! Watch feature-length movies for free on Break ▻▻ Become a Screen Junkie! ▻▻ Watch more Honest Trailers ▻▻...
From: Screen Junkies Views: 4251472 62011 ratings
Time: 04:23 More in Film & Animation

Making a Full Bridge Rectifier
Originally Published March 5th, 2015, 10:55 AM
Making a Full Bridge Rectifier

A full bridge rectifier is one of the main building blocks of AC to DC converters. You can read my articles here: Follow me on Facebook:
From: Mehdi Sadaghdar Views: 958360 16057 ratings
Time: 04:15 More in Science & Technology

Fat Girl Part 2
Originally Published February 22nd, 2015, 11:04 PM

Hoo boy feels good to write all this stuff out instead of letting it bounce around in my head, gettin me mad all the time! Plus now I have some panels I can screencap to use in responses to people instead of having to write words

I'm not sure if there will be a part three. If there was one, it'd be about my experiences as a fat girl, which may be a little too sad? Maybe someday!

And don't worry guys, I wouldn't be making these comics if I was super miserable. I am feeling great about myself right now, so there's no need to send me cheer-up messages or anything, I know I am rad and beautiful. Also don't send me long advice emails please

Cranial Fauna
Originally Published February 22nd, 2015, 11:01 PM

Cranial Fauna

@TPRJones: I love this commercial: … #LikeAGirl Well done, @Always
Originally Published February 3rd, 2015, 04:12 PM

I love this commercial: … #LikeAGirl Well done, @Always

When Your Child’s Boy Friend Becomes Their Girl Friend
Originally Published January 27th, 2015, 10:51 PM

C.J. met Samuel about three years ago when Samuel was a boy named Samuel. Now, Samuel is a girl named Sophia. Initially, C.J. and Samuel bonded over being boys who liked to be mermaids in water and princesses on land. … Continue reading

"Dear Girlfriend, Will You..." (PROPOSING TO MY GF, WHAATT?!)
Originally Published January 19th, 2015, 08:51 PM
"Dear Girlfriend, Will You..." (PROPOSING TO MY GF, WHAATT?!)

FOLLOW GRACE ON IG: @ghilt11 "Cant Help Fallin in Love With You" cover by: Connor Manning Stalk me! (Or don't, I don't own you...) MAIL: Ashley Mardell, P.O. BOX 13313, Minneapolis, MN,...
From: Ashley Mardell Views: 142569 12192 ratings
Time: 12:24 More in Comedy

3 Prophets Walk Into A Bar
Originally Published January 18th, 2015, 10:38 AM

Probably the one and only time I've ever agreed with the current PM


Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock. Epic Rap Battles of History.
Originally Published December 15th, 2014, 10:49 AM
Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock. Epic Rap Battles of History.

Download this song here ▻ ◅ ERB Mittens biotchez! Season 3 Autographed CDs available at ▻ ◅ Subscribe for more battles!...
From: ERB Views: 22818514 272498 ratings
Time: 04:00 More in Entertainment

Solution to The Impossible Bet
Originally Published December 8th, 2014, 10:53 AM
Solution to The Impossible Bet

This problem is called the "100 Prisoners Problem", more info on the math here: Thanks to for supporting us on Subbable!...
From: minutephysics Views: 1062121 25329 ratings
Time: 03:59 More in Science & Technology

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