Link Roundup, 4/28/2016

From the NYTimes: The Mirage of a Return to Manufacturing Greatness

From the NYTimes (same writer): NAFTA May Have Saved Many Autoworkers’ Jobs

From Quartz: iTunes is 13 years old-and it’s still awful

From Daily Dot: Computer viruses found infecting German nuclear plant

From The Atlantic: A DNA Sequencer in Every Pocket

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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70 comments on “Link Roundup, 4/28/2016
  1. Griffin says:

    I see the DNA sequencer was partly made for astronauts. Even with all the breakthroughs massively accelerated by NASA (http://list25.com/25-coolest-nasa-discoveries-that-changed-your-life/3/) and other government funded scientific agencies people still want to slash the funding of those programs (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2015/04/30/nasa_budget_gop_committee_wants_to_slash_and_burn_earth_sciences.html), even though those technologies could mean the difference between life and death for many of those same people when they develop a disease or have other health issues.

    In the meantime they want to massively increase the spending on fighting foreign terrorists, even though the chances of being killed in terrorist attack in a Western Country is miniscule. Could someone explain these priorities to me?

    • johngalt says:

      I agree with you about the budget priorities, Griffin, but the nanopore DNA sequencer was not made for NASA, though they have a use for it. This is not to say that public research funding did not play a significant role in its development.

      Between 1988 and 2013, the National Institutes of Health spent about $14 billion on research activities related to the Human Genome Project (total, not per year). A lot of money, to be sure, but this breaks down to $2 per year per U.S. resident. If you prefer, you could think about this as 0.1% of defense spending over that time. The Battelle Institute estimates that the return on that investment is 178-fold – that it has generated $1 trillion in economic activity over that time.

      New drugs, new technology, new discoveries: most of these are a partnership between publicly funded research in university settings and private companies, with the basic research at the university level and the commercialization at the corporate level. This is government spending at its best.

      (Full disclaimer: I have NIH grants myself, so I’m not an impartial commentator.)

      • 1mime says:

        jg, You should be partial where DNA research is concerned – you know the importance of this research to science and health. Too often conversation about “spending” boils down to our nation’s debt and ultimately, “who gets what”. Lifer and other respected scholars continue to focus on “smart” government, which IMO, coincides with “smart” budget priorities. The question becomes, “whose” priorities are most important. This is the ugly underbelly of the political budget process and average Americans (who are far more numerous than the top 10%) are being left out. These are the very people who would benefit most from the research that you and others in your field are performing, along with NASA, the NIH, and other vital agencies. This shouldn’t require groveling, or back room deals, or political trade offs. These are critical areas for our country and our people’s future.

        There is “only so much money”, and, yes, we have an $18T federal debt, but life goes on and we have to use what we have wisely. The basic problem here is trust. Most Americans don’t trust the process or those making the decisions. Smart government implies that our leaders come together with professionals and prioritize. The present stalemate over Zika funding is a prime example of utter stupidity and politicization of the worst sort. You can’t mess around with things like this. O and his health divisions have shifted as much money as they can from other critical health research because scientists know they have to get out front of this problem before summer. I cannot imagine how scientists and researchers must feel who are working on critical programs that are subject to the whim of the political charade we call our budget process.

      • johngalt says:

        During the last government shutdown, both my wife and I were scheduled to attend (separately) two different grant review panels, both of which were cancelled. Mine was rescheduled, at significant inconvenience and expense, while hers was converted to a teleconference, which is a terrible way to review grants (these meetings generally last 16-18 hours over two days). What a waste.

        The bigger problem is the R&D budget. For the NIH it has been flat in nominal terms for a decade, which represents a significant erosion of spending power once inflation is accounted for. And this has been at a time at which we have an unprecedented ability to make rapid progress. More and more of our students are opting for non-research careers when they finish because of the struggles with funding.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s heart-breaking and insane, JG. Our scientific community must be discouraged. I’ll bet this impacts America’s appeal to scientists coming here from other countries. What a travesty.

      • flypusher says:

        ” And this has been at a time at which we have an unprecedented ability to make rapid progress. ”

        Like Carl Sagan said, we’ve got increasing dependence on science and tech in combination with increasing ignorance about science and tech. A lot of that ignorance is in Congress where it hurts the most- just look at who has been on the relevant committees recently. We really could use more scientists in elected office, but there is a bit of a catch-22 there.

      • johngalt says:

        Ignorance is one thing, that can be fixed. Willful ignorance is something else entirely.

    • 1mime says:

      Just read these articles which speak volumes about how Republicans are strangling our government’s ability to function across any number of divisions. I cannot imagine how our scientists and key administrators can function effectively in this environment. Are you ready for the budget crisis we most certainly are going to face if the Freedom Caucus has its way? Shutting down government will be their top priority. As for Trey Gowdy’s report – you can bet its release will be timed for maximum negative impact on Clinton’s campaign. This cannot continue.

      http://thehill.com/homenews/house/277957-house-conservatives-push-for-strong-majority-of-majority-rule

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/04/29/unproductive-unfair-unfortunate-pentagon-official-scolds-house-benghazi-committee/?wpisrc=fl_powerpost

      • johngalt says:

        From The Hill article: “The Hastert Rule is named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who coincidentally was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday in a hush money case that involved former students he’s alleged to have molested.”

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, did you also notice that one of the more alert Republicans suggested they rename this process the “Ryan Rule”, but tweaking it so that it is even more stringent.

      • flypusher says:

        I read that Hastert got only 15 months (I believe he could have gotten 5 years), because of frail health. &$@# that. People who do the sort of heinous things he did ought to die in prison.

      • 1mime says:

        I asked earlier if anyone knew to “which” prison he would be assigned. What do you bet it’s the hollywood version?

      • flypusher says:

        “Yes, did you also notice that one of the more alert Republicans suggested they rename this process the “Ryan Rule”, but tweaking it so that it is even more stringent.”

        The best thing for the country would be to completely scrap that rule.

      • 1mime says:

        No s&*%. The really best thing for this country is to get these people out of government. They are wreaking havoc across the board and nothing satisfies them unless it is all their way.

      • johngalt says:

        Hastert was not convicted of child abuse. By some bizarre logic, there is a statute of limitations on that and so that was not part of the docket. He was convicted for some funny-money business (wire fraud) based on transactions he employed to pay hush money to some of the victims. The prosecutor asked for 6 months and the judge gave him 15. Not enough, I agree, but the punishment has to fit the crime he was convicted of.

      • 1mime says:

        Man in prominent position sexually molests boys and gets 15 months. Man gets arrested for possession of marijuana and he gets 15 months? Ha!

    • Bingo Griffin. If you ever find an answer that makes sense, please share it.

    • 1mime says:

      Can we hope that Puerto Rico might finally get some attention – no, not House action on financial assistance, but with a problem that is just a hop away from the southern border of the United States?

      ZIKA is coming.

      The O administration has tried to get out in front on vaccine research before summer when hoards of mosquitoes will be inbound to America’s shores, but the House refuses to approve its financial request – telling O, “shift the funds from other departments”, which they have done as best they could, from HHS, NIH, etc, but it is still woefully short.

      Time is running out. Maybe our esteemed members of Congress think only “pregnant women” are vulnerable to ZIKA….And, they would be wrong. Time has run out.

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/zika-death-puerto-rico-222646

      http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-04-28/obama-wants-19b-to-fight-zika-where-does-its-stand

  2. formdib says:

    Reading the The New York Times NAFTA article was like reading a high school history book about the Luddites with the dates and names transposed.

  3. A point of clarification on the NYT story. Manufacturing is coming back, but unaccompanied by traditional manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing is becoming a tech endeavor, but such endeavors are *increasingly* possible for those with limited capital access. I.e. the clever and inventive among us can increasingly get started and ramp up on the cheap. The founder of a company I admire started literally in his basement, building on his injection molding expertise to craft simple, reliable and exceptionally durable accessories for modern sporting rifles (MSRs). (See: https://www.magpul.com/foundations and, for instance, Fitzpatrick original offering: https://www.magpul.com/products/original-magpul-556-nato) Were he starting today, I have little doubt Richard. Fitzpatrick would begin building prototypes using a low-end 3D printer. So rub some dirt on it, and get back in there, America.

    • johngalt says:

      This is a good point. We still make a lot of stuff in this country but it is done with far fewer people. If Trump supporters wonder when these jobs are coming back, they should ponder the agricultural sector.

      • vikinghou says:

        There could be many well paying and non-outsourceable jobs to rebuild and update the infrastructure in this country. The state of our infrastructure is already hampering our ability to compete in the world marketplace. And the longer we wait to begin, the more expensive the task will be.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Definitely. I’ve got a friend with a slightly similar story. If you’re smart and innovative, there has never been better opportunities in small scale manufacturing right now.

      What ISNT ever coming back is the mindless, no skill “press a button” manufacturing jobs that pay well and require nothing more then a high school education. And, frankly, its debatable if thats even a bad thing.

      Of course those jobs are good in the short term, but just like evolution needs evolutionary pressures to progress, so too does innovation need innovative pressures behind it to progress. Huge amounts of well paying, no skill jobs reduces a lot of that pressure and doesnt force the workforce to innovate. And the time is coming when those jobs will disappear completely everywhere. When that happens, the skilled, innovative workforce will excel, and the workforce that got fat and complacent on an abundance of easy, low skill jobs will be in for a world of hurt.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Further to that last point, it may very well come to pass that when we look back at the entire progress of Western civilization a hundred years from now, the jobs that everyone is so upset about losing now will be looked at as us dodging huge bullet. We benefitted from those low skill manufacturing jobs during the Golden Age of manufacturing when they brought us the most benefit and used them to build a powerful middle class, and then we jettisoned them to China just as they became an anchor around their host economies neck.

        No doubt China has benefited in the short term from that. It may come back to bite them over the next 30 years though, as automation proliferates. Meanwhile, by that time, America has already fully transitioned to the new green, knowledge based economy through necessity and uses that enviable position to power growth into t˙e next century.

        Just a hypothetical situation , but one that seems plausible to me, perhaps even likely.

      • 1mime says:

        All those things are true, Rob, but there will still be people – lots of people – lost in the shuffle. I know the poor will “always be with us”, but it saddens me that we know this situation exists, is going to get worse, and are doing nothing to help those who can, transition to this new economy.

      • I agree, Rob. Getting there will be interesting, though, particularly from a political standpoint. We have one party that accumulates political power by promising people free stuff, and another that has devolved to similarly magical thinking, fueled by rank nativism and protectionism, suckered into the notion that with the right demagogue at the helm, it’ll all be great again. Basically, both parties are promoting recipes for disaster.

      • 1mime says:

        No, Tracy. I disagree. Both with your “one party gives free stuff” and the other….ditto. The last seven years has been a matter of “holding the line” and “keeping the house from falling in”. No free stuff from Dems. The other party? They’re reeeel good at “taking stuff” and giving it to the ones who are already doing pretty good. See the difference? It’s a giant shell game, but there is no way that I will accept your premise unless you agree that the “others” (Repubs) are “cutting stuff for the poor and while giving stuff to the rich”. Then, maybe.

      • texan5142 says:

        But what do we do with the drones! You guys make excellent points… what is beyond that. Unless you have a minimum wage for those left out of the utopia, what ever shall we do with the downtrodden.

      • texan5142 says:

        Let me be clear, I agree with what you are saying. Take into account those button pushers and mindless jobs that occupy the masses, something will give, maybe not in my lifetime. Was not Mad Max a documentary?

      • Hmmmm. Surplus labor. What to do?? The answers almost jump off the page.

      • texan5142 says:

        Why yes, they do.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Rob
        I disagree – there never were the sort of jobs you are talking about – they simply never existed
        I am a retired engineer – I supervised those people and their tasks
        The idea was to split a job down into small discrete parts – but it never got to the “push a button” stage – even in the old analog days we would have put a cam or a mechanism in place

        I’m digressing – the point is that there are still one hell of a lot of semi skilled jobs that need to be done and are simply NOT being done
        Because we are currently demand limited – NOT skill limited

        If the 0.1% had not stolen all of the productivity gains that the 99% made in the last 40 years the median wage would be nearly double and we would have a ton of demand and a ton of well paid jobs

      • 1mime, with respect to giving away” free stuff” on the one hand, and “taking stuff” on the other, we currently stand at $19,260,759,000,000 in debt, and counting, not to mention somewhere between five and ten times that number in unfunded liabilities. Clearly, the giving away free stuff contingent is overwhelmingly ascendant.

      • 1mime says:

        What is your plan to solve this problem, Tracy?

      • 1mime, as I believe you are well aware, I would have us drastically pare back the size and scope of the federal government, reducing it to its actual, constitutionally defined responsibilities. Not that I believe this is realistically possible, mind you, without first experiencing collapse. It is completely obvious to the most casual observer that our current course is unsustainable, and yet we lack the political will *as a nation* to make the necessary corrections voluntarily. Eventually they will be made, voluntarily, or more likely, involuntarily. On the bright side, it all needs to hold together for only another few decades, max, and then you and I will no longer be in a position to have to worry about it. 😉

      • 1mime says:

        Sure, let’s drown government in a bathtub. That collapse you envision? Guaranteed. You and I won’t be around but our children and grandchildren will. Wouldn’t a better solution be for our elected officials to cooperate, prioritize and try “governing” for a bit? Just to see if it could work even if it’s not “perfect”? Maybe if we could get back to a rational, civil process, it wouldn’t be as hard to make the tough decisions you envision. The outcome might not conform with your ideas, but at least it would be an honest, intelligent effort. When you start with the rigid rule that NO Democrats can be counted in the majority to bring bills to the floor, much less be counted to make up a majority for passage, consensus – which is fundamental to all business operation (as well as military planning), is impossible.

        That’s what we are dealing with here Tracy. The world I envision is big and messy and imperfect but it beats the heck out of what we have.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, I just had to share this with you. It precisely depicts how the political quagmire of the Republican Party is a major contributor to the problems you describe. Read it and weep.

        https://www.yahoo.com/news/congress-making-18-billion-gamble-120000409.html?ref=gs

      • Ah, well. Meanwhile, my son flies CSAR in an airframe older than he is. ‘Nuf said.

      • 1mime says:

        I hope he stays safe, Tracy. It must be terribly frustrating to young men like your son who are putting their lives on the line while Congress “dithers”. My understanding is that there is great disagreement over a plane that has been under development and waaaaay over budget going on years now….draining valuable resources into proven equipment that will safeguard “today’s” men and women in combat. IT’s nonsensical. I know you worry.

    • 1mime says:

      Great story, Tracy, but somewhere this man was encouraged to have an inventive mind….Education isn’t always necessary, but creativity is. The basement? Not so much in TX (-:

      • Ah, the age old nature vs. nurture debate. One does wonder. You can’t help but notice that individuals like Mr. Fitzpatrick are largely self-motivated. On the banana slug – honey badger spectrum, Fitzpatrick pegs the honey badger end of the dial. BTW, Mr. Fitzpatrick is a Coloradan, or at least he was until the state legislature outlawed his company’s primary product offering. I understand he now splits his time between Texas and Wyoming.

      • 1mime says:

        Most of the real interesting “inventors” seem to have tremendous curiosity which they are able to focus. Education and skills likely are of benefit but not critical to one who has innate intelligence and the personal drive and creative mind to pursue their end goal. That was my point. Not rocket science, just an observation. I’ve know many uneducated men in the oil field who developed highly useful tools and equipment. Of course, there are scientists and engineers and other professionals who make contributions but I think all of these people possess some basic curiosity and are unafraid to let the process happen. The lucky ones develop products that have commercial value so that they are not only personally gratified but financially rewarded.

  4. tuttabellamia says:

    With respect to music . . . I am still a faithful record and CD buyer, and I use streaming mainly as a source of portability, to be able to listen to music I already own in hard copy form, when I am out and about, or to sample music before I decide to buy a hard copy.

    I’ve tried various music streaming services and the one that works best for me is Google Play Music, hands down.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I also prefer “real” books, but for e-books, Google Play Books is also the best around.

      • 1mime says:

        I confess that I prefer to “hold” a real book, but have run out of shelves. I didn’t know about Google “play” books. Thanks!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I also prefer real books but as my eyes have grown older I appreciate the option of enlarging the print on e-books, plus as my hands have gotten older it hurts to hold large tomes so I appreciate the option of being able to hold a small tablet instead.

  5. 1mime says:

    Manufacturing decline. A bucket full of concerns in that article, Lifer. Sure, education, health care, and clean energy will help – everyone. But, it won’t be enough. The one thing that the article didn’t address is the FACT that we all know this is coming. We have time to mitigate the damage while not eliminating it all. Business, government, and community leaders could make this real problem a high priority and start to develop ways to deal with it.

    You can’t just “throw people away”. We have to do something to transition away from manufacturing of olde to the future. Where’s any discussion in this article about what we do concretely to prepare?

  6. vikinghou says:

    I have been using iTunes since I bought a first generation iPod many years ago. iTunes is far more complex today than the original app which was only for ripping your CDs and the uploading songs to the iPod. But I haven’t experienced the problems the author of the article seems to be suffering from.

    For me, iTunes is mainly a convenient way to make my music collection portable. I rarely buy any songs because the files are highly compressed and the sound quality is inferior when played on a good sound system. However, the codecs are getting better.

    I have uploaded hundreds of CDs to my iTunes file, way more music than would fit on an iPhone or iPod. One thing that irks me about the current iTunes application is that it no longer allows me to stream music from my computer to my iPhone. The iPhone will now only play songs that are in memory. Oddly, iTunes will allow streaming to my Apple TV box.

  7. johngalt says:

    Back to Chris’s links. I’ve been fortunate to see my scientific career span a period of remarkable developments in DNA sequencing. When I started, the state-of-the-art was called “Sanger di-deoxy” sequencing (a technology so revolutionary that won its creator, Fred Sanger, his second Nobel Prize for Chemistry). It required running reactions involving radioactivity in tubes, then loading them on to finicky, large-format acrylamide (a neurotoxin) gels, then running a high voltage through them to separate the DNA strands by size. These were then dried and exposed to film (to visualize the radioactive particles). At best you could read out 150-200 bases (letters) per reaction. A really good tech might get 2,000 bases per day. The genome of baker’s and brewer’s yeast (which I was working on at the time) was the second living organism to be decoded – it took 6 years of work by two dozen labs to sequence the 12 million letters.

    Later I was at one of the three major centers that led the public effort to sequence the human genome in the race with Craig Venter (the Whitehead Institute in Boston – I was not involved in this). Time was of the essence and the NIH gave our institution $300 million and nine months to spend it. Most of it was spent on Illumina sequencing machines.

    A couple of years after that, I attended a National Academies-sponsored symposium called “The $1,000 genome” to brainstorm about how to get a human genome sequenced for that amount. At the time, the estimate was ~$10 million per genome.

    Today a genome can be done for ~$2,500, a 4,000-fold improvement in 10 years. If Nanopore can be made to repeatedly work on a commercial scale, they will have done it, and probably for even less than $1,000. To compare this to going from the first powered flight to landing on the moon in 66 years is probably unfair – this might be even more remarkable than that.

    • It is just super cool. My 84 year-old uncle was diagnosed last October with a stage 3 large-cell lung cancer. His course of treatment was defined based on the sequencing results for his tumor biopsy, and he’s now in remission. Ten of fifteen years ago that kind of treatment fine tuning would not have been possible. Remarkable, all in all. 🙂

    • flypusher says:

      I did some of that old-school Sanger sequencing you described back in grad school. You had to keep a close eye on the temperature of the gel apparatus, or the glass plates would crack and bye-bye to those reactions. But the most nerve-wracking part for me was transferring that thin gel from the plate to the sheet of 3mm paper for drying- one little fold and again, all that work down the drain. I was successful in all my attempts, but I was very glad to outsource it once Sequencing Cores got started. But it did feel weird to outsource the micro injecting for CRISPR.

    • 1mime says:

      That’s a remarkable story, JG. How fortunate that you have been a part of it – however small or large. Reading things like this is the only time when I have regrets about the future: what I will miss. The innovative, creative mind is capable of achievements which are not even ideas right now.

  8. johngalt says:

    More off-topic Ted Cruz-ness. John Boehner gave a talk about politics and the election to Stanford students. He was asked about his personal opinion of the candidates. From the Stanford Daily:
    “When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.
    “Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

    http://www.stanforddaily.com/2016/04/28/john-boehner-talks-election-time-in-office/

    • 1mime says:

      That was really interesting, JG. I’m waiting for his “tell all” book….tho I doubt he’ll dis his party as much as it deserves. Loved his “walk out the same jackass I was 25 years ago”. Guess not many members of Congress can state that. Not even sure I agree with it….being in that political maelstrom has to change someone…whether for better or for worse is the question.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Although I have a hunch that Cruz likes to pretend he is proud that no one likes him, I suspect it hurts personally on some level, and I think it hurts politically on a lot of levels.

      It has been a long time since we have elected someone who was unlikable. We have a set of elections where the more likable candidate wins.

      Clinton over Bush
      Clinton over Dole
      Bush over Gore
      Bush over Kerry
      Obama over McCain
      Obama over Romney

      it is not as simple as “the most likable person always wins”, but I think it is hard for people to get energized to vote for someone that they simply do not like.

      Hillary has lots of folks that dislike her for any number of reasons (some of them are even valid reasons), but you just do not hear colleagues say these kinds of things about her. Sure, she lies, she cheats, and she probably killed Vince Foster with a candlestick in the library, but no one says she’s a miserable SOB.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Darn interesting article from Vox:

      http://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11526258/john-boehner-ted-cruz-republicans

      I found these excerpts particularly interesting…

      “In 2012, the congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein wrote a column for the Washington Post diagnosing what they saw to be the central problem in modern American politics.”

      “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics,” they wrote. “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

      “When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

      “The op-ed hit like a bomb. Mann and Ornstein were institutionalists with wide respect in both parties — Ornstein, in fact, worked (and still works) for the conservative American Enterprise Institute. For them to call out one party as “the core of the problem” in American governance was to violate all the rules of polite Washington society. Their diagnosis was controversial at the time, to put it lightly.”

      “Boehner was an ideological conservative. The problem is he wasn’t a procedural extremist.”

      As far as being a miserable son of a b***h, yeah I could say that about Cruz. Easily.

      For me it is literally personal.

      One little story. Remember that last government shutdown that was masterminded by Cruz/Mike Lee/etc. that lasted about half a month, I had a member of my immediate family who was a federal worker. Because they were considered an essential part of national security workforce they had to continue to work… without pay.

      At that time this relative of mine was dealing with health issues, a mortgage, the high cost of certain foods, a pest infestation and an ailing car that was needed for essential transportation… all while trying to worry about how to make sure another 9/11 would happen on their watch.

      It was a miserable time for my whole family when our financial assets were low. We tried to do best we could, just like alot of other people. We work hard and I also had two other members of my immediate family that have served in the military (and I would stay home often to look after their kids when needed).

      My family (and lots of other people) didn’t deserve to be in that situation just to help Ted Cruz (and allies) in their respective primaries or presidential aspirations… or to undermine the effort to expand health care to people who didn’t have it.

      ‘Cause we’ve been in that situation too.

      Not once did anyone (in my family/circle of friends) blamed Obama/ and or Democrats for that debacle. That was from my perspective a talk radio pipe dream.

      So yeah John Boehner, I would also agree.
      Ted Cruz…
      Son. Of. A. B***h.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      That was a pretty shocking thing for a recent SotH to say about a presidential candidate/sitting senator of his own party. I couldnt believe it.

      Strange times, indeed.

  9. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    I’m going to go way off topic to honor something that made me chuckle this morning. I cannot take credit for this nugget, and I’m not proud of my chuckle, but here ya go.

    Evidently, the media has been talking for long time acquaintances of Cruz, and it unearthed this anecdote:

    “My favorite Ted Cruz story is the time he tried to lay his egg sacs in a tree that was just too young. Thing was, he couldn’t inject the eggs deep enough into the tree and the tree didn’t have the kind of mature bark you need to protect the eggs from predators. Well, wouldn’t you know it, this goon spends nearly all July digging at this tree with his mandibles and slugging these eggs down through his proboscis into the flesh of the tree and he’s proud about it, rubbing his hind legs together and making this sickening whirring noise the whole time. He gets finished and perches himself on a branch to shed his skin and this Blue Jay, just a common Blue Jay comes over and just immediately gets to work pecking at the tree where millions of his eggs were and poof, just like that, a summer’s work is gone. Cruz is furious, we’re all laughing, it was great times. Hell of a stinger though on that little freak.”

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