• Republicans are SO going to take back the White House in 2016 from those evil Democrats who've been in control of everything for the last 30 years, THANKS OBAMA. And they'll do it with cutting-edge technology and 21st century ideas. What, why are you laughing?

    Republicans have been boasting of their new digital campaign toolbox, but as the 2016 presidential race kicks into gear, they have gone retro by using vintage T-shirts as a fund-raising device.

    The Republican National Committee is making a year-end push to peddle red and blue “Reagan/Bush ’84” shirts for $27. The shirts are a “throwback to the days of strong, principled leadership in the White House,” the committee says.

    Maybe we're as bad at history as Republicans are, but we seem to remember a Republican or two who occupied the White House after Ronald Reagan. Gosh, we can't imagine why Republicans aren't pushing swag from the post-Reagan era. Maybe tee shirts about President Dubya's missing weapons of mass destruction -- hardy har har -- just aren't very hot sellers? Or maybe the RNC is just smart enough to know that reminding Americans of that particular "strong, principled leadership" isn't the best way to raise money for the party -- or to inspire Republicans to turn out the vote for 2016? Nah. They couldn't be that smart. Must just be an oversight.

  • One of the best Republican sex scandals ever:

    It was one of Capitol Hill’s most salacious scandals, featuring a senator’s affair with a campaign aide, an outraged husband, tens of thousands of dollars in hush money, illicit lobbying deals with Las Vegas power brokers and a dramatic intervention by a leading Christian ministry.

    Now, three years after the fall of former Senator John E. Ensign of Nevada, thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents reveal new details about the evidence the F.B.I. gathered against Mr. Ensign, a onetime Republican presidential hopeful.

  • Apparently, we need things like this spelled out for us:

    Nope. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has not become godmother of a Jewish baby to stop him from becoming a werewolf -- despite what you may have read in multiple news reports. [...]

    Like all good urban myths, the articles were based on a grain of truth: by tradition, the seventh son (or daughter) born to an Argentine family is eligible to become the godson (or daughter) of the president. Until this month, the honour had only been bestowed on Christian babies, but on Wednesday, Iair Tawil -- not a baby, but the strapping 21-year old son of a rabbi -- became the country’s first Jewish presidential godson. [...]

    But somehow, the story became entangled with the ancient legend of the lobizón (Argentina’s equivalent to the European werewolf).

  • In case you require yet one more reason to hate millennials:

    [Emerson] Spartz is twenty-seven and has been successfully launching Web sites for more than half his life. In Chicago’s small startup subculture, he is an envied figure. On his way to the conference, he ran into Jimmy Odom, a thirty-three-year-old businessman with dreadlocks. Odom described Spartz to me as “inspiring” and “legitimately awesome.”

    “Why won’t you accept my friend request?” Odom asked him.

    Spartz grinned apologetically and said, “Facebook puts a cap on how many friends you can have”—five thousand—“and I’m at the limit.” [...]

    Last year, Spartz, Inc., raised eight million dollars in venture-capital funding and made several million more in advertising revenue. As new-media companies like BuzzFeed and Upworthy become established brands, Spartz hopes to disrupt the disrupters.

  • This is very sweet story about a guy who loves the heck out of slicing salmon, or as our people call it, lox:

    [Len]Berk, 84, is the last Jewish fish slicer at Zabar’s, the iconic delicatessen on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

    Dressed in a white apron and a beige Zabar’s baseball cap, Berk sliced a broad strip off a side of Nova and cut it lengthwise into two translucent pieces. Then he lowered the glistening fish onto a piece of parchment.

    “It was so thin, you could read through it,” Rothstein told the Forward.

    Before Berk sliced salmon, he crunched numbers.

    He was a chartered public accountant his whole working life. He only started working at Zabar’s when he was 65.

    Even after almost 20 years of slicing, Berk still strives for the perfectly thin slice.

    “I’m not exactly sure what the perfect slice is, but I know that I haven’t achieved it yet,” he said. [...]

    His work has inspired him to write several short stories and poems, too. Most of them recall interesting employees, customers and events at Zabar’s. But some are more meditative. They explain why, even at 84, Berk is unlikely to retire anytime soon.

  • What is it like to live in space?

    When humans move to space, we are the aliens, the extraterrestrials. And so, living in space, the oddness never quite goes away. Consider something as elemental as sleep. In 2009, with the expansive International Space Station nearing completion after more than a decade of orbital construction, astronauts finally installed some staterooms on the U.S. side—four private cubicles about the size of airplane lavatories. That’s where the NASA astronauts sleep, in a space where they can close a folding door and have a few hours of privacy and quiet, a few hours away from the radio, the video cameras, the instructions from Mission Control. Each cabin is upholstered in white quilted material and equipped with a sleeping bag tethered to an inside wall. When an astronaut is ready to sleep, he climbs into the sleeping bag.

    “The biggest thing with falling asleep in space,” says Mike Hopkins, who returned from a six-month tour on the Space Station last March, “is kind of a mental thing. On Earth, when I’ve had a long day, when I’m mentally and physically tired—when you first lie down on your bed, there’s a sense of relief. You get a load off your feet. There’s an immediate sense of relaxation. In space, you never feel that. You never have that feeling of taking weight off your feet—or that emotional relief.” Some astronauts miss it enough that they bungee-cord themselves to the wall, to provide a sense of lying down.


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