So cool

Loved this NYT Magazine story on how smart parrots are:

Parrot partisans say the birds easily rival the great apes and dolphins in all-around braininess and resourcefulness, and may be the only animals apart from humans capable of dancing to the beat.

“We call them feathered primates,” said Irene Pepperberg, who studies animal cognition at Harvard and is renowned for her research with Alex and other African grey parrots.

love that fact about dancing.  I also love this video of a parrot dancing to one of my favorite songs from my childhood.  I would take my sister’s 45 and play it repeatedly.

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Trump’s Know-Nothingism

Of course, in many ways Trump’s nativism makes him a modern day Know-Nothing.  Even more so, however, his absolutely breath-taking ignorance about important matters of public policy.  Drum has collected some of his greatest hits from his recent interview with the Washington Post editorial staff.  Truly amazing:

On how he would have negotiated with the Iranians:

We should have had our prisoners before the negotiations started. We should have doubled up the sanctions. We should have gone in and said, “release our prisoners,” they would have said “no,” and we would have said, “double up the sanctions,” and within a short period of time we would have had our prisoners back.

On whether there are racial disparities in law enforcement:

I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that.

On racial disparities in incarceration:

That would concern me, Ruth. It would concern me.

On how he’d address racial problems:

There’s a racial division that’s incredible actually in the country…And you know there’s a lack of spirit. I actually think I’d be a great cheerleader—beyond other things, the other things that I’d do—I actually think I’d be a great cheerleader for the country.

On using nukes against ISIS:

I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me…

This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?

I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?

On intelligence, winning, and the war in Iraq:

Right now, look, you know, I went to a great school, I was a good student and all. I am an intelligent person. My uncle, I would say my uncle was one of the brilliant people. He was at MIT for 35 years. As a great scientist and engineer, actually more than anything else. Dr. John Trump, a great guy.

I’m an intelligent person. I understand what is going on. Right now, I had 17 people who started out. They are almost all gone. If I were going to do that in a different fashion I think I probably wouldn’t be sitting here. You would be interviewing somebody else. But it is hard to act presidential when you are being…I mean, actually I think it is presidential because it is winning. And winning is a pretty good thing for this country because we don’t win any more. And I say it all the time. We do not win any more. This country doesn’t win. We don’t win with trade. We don’t win with…We can’t even beat ISIS.

And by the way, just to answer the rest of that question, I would knock the hell out of ISIS in some form. I would rather not do it with our troops, you understand that. Very important. Because I think saying that is very important because I was against the war in Iraq, although they found a clip talking to Howard Stern, I said, “Well…” It was very unenthusiastic. Before they want in, I was totally against the war. I was against it for years. I actually had a delegation sent from the White House to talk to me because I guess I get a disproportionate amount of publicity. I was just against the war. I thought it would destabilize the Middle East, and it did. But we have to knock out ISIS. We are living like in medieval times. Who ever heard of the heads chopped off?

Photo of the day

From a recent Telegraph animal photos of the week:

An unfortunate bird got a soaking when it was sneezed on by a giraffe. The unlucky oxpecker was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught in a jet of drool when the giraffe seemingly let out a massive sneeze. Amateur photographer, Lisl Moolman was photographing animals at a waterhole in Kruger National Park South Africa when she captured the funny moment on camera.

Anunfortunate bird got a soaking when it was sneezed on by a giraffe. The unlucky oxpecker was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught in a jet of drool when the giraffe seemingly let out a massive sneeze. Amateur photographer, Lisl Moolman was photographing animals at a waterhole in Kruger National Park South Africa when she captured the funny moment on camera.Picture: LISL MOOLMAN / CATERS NEWS

Bullies

Sorry to beat a dead horse.  But it’s an important horse.  And this is coming from a guy who has complained that sometimes liberals gets too concerned with political issues involving transgender people.  Anyway, loved long-time NC Democratic strategist, Gary Pearce’s take:

Pat McCrory is like the schoolboy who knows it’s wrong for the bullies to pick on the weak kid. But instead of standing up, he goes along with the bullies.

It is an absolute failure of moral leadership.

Republicans can spin it how they will, but this is about picking on politically vulnerable people to get votes. It’s bullying. And it’s fitting for a party that’s about to nominate a loud-mouthed bully for President.

You suspect McCrory knows better. After Charlotte passed the ordinance, he said the legislature should leave it alone. Then he declined to call a special session. But he stood aside when Phil Berger and Dan Forest called the session. He remained silent all day during the session. He signed the bill. Stealthily. At night…

The best test here is: What would Jesus do? Would he make these people political piñatas? Or would he show them kindness, compassion and sensitivity?

McCrory and the Republican legislators chose the path of cruelty.

NYT on NC

Most of today’s NYT editorial:

Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law late Wednesday, said it was necessary to undo Charlotte’s ordinance, which included protections for gay and transgender people, because it allowed “men to use women’s bathroom/locker room.” Proponents of so-called bathroom bills, which have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, have peddled them by spuriously portraying transgender women as potential rapists.

That threat exists only in the imagination of bigots. Supporters of the measures have been unable to point to a single case that justifies the need to legislate where people should be allowed to use the toilet. North Carolina is the first state to pass such a provision. [all emphases mine]

North Carolina lawmakers must have recognized that careful scrutiny of the bill would have doomed it. They convened a special session on Wednesday — which cost taxpayers $42,000 — to ram the bill through. The House allowed for 30 minutes of public debate, limiting speakers to two minutes. The Democrats walked out of the Senate in protest…

By promoting the ludicrous idea that transgender women are inherently dangerous, the law endangers citizens who are already disproportionately vulnerable to violence and stigmatization. Transgender men go largely unmentioned in bathroom bill debates, but that could change. James Parker Sheffield, a transgender man with a beard, exposed the foolishness of the law in a tweet to the governor. “It’s now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife,” he wrote, attaching a photo of himself.

North Carolina could face serious economic repercussions from the law. It can expect a backlash from leading employers, a potential cut in federal education funding and lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the law. American Airlines, which has a hub in Charlotte, and PayPal, which recently announced it would create 400 jobs in the state, are among several companies that have already criticized the law.

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