... the xkcd way.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.
-- Alberto Gonzales
This beats the previous record for tone-deafness, which I'm sure you remember:
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."
You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.
-- Zbigniew Brzezinski to Joe Scarborough
I sent this one on by email when I first saw it, but did not blog it. I have no idea why. But it's starting to look like everybody else is covering for my lapse.
Mozilla has released a patch for its Thunderbird email program, bringing the latest version to 184.108.40.206. This upgrade fixes seven bugs, including five security vulnerabilities, all rated "moderate." (details)
If you don't have automatic updates or notification turned on, fire up Thunderbird and do Help → Check for Updates and you should be good to go. For me, the patch was about 480 KB. Download, installation, and program restart all done within a minute.
I know you were hanging fire waiting for this. Well, praise the Lord, the jonesing is over. Dennis Prager's "When a Woman Isn't In the Mood: Part II" is now available!
Hard to see why he felt compelled to spread this into two columns, since it's just the same message over and over: Women, never mind your talk about your "feelings." You are obliged to have sex with your husband every time he wants it. This is your duty, your very purpose, your highest calling in life.
Prager's drivel is up on Clownhall.com, the website where men are men and sheep are nervous. I'll decline his link bait -- I'm convinced a big part of what motivated him to spew this misogynistic nonsense is the same thing that motivates all wingnuts: the more it pisses off The Libruls, the better.
I'll go you one better: You can get to Prager's piece (and part I, if you're as morbidly fascinated by this as I am) by visiting Roy Edroso.
Blue Texan also reviewed Part I over at FDL.
Exercise for the student: Dennis Prager has been married twice. How many times has he been divorced?
Prager’s attitudes about sex could give his hand a headache.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Vicki Iseman is suing the New York Times.
If the name doesn't ring a bell, she's a lobbyist who was featured in a long NYT story on John McCain back in February. The piece looked at a range of possible ethical lapses on McCain's part. Iseman was mentioned as someone with whom McCain might be having an affair, "several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity." Needless to say, everything else in the article was ignored.
The story was huge for a day or two. Naturally, it outraged the sort of people who have spent the last two years eagerly reposting every shred of gossip, speculation, and rumor they could find about Barack Obama.
It must be said that the February article turned into a bit of an embarrassment for the Times. I, and not a few others on the left, thought at the time that including the tryst aspect of the story was a blunder. There wasn't enough there there, it allowed the rightwing noise machine to focus on this one soft spot, and all of the rest of the solid reporting on all of the other issues went for naught. It seemed to me that it took the Times months to recover enough spine to print another piece critical of McCain.
Anyway, back to the present: It's a new shiny object, concerning THE perennial object of loathing among the 101st Chairborne, and trousers are tenting all over Wingnuttia.
No one could have predicted.
The latest in the Chip The Magic Saltsman saga ...
I mentioned on Saturday that several prominent Republicans had publicly criticized Saltsman for his dubious taste in gift CDs. Now, via TPM, I see that Politico has a story describing a rallying-around of sorts by other Republicans. The media are being blamed for "hypersensitivity" on matters of race, the people who spoke out are being chastised for trying to gain advantage in their own pursuit of the chairmanship, various Republicans are parroting the "just a joke" line, Rush Limbaugh has waddled in and is promoting the song on his website, and so on. Some of the people quoted in the Politico piece are saying this could actually help Saltsman in his bid to become the next head of the RNC.
There's probably some truth to the charges of political opportunism, but for the rest: no. If it wasn't out and out racism, it was at least an unfunny slur with heavy racial overtones. Really, there's just no smarts in trying to defend Saltsman for this stunt. Did the GOP not learn anything from George Allen's "macaca" moment? It's as though they're saying, "We don't think we're a marginal enough party. How can we move farther out on the fringe?"
A short answer to a stupid question:
Q: Is there anything that Barack Obama could do that's too insignificant to outrage the wingnuts?
Because, you see, according to James Hanson, aka "Uncle Jimbo:"
29 is the cut-off for wearing your hat backwards, and while it's fun to flip the shaka, act like a big boy Barack. Keep your shirt on and quit trying to be the coolest kid in your geeky frat.
Because wearing it bill-forward makes you look all grown up, right?
-- Uncle Jimbo from his sole post at Daily Kos and from a screen-grab of a video of baseball-hat-wearing grownupness, available on Sadly, No!.
-- Barack Obama from Uncle Jimbo's fashion police post. Note that the image on Jimbo's site is named obama__gangsta_cool_2.jpg. (But this is NOT RACIST. And neither is calling a 47-year-old black man "boy." So there.)
-- James Hanson says Uncle Jimbo is "the persona I use to vent my frustrations regarding the fools and infidels running rampant on this planet."
Monday, December 29, 2008
Where's my medallion? I made Jon Swift's "Best Blog Posts of 2008!"
Okay, the full title is actually "Best Blog Posts of 2008 (Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)," and I got invited to submit my choice merely by virtue of having blogrolled Jon. (In my own defense, I did this long ago, and without thought of compensation or even reciprocation.) Jon, who is well-known as the Web's most reasonable conservative, has a "Liberal Blogrolling Policy."
Lots of good stuff on that list. Have a look.
And a shoutout to Jon for all he does to promote bloggers not (yet) on the A-list. Thanks, Jon.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Supply the correct party affiliation:
Former state Assemblyman George C. ''Chris'' Ortloff pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday morning to a felony charge in connection with his attempt to have sex with what he believed were two sisters, ages 11 and 12.
The former __________ assemblyman, also a former television reporter, was an outspoken advocate of tough penalties for sex offenders.
The months-long plans imploded for Ortloff on Oct. 13 when he was arrested by task force members. Ortloff had two vibrators, ''one for each minor,'' along with lubricant and condoms when he was arrested at a Wolf Road motel, authorities said.
Plenty of useful warnings suggested here:
As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.
Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.
Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.
(h/t: Adam O'Donnell)
Soon enough, the mess will be all Barack Obama’s. But in the holiday interregnum, the winter air is thick with excuses at the White House no-regret fest. The president has given 10 exit interviews, spinning an unnecessary war, the shredding of the Bill of Rights and an epic run of economic negligence as bold action taken with Churchillian fortitude.
No doubt the Weather Channel is waiting in the wings for his revision of Hurricane Katrina.
-- Timothy Egan
Runner-up: in the same op-ed, Egan passes this along:
The pretense that the surge is a success and that therefore the United States is winning the Iraq war is the opening salvo in a coming blame game as to who lost Iraq.
-- Peter W. Galbraith
The headline is "The Pre-Blame Game," and Egan's got it exactly right. RTWT, obvs.
Tim F. has an interesting post up at Balloon Juice, reporting on a study that showed a connection between loss of control in one's life and an increased willingness to see patterns where none exist, which suggests more susceptibility to conspiracy thinking. Best closing line of the week.
John Cole speaks for all of us:
This is what I hate about blogging. The premise that the troops hate Obama is so stupid that it is laughable, but you have to push back. Yet, the moment you push back, you are now engaging the idiots like Red State and Uncle Jimbo as if they have something legitimate to say. Really, the only response is to just mock these morons.
Indeed. And the same applies for fighting it out in online forums -- you never can be sure whether it's worth it to engage the wingnuts, but you hate to let their revisionist history, their dismissal of reality, their eagerness to smear, and their bigoted bile stand unchallenged. To do so is to continue to allow what has happened elsewhere in the media -- "liberal" became a pejorative, dissent became treason, and a "balanced" panel on the typical cable yak show evolved into a lineup consisting of someone from the far right fringe, two conservatives, and one inside-the-Beltway moderate.
But yeah, we do have humor. Hard as it is to find, sometimes.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I mentioned yesterday that Chip Saltsman, a candidate to be the new chair of the Republican National Committee, sent out a CD that contained, among other things, a song called "Barack, The Magic Negro."
In my opinion, this isn't funny and it's in bad taste. (source)
I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate ... (source)
This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it. (source)
Oversensitive, speech-suppressing, overly PC humorless Libruls!!!1!
Actually, the above come from top Republicans Saul Anuzis (Michigan GOP chair), Mike Duncan (current national GOP chair), and Newt Gingrich.
For some reason, this brought tears to my eyes. I guess because it's that beautiful a moment.
You might want to read Sean Carroll's post first. Or just watch.
Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.
-- Butch Hancock, via RS Janes
More good stuff at the link.
Friday, December 26, 2008
If so, they're shutting it down. If you missed the notification email from the NYT, or put off acting upon it, I'm here to tell you that you can transfer your saved articles to Furl, which is one of those newfangled social bookmarking sites. Just visit
and you'll be walked through a painless process. At least, it was for me.
Remembering to look there a week from now, though …
Swiped from a fluff piece in the NYT which is nonetheless fun to read.
Shorter wingnutosphere: How dare he frivol away time in an elitist foreign country when honest hard-working Americans are suffering.
People on the left are outraged that the person whom Obama chose to deliver the invocation at the Inauguration is a homophobic bigot who lies about his own long record of bigotry.
People on the right are outraged that the person whom Obama chose to read a poem at the Inauguration uses naughty words.
(h/t: Instaputz, whose observation is more profound than mine)
The Angry Professor has a Christmas quandary I've never had to deal with:
Suppose a member of your family sent (via USPS) a gift that you didn't like. Specifically, the gift was both inappropriate and offensive to you and your family. This person knew the gift would be offensive and sent it nonetheless.
Given that direct confrontation will not serve any constructive purpose, is it okay to pretend the gift never arrived?
I proposed regifting. To an enemy.
You know what I just realized?
Don. Doff. Don. Doff.
I guess I should be happy I can read whole words at a time and not have to sound out each letter, but still …
If you're wondering what brought that on, it was reading Michael Kimmelman's piece on Bruno S., coming across the phrase "… which he peels away, as one doffs heavy clothing," and thinking that I wasn't sure if I had ever heard of anyone doffing anything besides a hat before.
Turns out that the review was picked by TNR as one of their bests of 2008. I remember loving it back then, and I'm about ready to enjoy it all over again: Michael Tomasky's Jackboots and Whole Foods.
BTW, if you read Roy's post first, whatever the problem was with the link that's mentioned in his footnote seems to have been addressed. The link to the review above is directly from the article site, in any case, so there's nothing to worry about.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We have the result we want:
Two new studies suggest that substances usually associated with dulling the mind -- marijuana and red wine -- may help ward off Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related memory loss. Their addition comes as another study dethrones folk remedy ginkgo biloba as proof against the disease.
At a November meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in Washington, D.C., researchers from Ohio State University reported that THC, the main psychoactive substance in the cannabis plant, may reduce inflammation in the brain and even stimulate the formation of new brain cells.
Meanwhile, in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, neurologist David Teplow of the University of California, Los Angeles reported that polyphenols -- naturally occurring components of red wine -- block the formation of proteins that build the toxic plaques thought to destroy brain cells. In addition, these substances can reduce the toxicity of existing plaques, thus reducing cognitive deterioration.
MK emailed me a link to this vid. Not my favorite song in the world, but this version really grew on me the longer I watched.
... the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds.
This is a statement made about Amazon's Kindle, in an interesting article about ebook readers in the NYT. Probably related: this article is currently one of the most emailed.
That the Kindle is most popular among the age group that it is probably says something about who can afford what kind of toys. But I would think it also speaks to the legibility and ease of use, if that doesn't make me sound too ageist, and I find this encouraging. I look forward to v2.0 and a 50-75% price cut, and I hope this occurs before I join said demographic.
I was also interested to note that FoxIt is coming out with their own ebook reader in February. FoxIt, you may remember me mentioning, is best known for its alternative to Adobe Reader; i.e., a better program for reading PDF files.
Twin passed along this paparazzo shot of Barack Obama on vacation, a couple of days ago, when it was on the HuffPo's home page. Click it to big it.
I was just going to post it, to contribute in my own small way to provoking fluttering among Greater Wingnuttia, but then I thought I'd see what they had to say.
JammieWearingFool sniffs that the picture was "staged," calls him "scrawny," and then emits a long stream of what I'm guessing passes for satire among wingnuts, involving an imaginary Obama spokeswoman saying things like, "the gay useful idiot community will come to regard The Messiah as a gay icon of sorts. I mean, why else would he wax himself before we set up that paparazzi shot?"
Ann Althouse finds her obsession with other people's torsos rekindled, happily echoes the scores of pectoral muscle-deficient Freepers who can't stop squawking manboobs! manboobs!, posts a link to a picture of a shirtless Vladimir Putin to provoke her commenters into saying Putin is "more manly" (hey, it worked!), but harumphs that Obama is exempt from her rule -- that she imagines the whole universe must obey -- that men may not wear shorts ever, since he was at the beach. (Phew. I was worried.) She then waddles into her own Comments section to offer, "We can discuss whether those are pecs or manboobs... or implants."
The High Priestess of Unwarranted Outrage calls it "beach porn" and asks, "How many times do we need to see those man-boobs?" (That word again!) We're sorry to hear someone is holding a gun to her head and making her do endless Google Image searches while flipping through the news channels on TV. She then asks, "Who needs eye bleach?" I know I do, and earplugs, too.
Sister Toldjah chimes in. "Not more shirtless pictures of Barack Obama!" she wails. She shudderingly recalls the 2007 beach shot of Obama in People magazine, and also reports, "The UK Sun has shirtless pictures of world leaders from the past - and some from the present. Ew!" Naturally, she links to them all. The horror!
The Troll Beneath The Arch posts what he calls the "Obligatory Messiah Pec Pic." Who, I ask, who is forcing all these poor rightbloggers to do these terrible things?
Jennifer Harper, writing in the official newsletter of Rev. Moon's Unification Church, hastens to downplay Obama's appeal, saying, "Mr. Reagan cut a dashing figure in office whether astride a horse or in spotless tuxedo." She does not mention in what stage of undress she imagines the Gipper in saddle. She quotes a flack from Brent Bozell's Fount of Disinformation, who says that it's okay to speculate that the beach pictures were staged as a way to distract the media from Blagojevich, since "When beauty queen photos of Sarah Palin surfaced during the presidential campaign, the press coverage was negative. And you can be sure if positive images of President Bush in a bathing suit had appeared sometime in 2000, the press would have cast suspicions on them as a staged photo-op." Harpy does not agree with JWF's "scrawny" characterization, instead saying that this picture of Obama, when compared to the 2007 shot in People, shows him to be "a little chunkier."
The woman whom S,N! commenters have called K-Mart Coulter opines: "[I]n fact, it's a carefully orchestrated exercise in the homo-erotic, dreamed up by the Uber-conceit of Obama himself (look at me, I'm bugg) and his largely male team of advisor-ooglers." She then informs us, "I, myself, am not impressed at this wannabe Supermodel soon to become our Commander-in-Chief," and goes onto list all presidents who worked out, since they were unarguably all bad, and clearly, the connection between working out and being a bad president cannot be overstated.
Crippy at RedState also notes the Shirtless Putin/Shirtless Obama comparison (another rightblogger taking direction from Drudge, it appears), and points out the key difference: "the thing that struck me most about the two pictures is that the former KGB Agent and current Russian Dictator is wearing a small gold cross while Barack Hussein Obama is not." He concludes, "I understand and acknowledge being on the fringe but I still have doubts about his citizenship, religion, and most of all his allegiance."
So much for the old saw, "If you think you're crazy, you're not."
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Remember what I said earlier about Obama's invitation to Rick Warren potentially having a divisive effect on the Christianists? Read 'em and weep. With joy.
Liberals and gay activists aren’t happy with Barack Obama for choosing pro-life and prop 8 supporting pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama’s inaugural. But pro-life readers seem to be equally upset at Rick warren for agreeing to it.
The Brody File has been flooded with emails and most of them absolutely rip Pastor Warren for doing this. Below is but a very small sampling. I can’t reprint all of them but let me just say that pro-lifers are NOT happy with Warren at all.
Southern Baptist Pastor Wiley Drake bashed Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren this week, saying "God will punish" Warren for agreeing to give the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration next month.
"I pray He is kind to you in this punishment that is coming," Drake wrote in a widely-released e-mail. In it, the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park pastor criticizes Warren's "recent plan to invoke the presence of almighty God on this evil illegal alien," a reference to Obama.
Drake said Warren, also a Southern Baptist minister, is "hurting our denomination, and the Lord's work."
He continued: "God will deal with you on this … God will not wink at this."
"It's an abomination before God and God's going to deal with that," Drake, in an interview, said about Warren's role in the inauguration. "I've gotten several e-mails in response, and overwhelmingly, they have been supportive."
On Freedom's Wings headlines "Christian Conservatives Should Be Upset About Rick Warren Choice As Well" and says, among other things:
And does anyone believe that Obama will embrace Christian conservatives? I mean his theology is Marxist Black Liberation so I really don’t see that happening, nor do I think that he is a Christian although I cannot see his heart. I agree that this is a good move on Obama’s part, but my focus is on Rick Warren. Just as I went after Joel Hunter about praying at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, I’m going after Rick Warren on this.
I also question how someone could appear to endorse a President who supports infanticide and Marxism. We should all pray for our President regardless of who that person is, but should we endorse that person?
Hold on tight now. Bad craziness coming. She contrasts Warren to Billy Graham ("a true man of God who has not used his celebrity for personal gain") and his son Franklin (who "would seem the likely heir to the Inaugural Invocation in the spirit of tradition") and wonders:
So is this shift coming perhaps from God Himself? Have we turned our backs on Him to such a degree that He is handing us over now? Of course, I would expect both Grahams to either decline the offer or use the opportunity to spread the gospel and strongly condemn the areas of disagreement with Barack Obama, yes even the gay marriage stuff.
NB: OFW describes herself as gay.
Christian broadcaster Ingrid Schlueter, blogging at Slice of Laodicea, has a whole category devoted to Rick Warren, called "Purpose Driven Madness," featuring posts with titles such as "Rick Warren to Give Invocation for Pro-Child Killing Obama," which concludes:
To those who defend Rick Warren in his treachery and betrayal, God help you. Repent of your blindness before it’s too late to turn back.
In a later post alerting readers to her next radio show, she says:
I’ll be discussing the issue of neutrality on moral issues in light of Rick Warren’s agreement to pray for God’s blessing on Barack Obama’s Administration which is committed to the unspeakable evil of child killing, among other things. Warren now finds himself in the middle with fundamentalists on either side–both Christian and homosexual. As he attempts to dodge the shrapnel in his unfortunate position, it’s a reminder that in the spiritual battle we face, there is no middle ground.
BTW, if you didn't already know: "The Laodicean Church ... is probably best known for being one of the seven churches addressed by name in the Book of Revelation."
I'm writing to share my profound and abject revulsion at your agreement to offer the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as president Jan. 20.
I understand you want this to be a time of "healing" for our nation. I understand you consider Obama to be your "friend." I understand your desire to bring "civility" to our society.
However, when we read the Bible, we see there are times for men of God to stand up to leaders, like Nathan did to King David, and confront them with the absolute truth of God's word and His laws. That's what all Christians should do when confronted with leaders embracing evil.
That's a strong word.
But I use it advisedly.
I'm trying to imagine Jesus giving an invocation at the inauguration of such a man. I think you will agree, it's unimaginable.
Wait. I thought Obama was the Messiah. Wingnuts are so confusing.
(A comment first posted on Salon)
I do have to say, though, that it appears as though Joan Walsh made some poor choices during her recent cutbacks -- does no one proofread at this joint anymore?
I was first irked by this:
This city enables one to leap or pipe pretty much whenever you feel like it ...
I can appreciate that "enables one to leap ... whenever one feels like it" sounds a bit stuffy, but if you're going to use the second person, use it. Don't be ashamed of it. It's perfectly acceptable in all but the most formal of writing these days.
This is just inexcusable:
A man gets a keener sense of the divine in a church that is not your own.
Particularly coming from a man who insists on saying. "Whom are you kidding?"
... bloggers ... really need to get a life. A lot of people think that because they can sit in the quietness of their own home and hide behind a screen, they can hurl all kinds of bombs at people and get away with it.
-- Rick Warren
Shown below: Rick Warren,
blogging vlogging these very words.
He can say what he wants on the YouTubes, but there's a case to be made that those in the life-devoid community have already had some effect on him. According to Mike Rogers, speaking on Hardball, Warren's web site has just been scrubbed of all its anti-gay screeds.
Or maybe this was demanded by Obama? Either way, the Warren pick is looking more and more like a smart move.
I have agreed in spirit with everyone who's been outraged by the Rick Warren choice, but I have to say, I have failed to care that much, even if Michael Bérubé almost made me wish I had a time machine so I could go back and support his argument when it might have had some chance of succeeding.
Obviously, the ideal for me would have been for there to be no preacher at the Inauguration at all. Since that's not a realistic option, I think of it this way: It is my sense that Obama knows a lot more about politics than any of us, and if he thinks this is a useful gesture to make as far as reaching out to some of the conservatives in this country, fine. Symbols matter, but accomplishments matter more, and he's going to need either some help from the right or at least a diffusion of their anger against him to get done what we'd like to get done.
I could even look at this cynically -- as a way to compromise Warren in the view of the more extreme of his flock. It seems to be the consensus among the Angry Left that there's no way any of Warren's followers are going to like Obama as a result of this invitation. This is a point I do not agree with -- you always get some movement by some followers as a result of their leader's actions. But even if I'm wrong about that, it may well turn out that Warren loses 5 or 10% of his most wingnutty attendees, and that'd be a good thing. Divide and conquer, I say.
Now that we've seen this move by Warren to clean up his website, and doubtless, he's been forced to "clarify" his views on TV numerous times already, I'm thinking it suggests Obama has pulled Warren a little closer to his views, at least in terms of a public face. And that matters, at least as much as his symbolism in the first place. If Warren's web site is live with no homophobia for the next month, that's not nothing. It will bear re-examination after 20 January 2009, of course. But in the meantime, there's a good chance that Warren's dialing down of his homophobia has already sent some of his more hate-filled followers father out into the wilderness.
Or who knows? Maybe Warren really will have a change of heart from this experience. It's a time of hope, after all. And there's a new sheriff in town.
I've come across a couple of my favorite bloggers' contests for best wingnut posts of the year. The categories are many. Gobs of great bad reading.
Andrew also has some categories that are not wingnut-focused:
Actually, the Yglesias and Mental Health Break Awards do not feature bad writing. All categories are defined on The Daily Dish Awards glossary page.
The Poor Man Institute:
- Chickenhawk of the Year
- The Fluffy
- Purple Teardrop with Clutched Pearls Cluster
- The Creamy Baileys
- Soggy Biscuit
- Wank of the Year
- The Palme D’Haire
(h/t to Twin for reminding me about the Sullys. Which is not what he calls them, for reasons passing understanding.)
Via email from TC, here's Lewis Black's take on the Old Testament from sometime in the recent past. I hope Rick Warren doesn't take my posting this as a slap in the face.
For your convenience and continued viewing pleasure, I've found what appears to be the next segment from the same show. Caution: this one's soundtrack is a little louder.
Need a little more mockery to get you through the War on Christmas? Remember Marcus Brigstocke? Trust me: it's worth the click.
Via email from KK, this is from The Guardian:
2008 in lists: Our 10 favourite headlines from The Onion
Man With Apple Hovering In Front Of Face Sues René Magritte's Estate
New VH1 Show Cancelled For Not Being Pathetic Enough
Woman Profoundly Moved By Lyrics Artist Put Zero Time Or Effort Into
Black Guy Asks Nation For Change
'I Am Under 18' Button Clicked For First Time In History Of Internet
Powerful 'His And Hers' Towel Lobby Stalls Gay Marriage Legislation
MTV Movie Awards Snubs Director Jonas Mekas Yet Again
Commas, Turning Up, Everywhere
Wealthy Teen Nearly Experiences Consequences
History Doomed To Repeat Itself, Reports Man Who Just Dropped Food On Pants
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Roy Edroso already noted this in his weekly wrap-up of the wingnutosphere. However, I see trained shill Matt Lewis still hasn't let it go as a talking point, so I figured I'd document a few examples of the latest moment of fail from the perpetually outraged. All emphasis original.
If the Chicago Sun-Times's Michael Sneed Is Right . . .
"President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds — dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat."
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed passes on a rumor that Rahm Emanuel shows up in 21 separate taped conversations with Governor Rod Blagojevich talking about Obama’s Senate replacement.
Gateway Pundit states it as fact:
Feds Taped Rahmbo Holding 21 Conversations On Senate Seat
According to Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times, Rahm Emanuel was not recorded in one, two, three, four or five conversations captured by the feds; he participated in TWENTY-ONE conversations recorded by Fitzgerald’s team.
Allow me to write the number again: 21.
And so (s)he does. Five more times after that, all in bold. But who's counting?
The Jawa Report throws in a gratuitous "at least" and then tries for sarcasm via excessive capitalization:
Rahm also has reportedly had at least 21 conversations with Hot Rod about the Senate seat, and they're on tape.
Yeah - they had NO IDEA what was going on. The-babe-in the-woods-routine.
So, brave reporters, your question now becomes- WHAT DID OBAMA KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT? HOW ABOUT RAHM? Get to work, my little media darlings. Why don't you airdrop a few hundred reporters into Chicago to get to the bottom of this like you did in Wasilla? Whatsa matter? Afraid of exhibiting the audacity of
hopeasking a few tough follow-up questions after Obama tries to cut you off?
Anybody seen or heard from Rahm Lately? Let’s just say the 21 doesn’t mean he was playing Blackjack. RBO:
No wonder Rahm’s got lockjaw. He’s on 21 taped conversations!
Clownhall's Matt Lewis (remember him? He's the one that got me started), speaking on TV earlier today, after insisting that Hawaii was "out of the country:"
But, look, I find the most interesting thing about this is the Chicago Tribune reported last week there were, like, twenty-one phone conversations between Rahm Emanuel and Blago.
Ah, well. Only off by 20. ABC's George Stephanopoulos:
Sources tell me that the Obama team's review of contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will show that Rahm Emanuel had only one phone conversation with Blagojevich.
The contact, described as a "pro-forma" courtesy call, came as Emanuel was named Chief of Staff for Obama. Most of the discussion concerned Emanuel's Congressional seat (which had previously been held by Blagojevich), with only a "passing reference" to the Senate vacancy, according to these sources. No deal for the Senate vacancy was discussed.
So why did the wingnuts all have the same number? Because they all linked to the same source.
Who was this source? Gossip columnist Michael Sneed.
Who? Glad you asked: "Blago's favorite patsy."
So much for the much trumpted citizen journamalism of the Right.
Maybe it's time to go back to the birth certificate?
[Added] Jed has a video montage of the magic number being intoned on TV by most of the usual suspects.
Clenched fist salute to Tim DeChristopher.
If racist "humor" makes you irritable or queasy, don't click either link.
The American Taliban, also known as the Parents Television Council,* apparently no longer content with spamming the FCC every time a wardrobe is perceived to have malfunctioned or blowing a
load fuse every time someone on TV mentions masturbation, has expanded its never-ending quest for reasons to be outraged. Now under their microscope: YouTube comments.
Yes. YouTube comments.
Seriously, does anyone who uses the Web not already know that with the possible exception of forums.hannity.com, there is no larger online repository for teh stupid than YouTube comments?
Among other shocking findings from the PTC's latest "study:" searching for the word "porn" RETURNS LINKS THAT LEAD TO PORN NEARLY HALF THE TIME!1!!!1!
AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE CALL HANNAH MONTANA A BITCH!1!!!!1!!
(h/t: Dwight Silverman)
* As of the time of this post, Brent Bozell had not contacted us to deny the speculation that he omits the apostrophe in Parents Television Council because apostrophes remind him of sperm cells.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Count the exploding heads, if you can.
Of course, some of the wingnuts will hop up and down, going, "See? See? Told ya he wasn't a real conservative!"
Stolen from Ken Layne over at Wonkette. He has more words.
* We're not just making things up for blog post titles. This is a data-driven blog!
See The Pew Research Center for details on the 20-odd percent and the original of the above chart.
And don't forget, me and PK disapproved before it was fashionable.
[Added] Of course, 20-odd% may be a misoverestimation by this point.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The security patch that Mozilla issued this past Tuesday is the last one that will be shipped for version 2 of Firefox. Version 220.127.116.11 is the end of the road for this old version.
[Added] Actually, there may be one more coming very soon, if it's not already available, to take you to v.18.104.22.168. Do Help → Check for Updates if you don't have automatic notification turned on. This patch is a patch to the last patch, in which one fix was left out, as I understand it. But this will definitely be the end of work on version 2.
You should consider upgrading to Firefox 3 as soon as possible. You don't want to be surfing the Web with a browser that won't be getting any more attention paid to possible new security holes. If v3 put you off upon initial release, chances are, whatever you complained about back then has been fixed. Or can be, with a suitable adjustment via Tools → Options or about:config. I've been using it since June, and I'm still happy. Plus, version 3.1 is scheduled to be released soon (second beta already available; the latest stable release is v.3.0.5), and this new version is supposed to be speedier still.
(h/t: Brian Krebs)
Oh, and btw: You did install the latest patch for IE, right? Even if you primarily use Firefox? Good. That's what I thought.
In this week's address, Obama talks about his picks for his science and technology advisors and describes the attitude his Administration will hold towards science.
Our long national nightmare is almost over.
P.S. If you want/don't want to see closed captioning, click the up-arrow button in the lower right corner of the video toolbar and click the CC icon.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Happened across the Conservapedia entry for the Moon. Just marvel at this sentence:
Atheistic theories of the origin of the Moon, widely taught for decades despite lacking the falsifiability requirement of science (see Philosophy of science), have been proven false.
Not falsifiable, yet falsified. Now that's magical thinking!
I should have checked another source when I posted the latest on the Birthers and their adventures at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Here's the opening line from the entry for Barack Obama on Conservapedia:
Barack Hussein Obama II (allegedly born in
Honolulu, August 4, 1961) …
Is this a tip of the hat by Friedman to Krugman? Or, since I don't think the columnists write their own headlines, do you think the headline writer is trying to say something about Friedman's originality? Or is this just a n00b who can't remember why the phrase sorta sounds familiar?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I just joined Twitter. Now I can't think of anything to say.
But if you want to
stalk follow me in case something comes to mind in the future, please feel free. (twitter.com/bjkeefe, if you hadn't already guessed.)
If you're on Twitter, please @ me. (Is that the right term?)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Last week it was Donofrio who went down in flames. This week, it's Wrotnowski and Berg.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has rejected two more efforts to get the court to consider whether President-elect Barack Obama is eligible to take office.
Individual justices and the entire court have turned down emergency appeals over Obama's eligibility at least seven times in the past six weeks.
Actually, I'm not sure the AP has this quite right. Looking at the Supreme Courts dockets for Donofrio, Wrotnowski, and Berg, I see that Donofrio has been shot down by Souter and then the whole Court, Wrotnowski by Ginsberg and then the whole Court, and Berg twice by Souter (two different applications) and now by Kennedy. That's seven denials, only one of which is attributed to Kennedy.
The docket for Berg has a curiosity. On the line right above Kennedy's denial, there's another entry, also marked with today's date:
Dec 17 2008 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 9, 2009.
Adding this to the fact that the whole Court has not yet denied Berg, we can only imagine that the Birthers are saying, "Hope lives," right?
And there are other cases still pending, right? (*pant, pant*)
A note on terminology: Following the label of Truthers, which refers to those who saw conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks, it is becoming common to use Birthers to mean who cannot accept that Barack Obama was born in the United States and is an American citizen. Demonstrating that a man may wear more than one tinfoil hat, Philip J. Berg is both a Truther and a Birther.
Doughy's mom's website wants to infect you! And your machine!
For the time being, I've removed Lucianne from the list of sites comprising Wingnuttia Search.
Here's a live link to the Google search results, same as I used to get the above screen grab, to see if the status of her site remains the same.
Here's Google's report on the site.
Can you say ... censorship??? You can if you're a wingnut.
Although "criminal" might be more to the point. In a just world, it would eventually be "convicted felon." Here's a flat-out admission of guilt:
Visit ABC's website to see the original video clip. You can also see the video and transcript of the full interview. In the latter, when asked about the barbaric interrogation techniques he approved, he declares, "We don't do torture. We never have." How can he say this? Because "we had the Justice Department issue the requisite opinions …"
Oh. Okay then.
(h/t: Roy Edroso)
Microsoft has released a patch to close the severe security hole I mentioned yesterday. If you don't have Windows Updates set to run automatically, visit update.microsoft.com before you use Internet Explorer to visit any other sites.
If you don't have automatic updates enabled, do Help → Check for Updates. As it happens, I had automatic updates turned on, so I don't know how big the patch was. Apparently, it download and installed without a problem -- last night -- and let me know the next time I started Firefox this morning.
Also, I see that Ryan Naraine is reporting that Opera has a new version available, too. This patch will bring you to version 9.63. I don't have Opera installed, so I can't tell you anything about this, but Ryan says there are several critical holes to be closed.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
(Bumped to keep near top)
I advised you this past Saturday to stop using Internet Explorer. There is a known security flaw in all versions. You are extremely vulnerable to an exploit getting through this hole. You don't even need to be fooled into downloading something; just visiting an infected web site can get it done, and often, the web sites you visit are not intentionally infecting you -- they themselves are infected and are unaware. As of this morning, over 10,000 web sites have been identified as infected, and the number of infected sites is increasing quickly.
Even Microsoft is all but flat-out advising users to stop using IE temporarily.
If you absolutely must use IE, Microsoft has a list of things to do about which they say: "Although these workarounds will not correct the underlying vulnerability, they help block known attack vectors." Visit their page titled Microsoft Security Advisory (961051), and under "General Information," expand the "Suggested Actions" section. In that section, expand the "Workarounds" subsection, and follow the instructions listed there.
[Added] However, Brian Krebs says not all of these appear to work, or take considerable fussing to accomplish.
Really, though, if you don't absolutely have to use IE, it'll be way easier to switch to another browser, at least temporarily. I recommend Firefox. Chrome, Opera, and Safari are three other options. None of these four browsers have this same flaw.
Brian Krebs reports that Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing a patch on Wednesday to close this security hole. Details are sparse; the implication is that it will be delivered through Windows Update. Check his blog, Security Fix, on Wednesday for news as he gets it. I'll try to note it as soon as I hear about it, too.
[Added] Confirmation and more info about this on Microsoft's Security blog.
If you want more discussion on where things stand today, this is the lead story on Buzz Out Loud podcast #873. There are links to text articles on that same page, and you can find a bunch more links on Techmeme.
Remember: friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer. Pass the word.
The latest version of VLC is 0.9.8a. This version closes a security hole, and upgrading from earlier versions is urged ASAP.
The "Check for Updates" mechanism built into the program did not work for me -- I kept getting "An error occurred while checking for updates" message. It was easy enough to visit the VideoLAN website, download the new version, and install that, though.
Jon Swift, the Web's most reasonable conservative, has invited me to submit what I think was my best blog post of this past year. He plans to do a wrap-up of the best blog posts from everyone on his blogroll, as he did last year. He's a good guy in that way, among many others. I am honored that he has asked me to participate.
If anything I wrote this past year comes to mind, please drop a note in the Comments or shoot me an email about it. You need not find the exact link if you can describe it. (More precisely than "that one about Obama," I mean.)
I just noticed a nice nugget on one of the NYT's blogs: the "After Deadline" feature.
After Deadline examines questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors of The Times.
It is adapted from a weekly newsroom critique overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of The Times’s style manual. The goal is not to chastise, but to point out recurring problems and suggest solutions.
Since most writers are likely to encounter similar troubles, we think these observations might interest general readers, too.
There does not appear to be a way to subscribe to a feed of these posts only -- the RSS icon on the page points to the feed for the whole Times Topics blog. This is not to say I don't have an interest in other topics addressed on the Times Topics blog, but it's more than I want at the moment. I've put in a request to see if they'll set up a narrower feed, and I'll report if I hear anything.
In the meantime, these posts are tagged, so you can view this particular subset by visiting http://topics.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/grammar/.
Note also that the link in the above blockquote points to a collection of grammar and style questions sent in by readers that Corbett has answered; e.g., the all-important serial comma question.
[Added] There is also a home page for everything the NYT has to say about grammar.
[Added] I also find these sites helpful (and fun):
Weirdest thing. I've had a certain song stuck in my head for the past day or two. Don't know where I got it. Not quite driving me crazy, but getting there.
Just happened across a link reading, of all things, a blog post about computer logging.
So, this may mean nothing to anybody, but it deserves recognition as a token of my appreciation. Ladies and gentlemen, Ed Byrne:
From Tom Tomorrow:
Rush Limbaugh, who spent much of the primary season urging Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong uncertainty among Democrats (he called it “Operation Chaos”), is now complaining that John McCain became the Republican candidate due to Democrats and Independents voting in the Republican primary.
The sad thing, of course, is how many of the Dittoheads will erase all memories of "Operation Chaos" and unquestioningly fill in the space with this "truth" about why the GOP got their butts kicked in 2008. Maybe I should swap "Little" and "Foolish?"
(h/t: Kevin K./Rumproast)
[Added] Also, Tom Tomorrow catches Sean Hannity lying. No one could have predicted!
The latest version of the free and open source FTP client fixes several minor bugs (details on FileZilla's home page). Installation of the upgrade was painless. Refer to my previous post on FileZilla if you want help updating yours. Only difference this time was that the program restarted automatically after completing the upgrade.
Over at Unqualified Offerings, Mona says:
But what are some homicides and war crimes compared with another corrupt Chicago pol? Every good reporter knows the answer. pffft.
She links to Glenn Greenwald's post, titled "Senate report links Bush to detainee homicides; media yawns." You should read it.
Monday, December 15, 2008
This week rightbloggers celebrated the downfall of the Obama Administration and the restoration of George W. Bush to his rightful, honored place in the pantheon of Presidents.
Roy Edroso's latest survey of the Wingnutosphere is now up. Go. Go. Go.
Just came across an item posted last week on the Official Google Blog that reminded me of the many hours that used to vanish any time I sat in front of a microfilm machine. (Kids: ask your grandparents.) Google, in its never-ending quest to digitize the planet, has announced:
... an initiative to help bring more magazine archives and current magazines online, partnering with publishers to begin digitizing millions of articles from titles as diverse as New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony.
Effective now, Google Book Search will also return results from magazines. If you click on a link pointing to a magazine result, chances are you'll also see, on the new page, links for the whole magazine and for all issues of that magazine.
This. Is. Book.
If you visit the home page for Google Book Search at this moment, you'll see some of the magazines they've digitized. Reload the page to see more.
[Added] Looks like Spellbound Blog took this a step further, and put together a tentative list of all the magazines currently available through the Google.
Example: "Doghouse to Let," by Red Smith, from the July 1945 issue of Baseball Digest.
Example: a profile of George Bush on the campaign trail. No, not that one. This one's about HW, and was written in late 1979 and published in the 21 Jan 1980 edition of New York, before it became clear that he'd end up being Reagan's VP nominee.
Example: a February 1960 article in Popular Mechanics, describing the new electronics being deployed by casinos that "keeps the gamblers honest."
Example: Gen. Leslie Groves on the future of atomic bomb projects, from the Dec 1945 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
You might recall that last month, I noted that Google also recently began hosting Life magazine's photo archive.
More hours in the day, please.
Unless you're a denizen of Greater Wingnuttia, you probably consider the editorial stance of The Wall Street Journal either nauseatingly or laughably far to the right, depending on your mood. This is not something any sane person argues about.
The claim has long been, even among many liberals, that the firewall between the opinion and news departments at the WSJ is quite robust, that the rest of the reporting and analysis is not distorted by a pronounced conservative bias. Worries about the robustness flared when Rupert Murdoch announced that he wanted to buy the WSJ, and while he assured the world that he had no interest in gambling with the WSJ's reputation as a news source, I'd have to say that at least in my mind, there has been a tickle that has never gone away ever since Murdoch sealed the deal. I mean, Fox News? Anyone? Anyone?
I now leap upon a piece of evidence that supports my theory.
Lawrence Lessig, blogging today, begins:
I got off the plane from Boston to find my inbox filled with anger about an article in the Wall Street Journal. To those who were angry, I hope you will direct any anger at the Wall Street Journal after you read what follows.
The article is an indirect effort to gin up a drama about a drama about an alleged shift in Obama's policies about network neutrality. What's the evidence for the shift? That Google allegedly is negotiating for faster service on some network pipes. And that "prominent Internet scholars, some of whom have advised President-elect Barack Obama on technology issues, have softened their views on the subject."
Who are these "Internet scholars"? Me. And of course, because I have "softened" my views about network neutrality, and because I advised the Obama campaign about technology issues during the primary, it follows (and obviously so) that Obama too must be going soft on network neutrality.
Lessig goes on to dispute how the WSJ article characterized him and his alleged "softening," politely saying, "… I do know something about my own views, and what the Journal has done here is really extraordinary."
If you share my interest in the issue of Net Neutrality (and really, who doesn't want to be clear on the difference between edge caching and tiered service?), there's a lot more to be had. Start by reading the rest of Lessig's post, read the responding post on Google's Public Policy Blog, and read the source post for these links on Ars Technica, which also rebuts the WSJ article. There are more links at the bottom of the Google post, all of which take issue with the WSJ article and offer coherent and well-supported reponses.
All posts by me on Net Neutrality are available by clicking the NET NEUTRALITY link in the list of labels at the bottom of this post. You'll see this one at the top, and the rest following below, most recent first.
(h/t: Buzz Out Loud, podcast #872)