Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Standard

When Nate (538) Silver calls one of his own charts "incredibly dorky," it feels like the entire universe just skipped a tooth in one of its gears.

Good luck with the move, Nate.

(h/t: Juli Weiner/Wonkette)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Firefox Security Update

Mozilla has released a patch that closes two critical security holes (details). This brings the latest release to version 3.0.8.

If you don't have automatic updates or notifications enabled, do Help → Check for Updates. The whole process went off without a hitch for me, although the update server seemed sluggish. Could have been just a temporary glitch, or else everyone in the world was trying to get this update at the same time. Anyway, best do it right away -- I read somewhere a couple of days ago that one of the holes was made public before Mozilla was informed about it, so the bad guys have gotten a head start on those who postpone their updates.

(And so much for the last post.)

Just So You Know ...

... writer's block. Or surfer's blahs. Or something.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Know, I Was Kidding Around About That Junior High School Thing ...

... but now here I am, still in that same mode, because I have a link for you to get some free music from Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction, and Street Sweeper. Legal, even!

It's part of the promotion for the NIN|JA 2009 tour. Give an email address, you get back a link to the download section and a token to authorize your download.

(h/t: TBogg)

We Are All Junior High Schoolers Now

Adam Serwer and Josh Marshall made fun of Jake Tapper, 'cause he was like obsessing about Obama's joke? I mean he would not shut up about it? So Jake like totally blocked them from following him on Twitter! DougJ told me! And Amanda made fun of Jake and said he was blocking more people, too! And now like everyone who's anyone is twittering about it!

Also, Michelle Malkkkin blocked TBogg from following her!!! For nothing!

But, hah! You can't stop someone from looking at your twitties! See??? See??? And I'm not even following them, and neither are you! But we can see what they're saying! So like, how lame are Jake and Michelle? LOL!!!

And then Jake wimped out and unblocked everybody! (But Michelle is still mad, last I heard!)

Also, Stephen Colbert was all talking about Twitter and made it into a bad word! On TV! And made that lady almost say the same thing! ROFL! They are so busted!

And here I am, blogging about it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Reason To Buy An E-Book Reader

Google is going to make the books it has scanned for its Google Book Search project available.

Unfortunately for Kindle fans, it is making them available to Sony. And the full books being provided are only those whose copyrights have expired, meaning nothing published after 1923.

Still, a step in the right direction, or a half-million of them, to be precise. (Except for the looming infestations of endless copies of A Tale of Two Cities, of course. Don't ask.) And it's certainly a good thing to keep challenging Amazon's dominance and to keep putting pressure on them to open up their platform.

Most articles I've looked at haven't said anything about the price to end users, although a post on Wired and another on LATimes.com say they'll be free to download. (Maybe the rest of them thought it was too obvious to need saying?)

Anyway, yay.

(h/t: Buzz Out Loud)

P.S. BTW, the Wired post says these books are already available for free download, as PDF files. And look, yeah: here is Tom Sawyer, here is Connecticut Yankee, here is Huck Finn (with Tom Sawyer -- I don't see any standalone full free ones).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crazy Talk

You probably hear all manner of numbers thrown around when it comes time to talk about the budget for military spending.

Wait. Fear not, no eyes will be glazed by this post. This bit, from Matt Yglesias, is a marvel of clarity:

It seems to me that if you told the man on the street that you had a plan to spend double on defense what China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran spend combined that said man would assume you were proposing to spend a healthy amount of funds on national defense. Such a standard would, however, imply very large cuts.

I'm sure I'm far from the first person you've ever heard express not only amazement at how much money we spend but despair at how utterly out of the question it is to think that there's any hope of reducing it. (You'll recall the last time I touched on this.) Still, we've got to keep talking about it, keep trying to nudge that Overton window just a little bit. It's absolutely insane what we spend, it's far from clear what we're getting for the money, and it can't last forever. Coming up with clear illustrations like Matt did could help. Imagine conducting a survey with questions framed like that.


If you would like a few more numbers, read Matt's post, and for a few more than that, read the post by Robert Farley that Matt links to.

Want still more? For a look at some details in just one program, start with Farley's posts from last month on the F-22 boondoggle here and here.


If you care, a couple of posts from recent days have been updated. The security details on the latest Thunderbird patch are now available. NB: two of the flaws addressed are rated "critical."

Also, the audio for the extended Clay Shirky interview on OTM has been posted.

I'm Gonna Get Me a Ph.D. in Pastafarianism

What a mess in Texas:

Bill Would Allow Texas School to Grant Master's Degree in Science for Creationism

State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) proposed House Bill 2800 when he learned that The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a private institution that specializes in the education and research of biblical creationism, was not able to receive a certificate of authority from Texas' Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Master of Science degrees.

(h/t: Oliver Willis) ← bonus: good cartoon.

P.S. And no, you're not suffering from deja vu. This really has happened before. (via)

To be fair, she does live in Colorado Springs ...

... but still, it appears from the op-ed page of today's NY Post that the reports of irony's health are greatly exaggerated.

Here's the headline:

And the byline:

That picture does seem a little off, doesn't it? Here's what she usually looks like:

Michelle Malkin smiles for the camera

(h/t: Steve M./No More Mister Nice Blog)

(lower pic sources: UL | UR | LL | LR)

Broder Priapism Threat Level: RED

John McCain and Joe LiebermanWhat could be better than bipartisanship?

How about a "bipartisan" call for military action?

And even better, from the boys who put the bi in bipartisan!

Sigh. John McCain and Joe Lieberman have an op-ed in today's edition of The GOP Talking Points Daily Washington Post, basically calling for full-scale perpetual war in Afghanistan until those damned people plow under their opium fields, shave their Talibans, and start buying Wonder Bread and non-bootleg versions of Windows. They say President Obama "must invest the political capital to remind Americans why this fight is necessary."

Not that you need to read this piece of crap. I'm just noting it for the record, especially the closing paragraph …

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama called Afghanistan "the war we must win." He was absolutely right. Now it is time to win it -- and we and many other members of both political parties stand ready to give him our full support in this crucial fight.

… because you just know in a year and three from now, ol' Walnuts and Holy Joe are going to be on every talk show on the dial, speaking oh-so-sorrowfully about "Obama's quagmire." Especially if he follows the stupid advice they're giving today.

(h/t: Attaturk | pic. source)

My Only Question Is: How Jealous Will This Make Erick Erickson?

Fox News correspondent Greta Van Susteren, well-known for her exclusive and fawning interviews with Sarah and Todd Palin, whose boosterism extends to the point of doing a whole segment last night to rage at David Letterman for making jokes about her Sarah, is married to a man named John Coale.

Coale, a well-known Washington lawyer and the husband of Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, drew national media attention when he endorsed Sen. John McCain's presidential bid in protest of the way in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who he backed in the primary, was treated. Coale, in an interview with the Fix, described himself simply as a "friend" of the Alaska governor but acknowledged that he suggested she start a leadership PAC and helped her navigate through some of the questions surrounding her family that lingered after the campaign. Others familiar with Palin's political team insist that Coale has far more power than he is letting on -- essentially helping to run Sarah PAC. Coale demurred on that front, noting only that he talks to Palin regularly and that she is a "fascinating person" who is "definitely not what the right thinks or the left thinks."

Van Susteren has never disclosed this conflict of interest. In fact, last week she denied on air (to hard-hitting investigative journalist and media critic Bill O'Reilly) that she has any connection to Palin beyond her interviews. Think Progress has more.

Yeah, I know. Shocked, shocked, and all that. But it's good to have these things documented.

A photograph reportedly taken at the this year's Iron Dog snowmobile race
(enlarge image | pic. source)

John Coale, from a video screen capture taken last September
(enlarge image | pic. source)

Also, for hilarity, Van Susteren and Coale are both long-time Scientologists.

(h/t: maru/WTF Is It Now?!? and John Aravosis)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thunderbird Update

Mozilla has released a patch for its Thunderbird email program, bringing the latest version to No details about the update have been posted yet, although by the time you read this, they may be, here. [UPDATE: Details now posted -- two of the security holes are rated critical. So patch without delay.]

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, download, installation, and program restart were all done within a minute.

And You Thought Bill Kristol Was Fact-Challenged

Not that I really think anyone (except maybe desperate people in waiting rooms) looks at US News & World Report anymore, but in a just world, they would be compelled to run No More Mister Nice Blog's response right next to Republican hack Mary Kate Cary's blog post of fail.

Nice job, Steve M.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Apparently, This is Front Page News

Version 3.0 of the iPhone's operating system, it is claimed, will be able to do cut and paste, and never mind the twits and their twittering, this rates mention on the home page of nytimes.com as of this moment.

Congratulations, or something.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meanwhile, Back in Wingnuttia ...

Roy Edroso's latest wrap-up of right-bloggery is now available. Hot-button topics covered include the hilariously pathetic "Going Galt" non-movement and weak attempts to respond to the righteous ass-kicking delivered by Jon Stewart to Shouty Boy Cramer (cf.)

Roy also covers something I wasn't aware of: Meghan McCain's recent diss of Ann Coulter has caused blowback, and it's not just the perpetual Malkin who's outraged. I gotta say, even for wingnuts, the bad taste on display is hard to believe.

Bring popcorn.

Okay, So I'm Ahead of the Curve Every Once in a While

As you may or may not have noticed, I found out a couple of days ago how to add a widget to my sidebar to display my recent Twitterings. Today, the my Twitter home page has a new link, added by the Twitter overlords, encouraging me to visit a page where I can grab a widget to … yeah.

Lions of Democracy

Came across a wonderful thing to listen to: a panel discussion in the University of Minnesota's "Great Conversations" series, featuring reporter Seymour Hersh and former Vice President Walter Mondale, moderated by U of M poli-sci prof Larry Jacobs, titled "America’s Constitutional Crisis." You may have heard one thing about this event lately -- this was where Hersh asserted the existence of an "executive [branch] assassination ring" that reported directly to Dick Cheney's office only. As Hersh has noted in follow-ups, he's a ways from being able to report this definitively, though I'm sure two-thirds of the country and nine-tenths of the world is ready to take it as fact already.

That aside, the rest of the discussion is well worth listening to, both for its historical perspectives and contemplations on the present. I always forget how impressive Walter Mondale is. My first impression of him -- getting drubbed by Reagan in 1984 -- has formed an unfortunate lasting memory. He reminds me in this conversation, once again, of what a strong and decent man he is. Hersh, of course, should need no sell. He's one of my very few heroes, and if he's not one of yours, I'd say you need new ones.

Eric Black of MinnPost.com has a longer description of the event, if you'd like to read more before you listen. If you trust my recommendation, here is the audio link that I swiped from him, for your (right-click, Save Link As)-ing pleasure: MP3.

The discussion is a little over an hour long, with about another forty minutes of (good) audience-submitted questions afterward. I urge you to grab the audio file and save it for later, if you're pressed for time now. Really good stuff.

(h/t: Sara K. Smith/Wonkette)

And further:

  • The University of Minnesota's page for this event has background on the three participants, plus an option to stream the sound if downloading an MP3 file doesn't appeal to you, plus a short video clip of the moment that has gotten all the attention.

  • You might also want to visit the home page for the "Great Conversation" series. Near the bottom of this page are links to past conversations as well as an iTunes (free) subscription link.

  • [Added] Oh, and speaking of Cheney, Gawker has a few things to say in connection with the Hersh moment. Sounds like John King of CNN needs a huevos implant.

Another Sign of Hope

Further evidence that we evil members of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy need not push for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. That beloved cure-all of the right, the Free Market, appears to be handling things just fine:

But for all the anti-tax swagger and the occasional stunts by personalities like KFI's John and Ken, the reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy's downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

(h/t: Fishbowl LA, via Wonkette)


We all already know what a shameless shill Fox News is for the movement of conservative dumb-assery. But this past weekend, they really achieved a new low, lying in a way that is unacceptable in opinionating, let alone in something purporting to be "news:" They used a six-month-old snippet of a Joe Biden speech, in which he was mocking a famous line of John McCain's, and represented it as something that not only Biden believed, but had just said. Wonkette has the full story.

An absolute disgrace.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mnemonic Colonic

Having momentarily lost track of which wingnut is which, I Googled Alicia Colon (because) and saw that Gawker has a whole category devoted to her, but that being one of those money-grubbing blogs, Ad Sense ads came first:

Alicia Colon reminds me of ...(enlarge image)

Of course, this proves Google's liberal bias.

(smaller pic. source) ← YOU MUST CLICK THIS LINK

On The Media on the Internet

It's a good Saturday for geeks (see also last post). This week, OTM's lead story is "The Net's Mid-Life Crisis." You can listen to the show, or individual segments of it, as a stream or download the MP3(s).

Even better, OTM's site also has extended interviews with the people they talked to for this week's show: Richard Clarke, John Markoff, Jonathan Zittrain, and Clay Shirky.* Again, you can either download or stream.

Like the looming robot overlord (non-?)problem I mentioned in the last post, there is a big clash between the fearful and the optimistic (or the concerned and the naifs, as you prefer).

* [Added] Looks like they forgot to post the audio for Shirkey. Maybe they'll get to it later?

[Update] It is now available.

Do You Welcome Our Coming Robot Overlords?

This week's episode of Science Saturday on Bloggingheads.tv, in which John Horgan interviews Peter W. Singer, looks hard at this question. The discussion mostly focuses on Singer's new book, Wired for War; i.e., the growth of unmanned warfare, but the obvious larger questions easily spring to mind.

An interesting conversation, even if I came away thinking: It doesn't matter what we worry about -- future generations are not even going to be able to understand what we were worried about. (I argue this at greater length in the forums at BH.tv, if you'd like to jump in there. Or here is fine, as always.)

Going Gelt

Buuuuuurn sauce.

Seriously, is there one wingnut in this country who gets how the Internet works yet?

"The Neighborhood Crank"

Preach to me, Paul Waldman:

The Tiny Battles of a Has-Been Candidate

Imagine that you pick up your copy of The New York Times and see a front-page article proclaiming that John Kerry is now such the linchpin of debate in Washington that he has taken "center stage." Then you surf over to one of the Sunday morning talk shows to find George Stephanopoulos or Bob Schieffer interviewing Michael Dukakis. Then you turn your radio and hear a story on NPR about Bob Dole's objections to the president's latest legislative initiative. You'd probably ask yourself, What is going on here? Why am I being forced to listen to these people?

I expect you've figured out where this is going. And it gets even better.

(h/t: John Cole)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Science! (Glenn Beck's Version)

It turns out that what causes people to go on kill-crazy rampages is not that we teach our "children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud," as distinguished Republican scholar Tom DeLay once proposed. You know what it is?

Politically correct speech.

(h/t: Yglesias, via John Cole)

Barker Posey

Florida Representative Bill Posey, Republican, CultistTo Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, add another Congressional Republican to the Cult of the COLB:

Representative Bill Posey of Florida. →

In other lunacy news, Posey also supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent, drilling immediately in ANWR, making almost all abortions illegal, and building a fence along the border with Mexico.

Oh, and poisoning small children with lead.*

(h/t: DougJ/Balloon Juice | pic. source)

* Hey, two can play at that smear game, right, Congressman?

Insult of the Day

Se la strada fosse pavimentata con i cazzi, tua madre camminerebbe col culo!

Translation in the Comments. The easily offended may wish not to visit. If you speak Italian, uh …  sorry, too late, I guess.

(English version: Nina Shen Rastogi | Italian version: Maledicta Monitor, via the Google)

Pork This

While double-checking the link for the rant just posted, I noticed that a little bit of good stuff continues to sneak past the editors at Slate.

Go Tim Noah!

Why the GOP Should Shut Up

Six out of the top 10 Senate earmark hogs are Republicans.


No fewer than six out of these 10 senators are Republicans, including the two top earmark hogs, Cochran and Wicker. Cochran, Wicker, Bond, and Shelby at least had the decency to vote for the bill after they stuffed it with earmarks. Vitter and Grassley followed [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell's hypocritical lead, inserting earmarks but then voting against the final bill, knowing it would pass anyway. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who because of a legal dispute over election results doesn't even have a Senate seat and isn't likely to recover it in court, nonetheless managed to rank in the top third of earmark hogs with a haul of $109 million. His Democratic opponent and the likely victor, Al Franken, got none.

Remember this next time you hear Republicans piss and moan about Democrats' spendthrift ways.

Will The MaverickTM be Twittering about this, one wonders? [Added: When he's not too busy get-offing-my-lawn about really stupid shit, I mean.]

Another Sure-to-be-Futile Plea

CC of an email I just sent to the crew of something I used to look forward to:

To: The Gabfest
Subj: Gripes about the 3/13 show


The podcast this week was brutal. It has brought to a head the vague irritations that have been growing over the past few weeks. It seems to me that lately, the bulk of what you've been talking about is either unwarranted privileging into mainstream discourse of the mud-slinging from the right-wing noise machine, or talking about the talk about the talk about stupid stuff no one should waste time talking about.

I swear, the Cocktail Chatter segment has been the most substantive part of the podcast for at least a month. Maybe you should start with that part instead of ending with it, because the topics you touch on there sound far more interesting than drivel about the First Lady's arms or the perceived "smugness" of the Obama Administration. If the Cocktail Chatter topics go nowhere, fine, you can go with your planned stuff. But if you get to talking about them and have to drop the all-important "how do we feel about how others feel about how people feel about Michelle's biceps?" topic, so much the better.

And for the love of all that is holy about the English language, will you please, please, please stop saying "optics?" That word is more stale than "thrown under the bus," even though that's exactly what should happen to it.

A nearly erstwhile listener,

Brendan Keefe


Here is the full interview of Jim Cramer by Jon Stewart. Score one for the good guys. (Click the headings/links if the embedded clips don't work for you.)


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The edited portion that aired can be seen on HuffPo, for example. Thanks, Twin, for the emailed heads-up.

[Added] Rats beginning to flee?

Like Father, Like Daughter

Oh, Meghan. Honestly ...

Who'da thunk I'd be missing the keen economic insights of "Joe" the "Plumber?"

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

Personality Test for Conservatives

Sure, you are proud to identify yourself as a conservative. But you really hate it when libtards (like me) call you a wingnut. Do you deserve this label? Find out now with this handy one question test!

You learn that President Obama will not attend the annual Gridiron Dinner, a tradition whereby the president pals around a group whose "65 members include the most prestigious journalists in Washington." In a private setting. He will be the first president to skip this event since Grover Cleveland. His stated reason: the date of the event conflicts with his daughters' school spring break and the Obamas will be out of town.

As a conservative, your reaction is to:

(a) Salute the president for his family values, not to mention for disdaining the media elite.

(b) Howl with furious glee because this proves he can't speak without a teleprompter!!!1! (LOL! Hi five!)

[Added] If you chose (b), you might be happy to know that your friends think this also means he's "[n]ot comfortable enough in his own skin" (Moe Lane), "too thin-skinned" (JammieWearingFool), not as classy as George Bush, and this will make people miss Bush even more (WizBang), showing "a faint whiff of ingratitude" by "stiff-arming his sycophants" (TownHall), and last but not least, just like Nixon(!) (Don Surber).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wright Writes Stuff

The Atlantic has a piece by Robert Wright, adapted from his forthcoming book, The Evolution of God. Suitable for atheists, despite the somewhat off-putting article title.

(h/t: nikkibong, in the bh.tv forums)

Better Know a Wingnut

Self-proclaimed "not a conservative" Ann Althouse is on the Twitter, where she uses the handle "annalthouse." (snicker)

She follows, among others, McCain fluffer Ana Marie Cox, Ben Smith of The rePubOLITICO, RightWingNews, James Lileks, Dean Esmay, La Shawn Barber, Ed Driscoll, K-Lo, and Hugh Hewitt.

And, even less surprisingly, VodkaPundit.


Instaputz let me know last week that the exciting city of Rochacha was due for its very own tea-bagger party! Yesterday! But I forgot to go!

Looks like, uh, that'll be the excuse for the local Republicans, too. Here are some "crowd" shots.

From local TV station WHAM:

Rochester tea baggers

From Flickr user simminch:

Rochester tea baggers

He has many more -- and the Facebook! and the Twitter! -- if you have insomnia and want to do something about it.

[Added] Instaputz coverage now available.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Looks Like He Needs His Diapers Changed. Again.

Classy as ever, Republican Senator David Vitter has a tantrum at an airport, flees when security is called.

(h/t: Sara K. Smith/Wonkette)

More on Douthat's New Gig

Update from last post: Roy Edroso is not impressed.

There's some cherry-picking going on in both posts, admittedly, but at some point, enough cherries gathered suggests an actual tree somewhere. Besides, they're funny. For all of Douthat's good parts, he can get to be a bit of a cultural scold.

(h/t: nikkibong, in the bh.tv forums)

Kristol's Replacement

Marc Ambinder says Ross Douthat will soon be writing op-eds for the NYT (and Ross confirms). Good choice, I say, especially when compared to the other names I had been hearing.

I know Ross from Bloggingheads.tv and I read his blog from time to time. He's a bore when he starts whipping his abortion hobbyhorse, but other than that, I usually find him considerably more thoughtful and intellectually honest than most rightwing pundits, even as I disagree with him.

Congratulations, Ross.

(h/t: AemJeff, posting in the BH.tv forums)

[Added] NYT's announcement, via Wonkette, whose post is also worth a look.

Just in Case ...

... you hadn't already heard about the new American Religious Identification Survey:

So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists.

All together now ...

(alt. video link)

I started seeing news about this survey a couple of days ago. Sorry for not passing it on sooner -- clearly, atheists suffer from ARE GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR COMMITTING THE DEADLY SIN OF sloth, too.

Twin reminded me of it, sending an email with a link to an Andrew Sullivan post, quoting Michael Spencer, that's got an interesting take on it.

Something to Watch For

Stephen Wolfram is running a project called Wolfram Alpha, scheduled to go live in May. The claim is, it will give answers to factual questions, through actual computation.

If you thought Ask Jeeves was as lame as I thought Ask Jeeves was (last tried it years ago, admittedly), you might already be rolling your eyes at this one. But I dunno. I'm going to be interested in trying it out. I still remember how amazing Mathematica was when it came out, way back when WYSIWYG was still gee whiz.

I'm sure there will be a brief flurry of hilarious wrong answers that we will blog about when the beta version of Alpha opens for business. We will tolerate that for a couple of weeks without grumpiness. However, let's agree up front that anyone who says "Google killer" will immediately be dipped in ketchup and fed to rabid weasels.

(h/t: TWiT)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Patch Tuesday

Reminder for Windows users: today is Patch Tuesday. If you don't have Windows Updates set to run automatically, you know what to do.

This month was a mild one: one rated "critical," and two others rated "important," by Microsoft, according to Ryan Naraine.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Time for a Check-Up

Naturally, the previous post makes us wonder: What's doing over at that great online reference site that isn't poisoned by liberal bias?

Turns out their own section on the COLB "issue" is stale and remains surprisingly tame. Hope!

Ah, maybe not. Here are some partial screen grabs from the front page of Conservapedia, as of this moment:

Conservapedia front page items(enlarge image)

They're not even trying to keep up a pretense of objectivity anymore, are they?

Further Down The Spiral: Next Week, How the Font Choice is Proof of Liberal Bias

Gateway Pundit, never a well-hinged individual to begin with, long a card-carrying member of the Cult of the COLB, is now sadly (and by sadly, I mean hilariously) reduced to complaining about Wikipedians deleting mentions of supposed "ineligibility" from the Barack Obama page.

Does this mean Obama is JUST LIKE STALIN???

You have to ask?

(h/t: Instapundit. Yeah, I went there, looking at another classic case of the Ole Perfesser approvingly linking to other wingnuts more willing to carry his water.)

[Added] And following along with my small-type thoughts, here's David Weigel:

UPDATE: See, here’s why I post about this stuff. Two hours after my write-up, Instapundit links Gateway Pundit with the headline “Still airbrushing Obama’s Wikipedia page.” And thus, a false story from a conspiracy web site gets promoted by a mainstream author and law professor.

[Added] Terry Krepel of ConWebWatch fame adds some interesting wrinkles to the story of this nontroversy. He focuses on WingNutDaily's "reporting," which was Gateway P's source for his blog post.

Seating Arrangements

If you love the inside baseball, you'll enjoy Sean Quinn's post on the never-ending game of musical chairs in the White House Briefing Room.

Bonus: at the bottom of the post is a good John Oliver clip from the Daily Show, on that same topic.

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

Signing Statements

The smartest thing George Bush ever did was to convince people he believed in the Constitution.

Hurrah for Barack Obama:

Calling into question the legitimacy of all the signing statements that former President George W. Bush used to challenge new laws, President Obama on Monday ordered executive officials to consult with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. before relying on any of them to bypass a statute.

And a bonus:

Mr. Obama’s directions marked the latest step in his administration’s effort to deal with a series of legal and policy disputes it inherited from the Bush administration. It came the same day that Mr. Obama lifted restrictions Mr. Bush had placed on federal financing for research that uses embryonic stem cells.

The Bush Legacy, emphasis added:

Mr. Bush frequently used signing statements to declare that provisions in the bills he was signing were unconstitutional constraints on executive power, claiming that the laws did not need to be enforced or obeyed as written. The laws he challenged included a torture ban and requirements that Congress be given detailed reports about how the Justice Department was using the counter-terrorism powers in the USA Patriot Act.

Dating back to the 19th century, presidents have occasionally signed a bill while declaring that one or more provisions were unconstitutional. Presidents began doing so more frequently starting with the Reagan administration.

But Mr. Bush broke all records, using signing statements to challenge about 1,200 bill sections over his eight years in office — about twice the number challenged by all previous presidents combined, according to data compiled by Christopher Kelley, a political science professor at Miami University in Ohio.

And don't think we've forgotten about you, Charlie Savage.

[Added] More on the stem cell decision here.

Limbaugh: Fail

Limbaugh: Fail

(Swiped from O Hell Nawl, via Tommy Christopher)

On a related note:

On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence …
-- David Frum(!), via pampl

Hey, Todd Thomsen! I Got More!

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Desertphile | previously, previously)

[Added] You just know I have to remind you of my all-time favorite hip-hop video.

Hey, Todd Thomsen!

Suck. On. This.

(h/t: TC, via email | background)

And please enjoy some pictures, a couple of which I swiped for everyone's clicking and enlarging pleasure:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm Late Linking to This Story ...

... because Sarah Palin never warned me.

I had to learn about it by stumbling across some nice Canadian person's blog! Can you imagine? How can we trust Sarah Palin if she's failing to do the one thing she said she could do?

(pic. source)

Update on Homeless(?)personwithcellphoneZOMG!!!1!gate

Following up on Friday's wingnut outrage du jour: Jon Swift weighs in. You'll be glad you clicked.

Texas Republican Advocates Making Children Dumber

How's that for a dog bites man headline?

Blue Texan has an update on Don McLeroy, whom we've noticed before.

Reading the Statesman story that BT linked to indicates that McLeroy is more than just a moron. He appears to be quite the slippery character, able to cloak his creationist urges in nice "concern for science" talk. If you remember nothing else, remember this: if you hear someone say "gaps in the fossil record call the theory of evolution into question," you know that person is either stupid, lying, or both. (A) The theory of evolution is based on a lot more than the fossil record, (B) there is no reason to expect that every animal that died turned into a fossil, (C) absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and (D) no matter how many transitional forms are found in the fossil record, the trained wingnut will only see each one as introducing two more gaps. And this guy is the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, and what he says will likely affect textbooks sold throughout the country.

Also from BT: sign the Texas Freedom Network's Stand up for Science petition.

Just in case department ...

• For a discussion of the "gaps" claim that creationists so love, see TalkOrigins; e.g., section CC200. You might also visit the biological section page and search for "fossil."

• For a quick overview of the other bases upon which the theory of evolution rests, there's a nice introduction at Palomar Collge's site. Berkeley has a more comprehensive site. Start with the page titled "What is the evidence for evolution?."

• Want more? PZ Myers is happy to discuss evidence and talk about the gaps. And here is an excerpt from one of his posts with links to still more:

The world of blogs is full of information on evolution. In addition to The Panda's Thumb and Pharyngula, there are quite a few blogs out there that discuss the science of and evidence for evolution, and that are often written by highly qualified scientists themselves. Try browsing Aetiology, Afarensis, All-Too-Common Dissent, Ask The Scientician, The Daily Transcript, De Rerum Natura, Evolgen, Evolution 101, EvolutionBlog, Evolving Thoughts, Good Math, Bad Math, The Intersection, Living the Scientific Life, The Loom, Mike the Mad Biologist, The Questionable Authority, Recursivity, The Scientific Activist, Stranger Fruit, Thoughts from Kansas, and Thoughts in a Haystack, just to get you started. The advantage of weblogs is that you can engage the author and other readers, leaving comments and having a conversation about the subject.

If you don't trust web sources, there are plenty of books to help you out. I've made a long list of evolution books suitable for kids and general readers.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Moon This

Todd Thomsen, Oklahoma State RepresentativeJust in case you read over the last line of Phil Plait's post mentioned in my last, all I can say is: so much for "teach the controversy."

Smells like payback for the Ben Stein disinvitation at UVM (cf.) to me, if I may be permitted a leap of faith to attribute rational motives to creationists. But seriously, what is it with these Oklahoma legislators?

(Update: Added pic -- it's a screen grab from this video)


From reading Phil Plait's pun-filled post on the resolution by the Illinois state legislature to (re)declare Pluto a planet (that part is serious, hilariously), I followed a link to a Wikipedia page. If you're at least a mild geek, you knew Pluto has a moon named Charon. But did you know about Nix and Hydra? I did not.

Gotta be a way of making some coin on bar bets with this info; e.g., betcha there's an object in our solar system with three moons that isn't a planet, as long as we're not near Chicago.

Very cool pix on the Wikipedia page, too.

(h/t: Buzz Out Loud)

P.S. On a related note, I listened to this a while ago: Neil deGrasse Tyson, interviewed by Moira Gunn, talking about the heat and hate he's had to deal with from the Plutards. He's always entertaining.

WaPo Descent Watch: Karl Obama Edition

No, not Marx. (This time.) It's better.

Did you know that Obama's plan for health care reform is just like Karl Rove plotting with George Bush to invade Iraq? It is, according to the Diehl World View.

[Added] See also.

Telling the Story Nobody Understands

Following up on an earlier post, here's some more Joe Nocera. This time, he's joined by Adam Davidson of NPR, and the two of them are interviewed by Brooke Gladstone on this week's On The Media. The three discuss what's involved in trying to report and explain the current financial apocalypse.

A cynic (pas moi!) might dismiss the conversation with a shorter -- nobody knows nuthin' -- but there's actually something to be gained by listening, I think. It's about nine minutes long, not counting the introductory forty second NPR promotional yap-yap.

(alt. audio link)

Shorter of the Week

TBogg on Mrs. Fred Thompson.

[Added] And this week's basset blogging is hilarious, too.

A Peek Inside The Sausage Factory

The invaluable hilzoy reports on the latest Republican obstructionism: two of Obama's top nominees for the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and two more of his nominees, destined to be among his top science advisers, are all prevented from doing any work thanks to anonymous holds being placed on their confirmation votes in the Senate.

The Party of No, once again. Maybe they'll lift the holds if all of us DFHs say something nice about Rush Limbaugh? Here's my contribution: "That black on black outfit he wore at CPAC made him look less fat than he usually does."

(h/t: John Cole)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Nocera on AIG

Earlier this evening, I was catching up on some past episodes of The Daily Show. One of them featured Joe Nocera as a guest.

Nocera, if you don't already know, is a business reporter and columnist for The New York Times, and he's a good one. Jon Stewart said during the interview that Nocera's piece on AIG was the first thing he'd read where he actually felt like he understood what that company had done. I just read it, and I agree -- it's a good one.

In terms of clarity, I mean. You're not going to feel anything besides an urge for torches and pitchforks by the end. But if you're in the boat I'm in -- mystified by how it all happened, reluctant to try to understand it, hoping there's some sort of reason to keep giving them money -- this is a good place to start.

The Stupid Continues

The wingnuts' OUTRAGE!!!1! of the day? Michelle Obama went to help out at a soup kitchen, and some guy took a picture of her with a cell phone. "How do those homeless people have cell phones?" shrieked the usual suspects, perhaps obviously not considering the possibility that the guy was not homeless, and came in just to see the First Lady. Or, if he was, that maybe fallout from the Bush Administration's handling of the economy for the past eight years has only recently put him in that position.

Wonkette and War Room have more details.

I would love for Michelle Malkin, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Kathy Shaidle to spend a few months not knowing where their next meals were coming from.

Actually, I'd like them to die in fires, but that seems like a mean thing to say.

This Should Stop The Howling

Yeah, right:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship, lambasting the case as a waste of the court's time and suggesting the plaintiff's attorney may have to compensate the president's lawyer.


[U.S. District Judge James] Robertson ordered plaintiff's attorney John Hemenway of Colorado Springs, Colo., to show why he hasn't violated court rules barring frivolous and harassing cases and shouldn't have to pay Obama's attorney, Bob Bauer, for his time arguing that the case should be thrown out.

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

I May Have Maxed Out on Wingnuttia

I don't know if I can even laugh at them anymore. They're just too far gone.

Apparently, the latest "outrage" is the "snub" given to the British PM and his wife when they visited the White House. There were complaints about the toys for each other's children that Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Brown exchanged, and then this, about a photo of the two women:

“The White House released one picture of the two women and it does not appear to have been selected with any kind of special relationship in mind. There is a menacing bunch of pink peonies in the foreground …"

A menacing bunch of pink peonies. Seriously.

If you must see the whole article, it's the third item in this Sadly, No! post. Don Surber doesn't deserve a link. But trust me, you really don't want to read that poison.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Firefox Security Update

Mozilla has released a patch that closes several security holes -- three of them critical -- and fixes some stability bugs (details). This brings the latest release to version 3.0.7.

If you don't have automatic updates or notifications enabled, do Help → Check for Updates. The whole process went off without a hitch, and took less than a minute, for me.

(h/t: Ryan Naraine)

[Added] Reminder: If you're still using Firefox version 2, despite my vigorously shaking finger, here is the word from Mozilla:

Please note: If you’re still using Firefox 2.0.0.x, this version is no longer supported and contains known security vulnerabilities. Please upgrade to Firefox 3 by downloading Firefox 3.0.7 from getfirefox.com.

Now, Who's For Another Gramme of Soma?

Most days, I worry about the loss of newspapers. Then there are days when I happen across articles like today's effort by Helene Cooper, and I ask myself, "Really, what is there to worry about?"

Thanks for easing my mind, Ms. Cooper.

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cure for the Winter Blues

Just started listening to the Poli-Sci-Fi Radio podcast recorded two days ago. If you need a shot of enthusiasm for Obama, or liberalism in general, in the face of all the howler monkeys from the right who have been clamoring for your attention lately, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more effective boost than the one delivered by Steve Benen.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Discretion is the Better Part of Punditry

After musing for awhile on how the GOP presidential aspirants will sort themselves out in 2012 and 2016,* Robert Farley concludes:

Then again, I'm glad I never published the post I wrote in 2005, with the excerpt "Wes Clark should coast to victory in the 2008 Democratic primary, but can he beat George Allen in the general?"

* Don't roll your eyes. We're all junkies about something. You probably watch soap operas or reality TV or participate in a Rotisserie League.

Spine of Steele

And speaking of the ever-diminishing testicular fortitude of every Republican official in the nation, here is your brave new Chairman of the RNC!

Saturday 28 February 2009:

Steele: Rush Isn't The GOP's Leader -- He's An Entertainer

Check out this interview Michael Steele did Saturday night with D.L. Hughley on CNN, in the wake of Rush Limbaugh's speech at CPAC proudly proclaiming that he wants President Obama to fail.

Finding himself in unfriendly territory, Steele said that Rush is not the leader of the Republican Party -- Steele is:

[video at link]

"Let's put it in the context here," said Steele. "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment."

"Yes, it's incendiary," Steele added. "Yes, it's ugly."

Monday 2 March 2009:

Steele Apologizes To Limbaugh, Praises His Leadership

In the new game of chicken between Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh, the loser is...Michael Steele, who now says he never meant to diminish the voice and leadership of Limbaugh.

In an interview with the Politico, Steele said: "My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate...There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."


"I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren't what I was thinking," said Steele. "It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently."

If the GOP can't stand up to Rush Limbaugh, how will they ever stand up to the turrurists???

(cross-posted at BH.tv)

Yeah, We're Gonna Need More Ice and More Champagne

Assuming that those nice Minnesota-nice people will at some point do the rest of us the courtesy of tossing Norm Coleman into one of their many fine lakes once and for all, I hereby add the following to TS's cold storage:

If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the science, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me.
-- Bill O'Reilly

Thanks to TBogg, who pointed to that document full of goodness for other Blowhardian reasons.

More On Red States, Porn, and Intelligence

Following up from an earlier note: Ken Layne reads more carefully into the report connecting pornography consumption and religious/political leanings, realizes that the data are from "anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider," and falls over in disbelief:

These people are paying for pornography, on the Internet.

Of course you want to read the whole thing. Worth visiting just for the great McCain pic.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hard Times, Sad Times

The latest entry on the Poli-Sci-Fi Radio blog:

We will be doing our new PSFR episode in the dark today. The Radiator (the low power FM radio station where we broadcast the show) is having some funding shortages that have resulted in a loss of telecom services — meaning no live stream/chat for PSFR. We are broadcasting (in Burlington, Vermont) today and recording the episode for the podcast (online tomorrow), but in the meantime, the Radiator could use your support.

Please consider donating to the Radiator or underwriting some programming so we can avoid these problems in the future. Thank you.

Give it Up!

King Wonkette Ken Layne puts the snark on pause for a moment and gets it exactly right:

Maybe, after eight years or so, we will not be particularly moved by, say, Stevie Wonder playing for the president and first lady. But for now, we will enjoy this pleasant novelty, especially when your Barack Obama is singing along.

Head on over to see a great performance of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "Superstition." And then watch a video of Barack Obama presenting Stevie Wonder with the Library of Congress Gershwin Award. Quite moving.

And you gotta love a president who can say "give it up" and "cover band" unselfconsciously.

Or, if you prefer, head on over to PBS's site, and watch the hour-long video, "In Performance at the White House – Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder," featuring both Wonder and other artists singing his songs.

Good sound quality in all cases -- it looks like the YouTube clips on Wonkette were made from the PBS show.

[Added] Sadly, the producers of the show did not see fit to invite the best choice for covering "Higher Ground" -- the White House perhaps not quite ready to embrace slam-dancing -- but Mary Mary tore it up pretty good.