Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This story about a private company that calls itself American Police Force, which has taken over (leased) a jail in a small town in Montana to build a multimillion-dollar "training facility," is all kinds of conspiracy-freak bait. (Oh, yeah, Alex Jones is all over this one.) However, this is the part that troubled me the most (emph. added):

And where is American Police Force getting the money for this venture? Company spokeswoman Becky Shay -- until about a week ago the Billings Gazette reporter covering APF -- says they are no plans to answer that question.

I'm well aware that this is far from the first reporter to trade her soul for the easy money of a flack job, but still. Ugh.

(h/t: Jim Newell)

ACORN, Part 2

Following up on Sunday's post, here is a second segment from Rachel Maddow in which she looks at the right-wing smear campaign against ACORN and SEIU. You could spend ten minutes in lots of less useful ways.

(alt. video link)

By the way, if you're interested in the study that Prof. Peter Dreier (Rachel's guest in the above clip) co-authored, visit here. The title is "Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, and What the News Got Wrong."

You may also wish to have a look at Jamison Foser's latest column, which among other comments, summarizes the report's key findings.

Sure, Maddow, Dreier, and Foser come from an obvious political leaning. But you're not going to hear these perspectives in too many other places, that's for sure, so if you've got an open mind, investing a few minutes in watching and reading should be well worth your while. Dreier gets it right when he says about this coordinated effort by the right to smear ACORN and SEIU: "... it's not about public policy, it's not about misuse of federal funds. It's about destroying the power of ordinary people to have a voice in their society."

(x-posted, sort of | h/t for the vid: Twin)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sure It Doesn't Matter. That's Why We're Against It.

On last week's Real Time with Bill Maher, someone mentioned an interesting result from a new survey that had just been done in Iowa, where, you might remember, same-sex marriage recently became legal. I just thought to look it up, and yep, here it is, in the Des Moines Register, via Towleroad, via the Google:

The overwhelming majority of Iowans - 92 percent - say gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives.

Of course, more than half of the Republicans surveyed still "strongly oppose" it and say they would vote for a law to ban it.

Question: How many of these people in the past few months have said, or applauded, a line beginning, "Keep the government out of my …?"

Pundit Contest

The WaPo is having a new pundit contest. If you'd like a chance to gain riches ($200/wk for 13 weeks!) and possible renown, start cutting and pasting typing now!

(Or badgering someone else to.)

(h/t: PreppyMcPrepperson)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Now, that's ...

... a comic book I can believe in.

Number 2 on the "most emailed" list! Which means, huzzah, America is officially a center-nerd nation!


"The Lie Machine"

Tim Dickinson has an article in the latest edition of Rolling Stone about the right wing's Astroturfing organizations, their close connections with senior Republican officials, and how they work to stir up "the base."

Here's part of the excerpt they've posted online:

Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993.

"The insurance industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years, to kill reform," says Wendell Potter, who stepped down last year as chief of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA. "I'm certain that people showing up at these town halls feel that they're there on their own — but they don't realize they're being incited, ultimately, by the insurance industry and the other special interests."

Behind the scenes, top Republicans — including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner and the chairman of the GOP's Senate steering committee, Jim DeMint — worked hand-in-glove with the organizers of the town brawls. Their goal was not only to block health care reform but to bankrupt President Obama's political capital before he could move on to other key items on his agenda, including curbing climate change and expanding labor rights. As DeMint told an August teleconference of nearly 20,000 town-hall activists, "If we can stop him on this, the administration won't be able to go on to cap and trade, card check and the other things they want to do."

The article names plenty of names and details the financial connections. It's well worth reading, especially if you're not familiar with how the right-wing noise machine really works.

(h/t: James Fallows, via nikkibong)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I wish I didn't have to call this six-minute commentary by Rachel Maddow gutsy, since she's pretty much just stating facts, but evidently, telling the truth about ACORN is something almost no one else -- including most Congressional Democrats and the overwhelming bulk of the so-called liberal media -- is courageous enough to do.

This is not as much a left/right issue as it is a piss on the poor people issue. The problem is, the poor people on the right are too dumb to figure that out.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Twin, via email)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The State of Flux in the World of Fossils

If you're at all interested in paleoanthropology, this next hour will be a treat for you. Here is John Hawks being interviewed by Razib Khan on this week's "Science Saturday." I found it fascinating, both for the subject at hand and for the discussion of how the messy business of science is conducted in the real world.

(alt. video link)

As always with diavlogs, if you'd rather not sit in front of your computer and watch a streaming video, you can visit the "alt. video link" and download an audio or video file suitable for playing on your preferred electronic gizmo.

[Added 2009-10-17] See a follow-up diavlog here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

OMG!!! Obama's poll numberz are plummeting!!!1!

Or not.

The lede, from Public Policy Polling:

If Barack Obama had to stand for reelection today he'd win by as much as he did last year, if not more.

He leads Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Sarah Palin by anywhere from 7-15 points in hypothetical 2012 contests.

This is excellent news for John McCain.

(h/t: Adam Serwer)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Sometimes All It Takes Is MS Paint To Blow Your Mind"

Post title and image stolen from Sons Of The Internet:

(h/t: PDP, via Facebook)

Just in case ...

... you still aren't yet at the point of erupting with laughter when some wingnut refers to the Washington Post as "part of the liberal media!!!1!," read DougJ.

I mean, when even some lame-ass Twatted about this last week …

Obama Speech at the UN

Here is President Obama addressing the United Nations General Assembly, today, 23 September 2009. It's about forty minutes long.

(alt. video link)

Text of the speech available, for example, here.

Scandal! What is the Wall Street Journal Trying To Hide?

(Updated. 2x. 3x.)

The WSJ apparently had posted some excerpts from a transcript of Sarah Palin's big secret speech to Hong Kong, but then they took them down!!!

What gaffes are they trying to cover up??? It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate. And where is Trig Sarah Palin's birth certificate???

Meantime, your eagle-eyed Wonkette Jim Newell spotted the short-lived post and grabbed the best bits, to laugh at.

He also directs us to a story about The Speech That Must Not Be Repeated in the (London) Times, where it is reported that it "sounded like a pitch for the 2012 presidency and was described by several members of the audience as “long, humourless and George W. Bush-like”. And! …

Several audience members reportedly walked out of Ms Palin’s speech 30 minutes before the end, citing “more important things to do” or describing the talk as “too partisan and too much like a speech at the Republican convention”.


[Added] From AFP (via, via) we also understand that …

Two US delegates left early, with one saying "it was awful, we couldn't stand it any longer".

And …

Another [attendee] said he was disappointed that she took only pre-arranged questions.


Also, more hints of a conspiracy so sinister, so vast …

CLSA, an arm of French bank Credit Agricole, said it closed Palin's session to the media after she indicated that she would have to adjust her speech if reporters were present.

Clearly, Sarah Palin was plotting with French bankers in Hong Kong to overthrow the American economy.


[Added2] If you absolutely must see the lost WSJ post, Newell has a way. Or just try clicking this link.

[Added3] Some interesting backstory from YAFB on Rumproast (via).

Democracy in Action!

Not an entirely new thought to us political junkies following the Sisyphean attempts to drag America's health insurance system through the Senate up to something approximating civilized society, but Hendrik Hertzberg deserves big points for saying it so succinctly:

… the fate of reform may come down to the whims of a tiny handful of preening moderates from states that are mostly empty of people …

This should go without saying, since it's Hendrik Hertzberg, but the whole post, "Lies," is well worth reading.

(h/t: GB and KK)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Well, It's Not As Though Powerline Had Any Credibility To Worry About Losing

Still, updating your blogroll to drop LGF is one thing -- Charles Johnson stopped drinking the Kool-Aid long ago -- but adding Gateway Pundit and Breitbart's Big Ho?

I don't care how far to the right you are. You cannot blogroll those clowns and claim to be at all serious about ideas. They are permanent riders on the Short Bus to Wingnuttia.

CJ yawns. JC snickers.


[Added] And what the hell, I'll add LGF to my blogroll to help make up for it.

LGF was a little crazy a few years ago, and I probably still disagree with CJ's take on some issues, but to my mind, anyone who skewers hate-filled bigots like Robert Stacey McCain and Dan Reihl as well as Charles Johnson does deserves a shoutout.

Plus, he believes in science, snickers at Glenn Beck, chastises Pat Buchanan, cares about the mess in Texas, and calls out astroturfing teabagger insanity. Imagine that.

All together now, wingnuts: CHARLES JOHNSON IS NOT A REAL CONSERVATIVE!!!1!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Short Profile of Felix Salmon

Kevin Drum shows an odd moment of sartorial anxiety, but his weird choice of quote aside, thanks to him for pointing me to this profile of financial blogger Felix Salmon by Marion Maneker. Here's an excerpt more representative of the tone of the piece than the one Drum chose, I think:

But every writer scribbles with an ideal reader in mind. Salmon is no exception. He may not covet the biggest audience but he does yearn for the best and most influential reader: "It’s a known fact," he says, "that Larry Summers reads a lot of blogs."

If that sort of audience is what he’s after, I ask, why not become a regular on CNBC? "Because Larry Summers doesn’t watch CNBC and say,'‘Oh my God, that’s interesting, I should actually think about that when conducting economic policy.’ CNBC is people shouting at each other. If we were to get into a screaming match about health care reform, it doesn’t matter how smart we are, we’re not going to be shedding any light. Whereas the blogosphere is really good at drilling down very quickly to the nub of the question. People talk about it like it’s the best graduate seminar ever invented."

Ah, who knows. Maybe Drum was just goofing around.

Anyway, Felix Salmon is at the very least an interesting person who bears a listen. Maneker's otherwise worthwhile piece did not mention the channel through which I know him best: his diavlogs on He's both wonky -- I've learned as much about last autumn's financial meltdown from him as I have from anyone -- and fun in lots of other ways. He has opinions on art and wine, for example, that are a delight to hear. Plus, he's on a mission to expose Ben Stein for the con man that he is. Check Felix out there on, and see his blog here.

Another David Brooks Column ...

... another brilliant rebuttal from Mr. Riley.

Go. Now.

You know, there's stupid, ...

... there's wingnut-stupid, and then there's Gateway Pundit.

Long after even untroubled-by-the-facts bloggers like Michelle Malkin walked back their preposterous claims of the size of the latest teabagger party ("Hey, we said 2 million, we were only off by 1,930,000"), Jim Hoft has posted some photographs of relatively uncluttered lawns taken during the recent teabagger tantrum, compared them to some carefully selected photographs of trash taken after Obama's inauguration, and concluded not "Here is clear evidence that a crowd of 70,000 is very different from a crowd of 2,000,000" but "Here is clear evidence that conservatives are CLEAN and liberals are FILTHY."


And yeah, he's still parroting the lie that there were 2 million teabaggers there.

In Today's Edition of "Keep the Government out of my Medicare" ...

... we present for your snickering pleasure: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

What does it tell you when even the Wall Street Journal is mocking a teabagger Republican member of Congress?

(h/t: Jim Newell)

"Excellent nature photography not by me" ...

... sez the subject line of a KK email, in which the following was enclosed. Click it to big it.

George Bush (statue) fans

Up For a Little Preaching?

First, via the Angry Professor, here is a clip from the Rachel Maddow Show, titled "You Can't Handle Evolution."

(alt. video link)

Next, via the Atheist Media Blog, here is "Mr. Deity and the Skeptic," with special guest star Michael Shermer.

(alt. video link)

If you don't know "Mr. Deity," I envy you, because you have two and a half seasons worth of goodness to catch up on. (Added: promise: in the rest of the episodes, there isn't even the hint of stridency that this one has. Pure comedy.)

Speaking of not checking the facts ...

... (which I was, at the end of the last post), it's pretty instructive to see how quickly Fox News jumped all over the latest ACORN-related nonsense -- MURDER!!!1! -- based on nothing more than Drudge tool Andrew Breitbart's say-so.

If you're interested in another example of how wingnutosphere-generated smears find their way into the MSM, Media Matters has several posts unraveling this. Start here, note the quote from the ACORN employee in question at the end of this press release, and read a good analysis/opinion piece here.

(h/t: Twin, via email)

Orly Taitz Spanked

Orly TaitzYou absolutely must read the judge's decision (14 page PDF -- a quick read, you can skip the obvious boilerplate) in the lawsuit filed by the Queen B of the Birthers. The word "birther" is used repeatedly, and even the footnotes are sarcastic. Money quote from the intro:

After conducting a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims are frivolous. Accordingly, her application for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 3) is denied, and her Complaint is dismissed in its entirety. Furthermore, Plaintiff’s counsel is hereby notified that the filing of any future actions in this Court, which are similarly frivolous, shall subject counsel to sanctions.

This is the second time (here's the first) Taitz has found some sap in the US military to go along with an idea of "I won't go to a combat zone, because it's illegal for our illegal Commander in Chief to illegally order me to." The judge is none too kind to the soldier, either, one Captain Connie Rhodes, saying among other things:

The American taxpayers paid for her third and fourth years of medical school and financially supported her during her subsequent medical internship and residency program. In exchange for this valuable free medical education, Captain Rhodes agreed to serve two years in active service in the Army. She began that term of active service in July of 2008 and had no concerns about fulfilling her military obligation until she received orders notifying her that she would be deployed to Iraq in September of 2009.


Her “conscientious objections” to serving under the current Commander in Chief apparently can be accommodated as long as she is permitted to remain on American soil.

Expect the usual suspects to howl about the LIBERAL JUDGE DISRESPECTING THE TROOPS. You'll know, though they won't, because wingnuts rarely use the Google when the facts might interfere with the fauxtrage, that he was appointed by George W. Bush.

(h/t: Jim Newell | pic. source)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


You can't make this stuff up: Wingnut complains Washington Post is liberal (bad word!) because …

 … I can't believe I'm even about to type this …

 … because "Red Dawn" isn't mentioned until paragraph 23 of Patrick Swayze's obituary.

Quote marks are now mandatory when referring to Brent Bozell's Media "Research" Center and its blog, "News" "Busters."


Tony Zirkle, neo-NaziWho knows what prompted D. Aristophanes to bring up that name from the long ago past (April 2008), but in Googling to make up for my faulty memory, I came across a delightful bit of new news: this Republican candidate for Congress and neo-Nazi has lost his law license for, among other things, "charging clients for 'incompetent services.'"


(pic. source | even worse hairdo here | and here)

Just Asking

How many of the wingnuts howling about the refusal of the LIEbrul meedee-uh to cover the ACORN nontroversy are the same wingnuts who were howling six weeks ago about that horrible Mike Stark and his "entrapment" of Congressional Birther Republicans?


[Added] Via Juli Weiner, here are some real world consequences to the non-stop demonization of ACORN by the right-wing noise machine.

Glad to see the Democrats showing their usual steely resolve, ignoring these largely imaginary accusations, and staying focused on looking out for the most vulnerable. Now that's leadership! </sarcasm>

But seriously, it is good to see Congress denying funding to groups which have even a whiff of past fraud associated with them, amirite? </sarcasm>

[Added] More along the lines of the last paragraph, from TBogg.

Guilty Pleasure of the Day

Doghouse Riley shoots fish in a barrel looks at a recent column by David Brooks.

[Added] On a more serious note, but with nearly as brain-dead a set of targets, see also Mr. Riley's response to the Three Stooges and their recent WSJ op-ed. Who knew we had a new "central front in the global war on terror?" And come to that, I thought the GWOT™ brand was shelved halfway through W's second term. Is it possible that these three really are this devoid of new ideas?


Monday, September 14, 2009

"Welcome" To My Country

Would you believe … a movie about Charles Darwin is "too controversial" to get American distribution?

Believe it.

Excuse me. Gotta go see how much gin is in the house …

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan, via Riley Waggaman)

[Added] Here's another reason two more reasons to want this movie here!

Eye Candy (New and Improved!)

The Sacramento Bee has a set of pictures taken by the Hubble, which, as you may recall, was refurbished and upgraded this past May. These are among the first released by NASA since then. Pretty spectacular.

Waiting from Richard Hoagland (who?) to complain that there are none of Mars in 5..., 4..., 3...

(h/t: KK, via email)

Jonah Goldberg Probably Also Thinks ...

... the only problem with battered women is they never knew when to STFU.

I guess Jeri Ryan never returned any of your fan mail, eh, Doughy?

Healthy Perspective

Who knew? Turns out there was something else good written on the eleventh of this month besides that other thing. Alex Pareene says "Happy First Post-9/11 9/11!"

This is money:

Barack Obama is the president now.


So thank fucking christ that the Commander in Chief is no longer subjecting the nation to death porn.

No, this year it's limited to a nutty little cult leader on basic cable who is encouraging his radicalized band of fanatical followers to invade the cities where the tragedy actually happened in order to shock the populace back into fear.

Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist, and the people attending his rally in DC tomorrow are al-Qaeda in America.

I'd say they don't have the guts to be al-Qaeda. I call them the American Taliban. But on this, reasonable minds can differ.

Other than that, thanks for saying what I've been thinking for years, Alex.

(h/t: Ken Layne)

[Added] Jim Newell has a "9/11 moment" worth remembering, as well.

I'll Take "Scraping the Bottom" for $500, Alex

Sheesh, he's only had this columnist gig for what, a few months, and already Ross Douthat has sunk to regurgitating Frank Luntz?

Can I get "Intellectual Conservatives" for $100, Alex?

Sorry, contestant, that category no longer exists.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

There Is No Right-Wing "Fringe" Anymore

Rachel Maddow asks, what's the difference between the foaming-at-the mouth teabaggers you see on TV and the Republican leaders of Congress?

(The volume is a little low on this clip. Sorry about that. Worth turning up for, though.)

(alt. video link)

(h/t: TwinSwords)

Blogroll Update

I am reminded by a recent comment of something I meant to note long ago: Righteous Bubba is now Substance McGravitas. You should adjust your bookmarks, feed-readers, blogrolls, etc., so that they now point to The House of Substance. Looks like he brought along all the goodness of the RB archives.

Unknown why he changed his name and his digs. I'm guessing it's because "Righteous Bubba" has been banned from too many wingnut blogs because he's so good at exposing their nonsense.

Anyway, now you know. Visit early and often. His blog, too, I mean.

If there was ever someone who made me wish I'd never used the phrase "unsung hero" before, ...

... it'd have to be Norman Borlaug. He has died, at 95. Meanwhile, millions, if not hundreds of millions, are alive because of him.

Obama's Health Care Speech to Congress

Yeah, yeah, day late, dollar short. Tell me something I don't know.

Like James Wolcott, whose screed I noted earlier (and thereby inadvertently ruined Doghouse Riley's holiday), Frank Rich takes up the end of summer theme when considering President Obama.

He's right in a lot of what he says, but still, if you haven't watched the speech, I urge you to do so. I just finished watching it, and it is truly inspiring, even when measured against the supremely high bar Obama has already established. If you don't get chills when he speaks, in such a soft voice, especially during the last few minutes, then you don't have a soul or you are a member of Rush Limbaugh's target demographic. But I repeat myself.

A nice option is to head over to the NYT's site, where they have a cool interactive thing where the transcript tracks the video and allows for clicking to jump either to various points of the speech or to related articles. You could spend three-quarters of an hour in lots of worse ways.

MoDo Sees The Light

Not every last drop of opposition to President Obama is driven by racism. Not even every last drop of crazy opposition is. But it is a mistake to acknowledge these truths and to ignore a third: a lot of it truly is.

Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!

Read the whole thing. Probably your awareness is well ahead of hers on this score, but she lays out what she's finally come to realize (will finally allow herself to admit?) pretty well.

Doubtless, much of the right-wing reaction to her column will look a lot like the picture in the previous post.

"... a pretty cool prop ..."

Any day you can read a story about Newt Gingrich being embarrassed is a good day, even if it was 9/11 when the story ran and you were hiding from all "news" everywhere. Go read this quick bit. You will never think of Newt's gavel the same way again.

Gingrich/Vivas 2012!

(h/t: 5things | pic. source)

Even if you don't care about "American Idol," Paul Abdul, Ellen DeGeneres, ...

... TV in general, celebrity doings, or Nancy Pelosi's homosexual "San Francisco" Agenda, you should still read Heather Havrilesky's new piece, "Fear of a gay planet."

(Also, you should care about Ellen DeGeneres, at least a little bit.)

Firefox Security Update to v3.5.3

Mozilla has released a patch that closes several security holes rated "critical." This brings the latest version number to 3.5.3. Details, if you want them, are in the release notes.

If you don't have automatic updates or notifications enabled, do Help → Check for Updates. I have automatic updates enabled at the moment, and having left the machine for a while with Firefox open, I came back to find a message saying the update had been downloaded, and I just need to restart Firefox for it to be installed. Did so, and everything appears fine.

By the way, starting with this version, Firefox will also periodically check to see if the Flash Player plugin installed in your browser is up to date. I can't speak to how well this works at the moment, since I already have the latest version of Flash installed (as do you, if you've been following along), but it sounds like a smart step. Details are available on the Mozilla Security blog.

P. S.  If you're curious, you can always check what version of Flash you have installed in the usual way.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yeah, I'm Still Pretty Pissed About Van Jones

And this says why, pretty damned well:

It’s both typical and relevant that there were never any specific accusations leveled at Jones. As usual, the complaints weren’t about any definable offense against the law or public morals that he might have committed in the past, or that he might be liable to commit in the position of Green Jobs Czar. His three offenses of signing lawful and even conscionable 9/11 petitions, of being at one time a self-made communist (or really, of admitting it without regret), and of calling Republicans “assholes” were — to misapply a very specific term only slightly — ‘thoughtcrimes,’ or abstract breaches of an ideal conformity of belief and speech that’s defined not by what real people find genuinely offensive, but by the things that people imagine would offend others, especially others whose opinions are weighted by authority or power. More simply, it’s a conformity defined by the things for which a passive-aggressor can successfully claim offense.

Stripped of emotional ballast and pleadings, the accusations against Jones were simply that certain things he said and did looked suspicious, not of anything in particular, but of secret plotting in league with Obama, that superlatively suspicion-provoking man whose plots are continually being revealed, yet somehow never diminish in variety. The charge was that Jones seemed like the kind of person who would plot secretly against America somehow — or rather, “How can we be sure that Jones is not the kind of person who would somehow plot secretly against America?”

That, believe it or not, is just part of Note 2, following a Shorter Byron York. Gavin M. is the man.

There are lots of laughs above and below that (do not miss the Pringles cans), but I like when the funny people at Sadly, No! get righteous, too.

[Added] When you click Publish on Blogger these days, you often see ads. I guess "thoughtcrimes" made the Google think I would be interested in …

Sadly, …

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Line of the Day: 2009-09-10

Words actually mean things, and despite persistent attempts by many on the right to make it so, “socialism” does not mean either “any government activity that is not a tax cut or an attempt to kill swarthy people with weapons” or “whatever it is Obama happens to be doing at the moment.”
    -- John Scalzi

Yes, you must read the whole thing, a couple of days late in passing it along though I am. And don't miss the link to an old post where he dumps on Doughy for forgetting that words actually mean things, but in case you do, here it is. ("Now, I know it’s not the fashion to prefer the original sources to current, revisionist views of history …")

(h/t: Jinnet, via email)

Just When You Thought The Country Was Being Overrun By Wingnuts ...

... here's one sign of hope that maybe we're not quite outnumbered yet.

You probably heard about Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) screaming out "YOU LIE!!!1!" during President Obama's address to Congress last night. This, naturally, caused trousers to tent all over Greater Wingnuttia. The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the RedState Trike Force saw a worrisome sign, however: as of mid-morning, over $11,000 had already been donated to Rob Miller, Wilson's opponent in the next election.

By an hour and a half later, Think Progress reported the amount was over $60,000. As of this moment, donations to Rob Miller are over $166,000.

Check that -- I just refreshed that page, and now we're over $169,000.

Gee, Mr. Wilson ...

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)

[Update] The above numbers are just through that one donation page. Combining sources, says the AP (via Jim Newell), Miller "has received more than $450,000 in contributions since Wednesday night."

All from George Soros, I expect you'll hear.

[Update2] And now the $169K is over $213K on that one ActBlue page alone. They had a goal, previously, of $200K, and the goal is now $225K. TAX AND SPEND LIBERALS.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Okay, Just One More Mike Duvall Joke


(h/t: KK, via email)

Collateral Damage

If you try to visit, you'll see a message saying "This account is suspended." Probably exceeded bandwidth limits. Wonder why?

Because the Internet is filled with creepy voyeurs, that's why!

Yeah, that's her. One of them, anyway.

Mike Duvall Is No Mark Sanford, That's For Sure

Update from last: he has resigned! Already! No tearful press conferences with Jesus and his wife, no apology tours, nothing! Gone!

Jim Newell has a sad, because he was expecting to mine this one for weeks.

[Added] See also.

Another Day, Another ...

... "family values" Republican politician caught with his pants down. Or at least, caught bragging about having his pants down. Michael D. Duvall has sexytime with lobbyists! None of whom is his wife!

(This is excellent news for John McCain.)

[Added] Big update next post.

Patch Tuesday Was Yesterday

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

Brian Krebs has details, if you want them.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

One Hundred Years Ago This Month ...

... Richard Peary was the first person to reach the North Pole. Or not. Maybe it was Frederick Cook. Or not.

There's a fascinating article and related post in the Science Times section of the NYT about competing claims of visits to the North Pole that I never knew about before. Who knew Peary's claims of "FIRST!" were so flawed that the Times would run a formal correction in 1988?

Here's how the article starts:

In September 1909, Dr. Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary each returned from the Arctic with a tale of having reached the North Pole. Neither provided any solid proof or corroborating testimony; both told vague stories with large gaps. They couldn’t even convincingly explain how they had plotted their routes across the polar ice.

Yet each explorer’s claim immediately attracted its supporters, and no amount of contradictory evidence in the ensuing years would be enough to dissuade the faithful.

A century later, the “discovery” of the North Pole may qualify as the most successful fraud in modern science, as well as the longest-running case study of a psychological phenomenon called “motivated reasoning.”

The believers who have kept writing books and mounting expeditions to vindicate Cook or Peary resemble the political partisans recently studied by psychologists and sociologists. When the facts get in the way of our beliefs, our brains are marvelously adept at dispensing with the facts.

Oh yeah, it goes there. No matter who you are, you're likely going to feel a little self-conscious at some point, while reading. This is an excellent reminder about the need to be skeptical.

(h/t: KK)

Knows a bit about geography

Minnesota Public Radio, via HuffPo, says this is real -- a party trick that Senator Al Franken has done before -- and that you'd hear oohs and aahs from the crowd were it not for the musical soundtrack. Seems to me there are just enough small errors to make that plausible. If you believe it's real, the details and proportions are pretty amazing.

(alt. video link)

[Added] More reason to believe: via KK and the "related" feature on YouTube, you can see Franken do this (not quite as well) on David Letterman, way back in 1987. (Jump to about 6:35 if you don't want to watch the whole clip, but it is worth watching.)

[Update 2015-10-16 14:14] New embed code for video.

Welp, this is "moving forward" just about the way we expected

Just in case you're as naive as the nice people in the White House and thought Van Jones was an isolated case and his resignation would be the end of it, following is something Glenn Beck posted on Twitter a few days ago:

Dear Mr. President and Democratic members of Congress: A reminder: You never win with bullies by giving into their demands. Stand up to them and watch how many of us will get your back. That is all.

(Details here, via at-Largely, via repsac3.)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

On Van Jones ....

... I think TBogg's got it about right.

I'll add that I can't help but wonder when, if ever, the Democrats will finally realize what they're up against, grow some spine, and learn to stick together. That Glenn Beck and his chorus of howler monkeys were able to drive their jihad into the MSM and that President Obama did not see fit to stand up to the right-wing noise machine and their lackeys among the Villagers is thoroughly discouraging.

The American people resoundingly rejected the Republican way of running the country in the past two elections. The Democrats must realize, starting now, what that actually means, and they must start governing as though they're aware that they're in the majority. The idea of reaching out to the minority party and trying to build consensus is great, as a general principle, and I first started supporting Obama when he pitched this message so beautifully in 2004. However, when that other side is dominated by lunatics who won't even grant the legitimacy of the past two elections, it's stupid. It hasn't worked, it won't work going forward, and every time Obama and the Democrats give into these crazy Republican demands, this country slides a little farther downhill.

[Added] TBogg has a follow-up along these lines.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Who is Van Jones?"

Excellent post by Alex Pareene on "the biggest, scariest villain of the right wing (this week, anyway)." Especially if you're not familiar with how the right-wing noise machine manufactures and spreads smears and FUD, this is a must-read.

[Added] For another aspect of the RWNM, see DougJ: "How temper tantrums work." Lede:

One of the upshots of the right-wing’s crazed reaction to Obama’s speech before school children is that it creates another opportunity for the Joe Kleins and Tobin Harshaws of the world to yak about how reasonable and serious some wingnuts are. You see, when one wingnut says something batshit crazy and the another wingnut disagrees, that second wingnut becomes a serious person.

The penultimate sentence of Doug's post is worth the trip, all by itself.

Line of the Day: 2009-09-05

Damn. And to think only eight months ago, it was Clinton's Depression.
      -- Thers

Small Sign of Hope

The lede from a story in today's NYT:

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft may face personal liability for the decisions that led to the detention of an American citizen as a material witness after the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday.

In the decision, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s practice of holding people it suspected of terrorism without charges, as material witnesses.

“We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history,” said the opinion, written by Judge Milan D. Smith Jr.

Friday, September 04, 2009

A New Asshole For The Democrats

As in freshly ripped, by James Wolcott, with an assist by Tristero: "I'll Be So Glad When This Summer of Love Is Over."

He's right, and this is not something where all blame can be pinned on Obama. It's a never-ending source of wonder to me how timid the Congressional Dems are when it comes to fighting back, or even more to the point, taking the initiative, especially given the daily lunacy and sheer stupidity that is put forth by the highest ranking Republicans and most prominent conservatives. Man, if we didn't have Barney Frank, we'd have nobody.

Can we please get some of that Chicago thuggery going? I mean, I keep hearing about it, but I've yet to see it, and if we're going to be accused of it, we might as well get the benefits, too.

Texas Edumacation Watch (cont.)

Following up from last month, we are pleased to report that the wingnut-dominated Texas Board of Education continues its efforts to rewrite history textbooks that will likely be used by high-schoolers nationwide.

Short version: Stop talking about civil rights so much! Newt Gingrich is much more important! And Joe McCarthy? Totally not guilty of anything!

However, as TPM and Steve Benen both note, when the current President of the United States wants to address the nation's schoolchildren for a few minutes to remind them of the importance of getting a good education, this is "socialist indoctrination." No, really. Just ask the people of … you guessed it: Texas.

DougJ says:

I went through a phase of being deeply bothered by the fact that the United States doesn’t function as a post-Enlightenment first world country. But I’ve gotten used to it.

Not I.

[Added] Good post from Steve Benen (via) on the "indoctrination" hysteria.

In other news ...

... Michele Bachmann has broken new ground: she is donning the victim cloak as a prophylactic. Or maybe this is just another preemptive strike?

Bachman 2012!

I take it back. There really is a perpetual motion machine.

It's called the wingnut welfare gravy train, and it just keeps rollin', rollin', rollin'.

Which phrase strikes you as more comical, "action-oriented think tank" or "Dow 36,000?"

Trick question! The answer is "both."

Trick answer! The actual answer is "Bush Legacy."

Mastering the Art

If there's one person on the planet you'd think wouldn't need defending, it would have to be Julia Child. But, you know, those crazy contrarians at Slate, they can take the nonsensical view of anything.

Fortunately, Doghouse Riley is on the case.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Small Confession

Two posts ago, I was going to use the word thusly, got a little nervous, Google-define:d it, and came across this:

thus +‎ -ly, dating from the 19th century, seemingly coined by educated writers to make fun of uneducated persons trying to sound genteel,[1] with a false inference that thus is not an adverb.

Say what you want about wikis -- that just sounds too right not to be true.

Given how much I rail at people for saying things like "he took Joe and I to the movies," I had to say to myself … buuuuuurn sauce … I guess would be the way to put it.

Anyway, you can rest easy now: I won't be correcting anybody's grammar or usage for … oh, at least an hour or two.

Blog Post Title of the Week

John Holbo, Crooked Timber:

Rationing again: For all ponies, there is some pony, such that you won’t get that pony

If you're at all interested in this "issue" as it pertains to health care reform, have a look -- it's a good article, both sarcastic …

Let’s look at this article from “First Things” that has impressed McArdle with its bold willingness to speak truth (in contrast to the shameful reticence of reformers, re: rationing): “Come, let us speak of unpleasant things. How is health care to be rationed? Who gets the short end of the stick?”

The idea, basically, is that the invisible hand of the market is better than the visible hand of government. Because you can always see what the invisible hand is doing, because it’s visible. And you can’t see what the visible hand of government is doing, because it’s invisible.

No, seriously.

… and serious. (And it will make clear why I used scare quotes around "issue.")

Also, as you may have observed, the piece takes some swipes at Megan McArdle, which is always worth clicking a link for in my book.

And speaking of which, here is Thomas Levenson on an even worse assemblage of McMeganry -- her "thoughts" on wingnuts bringing guns to protests at town-hall meetings:

Another Reason Why My Doctor Tells Me The Nation Shouldn’t Read Megan McArdle…

…the necessary blood pressure medication on its own would bankrupt our soon-to-be-reformed health care system.

Though perhaps, pieces like this actually evoke more of a sense of wonder than anything else — not merely at the banality and evil so neatly conjoined in its content, but at the astonishing reality that anyone who routinely writes such…how to put this…bonecrushingly stupid; water-her-twice-a day dumb;* the wheel is spinning but the hamster’s dead** material, still has a job, much less an apparently appreciative audience.***

Actually, I think I have to credit McArdle with some cleverness here. Her post is so full of different instances of nonsense, bad faith argument, sheer failure to understand what she seems to think she is talking about that she achieves a certain effect: by seeding her post with so much to be debunked, she increases the odds that one whack-a-mole notion or another will slip past the defenses of rationality and real-world experience.

Life is, of course, too short to club every mechanical rodent that pops its head above the blissfully sunlit interior of McArdle’s mind, so what follows is an attempt at bullet-point fisking, a move towards a kind of blog-brevity that I have never executed successfully. So let’s see, why don’t we:****

I'd've copied over the footnotes, too, because that is what a nice guy I (usually) am, but you really should go read the whole thing.

P.S. I think "water-her-twice-a day dumb" is as fine a thing as I've read since someone posed online as Lemuel Pitkin.