Tuesday, August 31, 2010

@reihansalam Regarding your Glenn BX piece

(A response to this ...

reihansalam @bjkeefe I recommend the take offered by @MattZeitlin -- he's on to something.

... which came in response to these two ...

bjkeefe @mattyglesias (1/2)Thoroughly disagree. Agree with @TKOEd -- that article is a joke, and never mind the Malcom X part. Beck is all about ...

bjkeefe @mattyglesias (2/2)...making $$ off of playing politics. I think ur being too loyal to a friend here. Reihan says wacky shit from time2time.

... which is too long to tweet, especially with the flurry of "over capacity" screens now showing.)


So, @reihansalam, i.e., my response to your above tweet, Reihan Salam:

If you mean something other than Matt Zeitlin's "willfull [sic] misreading" tweet, please link to it. I don't see anything else relevant in his twitter stream. If you did mean that tweet, feh. It's an empty assertion, shallow even by the standards of a 140-character limit. I'm surprised that's the best you can reach for.

Believe me, I've read a lot of your stuff and I've listened to almost every one of your Bh.tv diavlogs. I do not always agree with you, but I have deep respect for your perspectives (especially when they're orthogonal to the CW) and your intelligence. Thus, I really tried to give your Glenn BX piece some consideration, far more so than I would have given the same piece from pretty much anyone else. At some point, though, I think you have to accept that either you didn't make your case clearly enough (and stop blaming others for "misreading") or admit that you had a dumb-ass thesis to start. I'm gonna go with the latter, and here's what I'll say to that.

Beck may not be a pure politician, but he is at minimum -- like Limbaugh and Palin and too many others -- dining out in the political arena, and in the most piggish manner at that. He is stirring up people who have no legitimate grievances -- at least, that aren't at least as well due to the party they keep voting for and the leaders they keep revering. He is preying on their fears, he is stroking their bigotry, he is stoking their hatreds, and he is making an enormous amount of money while doing it. Not to mention lying all the while to his own fucking core audience. He is an amoral huckster, willing to say whatever it takes to maintain his ratings and his stream of benjamins, and that's the end of it. He does not merit serious discussion. He's not worth more than a moment's thought. He deserves no respect. He hasn't earned any.

Especially as far as someone of your chops and position goes.

You're supposed to be one of the thoughtful conservatives. So act like it. There is no reason in the world for you to try to show us how out-of-the-box-y you can be by trying to portray Glenn Beck as anything other than the boil on the buttocks of humanity that he is. Jesus. I'm reminded of otherwise smart drama critics trying to inflate the significance of reality teevee. Or that Paglia creature back in 2008 trying to tell us how Wasilla Word Salad was actually Just Like™ jazz. Find something else to write about. There are a zillion things more important and worthy of consideration that we'd like your take on. This country is in a very serious place, and you're wasting your time and mine fluffing someone who is nothing more than a symptom of our shared illness. Well, maybe an opportunistic infection.

Look, you went for provocative (in the Slate sense, at least), and you provoked. Congratulations. I'm sure your hit count is through the roof. But you are forgetting the wise words of Daniel Davies:

The whole idea of contrarianism is that you’re “attacking the conventional wisdom”, you’re “telling people that their most cherished beliefs are wrong”, you’re “turning the world upside down”. In other words, you’re setting out to annoy people. Now opinions may differ on whether this is a laudable thing to do – I think it’s fantastic – but if annoying people is what you’re trying to do, then you can hardly complain when annoying people is what you actually do. If you start a fight, you can hardly be surprised that you’re in a fight. It’s the definition of passive-aggression and really quite unseemly, to set out to provoke people, and then when they react passionately and defensively, to criticise them for not holding to your standards of a calm and rational debate.

As I tweeted to Matt Yglesias, you say some wacky shit sometimes. Often I enjoy it, sometimes I can admire it, occasionally it's even valuable. Not this time. Not any of these. Not even close.


[Added] For those of you who read the above via RSS or Facebook or something, be advised that Reihan has replied in the Comments.

Line of the Day: 2010-08-31

It's not just about global warming denialism -- conservatives treat science like they treat everything else: As an occasion to work on their lying skills.
    -- Roy Edroso

For the record: Had I come up with the above, I would have said wingnuts instead of "conservatives." I dislike the latter as too sweeping a generalization.

Use Google's Fancy New Realtime Search To Expand Shortened URLs (updated)

[Update 2011-11-15] Most of the following is obsolete, due to Google having shut down its real-time search, at least for now. But see my later post for something even easier.

Here's a handy little thing I just noticed. Suppose you are somewhat tempted to click a link posted by some guy on the Twitter, but you're uneasy about clicking that shortened URL. (And you've forgotten to bookmark one of those handy posts that tell you how to preview shortened URLs.)

Solution: Open a new tab or window, Google the twitterer's name, and then click the "Updates" link in the left column of the Google results. That's it.

More details and example screen shots below. Click 'em to big 'em.

As you'll observe, there are more normal-looking links there in the tweets, and Google tells you the site on which the linked-to item resides.

Sadly, hovering over the link does not give what we'd like: the full URL in the status bar (bottom bar of the browser). Instead, as you'll note, you see some encoded URL that Google evidently uses for its own internal purposes. (When you click it, it does take you to the proper place, though.)

On the other hand, I'd bet that clicking this link sends you through some redirect process, part of which would be Google checking the safety of the link and possibly warning you off of it. You've seen something like this before, I'm sure:

Anyway, a minor thing, but maybe you'll find it useful.


If you'd like to play around with Google's realtime search directly, visit google.com/realtime. You can read more about it on the Google blog, as well.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"... the overall effect was large, vague, moist, and undirected: the Waterworld of white self-pity."

Hitch has a few thoughts about this past weekend's Lawn Chair Rally and Lardfest. Here's another nugget that appealed:

What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.

(h/t: @barbiesnow, RTed by @sonjablair)

Advice Too Often Not Followed

I wish more people would listen to Steven Pinker (and his early editor):

I’ve gotten advice on writing from an early editor of mine who said, “When you try to present science to a wide audience, don’t feel that you’re writing for truck drivers or chicken pluckers. They probably realistically won’t buy your book. And if you try to aim at everyone, you’ll end up talking down or condescending. Write for your college roommate, someone who you respect as being as smart as you. They went into a different line of work. They’re joining the conversation late. They need to be brought up to speed; but assume that your audience is as intellectually engaged and as smart as you are.” That was terrific advice both for teaching, and for writing and speaking for a wide audience.

Video interview and transcript of "Steven Pinker on Writing About Science" on Big Think.

BTW, I only happened across Big Think because I happened to be checking Lindsay Beyerstein's Twitter feed. (She's now blogging there, and has archived Majikthise, and ain't I late to the party.) Lots of other blogs there, too, plus various series, like this month's "Dangerous Ideas." Have a look.

[Added] In other things you might already know, but which I didn't, I see Strange Maps also has a new home, at Big Think.

World's only 7-foot point guard?

Who knew Tony Parker was so tall?

Tony Parker and Eva Longoria(embiggen)

Above from Gawker, via @edroso. More pix of the happy couple here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Your Moment of Interpretative Palin

Ken Layne's last look at yesterday's Lawn Chair Rally and Lardfest:

Sarah Palin being translated?

Does anyone have any idea what’s happening here? Is this some kind of translation service to an even lower form of language than whatever word-blender nonsense spews from Palin’s awful fishmouth?

Shoutout to Digby (@digby56)

Glad that someone else cares about this:

I've written reams about rightwing voter suppression efforts over the years, and like other single subjects (like tasers) I get a fair amount of blowback from people who say "enough already, we get it." Still it's worth reminding even those in the know, if only to establish a record all over the internet that some archeologist may someday find in the virtual ether.

It's important to be aware of this especially now that we have a an energized and batshit insane right wing ready to pull out all the stops. (We've already seen their capabilities with the destruction of ACORN.) The following story from Glenn Smith who's been following this from the trenches in Texas for a long time sounds the alarm:


As I've said before, right-wing voter suppression campaigns are the most under-reported political scandal of the last 50-100 years. [...]

In other details, the suppression campaigns follow a familiar pattern: raise suspicions of widespread voter fraud. Accuse "others" of stealing elections from us (read: white people). Threaten would-be voters with criminal charges. Limit polling locations in poor and minority precincts. Distribute spurious "felon lists" that disenfranchise legal voters who happen to share a name with a felon. Staff phone banks that make election calls to minority and poor voters giving incorrect polling locations and dates. Dress up vigilantes in cop clothes to intimidate would-be voters. [...]

Read the whole thing.

Ed. note: Above blockquote has minor typos corrected.

New Public Editor at the NY Times

The new hire will be the fourth of four white males to have ever held this job (after Daniel Okrent, Byron Calame, and Clark Hoyt), but thank the FSM the NYT is considerate of sensibilities and doesn't call the job ombudsman!

Also, Arthur S. Brisbane apparently thinks bloggers and tweeters are terrorists. Either that, or he knows no other metaphors besides "asymmetric warfare."

Aaaaaaand ... he voted for Scott Brown.

Thanks, Liberal Media!

Here and here, if you must. On the other hand, his first blog post takes the NYT to task for botching details in reporting on a medical study, so maybe we'll ignore politics and hold out some hope for other sections in the paper.

Michele Bachmann: Crazy by Three Orders of Magnitude

Michele Bachmann and separated at birth twin?Hope Tarryl Clark's people got a clip of this:

On a day when crowd estimates could provide their respective groups with political clout, Bachmann asked her audience how many thought more than 1 million people were in attendance. The question was met by big cheers from the gathering of about 1,000. "We're not going let anyone get away with saying there were less than a million here today because we were witnesses," Bachmann said.

(h/t: @Rumproast)

Line of the Day: 2010-08-29

Charles P. Pierce:

So I awake this fine morning to discover that events -- or Whoever -- may be conspiring to give me Ozzie Guillen and Manny Ramirez in the same clubhouse.

What could possibly go wrong there?

mushroom cloud

[Added] Earlier from CPP on that decision by the St. Louis Cardinal's manager's decision to go to the Lardfest at the Lincoln Memorial:

LaRussa is going out of his way to celebrate a demented television creature who combines the intellectual firepower of L. Ron Hubbard with the sincerity of Ted Haggard and the civic conscience of the Ebola virus.

Unlike Mr. Pierce, I will hold this against Albert Pujols, too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Line of the Day: 2010-08-28

Glenn Beck promised there wouldn't "be a dry eye in the house" after his big speech today at the Lincoln Memorial for his "Restoring Honor" rally -- because, you know, it was going to be "so stirring."

Riiiiight. Well, Glenn Beck's eyes certainly weren't dry. He started weeping while telling the crowd that somewhere out there was "the next George Washington".

Dunno about you, but when I saw pan shots of the crowd -- which was one of the whitest crowds in D.C. in recent memory -- I mostly thought I saw "the next Timothy McVeigh." But your mileage may vary.
    -- David Neiwert via Digby

Hey, cool! I'm someone else's enemy! Thanks, @AmericanLady49!

You wingnuts do love to construct your lists, don't you?

My Twitter handle on two lists, 'liberalkoolaiddrinkers-2' and 'braindeadsickpeople2'(embiggen)

For some reason, the above immediately made me think of a picture I saw earlier. Were you in Washington, DC, today by any chance?

A fat old teabagger lady on a Socialist wheelchair


Friday, August 27, 2010

Speaking of the National Catholic Register ...

... which we were, sort of, a short while ago, you simply must read Doghouse Riley's reaction to K-Lo.

[Added] And speaking of strange beliefs, see Roy Edroso and Brad Reed on the transhumanist fantasies of (g)libertarians.

Auntie Entity

Just because it's a nice picture.

Tina Turner as Auntie Entity

(h/t: Zuzu, in comments at Roy's place, via Doghouse Riley (though for unrelated reasons). All of those links are worth clicking. Start with the second.)

Whoa. Remember this young starlet?

I never saw her so young. Hard to believe I missed this episode of "The Partridge Family."

(alt. video link)

But, you ask, does it get weirder? Oh, it can get a lot weirder. Would you believe herself and then-hubby, years later, on the "Brady Bunch Hour?"

(alt. video link)

No, I did not know there was a "Brady Bunch Hour," either. And the first 1:53 may well speak to why. EhhhhxxxCRUTIATING! But hang in there -- once the sketch starts, you have only another minute to wait until the big entrance. And then it gets … I guess oddly compelling would be the way to put it. Childhood zen, even, with apologies to Mr. Clarke.

(Blame Japan's hardest rocking Canadian photographer, in the comments for an earlier post.)

P.S. Tech note: please let me know if the embedded videos misbehave (more so than usual, at least). YouTube is trying out a fancy new embedding system, and I figured I'd help beta test it. Thanks.


Did you know that the reason shortbread was named shortbread had nowt to do with the length of the cookies, but their texture? I did not know this, although I was familiar with the term shortening as a baking ingredient.

"butter or other fat used in baking," 1796, from shorten "make crumbly" (1733), from short in the secondary sense of "easily crumbled" (early 15c.), which perhaps arose via the notion of "having short fibers." This is also the sense behind shortbread (1801) and shortcake (1590s).

Via Wikipedia, of course, which adds:

The short or crumbly texture is a result of the fact that the fat inhibits the formation of long protein (gluten) strands.

It's kind of amazing how even the most mundane-seeming things have these layers of history.

Baby crawling in front of some cowsP.S. And speaking of layers, I am just now finding out by double-checking on my attempt to be a little Scottish above, in honor of the origin of shortbread, that I could be said to have had a cow. Funny that Alf Wight -- the guy who taught me about the first sense of nowt -- never saw fit to mention the second, in all of those books. Not like there was any shortage of opportunities to make a pun, I mean.

Or, who knows. Maybe his humor was more subtle than I was able to detect at that time.

Pic. source. Given the spread of topics, how could I not choose that source? (At least in the lower case.)

Post title is an old joke between Dan and me. He was once praised by a mutual coworker for his knowledge of entomology.

There is no question that this must be reblogged

Arnold, Wilt, and some other famous guy

Okay, so yeah. You're a political junkie and a sci-fi geek, so you got the guy on the left. And the guy on the right? Icon. But who is the third man? (And never tell him that looks like a Garanimals outfit. It would break his heart, even lo these many years later.)

Answer whence I stole this pic.

Instant Cappuccino Relaunched

My friend Maha Rafi Atal's blog, Instant Cappuccino, has gotten a makeover and has fresh hot new content! Therefore, we will all update our blogrolls.

Invariably, I find something to disagree with in virtually everything Maha says. That is what makes the blogosphere great. Sometimes!

Also, Maha tweets.

You could spend time a lot less productively elsewhere, is the point. Go see.

The Angry Professor Wins The Internet

And, I am ashamed to say, I am just noticing now:

Title: 'Apparently this was unexpected.' Post body: 'Finalist dies at world sauna championships.'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boy, This Time We Really Need The ™ After FairAndBalanced™

Sorry to make your eyeballs bleed:

Screen capture: 'Hannity vs. Springer on Obama's Job Performance'

Another Global Warming Controversy!!!1! ... uh, no ... make that ... Another Apology

But that's okay, because we can be sure that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and every Republican member of Congress will be talking about this tomorrow!

A Newspaper Apologizes to United Nations’ Climate Chief

Last December, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper published a 2,000-word article accusing Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of potential financial conflicts of interest.

On Sunday, The Telegraph made an abrupt about-face, pulling the story from its Web site and apologizing to Dr. Pachauri. [...]

The Telegraph apologized for creating the false impression that Dr. Pachauri had been earning millions of dollars from his consulting work, allegations that climate change skeptics seized upon to question the integrity of the United Nations climate panel he leads. The original story was broadcast around the world, and is still available widely on the Internet.

I'd say read the whole thing, as well as the righteous column from George Monbiot of the Guardian, but sadly, the only people who will are the only people who don't need to. As Monbiot concludes:

The best we can do is to set out the facts and appeal to whatever decency the people spreading these lies might have, and ask them to consider the impact of what they have done to an innocent man. Will it work? I wouldn't bet on it. As we have seen in the United States, where some people (often the same people) continue to insist that Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born abroad, certain views are impervious to evidence.

By the way? Total number of words in the Telegraph's apology?


Including the headline.

Taibbi: Spot-On As Usual

In case you just got here from Neptune or something, here's your one-paragraph summary of life these days in these United States:

Everyone involved with politics understands the current dynamic. It’s not hard to grasp. You take very tough economic times, add them to a heavy dose of political opportunism, and multiply both by the aggravating factor of a nihilistic commercial media, and what you get is ethnic scapegoating on a massive scale.

And to that last point:

There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.


I’m convinced that none of the key actors here – the Wall Street banks shrieking about government takeovers and advertising on Rick Santelli’s CNBC, the Republican Party’s career hacks who have been scheming for a new horse to ride ever since Bush imploded, and the right-wing TV and radio networks – none of these actors is pushing this crazy movement out of any real desire to stoke a race war. For these institutional leaders and patrons of the Tea Party movement, this is all about material expediency: overcoming the real threat of new financial regulations after the crash, winning elections, and making TV profits. It’s just our bad luck that driving frustrated/broke white suburbanites into a race-hatred frenzy happens to be good business for these folks. And all of this is race-baiting-for-cash is borne out of the same short-term, indifferent-to-consequence thinking that we saw from the Wall Street guys in recent years -- who created mountains of deadly leverage capable of destroying the global financial system for the sake of a few one-year bonuses.

The list of specifics is worth everyone's time.

[Added] On a related note:

Turn off FoxNews

The Party of No. (As in, Rights for Women.)

Good post from Michael Tomasky on the further Talibanization of the Republican Party, and how it's not quite so recent as the SCLM would have you think.

"Building a Nation of Know-Nothings"

Timothy Egan's latest post is a very good summary of where we're at.

I was going to say, eh, maybe if you're reading this blog you already know everything he talks about, but then one line made me reconsider.

... this astonishing level of willful ignorance has come about largely by design, and has been aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.

It's not so much that I think you, dear reader, are uncertain about where our president was born, or how well established AGW is, or what a lying sack of shit Rush Limbaugh is, or any of the other points Egan touches on, but maybe you're not aware just how much effort is being put into hammering the misinformation home.

Coincidentally enough, right before reading that, I had just finished an email from a friend, who mentioned that one of his right-leaning friends told him about Park51: "… it's a monument to the Muslims who flew the planes into the towers." Three guesses as to where that notion came from, and you won't need two of them.

On a related note, two Republican Senators named Jim -- DeMint and Inhofe -- are AGAIN obsessing over the Fairness Doctrine.

I'll tell you the one thing Republicans know: how to gin up fear, even about the most absurd ideas possible.

Project Argo follow-up

Following up from yesterday, Laura McGann of Nieman Lab another post up on NPR's new online thing: "Project Argo blog is for participants, but an interesting read for outsiders."

Think of it as an in-house blog that just happens to be open to the public; even though the blog is meant for NPR staff, it’s a useful read for anyone interested in the future of news or in best practices for launching a news blog.

So, obviously, not for everyone, but I've been enjoying looking through Argo Project, The Blog. This one on how to use Twitter (as a news organization) might be a good place to start (ignore the idiotic title).

Actually, I have to admit that one of the things that made it catch my eye was a bit quoting Jay Rosen that perfectly echoed a sense I had expressed elsewhere just a day or two ago (emph. added):

Throughout the day I will be watching Twitter for what my 600 sources are telling me, which means I’m clicking all over the Web because I tend to follow people who give good link. I don’t use RSS and I don’t use alerts. I do everything from the Web; Twitter is my RSS reader.

Lots of good links in Laura's post, too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PZ on drugs!

"A fistful of stents" is the most delightful thing I have read in days, and not just because it's good news, although I am very happy about that part, too, of course.

Additional praise is in order because this is seriously the first time Hitler has been mentioned on the Internet where Godwin's Law need not apply.

Heads-up: Argo Project

Laura McGann has an interesting post up on Nieman Lab about a new online thing put together by NPR, due to launch in a week or so. Argo Project (aka Project Argo aka Argo Network aka Journolist 2.0) is going to be a network of blogs whose content is contributed by a collection of local NPR stations.

Say what you will about Nice Polite Republicans on a national scale, and I could say plenty, there still is a lot to be said for the work done at the local level of public radio. So, this looks like something to keep an eye out for.

Final nail hammered into coffin containing corpse of British cultural snobbery

Headline in the Guardian:

BBC4 to air Anna Nicole Smith opera

Work based on life of former Playboy model to join Douglas Adams adaptation and Macbeth film in new season's lineup

Oh, no, you're not really going to demand a link, are you? Well, okay, if you're just going over there to laugh, here.

And for further awesomeness, this was tweeted using Hootsuite

"The iPad was chosen because the sumo association believed the device was big enough to cater to wrestlers

(tweet link | expanded story link)

The Dumbest Idea in Sports Since ...

... Bud Selig and Fox decided to make victory in the All-Star game determine home field advantage in the World Series.

Seriously? A longer season for the NFL?

Hey, I got a great idea, too! Let's remove the fixed number of rounds in boxing, and just make each match a fight to the death!

Line of the Day: 2010-08-25

It’s really, really clever to put this powerful vocabulary — pit bulls and grizzlies — in the service of disempowering people. Kind of like death panels in reverse.
    -- Stacy Schiff

A Further Move By The NY Times Down the Slippery Slope Into the Biased Liberal Reality-Based Community

A redirect of some significance: click and see where http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ takes you.

Congratulations, Nate and crew. Well-deserved recognition, and more importantly, a significant improvement for them. This is almost as big as being declared Wonkette's boyfriend!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goddammit, he said even more inappropriately than usual

No sooner do I pass along that great new link to that great new science blogs aggregator than I check the link for soundness and see this about PZ (via and via).

See also here.

Get well soon, PZ!

Tweet of the Day


A really great new link - A science blog aggregator http://scienceblogging.org/ not for #deniers or #wingnuts #science #p2

[Added] Goddammit ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Most Zenlike Web Page Ever

I was reading an old King Kaufman article (go Pirates!) in Salon's archives. When I got down to the bottom of the page, I saw a line that said this:

• Bookmark http://www.salon.com/sports to get the new Kaufman column every day.

You must click that quoted link.

Note that if the link actually pointed to what it says (do that hovering thing) --

-- it would work (with a proper redirect). Well, "work" in a more mundane sense, I concede. And fresher content from the King is available elsewhere on Salon, and on his personal blog, also too.

Ah, good. The shrieking seems to have worked, then?

Just happened to notice this title, on a blog post dated 17 August 2010:

Israel Has Three Days Left to Save the World

Yeah. Pam Geller, again.

2012: Romney/Ryan or Palin/Bachmann?

Mitt Romney with magic glove
Robert Reich on another of the GOP flimflam artists: Willard "Mitt" Romney and his magical underwear fiscal "plan" to simultaneously cut taxes and balance the federal budget.


(pic. source)

Number of the Day: 267

And what does it signify?

The number of posts on Pam Geller's blog in the category "Muslim in the White House?"

At least as of this moment. I don't doubt it'll be higher by the end of the week.

For those of you keeping score at home, that works out to about one such post for every other day President Obama has been in office. Which leaves time for …

  • 25 posts categorized "Obama's Submission Tour to Muslim Countries"
  • 502 posts categorized "President Hussein"
  • 112 posts categorized "Infiltration"
  • 73 posts categorized "Taqiya:Deception to advance Islam"
  • 528 posts categorized "Jihad in America: Enemy in our Midst"
  • 442 posts categorized "Amerabia: Losing America"

  • 301 posts categorized "Creeping Sharia: American Dhimmitude"

… etc.

Hat tip to Andrew Brown (via), whose post, "The poison behind the Ground Zero mosque furore," is well worth your time if you're a little unclear on who Pam Geller and Robert Spencer are and what they do. All day. Every day.

About the Koch Brothers

Excerpt from the beginning of a longish piece in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer titled "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama."

[...] Their [brothers David and Charles] combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

In a statement, Koch Industries said that the Greenpeace report “distorts the environmental record of our companies.” And David Koch, in a recent, admiring article about him in New York, protested that the “radical press” had turned his family into “whipping boys,” and had exaggerated its influence on American politics. But Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

Thanks for the heads-up, @daveweigel, even if you didn't care for the article. I, evidently less-well informed than you, am finding it well worth reading.

[Added] Follow-up tweet from Dave fleshes out his gripe.

[Added2] Note part about funding "Tea Party" activities. Nothing like a top-down PopulistUprising™!

[Added3] Some numbers on their political spending:

Tax records indicate that in 2008 the three main Koch family foundations gave money to thirty-four political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct. The Kochs and their company have given additional millions to political campaigns, advocacy groups, and lobbyists. The family’s subterranean financial role has fuelled suspicion on the left; Lee Fang, of the liberal blog ThinkProgress, has called the Kochs “the billionaires behind the hate.”

Only the Kochs know precisely how much they have spent on politics. Public tax records show that between 1998 and 2008 the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation spent more than forty-eight million dollars. The Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is controlled by Charles Koch and his wife, along with two company employees and an accountant, spent more than twenty-eight million. The David H. Koch Charitable Foundation spent more than a hundred and twenty million. Meanwhile, since 1998 Koch Industries has spent more than fifty million dollars on lobbying. Separately, the company’s political-action committee, KochPAC, has donated some eight million dollars to political campaigns, more than eighty per cent of it to Republicans. So far in 2010, Koch Industries leads all other energy companies in political contributions, as it has since 2006. In addition, during the past dozen years the Kochs and other family members have personally spent more than two million dollars on political contributions. In the second quarter of 2010, David Koch was the biggest individual contributor to the Republican Governors Association, with a million-dollar donation. Other gifts by the Kochs may be untraceable; federal tax law permits anonymous personal donations to politically active nonprofit groups.


Americans for Prosperity [a Koch-funded group], meanwhile, has announced that it will spend an additional forty-five million dollars before the midterm elections, in November. Although the group is legally prohibited from directly endorsing candidates, it nonetheless plans to target some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.”

[Added4] The part about the ozone regulations is just unbelievable.

[Added5] Tell me if any of this sounds familiar:

Soon after Obama assumed office, Americans for Prosperity [a Koch-funded group] launched “Porkulus” rallies against Obama’s stimulus-spending measures. Then the Mercatus Center [a Koch-funded think tank] released a report claiming that stimulus funds had been directed disproportionately toward Democratic districts; eventually, the author was forced to correct the report, but not before Rush Limbaugh, citing the paper, had labelled Obama’s program “a slush fund,” and Fox News and other conservative outlets had echoed the sentiment. (Phil Kerpen, the vice-president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, is a contributor to the Fox News Web site. Another officer at Americans for Prosperity, Walter Williams, often guest-hosts for Limbaugh.)

[Update 2011-02-04 02:46] I should have blogged about this when it happened, but let's just stick it here, now, for future reference: "Smear Plot Against The New Yorker Writer Who Profiled Koch Brothers Collapses." (h/t: Charles Pierce)

Laugh now, but wait'll you see it go postal

Snail mail(embiggen)

(h/t: KK, via email)

And speaking of wonderful reports about terrible people ...

... as we were last post, Roy Edroso's latest wingnut wrap-up is now available: "It's Obama's Fault People Think He's a Muslim, Say the Guys Who Keep Telling People He's a Muslim."

Intro (and outtakes!) here, full column here.

Hard to believe a report about such terrible people could be so wonderful

But it is. Do not miss Mrs. Polly's post and pix: "A Lovely Day For An Auto-Da-Fé: The Not the Ground Zero Rally Against Not the Ground Zero Mosque."

The Blogger Who Mistook His Thoughts For A Bat

I just had occasion to look up the town of Branford, Connecticut, and so now I know that it is a town about eight miles due east of New Haven. (Or, if you're vehicularly inclined, "a few minutes north.") I-95 is at that point pretty much a line of latitude, and the center of Branford is about a mile south of it. Looks like one town boundary is the Atlantic Ocean -- the coastline there is also an east-west line -- so it's probably a pretty nice place.

Map link | Wikipedia page.

From the latter:


How great are those names?

And how do you suppose the second guy got interested in brain science? From the beanball wars of the pre-batting helmet days?

Curt Belfrey would probably not like me making such jokes.

(What? | What? | Also | Also)

Also, too: @Mr. Riley: As it happens, the last player mentioned batted left, threw right, so if you ever wanted a more self-deprecating nickname, I'd say you can't go wrong with Clank.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Onward Christian Soldiers!

The rest of you are confined to barracks.

For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts. As I've written in a number of other posts, "spiritual fitness" is just the military's new term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity. And this concert series is no different.

On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking "an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God."

Any doubt that this was an evangelical Christian event was cleared up by the Army post's newspaper, the Fort Eustis Wheel, which ran an article after the concert that began:

Following the Apostle Paul's message to the Ephesians in the Bible, Christian rock music's edgy, all-girl band BarlowGirl brought the armor of God to the warriors and families of Fort Eustis during another installment of the Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concert Series May 13 at Jacobs Theater.


A few days later, some of the soldiers punished for choosing not to attend this concert contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). The following is from the account sent by one of those soldiers to MRFF, detailing what transpired that night.

The rest. More here and here.


BTW: the headline in that military base paper?

Jacobs Theater echoes with love, war during spiritual fitness concert.

Also from that article:

In her opening statement, Alyssa thanked the crowd not only for attending the concert but also for their service to the country.


“We’ve travelled the world and we’ve seen Soldiers in every airport, and we cry because every day we hear about people who have given their life for love. [...]"

And right near the end:

BarlowGirl has been nominated 10 times for Christian music’s Dove Award.

Will they also start calling the Jesus rifles "peace pipes?"

(h/t: TBogg)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A New (to me) Scudder Novel

Just finished A Long Line of Dead Men, one of the Matthew Scudder books by Lawrence Block. A great read, especially the conversations between Scudder and Mick Ballou, Scudder and Elaine, and Scudder and Ray Gruliow. Not as dark as some of the earlier Scudder books (this one is copyright 1994, and Scudder's life is pretty well together at this point), but that's not a significant detraction. Is it one of the better ones? Eh, hard to say -- they're all good -- but at minimum, it's as good as the best ones in the series.

If you've never read the Scudder books, and you like first person private eye stories, you're in for a treat. Although there may be a little bit of additional pleasure to be gained by doing so, you don't need to read them in chronological order.

Some excerpts available here and here.

(h/t: TC, for introducing me to the Scudder books, lo those many years ago)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bush Courage

Must have a book to sell or something.

Bush: No Comment on Park51(embiggen)

(h/t: Chris Bodenner via Riley Waggaman)

Roy Sees Randroids and Racists

Roy Edroso has a new piece up: "10 Shameless Right-Wing Tributes to Ayn Rand That Should Make Any Sane Person Blush." Intro here, full column here.

(New gig at Alternet? Congrats to Roy and Alternet if so, but let's hope it doesn't mean an end to the Village Voice columns.)

Also noted by Roy: the latest smear from crypto-racist and star of Bloggingheads.tv Byron York, claiming that it's Obama's fault -- and not the fault of the York and the rest of the right-wing noise machine -- that mouthbreathers obsess over the president being Muslin. Yeah, Byron York. Classy as ever.


Sad Reality

Let's face it: This country has long had its Know-Nothings and its Birchers and its McCarthyites, but it never had gizmos like Fox News or Sarah Palin's Twitter feed to fuel toxic ideas so far so fast. It's time we admit these seemingly disconnected battles over "anchor babies, mosques, and a black man in the Oval Office are all part of the same war against "the Other," and that we are in the fight of a lifetime.


This isn’t a fight any progressive worthy of the name can afford to sit out. Even if Obama hurt their feelings once upon a time.


Closing lines from Will Bunch and Betty Cracker, respectively. In this case, I don't feel guilty about stepping on punchlines. You'll see what I mean when you click the links.

Yes, you can say, as I often do, that a lot of this will die down once the economy picks up again. But that's not going to be for a while, and meantime, there is an entire class of people who make a living stirring up hate and feeding off of it. And the more entrenched you let it get, the harder it will be to dig it out.

(h/t: Evan Hurst)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"From Paul Ryan, a plan that isn't"

Excellent column from Matt Miller, structured as an open letter to the GOP's supposed Idea Man.


Which is why it's important to be clear that your vaunted plan to get our fiscal house in order, and to restore a culture of self-reliance rather than dependency on government, isn't a "plan" at all -- at least not in the way most people think of one. Your road map is a set of assumptions -- a kind of rigged forecasting exercise, really -- that shows how a certain underlying philosophy could play out fiscally in an aging America.

But it doesn't balance the budget, lower national health costs or assure faster economic growth. It's not fiscally conservative enough for my taste, if anyone in Washington still thinks "fiscally conservative" means advocating that government pay for what it chooses to spend.

The rest is specifics, critiquing three aspects Ryan's "plan:" taxes, debt, and health care vouchers. Well worth a look.

(h/t: @louiseslaughter)


A maze of twisty passages, all different, gets a little more twisted

Maybe it's time for a fancy new keyboard? Or maybe it's just another sign of the decline of the American Empire?

A reCAPTCHA challenge screen, showing one word in Roman letters and one in ideographs

Or maybe, to think more optimistically, it means that Google, through reCAPTCHA, has finished scanning all printed matter written in the Roman alphabet?

[Added] As it happens, the first word must have been the actual challenge word. I typed "couseary chinese" and got in, at any rate. Be interesting to see the list of guesses for the second word.

Al Franken Speaking on Net Neutrality

Here's the key link. From his email (emph. added):

You may have heard that, a few weeks ago, Google and Verizon announced a proposed policy framework that they claimed would protect net neutrality.

Unfortunately, that's simply not the case.

The Google-Verizon "framework" was written so as not to apply to wireless Internet services. If you use wi-fi or access the Internet on your phone, this is a serious problem. Their framework could even allow for corporations to pay for premium access to the "wireline" Internet.

This framework doesn't protect net neutrality -- it undermines it.

We can't let corporations write the rules they're supposed to be following. Corporations are responsible only to their shareholders, and they will always act to maximize profits. The government -- which is responsible to the public -- has to write tough rules to protect net neutrality and reverse the trend towards media consolidation. And you and I might have to be the ones to force the government to do it.

This evening, I'll be speaking at an FCC hearing in Minneapolis. I'll urge the commissioners to reject the Google-Verizon framework, stop the Comcast/NBC merger, and take action to keep the Internet free and open.

But I won't be alone. Nearly 100,000 of you have signed our petition, and even if you can't be at the hearing (there won't be enough chairs for all of us!), your voice matters.

We've set up a special link so you can watch the hearing, courtesy of the UpTake -- it starts at 6:00 Central Time (7:00 Eastern) tonight. Please invite your friends to watch by Tweeting and posting to Facebook. This is a big opportunity for us to stand up for net neutrality -- and stand up to big corporations who want to own the flow of information in America.

[Added] More info at SaveTheInternet.com/mnhearing.

Save the Internet: Click here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Rise of the American Taliban

Sharron Angle

Yeah, you knew Sharron Angle was nuts, but did you know she was this nuts?

(h/t: @daveweigel)

An Inevitable Result of the Right Wing's Purity Push

WND dumps Ann Coulter from Miami due to Homoconflict

WASHINGTON – Conservative superstar Ann Coulter today was dropped as a keynote speaker for WND's "Taking America Back National Conference" next month because of her plan to address an event titled "HOMOCON" sponsored by the homosexual Republican group GOProud that promotes same-sex marriage and military service for open homosexuals.

Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, said the decision was a gut-wrenching one for his team because of their fondness for Coulter as both a person and writer-speaker.

"Ultimately, as a matter of principle, it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about 'taking America back' when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very 'unconservative' agenda represented by GOProud," said Farah.

That's from WingNutDaily themselves, but probably you'll want to read TBogg's take instead.

[Added] Next to be purged: Grover Norquist?

Yep. That About Says It.

But there are words, too, and you should read them. Because, as Roy Edroso says in his introduction:

Responses by junior-grade rightbloggers were as one might expect: "Obama has Surrendered and Submitted to islam," "Obama is in favor of desecrating Ground Zero," etc ad nauseum.

Normally these yahoos provide the biggest laugh lines in this column. But this week we'll let them alone, and limit ourselves to the big-time rightbloggers -- the kind who write for major publications, get big traffic, write op-eds for the New York Times, etc.

Because those guys were basically saying the same thing as the yahoos -- just more fancy-like.

It might be better to hear or read what our President had to say, first, but … up to you. But one way or another, please be aware what the reactionary part of the United States is coming to.


... it should be clear by now that these people have as little respect for language as they have for the Constitution.


Let's go to the Doghouse, for a much-needed injection of sanity

If you are like me, and checked the NYT's op-ed page recently, and thought, "Well, hey, at least Ross isn't talking about teh sex and teh gheys for once; maybe I'll click this thing because I like to maintain the fantasy that there is such a thing as a ReasonableConservative™ left in this country," and then you saw this crap …

The first America, not surprisingly, views the project as the consummate expression of our nation’s high ideals. “This is America,” President Obama intoned last week, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” The construction of the mosque, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told New Yorkers, is as important a test of the principle of religious freedom “as we may see in our lifetimes.”

The second America begs to differ. It sees the project as an affront to the memory of 9/11, and a sign of disrespect for the values of a country where Islam has only recently become part of the public consciousness. And beneath these concerns lurks the darker suspicion that Islam in any form may be incompatible with the American way of life.

This is typical of how these debates usually play out. The first America tends to make the finer-sounding speeches, and the second America often strikes cruder, more xenophobic notes. The first America welcomed the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the second America demanded that they change their names and drop their native languages, and often threw up hurdles to stop them coming altogether. The first America celebrated religious liberty; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics.

But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer …

… and were simultaneously filled with loathing and fury and a sense that it just takes too much motherfucking effort to keep shooting these overpaid clowns down, and, really, what would actually be so bad about kicking ten puppies and then plunging red-hot forks into your eyes, and … I don't even know what else, but a lot … 

Have heart. Mr. Riley to the rescue, in his usual brilliant form.

I'm tellin' you, New York Times: if you'd run these rebuttals every week, your Wednesday traffic and newsstand sales would go through the roof.

And who knows. Maybe we'd even have a country that measured up to the ideals I was once taught.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Staring at the ground

Earlier today, I was out on the back porch -- or, as I like to say, in my smoking lounge -- and I got to staring at the concrete surface. I noticed an ant of typical size, at least for around these parts, maybe about the size of the exposed lead on a sharpened pencil or thereabouts. And then getting interested in it and bending over for a closer look, I picked up on a couple of other, smaller, ants in its vicinity. Circling, maybe.

Tells you something about scale. "In its vicinity" here means "within a radius of three or four inches." And "smaller" means "roughly the same proportion as a couple of Yugos and a tractor trailer."

And then, to illustrate scale in the third dimension: the big ant found a space between two of the embedded pebbles in the surface, and seemed to wiggle in and then collapse. Almost with a sigh of relief. It looked first like nothing so much as a state trooper hiding the patrol car between a couple of boulders. Like maybe the next little ant to come wondering by was going to be lunch. And then I thought, eh, maybe he's just about dead, and he is waiting for those littler ants to come by with a couple dozen of their friends and repurpose his carcass.

Next time I went out, I couldn't find the big ant, or even the two pebbles. So it goes. But it did make me think, among other things, about what EO Wilson must have been like as a boy. Lot to be said for, lot to be seen by, settling down and taking a closer look.

And now for a moment of self-congratulations

save-excursion (

I wrote my first Lisp code today! It was defun ()!

Hurrah! I am now only, what, a half-century behind the cutting edge!


(h/t: Steve Yegge. [Added2: and for one part in particular, Brandon Kuczenski via CMS at Stackoverflow])


[Added] Related: RMS: "My Lisp Experiences and the Development of GNU Emacs." For fans and students only, probably.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"The 9/11 Familes:" Follow-up

Here's a report by Christina Bellantoni that builds upon the Josh Marshall post linked to earlier: "Not All 9/11 Families Oppose Cordoba House."

Here's a real American (as opposed to a RealAmerican™), Donna Marsh O'Connor:

"We're a family who is forever changed, certainly forever scarred, but we're not the victims of 9/11. Our daughter was the victim of 9/11 and we don't want to see our nation fold."

More Wingnut Hate Noted For The Record

Sarah Palin, Sen. David "Diapers" Vitter (R-La.), Erick Erickson, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, etc., gathered up in one place by your Lauri Apple.

[Added] More teabagger hate (via), but hurrah! For a change, this time it's about hating on the Messikins!


Would you believe ... the Republican candidate for governor of Florida is running against Teh Mosk?

Of course you would. That's part of what makes it so sad.

[Added] Ugh. It gets worse. Not only is Republican Senate candidate and teabagger darling Marco Rubio also on board with the hate -- no surprise there -- but so is that guy who made himself a billion dollars during the recent collapse of the financial system, ostensible Democratic candidate, Jeff Greene.

(previously | moar)


[Added: here is some helpful information on Greene. Note this link especially.]

The Mother of all Clickbait Fails

Sorry, Bloggingheads.tv. I'd rather be forced to watch an hour of koala cubs being stuffed through a power mower than ten seconds of this.

screen shot of an image link to an Ann Althouse/Byron York diavlog

You are hereby banished from my blogroll. Feel the plunge in traffic!

A Timeline of Hatred. And a Dose of Reality.

To follow up on my previous post, I'll direct your attention to Justin Elliot's piece over on Salon: "How the 'ground zero mosque' fear mongering began."

Looks like Pam Geller has made the big time. Charles Johnson: right again.

On a related note, and one that ought to lift a little of the despair you're probably feeling after reading that, see Josh Marshall's fine post, "Getting Some Facts On The Table." It exposes the canard that "the 9/11 families" are at all represented by one Debra Burlingame, the widow of one of the pilots and the go-to wingnut the MSM are always quoting. (h/t: @TavernWench.)

[Added] Follow-up.

Somewhere far below Sam Harris's feet swims a shark

This past Saturday, 14 August, Sam Harris tweeted this:

My thoughts on the mosque... http://bit.ly/dtjRNh

I responded:

@SamHarrisOrg I usually like to read your thoughts, but on this one, sorry: you're not much better than the rest of the bedwetting #wingnuts

A day later, he tweeted this:

Thank you @AsraNomani ! http://bit.ly/9CfaCL

I responded:

@SamHarrisOrg Will you also thank those who write about the violent&racist factions within the #teaparty movement? Or do only muslins count?

(The articles in question, if shortened URLs make you nervous: Harris's, Nomani's.)

Not that I actually expect Sam Harris to notice what I have to say in response to him, nor is what I'm going to say below particularly original, but hey, sometimes being part of the chorus just has to do when no one is asking for an aria. Maybe if enough of us sing loudly enough, he'll hear us, and at least think about what he's saying and what we're saying.

I should say to begin that I quite liked Harris's 2004 book The End of Faith. I have also enjoyed listening to him lecture and debate. I have, however, always felt that he went too far in demonizing ALL Muslims and the entire religion of Islam. I think this latest article of his indicates he's plunging off the deep end. On a separate but not entirely unrelated note, I think his attitude does more harm than good to the cause of diminishing the unwarrantedly privileged position of faith in our society.

I sent the above links by email to a friend, an outspoken atheist like me, and he responded, and then I responded to him. Part of my response follows, with a few minor edits. My friend's words are indicated by blockquotes -- I was responding to his email in pieces.

"Haha, we'll be able to grow oranges in Minnesota!!!1!"

You know that sort of global warming denialist who, when unable to remain comfortable with outright denialistm, retreats to a position of "Hey, what would be so bad about a slightly warmer planet?"

Russia has long played a reluctant, and sometimes obstructionist, role in global negotiations over limiting climate change, perhaps in part because it expected economic benefits from the warming of its vast Siberian hinterland.

But the extreme heat wave, and accompanying drought and wildfires, in normally cool central Russia seems to be prompting a shift in thinking.

“Everyone is talking about climate change now,” President Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Russian Security Council this month. “Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past.”

The above from a very good article in the NYT, about picking out the signal of climate change from the noise of weather fluctuations: "In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming." The gist: not every extreme event can, in and of itself, be confidently attributed to anthropogenic global warming, but there is an ever-stronger statistical argument that the increased frequency of such events, plus the lopsidedness of them (twice as many high temperature records set as low, for example), shows that human activity is having a measurable effect on the planet. And generally, not in a good way.



This is a perfect argument {for|against} the Kindle

Edge view of stack of books wedged between two shelves, with one word written on each: 'These books are here for an essential structural purpose.  They are not for sale.'

There's a huge collection of such pictures at ThereIfixedIt.com. Some are quite hilarious, some are quite clever (i.e., the ones that resemble things I've done.)

(h/t: TC, via email)

After this, what's left for Slate?

Though I bet Mr. Riley could imagine a new angle on the story1 that they could take.

Salon sidebar:

Daily Beast sidebar:

1 I have not actually read2 either of these articles. Let's just say that I quite liked Erin Brockovich and leave it at that.

2 Yes, you remembered!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Smartest Thing I've Heard Said About Prop H8 In A While

Jon Chait comments on the interesting speculation that Judge Walker's ruling may be the last word:

It seems bizarre that such a major ruling could go unchallenged merely because, despite the many gay marriage opponents desperate to overturn the decision, nobody has legal standing to challenge it. On the other hand, it would be sort of fitting. The fundamental issue with gay marriage is that opponents have never been able to adequately explain who is hurt by letting gays marry. The concept of "standing" is about finding a person who is hurt by a ruling. There are no such people. Hence the basic justice.

Guess Who's Back In Charge? Turd Blossom!

Karl Rove: dominatrix.  Michael Steele: submissive.

Zandar calls attention to an interesting piece in Raw Story discussing Excellent News For Republicans: they won't have to fire their one black guy!

Basically, the story goes, current RNC chair and perpetual disaster Michael Steele is seen by the GOP's movers and shakers as a figurehead who can be tolerated until after the midterms, and Karl Rove is back calling the shots.

Don't you feel better already, America?

That fabulous pic is the artwork from a story Tim Dickinson did for Rolling Stone back in May, in which he said:

With the media's attention diverted by the noisy revolt being waged by the Tea Party, the man known as "Bush's brain" was staging a stealthier but no less significant coup of the Republican Party.

There may be an upside for Dems here: if the MSM will ever deign to cover this story, if may be worth the tradeoff of having a more competent dirty trickster as the de facto head of the Republican Party, in return for how much that will remind people about the Wonderfulness of the first eight years of this millennium.


Short version: all losses pre-stimulus

Nervous Laughter

Jon Chait on the Fourteenthers:

There does seem to be a general trend for Republican presidents to look better with the passage of time as successive Republicans get crazier. Richard Nixon proposed universal health care and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Ronald Reagan passed a huge tax hike and a progressive tax reform. George H.W. Bush passed a deficit reduction bill that included a tax hike on the rich. George W. Bush didn't have a lot of accomplishments, but these days we can look back and appreciate the fact that he left the post-Civil War amendments intact. Likewise, one day we will be saying to ourselves, "You know, I never really appreciated President Palin at the time, but her policy of having intellectuals publicly flogged seems pretty humane compared with President Angle."

Oh, Snap

The Cato Institute, the Vatican (or maybe the Saddleback Church) of corporate libertarianism …
    -- Hendrick Hertzberg

The GHEMRotRSTF is yelling on the Twitter again!

Erick Erickson


Matt Duss, Think Progress:

CNN Contributor Erickson Compares Building of Mosque To ‘Human Sacrifice’

Reacting angrily to President Obama’s statement yesterday in support of the Cordoba House community center in lower Manhattan on the basis of religious freedom, blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson compared supporting the rights of Muslims to establish mosques in America to supporting “human sacrifice” by the Church of Satan. Erickson went on to suggest that the president’s interpretation of American religious freedom could also extend to support for “jihad”.

Erick Erickson tweeting about Obama, jihad, and Satan.

As the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky notes, the president’s support for the Cordoba House “is going to be demagogued to death in the next few days. The important part is going forward. Hang tough. Stand by the position. Don’t trim sails or add asterisks after Mitch McConnell or Dick Cheney or whomever says whatever hideous thing they’re going to say.”

By supporting the rights of an unpopular religious minority, President Obama is firmly within the bounds of America’s best traditions and values. The same can’t be said of those cultivating fear of Muslims for political gain.

(x-posted | pic. source: sorry, I forget. Sadly, No!, maybe? [Added: or perhaps First Draft])