Some cover art, huh?
Good article by Steven Thrasher to go with it, too.
Hat tip: Roy Edroso, whose post you might want to read as an introduction. Or afterward. Up to you.
Some cover art, huh?
Good article by Steven Thrasher to go with it, too.
Hat tip: Roy Edroso, whose post you might want to read as an introduction. Or afterward. Up to you.
To go to Tarryl Clark, that is.
It's embarrassing to me and a great many Minnesotans that Michele Bachmann, a politician who is so busy grandstanding and giving interviews on Fox News that she doesn't have time to serve the people who elected her, represents the 6th District in Washington.
Minnesota's 6th District has some of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state, but in an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Congresswoman Bachmann was unable to name any "substantive" legislation she had passed.
P.S. Instead of working to solve problems, Bachmann talks about us as a "nation of slaves" and about the need for smaller government even though she knows better - the biggest part of big government is military spending, Social Security, and Medicare. Which would she do away with? Bachmann's so-called policies are just the old Bush economics that Alan Greenspan characterized as "disastrous." Help Tarryl defeat her by donating today.
In the face of fierce opposition from the special interests, the House of Representatives passed the DISCLOSE Act earlier this year. This act will shine a light on political expenditures and ensure that shadowy special interests, sham organizations, and dummy corporations cannot mislead voters. I was proud to be the lead sponsor of this important legislation.
We need more people in Congress who are willing to stand up to the special interests rather than with them, and that's why I'm also proud to support Tarryl Clark.
Tarryl's opponent took big money from Wall Street then voted against financial reform that will hold the industry accountable; she took hundreds of thousands from big insurance companies and then voted to let them continue to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.
And when it came to the DISCLOSE Act, Tarryl's opponent once again sided with the special interests who seek to influence our elections.
P.S. - As you know, Tarryl has raised more money than virtually any other Congressional challenger in the country, but her opponent continues to rake in the cash from her special interest allies and ultra right-wing national base. Help Tarryl grow her grassroots support with a donation today!
Tarryl Clark's opponent, as you may or may not already know, pictured to the right:
We almost got her out last time. Let's do it this time.
"Stuxnet worm + Iran + mainstream media = Global nuclear meltdown," says Woody Leonhard of InfoWorld Tech Watch. His subhead reads, "What's wrong with the wild-eyed speculation in mainstream coverage of the Stuxnet worm? Let me count the ways."
As an aside, see also a related piece, via the above, which is kind of comical at first glance, but does speak to something everyone should find nearly as troubling as the sad reality that Windows-based computers continue to be deployed in highly critical applications: "Siemens warns users: Don't change passwords after worm attack/The worm uses a default password that, if changed, could crash Siemens' large-scale industrial automation systems."
I don't know how many of you have read Cliff Stohl's great book The Cuckoo's Egg, but if you have, you'll recall that one of the takeaways was this: the guy he caught breaking into all of those military computers was doing so, in large part, by trying default system passwords.
This was more than twenty years ago.
Which is not at all to say that The Cuckoo's Egg is not still well worth your time. Besides the strong suggestion from above that some of the same problems persist, it is a hugely entertaining read if you like any sort of detective story.
(h/t: KK and LK, via email)
I trust you can connect THESE two dots:
NYT headline and lede:
New Planet May Be Able to Nurture Organisms
It might be a place that only a lichen or pond scum could love, but astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a very distant planet capable of harboring water on its surface, thus potentially making it a home for plant or animal life.
Big Think headline:
U.N. to Establish Protocols for When We Make Contact With Aliens
Date-stamps on these article? Two. Days. Apart.
WAKE UP SHEEPLE. [Added: And see the comments for MORE.]
(The NYT piece is actually pretty interesting.)
It's Matt Taibbi's latest piece, and if I start blockquoting, I'll end up with all four pages over here, so just head on over there. It's really, really good.
(h/t: uncle eb/Go12)
But when you get to the office, this is what you'll be carrying in:
Yep. The whole thing collapses down into that. Pretty cool! It's called "Bikoff" and it was designed by Marcos Madia. Details on designboom.
Marcos is from Argentina, so for the US market, he may have to go back to the drawing board to get the wheels to spin in the other direction, but I am confident he will figure that part out.
(h/t: Maria Popova)
I think that people should carry notebooks with them at all times just for those moments because there’s nothing worse than having that moment and finding that you’re unable to set it down except with a knife on your leg or something. You actually don’t want to do that.
The whole interview of Margaret Atwood at Big Think is not that gruesome. Or mortifying. Yes, let's say mortifying.
Big shoutout, once again, to Big Think for transcribing the interview and not just posting the video.
I meant to add something else to that last monstrosity, but just as well: this is important enough to have its own space.
Also among my travels last night, I happened across some discussion of a guy known only as why the lucky stiff. The name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. Turns out he has been a highly respected person on these Internets for quite some time: a true code guru, an artist, and by all accounts a weird and wonderful personality. And then one day, he just pulled the plug -- shut down all of his sites, canceled his Twitter account, wiped various other sites of his contributions, etc.
Here are two appreciations of _why, a short one from John Resig and a longer, really good one, from Diogo Terror. And because you know that even a genius can't really erase things from the Internet anymore, all sorts of people have been looking through caches and repositories and whatnot, and resurrecting a bunch of his stuff. There looks to be a pretty comprehensive collection assembled by yjerem at _why's estate.
(h/t: Why Uses This)
Can insomniac be an adjective?
I guess, when you think of counting sheep, you could be said to be … no, let's not go there. There be double-entendres.
Let's start ... in the middle somewhere.
The above is a piece of promotional artwork for the Alvin Ailey dancers, who would like you to know that they will be appearing at the New York City Center at the end of this year. The first link has more photos of gorgeous people.
And what's more, blogging from the ICU.
This proves once again that liberals are lazy and just sit around, waiting for handouts from ObamaStalin.
You must buy these books or the death panels will turn off his oxygen.
G.W.B. (Get Well, Bunch.) ← another coincidence???
A couple of weeks ago, I passed along news from Bloglines that said they were planning to shut down on the first of October. However, they appear to have postponed this. From the Bloglines home page:
The Bloglines service will officially close November 1, 2010.
If you haven't done so yet, you might want to export your list of feeds from your Bloglines account to a file on your own computer, and perhaps import this file into another service, such as Google Reader. Both of these things are easy to do. Details in my earlier post, if you want them.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an export mechanism for anything else, such as links to your saved posts, your clippings, and so on. I have sent three emails to the support address Bloglines gives -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- asking about this, and each time, I have received the same automated reply containing promises that are, so far, 100% empty.
So, boo hiss to Ask.com, the owner of Bloglines. In the meantime, you might want to get started on saving what you want by hand. (Apart from your list of feeds, I mean.) I interpret this extension on the shutdown date as all the help we're going to get.
I wouldn't presume to think this has (these have) anywhere near the staying power of certain other four-word lines, but if it got a little legs, leading into the midterms, that'd be pretty darned good.
Preliminaries: What appears below is a response I promised Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake a few hours ago, when I no longer felt able to say what I wanted in 140-character bursts.
For background: a blog post by Jane, a reaction by John Cole (h/t: uncle eb, via email), and then on the Twitter: my original tweet after reading those, her response, my four-part response (you already see where this is going), her response, and my two-part response.
James Fallows has a bunch of things for you to read and watch, concerning that bigot's recent appearance at that school.
Kudos to Fallows for staying on top of this, even as he was reluctant ever to get involved. Sometimes, there is nothing more important than making your voice heard.
Cobb's piece is about Eddie Long, one of those megachurch pastors, who has recently gotten some attention due to accusations made by four young men that he made advances on them. And, not at all surprisingly, there have since followed some eyebrow-twitching pictures of Long (cellphone self-portraits), now available everywhere.
I do not much care about this specific case, except that I am always ready to laugh (while, admittedly, feeling a tinge of pity) at any story involving fundies in their undies. But those two posts are mighty fine.
Marvelous thing, this Internet.
It is about midnight here, and since it got dark out, it's been about 20° warmer than it was eight hours ago. You know, when the sun was shining.
This proves what, class?
Al Gore is fat. And he has a big house, also.
Late last week, I saw the news on America's Premier Warblog that Mike Pence was going to be our next Preznit.
But what about the previously anointed Savior of America, Mitch Daniels, also from Indiana?
So of course I had to ask our man in Indianapolis for his take on what I can only will hope will soon be seen as the Next Thrilla in Manila. And, good news: Mr. Riley has obliged!
(He is actually not quite as excited about this as I am.)
Roy Edroso reports in his latest roundup that rightbloggers simply did not care for that Stephen Colbert testifying before Congress, and let them tell you, neither did anyone else.
And what about your (So Called) Liberal Media? Equally furious. Especially the usual suspects from The rePubOLITICO and, as Zandar brilliantly labeled him, Chuck Toddler.
So, this week, Roy finds the funny in unfunny people saying a funny person is not funny. Time for a MacArthur Grant, I say.
Unsurprising, of course, but still worth
noting for the record trumpeting to all of those out there who, unfortunately, do not pay enough attention to the close ties between FoxNews and the Republican Party.
Hart Van Denburg, of the Blotter blog on Minneapolis-based Citypages.com, has details and links, if you want them.
Hat tip to Lauren Beecham of the Tarryl Clark campaign, who invites you, if you would like, to offset the Hannitys' money here.
Do you know who's behind "Concerned Taxpayers of America?" No. And neither does Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon). Even though they are paying for TV ads that attack him. So he tried to find out by going, in person, to their listed headquarters in Washington, D.C.
You will be shocked, shocked to find out that the guy there, Michael Omegna, first wouldn't answer the door, and then lied about being connected with this shadowy group. Or, in Republican terms, "misspoke."
Amanda Terkel has the story, plus video.
[Added] In looking for more info about "Concerned Taxpayers of America," which I didn't find, I came across a closely related story about another group with the same modi operandi: a bland name ("Americans for Job Security"), a mail drop somewhere, a "sole employee," and a whole lot of money sloshing to Republicans and their causes, from who knows where.
(h/t: Joan McCarter)
With that in mind, here is Felix Salmon on Lewis D'Vorkin's latest antics:
If you put advertisers on the same distribution platform as your editors and writers, and if you say that there are no lines separating what’s editorial content and what’s advertising, then at that point you don’t need Dinesh D’Souza to destroy your editorial integrity: you’ve managed to do it all by yourself.
The whole post, "Forbes blogs for sale," is well worth reading.
(h/t: a D'Vorkin watcher, via email)
And in the Coulda Seen It Coming From A Mile Away department, there's also this, from Kafka (really), from last week:
D’Vorkin won’t talk about traffic directly, or about specifics of other internal overhauls he is planning. But broadly speaking, he’s talking up the idea of journalists as “product managers”–tellingly, D’Vorkin has given himself the title of “chief product officer”–who would be responsible for generating their own traffic, recruiting contributors, keeping tabs on their own analytics via Chartbeat accounts, etc.
Balloon Juicers, you were saying?
Apparently, our Mr. Douthat's reference reading has expanded in range. All the way from the Heritage to Cato and AEI, I suspect.
And as everybody knows, the only way to really bring the budget into balance is to reform (i.e., cut) Medicare and Social Security …
Ooo, ooo! Pick me, Ross! I know another way! Posted it just the other day, matter of fact: End the Bush tax cuts for rich people.
(Granted, that's not the whole ballgame, but if you follow the link, you'll see it's the first eight innings, at least.)
BTW: If you bother to go over to see if I was unfair to Ross in how I pulled that quote, I bet you'll thank me for the ellipsis. The rest of that sentence is spent polishing Paul Ryan's halo.
Golf claps to Ross for being in touch with reality enough to start by admitting that the GOP's shiny new Pledge to Ruin America is an utter crock -- e.g., "But their fiscal vision practices the same kind of free-lunchism that the Tea Party supposedly abhors: it promotes low taxes without coming close to identifying the spending cuts required to pay for them." -- but man, if he's ever made it all the way to the end of one of his weekly columns without saying something irredeemably stupid, I sure as hell haven't seen it.
Shut up. I only looked because about nine variations on "Desperate Housewives" are top trending topics right now, and one of the reasons why is everyone is retweeting her tweeted exhortation to watch.
Anyway, if these two (she and husband Tony Parker) make babies, the universe might explode from the cuteness.
#goodthingsfromtexas ← a rare hashtag indeed
Some of these are quite good. Among other things, it will be the first time in memory you've laughed at Family Circus, Cathy, Beetle Bailey, and Garfield.
Given how many rightwingers believe Stephen Colbert is actually serious (srsly), you have to wonder how many of these you're going to get emailed by your wingnut friends, for exactly the wrong reason.
(h/t: Ken Layne)
Charles McGrath has an appreciation of John Updike's classic essay on Ted Williams, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of that piece. It is quite good. I think you should read it even if you do not like baseball.
Loved this line:
It seems obvious now, but Updike was one of the first to show that you don’t have to write down about sports or empurple them, either.
(h/t: KK, via email | post title: will become apparent upon reading McGrath)
[Added] If you've never read Updike's essay, here's the version as it originally ran in the New Yorker.
More from Mr. Riley. No idea who this person is who has made him take the bit in his teeth (can't tell the Slate doublebackflipcontracontrarians without a scorecard!) but it is just wonderful.
Yep. Some other Villager-wannabe tried to make a case in defense of Payless Palin's plausibility, with, as you will see, disastrous results.
I have no idea why I sometimes let a few days go by before checking for the latest from The Doghouse, but maybe it's because it's such a delight to binge.
Roy Edroso: "The Barrel Has No Bottom, Part 1,543,929."
The omission he notes goes a long way to explaining why she keeps her job.
Mr. Riley has a look at one of Chunky David Brooks's (NYT!) blog posts, in which the latter for some reason felt compelled to justify Christine O'Donnell's worthiness on the grounds that ACTUALLY, LIBERALS ARE THE REAL …
No. Forget it. You wouldn't believe me if I told you. And besides, I'd be keeping you from The Doghouse. Go.
Here is a song that has been running through my mind a lot the past few days, for some reason.
He sang a lot of shlock, but when he wanted to, man could he bring it.
Ladies and gentleman: Lou Rawls.
Do not adjust your sets, except to turn up the sound. There is no video.
As it should be, your resident curmudgeon harrumphs. Here, stare at the album cover while you listen. That is the multimedia experience as it was meant to be.
And hey, if you're reading this on a laptop, you can even clean your stash, right on the album cover! Also as it was meant to be! (Ask your grandparents.)
(pic. source: Flea Market Funk)
Wikipedia reminds me that this song was originally recorded by Mable John, in 1966. The same page tells me that this song was also recorded some years later by Captain & Tennille.
In 1980. The same year Ronald Reagan was elected.
I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.
And Christina Bellantoni of TPM has a top five list!
In related news, the GHEMRotRSTF has not put up a blog post all day. It is suspected that he has fainted from the excitement of being mentioned on the same page as disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Hmmm. Blows off a commitment to speak. At a college. Because of who knows, but lies about why. Then tweet-brags about it.
Also, is not very bright in other ways, is extremely self-absorbed, mysteriously got a huge pile of money to write a dumb book, and is very close to John McCain.
If I got a few wishes, one of them would be that I could draw. Richard Feynman, who at one time shared that wish, described in one of his books his decision to believe that drawing wasn't a skill you either have or don't, and that he could in fact teach himself how to draw, despite having displayed no apparent ability to that point in his life. Turned out that it was pretty well true, at least in his case.
Now, if you know anything about RPF, you can laugh at this as just another one of his clever schemes for getting attractive women to take off their clothes for him. And, of course, it would be the height of folly for me to compare myself to him in any manner. Still, though, I've always kind of wondered … there was that one sketch I made of that football player, and that other one I made of that sleeping dog, and those came out surprisingly well …
Anyway, what made me think again of this occasional longing was noticing that James McMullan's second post on this very topic is up. His first one from last week was "Getting Back to the Phantom Skill" ("The first in a series of columns on how to draw") and the new one is "The Frisbee of Art" ("The ellipse is everywhere, and essential to learning how to draw").
Also, here is the home page for this series, where ten more posts should eventually appear. You may want to bookmark it.
And by "you" I mean "me," obvs.
Will this piece by Ron Chernow stop the teabaggers from worshiping a cherry-picked and childishly revisionist view of the guys who hammered out the legal document that became our national charter? Will they stop yelling things like I DON'T SEE ANYTHING ABOUT OBAMACARE IN THE CONSTITUTION!!!1!?
Of course not. But it is a good read anyway.
Paul Krugman has a new picture gracing his columns!
Oh, and while you're admiring it, don't read the words around it. You won't like what he has to say about your Republican Party's “Pledge to America.”
Basically, he longered his earlier shorter, which means if you do not believe in Tax Cut Jesus, you will be able to enjoy the comedy he is able to wring from the GOP's numbers.
Please pass that column along. It is important that everyone sees what a joke the Pledge to Ruin America is. Because if it is ever given a chance at implementation, it won't be funny in the slightest.
Like mother, like daughter:
I would like to welcome everybody to my new official Facebook page! The launch of this page is part of a new and exciting chapter in my life. I have decided to embark on something new and step out of my "comfort zone" in order to tell my story …
I look forward to keeping you updated, as we move forward.
PS: Check out my DWTS performance here. [link not copied, in the name of the last remaining shreds of decency.]
On the upside, this could get the economy going again. No telling how many more journamalists will have to be hired to report on Important Developments here.
If you are not already weeping for your country, see the fan comments your Wonkette has gathered up.
Deficits Are Evil! Let’s Make Them Bigger!
What is there to say about the Republican Pledge To America (pdf)? No ideas; no respect for the public’s intelligence.
Looks like a winner to me.
[Added] And don't miss "Waaaaah Street."
From the NYT:
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive and a founder of Facebook, has agreed to donate $100 million to improve the long-troubled public schools in Newark, and Gov. Chris Christie will cede some control of the state-run system to Mayor Cory A. Booker in conjunction with the huge gift, officials said Wednesday.
The three men plan to announce the arrangement on Friday on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”
On one hand, I am enough of an old-school liberal and believer in government as a force for good to be sad -- and worried -- that it has come to this, that we must look to rich patrons for gifts, rather than correctly setting our priorities as a citizenry and paying for such things ourselves. I am also enough of an elitist snob to cringe at the clout of TV talk shows.
On the other hand, I would like to think of myself as enough of a realist and a pragmatist to be able to recognize when, like it or not, something isn't working and so we must try something else. I would also like to think of myself as flexible enough to be able to accept that the shifting nature of who holds power is not automatically bad, just because it is a change. And as far as this specific instance goes, who can be against giving a nice chunk of money to schools, particularly ones that appear to be so badly in need of help?
In conclusion: no conclusion. Just thinking out loud again.
A few days ago, TBogg wrapped up observations on Payless Palin and her fan base thus:
By now it it is pretty obvious that you go to war with the financially insolvent lunatic anti-masturbationist that you have, not the financially insolvent lunatic anti-masturbationist you wish you had. Quite frankly, if it came out tomorrow that Christine O’Donnell had given herself a home abortion and sold the fetus to cannibals so she could buy meth, many Tea Baggers and conservatives would be falling all over themselves complimenting her plucky can-do attitude and her entrepreneurial spirit.
Because that is how they roll.
My problem with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is not limited to the fact that he's wrong. The more glaring issue is his habit of saying things that are blatantly untrue while pretending to know what he's talking about.
-- Steve Benen, via Atrios
The good news is that the treatment he underwent seems to have been successful. Certainly Pharyngula has been chugging along full steam since then.
And now we have further confirmation: Simon Owens emails to say that he recently interviewed PZ, wrote it up, and posted it on The Next Web: "How an atheist blogger and his readers addressed his mortality."
A good read.
A big shoutout to Ben Dimiero of Media Matters for assembling a collection of Jim Hoft's recent craziness and lies.
If you're not familiar with this guy, despite my mentioning him from time to time, you should be. He is one of the major wingnut bloggers and, as such, is a key cog in the right-wing noise machine. He is one of those people whose blog posts feed the maw of "respectable" outfits like FoxNews. It matters little that his bullshit and paranoia are regularly shot down within hours of going up -- we know how fast lies travel -- all the RWNM cares is that they have someone, somewhere peddling Hoft-style nonsense so they can "report" what "people are wondering about." And if Hoft's posts sound alarmingly like those crazy chain emails your conservative friend's crazy brother keeps forwarding to you, so much the better, as far as they are concerned.
Apparently, some guy named Robert B. Laughlin published an essay in something calling itself The American Scholar, in which he claims anthropogenic global warming isn't a problem because the Earth is really old, it's been raining all that time, yet we're not completely flooded out, so there. Also, sometimes it takes rocks a long time to erode, did you know that?
Naturally, this caused long-time denialist George F. Will's bow tie to tumesce, although to his credit, he managed to hold off until his second sentence before ejaculating that Laughlin was "the co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics."
That Laughlin's prize was awarded "for discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations" was, somehow, not considered worth sharing by Mr. Eff Will. Or maybe he forgot it in all the excitement of retyping the good parts about how the Earth is really old, so therefore, you hippies should just STFU with your concerns about how dumping stuff into the atmosphere is going to make life unpleasant for humans, because we haven't been around all that long, compared to the Earth, and anyway, NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS, AMIRITE?
All this is to say that Andrew Revkin sought some responses from scientists who actually specialize in the relevant fields, and they are well worth reading.
I do like when Paul Krugman issues these occasional reminders.
Sadly, of course, the people who need them most are least likely to make use of them.
When I first saw this Newell post, "Will Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Rallies Hurt Democrats' Election Chances?," I was all set to piss and moan about the Democratic circular firing squad, why Newell should never have left Wonkette, etc.
But a closer read, not to mention clicking the rePubOLITICO link within, indicates it's more like Ben Smith woke up this morning and asked himself, as he does every morning, "What can I write about that is Bad News For Democrats™?" And thus, he went through his iPhone RolodexApp and kept asking people, "How is this day of fun that might actually get few hundred thousand libs interested in doing something useful, like voting, actually the worst thing in the world, for Democrats?" And a couple of saps -- yeah, looking at you, Chris Hayes -- answered him, and clickety-clickety, Ben Smith Won The Morning™! (= got a Drudge link.)
Stop taking Ben Smith's phone calls, everybody. He is part of the problem.
Apparently the WaPo is doing another round of their Next Great Pundit stunt that worked so well for, what, a week last year, and then no one ever heard from the person who won? Something like that.
In honor of the occasion, Hamilton Nolan offers this: "How to Become the Next Great Pundit." It is harsh and kind of depressing, because for every example he gives, anyone familiar with what passes for political discourse among our most prominent pundits these days could easily come up with a hundred more.
However, if you just got here from Neptune and you want to know why Republicans are still considered a respectable political party and other reasons why our country is in such terrible shape, give it a look.
Official and independent budget estimates show that letting tax rates spring back to pre-Bush levels for all taxpayers would bring the country within striking distance of meeting President Obama's goal of balancing the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015.
"If we actually ended the Bush-era tax cuts, that would pretty much do it," Obama's recently departed budget director, Peter Orszag, said in an interview last week with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "If you do a bit on the spending side and then end the tax cuts, you pretty much get there."
But for all the election-year hand-wringing about deficits, no one in Washington is talking about letting the tax cuts lapse on schedule in January. Instead, Senate Republicans have offered a measure that would extend all the cuts, adding nearly $4 trillion to the debt over the next decade.
Why does the GOP hate America so much?
I see by Brad DeLong that criticism of Marty Peretz's latest spasm of bigotry (previously noted here and here) has finally gotten some attention from within the pages of TNR itself. Hurrah, I say, although I can not help but think that the reason the Editor-in-Chief let the piece run is due to his insufferable conviction that his prejudices are so correct that they are immune to criticism.
Peretz's motivations aside, Todd Gitlin's essay is just brilliant. It's just two pages. Please read it carefully.
Roy Edroso's latest wrap-up of the wingnutosphere is now available. It's all about the fury of the brethren rising up (stop snickering!) to defend Payless Palin, and it. is. hilarious.
Reflecting on my own service and experience, I’m quite confident that sexual orientation does not impact a person’s ability to defuse IEDs, provide medical care for someone wounded the line of duty, or translate intercepted enemy intelligence into English.
-- former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs John Shalikashvili
Chickenhawks and Christianists, you will be shocked to learn, do not agree. Be afraid! they howl.
One of my tweeps, Joshua Holland, tweets that he has a new book coming out!
I keep meaning to spend some time gathering up the articles I've been seeing about what we can call, without fear of being hyperbolic, a true threat to our democracy. For the moment, and as a reminder to self, let me just post the beginning of a fine editorial in today's NYT.
But first: For the record, I am strongly sympathetic to the notion that people should be allowed to spend their money, and lots of it, if they wish, to influence the political process. I am also highly dubious about the likelihood that we could design good laws to restrict money flows, even leaving aside the impossibility of getting them passed in the current climate. While in the ideal I'd like nothing finer than 100% publicly-financed campaigns, I think we have to accept that it is a fact of life in America that we will for the foreseeable future spend an insane amount of money on campaigns and issue-mongering.
Therefore, I say, let's concentrate our energy on pushing for complete transparency on who is buying who.
Here is the beginning of the this NYT editorial.
The Secret Election
For all the headlines about the Tea Party and blind voter anger, the most disturbing story of this year’s election is embodied in an odd combination of numbers and letters: 501(c)(4). That is the legal designation for the advocacy committees that are sucking in many millions of anonymous corporate dollars, making this the most secretive election cycle since the Watergate years.
As Michael Luo reported in The Times last week, the battle for Congress is largely being financed by a small corps of wealthy individuals and corporations whose names may never be known to the public. And the full brunt of that spending — most of it going to Republican candidates — has yet to be felt in this campaign.
Corporations got the power to pour anonymous money into elections from Supreme Court and Federal Election Commission decisions in the last two years, culminating in the Citizens United opinion earlier this year. The effect is drastic: In 2004 and 2006, virtually all independent groups receiving electioneering donations revealed their donors. In 2008, less than half of the groups reported their donors, according to a study issued last week by the watchdog group Public Citizen. So far this year, only 32 percent of the groups have done so.
Most of the cash has gone to Republican operatives like Karl Rove who have set up tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations. In theory, these groups, with disingenuously innocuous names like American Crossroads and the American Action Network, are meant to promote social welfare. The value to the political operatives is that they are a funnel for anonymous campaign donations.
Read the rest.
Here's a sidebar graphic from the Michael Luo article linked to above:
The Portland Press-Herald should be ashamed of itself for knuckling under to loud-mouthed bigots. See James Poniewozik's fine post for details.
Hat tip to Nicolas Kristof, whose column is also well worth your time.
Interesting article in the NYT on Sal Russo, described as "the chief strategist behind" the Tea Party Express, "one of the movement’s most successful players," and a prime reason why Christine O'Donnell won in Delaware.
... Mr. Russo, 63, is a longtime Republican operative who got his start as an aide to Ronald Reagan and later raised money and managed media strategy for a string of other politicians, including former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York. His history and spending practices have prompted some former employees and other Tea Party activists to question whether he is committed to, or merely exploiting, their cause.
Mr. Russo’s group, based in California, is now the single biggest independent supporter of Tea Party candidates, raising more than $5.2 million in donations since January 2009, according to federal records. But at least $3 million of that total has since been paid to Mr. Russo’s political consulting firm or to one controlled by his wife, according to federal records.
Friends credit Mr. Russo with knowing how to identify promising candidates and seize on hot issues. But they acknowledge that the Tea Party Express has brought real benefits to him, too.
“Sal Russo is a smart consultant and a great entrepreneur,” said Mark Abernathy, a Republican consultant in California who has known Mr. Russo for more than two decades. “He’s doing well by doing good.”
The rise of the Tea Party Express can be traced to tax-filing day in 2009, when disparate groups around the nation organized what they called “tea parties” to protest government spending.
Within a day, Joe Wierzbicki, a senior associate at Mr. Russo’s firm, Russo Marsh & Associates in Sacramento, sketched out a proposal to latch onto the nascent Tea Party movement, according to internal e-mails provided to The New York Times. He hoped to breathe life into the firm’s faltering political action committee, known then as Our Country Deserves Better. Donations to the committee, established during the 2008 presidential campaign in an effort to frustrate the ambitions of Barack Obama, had dropped significantly.
And one more:
Mr. Russo estimated that Russo & Marsh, and his wife’s company, King Media Group, had been paid about $250,000 a year for their work with the Tea Party cause.
An analysis of Federal Election Commission records by The Times puts the total amount paid — for commissions, services and wages to executives and staff members — at nearly $700,000 in the last 20 months, or about 13 percent of the $5.2 million the committee has spent. (By comparison, media buyers for candidates’ campaigns typically take a 6 percent to 15 percent commission, according to one consultant.)
But the campaign finance records for the Tea Party Express also showed payments totaling more than $10,000 for stays at casino hotels, as well as bills for meals at expensive restaurants near Mr. Russo’s offices, including nearly $5,000 at Chops Steak House, which former staff members said the Tea Party Express frequented after work.
The article did not say whether he also favors undergarments by Spanx.
Yeah, a listicle. But a good one, and they're all on one page.
(h/t: TC, via email)
Moar thirty-second spots like this, plz:
I am fascinated to note that the Asst. Perfesser has disabled commenting on his mighty mighty blog, "American Power." Nothing like the wingnutosphere's love for the frank and open exchange of ideas!
Or ... maybe it has something to do with his new taste in art?
Ah, well, I guess we will have to make our Donald Douglas jokes along with Tintin, at Sadly, No!
[Added] DD has responded in the Comments.
Someone too "dangerous" and "mean-spirited" for even Alphonse D'Amato, I might add.
Still more here.
P.S. While checking the spelling of his name, using the Google of course, the first thing that came up was this headline, "Paladino wants you to think of Andrew Cuomo in the shower."
So, of course you are all once again thinking of Christine O'Donnell's masturbation prohibition.
[Added] Okay, "fascinating" may be a bit of a reach. (I've told myself a million times to watch it with the hyperbole.) But I liked it.
However, at least this time, there isn't complete denial that the ball actually curves, and the illustration of the "perceptual puzzle" is kind of interesting.
Will Ratzinger observe this most important of our Catholic traditions?
So asks @TheDailyShow.
Saw this one from @sonjablair:
"What do we want? Reasonable Negotiation with Positive Outcome for as Many as Possible Given the Circumstances!"
Joe. My. God. says this is a picture of your pope from an earlier time.
You know, when he was one of those Nazi atheists bent on conquering the free world, so that he would not later have to go to England, to yell at people for being upset with The Church about the child-raping.
Other people seem to agree that this picture is of the guy who would become Pope (Makes Gestures of) Benedict(ion?) XVI, although I can't find a definitive source, in nearly two minutes of looking. But anyway! We can be sure of one thing: Bill Donohue (The American Pope*) is still a goatse. And not just because he looks like Karl Rove.
(h/t: Evan Hurst/Truth Wins Out)
* On James Poulos's days off, anyway. (NSFW)
Just in case you haven't already heard:
Click the images for more details. And see also your Wonkette Editor-in-Chief, who is so enraged by these things that he will have a counter-counter rally! (Probably with furries.)
That fine organization, Color of Change, whom you know from their Turn Off Fox campaign (see sidebar) has put together an open letter and a petition addressed to the Congressional Black Caucus. CoC says some in the CBC are either misinformed or excessively catering to their corporate donors, and calls upon them to reconsider the stances they have been taking.
I added this postscript to mine:
Dear CBC Members:
I understand that all non-billionaire members of Congress have to take money in order to stay in office, and I believe that most of you do so because you sincerely think there are "greater good" principles at stake.
But I will tell you this: if you knuckle under on this one, and allow yourself to be bought off by Big Telco, you have lost forever your right to claim that you speak on behalf of the little guy, let alone anyone who is downtrodden.
You never know what might work until you pitch in and try. Please add your voice.
Let us hope, at least. From a story in the WaPo, "Immigration overhaul could leave gay couples out," this:
Another Washington gay couple, who requested that their names not be published because the foreign partner is a Latino man currently living in the country under false pretenses and the American partner is a prominent Republican whose identity could easily lead authorities to the other man, said gays and lesbians fall in love in the same unpredictable way as straight people. Sometimes, the object of that love happens to be a foreigner.
Of course there will be much speculation, and Princess Sparkle Pony and Wonkette are already off to the races in fine fashion. But y'never know. Sometimes, one prominent example case can put the spotlight on bigotry affecting tens of thousands of ordinary people.
Pretty good column. And I'm always happy for the rare moments when someone in the MSM deigns to speak the truth about the disgraced former Speaker of the House.
Also, she uses the words wingnuts and bigotry. Perhaps there is yet hope that we'll get some honest coverage of and commentary on the midterm elections from the people holding the prominent platforms.
Hey, a boy can dream, can't he?
(h/t: KK, via email)
If you should wonder in the coming weeks why it is that I seem compelled to bellow SASQUATCH ISRAEL, this is why.
This of course will only add to the argument regarding the wingnut mindset: is it stupidity or a never-ending search for an excuse to play the victim?
Not that we have to choose, I suppose.
(h/t: ex DLB)
[Added] Thanks for the link, Tintin.
[Added2] Moar Donald.
Just in case you're contemplating not participating in the midterm elections …
Above picture swiped from a Guardian story that you should read, "Muslims in America increasingly alienated as hatred grows in Bible belt," especially if you were wondering how much notice was being paid elsewhere in the world to the bigotry being unleashed among the Republican Party base.
You gonna let that be your America?
There was much 140-charlarity to be had last night, mostly celebrating the collective ashen look on senior Republican faces as they watched their chickens came home to roost (aka the GOP primary results), but this and this deserved screen capture.
People: if you don't have the data, just say you don't have the data.
Twitter non-playa though I am, it is not true that back in June, I had -130 followers.
Of anyone. For this whole month. And that's counting that assclown minister from Florida and everyone named Palin.
Kudos to Ana Marie Cox for exactly the right response.
Choire Sicha has the details and links.
You know how I said this, a few posts ago?
And if promoting a piece of debris to the level of Holy Relic isn't enough for you, you might also have a look at Roy's previous post, in which he notes the (person who we ought always refer to as the disgraced) former Speaker of the House huffing about how we can't trust the President of the United States. Because he's a Kenyan. And Newt knows this to be true because Dinesh Fucking D'Souza told him so. I am not making this up.
Want some specifics? Go see Dave Weigel: "Dinesh D'Souza's Brazilian Conspiracy Theory."
Odds are, if you're reading this blog, you need very little convincing about D'Souza. Still, a shoutout to Dave for doing the tedious work of rebutting wingnuttery with facts, because for reasons passing my understanding, lots of people still listen to what D'Souza says. Including people who are considered legitimate contenders to be the next Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States.
[Added] Apparently, Peretz opened his ears a bit. Or at least his New York Times. A sort of semi-apology here. (NB: Noted for the record, and not at all endorsed. The man is an unrepentant bigot.)
Don't let Marty Peretz off the hook. He's hated Arabs for 20+ years, as my piece from '91 shows. http://bit.ly/djWwiN
Pretty amazing piece.
From the past few days, actually. First, yesterday, from mistermix at Balloon Juice:
How Wrong is She?
McMegan is so wrong, that she’s even wrong when she links to her husband.
(That link is to a long Ezra Klein piece, ripping apart McSuderman point by point.)
For true connoisseurs: McMegan jumped into the comment thread at DeLong's place a few times, as did a couple of her glibertarian fanboys, which means it just keeps getting
bloodier funnier and bloodier funnier.
Roy Edroso's latest wingnut wrap-up (you haven't forgotten about NINEELEVENTY!!!1!, have you? NEVER FORGET™) brought to my notice a new acronym, or initialism, if you insist, apparently spawned by none other than the 2008 CPAC Blogger of the Year (Always Remember™), Ace O' Spuds!
In his otherwise autoencomium, "Rush Limbaugh is channeling me," slavering Spuds follower Dan Reihl, who, we are assured, is totally manly, not a child molester, not a misogynist or a racist, who in fact has nothing but Christian charity in his heart, wonders …
… MFM [We still don't know what that means, but it's Ace of Spades HQ so who are we to ask?] …
… with which we are for once tempted to agree.
But! It is always important to know what these couch-dwelling consumers of mass quantities of the Cheetos are yelling about in their echo chambers, and so we looked into it, and we will tell you what we found. Yes! Ace likes to use "MFM" instead of "MSM."
Turns out, "MFM" stands for "Mother Fucking Media." Bravely, our Ace does not spell this out …
(The MF stands for what it typically does.)
… and in that taking-personal-responsibility way that we so love about the Conservative Movement, he lays down a fartscreen of plausible deniability:
… following a commenter's suggestion.
(This does not stop him from reusing the "joke" in posts from there on out, of course.)
Crap. I thought "MFM" was going to have something to do with a wingnut three-way, involving a … shall we say … "curious" Ace and Dan, but …
… let's not go there. It's Monday, we've just had a long weekend with the far right's favorite fetish, and you've probably already got an upset stomach.
It's been too long since we've looked in on JABbering Stooge.
Not to get all weepy on you, but there are lots of good people out there, continuing to try to call your attention to the insanity threatening to overrun us, and J. A. Baker (yeah, him) is a perfect example of a voice that should be more regularly heard.
I know how easy it is to fall into the rut of only reading your favorite and familiar voices -- and certainly, nothing against them or your tastes -- but it is also good from time to time to check in on those not usually counted as being among the top dogs.
[Added] He's also on the Twitter!
This past Saturday, KK mentioned a short interview with Jim Bouton on NPR, and while looking for it online (found it, and holy cats, has it really been forty years?), I also happened across this post on Baby Got Books.
As is my occasional wont, I chose a gnat at which to strain, in lieu of the … meat … of the rest of the post. In this case, it was the term road beef, which is apparently the less savory? more succulent? way of referring to Baseball Annies, at least according to that paragon of our modern society, Jose Canseco.
Here is the comment I left over there.
I looked at some of the Google results for “road beef,” and at first, I was going to take you to task for saying Canseco had originated the phrase.
However, the results from long ago appear to be an artifact of (1) the archaic f-for-s substitution and (2) more worryingly, the Google’s OCR’s inability to recognize that “roaft beef” is not “road beef.”
Nonetheless, this bit from 1761 is worth passing along, I think, at least for those who enjoy juvenile double-entendre-ing as much as I do. It’s from p212 of “The London magazine, or, Gentleman’s monthly intelligencer, Volume 30.”
["Road" instead of "Roaft" purposely left in. -bjk]
Air, A lovely Lafs, &c.
Road Beef ! belov’d by all mankind,
If I was doom’d to have thee,
When drefs’d and garnifh’d to my mind,
And fwirhming in thy gravy,
Not all thy country’s force combin’d,
Shou’d from my tury fave thee.
Renown’d Sir Loin, ofttimes decreed
The theme of Englifh ballad,
E’en kings on thee have joy’d to feed,
Unknown to Frenchman’s palate.
O how much doth thy tafte exceed
Soup-meagre, frogs, and fallad.
Given the rep I suspect I already possess among waitresses, I'd probably do best not to order the steak the next few times I eat out, don't you think?