Leaving Tampa, we knew no more about the big Medicare issue than when we arrived. The biggest Republican talking point is that the Obama health care reform will, in the words of Mitt Romney, “hurt today’s seniors.” That’s all about the $716 billion in projected long-term savings, except that Ryan had the same cut in his budget plans and what the heck are we supposed to make of that?
Fortunately, Fortune magazine asked the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, that question during the convention, and Cantor was able to clear it all up thusly: “The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again — I probably can’t speak to that in an exact way, so I better just not.”
Friday, August 31, 2012
... there should be a "minimum of 30Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country—no matter how rural or remote."
-- a senior official in some civilized country
And it's not just nice talk. The government there is going to put up money "to support the market’s failure to deliver broadband in rural areas."
The horrors of socialism.
Researchers said they've uncovered a flaw in the Java 7 update released by Oracle on Thursday that allows attackers to take complete control of end-user computers.
In retrospect, I should have been more skeptical about a patch that got shipped after four months of silence, seemingly only because enough of a stink started getting made about it.
[Added] Be sure to read the follow-up to this post -- the patch is itself buggy.
This is a follow-up from yesterday.
Dan Goodin from Ars Technica reports that "Oracle has updated its widely used Java software framework to fix critical vulnerabilities that criminals were actively exploiting to take full control of end-user computers." His subhead says it all:
Install it immediately, or better yet, completely uninstall Java altogether.
You already know my feelings on the matter.
Uninstall instructions for Windows here. If you must have Java on your machine, get the latest version here. (Uninstall any old versions first, for extra safety.) You can check which version you have installed here. If you're checking the version number after installing the latest version, be sure to restart your browser first.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I'll add that I have not had Java running in my main browser since forever, and I can't think of any site I care about that's hampered by this absence. So, do it. It'll take you one minute (unless you're an IE user, in which case, here's yet another reason to switch!), and you'll be measurably safer.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
He had a pet rock, which ran away from home because it was starved of affection.
("He" being The Least Interesting Man In The World, Mitt Romney.)
Great line! Who said it?
You would not believe me if I told you, so I will just link and then we can all sit around wondering how it got to be April 1st so quickly.
(h/t: Gabe Ortiz)
Sunday, August 26, 2012
I wondered if I had been missing something interesting about the scientists I spent so much time with, or if I was just mistaking two tattoos for a trend. So I posted the question on my blog at Discover Magazine, The Loom. I immediately received a comment from a scientist who said that he knew an old geneticist with a DNA tattoo as well. Then a physicist wrote in. "A former student got a tattoo of a cartoon atom on the back of one of his legs," he recalled. "He told me that the first day after he got it, he went to rugby practice, and was showing it to someone when one of the seniors on the team (also a physics major) walked by. The senior looked at it, said 'Oh, please. The Bohr model?' and walked off."
That's from Carl Zimmer's column in the Guardian, which he pointed to in response to a tweeted question:
Ed. note: I have added periods to the ends of the quoted captions, because
obviously the Grauniad's style guide is broken yeah, I'm like that.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Neil Armstrong died today. He was 82.
[Added] (Everything below. Bumped this post to top after second added item. Orig post time was 4-something this afternoon.)
Deadspin, 24 Aug 2012, 4:25 pm:
So, Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett for Loney and parts. … L.A. can't possibly be dumb enough to actually do it.
Deadspin, 24 Aug 2012, 9:08 pm:
Reports: Boston Red Sox And Los Angeles Dodgers Agree To Crazy Trade
[Update 2012-08-25 17:02 EDT] The NYT is now quoting Bobby Valentine calling the trade "semi-official." Bosox press conference might be happening now; Dodgers do theirs at 5:30 EDT.
[Update 2012-08-25 17:40] Now a done deal. Deets from the LAT.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Not sure how new, and apologies if I'm lagging behind, but I do check the sources on Wikipedia all the time (no really, I do), and this is the first time I've noticed this feature. If it's not clear from the screen shot (even after clicking to enlarge), what happens is this: If you hover your mouse pointer over a link to a reference (a footnote number), a balloon tip sort of window will appear, and the text within will be what's found at that link. (Try it on the actual Wikipedia page.) Saves scrolling down to the bottom of the page and back. Even better, if the reference note contains a link to the source, as they often do, that link will be displayed in the balloon tip window, ready for right-clicking and opening in a new tab. Very handy!
Thanks, Wikipedians. Or MediaWiki people. Or both.
A note from the Underground:
Mitt's birther comment has officially gone viral. 8+ pages on Google now.
Capping off another week of talking about everything EXCEPT the economy. His advisers and apologists will be spending the whole weekend explaining it, walking it back, etc. Woo hoo! This, along with the Aiken mess translates into a very bad week for the Mittster.
Dude doesn't even know how to dog-whistle.
Remember their occasional feature, "Very Thin Books?"
Cover price for the new book: $1. Sale price for the used book: $2. Nice to think that those sweet little old ladies at Lenox Library have a sense of irony.
And now that I reflect about that arrangement . . .
dsquared 05.01.12 at 8:33 pm77
I tell this anecdote every time the subject comes up on CT, but it’s true so I will repeat it again. In a career as a stockbroker, I have met:
A Japanese person who reads the Economist every week to find out about the USA and Europe, ignoring the Asian coverage.
An American who reads it to keep up with the overseas news, although of course the US coverage is a bit crazy.
Numerous Europeans who read it because the American coverage is great, but you have to ignore every word they write about Europe.
Personally, I used to read it a very long time ago, while ignoring the awful crap they wrote about Britain and about economics. I stopped, and so, eventually, did everyone else I’ve mentioned above.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Sorry to be so late to this, if you already knew it, but in case you didn't, there are now thirty … 30! … XXX!!! volumes of "Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity" available for your head-spinning pleasure (?) on The Maddow Blog.
They are written by the indefatigable and incomparable Steve Benen.
In case you missed my tweet:
Today, we are publishing more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested—at minimum—more than $10 million as of 2011 (that number is based on the low end of ranges he has disclosed—the true number is almost certainly significantly higher). Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital …
Aside to Willard: this doesn't excuse you from releasing your tax returns.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
This originally aired on 15 August 2012, but I didn't see it until last night. If you missed it, please enjoy five minutes of IOKIYAR. (After a pre-roll commercial, but whaddya gonna do?)
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Layout hilarity in a NYT sidebar:
Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. Ryan joined the ticket.
You should really read the whole thing. It's staggering.
The main topic of Elizabeth Kolbert's piece from one of last month's New Yorkers is the effects of the drought on crop yield, but wow, what an introductory paragraph, in and of itself.
Corn sex is complicated. As Michael Pollan observes in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” the whole affair is so freakishly difficult it’s hard to imagine how it ever evolved in the first place. Corn’s female organs are sheathed in a sort of vegetable chastity belt—surrounded by a tough, virtually impenetrable husk. The only way in is by means of a silk thread that each flower extends, Rapunzel-like, through a small opening. For fertilization to take place, a grain of pollen must land on the tip of the silk, then shimmy its way six to eight inches through a microscopic tube, a journey that requires several hours. The result of a successfully completed passage is a single kernel. When everything is going well, the process is repeated something like eight hundred times per ear, or roughly eighty thousand times per bushel.
Doop-de-doop, checking my secondary email accounts … Oh, hey, look! Outlook.com now has sidebar ads! Let's click one!
You must click that image to enjoy the fine print.
When the above flashed at the beginning of an ad showing before a YouTube vid, I thought it was just one thing. The first thing I thought was
great band name dot Tumblr dot com. The second thing I thought was Better animated than sluggish, although Mr. Paige might not agree.
Turns out, as all you non-olds will already know, that it's actually two things, which, if present, make the ESRB say you shouldn't play the video game if you're still in single digits.
(Probably need more than one finger at a time so as not to get killed immediately, also.)
We’re not talking about ideology or even economic analysis here — just a plain misrepresentation of the facts, with an august publication letting itself be used to misinform readers. The Times would require an abject correction if something like that slipped through. Will Newsweek?
-- Paul Krugman
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Look at this guy. Just look at this guy. Look at this fuckin' guy. 2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/todd-a…— Mobutu Sese Seko (@Mobute) August 19, 2012
There's a joke to be made about Central Casting over-delivering here … Maybe when my mind stops reeling.
Among the ranks of bullies, the only fair fight is the one that ends with them laughing and kicking sand. And so, no longer able to portray Obama as weak, the authors of Willie Horton, swift-boating and modern day poll-taxing have been reduced to other tactics — among them wildly yelping, “Please, Mr. President, nothing to the face.”
Arugula partisan that I am, I must admit to some glee here.
"San Francisco librarian Dick Dillon is credited with the story" of the guy who had a tough day calling balls and strikes, hearing it from both sides, and catching not one but two foul balls off the shin, who gets home and, getting sassed by Junior on top of all that, finally blows up and gives out a good solid spanking.
Later, of course, he feels bad, and by way of apology, invites the youngster to come up on his lap and catch a little Baseball Tonight on the tube, together. The boy refuses. Why?
Because the son never sits on the brutish umpire.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Charles Blow's column in today's NYT, which is well worth reading, had a discouraging sidebar, showing some results from a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of unlikely voters. Let us weep for our country, together.
First question of interest:
If you were registered to vote and the General Election for United States President were held today and the candidates were Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Mitt Romney, or a third party candidate, for whom would you vote or towards whom would you LEAN at this time?
Answers from those who are not registered to vote:
|Undecided/Refused to answer||19%|
Answers from those who are registered, but say they are unlikely to vote:
|Undecided/Refused to answer||18%|
Next question of interest:
Is your opinion of [name] generally favorable or generally unfavorable?
|Undecided/Never heard of||8%||25%|
Oh, one last thing:
Can you tell me the name of the Vice President of the United States?
|Don't know/Refused to answer||60%|
To end on a positive note: I think we should be encouraged that none of them said "Sarah Palin."
Friday, August 17, 2012
While halfway through doing my bit to keep the landfills a little less full, I was accosted by some uniformed twerp who told me that I could not have the grocery cart I was using in their precious bottle room. This is a bottle room I have been in about four thousand times, almost always with a cart, and it's never been a problem. So I asked, "Who am I hurting?" Whereupon he played the same card all low-echelon Napoleons play -- wordlessly pointing to The Sign. Which, y'know, has never been there before.
As I read it, it's corporate-speak for "HOMELESS: GTFO." Because who would want THOSE people performing an environmentally beneficial service in return for compensation? That's socialism!!!1!
Since I no longer have any returnables, much less two carts' worth, I shall be composing a sternly worded letter post haste. That oughta do it.
P.S. You may refer to this post using the shortened URL bit.ly/STOPANDSHOPFAIL. Pass it down.
Jesus Christ, Microsoft. It's TWO THOUSAND TWELVE.
If there truly is some reason why this limitation has to exist, because you've painted yourself into yet another backwards-compatibility corner in flailing your rebranding way from Hotmail to Windows Live to Outlookdotcom, you should at least get the UI/UX right: just pick up the first 16 characters and silently ignore the rest. Why is this so hard?
I clicked on a link hoping to see some boobies … oh, c'mon, that's not why. This is the New York Times.
I clicked on a link expecting to sneer at some bluenosery, due to the blurb ("Bared flesh is common in experimental modern dance. And sometimes — infrequently — it succeeds."), but I was happily surprised by Alastair Macaulay's "Nakedness in Dance, Taken to Extremes." Here are just three of the reasons why.
• I am now aware of the pejorative term Hooray Henrys.
• I just love inside baseball asides, even when I have no idea what they mean, just because the precision sounds so good: “Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal, or trauma....)”
• A rare sensible statement on art versus porn:
When I tell friends of these viewings, they inevitably ask: Where is the line between art and pornography? But there’s always been a huge overlap between the two; you can see scenes of copulation on Greek vases and Indian temples. What’s more, many works of art have seemed pornographic without nakedness. Many of us are tempted to talk as if art = good, pornography = bad. Yet that’s wrong too. Much art is poor, while the novels of the Marquis de Sade are pornography taken to a brilliant, horrifying and extraordinary peak.
The entire article is much more graceful than snippets presented in bulleted list form would suggest. Go read, for pleasure. And rejoice in your membership in the cultural elite, or at least your want to be.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
By Timothy Egan, which begins like this:
Ten days from now, some of the world’s best-paid magicians of image and narrative will unveil a reboot of a most unfathomable man, Willard Mitt Romney, a 2012 model with a shelf life of barely two months.
The Republican National Convention will mark the fourth time in 18 years, dating to a losing Senate race in 1994, that a Team Romney has tried to construct a Brand Romney. This problem of who he is, Romney acknowledged last year, has plagued him ever since he became a public figure.
In focus groups, he’s described as a tin man, a shell, an empty suit, vacuous, a multimillionaire in mom jeans. And that’s from supporters.
At the convention, you can expect to hear high praise for a virtuous, disciplined, loyal person of family and faith. You will surely hear the words “turnaround” and “no apology” — both titles of platitudinous and unread books by Romney — in defense of his business acumen and unshakable view of American exceptionalism.
But I doubt you will hear anything of the real Romney because he is afraid of his own past.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
You thought super PACs were bad? Read this and weep.
Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.
These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don't have to disclose their donors to the public. [Unlike super PACs, which do.]
Crossroads GPS, or Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity, credited with helping launch the Tea Party movement, is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and spent an estimated $18.2 million.
Campaign-finance reform advocates say the spending by the two organizations highlights the role anonymous money is playing in this election, which will be the most expensive in history.
[Added] The lede from the quoted link:
One of the most talked-about "dark money" groups of the election released its tax returns yesterday, showing it raised almost $77 million from fewer than 100 donors over 19 months. Most of the money spent in its first year went directly to political ads or grants to other groups.
My emphasis added in both blockquotes.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
At 9 AM, ... Romney and Ryan set foot on the U.S.S. Wisconsin, a former Naval battleship and government-run museum, to point out that the government has done nothing useful and should be destroyed.
-- Jesse Taylor
Today's announcement of Willard's Hail Mary reminded BooMan of something he wrote about the Democrats' campaign strategy a couple of months ago:
He [Mitt Romney] is not talking about what is actually in Paul Ryan's budget proposal at all. Nor will he. It polls so badly that you can't even run ads against it because people don't believe anyone would be so radical as to propose such things.
Ah, the wonders of a well-informed electorate.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 09, 2012
You might want to change your password, especially if you use that same password elsewhere.
Details of the recent security breach on Business Insider. Supposedly, Dropbox is emailing those whose accounts are known to have been compromised.
Here is a handy page that will let you see what devices have accessed your account. (That link will redirect to the home page if you're not already logged into Dropbox.)
(h/t: Zscaler, via email)
Unless NESN puts one together.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Hard to believe it's taken me this long to figure out why I have so much trouble remembering that hoi polloi doesn't mean "upper crust," but at long last, there it is.
Sorry to bother you with this, but the penny finally dropping is always a good feeling.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Sunday, August 05, 2012
The news coming out of Milwaukee reminds me of a time about a decade ago, when I was in a convenience store. While waiting my turn, I noticed a small sign next to a pile of handouts, which were offered to explain to customers that just because the store owner wore a turban, and so forth.
This was in the People's Republic of Northampton, for godsake. (If you know anything about that town, you know it is second to none in valuing diversity.) And yet, the proprietor felt compelled, there, to inform everyone who stepped into his store that Sikhs aren't Muslims.
Not that it should matter, in any case, but I think you get my point.
I knew it was large, but not that large.
Japanese and other foreign companies account for more than 40 percent of cars built in the United States, employing about 95,000 people directly and hundreds of thousands more among parts suppliers.
Friday, August 03, 2012
If that's the most riveting photo you've got, I'd say giving the horserace coverage a break is in order
Caption in a piece about Romney failing to be exciting (who knew?) says it all:
Michael Joe Crandell sat down to eat a pecan roll at the Jaarsma Bakery in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
If you really want to buy that line drawing, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, explaining how you're afraid to type your credit card number into his website because of Obama.
Apparently, there's this annual thing called the Bele Chere festival that's been going on since the 1970s AND! it "has become more perverse with each passing year."
What to do, if you're the sort of person who cannot bear the thought of other people having fun, much less in ways that make you all squirmy inside?
Well, obviously. Send in "Christians from at least nine states" to "witness" at them! And then just bask in all the sweet, sweet repentance.
(pic. source: screen grab from a TED talk by Michael Shermer, at 11:00)
Yeah, that guy. Remember him? Good times, good times.
Caroline Bankoff has the Daily Intel.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: August 1, 2012
An earlier version misstated the term Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. in a debate. It was crypto-Nazi, not crypto-fascist.
Wonder how many wingnuts wrote in to complain about that. (You do know that they're still hootin n hollerin about Buckley's response, I trust.)
A good obit for a good man.
[Added] Roy has a brief note, and promises more to come.