Saturday, May 31, 2008

Comment of the Day: 2008-05-31

On a blog post noting the weapons-grade stupidity that is the whole Michelle-Malkin-Dunkin-Donuts thing, I saw this:

At this rate we’ll soon have soundbites from the far right along the lines of:

“Breaking News: Obama staffers caught using Arabic numbers in secret internal documents!”
-- mensley

(h/t: Phil Plait, whose thoughts on the matter are worth reading, even if his sense of humor has momentarily vanished (and who can blame him?))

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Security Notice: Flash Player

If you didn't upgrade your browser's Flash player plugin the last time some kind soul reminded you, you really should do it now. Brian Krebs, Ryan Naraine, and Jake Soriano all have gory details if you want them, but the short version is this: it is possible for a third party to attack a web site that you visit, substitute a Flash video presentation for the one you thought you'd be watching, and use that rogue Flash app to infect your computer. Such exploits are currently out in the wild, as they say, meaning your machine is in danger of getting pwned, as they also say.

Visit Adobe's About Flash page to verify the version of Flash that you have installed. For modern versions of Mac, Linux, and Windows, the latest is v. If you're behind, follow the link on that same page to upgrade. Won't take you but a minute or two.

[added] Krebs points out that if you use multiple browsers, you may need to repeat the upgrade for each of them:

Installing Flash on Internet Explorer is a separate process than installing it on Firefox and Opera, so just because you installed it for Opera or Firefox doesn't mean you've installed it for IE as well, and vice-versa.

If you're at all unsure, just visit the Adobe About Flash page with each browser in succession.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Time for a New Rule of Thumb

Some guy with a really cool first name has what reads like a fairly well-researched piece up on Slate. The upshot is this: If you're one of those people who prefers to let your car idle rather than turning off the engine when standing someplace, under the belief that it takes a lot of gas to (re)start the engine, then you're wrong. If you aren't still driving a car with a car with a carburetor, that is.

The claim is that for cars with electronic fuel injection systems -- pretty much standard these days -- the amount of gas consumed by starting the engine is about the same as is consumed by running the engine for ten seconds.

Ten seconds!

Of course, you don't exactly burn up a lot of gas by idling -- well less than a gallon per hour of idling. Still, though, it's something to keep in mind, both for economic and environmental reasons.

An interesting read.

"McSame Watch"

What Oliver said.

FoxIt Security Patch Update

More from Brian Krebs on an item I noted earlier.

First thing I read this morning

My first thought on the running mate question is that to balance his ticket, Barack Obama should pick a really old white general. Therefore, he should pick Dwight Eisenhower. John McCain, on the other hand, needs to pick someone younger than himself. Therefore, he also should pick Dwight Eisenhower.
-- David Brooks

Yes, that David Brooks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

NEO Con ... cerns

Remember Apophis?

It's a Near Earth Object -- an asteroid that will pass very close to the Earth in 2029 and has a small chance of actually hitting the Earth in 2036. As I also noted in that old post, Apophis is far from the only hunk of rock floating whizzing around in the space near us.

Here's an update on the situation, via Phil Plait: Gregg Easterbrook has an article and a video for you, if you find yourself needing something new to worry about:

In 1980, only 86 near-Earth asteroids and comets were known to exist. By 1990, the figure had risen to 170; by 2000, it was 921; as of this writing, it is 5,388. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, part of NASA, keeps a running tally at* Ten years ago, 244 near-Earth space rocks one kilometer across or more—the size that would cause global calamity—were known to exist; now 741 are.

Clearly, we must stop funding NASA right away. Just another example of LIEbrul academics trying to scare real Americans.

Not that we get scared, or anything.

* Link fixed -- URL in original quote was wrong.

It's a Gripe I Share, But ...

... you'd think a tough guy like Christopher Hitchens wouldn't have a problem saying, "Thanks, but we'll pour for ourselves."

And Speaking of Amoral Political Operatives ...

Watch Karl Rove squirm.

If he's so smart, why does he go on TV when has to know what questions are going to be asked? Or is it just leftover arrogance?

Forgetting the First Rule of Holes

As I noted earlier, I don't buy the idea that Hillary Clinton raised the specter of the RFK assassination inadvertently. She's just way too good at staying on message, and there's no way she says anything unplanned when meeting with the press.

The thing that compounds this, though, is that in addition to employing distasteful tactics, she doesn't even have the sense to recognize when they backfire. Here, once again, she's just making matters worse. She could have just admitted her mistake and delivered a proper apology. Instead, she's turning it into yet another whine-fest that's all about her and how she's being treated unfairly.

Check out Veracifier's summary of her spin bots making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows yesterday:

(alt. video link)

Churchillian Moment

As the man said, "... five minutes with the average voter ..."

Don't read this unless you've run out of reasons to bang your head against the wall.

Thanks for ruining my morning, Don, but a shoutout to Dick Polman for saying what needs to be said.

Writing For Your Audience

Excerpt from a story …

The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity -- not because she works with Agent Mulder in some shadowy basement office, but because that is government policy -- …

… with the partial headline:

British U.F.O. Shocker!

If you click through, though, you'll see it's all part of the cover-up.


Are You John McCain?

Play along with EarlG!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Okay, Now I Know Two

Thanks to Georg Cantor, I have known א for years.

Just saw an ad which should help another letter of the Hebrew alphabet stick in memory, almost as easy as pi:

Hei Maintenance

Which also suggests an upgrade path for certain LOLcats.

(help me)

Crude Thinking

So, what's the latest thinking on that oil up in Alaska?

If Congress were to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, crude oil prices would probably drop by an average of only 75 cents a barrel, according to Department of Energy projections issued Thursday.


[The report] estimates that if Congress agreed to open ANWR this year, Alaskan oil could hit the market in about 10 years.

So, what's the latest thinking from outside of the reality-based community?

"I'm coming away from it saying that this is yet another an indicator that opening ANWR is important to this country and to our energy future," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Imagine my surprise.

Quoted material from McClatchy via Don McArthur.

Phoenix Has Landed!

The Mars lander Phoenix has landed.

Apparently, all is well.

I watched a live stream of audio and video coming from the control room (still going, as of this posting, if you want to see a bunch of guys in crew cuts and blue shirts shaking hands), and it was great to hear the cheers as each milestone was passed. Overheard one guy tell another off-camera, right after touchdown, "Only a quarter of a degree off axis!" Sounded like it was well within design parameters. You could almost see the high fives.

It was weird to watch, knowing that each event transmitted by the lander described an event that had already happened about fifteen minutes earlier. That is, the craft was already on the ground, having a cigarette, before the team in the control room even knew whether it had entered the atmosphere.

Great job, NASA/JPL. Continued good luck for the rest of the mission.

Visit the Phoenix Mars Mission home page. While we're waiting for real data, you can watch animations of the landing on the Phoenix video page.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Oliver Willis has a video of Keith Olberman speaking about Hillary's assassination thing. As usual, KO's a little over the top for my taste, but he does make a number of good points if you can get past the bombast. In particular, he documents several other times when she has dropped this hint, that she needs to stay in the race, just in case: You know, what if Obama gets tagged?

It's absolutely disgraceful and it's not excusable as a slip of the tongue.

The way I see it, Hillary Clinton doesn't make verbal slips. She calculates every word that comes out of her mouth, particularly when she knows that she's speaking on the record. And when you learn that she's said it several times before? No. I'm convinced it's all part of her pattern of dropping hints, designed to create FUD in the minds of the voters and the minds of the superdelegates.

There's a word for people like her.

Hilzoy on Hillary

Making sense, as usual.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

I tried to pick an excerpt, but it would have been 90% of the post at minimum. So just go read it, and be sure to follow his links to Josh Marshall and Ezra Klein's pieces, too.

Matthew Yglesias made a canny observation yesterday that all this talk about Clinton pushing for the VP slot could very likely be explained as coming from Clinton campaign staffers, all of whom will soon be looking for jobs. This makes sense to me.

In any case, the more I think about it, the more I don't want Hillary to be the VP. I think she would be a good campaigner (though not great), I don't think she adds much to the ticket where other choices might not bring more, and I don't believe most of her supporters will carry their grudges through November when they really think about what a McSame presidency would mean. Much more importantly, I think she (and Bill, and all of her staffers) would be absolutely dreadful in the Obama Administration. I can't see her being a good second-in-command, given her behavior over the past two or three months of this campaign. I think there would be endless bickering, leaks to the press, Bill pontificating, "Well, back when I was president …"

No. Much better for Obama just to win, fair and square. He could be magnanimous and throw his support behind her for Senate Majority Leader, or even offer her a seat on the Supreme Court. But I think it's best not to have her in his White House.

I think we can all agree that this blog suffers from a shortage of ...

... fart jokes.

To that end:

Man goes to the doctor and says, "Doc, whenever I fart it sounds like this", and demonstrates. There is a drawn out noise that sounds for all the world like "Honda!". He does it again, and again it sounds like he's calling out the name of the Japanese manufacturer. "What is wrong with me, doc?"

The doctor hems and haws for a few minutes and consults a learned tome, and then asks, "Have you been drinking absinthe lately?"

"Well, yes, I have," replies the hapless man.

"Well, that explains it!" the doctor triumphantly says. "Absinthe makes the farts go 'Honda!'"

(Edited slightly from the original telling.)

Progressive Dreams ...

... shared by Michael Bérubé.

(h/t: Robert Farley)

Gonna Be a Long, Hot Summer

Startling new revelations about the seeeeekrit Muslim Communist!!!

And how did they find this out?

"We decided to start going back and seeing what things influenced him even before he was born," Romerstein announced without a trace of irony, before tying Obama to the Communist Party of the 1930s in Hawaii and Soviet spies on the island.

(h/t: Brad? Gavin? One of Teh Sadlys, anyway.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Line of the Day: 2008-05-23

Hillary Clinton is like a mother standing on a bridge threatening to throw her baby in the river unless she is named Mother of the Year.
-- TBogg

Read this one first. Then you'll understand the follow-up, whence comes the above.

Boycott This

Roy Edroso, always a leading force for maintaining the balance of sanity, has an especially fine post up.

The subject: Michelle Malkin.

The latest craziness (her words):

Charles Johnson notes, and many readers have e-mailed about, Dunkin Donuts’ spokeswoman Rachel Ray’s clueless sporting of a jihadi chic keffiyeh in a recent DD ad campaign. I’m hoping her hate couture choice was spurred more by ignorance than ideology.

Is Ray’s blunder worth boycotting DD over?

I guess "hate couture" is what constitutes humor in the wingnutosphere.

Link, and complete takedown, available at alicublog.

[added] If you're up on other recent Malkin gripes, the last line of John Cole's thoughts on the matter is hilarious.

TBogg takes another whack at she-who-is-wacked. Topic this time: her hatred of polar bears. Seriously. It's not just scarves. It's everything.

Geek Critique

Blogroll buddy Alastair Rankine, the proprietor of, has a new post up, titled Blogging Horror. It's a thoughtful critique of Jeff Atwood's popular software development blog, Coding Horror. The comments that follow Alastair's post include a couple of rebuttals from Jeff, responses from Alastair, and other voices of assent and dissent. Good stuff.

Like Alastair, I haven't been enjoying Coding Horror as much as I used to. Unlike Alastair, I haven't really thought much about why this might be, so you should stop letting me ramble on and go over to his place now.

Oh, and check out his new and improved About page, too. Big laffs!

Software Updates: Trillian and FoxIt

The free chat client Trillian has been updated to close some security holes. The latest version is now Using Help → Check for Updates didn't show me a new version available. Maybe it will for you, by the time you read this. If not, download the new version here. This gives you the whole program, not just a patch, about 9 MB.

Installation went fine for me. I just accepted the defaults and allowed it to overwrite the old version. All of my contact info was retained.

Something to watch out for: During installation, after agreeing to the license, you'll be asked if you want to install the Weather Channel Desktop Client as well. You'll see a check box labeled, "Yes, please pollute my system with this crappy shovelware." (Message might not be that, exactly.) Make sure to uncheck the box before clicking the "Next" button. On the next screen, you'll be offered the Ask Toolbar. Same drill: Uncheck the box before clicking the "Next" button. I mean, unless you want this crappy shovelware.

(h/t: Ryan Naraine)

FoxIt, the free PDF reader, has also been updated to address some security flaws. The new version is 2.3, Build 2923 (aka 2.3.2008.2923), and it includes some new features along with the patches. The new version was reported a few days ago, but Help → Check for Updates Now did not show me the new version until today.

Note that when you do Help → Check for Updates Now, you'll likely see a list of optional add-ons, like additional language and graphics support, which you may or may not want. I find the bare bones program works fine, so I have not added any of these in the past and didn't this time, either. I just selected (highlighted) the entry for the program itself, clicked the Add button, and clicked the Install button. Took a few seconds for the patch to download and install itself, the program closed and then restarted a few seconds later. Slick! Almost as smooth as Firefox!

(h/t: Ryan Naraine)

And now that you've tightened up your system, have a nice long weekend. (Offer good only in U.S.)

Classy as Ever

The latest reason for staying in:

My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.
-- Hillary Clinton

And Bobby Kennedy was a hard-working white American. I mean, as far as I know.

(h/t: Matthew Yglesias)

[added] Andrew Sullivan notes that this isn't the first time Hillary has used this line.

[added] Andrew has video from today.

Hard To Believe No One Thought of This Before ...

... but maybe it seemed unnecessary until the people from Kentucky and West Virginia spoke up.

So, we now have the definitive answer to the question: Is Barack Obama Muslim? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Matt says that we should all link to this site, to boost its Google ranking. So that makes two true statements, and you know they're true because you saw them on the Internet.

BookTV Alert

This weekend, Matt Taibbi will be interviewed by David Corn on C-Span2's BookTV. Details here.

Depending on your political leanings, you're already reprogramming your TiVo or VCR, or you're calling Blockbuster to reserve Chuck Norris: The Complete Boxed Set and checking your inventory of Cheez Doodles Cheetos.

More McCain Medical Madness

The HuffPo is reporting that the limited pool of reporters being permitted to view John McCain's medical records excludes any representative of the New York Times. No doubt pup tents are being raised in the collective trousers of the rightosphere over this slap at the poster child of the LIEbrul Media, but I think it's a dumb move, politically, by McCain.

A fetish for secrecy ranks high on anybody's list of complaints about the Bush Administration. McCain is already easily tagged as "McSame," and this will only add to that perception. To review: The first time he ran for president, in 2000, he was as open about his health history as anyone could ask. This time around, after having been treated for melanoma in the interim, not to mention aging eight more years, he's playing games.

His campaign has delayed the release of his records several times already. Now that he's finally releasing them, he's not really releasing them -- he's doing a classic stealth dump by choosing a Friday before a holiday weekend, he's not releasing the complete records, it appears that reporters will only be able to view the records for a short time and will not be able to keep copies for further scrutiny, and he is excluding, in addition to the NYT, several other prominent news organizations; e.g., Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News. In fact, only two members of the print media have been invited to have a look. Even his "base," those reporters who travel with the campaign and who are widely seen to be in the tank for McCain, will get just a pool report, the CliffsNotes of the CliffsNotes, as it were.

It's going to be easy to ask, and it's an entirely legitimate question: What is John McCain hiding? If he has nothing to hide, he's at least creating the appearance that he has something to hide.

My own guess is this: there are some items in the full record that could be exaggerated, and the McCain campaign made the calculation that it would be worse to let these items be gnawed over than it would be to present as less than transparent. If this is the case, I think they've miscalculated. Add this to his wife's adamant refusal to release her tax returns, and the "Straight Talk" image is looking mighty tarnished.

When is a Release Not a Release?

A: When it involves the kind of Straight TalkTM you've come to expect John McCain's medical records.

(h/t: Matthew Yglesias)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Swift Returns

He's baaaaa-aaaack!

Obama on Israel

Good interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.

(h/t: Slate's Culture Gabfest, which is impossible to link to)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


If you look at the map of Kentucky's voting results and roll your mouse over the image, you can see the county-by-county vote counts. Some of them, particularly near the eastern border, show Barack Obama not even breaking the 10% mark.

News Flash!

Anne Applebaum apparently just awoke after a 20-year coma.

No word yet on whether her next article will declare the leisure suit out of fashion.

Why We Fight

Why we fight.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

Up For a Good Long Read?

If you haven't already gotten this recommendation, allow me to pass it along. Go read George Packer's piece in the The New Yorker, "The Fall of Conservatism."

Here's one sentence from it which captures the essence and scope:

The fact that the least conservative, least divisive Republican in the 2008 race is the last one standing—despite being despised by significant voices on the right—shows how little life is left in the movement that Goldwater began, Nixon brought into power, Ronald Reagan gave mass appeal, Newt Gingrich radicalized, Tom DeLay criminalized, and Bush allowed to break into pieces.

It's not at all a partisan hatchet job. Instead, it reads like a chapter from a good book of history.

Franken for Senator!

Joshua Green did a nice multimedia profile of Al Franken for The Atlantic earlier this month. As you may or may not know, Franken is running, in Minnesota, for the U.S. Senate this November, against the incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman. When Franken announced his candidacy, he wasn't taken particularly seriously, but he has since moved well ahead of other Democratic contenders for the nomination, voting for which takes place on 7 June. Recent polls also show him closing in on Coleman, who has been viewed for some time now as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate.

I have liked Franken, and considered him far more than a comedian, ever since I read Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. As funny as the book was, it was also a serious and thoroughly researched critique of the right-wing noise machine.

You can read Green's article here and watch the video here. You can also download the video, or just the audio portion of it, from the iTunes store. Search for "The Atlantic: American Ideas." Both are free.

If you get really inspired, you might also visit Al Franken's official campaign site.

I'll leave you with this parting thought, straight from the candidate's mouth, via the video page linked to above:

A satirist looks at a situation and sees the inconsistencies and hypocrisies, and he cuts through the baloney and gets to the truth. I think that’s pretty good training for the Senate, don’t you?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Want to Get Scared?

Watch the diavlog of Will Wilkinson interviewing Jeff Sharlet on The topic: Sharlet's new book, The Family, subtitled The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

The Family looks at a politically active, yet below the radar, group that was founded in 1935 and has long had among its ranks members of Congress and other very powerful figures. The group adheres to a particularly twisted form of Christianity, to the point where they disavow the concept of charity and express reverence for Hitler. Oh, not his ends, mind you. Just his means.

I know this sounds like a classic conspiracy theory, but if you watch the diavlog, I'm pretty sure you'll be convinced that it's not. Sharlet spent a considerable amount of time with the group, many of whom, like Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), were happy to go on the record. Here's a clip from the beginning of the diavlog:

(Note that the embedded clip may not be visible if you're reading this via RSS.)

Watch the whole thing here. You can stream it, or download the video or audio files from the same page.

And while you're waiting for Sharlet's book to come out, you might like to read an article on The Family that he published in Harper's, in 2003.

Scary stuff indeed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Might as well add to the collection

Here's a couple of mashups of Young BillO's meltdown, which you may have already seen. But in case not …

First, via World O' Crap, here's the "producer's view:"

(alt. video link)

Next, via Jiminy Jilliker!, here's the musical version (I think I linked to the audio-only version of this a few days back, but this it's a song worth hearing again, and the video is pretty funny:

(alt. video link)

I love that this thing is becoming sticky. Couldn't have happened to a less nice guy.

Note: In case you missed it: the original, unretouched video can be seen on Wonkette.

Obama Press Conference In South Dakota

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a video up, of Barack Obama answering questions from reporters about foreign policy, faith initiatives, and guns. Pretty good, as are Ta-Nehisi's comments.

Memo to Entire Blogosphere

Please stop linking to articles on The links always go stale. Link rot across the Web is bad enough as it is, but links are guaranteed to return 404 after way too short a time. You know it, I know it, so stop using them as a reference source until Yahoo█ develops a real archive system.

When they do, I will start using the exclamation point again.

That is all.

News Blurb of the Day: 2008-05-17

Thieves steal £30,000 of handbags before escaping on mopeds, in what police believe to be an attempt to break the record for World's Least Masculine Crime
-- Fark

Another Theory Bites the Dust

An English accent makes you sound smarter, right? Or so I used to think.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: The anti-anti-Phil Plait)

Doghouse on Appeasement

Mr. Riley reacts to the latest words to come tumbling out of George W. Bush's cakehole.

The Appalachian Problem

You've probably seen overlay maps of the Appalachian region during the Democratic primary, showing Hillary Clinton's domination over Barack Obama. Charles Blow takes another look in today's NYT. Pretty interesting, especially the graphic.

The takeaway: the region went heavily Republican in 2000 and 2004. Obama probably can't change that. But he might be able to defuse it by winning states on its northern edge -- Pennsylvania and Ohio -- and maybe also Virginia. Blow treats New York as part of this "northern frontier" strategy, but I think this is a crock. I can't imagine NY not going blue.

I suspect the key for Pennsylvania and Ohio will be, in large part, boosting urban voter and college student turnout. But maybe he'll be able to make some inroads among the more rural areas, through a combination of his personality, educating people about McSame, and a good choice for VP. Not enough to win, probably, but enough so that the urban and youth vote has a better chance of outweighing the white rural vote.

Been Sleeping Too Well Lately?

Have a look at the artwork of Joshua Hoffine, whose URL almost looks like you couldn't get there from here, but you can, and you should, because the pictures are cool even if they are creepy.

(h/t: Jinnet)

Friday, May 16, 2008

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Yesterday, George W. Bush spoke to the Israeli Knesset, and made a thinly-veiled "appeaser" comparison between Neville Chamberlain and Barack Obama. John McSame McCain and Independent DemocratTM Holy Joe Lieberman piled on. The Obama campaign issued a written response.

Evidently, though, the man had a little more to get off his chest. Here's Obama speaking today:

(alt. video link)

I am still dancing around the room, ecstatic at Obama's refusal to tolerate any right wing bullshit.

(h/t: TPM/Veracifier)

Sanity Break

Or, more precisely, a break from sanity.

First up, via TPM, right-winger meltdown:

(alt. video link)

Next, the greatest hits (so far) of Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffee:

(alt. video link)

Working for a Living

I often despair at the crazy money movie stars make in comparison to so many other "worthwhile" professions. But then I see a picture like this and think, yeah, they're entitled to every bit of their compensation.

Julianne Moore at Cannes 2008

(click pic to enlarge)

(pic. source)

Follow the Money

There's a fascinating article in The Atlantic by Joshua Green titled "The Amazing Money Machine." It looks at the development of Barack Obama's campaign structure, focusing mostly on the fund-raising operation, especially as contrasted with the old ways of doing things.

If you're an Obama-hater, you'll likely feel reinforced in your belief that we're all caught up in a cult. If you're not, you'll likely feel energized by the article -- I got a sense of joy from reading of the power of a real grass-roots movement and its ability to break free of the constraints of the existing hierarchy.

Yes We Can.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

Line of the Day: 2008-05-16

Andrew Sullivan passes along David Weigel's optimistic reaction to yesterday's great news from California:

The way things are going, Mitt Romney will be leading a pro-gay marriage campaign by 2016 or so.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Separate This

If you're like me, this'll hurt a little bit.

A group called Pacific Justice Institute has filed suit in federal court, claiming that a website hosted by UC Berkeley violates the separation of church and state. The site, Understanding Evolution, appears to be an introductory-level resource primarily aimed at teachers. UC Berkeley, if you didn't already know, is part of California's public university system; i.e., a state school.

Here's the beginning of a press release on PJI's site:

Pacific Justice Institute will present arguments this week to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging a federally-funded UC Berkeley website which promotes selected religious denominations that support evolution.

The lawsuit, filed by PJI in 2005, centers around a website designed by UC Berkeley to help teachers combat so-called misconceptions about evolution. The website tackles the "misconception" that religion and evolution are incompatible by claiming that "most" religious groups have no problem with evolution, and by directing visitors to statements from selected religious groups that support evolution. Meanwhile, the website derides religious beliefs that "contradict science" by teaching six-day creation. The site also warns teachers that student questions which expose the weaknesses of evolution "may be designed to disrupt the learning process" and should not be given the same respect as "legitimate" questions.

PJI is arguing that the taxpayer-funded UC Berkeley website unconstitutionally promotes certain religious groups at the expense of others. [...]

The relevant passages seem to come from two different location on the UC Berkeley site. First, here's the full text from a page titled Misconception: “Evolution and religion are incompatible.” (PJI's scare-quoted words bolded by me.)

Response: Religion and science (evolution) are very different things. In science, only natural causes are used to explain natural phenomena, while religion deals with beliefs that are beyond the natural world.

The misconception that one always has to choose between science and religion is incorrect. Of course, some religious beliefs explicitly contradict science (e.g., the belief that the world and all life on it was created in six literal days); however, most religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution or other scientific findings. In fact, many religious people, including theologians, feel that a deeper understanding of nature actually enriches their faith. Moreover, in the scientific community there are thousands of scientists who are devoutly religious and also accept evolution.

Second, here's the full text on the page titled Misconceptions about Evolution and the Mechanisms of Evolution (again, with PJI's scare-quoted words bolded by me.):

Unfortunately, people have misconceptions about evolution. Some are simple misunderstandings; ideas that develop in the course of learning about evolution, possibly from school experiences and/or from the media. Other misconceptions may stem from purposeful attempts to interfere with the teaching of evolution.

As teachers, it is our role to treat all student questions with respect and initially to accept each question as the reflection of a legitimate desire to learn. However, some questions may well be designed to disrupt the learning process. We need to deal with intentionally disruptive questions in ways that are a bit different from legitimate inquiry. And it is important that we learn to distinguish between the two.

If we're talking letter of the law, PJI might have a little bit of a case, it seems to me (said the blogger with no legal training). Hard to believe that stating facts could be in violation of the law, but I have to admit: these are web pages being served up by a computer owned and operated by a state school, and there is an implication that some religions are … how shall I put it … more whacked-out than others.

If, on the other hand, we're talking spirit of the law, PJI's lawyers should be listened to for as long as the panel of judges can keep a straight face. When they can no longer suppress their howls of laughter: case dismissed. Perhaps the clerks of the court would enjoy creating an office pool, picking the number of minutes before that happens.

Right Wing Watch has some background information on PJI, and the NYT has a charming story about their (successful) efforts to get a teacher fired. Pretend to be surprised when you see what else they've been up to.

(h/t: PZ, from whom I also swiped some of the above links)

Obama on Women's Rights

Here's Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood, on 17 July of last year. Seems like a good speech to review in light of his endorsement by NARAL yesterday.

The speech is about 24 minutes long. It's part inspiration, part policy, and contains very clear statements of his positions on issues of choice, other women's rights, and science.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Patch Tuesday Reminder

For all of you Windows users: yesterday was Patch Tuesday. If you don't have Automatic Updates enabled, read on.

I did the update and had no problems with my Windows 2000 machines, and one of them, which has Office 2002 installed, also added some Office patches without a hiccup.

There are a couple of gotchas to be aware of. First, if you're running Office 2000, you'll need to make a separate visit to the Office Update site to get the new patches, and you'll have to have the original Office installation CD handy to install them. I can verify from past experience that the Office 2000 patch installation won't proceed without the CD in the drive. (But I don't care anymore.)

Second, and probably more important to most of you: It has been reported that if you're running Windows XP, you may get Service Pack 3 as part of the patch package if you haven't already installed it. Some people, though not all, have had trouble with this service pack.

Want more info? Brian Krebs has a good post, with details and lots of relevant links.

Over the Hill and Very Far Gone

Most overwrought reaction to last night's primary results:

The point of West Virginia in 1960 is that you can change attitudes. But if you don't act to change them, he could lose West Virginia and I think he could lose the country.

The above said by some dude whose qualifications for punditry are apparently based upon having worked for the Kennedy campaign in West Virgina, forty-eight years ago.

The columnist who saw fit to include this quote? You have to ask?

Eye Candy

Phil Plait passed along this fine link: hi-res shots of life outside the space shuttle.


As expected, Clinton is romping in the West Virginia primary. According to the NYT: with 95% of the vote in, she's up 67% - 26% over Obama. One interesting nugget: John Edwards has 7% of the vote -- the best he's done since 5 Feb (the original Super Tuesday), when he was still in the race.*

I wonder if these 7% are against both a woman and a black candidate, or expressing fatigue with the endless campaign, or just wanted to register support for Edwards's anti-poverty message. I don't think it's a favorite son effect, since he didn't do anywhere near as well in North Carolina last week.

Correction added: Actually, Edwards dropped out of the race on 30 January, a few days before Super Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Everyone's calling it the Escher Car

I call it the Straight Talk Express, v2.0.

Straight Talk Express, v2.0

(click pic to enlarge)

(pic. source; h/t: Laugh Lines)

Raising the Barr?

Random thought: How long until the first viral email campaign launches, "proving" that Bob Barr is on the payroll of the Obama campaign?

Definition of the Day: 2008-05-13

Never heard this one before:

... a Libertarian is a Republican who owns a bong.

Line of the Day: 2008-05-13

TBogg, commenting on the latest antics of Holy Joe Lieberman and a certain someone who has yet to do anything about it:

Reid obviously understands the words "Senate" and "Majority".

"Leader"...not so much.

Meltdown Mashup!

If you've already seen the O'Reilly video, you might also enjoy the musical version over at Oliver's place.

BillO Can't Suppress The Truth

The Bill O'Reilly meltdown video I had embedded earlier got taken off of YouTube. But you can still see it at Wonkette.

(h/t: Balloon Juice)

A Must-Read

Steven Pinker has just published an essay titled The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. It's his reaction to a recently released report titled Human Dignity and Bioethics, recently published by the President's Council on Bioethics. The Council was created in 2001 by George W. Bush, and was stacked with people who sing from the same hymnal as W, so I expect you can predict the thrust of both the report and Pinker's review.

Pinker is clear both in his thinking and writing. I urge you to read this. It is no exaggeration to say that Pinker is here taking an important stand against theocracy.

(h/t: graz)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ezra's Bearings Seem Okay

You'd like to have a look at a blog titled "Things Younger Than John McCcain," wouldn't you? Ezra Klein has the link, and a good justification for linking to it.

Just in case you thought Bill O'Reilly wasn't ...

... always the supreme asshole that he is today, check out this bit from his earlier Peabody-award winning incarnation:

UPDATE: Somehow, BillO got YouTube to remove the video that I had embedded below. However, the good people at Wonkette have their own copy of the video. See it here.

The rest of this post is no longer operational, as Ron Ziegler almost said.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Oliver Willis)

Update: Looks like the video got taken down. Sorry about that. I'll keep an eye out for another copy hosted elsewhere.

Yakfest Roundup

Driftglass has the odd habit of working off Saturday night excesses by watching, and recapitulating, the Sunday morning talk shows. This week's effort is especially good.

Sic Pic

Hard to believe there could ever be a picture to top the irony of this Web classic:

Get a brain, morans

... but EarlG has done it:

offical language

Maybe this woman hates America, and she really meant offical as an adjectival form of offal?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Racial Politics

Two intriguing pieces of analysis, largely written in reaction to that hard-working white woman:

Bowers's piece has fairly astounding data. Jackson's piece is just plain great prose.

Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

From the canonical free-of-liberal-bias best reference source EVAR!!!1!:

Professor Dawkins' anti-religious views are based on two subjective opinions.

Well, maybe it's not redundant. I'm pretty sure the wingnuts are convinced their opinions are facts.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quick Fix

Listen to three minutes of Richard Dawkins: MP3

Link not working? Try this instead.

And you know you need a replay of this, too.

(h/t: PZ)

Palate Cleanser

After the last post, this works for me:

Hillary: Truth and Consequences

See also.

Image copyright: Derek Chatwood, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Just Asking

Is it okay to call Larry Johnson* bitter?

Here's a sample:

On behalf of millions of Clinton supporters who have made it very clear that we will vote for a cockroach before we vote for Barack Obama, I would like you pieces of Obama crap to know that you can kiss our asses. We will collectively do everything in our power to see to it that you and that mysogynist, bigoted, race-baiting pig you worship, the fraud who has already set gender and racial relations back thirty years, goes down in flames in a big way. And there are millions of us. Millions. The kind of millions that brought his type down before from the voting booth.

I'm not sure what's worse -- the delusions of grandeur (millions?) or the degree of hatred. Bring slime repellent with you if you decide to click the link.

And I thought Michelle Malkin was unhinged.

* Upon further review, I see the post was not actually composed by Larry Johnson, but by someone going by the name of "Uppity Woman." However, it's Johnson's site, which means he approved the message, so my feelings about him remain unchanged.

Blog Post Title of the Week

Obama picks up eight superdelegates; Clinton unveils PowerPoint presentation
-- Steve Benen

Wait! You Forgot the Whine!

Swiped from PK (click pic to enlarge):

Conservative Principles

... who adds to the caption:

Plus the magic of the marketplace

Get "the slip"

Nine Inch Nails: the slipNine Inch Nails are offering their latest record (their word) as a free download. You can get it in MP3, FLAC, M4A, and WAV formats. You'll need to give an email address to get a "token" to gain access to the download page, and that's it. Not even a "donation" or "pay whatever you want" moment of guilt to deal with -- they say it's being released as a thank-you to fans.

I just downloaded it. Sounds pretty good so far, although I'm usually terrible at predicting how much I'll like a piece of music on first exposure.

Interested? Visit

(h/t: TBogg)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Let the Whining Begin

You might have heard about Barack Obama saying this during an interview with Wolf Blitzer, when asked about McCain's statement saying that Hamas had "endorsed" Obama:

I've said it's a terrorist organization and we should not negotiate with them unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and unless they are willing to abide by previous accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don't need name calling in this debate.

Oh, the horror.

Major pant-wetting quickly ensued over at the McCain Assisted Living Center campaign headquarters. Spokesman Mark Salter:

First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today: He used the words "losing his bearings" intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.

Masterly snark returned by Obama spokesman Bill Burton:

Clearly losing one's bearings has no relation to age, given this bizarre rant that Mark Salter just sent out.

See the HuffPo for the full statements and supporting links.

In all seriousness, McCain's age is a legitimate point to raise in the campaign. If he were to be elected, he'd be older than Reagan when Reagan took office, and I think we remember how that worked out. And don't forget that we're still waiting on those long-promised medical records.

And really, when the wingnuts have spent weeks replaying the same few seconds of a couple of Jeremiah Wright clips and months asking about the Mysterious Missing Lapel Pin, they've got no place to stand.

Okay, I'm reasonable. I'll give you a choice. What would you rather hear, every day for the next six months, 100 Years of War or Losing His Bearings?

Line of the Day: 2008-05-09

Chris Kelly wonders: Why don't people like Bob Barr?

Is it a hypocrisy thing? Because Bob Barr wrote the Defense of Marriage Act and he's been married three times?

Don't think of it as serial adultery. Think of it as defending marriage on multiple fronts.

Security Notice: Adobe Reader, and ...

If you didn't upgrade Adobe Reader (the PDF-viewing program many of us still call Acrobat or Acroread) to version 8.1.2 in February, you should take a moment and do it now.

As in, right now.

It turns out that the vulnerabilities in earlier versions now present a much greater risk, due to recent goings-on in the blackhat world. Having an unpatched version of Reader installed on your system means you could pick up an infection just by visiting a malicious website, even if Reader isn't open at the time.

Brian Krebs has the full story, including a direct link to download the latest version. He also offers a link to FoxIt, a free alternative to Reader which I recommend: it's smaller, faster, and probably more secure.

And ...

You may have heard some murmuring lately about a bug in Firefox. I saw the advisory but didn't pass it along, since it applies only to the Vietnamese language pack add-on and I figured that since we won the war, you people should all be speaking English by now not too many people who read this blog use that add-on. Apparently, though, the rumor mill has been doing its usual brilliant job magnifying the extent of the problem, so Mozilla published a follow-up post to dispel some of the FUD. Now you know.

And for being a good netizen and keeping your computer healthy, you may now choose your reward:

Geek Moment of the Year

If you didn't catch The Colbert Report last night, sit back and enjoy the next nine minutes.

(larger version here)

My only regret is that I can't embed a button right here that says, "Click to donate to NASA."

Wasn't that awesome?

You Wouldn't Like Us When We're Angry

I have to say, as an upper-middle class liberal who has been known to enjoy the occasional latte or, even worse, cafe au lait, I'm a little sick of the abuse. No, I don't watch NASCAR. No, I am not a soccer mom/dad. I just like my damn coffee with milk in it. Is that so wrong? Yes, my morning is made a little brighter by having some nice barista at the local coffee shop make that coffee for me. I'm sorry that this makes me hate America. But if you think I'm out of touch now, just try me WITHOUT my coffee.
-- from an email sent to Andrew Sullivan

If you followed the link, your biggest feeling right now is relief that I didn't title this post "The Voice of Scone."

Debunking the "I Win the Important States" Argument

Among the small remaining stock of talking points that don't immediately produce howls of derision, Hillary Clinton likes to talk about her winning states that Democrats must win come November. Most of these are eye-rolling in and of themselves; e.g., California and New York would vote for an actual donkey over a Republican. But she does like to harp on her wins in some of the less deep blue states, as part of a last gasp effort to sway undecided superdelegates over to her side.

To that end, I can only hope these people read Mark Nickolas. His key point:

... of the 33 states that Bill Clinton won in 1992, Obama has won 18 of them, versus just 13 for Clinton. The other two were Michigan and Nevada (where Obama won the delegates and Clinton the popular vote). But Clinton conveniently omits any reference to these important facts.

If only the media would scratch a little before simply printing whatever argument a candidate makes...

NY Times Finally Hires Someone Good

This doesn't completely make up for Bill Kristol and Ben Stein, but it's nonetheless a real get: Charlie Savage is leaving the Boston Globe to join the NYT.

You might recall that I've sung Savage's praises before.

(h/t: Steve Benen)

Another Sprig

Great minds think alike department: Right after publishing my previous post on Rod Parsley, I noticed John Evo's latest post. He's got two videos of Parsley posted; the other one is from Right Wing Watch and features Parsley giving vent to his homophobia.

A Sprig of Parsley

In the matter of John McCain and his alliances with unsavory pastors, John Hagee has been getting most of the attention lately. But there's another one that bears a closer look, too: the founder and senior pastor of an Ohio-based megachurch, a televangelist named Rod Parsley. Parsley believes, among other things, that one of the founding principles of the United States was, and is, to destroy Islam.

David Corn of Mother Jones has published an article that outlines Parsley's history and John McCain's ties to him, and there's a video to go along with it. Here's that video:

(alt. video link)

People who like McCain tend to dismiss the significance of Parsley, saying that, as with Hagee, this is not McCain's long-time pastor. There's something to that, but I am still troubled that McCain would actively seek out the endorsement of people like this. Even if it's only crass politics -- McCain seeking to shore up the support from the wingnut contingent of the Republican Party -- it's still thoroughly distasteful. We have only to look at the last eight years to see what an attitude of "you're either with us or you're against us" has wrought, especially when it's based on a twisted version of Christianity.

I don't expect the MSM to run the above video wall-to-wall, but I do hope they spend at least a little time looking into Parsley over the next six months.

Further reading: another article by Corn on Parsley, published in March, and the Wikipedia entry for Parsley.

[added] Andrew Sullivan weighs in. I should have remembered.

One more from Andrew. Money quote:

... when McCain keeps no distance and even embraces the religious far right, he has to be held accountable. If the religious left is now part of the politics of association, so too must the religious right.

And the truth is: the GOP is far, far more influenced by its religious fanatics than the Democrats by theirs'. And yet the right-wing extremist ranters are given a pass, as mainstream Republicans like McCain feel obliged to suck up to them. After what the right has done with Wright, they don't get a pass any more. The GOP needs to be held accountable for every religious extremist it panders to, especially when their sectarian rhetoric could impact the work of American foreign policy:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bleg for News

Anyone know why Jon Swift hasn't posted in nearly two months? I hope he's okay. Jon, please let us know.

The Wright Stuff

"Candorville," by Darrin Bell: Good cartoon.

Archives here.

(h/t: dnA/Too Sense)

Maverick Image Gets a Closer Look

If you read this blog, you probably already have a sense of how little truth there is to John McCain's carefully crafted image as a "maverick," but it's worth checking out this post on The Carpetbagger Report for some specifics.

On a related note: Don McArthur takes a look at John McCain and his churchy friend, John Hagee, as compared to another country already controlled by theocrats.

Hard to say if we'll ever break through the MSM barrier on getting either of these stories the attention they deserve, but that's no excuse not to try.

New Record Set for Teh Stupid

This has got to be the most painful thing I've read this whole campaign.

[added] Which calls for my first ever post of a LOLcat, I think.

(pic. source)

Longer K-Lo: Gasbag Edition

(Because her "incisive" post was so short):

Hillary Clinton and John McCain wanna play dumb? They'll never hold a candle to me! As evidence, I hereby raise serious doubts about my ability to read. (You probably already knew that I know nothing about economics.)

The editors apologize for the apparent redundancy in the post title -- it was intended to give a hint about the issue at hand.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Sinister Pelosi Agenda Marches Forward

Hatred of America's values has spread all the way to the top:

For quite some time, U.S. troops have supported repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. A December 2006 poll of servicemembers who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan found 73 percent of those polled were “comfortable with lesbians and gays.” A 2004 poll found that a majority of junior enlisted servicemembers believed gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, up from 16 percent in 1992.

The military’s leadership is finally catching up to its troops. On Sunday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy that the military was ready to accept gay servicemembers if Congress repeals DADT …

No word yet on whether this guy will be adding the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog to his list.

Amanda of Think Progress has the whole happy story, including links for further reading.

(h/t: Steve Benen)

Channeling the Iraqi Information Minister

Geoff Garin, lead strategist for the Clinton campaign, on a conference call with reporters this morning:

We think the results last night strengthen the case that she will be the strongest candidate for the Democratic Party in November.


Putting Terrorism in Perspective

Christopher Dickey has an interesting article up. It's centered on an interview with counter-terrorism expert Michael Sheehan. Main message: al Qaeda is dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as they're often made out to be, and the worst thing we can do in combating them is to overreact.

Probably I liked the article so much because it preaches to my beliefs. But you might like it, too.

(h/t: Kevin Drum)

John Cole on The Fat Lady

Who knew someone could write this well on two hours' sleep?

Nice Capper

At the end of Bob Cesca's liveblogging post of last night's primaries, he posted this video, which, it turns out, he mashed up himself in late March. Here's what he says about it:

I don't know who Roger Waters supports in this election, but this song from his 1987 album 'Radio KAOS' perfectly illustrates the both the dark age of the Bush administration, as well as the hope for a better future which Senator Obama brings to America and to the world. When Senator Obama delivered his historical Philadelphia address, this song instantly came to mind, so I decided to create this mash-up as a tribute to everyone who is helping and hoping to turn the tide.

(alt. video link)

Excitement Plus!

I don't know how many of you have been tracking the Indiana results as obsessively as I have, but it's been amazing to watch over the past five six hours: Clinton's lead started at about 15% around the time the polls closed, and have been steadily creeping downward since.

Lake County, whose biggest city is Gary, has just started reporting results, after almost all the rest of the counties had sent in nearly complete ones. Right now, Lake County has sent in about 28% of their totals. They show a 3:1 advantage to Obama, with about another 100,000 votes to be counted. Clinton's lead is down to less than 2% statewide -- about 20,000 votes.

[Update] As of 1:30 am, it looks like close, but no cigar. With 99% of the statewide totals in, Clinton has a margin of about 1.8% (~23,000 votes). Lake County is also about 99% reported, and Obama's early lead has come back to earth -- only about a 10% margin there. Probably a few CBS employees just started breathing again -- they alone called this one for Clinton hours ago, before the Lake County results started coming in.

Fun while it lasted, though. And of course, there's always gloating about North Carolina: with 99% reporting, Obama is up by nearly 15%, representing a cushion of more than 200,000 voters. NC also has more delegates than IN, so I'd say Obama comes out of tonight with a boost in delegates and some serious new momentum.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A McCain Worry?

If you look at the returns from Indiana and North Carolina, you see that, once again, a bunch of Republicans came out just to vote against McCain in an already-decided primary. However you want to explain their motivations, about 1 in 4 registered Republicans voted for someone else.

Obama's Victory Speech in North Carolina

It never fails to amaze me how inspiring this man can be.

(alt. video link)

Forget About Economists. Hillary No Longer Believes in Arithmetic.

Swiped this Olbergem, a cross between Monty Python and Jon Stewart, both at their best, from Oliver:

(alt. video link)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yeah, I Guess I Self-Censor, Too

Sam Harris has an essay worth reading up on HuffPo. He starts by considering the hubbub over Geert Wilders's short film, Fitna, and then moves to a larger theme. If you know Harris, this will sound familiar:

The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for "racism" and "Islamophobia."

Our capitulations in the face of these threats have had what is often called "a chilling effect" on our exercise of free speech.

He goes on to excoriate Western "political correctness" and excessive concern for "religious sensitivity," as well as Muslim moderates, for rarely speaking out against violence done in the name of (under the excuse of) Islam.

I am never sure what to say about Harris's views. Much of what he says makes sense to me. He's certainly right that all religions get a pass on criticism, and that not all of them are equally inclined to violence. On the other hand, most of the Muslim bashers here in the US are nowhere near as rational as Harris, and tend to be driven by their own religious extremism as well, so I don't really want to add my voice to theirs, either.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

Bumper Sticker of the Day: 2008-05-05

Grabbed from The Jed Report (click to enlarge):

Obama bumper sticker

Oh, Shoot

Looks like Hillary's pro-gun mailer is a flop among gun enthusiasts, seeing as how the gun pictured doesn't actually exist.

Musta been the one used by the non-existent snipers, don't you think?

John Cole has details and further commentary.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Just What We Need: More Magical Thinking

If you're a member of the reality-based community, chances are good that you already know who not to vote for. But just in case, have a look at The Carpetbagger Report on John McCain's superstitions.

Shameless Doesn't Begin to Describe this Pandering

“I’m not going to put in my lot with economists,” she said. A few moments later, she added, “Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantages the vast majority of Americans.”

-- a prominent politician

Only the pronoun lets you know that this statement was not said by George W. Bush or John McCain.

Never mind the hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton pretending not to be part of the elite. It's the appeal to the worst part of the American psyche -- anti-intellectualism -- and the bull-headed refusal to listen to the unanimous view of people who know better that really annoys me.

[added] One of those people not being listened to, Robert Reich, has more on this.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bill Moyers: Commentary on Jeremiah Wright

Via TC, here's a short commentary that Moyers recorded both after his interview (part 1, part 2) with Wright last week and after Wright's ensuing public appearances. It's about five minutes long, and like so much of what Moyers says, well worth listening to.

(alt. video link)

Non-Line of the Day: 2008-05-03

From the HuffPo:

Aides to Sen. Hillary Clinton defended on Thursday her support for a gas-tax holiday - a proposal that has been roundly criticized by economic and energy experts and derided among pundits as political pandering.


Aides to Clinton could not, when asked, point to a single non-political expert who supported such a proposal …

... via MattY, who adds:

What happened to the idea that Clinton is the candidate of policy substance, competence, and experience?

Pushback against the Pushback

Via MattY, here's a smart piece from Ron Brownstein that asks John McCain: If you didn't mean what those nasty liebruls think you mean by "100 years," what did you mean? Implied subtext: And why am I the only one in the MSM asking this question?

Line of the Day: 2008-05-03

... I've never before in my life seen the press as willing to go easy on a candidate's claims to still be a viable contender.

Okay, so his life has not yet been so long. Still, Matthew makes sense.

I am sick beyond belief at the wide-eyed eagerness of the MSM to lap up the daily spin from the Clinton campaign about how they're "actually ahead, if you only consider …" and report it as gospel, just so they can keep this nomination "battle" alive and not have to think about finding some real stories to cover.

She. Can't. Win. All she can do is destroy the Democrats' chances in what should have been the easiest election ever.

(h/t: Scott Lemieux)

[added] Bonus Matthew:

One of my new lines when print journalism types start fretting about the blogosphere is to remind people that the emerging media landscape can't possibly be worse than 24 hour cable news, which often seems to be going out of its way to be uninformative.

[added] Via Oliver Willis: Timothy Noah issues a challenge:

Here's a rule I would like every political reporter, campaign official, TV talking head, and politician in the United States to follow. Go ahead and say, if you like, that Hillary Clinton retains a serious chance of winning the Democratic nomination. If you say this, however, you must describe a set of circumstances whereby this could happen. Try not to make it sound like a fairy tale.

Noah follows this with a brutal hacking apart of every fairy tale imaginable, which, if only some of the dispensers of hot air would read, might mean that we could get onto the real business of electing a president.


If you're not regularly reading Folderol, you're missing out on a daily offering of links to all the weird and wonderful goodness that the Web has to offer.

Case in point: today's post, which, among other things, pointed me to, as Jinnet notes:

.. part ten (ten!) of odd signage around the world.

I pretty much could have swiped every image there. I've restricted myself to copying four for reposting here (and emailed a few others). Click any image to enlarge.

First up: I don't care if it's Photoshopped. I wasted beer nasally:

Next, a reminder of my favorite blog tagline:

And, the Larry Craig Memorial Sign. If they have to be told, is there any better way to tell them? And do you not love the one in the lower left corner?

Finally, just to feed my inner geek, an oldie but a goodie:

Go see them all. The link to the other nine (nine more!) parts is at the bottom. That's where I'll be for the next little while.

FoxIt Reader Upgrade

FoxIt Reader, a program designed to read PDF files, has issued a security patch. This makes the latest version v2.3, Build 2825. Brian Krebs has more details, if you want them.

If you're already using this program, Help -> Check for Updates Now will help you out. You might see a bunch of options for add-ons, depending on the choices you made during your previous installation; if so, ignore these (or not, as you like). The upgrade is the likely the one at the bottom of the list. Select that choice by single-clicking on it, click the Add button, and click the Install button, and you should be fine. I was, anyway.

If you're not already using this program, and still use Adobe's Reader (formerly known as Acroread and Acrobat Reader), I urge you to give FoxIt a test drive. It's a much smaller program to download and, correspondingly, its security patches are, too; it starts up faster; and as far as I can tell, it renders PDF files without flaw.

More evangelizing from me here. Learn about and download the program here.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Mozilla has released a patch for Thunderbird to fix two moderate security flaws. This makes the latest version If you have disabled automatic updates for Thunderbird, use Help -> Check for Updates from the Thunderbird menu bar.

I just did the upgrade. No problems.

"... with us or against us?”"

Which politician used that phrase?

If you said George W. Bush, you're right.

If you said Hillary R. Clinton, you're right.