Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Gap In My Childhood, It Appears

Phil Plait:

I ask you: how can a list of ten awesome Sesame Street moments not have Put Down the Duckie?

Uh ... outside my realm of experience, but I do have to say, this is pretty fabulous. Worth watching for the cameos alone:

(alt. video link)

A Hopeful Note

Following up from the last post, or at least a couple of aspects of it, you might like Eric Alterman's recent Think Again piece: "Blogosphere to Mainstream Media: Get Off the Bus (and Walk a Mile in Our Shoes)."

Among other things, Alterman has a pretty impressive list of reportorial coups by bloggers. He also quotes Josh Marshall (of TPM), who believes the more balkanized news ecosystem will lead to less balance (probably ought to be in scare quotes) and more honesty.

A bit pollyannaish, or at least unapologetic cheerleading, but stiil, it's nice to think we might not be completely doomed by the end of newspapers.

Turnabout is Today's Fare. Play.

If you're at all familiar with this blog (or the éminence grise lurking behind it), you know that On The Media is a long-time favorite. Here is a treat along those lines: show hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield being interviewed themselves, by Jesse Thorn on The Sound of Young America.

This is among other things an interesting discussion of the show's history (once Brooke and Bob took it over), why they believe that having a point of view is a must for a criticism/analysis show, how this makes them the red-headed stepchild of National Public Radio (who like to obsess over impartiality/neutrality/objectivity/call it what you will (I call it an unhealthy fetish for Balance™ leading to too many he said/she said stories and too much credibility given to wingnuts)) … where were we? … oh yes, other forms of media bias, what they think about Fox News, covering new media, and why they totally hate Jon Stewart oknotreally.

The show was recorded in early April. It's about half an hour long.

(alt. audio link)

If you'd rather download an MP3 than stream this, visit the "alt. audio link."

Home pages: On The Media | The Sound of Young America

Wow, Jon Chait ...

... I usually have a high regard for you, but please, just STFU on this one. You're taking "company man" way too far.

I keep hoping you'll quit TNR and go work for a real outfit one of these years, but I guess maybe that's asking too much. In the meantime, though, don't make us start calling you Kirchick, Jr.

Shoutout to John Cole, who uses a football metaphor in a political context, the first such one that hasn't irritated me in at least six thousand years.

A Bad Week For Michelle Malkin ...

... is a good week for all who are sane, honest, and just. Sadly, No!'s got the goods. Click that link and feel better about everything, instantly.

Line of the Day: 2009-05-30

... but if something gets Netanyahu in a snit, that’s a de facto endorsement of whatever that something may be, and as far as I can tell, that something is that the Obama administration considers the roadmap to be a kind of thing you follow, not just a sheet of paper you hold up in front of your face to hide the winking and nodding.
-- Gil Mann

When Talk Shows Were Talk Shows

I have to wonder if Dick Cavett was getting in a subtle dig about Jay Leno's looming "retirement" in his latest blog post. Whether that's true, or the coincidence never even occurred to him: no matter.

The topic of his post is Jonathan Miller, about whom I knew nothing until half an hour ago, and about whom I now want to know everything. Cavett sketches some outlines of his Miller's biography as an introduction to the video clip he has posted, which is of Miller appearing as a guest on his show, in 1981. Among other marvels, I have never heard such a compelling discussion of Shakespeare -- without seeming at all highfalutin, it is genius.

It is a regret of mine that I never really got, nor got into, Shakespeare, so maybe what Miller has to say will not quite blow you away as much as it did me. And in any case, I should stop overselling, but I do want to say, the clip of Cavett interviewing Miller is light years away from today's endless parade of actors doing six-minute promos for their latest flicks. So, go read and go watch, and I hope you like it at least half as much as I did.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Texas Takes a Small Step Out of the 19th Century

Good news: Don McLeroy denied chairmanship of state board of education. It's not a huge thrill, since he only failed to get the job because approval required a two-thirds majority. The vote was along party lines: all Republicans voted for him. So, we've got a ways to go yet. Still, I'll take it.

(Previous posts on this creationist wingnut here and here.)

[Added] More coverage on the Texas Freedom Network's blog, TFN Insider.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Even if half of them are just "LOL" ...

... this is still hard to believe:

Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company — almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Previewing Shortened URLs

[Update 2011-11-15] Most or all of the following still applies. But see my later post for something even easier.


[Update 2010-08-30] Just happened across the JoshMeister's more comprehensive post on the same topic.


If you're a paranoid responsible Web surfer, you probably have moments of unease when you see those shortened URLs that are all the rage on the Twitter and the Facebook and so on. You might reasonably wonder if you're going to end up on some horrible phishing site, or perhaps just one that's NSFW. Here's something that might help.

If you want to see where an link will take you, just add a hyphen to the end of the URL. Try it on the following:
Clicking this takes you directly to
Clicking this takes you a preview page, where you can see the translated URL.

So, in practice, the way to do this is to right-click the link, choose "Copy link location," open a new tab or window, paste the URL into the location bar, and add the hyphen before pressing Enter.

You can do something similar with tinyurl links. For these, add preview. to the URL; e.g.:

I don't see an obvious way for, though they offer a Firefox add-on that will do a preview for you.

[Added] The claim is, the add-on works for other shortened URLs, too. Once you install it, you just hover your mouse pointer over the shortened URL and a tool-tip window pops up, showing the expanded URL.

[Added 2] Yup. Just installed it. Works as advertised. Nice. Can be a little sluggish to respond on a Twitter page (which may be Twitter's fault?) but seems like a worthwhile add-on.

[Added 3] Per the item linked to in the update at the top of this post, it is now the case that links can be previewed by appending a plus sign. Try it:

If you know of similar tips for other URL shorteners, please add them in the Comments and I'll update this post with them. [Added: or write a follow-up post.]

Sunday, May 17, 2009

... from the annals of "Two Countries Separated By a Common Language"

Geoffrey K. Pullum's latest post pleases me to no end. Here's how it starts.

It is by no means easy to understand headlines in your native language if you cross into a new cultural area, e.g. by crossing the Atlantic. And as headlines go, this one does fairly well at illustrating utter unintelligibility:


It took up nearly half of the front page of The Scottish Sun on May 15 (the right hand side of the page being reserved for a photo of the upper body of the newly crowned and daringly dressed Miss Scotland).

Now, Gers looks like it could be short for "Germans", right? And kirk is an old Scots word for a church. If religion is involved, the egg is probably a human one. Blast is often used in newspaper headlines for a furious denunciation or excoriating memo. So… an old Scottish church taken over by a congregation of pro-choice German Protestant immigrants has been the target for an angry newsletter article by a Catholic archbishop over the question of whether a newly fertilized ovum counts for moral purposes as a human being. That could be it, right? But perhaps you don't want me to tell you. Perhaps you'd rather guess.

Give up?

Line of the Day: 2009-05-17

We’ve got what amounts to a reverse Nuremberg defense, where Bush administration officials are let off the hook because they were only giving orders.
-- The Editors



This Has the Smell of a Keeper

Since we always want to remain Aware Of All Internet traditions™, it is worth noting the dawn of what I'm sure will be a new term.

Tim F. points out that Balloon Juice Commenter Joe K has proposed a new term, sure to remain applicable for the foreseeable future:

The Wingularity

Preaching to a Choir of One

Catch this line in Frank Rich's column today?

But Draper’s biggest find is a collection of daily cover sheets that Rumsfeld approved for the Secretary of Defense Worldwide Intelligence Update, a highly classified digest prepared for a tiny audience, including the president, and often delivered by hand to the White House by the defense secretary himself. These cover sheets greeted Bush each day with triumphal color photos of the war headlined by biblical quotations. GQ is posting 11 of them, and they are seriously creepy.

Pretty creepy stuff, indeed. You should flip through this slide show just to remind yourself of the mindset that was in charge from January 2001 through January 2009. For full effect, stare at the pictures and read the Bible quotes aloud.

Here is one of them.

(enlarge image)

Here is another.

(enlarge image)

One more.

(enlarge image)

(The rest, plus the accompanying article.)

Maybe the worst part for me is the strong suggestion that Rumsfeld so obviously knew how to play his (nominal) boss. I've given no end of PowerPoint presentations in my day, almost always as the junior member in the room, and my considered reaction to these cover sheets is that if George W. Bush were any sort of a real leader, he would have fired Rumsfeld on the spot, for brown-nosing. That there is a whole series of these images says to me that for eight years, our ostensible Commander-in-Chief, the guy who loved to call himself "a wartime president" (e.g.), was nothing more than a GI Joe™ fetishist whose favorite version of the Bible was a comic book.

Not that I'm telling you anything you didn't already know.

(h/t: Wonderment)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Best Book Review Title Ever

TBogg: FTW.

And yeah, I do want to read Eric Boehlert's Bloggers on the Bus, too.

(Note to hoverers: it's not the same as the URL, although that's pretty good, too.)

Attitude Test

Does this picture make you feel humanity's insignificance or fill you with pride at what we can accomplish? (Concentrate on the upper right corner.)

NASA's space shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope silhouetted against the Sun

Full shot and details from which the above was cropped.

Explanation and hat tip: Phil Plait.

Another shot, from earlier in the mission.

Different mission, more coolness, same question:

The space observatories Herschel and Planck, shortly after being deployed by the European Space Agency's Sylda launch vehicle.

Three More NYTpicks

Judith Warner says some pretty smart things, reacting to the reaction (THE OUTRAGE) to “26 Reasons to Love Living Here. Reason #2: Our New Neighbor Is Hot.”

Timothy Egan has the first non-hysterical piece about a Supreme Court Justice that I've read in what already seems like years: a nice way to think about David Souter.

Gail Collins rounds up the latest obstructionist stunts in the Senate from the Party of No.

“Black Magic”

Sounds like a movie I'd like to see.

Further Evidence ...

... that there is ABSOLUTELY NO BASIS!!!1! for the Department of Homeland Security to have written a report warning about right-wing extremism.

These are just patriotic Americans sending email, to the America-hating New York Slimes.

We can only hope responsible Republican leaders will continue their exhortations to their base to get themselves "armed and dangerous" (e.g.) and ready to secede (e.g.). And please, keep harping on the message that "Obama wants to take away your guns" (e.g.). Nothing like encouraging panicked stockpiling to help keep the peace (e.g.).

Peak Geek

Beat this:

Hope it's not an illegal download!

(Can you "download" something if you're 220 miles above the Earth?)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Flowbee!

Larry Flowbee JohnsonOur Wonkette reminds us that one year ago tomorrow was supposed to be the day that Larry C. "Flowbee" Johnson would release the imaginary Michelle Obama "whitey" tape.

May that lying little weasel never live this down.

If you've forgotten the particulars (and care), see my "Flowbee Watch" post from last August.

(pic. source)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GOP: "We got nothin' so here's what we got," Part 2

Fauxtrage alert!

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) co-signed a letter characterizing Harry Knox, a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as a "virulent anti-Catholic bigot" who has made "numerous vile dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father."

The cause for this huffing and puffing?

Harry Knox, the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Director, was understandably troubled by the Pope's recent comments about sexual health. "The Pope needs to start telling the truth about condom use," Knox said. "We are eager to help him do that. Until he is willing to do that and able, he's doing a great deal more harm than good -- not just in Africa but around the world. It is endangering people's lives."

Yep. Speaking common sense is now considered virulent bigotry, by the Republicans. And since when is it the job of the Congressional GOP to play the role of the Vatican Guard?

Steve Benen has the whole story.


(Part 1 here, if you missed it.)

Patch Tuesday + Adobe Patch

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

A fairly light month this month -- the usual monthly Malicious Software Removal Tool update, plus some Office-related patches. Brian Krebs has details.

Also note in Krebs's post: Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader need patching. I've long since stopped using Adobe Reader in favor of FoxIt, but I did run the update for the hell of it: fired up Reader and did Help → Check for Updates.

Weirdly, the update pop-up window goes underneath the main Reader window, so minimize the latter to see what's going on. The update went smoothly, although, annoyingly as Adobe always does, during the update it assigns PDF files to be opened by Reader by default, so I had to changed the file association back again by hand. (Right-click on a PDF file, do Open With, choose Foxit, and let FoxIt prompt you for resetting the default when it opens.)

Instapundit Busted

Classic Glenn Reynolds: link to a lie, add a "heh," feed the wingnuts what they want while maintaining plausible deniability.

Isn't he supposed to have gone Galt by now? Guess that sweet government job is too nice to give up.

(h/t: graz)

[Added] For reference, here is the link to Putz's post. Of course we do not expect any corrections to be made, but it'll be interesting to see if it silently disappears.

More Shuttle/Hubble Details ...

... than you can imagine, from CBS Space Analyst Bill Harwood.

That link via Joel Achenbach, who a new S/H post of his own up: "Space is Filthy."

[Added] Below: Exiting the airlock into the Shuttle's cargo bay. The cargo bay door has been open to space since shortly after achieving orbit.

Exiting the airlock on the Shuttle

Mission specialists John Grunsfeld (lower left) and Drew Feustel begin the first STS-125 spacewalk. Photo credit: NASA TV

Picture of the Day

Especially in light of the last post, this snapshot taken at "a Target in middle America" says it all:

Clearance sale: Republicans(enlarge image)

(h/t: Mark Nikolas)

GOP: "We got nothin' so here's what we got"

John Evo reminds me via email of the latest stunt by the Republican Party to "officially rename" the Democratic Party. This is almost too hilarious for words.

Right-blogger Allahpundit from Hot Air (via) puts it well:

Just the sort of smart, sober gesture we need to convince Americans of the party’s new seriousness of purpose. Even Michael Steele — Michael Steele — sees the publicity trainwreck a-comin’, although he’s powerless to stop it.

Oh well. The base will love it, and that’s all that matters.

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”…

Steele wrote a memo last month opposing the resolution. Steele said that while he believes Democrats “are indeed marching America toward European-style socialism,” he also said in a (rare) flash of insight that officially referring to them as the Democrat Socialist Party “will accomplish little than to give the media and our opponents the opportunity to mischaracterize Republicans.”

More than anything, this reeks of impotence, operating almost as a concession that the right’s argument on the merits that the left is evolving towards socialism isn’t working to shift public opinion. So now they’re going to up the ante by trying the hard sell: Just repeat “socialism” as much as possible to try to drive it into people’s skulls, never minding the fact that that term’s already lost some of its taboo and might well lose more as it goes further mainstream. Or at least, I hope that’s the GOP strategy here. The alternative, that they’re simply sticking their fingers in their ears and repeating “socialist” over and over out of spite like a five-year-old, is too depressing to contemplate. What’s next, a formal resolution declaring french fries “freedom fries” in the Republican Party henceforth and forevermore?

I think the "too-depressing-to-contemplate" alternative is actually true for many Republicans, based on the fund-raising emails I've been getting from them since last October. They seem obsessed with the S-word, or at least believe that invoking it has magical powers with their base.

I'm further convinced of the "five-year-old" mentality by noting with delight the continued wingnut obsession with saying "Democrat Party." This is classic grade-school stuff.

The really delicious part, as many have noted (e.g.), is that this effort to tie the word SOCIALISM!!!1! to Obama -- while Obama is enjoying healthy approval ratings -- seems mostly to be having the effect of making young people think the S-word means something good.

I give it a month until Rush Limbaugh and friends start saying "National Democrat Socialist Party" and then "Democrat National Socialist Party," at which point 85% of the country will stand up and say, "Godwin's Law," and what's left of the GOP will melt into a puddle and vanish, like the Wicked Witch of the West meeting her glass of water.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Line of the Day: 2009-05-13

In half a decade, conservatism has gone from a fearsome political machine unified by cultural, social and economic issues to your malcontent uncle who keeps trying to get you into rambling, asinine arguments that’s he’s already lost a dozen times over.
-- Jesse Taylor

(h/t: Sadly, No!)

Just in case ...

... for some mysterious reason you're not following my Twitter feed, attention must be called to this tastelessness in the Washington Times.

[Added] Also worth noting: an earlier juxtaposition on the Fox Nation website on a rifle pointed at Obama's head.

[Added 2009-05-14 15:59] Greg Sargent reports the Washington Times has taken the picture down and apologized. Good work, bloggers.

It's not quite at the level of "very unique." Yet.

People, please stop saying "from whence it came." Whence means "from where."

Yes, I know you can cite usage examples. That doesn't make it right, and it's especially irksome in this particular phrase.

Now, you'll pardon me while I go to the ATM machine, enter my PIN number, and take out cash to buy some IPA ale with which to drown my sorrows with.

(Not just you, Reihan, but I do expect better from you.)

Angry Fat Kid Forms Facebook Group!

Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the RedState Trike Force Erick Erickson is none too happy about this Charlie Crist endorsement that the NSRC announced yesterday. So he created a Facebook group! And he called it "Not one penny to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)!" And there are now 188 members! No! I just refreshed the page: 197!

The question now on every the mind of every libtard who has a Facebook account is: Do I join, and help Angry Erick make the GOP get a Real Republican™ to run next year, so that we can win the seat by 30 points instead of 10?

Because you know Facebook is all-powerful. Almost as powerful as Twitter!

Here is a picture for Erick and his friends, from Important Republican Strategist Markos Moulitsas:

Obama and Crist

(h/t: The Plum Line)

[Added] More from Ken Layne, with some actual serious points.

It's A Lie Due to our Muslin President

From Pat Buchanan's recent column on WingNutDaily:

(enlarge image)

Nice catch, Media Matters.

(title? | from)

The Also Ran On

What do you think the title should be?

I like My Pet Goat, And Other Adventures in Helicopter-Hunting.

Imagine hundreds and hundreds of pages of stuff like this:

"There's been so much written about and spoken about in the mainstream media and in the anonymous blogosphere world, that this will be a wonderful, refreshing chance for me to get to tell my story, that a lot of people have asked about, unfiltered …"




And it will be a big bestseller, because people in Bugtussle will be firmly convinced that every time someone buys a copy the Baby Jesus smiles and a liberal cries.

Escape Claws ...

... from The Bloggess.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meet the Newest America-Hater, Jesse Ventura!

Here's a face that illustrates what it means to say Dick Cheney has a 18% approval rating:

(alt. video link)

We'll take the strong anti-torture statement, but seriously, the Sharon Tate murders?

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

Who Knew They Had Photoshop in the 1930s?

Pretty cool photomontage work from John Heartfield.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

Tweet of the Day

Man, I hope I don't start doing a lot of these posts, but this from The Bloggess was too funny:

A tweet from the Bloggess


If you'd like to read a black guy who doesn't much talk like a black guy talk about why one less black guy talks more black than some other more black guy, John McWhorter's in the heezy.

Gory Details

If you're interested in the Hubble-servicing mission that the Shuttle crew is doing, Joel Achenbach promises: "This is going to be a spacey week on the blog …"

Today's post has links to not one, but two(!) of his articles about some of the gadgetry and how it's going to be swapped in and out. Good stuff, if you're of a mind.

Standing on the Step Stools of Mediocrity

Christ on a Cracker, who was touting this guy as Presidential material the other day?

Now, Mr. Riley was asking the above rhetorically, for reasons that will become apparent as soon as you get to the link at the end of this post, but for the record, the ones we were most recently snickering about for said touting were Ross Douthat and Michael Grunwald. (Come 2011 or so, we might want to want these reminders handy.)

To understand why Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, would be such a bad nominee, even for a Republican, just ask one of his long-suffering constituents, who's at his best when he's most irritated.

Up For Some Complications?

Then read "Is My Marriage Gay?"

If nothing else, it ought to serve as the final argument that the best way to define marriage is as between two consenting adults.

Paradise Lost or Found?

Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

I'll be the first to admit I love my car like the ugly American that I am, and of course I will concede that we will not get to such a place on a large scale overnight, but this article is worth reading and reflecting on.

Yesterday's Liftoff

Here is some eye candy for your viewing pleasure:

(alt. video link)

A larger version, and related clips, live at the "alt. video link."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Speaking of Fat Loads ...

K-Lo... from the National Review (cf.) who did not have a good time at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, editor Kathryn Jean Lopez is still fuming, according to your Wonkette.

The best part is where she calls Rush Limbaugh "a man who has struggled with adversity with an inspiring humility."

If that isn't a perfect measure of the wingnut mindset, I don't know what is.

(pic. source)

And Speaking of Warped Fundies ...

... (which we were a short while ago) here is your Pat Robertson, doing a bit of couples' counseling. The question: young woman who is "new to being a true Christian" wants to know how to deal with "my fiance of 4 years who has been with me through every step of my journey."

(alt. video link)

The short version of the answer from Robertson, if you can't bear to watch: your boyfriend is in league with Satan, so dump him, or you're doomed, too. We are in permanent holy war with all atheists -- there is no middle ground.

I'd like to pretend for a moment that Heaven is as they once told me, so that when this horrible little troll gets to the Pearly Gates, St. Peter can dick-punch him.

No real sympathy for the young woman (assuming she's real and this isn't just Robertson making up email questions for his own deviant satisfaction): what part of your own been with me every step of the way for four years do you not get? Why are you writing to this twisted little bundle of hate for advice on anything? Jesus wept.

(h/t: Mr. Bispo, via Twitter, via Lindsay/Videogum)


I should have said something about this earlier, but the live coverage of the Shuttle liftoff is on NASA TV right now.

At the moment, things look good -- they lifted off (close to) on schedule, they're airborne, and I'm now seeing a shot of the Earth from the butt end of the Shuttle as it prepares for an orbital maneuver burn. (All a hoax of course, but still pretty cool. ;^))

Good luck on this mission, y'all. We love our Hubble telescope, and we love our people doing cool things in space.

More from Phil Plait and Julianne Dalcanton.

Via JC: Good story from the NYT, including a cool graphic thing in the sidebar, that describes the mission's goals.

Of Course This Must Be Blogged

By now, you've probably heard about John Gechter, a 22-year-old senior at a Christian college who was suspended when it came to the attention of the school's administration that his self-designed off-campus work-study program included appearing in several porn films. GAY PORN, no less.

Fundies in their undies stories never get old, for me at least. Part of it is just small-minded schadenfreude, of course, but another part is a belief that every additional beam of sunlight shone on the implicit hypocrisy helps hasten the day when the whole religious fundamentalist edifice that's built on being pathologically uptight about sex will come crumbling down and everyone can just breathe normally for once.

Since I don't know anything about Gechter besides what I've read on the Internet (e.g.), I bear him little animus. Maybe there's the idle thought that it's good to put his name in lights now, lest he grow up to be yet another tiresome Christianist do-as-I-preach-not-as-I-do moralizer (cf. Haggard, Ted; Craig, Larry; Bakker, Jim; Gannon, Jeff; et al), but mostly? For all I know, this is just another example of a person growing out of the constraints of his upbringing -- a good and healthy thing, and the primary reason everyone who possibly can should go away to college.

His school is entitled to hold him to their own rules, since it appears they're a private institution and this is a free country, but they nonetheless deserve to be badgered by the rest of us for the twistedness of their standards, not to mention their hypocrisy. From their About page:

By charter, the doors of the College were open to qualified students "without regard to religious test or belief." The founders of Grove City College, consciously avoiding narrow sectarianism, held a vision of Christian society transcending denomination, creeds, and confessions. They were committed to the advancement of free enterprise, civil and religious liberty …

I guess they would say they "free enterprise" is not really so free after all, and they have no patience for uncivil liberties? Or maybe they're just so blinkered that they can't realize their rules of student conduct -- whereby someone who has sex that's not of the married man and woman and only for the purposes of procreation variety is considered in violation -- are, in fact, a religious test. How a man chooses to conduct himself off-campus is none of their affair; Gechter is an adult and he did nothing illegal. For that matter, he even performed under a pseudonym, which is a further reason for the school not to go bouncing off the walls at the thought of their Image Being Sullied. And what about the little fink who just happened to come across Gechter's work and tattled? Did he get his thirty pieces of silver from you?

But enough of my moralizing. You'll like Gawker's take on it better. Snark is really the best way to handle these things.

The Dumbness Will Continue Until The Internet Is Unplugged

Did you know Barack Obama is a racist for making a joke about Michael Steele?

That's why Thers calls them the Ass Toot Bloggers.

What Could Be Dumber ...

... than Jonah Goldberg complaining (prev. post) about the White House Correspondents' Dinner?

How about the RedState Trike Force, deciding that, phew, the new Star Trek movie epitomizes conservative principles?


See TBogg for a case study.

Even when these clowns leave the basement, they never leave the basement.

As Bad As It Gets

How far have wingnut fortunes fallen? The Pantload, among other gripes about the White House Correspondents' Dinner and all the funny MEAN things that were said about his heroes, whines:

Also, neither The Weekly Standard nor NR [National Review] had a reception this year, which was too bad.

Fear not, however. The Wingnut Welfare Gravy Train has not yet ground to a halt. Remember that our Doughy continues to be paid handsomely to write. Even sentences like this:

Biting humor is fine at events like this, so long as it's humorous.


(h/t: Sadly, No!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Headline of the Day

Trekkies bash new film as ‘fun, watchable’

Full unyun video coverage over at Phil Plait's place.

Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Ah, well. It's fashionable to piss and moan about the White House Correspondents' Dinner. On the other hand, it does have its upsides.

Part 1:

(alt. video link)

Part 2:

(alt. video link)

(h/t: aimai)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

From now on ...

... anyone who tries to make something out of "Dijongate" gets called a MUS-TARD.

Yeah, you know who I'm talking about.

Heads-up to Bloglines Users

I don't know if you've tried checking your feeds lately, but Bloglines was down for most of today, Saturday 9 May 2009. It just came back up. I'd recommend going in and exporting your feeds as an OPML file (link near the bottom of the left pane). This file can be used to import your feeds into another feed reader, should you decide you have to make a switch.

And I say "just in case" because of a post by Rogers Cadenhead, which presents reasons to be worried about the continued existence of Bloglines. I don't know Rogers, and this is just one source, so take it for it's worth, but it seems credible and has some supporting links. It certainly is true that Bloglines was down for the better part of today, and it obviously won't hurt to export your subscriptions list.

Another Great Eagleton (and Fish) Takedown

After PZ hits a home run, next up to bat is Matt Taibbi. Back to back?

The beginning:

I’m always on the lookout for religion’s latest counter-arguments, the new rhetorical approaches that God People are constantly fine-tuning for use in pimping the righteousness of faith (and for demonstrating the moral dissoluteness of agnostics like myself). There isn’t an inherently irresolvable metaphysical challenge that comes close to wasting as much of the world’s time and energy as this particular one. It’s the intellectual equivalent of the eternal R&D quest for a baldness cure: you just never stop being surprised at how many different ways men can find to fail at growing hair.

This latest salvo is fired by author/professor Stanley Fish, a prominent religion-peddler of the pointy-headed, turtlenecked genus, who made his case in his blog at the New York Times. Fish was mostly riffing on a recent book written by the windily pompous University of Manchester professor Terry Eagleton, a pudgily superior type, physically resembling a giant runny nose, who seems to have been raised by indulgent aunts who gave him sweets every time he corrected the grammar of other children. The esteemed professor’s new book is called Reason, Faith and Revolution, and it’s sort of an answer to the popular atheist literature of people like Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens. If you ever want to give yourself a really good, throbbing headache, go online and check out Eagleton’s lectures at Yale, upon which the book was based, in which one may listen to this soft-soaping old toady do his verbose best to stick his tongue as far as he can up the anus of the next generation of the American upper class.

That's how I'd write, if only I could write a thousand times better than I can.

The rest.

(h/t: John Cole | x-posted)

Keeping the SC in the SCLM

Josh Marshall:

Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?

I guess it really is a center-right nation.

The Truth is Out There. I Mean, Way Out There.

Hedy LamarrOne of the segments on this week's On The Media follows up on story I noted last week: apparently, there is a tendency among conservatives to believe Stephen Colbert is serious. Or, more precisely in some cases, that while he's recognized as kidding around, he is believed to be delivering a hidden, pro-conservative message underneath the jokes.

Here is co-host Bob Garfield's interview with Heather LeMarre, who is one of the authors of the study that's caused such hilarity and who has probably never been called Hedy (thirty seconds of NPR blah blah at the start):

(alt. audio link)

My own take is that LeMarre is being a little disingenuous in this interview, perhaps out of an overdeveloped desire not to belittle conservative cluelessness, perhaps out of an urge not to be seen as doing politically motivated research. But, whatever. Despite her spin on the results, I think the message is clear. (See? I can read hidden text, too.)

The whole hour is quite good, as is almost always the case for OTM. Other segments cover John Kerry's Senate hearing on the newspaper industry, discuss the new larger Kindle that some believe may be a life ring for newspapers and magazines, consider Fair Use in documentary films, look at the 4chan pranksters, report on cell phone tracking, and peek at the PR problems of the wealthy. Visit OTM's site to listen to the stream or download the whole show.

(pic. source)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Your Moment of Geekgasm

Live long and prosper to you, too, Mr. President.

(h/t: uncle ebeneezer)


What we see:

(enlarge image)

What they see:

(enlarge image)

(pic. sources: top | bot)

WTF is the KTOOA Act?

Remember when Republicans used to be able to come up beautifully Orwellian acronyms for their dumb-ass legislation?

KTOOA! KTOOA! Sounds like someone spitting.

Now, maybe I could get behind the TKADiaGaLNMLCDtEDCHOfEP Act, which while a little hard to pronounce, at least has the virtue of being honest upon expansion.

How's it go again? "If you outlaw guns, only ...?"

I'm kind of meh on the whole gun control thing these days, but if I were still a staunch advocate of gun control, I'd be waving these numbers in your face:

Hawaii, with its strong gun laws and low rate of gun ownership, has the lowest gun death rate in the nation, the Washington D.C.-based gun control group Violence Policy Center said Wednesday.

The islands had a per capita gun death rate of 2.58 per 100,000 people in 2006, according to the center's analysis, based on the most recently available national data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The national average was 10.3, it said.

Only 9.7 percent of Hawaii households own guns, compared with 45.6 percent in Louisiana, which topped the nation in per capita gun deaths at 19.5, the center said.


Louisiana was followed by Alabama (57.2 percent household gun ownership, 16.9 deaths), Alaska (60.6 percent, 16.3), Mississippi (54.3, 16.3) and Nevada (31.5 percent, 16.2).

Each of the five states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national rate of 10.3 per 100,000, and each state has weak gun laws and higher gun ownership rates.

In contrast, Hawaii and other states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death.

Massachusetts followed Hawaii with household gun ownership of 12.8 percent and a gun death rate of 3.2, ahead of Rhode Island (13.3 percent, 4.4), Connecticut (16.2 percent, 4.9) and New York (18.1 percent, 5.2).

Something to think about.

Stand by for a ream of contradicting statistics from Adam L in 5..., 4..., 3...

(h/t: Attaturk)

Oh, Snap

Jamison Foser zings the rePubOLITICO but good:

Politico Disgrace(enlarge image)

(h/t: Steve Benen)

New Hampshire: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes State House

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire state House passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in that state. The vote was 178-167. (sources: AP, CNN)

Last week, we noted that the state Senate had passed a similar bill, 13-11. The two branches have resolved the differences between their versions, and the bill has been sent to Gov. John Lynch.

As we also noted in that earlier post, it is unclear what Gov. Lynch will do:

He is on record as opposing the use of the M-word while favoring civil unions. He has not said whether he will veto the bill. He may let it pass without signing it. If he does veto it, the narrowness of the winning margins in both houses of the legislature suggests they won't be able to override a veto.

And once again, if you'd like to urge Gov. Lynch to do the right thing, please visit his contact page, where you can send him an email and/or pick up his phone and fax numbers.

(h/t: Steve Benen)

Is This A Sign?

Trick question. It's two signs!

Make of them what you will. I've still got some reserves of hope. But Al Kamen says don't get too excited. Yet.

Norm Coleman office for lease(enlarge image)

More on the Horror of Yesterday

Following up from my earlier post on how President Obama delightfully handled the National Day of Prayer, check this:

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United [for Separation of Church and State], issued the following statement about the Obama decision:

“I am pleased that President Obama has made this decision. The president is required by federal law to declare a National Day of Prayer, but there is no requirement that a special event be held at the White House in observance of this event.

“During the Bush years, the Dobsons and other Religious Right leaders were given special access to the White House. That seems to have come to an end, and I’m glad.

“Congress should never have mandated a National Day of Prayer. Americans don’t need the government telling them when to pray and what to pray for. But if the federal government is going to set aside a prayer day, it should recognize the broad diversity of faiths, not just fundamentalist Christians.”

(h/t: Steve Benen)

VLC Media Player Update

VideoLAN has released version 0.9.9 of their VLC media player. If you have VLC installed, you may be notified up the availability of the update the next time you launch it, depending on how you have your preferences set. You can also get the update by doing Help → Check for Updates or by visiting their site.

The new release includes bugfixes, decoder updates for Windows, and improved support for Real Media files.

I got the update by accepting the notification. The installer program downloaded; when it finished I double-clicked it. The installer first uninstalled the existing version of VLC and then launched the installation of the new version. That failed, possibly because I had my browser open. I closed my browser, double-clicked again, and the installation worked fine.

Coming in v1.0.0: a new logo update(!). Say good-bye to the cone and hello to the bulldozer. Details on the VideoLAN home page.

You're a Good Man, Mr. President

The lede pretty much says it all:

For the past eight years, the White House recognized the National Day of Prayer with a service in the East Room, but this year, President Obama decided against holding a public ceremony.

Obama will sign a proclamation recognizing the day, and that's about it. No formal service, no prayer breakfast. Hurrah!

The rest of the article quotes White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, talking about Obama's view that prayer is a more private thing, blah blah, and then there are the expected hysterical reactions from "both" sides: the fundies have their undies in a twist because Obama is not acknowledging what a Christian nation we supposedly are; the über-atheists, because Obama will be signing the proclamation instead of, I dunno, dressing up as Richard Dawkins and setting a picture of the Pope on fire or something.

To the latter group, I say, chill. This is a big step for us. During the last Administration, this was a prominent public event every year.*

To the former, well, anything that pisses off your Shirley Dobson is just fine with me. May she have an acute case of constipation all day long. More than what she has every other day, I mean.

(h/t: Betty Cracker, via John Cole)


[Added] I see that I'm a bit late to the dance on this one -- yesterday was the National Day of Prayer. Sorry that I was too busy consorting with Satan to keep up with my blog feeds.


* [Added 2] Originally, I had said that the annual NDOP event at the White House was also part of the Bush I and Reagan Administrations. Not true, according to Steve Benen, Think Progress, and even Fox News. Both of these presidents held NDOP events at the White House, but not every year.

Bedwetter Watch: The Gitmo Edition

I was just reading this on Balloon Juice ...

*** Update ***

Maddow is making fun of the music in the fearmongering commercial the Republicans released today, and it made me laugh, because I actually was writing a post this morning in which I was asking if the GOP knew any music besides Ride of the Valkyries and Carmina Burana and then just said to hell with it.

... when an email came in from Twin with a link to … you guessed it.

(alt. video link)

Another Torture Memo?

Special thanks to David Corn for bringing up the Foreign Policy blog post, written in late April by Philip Zelikow, in which Zelikow discusses his (classified) dissenting memo against the Bush Administration's moves towards instituting a torture policy. I urge everyone to read it.

I also urge everyone to read David's Mother Jones post on the possible Cheney-directed cover-up of the memo, which he wrote with Nick Baumann.

At the time he wrote the memo, Zelikow was counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, if you can't place his name. He also served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission.

Here are David Corn and Jim Pinkerton discussing this issue during their diavlog on, which was posted yesterday. This segment is about twelve minutes long.

(alt. video link)

It's worth restating a couple of points: If Zelikow's claims are accurate, his memo was buried by the Bush White House, and what's more, they tried to destroy every copy of it. The latter is all by itself a crime.

According to the David's post and the Boston Globe, a Senate subcommittee chaired by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) is scheduled to begin the first set of public hearings on the Bush Administration's torture policies beginning next Wednesday, 13 May. Zelikow is expected to be a witness, as is former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan, whom we've mentioned before.

Sen. Whitehouse (and don't think that won't get confusing as time goes on), of course, has formally requested the Zelikow memo. It's worth passing along Spencer Ackerman's observation that the current request by Whitehouse marks the fifth time a member of Congress has asked for this memo. Let's hope this time is the charm.


Finally, if you'd like some more background, you might begin with a couple of short posts on TPMMuckraker from Zachary Roth, dated 21 April and 4 May.

And here, also via Spackerman, are videos of Zelikow appearing on Rachel Maddow's show on 21 April 2009:

Part 1:

Part 2:

He does look a little like John Dean, doesn't he?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

We Now Change Our Assessment of Depends Stock to "Strong Buy"

Wonkette's Sara K. Smith notes that the state legislature in Hawaii has just passed a resolution, by a vote of 22-3, that will "proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day."

Greater Wingnuttia, you'll be amazed to hear, ignores this:

The resolution does not call for any spending or organized celebration of Islam Day.

... and immediately wets the collective bed.

Atlas Shrieks begins:


I can't tell you what those folks are thinking, but why September 24th? Why not September 11th?

She goes on to wonder why there is no "Christian Day," apparently forgetting about, uh, Christmas, for example?

Stop The ACLU decorates their post with the Danish cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban and begins:

Hawaii Goes Dhimmi, Creates Islam Day

This couldn't have anything to do with the rumors that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, could it?

And it's not just wingnut bloggers. From Fox News's report:

"I recall radical Islamists around the world cheering the horrors of 9/11. That is the day all civilized people of all religions should remember," said Republican Sen. Fred Hemmings to the applause of more than 100 people gathered in the Senate to oppose a separate issue -- same-sex civil unions.


... Republican Sen. Sam Slom argued that the United States has become too sympathetic toward Islamic extremists.

"I don't think there's any country in the history of the world that has been more tolerant than the United States of America, and because of that tolerance, we've looked the other way a lot of times, and many thousands of our citizens have been killed by terrorists," said Slom, a Republican.

One of the RedState Trike Force asks:

Does anyone else think this is scary?

... and:

Why in the world would we bow to them (oh yeah our pres already did that) and cater to their whims?

... and has a sentence of sanity before losing it again:

Now I realize that not every Muslim is a terrorist. But the infiltration is slow and quiet just like they’ve done in other countries.

Greg Hengler at Clownhall apparently has nothing to say -- he just copies and pastes part of the Fox News article -- but maybe he thinks the old "worth a thousand words" idea applies:

Obama mosaic, with Muslins!(enlarge image)

Woooo! Scary!

Another Day, Another Republican Sex Scandal

This one is fairly unusual, I'll admit, in that it involves a man and a woman, both consenting adults, and no wetsuits appear to have been employed.

But how fabulous is it that Wonkette's source is WOOD-TV?

High Broderism Comedy

Attaturk's recurrent topic is especially painful hilarious today.

It's a Listening Tour, All Right, But Apparently Only One Voice Counts

Once again, Rush Limbaugh bellows and elected Republicans crumble. This time it's Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), the House Minority Whip, fercrissakes:

All together now: If the GOP can't stand up to Rush Limbaugh, how will they ever be able to stand up to the terrorists???

Nico Pitney at the HuffPo has the whole story and the video, if the embedded version above doesn't work.

(h/t: watertiger)

[Added] Oh, and speaking of listening tours, it would be irresponsible not to pass along this bit from another story on the HuffPo, describing Stormy Daniels, who is "spending her own money on a 'listening tour' to hear what people have to say as she considers a possible run." Against David "Diapers" Vitter, for the US Senate, that is.

"For those of you who don't know who I am," she told the lunch crowd at The Roux House, "I'd suggest that you don't Google that until you get home from work."

That. (NSFW)

Creepy Mental Image of the Day

Trump said the racy shots of Carrie Prejean were heading his way so that he can review them …


This from a quick post on RadarOnline, via watertiger, describing the owner of the beauty pageant, The Donald Trump, who will be deciding whether to strip Miss California of her … … … … crown, yeah, that's it, because she had the temerity to pose for said "racy shots" at some point before entering the beauty pageant.

Look, I have no sympathy for this self-appointed spokeswoman for "opposite marriage" as far as blowback from the great unwashed of the leftosphere goes. She'll doubtless parlay her looks, her churchiness, and her anti-civil rights attitudes into big dollars on the right-wing media circuit. But the idea of a contest which is all about putting young women up on stage to prance around in bikinis, for our ogling pleasure, after paying for them to have boob jobs I hardly need add, and then looking to punish them for posing for pictures -- "Semi-nude!" The horror! -- is just beyond belief. At this point, I think I'd even allow Larry Craig to accuse them of hypocrisy.

But hey, don't take it from me. Make your own judgment. Here is one of the "racy shots" and a photo taken during the pageant, in a side-by-side comparison, for science.

(enlarge image)

(pic. sources: The Donald, Carrie (L), Carrie (R))

[Added] Roy Edroso has some thoughts on this topic, and if you missed it: his round-up of Wingnuttia's early hysteria over the pageant itself.

Sure, we all make jokes about pitchforks ...

... but you know what really rich hedge fund guys are most scared of?

Anonymous Internet commenters!

You must visit that link just to see the funny picture of Chuck Norris typing.

See, this is why Al Gore invented Photoshop ...

... so that some artsy libtard could make pictures of the RNC Clown College!

Here is Newt Gingrich:

'Newt Gingrich, Obstructionist Republican Clown'

Twenty-eight more of your favorites at the link. Collect 'em all!

(h/t: Ken Layne/Wonkette)

[Added] More funny picture goodness available from this artist at the Flickr home page for Hebiclens / WMxdesign.

Chait on Torture

Jonathan Chait has a fine short essay up on TNR's site about the political battle lines that have been drawn over the Bush Administration's torture policies. Maybe you already agree with everything he says, but he puts it very well.

Here's how it begins:

Remember the Rule of Law? In the late 1990s, it was all the rage in conservative circles. Having maneuvered Bill Clinton into a position where he could either lie under oath or suffer massive personal and political embarrassment, conservatives reasoned that Clinton must be held accountable for perjury or the basic underpinnings of democracy would be shattered. The Republican sensibility was best reflected by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which not only crusaded for impeachment but demanded, in 2001, that Bill Clinton be indicted even after leaving office. The Journal rejected the logic of promoting healing and insisted that a post-presidency indictment would uphold "the principle that even Presidents and ex-Presidents are not above the law."

Over the last decade, though, the right's thinking on this question has evolved. Today, the administration malfeasance consists of illegal torture, a crime I'd argue is no less serious than lying under oath about fellatio. Yet Republicans now believe that the Rule of Law is not only consistent with letting administration crimes go unpunished but actually requires it. To prosecute the departed administration would make us (to use their new catchphrase) a "banana republic"--the premise being that banana republics are defined not by their use of torture but by their overly zealous enforcement of anti-torture laws.

The GOP line is once again reflected by the Journal editorial page, which now thunders against "a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements." The editorial notably fails to even address the question of whether the previous administration complied with the law, which is apparently no longer an important element of the Rule of Law.

The right's newfound outrage is a more hysterical manifestation of the mainstream sentiment that it would be an unseemly form of vengeance or "looking backward" to hold the previous administration legally accountable for torture. It's a bizarre sentiment. The prosecution of any crime is inherently backward-looking. We prosecute law-breakers to keep them or others from breaking the law.

There's also a brief video at the same link that's worth watching. I'd have embedded it here, but TNR does not seem to allow that.

Hat tip for the link to pampl, who said after recommending it:

I found it to be pretty incisive. I was a little skeptical towards prosecution before but I've become convinced that, in principle, it'd be the right thing to do.