Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Even More Franken!

One of my bookmarked bookmarks ...

TS said this on 16 December 2008:

TS's Bookmarks.

I'm keeping this on ice. With the champagne.

Break it out!

Since Kathryn Jean Lopez has kinda sorta been fired between then and now, maybe we'd better have a screen grab, just in case:

We who laugh last ...

Still More Franken!

Thirty-second congratulations spot from Lee Stranahan, via Dan Savage:

(alt. video link)

More Franken!

Following up on the last post …

How's this for a news angle that might not have immediately leapt to mind?

There are now more Jews in the Iranian parliament than there are Jewish Republicans in the U.S. Senate (it's a tie when you count all of Congress)...

No lie: this was near the top of the Google News results, at this moment.


Summary of the Minnesota State Supreme Court's ruling and a link to the full PDF of the decision are available on MinnPost.


[2009-06-30 17:17:17] Al Franken is at the top of the list for Twitter's "Trending Topics" at this moment. Sorry, Michael Jackson.


[2009-06-30 17:19:53] Oh, and that timestamp above is real (keyboard macro). A good sign! (If you retroactively claim 17 as your lucky number, as I do.)


[2009-06-30 17:24:14] LAT's Top of the Ticket headline:

Recount Day 238: Coleman quits; Goshdarnit Al Franken's a senator

Holy crap. 238 days. Even as long as it feels like it's been, that really brings it home.

(Of course you noticed that 238 is an integer multiple of 17, right? Good. Just checking.)


[2009-06-30 17:43:10] Another piece of (completely unrelated) good news: Firefox 3.5 has been released. Get it here. I will be doing the upgrade shortly, after I stop doing CTRL-r on Google News results for Franken.


[2009-06-30 17:56:48] Via Atrios, MPR reports:

In a statement, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he will sign the election certificate later this afternoon.


More in the next post.

Had 'em all the way

Here's the lede from the Strib:

Court rules for Franken; Coleman won't appeal

Republican Norm Coleman ended his bruising eight-month court fight over Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat this afternoon, conceding to Democrat Al Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Franken's favor.

The justices ruled today that Franken won the U.S. Senate election and said he is entitled to an election certificate that would lead to him being seated in the Senate.

"Affirmed," wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Coleman's claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.

Two hours after the decision was released, Coleman said he would "abide by the results."

"Furtrher litigation damages the unity of our state," he said during a news conference held at his St. Paul home. "The future today is that we have a new United States senator."

Coleman said he had called Franken to "congratulate him for his victory. I told him it's the best job he will ever have."

In the words of Jed Bartlet, what's next?

(h/t: Wonkette)

[Added] More in the next post.

Coming Into the Crazy

Todd S. Purdum has a long piece on Sarah Palin now up on Vanity Fair's website.

Fans of Palin will, to put it mildly, not much care for it. I'm sure they'll see it as a hatchet job, especially when encountering passages like this one on page 4:

More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly. When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig’s condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God’s, and signed it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.”

Most of the disparaging quotes in the article, I'm happy to say, were attributed. It is fairly amazing to see the number of people who were once strong Palin supporters who have since done a 180, from her time as mayor of Wasilla up through this year, and who were willing to go on the record about it.

I was familiar with most of what Purdum reported, so though it's probably fair to say the article is written from a clear perspective, there is a mass of facts not subject to dispute. Put all together the way Purdum did, I found it an engrossing read.

(h/t: Attaturk | pic. from the article | title: apologies to John McPhee)

Line of the Day: 2009-06-30

Adam Serwer on the petulant Dana Milbank:

I'm not of the opinion that bloggers make old school shoe-leather reporters obsolete. Not by a long shot. But someone like Milbank? He's a rotary phone. And I think he knows it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wingnut Math

Following up on the earlier shorter: Be advised that if you take your marching orders from Rush Limbaugh (which includes most of those who blog at the late William Buckley's house): "9-zip" is the new 5-4.

Real Conservative™ intellectuals, is what I mean to say.

Staying Just Ahead of Chuck Norris in the Washed-up Celebrity Wingnut Marathon

Pat Boone, whom we've looked upon with a mixture of amusement and nausea before, is now a Birther, a full-fledged member of the Cult of the COLB.

(Certificate Of Live Birth, for you nOObz.)

Among other things, he actually says, "… a widely known and experienced investigator, Dr. Jerome Corsi …" Yeah, that Jerome Corsi.

This is the dumbest thing I've read all week. Except for that other wingnut, James Cashill, who keeps his "sources" anonymous because of "[t]he media punishment that Joe the Plumber received …"

Drop Everything

Remember how, once upon a time, you were taught that there are three phases of matter (solid, liquid, and gas)? Check out this video of an iron ball falling into dry sand. Worth going to full-screen mode (second button, lower right corner).

(alt. video link)

While of course this makes me realize, once again, that nature is more complicated than my first couple of science classes indicated, it also makes me think it is simpler, somehow, at some deep fundamental level.

Another way cool vid, short discussion, and links over at Cosmic Variance.

DiFi the DINO

Last century, Dianne Feinstein was one of my Senators, and to the extent that I paid attention to politics back then, I thought she was a pretty good egg. No mas, alas.

The bloom went off the rose with many of her post-9/11 national security stances, of course, but sheesh, hating on the lefties for their agitation on health care reform?

So much for San Francisco values, I guess.

Eye (Rock) Candy

Looks like the old master can still bring it.

(enlarge image)

That's Neil Young, photographed by Leon Neal, item 12 in the latest Big Picture collection of goodness, all taken at this year's Glastonbury Festival. A big ol' outdoor music show, with 190,000 people, and sometimes rain and mud? You know it's going to make for some good crowd shots (hawt babez!). Plus, where else can you find Tom Jones and Spinal Tap in the same context? Oh, and a really cool lightning shot. Go!

Another Piece on Republican Obstructionism

Following up on an earlier post about Congressional Republicans blocking Obama's nominees: You might have a look at Julian Sanchez's post describing scum-of-the-earth Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia).

"Scum of the earth?" Isn't that a little harsh?


Preach It, Thomas Levenson!

I am in your choir, baby. Context-free factoids burn me up, too.

In His Honor, I Propose No Kids Be Told To Clean Their Rooms Today

Happy Birthday, Charles Messier!

(Expected) Shorter GOP

The fact that Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, and Scalia voted to overturn a Sotomayor decision proves that she is unfit for the Supreme Court.

[Added] Heh. John Cole:

I do find it interesting that all the arguments about how unfair this was to the white firefighters were direct appeals to empathy, however.


No joke: I have just been informed that J. C. Penney was a real person, and his middle name was Cash.

LOLcat of the Week

Scalzi used this to refer to the erstwhile secret getaway scheme of Mark Sanford. (Original picture by Andrea Z. and caption by Catsgirl.) I have a feeling it will come in mighty handy many more times in the future. But I just couldn't wait.

(enlarge image)

How Old Is The Word Ms.?

Ben Zimmer says, "Until recently, the earliest known appearance of Ms. was … from 1949." Now he has documented a much earlier instance -- a newspaper's proposal for the term in place of Miss or Mrs. that was published in 1901.


By the Springfield (Mass.) Sunday Republican.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Still More on the Froomkin Firing

Andrew Alexander:

Dan Froomkin’s online White House Watch ended today in The Post, leaving an army of angry followers and a string of unanswered questions about the decision to terminate his contract.


Institutionally, The Post is now responding by circling the wagons -- ironic for a news organization that insists on transparency from those it covers. Its initial statement on June 18 from spokeswoman Kris Coratti lacked substance (“Editors and our research teams are constantly reviewing our online content to ensure we bring readers the most value...while balancing the need to make the most of our resources”).

I was off much of this week with a minor medical problem. But when I was able to start querying editors yesterday, a wall of silence was erected. Raju Narisetti, the managing editor who oversees the Web site, declined to go beyond last week’s PR statement. Online Opinions Editor Marisa Katz, after talking Thursday with the Washington CityPaper, said she had been instructed not to respond to additional queries. And Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, who had previously responded to questions from me and other journalists (including the CityPaper on Thursday), today said he was unable to comment.

Meh. Who is this guy coming late to the dance and all expecting to get his questions answered and stuff?

Andrew Alexander is the WaPo's ombudsman.


In his own defense, Alexander does spend the next eighty-seven paragraphs making the best possible case for his corporate overlords.

(h/t: Attaturk)


LGM Nuggets, Plus Frank Talk

• Robert Farley's one-sentence book review.

• Paul Campos passes along an email that illustrates why snorts of derision are always appropriate whenever the well-connected talk about their love for the "meritocracy."

• Scott Lemieux on that recent SCOTUS strip-search decision (yeah, that one).

• I'll just steal this one, since they stole it from Ezra, who stole it from PK, who stole it from Ali Frick, who also has the audio. What I mean to say is, here is the great Barney Frank:

These arguments will come from the very people who denied that the economic recovery plan created any jobs. We have a very odd economic philosophy in Washington: It’s called weaponized Keynesianism. It is the view that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.

And here is the whole audio clip. Looks like a truncated/blank video, but do not adjust your sets at home! He's answering a question about the F-22 Raptor boondoggle fighter plane, but it applies much more generally. This is about the most straightforward three minutes and forty seconds on the ownership of our political process by the military-industrial complex you'll ever hear, let alone from a member of Congress.

(alt. audio link)

I Miss the Purple Crayons, Though

… you should be ashamed and go back to guatemala or whatever fucking middleeastern asshole you came from …

Just one of the many, many gems from a piece of wingnut hate mail sent to Markos Moulitsas (of Daily Kos fame), which began by offering to:

… prove to you that you are communist scum thrugh something called the scientific method.

To save you a trip to Wikipedia: Markos was in fact born in Chicago, Illinois.

Admittedly, this may be considered by some to be a middlewestern asshole.

I kid, I kid.

(h/t: watertiger)


While cleaning up my notes, I came across some more things that belonged with my Friday post on Dan Froomkin's firing. I have appended them, if you'd like to see.

Worth Keeping in Mind

Here's how an editorial in today's NYT starts:

Call It Obstructionism

In a burst of activity before adjourning on Friday for a two-week recess, the Senate confirmed 12 nominees for important positions in the Obama administration. That is the good news. Unfortunately, there are still 21 nominees for important posts awaiting confirmation.

Most of the stranded nominees have long since had hearings and majority approval by Senate committees and meetings with lawmakers. None of the nominees have been tainted by scandal or had their core competence questioned. And yet, they remain unconfirmed — one for more than three months and several others for more than a month — mainly because of holds, often anonymous and unexplained, by Republican senators.

I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was still that bad.

Also, from later on in the same piece:

Robert Groves, the nominee for director of the Census Bureau, has been on hold since mid-May. He has been deemed suspect for his expertise in sampling, a statistical method for adjusting miscounts. Republicans charge that sampling could unfairly tilt the census results. That is highly debatable, but, more to the point, it is a nonissue. Mr. Groves testified at his confirmation hearing that sampling will not be used in the 2010 count.

The eagerness of the Republicans to embrace anti-intellectualism and reject well-established science, and the willingness of the Democrats to kowtow to this attitude, never fail to discourage me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another on an Ever-Growing List of Reasons Why I No Longer Give Money to NPR

But props to On The Media -- the only NPR show I listen to regularly anymore -- for at least taking a whack.

Here (after a 30-second promotional intro) is Bob Garfield interviewing NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard about her explanation of why NPR won't call waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" for what they are: torture.

(alt. audio link)

[Added] The embedded audio thing above may take a few seconds to appear. Sorry -- don't know why.

Bleh. "Let the audience decide." Sounds like "We Report You Decide" and "teach the controversy" to me. Weenie weenie weasels. And the false equivalence to the random wingnuts who call in to demand that NPR call doctors who perform abortions (legally, if it needs saying) "terrorists?" Give me a break.

Never has the backronym (altronym?) Nice Polite Republicans ever seemed more relevant. And this is the Ombudsman, for Pete's sake.

The whole show is available for streaming or download here.

Crap. Missed another Hallmark Holiday.

Reading something about Mark Sanford's connection with The Family (an organization which I've noted before), I was reminded of a time long ago, when I was a poster child for Impressionable Youth.

I had just finished The Matarese Circle, which, as you may or may not know, is an old Robert Ludlum thriller. The plot: a lone CIA agent and a beautiful woman, who it turns out is a rogue KGB agent (hard to believe, I know, but there it is), uncover a vast conspiracy (the Matarese Circle, obvs.) that is global in scope, has been in existence for decades, completely hidden from view by the sheeple, and has placed agents EVERYWHERE, up to and including such positions as US Secretary of Defense.

I forget exactly what I said to my father upon reading it -- no doubt it was along the lines of "What if something like this is Really True? It sure would explain a lot!" -- but I have never forgotten his answer: "If all these powerful people are actually controlling the whole world, why isn't it running better?"

On another occasion, he spent most of a weekend visit silently suffering a verbal tic I had picked up from a roommate before finally saying, "There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't."

He also put the early kibosh on a trip I was taking down a wrong road by saying, "The chances of me winning the lottery are the same independent of my buying a ticket."

And I once heard him put an end to some excessive gushing with his own New Rule: "He can't be your hero if he's younger than you are."

Yeah, maybe not all of these adages were original to him (a few years ago, he quickly corrected me when I attributed the lottery line to him, saying he'd picked it up from Frannie Lebowitz, and I think Robert Benchley was the original bifurcator), but you get props for a well-timed riff, even if you're quoting an earlier master.

To the extent that I have become excessively cynical in the years since, that's on me. But to the extent that I have a membership card in the reality-based community, that's all due to him.

Thanks, Dad. Belated Happy Father's Day.

On a related note ...

... to the post two down, here's a bit from James Joyner:

Amusingly, a misspelled variant of his name (”Micheal Jackson”) is the fourth most popular search right now, beating out Iran.

Link to Joyner via John Cole, who has his own related note:

Also, via Michael Calderone, we learn that Meet the Press is bleeding out, losing close to a half million viewers since MC Rove’s dance partner took over from the late Russert. Clearly the bizarre strategy of packing every show with right-wing pundits and spewing right-wing talking points immediately following an election where the country told the Republican party to go to hell is paying dividends. Clearly what Meet the Press needs is more appearances by President Gingrich.

*** Update ***

This week’s guests- Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham. Atta’ boy, Stretch. You can lose another half million if you try.

That Proves It!

Hilarious (to some of us DFHs, anyway) tale from Greater Wingnuttia over at Balloon Juice.

The News Sickle

From a post six days ago:

From nytimes.com's lead story, six minutes ago:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remember: There is NO CONNECTION

Right-wing media figures are not responsible for any violence, ever. Just ask Michael Savage, who said earlier this week that he plans to post pictures "and other pertinent information" about the employees of Media Matters on his website.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: ShortsandPants)


Media Matters responded with a post titled "Mr. Savage, We're Still Listening...," which included the following:

(alt. video link)

Note: Media Matters later passed along a link to an Examiner.com post of a day later that reported:

In a statement during his radio show today [25 June] he [Savage] appeared to back off, saying only that an unidentified person was researching publicly available information such as the group’s tax filings.

So far, I don't see anything on Savage's site.

An Unfortunate Confluence of Keyword-Driven Ad Placement and Current Events

Screen shot of a video clip I was watching over at ShortsandPants:

(enlarge image)

Krauss Files

Lawrence Krauss has a good op-ed in today's WSJ. Here's how it starts:

My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.

-- J.B.S. Haldane

"Fact and Faith" (1934)

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in several exciting panel discussions at the World Science Festival in New York City. But the most dramatic encounter took place at the panel strangely titled "Science, Faith and Religion." I had been conscripted to join the panel after telling one of the organizers that I saw no reason to have it. After all, there was no panel on science and astrology, or science and witchcraft. So why one on science and religion?

Read the rest.

(h/t: thprop)

Desecration Row

Told ya:

Plus, your whining just makes more nasty liberals turn on their Photoshops.

Via Wonkette, here are a couple of good ones (from a huge pool of possibilities), from StrungOutFlip and Pimpsolo, respectively. Click' em to big 'em.

Plus? The attention you directed at Celtic Diva has resulted in her fundraising goal being met. So now she will be able to pay to get those Palin Administration documents released. Thanks for the help, Sarah!


Have a Good Vacation, but Hurry Back!

Dan Froomkin's final post for the WaPo is now up.

Probably you're aware of the outcry that the WaPo provoked by firing him -- he is (now was) one of the few actual liberals on the WaPo opinion pages, he is by all accounts a fine reporter, he was unflinching in his critical view of the Bush White House and had continued to hold the same skeptical attitude as soon as Obama took office, etc. If you're not familiar with how this all broke down, last week's post from Wonkette is a good introduction, and Glenn Greenwald's screed is also recommended.

Froomkin's final post has links to where else you might find him on the Web, both for archives and stuff to come after he gets back from vacation. Here are two worth keeping an eye on: WhitehouseWatch.com and NeimanWatchdog.org.

Best wishes to Dan, and a big fat old raspherry to Fred Hiatt.

[Added] Here are some things that I bookmarked when news of Froomkin's firing first broke:

A comment left by hellslittlestangel, under Joe Klein's post about the neocons on the WaPo op-ed page (via):

With the sacking of Dan Froomkin, I've given up on even looking at the Post. For a long time, I mostly read it to make fun of their OpEd clowns, but they've just gotten too ugly and vicious to laugh at anymore. It's like reading a spell-checked Free Republic.

Thought from Paul Krugman:

That’s why the firing of Dan Froomkin now makes a perverse sort of sense. As long as the right was in power, he was in effect the Post’s designated moonbat, someone who attracted readers but didn’t threaten the self-esteem of the self-perceived serious people at the paper. But now he looks like someone who was right when the serious people were wrong — and that means he has to go.

Definitely read PK's whole post.

[Added2] And DougJ of Balloon Juice has a new post up that's worth a look.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

rePubOLITICO Watch

New low in hacktacular: Barack Obama is in big trouble, because he's "too perfect" (read: monogamous). Also, he's just like Mitt Romney and Martha Stewart, and look what happened to them. And look, we have like nine GOP consultants who will say so! On the record, even!

Also, Jon Stewart is "exasperated." He doesn't say so, but The rePubOLITICO can just tell.

None of this could possibly be related to Mark Sanford or John Ensign, and Barack Obama should just resign before he doesn't do something wrong again.

If You Can't Take The Heat, Stay In Alaska

Oh, STFU, Sarah. We can only laugh so many times about your never-ending hunt for the next excuse to play victim. Your act is beyond stale.

No, this comical picture is not a "desecration."

Despite what the fappers of Wingnuttia will tell you, you are not sacred. Nor are your old promo pictures. And neither is your campaign prop child. This is true no matter how many times your spokesperson stuffs in the words "special needs" to amp up the fauxtrage.

Matter of fact, this isn't even a picture of Algebra, or whatever your kid's name is. It is a picture of some conservative talk radio loudmouth …

… who may or not be retarded (but given the job description?), as Celtic Diva will be happy to explain. While collecting more donations every time you howl.

Jesus, lady, I know you're only trying to get your base to sit up a little straighter, but give it a rest. One Republican governor meltdown per week, please, and you just had a turn two weeks ago.

Plus, your whining just makes more nasty liberals turn on their Photoshops.

Get On The Bus!

It looks like we've got some new ads on display, on the sides of buses in New York City:

I liked the London version better, but I'll take this as a first step.

(h/t: Joe. My. God., via Roy Edroso)


That bright, bright smile flamed out way too soon.

NYT obit.

[Added] Short sweet note from Roy Edroso.

She's Still Freaking Out About The Census!

Never mind the sinister ACORN angle already reported. Now Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) has made the connection between the 2010 census and INTERNMENT CAMPS.

You know you're really bringing the crazy when a Fox News anchor* is looking at you worriedly.

I was going to embed the video clip, but the place where I'd have stolen it from has too much other related goodness (do not miss the PalinBachmann.com link), so head on over to Rumproast. Now. Go.

Before They lock you up.

* Not named Shep Smith, I mean.

Opening Line of the Day


As we enter Day 3 of our national nightmare of a reporter from the Huffington Post asking a question at a press conference …

I Being To See Why They Call It "The Graudian"

Caption from a picture topping a post that D-squared linked to for other reasons:

Steven Wells sadly passed away on Tuesday.

Yep. I can well imagine he wasn't all that happy about it.

[Update] I am reminded by clay in the Comments that I have misspelled the misspelling. The title should have read I Being To See Why They Call It "The Grauniad."

We regret the error.

P.S. In my own defense, it seems in keeping.

Plunge the Knife, Piggie

With all due respect to Governor Sanford, I've never thought he was a particularly strong candidate. If you looked just beneath the surface in South Carolina, for example, there were a lot of strong conservatives who were very upset with his performance in office and I suspect if he had run we would have seen a lot of South Carolinians popping up in the camps of other candidates, and that would have been very damaging to his candidacy.

Karl Rove to Sean Hannity, 24 June 2009.

Also, he claimed no one made a big deal out of Eliot Spitzer.

Bottomless, I Tell You. Bottomless.

Two quick posts from Instaputz documenting the never-ending plunge into the Big Pool of Stupid: Please to enjoy K-Lo at The Corner and another example of the brilliant minds comprising The Cult of the COLB.


On the latter -- I still remember when hippies were arrested and beaten for "disrespecting the flag" by wearing starry stripey clothes. So, I guess this is progress of sorts.

Long road, little wheel.

Jeez, Whaddya Know?

The Supreme Court finally gets one right.

Maybe they were all high on Tylenol?

Except for Clarence Thomas.

Of course.

Numb and Number

Over at The Poor Man Institute, curv3ball starts with a great excerpt from Prof. Krugman and then brings it home:

And a note about costs: Sometimes, my fellow Americans, we really suck.

A few trillion (more actually) to kill a bunch of foreigners in a couple of wars that have yielded almost nothing but instability and suffering? It would be unpatriotic to bring up the price tag.

A couple of trillion in tax cuts for the insanely wealth heir and heiress set? Opposing them would be class warfare.

$1.8 trillion to cover American citizens who (frequently) must choose between food and medicine, their kids welfare and medical treatment, life and death…?

Well, that is a lot of money. Government needs to be more fiscally responsible. Let’s not get carried away. Looks like socialism to me. Just think of the deficits. Does David Broder think the bill is bi-partisany enough?

I confess to paralyzing levels of cynicism on this issue, but if you want to see someone who's doing his level best to document the atrocities of the Democrats -- yes, the Democrats -- on this (that the Republicans are nothing but an obstacle course of howler monkeys is a given), you could do a lot worse than following Bob Cesca.

On a related note, let's at least give a couple of golf claps to Chris Matthews. He's got a long list of flaws, but he can get it right sometimes, too, particularly when he's dealing with Joe Scarborough.

"Shape of Earth: Views Differ" -- Now In An Even More Compact Form!

A comment I just posted over at Mr. Riley's house:

Given the state of our political discourse over the span of my conscious life, in particular, on topics such as the Vietnam War (winnability of), global warming (human contribution to), Ronald Reagan (saint or greatest saint ever?), creationism (Teach the Controversy!™), and the notion that Sarah Palin is qualified to hold national office, how is it possible that I have never before heard the word mumpsimus?

Thanks for that, and the other moments of pleasure obtained from this and the previous post.

Two links worth clicking, to put it mildly.

Oh, you want the definition, too?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Breaking: Erick Erickson Says Something True!

The word from RedFace:

The left is linking to this post to laugh at it.

The above is from an update to a post that really should be read in its original form first.

I was momentarily inclined to give him credit for not just silently deleting the post the way so many other wingnut bloggers do when their assertions get smacked by facts, but his excuse-mongering and sermonizing in the update made that thought go away fast. He is neck deep in a brand of sanctimony that would be better spread in his garden and his claim that he and his cohorts extend the same non-judgmental attitude toward Democrats is so divorced from reality that I can't even conceive of an appropriate metaphor.

Oh, I'm Sure It Was An "Innocent" "Mistake" By Fox "News"

Swiped from Media Matters, via Wonkette:

Thanks, but we don't want him, either

We've seen this behavior before, remember?


Don't see it? Look at the caption. (D). Not.

[Added] Wonkette commenter Speed Ball points to yet another example. And you know the journalist's rule: Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is a trend.

Thunderbird Update to Version

Mozilla has released a patch for its Thunderbird email program, bringing the latest version to The release notes say this update includes several security patches and a few other bug fixes.

If you don't have automatic updates or notification turned on, fire up Thunderbird and do Help → Check for Updates and you should be good to go. For me, download, installation, and program restart were all done within a minute.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All Right, Get All The Arm-Twisting Jokes Out Of Your System Now

Gonna be hard to beat SKS, though.

(pic. source)

And, since we're doing political clichés, we might as well have an example of …

Spending More Time With His Family!

(pic. source)

Ping for Part 3

If you've been following the St. Petersburg Times's series on Scientology described below, Part 3 is now available.

I have updated my original post, but I thought I'd ping your feed reader just in case.

[Added] There are several more sidebar-style articles now available, too. See the project page under the "Chapter 3" heading.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Give Him Some More Rope. Please.

If you've read the articles on Scientology and/or watched the interviews with the former members who came forward that I linked to in the last post and had any doubt about them, I'll tell you this: listen to the response from Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. There will be no more doubt.

Remember that Tom Cruise video that the Scientologists tried to suppress last year? This is way crazier than that. It's almost hard to believe it's real, it's so far over the top.

Scientology: Investigative Report

The St. Petersburg Times is running a three-part series on Scientology, written by Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, based largely on new interviews with former high-ranking members of the "church."

Part 1, "Scientology: The Truth Rundown," ran yesterday. It focuses on the current head of the organization, David Miscavige, pictured above. Miscavige began his association with Scientology at age sixteen, worked his way up, and seized control after the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, died in 1986. The details of his dealings with the IRS to get tax-exempt status as a church are remarkable, as are the endless stories of him physically abusing his employees.

Part 2, "Scientology: Death in slow motion" ran this morning. It concentrates on Lisa McPherson, a member of the cult, who died after being held for seventeen days in a Scientology-owned hotel, where she was ostensibly being "treated" for a mental breakdown.

Part 3, "Scientology: No Escape From Reality," is scheduled to run tonight. You'll be able to find a link to it (if I forget to update this post) by visiting the newspaper's project home page. You can find videos of the interviews, written responses from Miscavige and other Scientologists, and links to earlier reports on that same page.

Update: Part 3 is up. It's now called "Scientology: Ecclesiastical justice."

Hat tip to Tony Ortega, whose post on the Village Voice blog Runnin' Scared is a good place to start. As Tony notes, this isn't a hatchet job -- while it's got an unambiguous perspective, it is a scrupulously reported piece where Miscavige and other current members of the organization are given ample space to respond to the story the defectors tell. [Added: Miscavige's quotes come from earlier work, evidently -- he did not consent to an interview for this series before press time. Pretty funny email on that here.]

Pretty creepy stuff, even if you already have some sense of what Scientology is all about.

[Added] Here is one of the videos from the project home page, a seven-minute summary of the whole effort, it appears.

(alt. video link)

[Added] Follow-up post.

Conservative Talk Show Host Rips Republicans, and Other Laughs

A fun read: John Batchelor's "Attack of the Zombie Republicans." Among other things, he calls Limbaugh and his suck-ups "a cult that is daily fed the same gossip by the same handful of surprisingly Drudge-dependent sources, a cult that claims to be Republican but could just as easily be Wahhabist for all its make-believe masculine grievances …"

Hat tip to Paul Slansky and his News Index (via Ken Layne), where many other snickers are to be had, including this characterization of Sarah Palin's latest tone-deaf attempt to grab some spotlight: "a national punch line is complaining about a joke."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Get Your Geek On

"The Ultimate Top 25 Chuck Norris 'The Programmer' Jokes."

May also be funny to non-geeks by virtue of incomprehensibility, depending on one's taste for the surreal.

(h/t: Mike, during this week's PSFR live chat)

Would You Return a Serve From This Man?

(enlarge image)

Enlarge the image and look at that face, huh?

That's Rafael Nadal, from a slideshow available in the sidebar of Cynthia Gorney's fine NYT Magazine article about him. (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.)

I never played tennis seriously, but I'm reminded of the first time I stepped into the batter's box to face a pitcher who could throw faster than 90 mph.

(1-4, with a single to left field, if you're scoring at home.)

Bow Down To Sharp Eyes

That Juli Weiner is impressive. See if you can notice what she noticed about the image before reading the rest of the post or letting your mouse hover over the image.

(h/t: watertiger)


This, and the one-minute clip res ipsa loquitur posted over at Rising Hegemon, follows right along with my earlier post, don't you think?

Shorter Leigh Scott

On Big Ho:

The left is stupid for blogging about politics. I must blog about this.

(h/t: Righteous Bubba, who of course had his comment deleted)

Why We Use Air Quotes When We Say "TV News"

Robert Farley:

Why is Al Sharpton on my teevee talking to Geraldo Rivera about Iran?

Hands Up

Juxtaposition of pictures from two Sully posts.

(enlarge image)

How You Might Really Be Able To Help The Protesters In Iran

This suggestion from BoingBoing via DougJ/Balloon Juice actually sounds useful:

4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become 'Iranians' it becomes much harder to find them.

To do this, just log in to your Twitter account, click the "Settings" link at the top of the page, make the two changes, and click the "Save" button at the bottom.

As you might have guessed from the "4," there are other suggestions at the links. Some require tech savvy, others are just good common sense.



The hilarity produced by Pete Hoekstra's boneheaded tweet has not died down, but has instead gone to the next level. No longer are DFHs just @replying on Twitter, they are now making LOLcat-style pictures and getting them posted on the Web's hottest new website online, Pete Hoekstra Is A Meme! Quail before the power of the social mediums, Congressman!

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Here are a couple of performers from last night's Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner: John Hodgman (via Attaturk) and first, some dude doing a warm-up act (via Oliver Willis).

(alt. video link)

(alt. video link)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Roberts' Rules of Order

I was reminded by Scott Lemieux, writing about the recent denial by the Supreme Court of a prisoner's right to a DNA test, of this observation made by Jeffrey Toobin:

In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.

I believe I first came across this in something else I meant to pass along, TBogg's "The Conformist."

I thought I'd recommend all of the above, in anticipation of the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings. The Republican sneering about empathy and different life experiences offering different perspectives (you can almost see Gingrich or one of those other cretins making air quotes, can't you?) and other stupid talk about Judge Sotomayor has died down a little, but I'm sure it'll come roaring back as soon as Obama surrenders to Iran, on Twitter.


When I read xkcd yesterday, I loved it. (Of course, I was smug about getting it.) I also appreciated Randall Munroe's restraint in not over-explaining the joke. Even if you're proudly doing a comic strips for nerds, I can imagine there's always a worry about being too obscure.

Then I was reading Crooked Timber today and came across a link to this hilarious tweet in the Comments:

Paul Erdos #2 on google trends http://is.gd/16gjj I love when I have to research to get the joke on xkcd.com

Although I would like you to keep contributing to that trend (if you need to), here's a little help if you just don't feel like Googling at this moment.

The nerdly among you should definitely see the CT post and follow the links therein. Good times.

[Added] While I was doing this post, I Googled "xkcd author" to double-check the spelling of Randall’s first name, and I saw from the first hit that he recently did an @Google talk. It’s pretty funny, especially if you’re already a fan of the comic.

A Maze of Twisty Passages, All Different

Here is a pretty cool twelve-minute talk by Luis von Ahn. If you hate typing in those squiggly "words" you see all over the Internet, he may make you feel better about them -- you're contributing to a massive and worthwhile project. Pay attention near the end for the part about the NY Times archives. Staggering.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: opposable_crumbs | title: cf.)

[Added] Follow-up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm Sorry. Mr. Overton Won't Be Taking Your Call.

You know, it is often a worthwhile idea to voice an extreme position with the idea of broadening (or shifting) what are considered the boundaries of acceptable debate on a given issue. And then there is PETA.

I am sympathetic to, even moved by, many animal rights concerns. But stunts like this do little but predispose me to dismiss this organization the next ten times I hear them weighing in on more legitimate topics. One might even say I will be swatting them aside.

(h/t: LGM | title: cf.)

Thrown Under The Bush

The Soviet Republican effort to airbrush out of existence their former love for Dear Leader continues. This time, it's Man-Can-Tan Boehner.

(h/t: Charles Pierce)

Your Moment of Bachmannia

Michele Bachmann's latest fear? Filling out her census form next year. Because of ACORN!!!1!

Yeah, I don't quite get it either. But it must be true, because RNC Chairman Michael Steele is afraid, too! Obama himself will be asking you personal questions!

Seriously. See Balloon Juice (nice title, John) and Think Progress.

He Who Lives By The Twit ...

Funnies from the peanut gallery, in response to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-obvs.) and his ill-considered Twitter gripe, over on TPM.

(h/t: watertiger)

[Added] See also Jesse Taylor (via).

[Added2] More at the source. Some scrolling may be required, depending on when you see this. [Heh. Just checked, about 36 hours later. Still going strong. Excellent.]

[Added3] LOLmentum!

Magic Bullets

It just occurred to me while being too lazy to type out some full names that I'd like one of those signs that says …


… only instead of a picture of a revolver, I'd want a shot of the cover of The Elements of Style.

Yes, yes, I am aware that all the cool kids love to diss Strunk and White. Get off my lawn.

How Obama is Destroying Democracy. Again.

Kidding, of course. But in light of all the howling from the right about Obama as a failure for not immediately invading Iran (e.g., e.g., e.g.), it's well worth reading this short post of remarks made by Jack Duvall to Spencer Ackerman.

Ah, what the hell. I'll save you a click, if you like. Here's the gist.

Amazingly, someone who doesn’t think Obama’s statements about Iran have been detrimental to democratic impulses is Jack Duvall, the president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, a non-governmental organization which provides tools and training for political reformers and democracy activists around the world. Duvall told me that Obama’s statement yesterday about Iran was “extraordinary,” in a way that I hadn’t considered. “He shifted the frame,” Duvall noted, “from [the question of] ‘were the elections fradulent’ to ‘what’s the responsibility of the Iranian government for peaceful dissent?’ That lays down a marker going forward: this is how we’re assessing you. He doesn’t have to send that in a giant shell shot out of a Howitzer, but it’s a matter of record.” In fact, Duvall said, Obama’s statement was “the first time you’ve heard a president articulate” that “how governments respond to the clamor of their people to be heard should be a measure of how we assess their legitimacy.” While the Bush administration surely wouldn’t have disagreed, he continued, Obama sharpened the point by “focusing it and giving it such visibility” during the largest protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

This link courtesy of Reza Aslan, who mentioned it during his Bh.tv diavlog with Eli Lake. If you want some perspective on Iran that is both detailed and looks at the big pictures, you could do a lot worse than listening to this.

Lake, as you may or may not know, is a rare example of what I would call a reasonable neocon -- you can violently disagree with his take on matters, but he is a long time observer of the Middle East and well informed. He has over the past couple of years shown a lot more intellectual honesty, even as he still sees most events through his own highly colored lens. Aslan was born and raised in Iran, and is now a fairly liberal American. The diavlog between the two perspectives is instructive.

[Added] Here is a good post from Aslan [link fixed] on the election in Iran. It basically outlines the argument he presents in the diavlog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Angel on Demonization

Hilzoy reacts to the latest hysteria from the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the RedState Trike Force, Erick Erickson. I won't blockquote or try to paraphrase; the post deserves reading in full, and it's not that long.

(h/t: Twin, via email | x-posted, more or less)

Pencil of a Bluish Tint

There's a famous line by someone whose name I can't quite remember -- Dick Charles? -- that was a, no, THE bone of contention between my mother and me, ever since, once upon a time, she assigned me a serious book for summer reading.

I have forgotten exactly why. Some combination of reasoning and false(?) memory suggests she was long tired of seeing me re-reading Bruce Lee's biography, and at some moment when I was being an annoying child (picking on my sister?) and too much around the house and she could not believe school wasn't going to start for another six weeks, she snapped and handed me this book and told me to go read it.

Now, in addition to this being a famous line, it's also a famous opening line. Probably good reasons for that, but I used to wonder how much the positioning inflated the number of people who knew it. I suspected that not that many other people made it much further into the book before coming to the same conclusion I had.

(Come to that, few people when quoting this line ever make it anywhere near the end of the ACTUAL FIRST SENTENCE. But I digress.)

Well, the battle raged most of the rest of the summer -- I'd be sent to my room and told to read some number of pages, I'd go up, couldn't or wouldn't get through it, I'd be found lurking elsewhere -- Finished? Uh, yeah. -- she'd quiz me, I'd try to BS my way through, go to line 1, infinite loop.

I never did finish the book, but somehow, she did not ship me off to a foster home or have me guillotined. As part of her revenge, or to show by joking that she had gotten over it, or both, she spent the next couple of decades sending me newspaper and magazine clippings whenever she saw that line used. Other family members and friends of hers picked up on the habit. For a while there, I almost dreaded opening envelopes.

Anyway, all that came to mind when I was reading a fine post by Joe Posnanski (strike modifier as redundant), in which he was griping about being at a funeral where the pastor read some reworked version of the 23rd Psalm. As Joe says, there really is no improving Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death … I will fear no evil. At least in this language.

This led him into other memories of bad editing, whereupon I came across this:

I have worked with editors all of my professional life. Some have been brilliant. Some, maybe not. Editors have saved me on countless occasions and made my writing better, what, 97% of the time. This blog post, clearly, could use an editor. Of course, there are also many famous editing nightmares. I remember reading in Boys of Summer the famous story of Dave Anderson who, after the Dodgers made numerous errors in a game, led with the brilliant “They died with their boots,” which was changed by an editor to the suddenly incomprehensible “They died with their boots on.”

I have a friend who, writing about record-setting milk cow, led with the reasonably droll, “She’s supercow.” It was changed by an editor to the not so droll “She’s a super cow!” — a cringe-worthy change, but the reason is even worse. The editor changed it because … “supercow” did not come up on spellcheck. I have a couple of stories of my own, of course, but they’re boring*.

*I also remember Dan Jenkins’ brilliant bit in “Ya Gotta Play Hurt,” where he imagined famous leads of history as rewritten by the desk. The most hilarious and likely of those:

“It was the best of times and, ironically, the worst of times.”

Yeah, I really know the author's name. Just being an annoying child. And many years later, I was assigned Hard Times in a British History class and loved it. So, I may get to An Endless Disquisition on London and Paris one of these years. Or whatever the title is.

Meantime, see Joe.


[Update 2010-09-25 Old link changed to point to his new home at Sports Illustrated.]

Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From ...

... well, how many more people do you need to hear it from, really? But here is something that I posted over in the Bloggingheads.tv forums, in response to a thread-opening question.

Re: What will happen if we do nothing about global warming[?]

As it happens, the government just released a report that addresses this question. A link to the full report is available here. Report home page here. Overall site home page here. An absolute ton of information, most of which I haven't looked at yet.

For a start, here are the the report's "Key findings:"

1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.

Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. (p. 13)

2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.

Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow. (p. 27)

3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.

Climate changes are already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health. These impacts are different from region to region and will grow under projected climate change. (p. 41-106, 107-152)

4. Climate change will stress water resources.

Water is an issue in every region, but the nature of the potential impacts varies. Drought, related to reduced precipitation, increased evaporation, and increased water loss from plants, is an important issue in many regions, especially in the West. Floods and water quality problems are likely to be amplified by climate change in most regions. Declines in mountain snowpack are important in the West and Alaska where snowpack provides vital natural water storage. (p. 41, 129, 135, 139)

5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.

Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most adaptable to changes in climate. However, increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production. (p. 71)

6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.

Sea-level rise and storm surge place many U.S. coastal areas at increasing risk of erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Pacific Islands, and parts of Alaska. Energy and transportation infrastructure and other property in coastal areas are very likely to be adversely affected. (p. 111, 139, 145, 149)

7. Threats to human health will increase.

Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts. (p. 89)

8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.

Climate change will combine with pollution, population growth, overuse of resources, urbanization, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses to create larger impacts than from any of these factors alone. (p. 99)

9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.

There are a variety of thresholds in the climate system and ecosystems. These thresholds determine, for example, the presence of sea ice and permafrost, and the survival of species, from fish to insect pests, with implications for society. With further climate change, the crossing of additional thresholds is expected. (p. 76, 82, 115, 137, 142)

10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.

The amount and rate of future climate change depend primarily on current and future human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases and airborne particles. Responses involve reducing emissions to limit future warming, and adapting to the changes that are unavoidable. (p. 25, 29)

Hat tip, and a good place to start: Occasional B'head Joel Achenbach. His post begins:

U.S. Climate Change Report: 11 Degrees Hotter?

The Obama Administration has put out a big climate change report, and the gist of it is that we need to do something or face a drastically hotter planet -- like maybe as much as 11 degrees hotter by the end of the century. One graph shows that only one ski resort in the East would still be in operation -- way up in Maine. (And you thought Eastern skiing was pathetic as it is!)

I noted the page on Florida's temperatures: Under the worst-case scenario, a huge chunk of the state will have high temperatures of 90 degrees or hotter for at least 180 days of the year.

On the one hand, yeah: "worst case scenarios." On the other hand, the "most probable" scenarios released by the IPCC a few years ago, IIRC, were significantly revised upward in their later reports.

So, I don't think doing nothing is an option.

(Title: cf.) ← Attn: KK, especially. I know you know where it comes from, but this is a link worth following.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More McCainiac

Following up on the earlier phew! theme, it's worth taking a look at Joe Klein and Matt Yglesias.

Both via John Cole, who's got some additional thoughts. We dodged a bullet, all right.

It's About Time ...

... that someone in the MSM told it like it is about Newt Gingrich.

Now, if we could only get teevee "news" booking people to read newspapers.

(h/t: Arielle Fleisher/Wonkette) ← gotta be a pen name, right?

Happy 25th Birthday!

Can you guess who -- or what -- I'm saying that to?

Audio answer below, after the usual 30-second NPR promo.

(alt. audio link)

The above from this past weekend's On The Media. Other stories of interest: spying intelligence gathering on North Korea using Google Earth and an interesting interview with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, examining the responsibilities of rumor-blogging. Download or stream, or read transcripts, at the links.

More on the North Korea project at North Korea Uncovered.

P.S. Two things: I never was an addict, in this case; and I have to say that Arrington changed my mind, somewhat.