Monday, August 31, 2009

"... now you know why it pays to study history."

Post title is a phrase from an article blurbed by Mori Dinauer thus:

Michael Hiltzik writes in The Los Angeles Times about William Wirt, who had 15 minutes of fame back in 1934 charging the Roosevelt administration with being agents of a Bolshevik takeover of the United States. Of course, these same accusations are being made today about Barack Obama, but notice what's changed in 75 years. In the 30s, there actually was a Bolshevik regime in existence; today, there is not. Once Wirt's conspiracy theories were proven to be false, he lost support of Republicans who thought this was their ticket to destroying the New Deal. Today, top Republicans regularly refer to Obama's socialism. Lesson: the right wing hasn't changed tactics, but they are incredibly more tolerant of their cranks, and even give them television shows!

It amused me because in this (out of) context, it's both so right and so wrong. (It's spot-on in the original.)

"The Word of Christ"

Click it to read the fine print:

(pic. source | who is that woman? | h/t: Twin, via PM)

Line of the Day: 2009-08-31

When future historians ask how the United States came not only to practice torture but to celebrate it and treat torturers as heroes, a special place in hell among the journalists who embraced and justified it should be reserved for Chris Wallace.
      --Andrew Sullivan

I was led to this post -- a description of Wallace on his knees before Dick Cheney, or as Sully put it, "A Teenage Girl Interviewing The Jonas Brothers" -- by Glenn Greenwald's fine post on nepotism among the Villager media, to which I was directed by Jim Newell's take on Jenna Bush's new "job." I salute them both for being able to bring some humor to this sad state of affairs. Read 'em and weep.

Also, more from Sully on the Wallace "interview" here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Share the Irritation

res ipsa loquitur has updated her list of words to be banned for 2010. I don't hate all thirty, but I do hate some of them with a fury.

SCLM Watch

Benen, via Boehlert, via DougJ:

Just once, I'd love to hear producers/hosts explain why McCain has to be on one at least one of the Sunday shows 11 times in eight months. Refresh my memory: was there this much interest in John Kerry's take on current events in 2005?

B-b-b-but the WaPo's big time political guy Chris Cillizza says it's Must Watch TV. Yeah, just like that, in boldface.

Also, DougJ updates to say that Jenna Bush has been hired by ABC.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking paint thinner.

[Added] It gets (got) worse. Where's that jug?

[Added2] Re: Jenna: Attaturk FTW:

What is she going to be, the "Vodka Critic"?

Firefox Tip: Prevent Ctrl-w From Closing The Browser

If you like using tabs when running Firefox, and you like using keyboard shortcuts, then you probably know that Ctrl-w closes the current tab. You probably have also have had the annoying experience of hitting Ctrl-w several times to close a sequence of tabs, and then pressed it one time too many, and closed Firefox itself.

It turns out you can prevent that from happening. Visit about:config, enter browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab into the Filter: box, and when that setting appears in the main window, right-click it and choose Toggle, to set it to False. From then on, hitting Ctrl-W will close tabs in the familiar way, until you press it with only one tab open. In that case, you'll just get a blank tab, no matter how many times you press it.

One tiny annoyance: If you're like me and you don't like to have the tab bar visible when you've only got one tab open, you're out of luck once you've taken advantage of this feature. Still, this waaaay better than inadvertently closing the browser, and the good news is, next time you start Firefox, there won't be a tab bar when you only have one tab open -- this option doesn't get changed.

Thanks to Brad Linder for passing along this handy tip.

[Added] The real beauty of this, just in case you didn't already know, is that Ctrl-T (i.e., Ctrl-Shift-t) -- the keyboard shortcut for "undo close tab" -- can then be used to restore the tab you didn't mean to delete. Or, right-click on the tab bar, and choose that from the pop-up menu. And, as always, you can do this multiple times, to restore the 2nd, 3rd, ... most recently closed tabs.

Slowly, painfully, we're getting computers to do what we meant them to do, not what we told them to do!


Here are pictures of your 2008 Republican candidates for Vice President and President, to creep you out, with. Click 'em to big 'em.

Sarah Palin

John McCain

Bonus: here is one of the Web's most annoying people, Ann Althouse:

Ann Althouse

(pix via Make A Celebrity Odd, h/t Jason Clarke)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Caption of the Day

Winner: Some Came Running.

(h/t: James Wolcott)

A note to Mac users

Gina Trapani, formerly of Lifehacker and now blogging at Smarterware, says:

Even though Apple suggests Mac users without Leopard buy the $169 Mac box set to get Snow Leopard, anyone can purchase the $29 Snow Leopard disc and install it. This means the Snow Leopard DVD isn’t an “upgrade” at all, it’s the full-on Mac OS X operating system for 30 bucks, $100 cheaper than Leopard was. [...]

So if you’re jumping from Tiger to Snow Leopard, you saved $129 bucks never purchasing Leopard and you can save $140 skipping the box set. Guess being a late adopter does pay off.

I don't care what you call me, I want one!

I'm almost a zealot about preferring T-shirts with nothing on them, but oh, please, oh, please, oh, please …

(Be sure to let the page load completely and stare at the picture for a few seconds.)

(previously, previously)

All right, only 2,576,980,369,987 digits more to memorize ...

I have been able to rattle off "3.141592653589" for decades now. I see that's become even less impressive, proportionally, thanks to Don McArthur.

Even more impressive than 2.5 trillion digits is that it only took about three days to calculate them, including a check.

Random semi-related coolness: the digits past the decimal point that I have memorized form a prime number!

Unbearably OCD disclaimer: I am aware that what I have memorized represents a truncated version of pi, not a properly rounded one. Just to save you from typing out that chastisement.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Move over, "Keep the government out of my Medicare" ...

... the new Republican rallying cry is as follows:

“I’ll be danged if I am going to give up my Social Security because of socialism.”

True story.

Said at a Michele Bachmann rally, unsurprisingly.

Another Casualty of the PJM Implosion

See what happens when the wingnut welfare gravy train grinds to a halt?

Oh, Balloon Juice, say it ain't so …

And yes, with the cat pics, dog pics, baby pics, and recipes, this place is turning into Cute Overload with a potty mouth.

Next thing you know, they'll be blogging about standing in line to buy the new iPhone.


Birth Announcement of the Day

We will miss our Wonkette, Sara K. Smith. Best wishes to her and the newest libtard on the planet.

[Added] New developments.

For at least the next three months, I expect to laugh every time someone says "paperclips."

The upside to certain of the media being so bad is that it makes Doghouse Riley so good.

P.S. Thanks also to Mr. Riley for pointing to the Gene Lyons piece in Salon. I second the recommendation.

"The Secret Government"

Matthew Yglesias says you should read the new piece by Chris Hayes.

I agree, especially if you're unfamiliar with the Church Committee and Operation Chaos.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just In Case ...

... there's any sane person left on the planet who doesn't already know that every time Michael Steele opens his mouth, a bunch of lies spew forth, Tourette's-like, there's a really good piece by Steve Pearlstein (in the WaPo!) responding to the latest op-ed nonsense that Fred Hiatt was happy to publish for the RNC.

Hat tip to DougJ, who is endearing when he knows he's being naive. You'd think a guy whose co-blogger is still trying to live down "Peak Wingnut"  …

Caption of the Day

The award goes, once again, to TBogg:

Can You Guess The Author?

Imagine that you are a teacher of Roman history and the Latin language, anxious to impart your enthusiasm for the ancient world — for the elegiacs of Ovid and the odes of Horace, the sinewy economy of Latin grammar as exhibited in the oratory of Cicero, the strategic niceties of the Punic Wars, the generalship of Julius Caesar and the voluptuous excesses of the later emperors. That’s a big undertaking and it takes time, concentration, dedication. Yet you find your precious time continually preyed upon, and your class’s attention distracted, by a baying pack of ignoramuses (as a Latin scholar you would know better than to say ignorami) who, with strong political and especially financial support, scurry about tirelessly attempting to persuade your unfortunate pupils that the Romans never existed. There never was a Roman Empire. The entire world came into existence only just beyond living memory. Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, Romansh: all these languages and their constituent dialects sprang spontaneously and separately into being, and owe nothing to any predecessor such as Latin.

Instead of devoting your full attention to the noble vocation of classical scholar and teacher, you are forced to divert your time and energy to a rearguard defence of the proposition that the Romans existed at all: a defence against an exhibition of ignorant prejudice that would make you weep if you weren’t too busy fighting it.

If my fantasy of the Latin teacher seems too wayward, here’s a more realistic example. Imagine you are a teacher of more recent history, and your lessons on 20th-century Europe are boycotted, heckled or otherwise disrupted by well-organised, well-financed and politically muscular groups of Holocaust-deniers. Unlike my hypothetical Rome-deniers, Holocaustdeniers really exist. They are vocal, superficially plausible and adept at seeming learned. They are supported by the president of at least one currently powerful state, and they include at least one bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Imagine that, as a teacher of European history, you are continually faced with belligerent demands to “teach the controversy”, and to give “equal time” to the “alternative theory” that the Holocaust never happened but was invented by a bunch of Zionist fabricators.

Fashionably relativist intellectuals chime in to insist that there is no absolute truth: whether the Holocaust happened is a matter of personal belief; all points of view are equally valid and should be equally “respected”.

The above is part of an excerpt from Chapter 1. You can also read an excerpt from Chapter 2. These chapters will be found in a new book coming out, on 22 September in the US, and on 10 September in the UK.

Thanks for the heads-up, PZ!

What? You didn't click any of those links, after I slaved over a hot keyboard to put them up for you, and now you expect to find the answer down here?

Oh, all right.

Richard Dawkins.

Now go read. You'll be glad you did.

Oh, and in case you don't see the link in the sidebars, there's a new interview of Dawkins, also in the Times.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Your SCLM Moment of the Day

Excellent critique by John Cole of a bad piece of journalism in the NY Times.

[Added] JC adds an update, pointing to another fine piece of criticism, from James Fallows, about another story in the NYT.

[Added2] More from Bob Cesca and Zachary Roth/TPM, this time with more on the Cheney story (see "previously").

I swear, the MSM's mindless pursuit of "the middle" when one side of every story is either near the vanishing point of crazy or an outright lie will be the death of us all.

(previously, previously)

Seriously, Can The MSM Ever Get Anything Right?

Or is it that they're all still terrified of Dick Cheney?

Trivia Answer

They all are or were Kentucky Colonels.

(In re | h/t: Robert Farley)

Trivia Question of the Day

What do PZ Myers, Tiger Woods, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Schwarzkopf, Whoopi Goldberg, Pope John Paul II, Johnny Depp, Winston Churchill, and Muhammad Ali all have in common?

Cat and Baby Picture of the Day

See Dave Noon. And don't miss the caption.

See, This is Why I Really Don't Like John McCain

Sam Stein reports that Still The Maverick™ was serving up his usual steaming piles on one of the Sunday yakfests this past weekend:

Health care legislation would be in a "very different place today," if Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass) were healthy enough to participate in negotiations, Kennedy's longtime colleague and occasional foe, Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), said on Sunday.

In an appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," McCain said that the Massachusetts Democrat, stricken by brain cancer, was "as close to being indispensable as any individual I've ever known in the Senate." Without him, McCain added, the health care debate had stagnated far more than had he been in the chamber.

"He had a unique way of sitting down with the parties at a table and making the right concessions, which really are the essence of successful negotiations," McCain said. "So it's huge that he's absent, not only because of my personal affection for him, but because I think the health care reform might be in a very different place today."

The MSM still eats this stuff up, which by itself is a big part of the problem, but it strikes me as thoroughly dishonest -- what's the point of saying "If only Ted was around" when there's no chance that can happen? It's a throwaway line that lets McCain look like he's "reaching out" (Look! Bipartisanship! Shiny!) when there's no chance he'd ever have to back up his words with action.

And worse, he likes Ted because Ted knew how to make concessions? Can I get a big ol' WTF?

Remember, Angry Johnny, your side lost the last two elections, and if you all have made a single concession of worth, I have yet to hear about it. Just because the Democrats are some combination of too disorganized, too self-centered, and too spineless to exercise the majority they have doesn't give you any right to be demanding concessions.

Why do you trick me into reading this stuff, watertiger? I was already mad enough from reading about the even more two-faced, Holy Joe Lieberman.


John Ziegler fired from his talk radio job. (Who? Oh, that guy.)

I wonder if he'll get a pity party call from Matthew Continetti.

[Added] On a related note, it now appears the same percentage of people who still have a favorable view of Sarah Palin now matches the percent who believe Obama was not born in America, and the percent who think the government should "stay out of Medicare." True story (via).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Craziest Creationist Chart I've Seen In A While

Here is how you explain variance in human physical appearance, and all those bothersome fossils, AND still get to keep your literal interpretation of your Bible and your corresponding 6000-year-old Earth, all in one handy chart!

"Science," according to wingnuts

Swiped from PZ Myers, via Rebecca Watson, via Phil Plait. Rebecca's post is a good place to start if you'd like to read an account of a creationist giving a lecture about where everything came from, to a skeptical audience.

Wheels of Justice ... How Do They Grind Again?

I confess that my first reaction to the news about Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that he had appointed "a prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA interrogation abuses, including episodes that resulted in prisoner deaths" was about the same as Jim Newell's headline on Wonkette:


I expect to see ten Fox News stories over the next couple of days howling that this is an attempt by Obama to "distract." And I expect a dozen gross of stories from the so-called liberal media JUST ASKING "is it fair to ask whether this an attempt by Obama to distract?"

However, I just ran across a somewhat encouraging post by Zachary Roth of TPM that has official statements from several prominent Congressional Democrats (Feingold and Leahy from the Senate and Conyers and Nadler from the House) that express hopes that the investigation will not be as limited as Holder's initial statement indicates.

So, not holding my breath quite yet, but maybe, just maybe …

The Enablers

Michael Bérubé interviews "the whole entire American mass media!"

Huckabee Goes Full Metal Wingnut

Remember an earlier post about the beyond-wingnuttery wingnuts who fret about the looming danger of E.M.P.?

Looks like Mike Huckabee has joined that crowd.

(h/t: Jim Newell/Wonkette)

[Added] Funny take from watertiger, especially the closing line.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Texas Edumacation Watch

Hat tip to Shorts and Pants for staying on top of the wingnuts. They're trying to rewrite the history books again.


Frank Follow-Up

Here's an interesting follow-up on how that Barney Frank clip that I and everyone else posted earlier this week went viral.

(h/t: Nieman Journalism Lab) ← definitely check this for some other interesting links

Word Nerd Alert

If you'd like to hear about the study of how new words come into common usage, check out the diavlog between Carl Zimmer and his brother Ben. (Video available for stream; audio and video files available for download.) Hear all about snowclones, debunking myths about Walter Cronkite, the promotion of FAIL to interjection status, and much more.

If the name Ben Zimmer sounds familiar, yes: I have mentioned him once before. He tells some of this origin-of-Ms. story during the diavlog.

Jon Voight, Now Even More of a Wingnut

We've mentioned Jon Voight (the man Angelina Jolie couldn't bear to have as a father) and his descent into Full Metal Wingnuttery twice before. First, it was "Obama sowing socialist seeds in young people." Next, it was "Obama really thinks he is a soft-spoken Julius Caesar. He thinks he's going to conquer the world with his soft-spoken sweet talk."

Looks like the slide continues. Now he's asking, "Is Obama creating a civil war in America?"

This and other pronouncements delivered (oh yeah, socialism gets mentioned, as does Alinsky, as does ACORN!!!1!) while Voight was on his way to do a couple of wrap-ourselves-in-The-Troops™ shindigs.

With Sean Hannity.

(h/t: TBogg)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Unsurprising Headline of the Day

From Think Progress via DougJ:

Ridge admits Bush administration pushed to raise security alert for political reasons on eve of re-election.

Worth reading the post just to marvel at Tom Ridge's "courage:" he (now) says he considered resigning because of this.

[Added] See also.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frank Talk!

Just in case you've been nowhere on the Internet for the past couple of days, here are 77 seconds of the great man from Massachusetts:

(alt. video link)

I'm sure Malkin and the rest of the perpetually outraged are howling about Frank's "arrogance" or whatever, but three cheers for Barney, I say. There comes a point where you stop wasting time politely engaging wingnuts like this woman, and you just treat them with all the respect they deserve (none).

(h/t: every libtard on the planet)

"The Republican Party Is Turning Into A Cult"

Here is a great column from Johann Hari, which begins as follows:

Something strange has happened in America in the nine months since Barack Obama was elected. It has best been summarized by the comedian Bill Maher: "The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to a mental hospital."

The election of Obama -- a center-left black man -- as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right's view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin. When this image was repudiated by a majority of Americans in a massive landslide, it simply didn't compute. How could this have happened? How could the cry of "Drill, baby, drill" have been beaten by a supposedly big government black guy? So a streak that has always been there in the American right's world-view -- to deny reality, and argue against a demonic phantasm of their own creation -- has swollen. Now it is all they can see.

He reviews Republican craziness as it manifested in the Seekrit Muslin hysteria and the Birther nonsense, and then addresses the current health care reform "debate:"

This trend has reached its apotheosis this summer with the Republican Party claiming en masse that Obama wants to set up "death panels" to euthanize the old and disabled. Yes: Sarah Palin really has claimed -- with a straight face -- that Barack Obama wants to kill her baby.

You have to admire the audacity of the right. Here's what's actually happening. The US is the only major industrialized country that does not provide regular healthcare to all its citizens. Instead, they are required to provide for themselves -- and just under 50 million people can't afford the insurance. As a result, 18,000 US citizens die every year needlessly, because they can't access the care they require. That's equivalent to six 9/11s, every year, year on year. Yet the Republicans have accused the Democrats who are trying to stop all this death by extending healthcare of being "killers" -- and they have successfully managed to put them on the defensive.

The Republicans want to defend the existing system, not least because they are given massive sums of money by the private medical firms who benefit from the deadly status quo. But they can't do so honestly: some 70 percent of Americans say it is "immoral" to retain a medical system that doesn't cover all citizens. So they have to invent lies to make any life-saving extension of healthcare sound depraved.

A few months ago, a recent board member for several private health corporations called Betsy McCaughey noticed a clause in the proposed healthcare legislation that would pay for old people to see a doctor and write a living will. They could stipulate when (if at all) they would like to be withdrawn. It's totally voluntary. Many people want it: I know I wouldn't want to be kept alive for a few extra months if I was only going to be in agony and unable to speak. But McCaughey started the rumor that this was a form of euthanasia, where old people would be forced to agree to death. This was then stretched somehow to include the disabled. It was flatly untrue -- but the right had their talking point, Palin declared the system "downright evil", and they were off.

It's been amazingly successful. Now, every conversation about healthcare has to begin with a Democrat explaining at great length that, no, they are not in favor of killing the elderly -- while Republicans get away with defending a status quo that kills 18,000 people a year. The hypocrisy was startling: when Sarah Palin was Governor of Alaska, she encouraged citizens there to take out living wills. Almost all the Republicans leading the charge against "death panels" have voted for living wills in the past. But the lie has done its work: a confetti of distractions has been thrown up, and support is leaking away from the plan that would save lives.

Read the whole thing.

(h/t: KK, via email)

More posts on Johann Hari here and here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The New Leader of the Republican Party

How do you NOT continue reading an article that begins:

I'm on Skype with Orly Taitz, and from Israel the queen bee of the Birthers is telling me that Barack Obama had all his gay lovers rubbed out, Chicago-style.

Taitz/Palin 2012!

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)

[Added] Just in case you're the last person left in American not already thoroughly sick of wingnuts, there is a link at the article page to download an MP3 file containing an HOUR-long interview with Taitz. I haven't dared.

Sadly, the following headline is not from The Onion

Which is pretty much reason to start drinking paint thinner:

Tom DeLay joins ‘Dancing with the Stars.’

And anyway, shouldn't he be in jail by now?

Firefox Forgetting Your Logins and History?

Ever had this happen? You log in to some site on the Web, you check the box that says "Remember me" or "Keep me signed in," you come back to that site at some later time (after having restarted Firefox), but you aren't logged in. Annoying, isn't it?

Here are four things to check. The instructions are specific to Firefox 3.5.x, but the same logic applies -- and you should be able to figure things out from here -- if for some reason you're still using an earlier version.

  1. Make sure you're allowing cookies to be set

  2. Make sure you haven't set Firefox to clear your history when you close your browser

  3. Make sure you didn't visit the site you want to remember you in Private Browsing Mode

  4. If the above all seem to be in order, then it's possible your cookies database file got corrupted. In this case, you should close Firefox, find the file named cookies.sqlite and delete it. Then restart Firefox. You'll have to re-login one more time, but from then on, you should be remembered.

Some details:

To verify that you're allowing cookies to be set, that you're not clearing your history at the end of the session, and that you're not starting in Private Browsing Mode, do Tools → Options and click the Privacy icon in the toolbar at the top of the pop-up window. If you see "Firefox will: Remember history," you're probably good. If it's set to "Never remember history," change it, and click "OK."

You can confirm other settings by changing the above setting to "Custom," which will cause more options to appear. Confirm that the boxes "Accept cookies from sites" and "Accept third party cookies" are checked, and the "Keep until:" drop-down box is set to "they expire." Also, make sure the box labeled "Clear history when Firefox closes" is unchecked. Finally, make sure the box labeled "Automatically start Firefox in a private browsing session" is unchecked. If everything is fine, click "Cancel;" if you had to make changes, click "OK."

The location of your cookies.sqlite file depends on what system you're using. On Windows, it'll be buried deep within the bowels of your Documents and Settings folder. The path to mine is as follows:

C:\Documents and Settings\brendan\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\d54ndgnk.default

The "brendan" and "d54ndgnk" part will probably be different for you.

Anyway, get yourself to that folder, delete cookies.sqlite (and oh, what the hell, cookies.sqlite-journal while you're there), and Firefox should start remembering things again. If Windows won't allow you to delete these files, then you forgot to close Firefox. Close it, wait a few seconds, and try again.

Lemme know if you've got any questions or additional tips, please.

Line of the Day: 2009-08-18

Do you know Mickey like we know Mickey?

It was a typically Kausian post, not only for its strained contrarianism but more for its complete failure of predictive value.
     -- Josh Marshall

Pithiness of the above aside, the whole post is worth reading. It's a short commentary on the apparent growth in the threat of right-wing violence, and it's a good one, both in the view it defends and in its delivery -- I could just as easily have taken a couple of other snippets for the LotD.

(h/t: Twin, via PM)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh, Snap

Blog post title of the month, at least:

The Founders did not want Katy Abrams to be able to vote either. For good reason it would seem.

TBogg, of course.

If you're unaware who Joe the Plumber Katy the Dumber is, see here and, less intentionally comedically, here.

Information You May Not Want

Apparently, Sarah Palin's new Twitter address is @SarahPalinUSA. (I think we should pronounce it "Sarah Palin, yoozuh," because the most polite explanation for most of her behavior since she came into the national spotlight is that she can't stop hitting the pipe.)

Anyway, as of this moment, 3510 followers, 0 tweets. Could be an imposter, I suppose, but TPM reports it as a known known, as does CNN.

(h/t: watertiger)

The Best Part About Cheney Writing A Book ...

... is that Doghouse Riley will be tracking its progress.

[Added] Oh, and TBogg will, too.

Your Moment of Schadenfreude

Or, more precisely, Bachmann-freude! Looks like her son is headed for one of Obama's FEMACORN REEDUCATION CAMPS!!!1!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


An excellent piece by Rick Perlstein: "In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition: Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage."

If you thought what you've been seeing from the wingnuts lately was something new, or possibly, only goes back as far as the days of the Clinton Administration, this article is especially worth your time.

(h/t: claymisher)

[Added] Good follow-up post from DougJ on one aspect of the problem: the media complicity.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Behold the Power of Me, On Twitter!

So, I twatted this a couple of hours ago, and now the #welovetheNHS hashtag is number 2 on Twitter's list of "trending topics!"

Patch Tuesday Was Yesterday

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

This was another big month for updates, including, as Brian Krebs reports, fixes for as many as 19 security flaws, 15 of them rated critical. Krebs says that Microsoft says at least one of the flaws is already being exploited online.

So, don't delay (any more than I already have by telling you half a day late, I mean).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Random Factoid

Did you know Robert Cray was one of the original Knights? As in Otis Day and the Knights, that band in Animal House?

My New Favorite Whine

Click it to big it:

Red Red Wingnut Whine

We ain't drunk it yet. Please remind me if you would like a full report. I expect something like: "Smooth going down on first sip, but eventually, causing a sensation of thinness and lack of substance, and ultimately, producing an increasing feeling of nausea."

But hey, red zin? Gimme some pasta and it's all (mostly) good.

(h/t: photog and sommelier kk)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Movie Trivia

Did you know this? I did not, until stumbling across it last night.

The actress who played Vasquez in Aliens …

… is the same woman who played John Connor's foster mother, Janelle, in Terminator 2.

Might be easier to see that here:


BTW, Jenette Goldstein also played an Irish immigrant in Titanic and Megan Shapiro in Lethal Weapon 2, among other roles, and further, started, owns, and runs a store whose slogan is, "The alphabet begins with 'D'."

Thanks, Wikipedia!

(pic. sources: 1 | 2 | 3)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

An Introduction to Republican Astroturfers

Here's an excellent ten-minute report from Rachel Maddow on the corporate management and direction of the ostensible "grass roots" actions that have been attempting to defeat health care reform efforts, especially by disrupting the town hall meetings that members of Congress have been trying to conduct.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: C.O.T.O.)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hmmm ...

Via Jim Newell of Wonkette, I see there's a story published by James A. Haught, in Free inquiry and the Charleson Gazette, that's getting a little bit of Web attention. According to Haught, former French president Jacques Chirac has said repeatedly that George W. Bush told him "in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse." Chirac is reported to have said this in at least two separate interviews.

More from Haught:

The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

Will this be looked into at all by the MSM? Doesn't look like it, as of this moment. (In fairness, Kevin Drum does note that the Toronto Star mentioned this a few months ago.)

I'm afraid I share the cynical outlook of OccamsRazor from The Young Turks …

One last interesting point to consider. Unless you lived in Europe, Canada or subscribed to the Charleston Gazette you probably never read about Chirac's account or heard it on any news broadcast. The story in the US has been largely an Internet item, not reported on any sites operated by the MSM. Based on Bush's well known evangelical zeal, that is surprising.

Yet the repeatedly debunked Obama "birther" story persists on Fox, and other supposedly legitimate news sources.

True, not true or somewhere in between, one would think that a liberal news media would be beside itself to publish what would be a highly embarrassing expose that would finally explain why Bush invaded Iraq: God told him to do it.

… and Andrew Sullivan:

If you think the networks or MSM will ask Bush or Cheney this question and ask them if Chirac made this up, you need to move to a country where mainstream journalists are unafraid of those in power and less eager to book them on their Sunday shows than ask them real questions that would tick them off. The Sunday shows are platforms for the power elites to convey their propaganda through vessels like Stephanopoulos or Gregory. They are not intended to grill or expose the lies of politicians. And God knows, David Gregory must never, ever take a position.

Remember the slide shows Rumsfeld put together for Bush? Oh, there's probably no connection. Now, about Obama's choice of beer …

(NB: Minor typos fixed in latter two blockquotes.)

A Rolling Stone Crushes Some Ross

Doghouse Riley remains made of sterner stuff than I -- he not only read the latest column, but even the "chat" where Ross filled in for David Brooks:

We are driven to ask, again, whether the Times hired Douthat because they thought everyone else was Even Worse?

It's almost cheating to read the takedown without suffering through the provocation first, but you know you want to.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Nice Touch

I can't help but snicker that Al Franken was the Senator chosen to preside over the vote and report the official tally. Video here.


So-So is Go!

Congratulations, Judge Justice Sotomayor!

The NYT (Reuters, actually) reports Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the full Senate with a vote of 68-31. The NYT's Caucus blog has more.

The NYT notes that Sotomayor is the third woman ever to be elevated to the US Supreme Court, the first "Hispanic" (guess they didn't want to make the Latino/Latiina call), and the first wise person in at least a decade. Okay, well, two out of three of those, at least.

No Democrats voted against her and nine dead men walking Republicans voted for her. Via TPM, here's the list:

Lamar Alexander (TN), Kit Bond (MO), Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Judd Gregg (NH), Richard Lugar (IN), Mel Martinez (FL), Olympia Snowe (ME) and George Voinovich (OH).

At least some of these nine are already known to be retiring, so we'll salute their parting gestures rather than their courage.

But anyway ...

¡Si, se puede!

[Added] More.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

There's Never Just One Cockroach

It's not just Bolton, apparently. Roy Edroso finds a bunch of other wingnuts for whom the release of two journalists from North Korean captivity, thanks to the efforts of Bill Clinton, is the WORST THING EVAR.

Until the next time any Democrat does anything else, of course.

Of particular note is Wizbangblog. Following one of Roy's links, we see from an update that it appears as though Kim Jong Il is conspiring with Obama to get all Americans health care. And you know how terrible that would be.

Can We Get a Petition Going?

TBogg says (to North Korea), "Take John Bolton. Please."

Hard not to agree just on general principles, but was there anything specific?

Sadly, yes. Just two posts ago, we were cheering Bill Clinton's smooth moves in getting those two journalists released from a sentence of twelve years at hard labor, and here's what Mr. Milk Mustache has already had to say:

Even After North Korea Frees American Journalists, Bolton Insists Clinton Trip Was A Mistake

[Added] See also Brad's earlier report.

Java Update 15

The latest version is called Java 6 Update 15. It includes patches for "one or more security vulnerabilities," according to the nearly-incomprehensible-to-mere-mortals release notes.

You can see which version of Java you have installed by visiting this page. The test may takes a little time to run, and it may look like nothing is happening for a bit. Just be patient.

Chances are, once you visit that page, you'll be notified that an update is available and you'll be walked through the process. If not, and you don't have the latest version, you can click the download link at the top of that same page. Or, visit this page to download the new version directly and look for "Java SE Runtime Environment (JRE) JRE 6 Update 15."

In either case, once you get to the actual installation process, be aware that Java would also like to install a trial version of Carbonite, an online backup utility. Uncheck that box before clicking "Next" if you don't want this installed. I believe it's the second screen of the installation process.

If you use Firefox, you'll probably see a message the next time you start Firefox, telling you that a new version of an add-on has been installed. This is the Java Quick Launch add-on, which is supposed to make Java itself launch faster when you visit a page that requires Java.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hurrah for Bill Clinton

From CNN, via Wonkette:

North Korean President Kim Jong Il has pardoned and ordered the release of two U.S. journalists, state-run news agency KCNA said Wednesday.

The announcement came after former U.S. President Bill Clinton met with top North Korean officials in Pyongyang to appeal for the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had been arrested while reporting from the border between North Korea and China.

This is excellent news for John McCain!

Okay, old joke.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Firefox Security Update: Latest Version Now 3.5.2

Mozilla has released a patch that closes several security holes rated "critical." This brings the latest version number to 3.5.2. Details, if you want them, are in the release notes.

If you don't have automatic updates or notifications enabled, do Help → Check for Updates. The whole process went off without a hitch for me, and took less than a minute.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Line of the Day: 2009-08-02

I’m not trying to kick a man when he’s down and soon to be out; my intent here is not to personally indict Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame pitcher and retiring Republican senator from Kentucky. What I am saying is that in so many ways, Bunning’s political career and pending retirement is symptomatic of the larger problems presently facing conservatism and the Republican Party nationally: a grumpy, searching, direction-less, leadership-deficient, infighting band of naysayers offering few new ideas, too much feigned outrage, and opposition largely for opposition’s sake—all as they steadily lose their grasp on the attentions and imaginations of the American public.
     -- Tom Schaller

(h/t: ChrisV82, in the comments at Roy's place)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends ...

... review each other's books.

Or do they? In this case, it works out very nicely, with Joel Achenbach reviewing Bob Wright's latest, The Evolution of God.

Regular watchers of will already know something of the relationship these two have, and it works well on camera, too. Joel's got their latest diavlog embedded at the bottom of his post; earlier ones are here. The earliest one, posted 27 May 2006, is well worth watching just for Joel's "taxonomy of global-warming skeptics." It also features some early-days ball-busting from Joel about what turned out to be this exact book.

(h/t: graz)

Help With Video Playback? (bleg, also)

In messing around with some embedded videos below, I found that I could make video clips play that wouldn't play previously by right-clicking in the video window, clicking "Settings," and unchecking "Enable hardware acceleration." Could just be my ancient machine. Anyone else ever had this experience? Or, if you know of an embedded vid that didn't work for you previously, would you try it, and let me know, in the Comments? Thanks/HTH.

Shatner Reads Palin, The Twitter Edition

Sheer poetry!

(alt. video link)

(h/t: thprop)