Friday, October 30, 2009

Look, up in the sky!

After being that sort of perfect fall day that makes the northeastern United States THE place to live at this time of year, the sky began to cloud over near dusk. Right now, it is almost completely dark, and the airplanes descending to the airport a few miles from here are casting glowing cones several times their own lengths ahead of them.

I'm not sure why I find such an image so comforting, but I do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Over at Rational Resistance, Jack McCullough will help you choose the best religion for you!

The Fat Kid Tries Another Tired Shtick

When not advocating violence to achieve his political goals, or lining his pockets by selling products to people even dumber and more deranged than he is, The GHEMRotRSTF sometimes likes to put on his intellectualizin' cap.

And when he does, he sees that Obama = Hitler.

And how does he know this? Jonah Goldberg told him so!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Ex-Scientologist Goes Public

Tony Ortega has a copy of a long letter that Paul Haggis has "written to Scientology's current national spokesman, Tommy Davis, 'Crash' director Paul Haggis [explaining] why he is leaving Scientology after 35 years.

Yeah, that Tommy Davis.

Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that rather than having gone public, Haggis has been outed in some sense. His letter was not, it appears, an open letter, but was instead sent by Haggis to Davis, with copies to "a handful of people," one or more of which leaked. Obviously, one could suspect this was Haggis wanting the letter to be shared but wanting to retain some deniability, but whatever. I don't much care. I'm glad it's out there, and if you're interested in cults, you'll probably find it an interesting read, too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I dunno, Frank Rich ...

... but if it's okay with you, I'm going to continue to "luxuriate in a warm bath of moral superiority" for not having watched a second of the Balloon Boy coverage, much less tried to make it the hook for anything I've written since.

That aside, please pass along my congrats to Mo D for reaching number one on the "Most Emailed" list, although I have to say I don't even have a bluff answer for why a piece bemoaning the plight of nuns in the Catholic Church struck that many people as worth forwarding. Righteous? I guess. Something we've not heard about a million times already? Not even close.

I guess this is what Burke meant by "New York fresh" -- a bagel that breaks your tooth. (No, not that guy conservatives are always claiming to have read, the other one. This is more of a Vachss day, if you catch my drift.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Plus, It Gives You Time To Change Out Of Your Pajamas

Heh. Just heard these for the first time: Bemoaning the Instanet and, in response, joining the slow blogging movement.

I could imagine the first one getting tiresome pretty quickly, especially in the wrong hands, but I really like the second one.

(h/t: Andrew Revkin | x-posted)

The Fat Kid And His "Metaphors" Of Physical Violence. Again.

Here's what the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the RedState Trike Force told some Republican rag (via, via):

“Grass-roots activists need to start infiltrating the party,” said Erickson. “The only way to start getting [the establishment] back is to start pounding them with every fist we have.”

Guess he finished shooting all the dishwasher detergent Nazis.

[Added] I guess I can imagine where he draws some of his inspiration. (via)

No Easy Answers

Dexter Filkins has a long piece on [some aspects of the situation in] Afghanistan, "Stanley McChrystal’s Long War," in last Sunday's NYT Magazine. Unsurprisingly, given the author, it's highly recommended.

As you might have guessed from the post title, or already long since figured out for yourself, you won't find anything in the way of a happy ending in the piece, but if you want to know what one of our best reporters has been seeing and hearing, give it a look.

(h/t: TS/Instaputz | x-posted)

From the annals of "He's Just A Comedian!!!1!"

Here is a two-minute clip of Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), still not kidding around:

(alt. video link)

Hat tip to Blue Texan, who's got some more context, if you want it.

Hmmm ... Maybe There IS A Hell For Those Who Deserve It

Just in case you were wondering, Hey, what's Judith Miller descended to lately?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Head on over to ginandtacos and see Ed's hilarious, mean-because-it's-true post, "How To Write Your Own Megan McArdle Piece."

(h/t: Twin)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bonus for the Word Nerds

Partly because you should know these words, and partly because the collective term is fun to say … Metasyntactic variable! Go!

And Now, For The Word Nerds

Thanks to Special Agent and Chief Shifting Proponent Me&theboys (and breaking a promise made in paragraph 2 of an old post), you may now enjoy this lovely piece of prose:

Spelling and grammar

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.

Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game, rather than as a savings account.

Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.

Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.

By the way, change your clocks this coming Sunday if you're in the EU, and next Sunday if you're in the US, unless you're in Indiana, in which case, you'd better consult Mr. Riley and his very tiny governor.

More DST info here. Great clouds! Don't miss the one labeled "Assault on Logic" under "Controversy," for example.

Oh, hey! Two new books!

Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare will be coming out the same day as some other "book!"

New Palin book!

And this is an actual "book," not just some libtard's idea of a spoof cover to make the Baby Trigus cry!

Hat tip to Juli Weiner. Another funny post here.


Also! We look forward to yet another book! Released the same day! Also! Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book also already has a website with free sample pages and everything! And here's the cover! Also!

(pic. source | pic. source)


Here's one of many interesting points in "Lightning Round: The Continuing Unpopularity of the Republican Party is Excellent News for Republicans" (an in-joke I never get tired of), posted by Mori Dinauer:

• Speaking of health-care reform, Jonathan Chait use the latest conservative attack on Obama's fiscal policies -- that he's honest about ugly budget numbers -- to point out the hypocrisy of the GOP's commitment to "fiscal responsibility:" "George W. Bush and the Republicans created a new health care entitlement in 2003 that was completely unfinanced. Not a dime was paid for. The Democrats have decided to completely finance every cent of health care reform, and they're taking a hundred times more flack for fiscal irresponsibility than the Republicans ever did."

Jon's whole post is worth a read, especially if you have yet to grasp fully what we mean by IOKIYAR.

P.S. On an unrelated note, but certainly a related theme, Mori also points to a report -- and this'll shock you -- that Glenn Beck is either lying or clueless. This time, the giant baby is whining about net neutrality, and he's about as wrong as he can be.

Needing My Temples

Ugh. I just heard myself say, "I need you to …"

Now, there already exist at least seventeen quintillion screeds bemoaning the Coarsening Of Our Discourse, one more tiresome than the next (and I'll grant that my love for snark probably makes me as much a part of that problem as anybody), but "I need you to …" really sets my teeth on edge. Especially when I hear it from, say, a flight attendant because my seat back is four millimeters off perpendicular, or when I overhear some helicopter parent trying to get a kid to zip up his coat. And now that it's starting to creep into my vocabulary … grrrrrr.

I'm not sure what it is that bugs me so much about this one, whether it's the ickiness of the faux-softening of the imperative (and don't get me started on people who begin gratuitous insults with "Frankly, …") or that the phrasing sounds like American self-centeredness run amok, but in any case, I need you all to just go back to good old "Please … "

The First Nine Months

Here is the Barack Obama you know and love, delivering a much-needed speech to fire up the troops.

Obama comes on around 7:30, but you might find the introductory remarks by Melissa DeRosa and Tim Kaine worth listening to, as well, especially in the spirit of good warm-up acts. The whole thing is about 36 minutes long.

(alt. video link)

Christina Bellantoni has a good write-up of the speech over at TPM. Here are a couple of other moments I'd highlight as well, in case you're not in the mood to watch the whole thing.

Obama throws out a good challenge to Will Rogers's associates starting at 25:35, and then starting at 28:00, moves on to address the Republicans in this country (and the far left, to some degree, too). This bit starting at 30:00 was key (you should listen to get the full effect, obvs.):

We understand exactly who and what got us into this mess. Now, we don't mind cleaning it up -- I'm grabbing my mop and my broom, and we're scrubbing the floors and trying [to] neaten things up -- but don't just stand there and say, "You're not holding the mop right." Don't just stand there and say, "You're not mopping fast enough." Don't accuse me of having a socialist mop. Instead of standing on the sidelines, why don't you grab a mop?

(h/t: Twin)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Ad Campaign!

Coming soon to a subway car (underground, and therefore CLOSER TO HELL) near you!

Roy Edroso has a report, many links, and musings about the new "purpose of atheism," over at his day job place.

[Added] Oh, and just to prove there is a God after all, while you're over there, don't miss Roy's wingnut round-up: "Rightbloggers Defend Rush with an NFL Boycott; Are Beer, Buffalo Wings Next?"

(pic. source)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Already in the bargain bin ...

... and it won't be out for another three weeks: "Palin's" book marked down from $29 to $9.

"Yeah, We've Got a Rep for That"

Political ad of the day:

(alt. video link)

See for full documentation.

(h/t: watertiger)

Wingnuts Beyond Parody, Part 97,852

DougJ passes along wisdom from crack-smoking Fox News analyst Neil Cavuto:

The Obama recession is over, the Bush recovery has begun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


See that highlighted link above (click image to enlarge)? Guess where it points. Yup, to Glenn Beck's opinion column, hosted by Fox "News."

In conclusion, just like all the smart kids tell you, Google is liberally biased.


Let me just say how delighted I am that others are starting to come around on what clowns those Freakonomics clowns are. Please follow all links in Scott Lemieux's post.

[Added] See also William M. Connolley's post for serious analysis and more links.

[Added2] DougJ has some more good links, to Krugman and Salmon.

[Added3] New post.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Loving Every Minute of It

In what will come as a surprise to no sentient being, the Wall Street Journal gave space to El Lardbo to whine about his NFL tribulations. Thus, TBogg has a post!

Also, see his previous post on the topic, in which "We are all Rush Limbaugh now."

Looks like the choice I earlier snickered about is being made.


This Kerfuffle Is So Last Week, I Know ...

... but in catching up with alicublog, I found this bit from Roy too good not to pass along:

This is a medal we're talking about here, not a public office. They can always make one of their own and give it whomever they want. Then they can complain that it isn't as well-known as the Nobel for the same reason Pajamas TV isn't as popular as piano-playing cat videos: Liberal media bias.

Roy has more on the wingnut reaction to President Obama's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize here and here, in case you missed them.

Hurray! More Paleoanthropology!

You may remember a video I posted three weeks ago of a diavlog between Razib Khan and John Hawks. You may also remember a happy coincidence -- about a week after that diavlog aired, the results of fifteen years of work on the "Ardi" fossil were published. So! here are John and Razib doing another diavlog in that light.

You really ought to listen to this one, even if your interest in paleoanthropology is not as high as mine. This is a gold standard for scientific discussions geared for the lay audience -- solid questions from a well-prepared Razib, and from John, a most clear portrayal of how science is actually done in the real world. Good stuff.

(alt. video link)

As always with Bloggingheads diavlogs, you have options besides streaming the above. Click the "alt. video link" if you'd rather download an audio or video file.

[Added] Here are links for Razib's blog and John's blog.

Bush Legacy Update

From today's liberally-biased newspaper:

David H. Safavian, the top federal procurement official under President George W. Bush, was sentenced to a year in prison for lying about his ties to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mr. Safavian, ex-chief of staff at the General Services Administration, was accused of hiding his efforts to help Mr. Abramoff win federal business. He was convicted in December of obstruction of justice and making false statements.

Here is a picture from the liberally-biased Wikipedia of Safavian (second from right), along with "Jack Abramoff, golf organizer Jason Murdoch, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed [mysteriously not yet convicted] … and convicted former Congressman Bob Ney:"

As the man said, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Undeserved!!!1! (The Howling Continues)

I'll never understand how Roy Edroso has the stamina to read Rod Dreher day after day, but boy, I'm sure glad he does.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why, those ungrateful ...

... uppity not-fit-to-play-quarterback football players of color! I mean, who wouldn't want to be owned by Rush Limbaugh?

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)



Friday, October 09, 2009

More Peace Prize Fallout

Following up from last post, more fury from the Furious Keyboardists (the Freepers are now up to six exclamation points), who are linking to each other faster than Wingnuttia Search can track. But here are some early examples.

Flopping Aces features a picture of the president eating an ice cream cone, attempts to connect this to "[l]ast Friday, [when] he failed to win the 2016 Olympic prize because it was not deserved," and concludes, "This stunning example of O’fellatio is proof of what a joke the Nobel Prizes have become."

Wizbangblog agrees, opening with "In what has to be one of the most dramatic examples of the global elitist genuflection and obsequiousness before the presence of The One …" and closing with some Tim Graham-level paranoia: "Note: The New York Times calls it a stunning surprise. Well, it was for most everyone else, but a cynic might suspect the Times has been pushing hard on this for months."

Dan Riehl ("not a racist") was going to be really mad about this, but now he is preening at the thought of being asked to appear on the BBC (wait, aren't they the liberal media?) to comment, apparently because earlier, he wrote a post headlined "No Freakin' Way!!!1!" (Don't tell him that the Beeb is likely having him on just to laugh at him.) [1]

Stop The ACLU decorates with a picture of Yassar Arafat, bitterly moans, "the world awards him the prize for appeasemnt [sic]," and concludes on a hopeful (for them) note: "Maybe Conya [sic] West will take Obama’s mic when he accepts the award."

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit is keeping score: "This makes three times, incidentally, in just seven years that the committee’s turned the Peace Prize into a “f*** Bush” award by bestowing it on a liberal American Democrat."

In conclusion, Obama is no longer Just Like Bush™. He is now just like Carter. And Arafat.


[1] [Added] Looks like I guessed right.

Further Proof of Liberal Bias!!!1!

Apparently, David Letterman's advertisers are sticking with him.

Let's see … something else … oh, yeah …

Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize!

Will this cause a certain amount of rapid cranial expansion among the hand-tightenable threaded fastener community? I don't doubt it. Seems a bit early yet, but over at Newsbusters, Tim Graham, "Director of Media Analysis" at the "Media Research Center," has already hopped to, bracketing a blockquote announcing the President's surprise win with this opening …

Breaking, from the AP at 5:19 AM: if Al Gore can win the Nobel Peace Prize for just being liberal, why not Barack Obama? This is not a joke, apparently:

… and this closing:

My first thought? These people really, really hate George W. Bush.

Graham, whose Brent Bozell-induced paranoia ferreting-out skills we've saluted before, was most recently seen howling about the liberal bias of some newspaper because "Red Dawn" was not mentioned until the twenty-somethingth paragraph of Patrick Swayze's obituary. No, really.

Anyway, congratulations, Mr. President. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

More Ardi!

Continuing from the previous paleoanthropology post: here is a NatGeo article, and here are a bunch more on the Science website.

(h/t: Me&theboys)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

You Now Have No More Excuse Not To Read This Blog

The power of science compels you!

How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect

(Unsurprisingly, this is the most-emailed story from the NYT at the moment, so I apologize, since you've probably heard sixteen variations on this joke already.)

Guess the Context

"Well, you know, I thought it was an elaborate joke. I have friends who play practical jokes," Ramakrishnan told The Associated Press by telephone from his lab in Cambridge. "I complimented him on his Swedish accent."

I'm pretty sure reporters kill for quotes like that.


Further proof that OBAMA IS JUST LIKE BUSH!!!1!

Or, you know, not.


The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.

It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).

"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009," said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

He believes that during the previous administration of George W. Bush the United States suffered in the world ranking with its unpopular foreign policies but since Obama was elected, and despite the recent economic turmoil, the country's status has risen globally.

"There is no other explanation," Anholt said in an interview, referring to the impact of Obama.

Emphasis added.

Sure, it's easy to wave off a result like this and play the cynic's card of "So, then, why hasn't he fixed X yet?" But image matters, however hard it may be to quantify beyond holding popularity contests. You're entitled to think this result signifies little, but I for one am delighted to be first on this list. It's a good step in the right direction.

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Double Shoutout

Andrew Leonard reminds us that one of the three winners of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, deserves extra recognition: she was one of the first scientists to expose the Bush Administration's "war on science" mentality. She criticized Bush's "President's Council on Bioethics" for being little more than a front for parroting the preconceived political notions the Bushies had on such issues as stem cell research. For speaking out in this manner, she was fired from the Council.

Definitely worth reading and following the links within.

[Added] For historical interest, and for a reminder of the importance of what was at stake, you might also see this post from the Union of Concerned Scientists, this article in USA Today, and especially this column from Farhad Manjoo, all published shortly after the firing, to see how Blackburn's courage in publishing her views and taking the Bush bullet led numerous other scientists to wake up to what was going on.

So far, this valuable reminder from Leonard hasn't caused the usual suspects to ramp up their usual howl: "The Nobel Prize is liberally biased!!!1!" Nope. For the moment, at least, they're working another meme: because the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine are Americans, this proves our health care system is ALREADY THE BEST IN THE WORLD!!!1! Yup. Jammie Wearing Fool went there, and so did Althouse.

No need to click those last two links unless you don't believe me, or have yet to be convinced of the depths of idiocy to which the denizens of Wingnuttia will descend.

(h/t: KK, via email)

Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please ...

NBC says:

Any sale would have to be approved by 75 percent of the league's current owners.

So, if the National Football League turns down Rush Limbaugh's bid to buy the Rams, who do the Real Americans™ line up behind?

How much would you pay to hear this? LIBERAL BIAS IN THE NFL!!!1!

(h/t: Jim Newell)

Monday, October 05, 2009

From the annals of "They All Look Alike"

You had to figure that if I was looking at Sarah Palin's Twitter page, it wasn't going to be too much longer before it occurred to me to wonder, "Say, what's the latest on Orly Taitz?"

Start us off, won't you, Jay Bookman?

According to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, Taitz’ most recent filing accuses Land of having met secretly in Columbus with Attorney General Eric Holder to conspire about ways to hide evidence of Obama’s true birthplace. For that and other reasons, she demands that Land recuse himself from the case.

Her evidence for that rather stunning charge?

An affidavit from a fellow birther claiming to have seen someone resembling Holder in a Columbus cafe across the street from the federal courthouse.

Indeed! Oh, and Justin Elliot at TPM has the affidavit and full coverage. Try to wriggle out of this, Mr. Attorney General!

I looked up and immediately recognized an individual entering and approaching the serving counter, due to his well know [sic] TV displayed distinguishing features: his trim upper lip mustache, not large of stature and general olive complexion.

You can't dispute witnessin' like that! Book 'im, Danno.

TPM also has a copy of the Taitz's whole motion to recuse. I only made it to page 2 (of 20) before I found out that, according to our Orly, truly, It's All Connected (emph. orig.):

… it also appears to the undersigned that Judge Land may be disqualified because he has equity ownership of certain securities (e.g. Microsoft and Comcast) which are aligned both politically and economically with a key Defendant in this case, namely the de facto President of the United States …

PDFOTUS??? Now she'll have to sue Adobe, too.


Happy Anniversary, Michelle and Barack

Sorry you had to celebrate it in Glenn Beck's America.

Kinda like watching a soccer game. Only, surrounded by a dumber crowd.

I know you were dying for an update on the last report, so, here you are!

Number of tweets on Sarah Palin's "new" Twitter account: 0.

Number of followers: 3,966.

I guess Lynn Vincent was too busy knocking out those 140-character bursts elsewhere.

If You're Looking To Geek Out With Twitter ...

... looks like one good place to start. It blurbs itself as follows:

A Better Way to Discover Twitter Apps
oneforty is your Twitter outfitter, with tons of resources for all things Twitter.
Currently tracking 1719 apps that make Twitter even better.

Related: Yes!

You Take Your Laughs Where You Can Find Them, I Guess

In today's daily briefing, Juli Weiner points to this article about upcoming IAEA nuclear inspections in Iran.

One thing she did not note: Curious section of the newspaper to run it in, don't you think?

Location, Location, Location

Who knows. It's the Los Angeles Times, after all. Maybe the picture of Mohamed ElBaradei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding hands on that fancy Persian rug made some intern think it was an Important Red Carpet Moment.

"The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief"

Sam Harris is the lead author on a new peer-reviewed paper published just a few days ago on PLoS ONE.

I've only skimmed it so far, so this post is mostly a note to self. Looks like they've gotten some results doing work I've heard Harris mention in the past: using fMRI to look at brain differences between those who do and do not profess religious beliefs.

The whole thing is freely available for anyone to read. Here is the abstract:


While religious faith remains one of the most significant features of human life, little is known about its relationship to ordinary belief at the level of the brain. Nor is it known whether religious believers and nonbelievers differ in how they evaluate statements of fact. Our lab previously has used functional neuroimaging to study belief as a general mode of cognition [1], and others have looked specifically at religious belief [2]. However, no research has compared these two states of mind directly.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure signal changes in the brains of thirty subjects—fifteen committed Christians and fifteen nonbelievers—as they evaluated the truth and falsity of religious and nonreligious propositions. For both groups, and in both categories of stimuli, belief (judgments of “true” vs judgments of “false”) was associated with greater signal in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area important for self-representation [3], [4], [5], [6], emotional associations [7], reward [8], [9], [10], and goal-driven behavior [11]. This region showed greater signal whether subjects believed statements about God, the Virgin Birth, etc. or statements about ordinary facts. [*] A comparison of both stimulus categories suggests that religious thinking is more associated with brain regions that govern emotion, self-representation, and cognitive conflict, while thinking about ordinary facts is more reliant upon memory retrieval networks.


While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobes, the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content-independent. Our study compares religious thinking with ordinary cognition and, as such, constitutes a step toward developing a neuropsychology of religion. However, these findings may also further our understanding of how the brain accepts statements of all kinds to be valid descriptions of the world.

[*] At the original source, this a pop-up note (a reader or reviewer comment, looks like) that you can click on.

(h/t: Me&theboys)

When Art, Science, and Politics Collide

Also, 500-year-old rumors of professional jealousy!

Fascinating story about the hunt for a lost painting by Leonardo in today's NYT.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Obama Out Of Touch With Real Americans!

And this shocking video proves it!

(alt. video link)

(h/t: LGF)

"Republican Gomorrah"

Roy Edroso's thoughts on Max Blumenthal's new book are worth a look. I'm sorry to say that Roy's take confirms the immediate suspicion I had when I first heard about this book -- he thinks it goes a little far in trying to make the case that (1) the fundies have completely taken over the Republican Party, (2) wrecked it, and (3) are all certifiable.

Certainly we would like to believe these things, since even those of us who proudly proclaim our membership in the reality-based community are ever susceptible to simple explanations. Plus, given the chance, there is always the temptation to fill up on the chocolate chip cookies at hand when the other option means walking to the store, washing, chopping, cooking, and cleaning up.

But, Roy also says that there is some worth there -- he says the argument for the first idea is pretty good, and says that the narratives are useful, even if you've previously read news reports on the doings of the dramatis personae.

Also, you can read a couple of excerpts from the book at the book's site.

P.S. And while you're at Roy's place, don't miss the next post, "The Millenarianist Makeover." Because, you know, Max Blumenthal isn't completely wrong.

P.P.S. Also, via the above, we see further evidence that wingnuts are amazed (and furious) that anyone could master a basic skill necessary to success in one's chosen profession. Yes, it really is possible for the denizens of Wingnuttia to hate Obama for anything. (Gotta admit, the short vid is pretty funny.)

P.P.P.S. Another delicious cookie.

P.P.P.P.S. In conclusion, it appears that I (and Roy, maybe) would like to pass along many, many, many individual anecdotes and allow you (hope that you) reach the … shit, I just used conclusion, didn't I? … conclusion Max Blumenthal states explicitly. This is what we mean by "plausible deniability."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Shoutout to some smart person at Blogger

(Probably only Blogger bloggers will know what I'm talking about here, but so what, congratulations are in order.)

You know that "Your blog post published successfully!" page that you get after you click Publish Post? I just noticed that the obvious link on that page has changed from "View Blog" to "View Post." This means that for someone like me, who no matter how long he proofreads in Preview mode sees his typos only after clicking Publish and so has to once again start the cycle of Edit/Publish/View, you get to see your post measurably faster, since you're not loading your whole bloated (in my case, at least) main blog home page.

And! When you multiply this by the gazillions of Blogger blogs out there, the savings in server load (and hence, electricity) must be immense.

So, nice going, smart programmer, whoever you are.

Trust Me, This Didn't Start Just So I Could Shoehorn That In, But Once It Came To Mind ...

not Calvin
Above: not Calvin

Prompted in part by the Polanski brouhaha -- a topic about which I think (1) good lord, not another entry in the Hilbert Hotel (?) of beachheads for self-appointed culture warriors to ejaculate about how this proves Hollywood should be burned to the ground and Obama should be impeached, twice, and (2) that Mr. Riley's first entry in his latest Olio says it far better than I ever could -- James Poulos and Will Wilkinison had a pretty interesting diavlog on yesterday in which they discussed many sticky issues, and no doubt to the dismay of many, I responded to someone else's comment by foisting (important letter, that O, as you'll soon see) my stream of semi-consciousness onto the poor visitors to the forum and so in case you haven't seen it over there, here is a copy for your reading pleasure(?):

Okay, yeah. But I have to say, the larger question that led Will to that point -- whether drawing an obviously sexualized picture of a generic juvenile human being should constitute a crime (an instance of child pornography, say) -- is a fascinating one in its thorniness. You'd be hard-pressed to raise another issue that would cause my mind to ping-pong as rapidly as this one does.

Clearly, there is an initial reaction of disgust -- YOU PERV!!! -- and I would guess that for almost as many of us, there is a quick second thought, which Will noted -- this comes awfully close to a "thought crime." My third impulse is to think, eh, hard problem, sure, but you have to wonder about someone who would do such a thing, but is it really a widespread problem, so do we need to respond to one instance of this by saying THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW? (More on this in a moment.) And then the fourth impulse is to think, man, those computer animations are getting pretty lifelike these days and they're only going to get more so, so hadn't we ought to start thinking about this now before someone makes a movie where you really will not be able to tell that that is not a real five-year-old, hogtied to a bed, being set upon by some real adult? Or is that really just the same question as the original one? But then what happens when you have, with six thousand such videos, available for streaming? And what about when this website upgrades its software, to allow visitors to upload a set of photos of themselves that can be digitally manipulated so that the uploader then gets to star in the role of the adult (with a purely fictitious, digitally-created "child") in the previous example video? But do we want to get into the business of making laws because we can imagine scenarios, that with enough hand-waving and extrapolation, could persuade a majority of the population to say, "okay, that's just wrong"?

And of course, following up on impulse 3 above, if you do decide that Something Must Be Done, then you're back at the basic dilemma of how to define pornography. There are endless examples of depictions of (non-specific) naked children that are considered art -- a significant fraction of Christianity-motivated paintings for the last half of the previous millennium feature cherubs, often with their little wieners flapping in the breeze, and pretty much no one less disturbed than John Ashcroft has a problem with these. Also, I find it heart-breaking when I read a story about some parent getting in all sorts of trouble because a cretinous employee at EZ-Kwik Photo called the cops when he saw a perfectly innocent picture of Junior in the bathtub or at the beach.

Due to the lack of any conclusion to these thoughts, I was going to title this post Möbius Strip, but, you know, family web site.

(pic. source)

Paleoanthropology Update

If you enjoyed that video I posted last Saturday, there's an article by Joel Achenbach that you might like to read. It's about "Ardi" (short for Ardipithecus ramidus), a 4.4 million-year-old ancestor of ours, who …

… lived more than a million years before "Lucy," a much-celebrated, 3.2 million-year-old fossil of an early human progenitor found just 45 miles away.

The analysis of her skeleton has just been completed, after fifteen years of work.

Note the graphic in the sidebar -- you can see her hoohaa! In a family newspaper! Paging Brent Bozell!!!

Brent Bozell: tightass
Keeping an eye out
for the next
exposed nipple

But seriously, fascinating article. Even if you didn't watch the vid.

(h/t: Wonderment)

[Added] Follow-up post here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hey, you know what I just thought of?

franken dot senate dot gov, bitchez.

Know what got me to thinking of it? Yup, another Republican campaign of lies.

What, you forgot already? You didn't? Good.

Anyway, revenge. is. sweet. Carry on.

(h/t: Twin)

Moments of Bachmannia

The good people from Stand Up America are running a poll on the Great Orange Satan to determine which is the worst moment of Michele Bachmann crazy ever. You can watch video clips and vote for:

  1. Bachmann warns of the Census
  2. The classic. Bachmann calls for an investigation of "Anti-Americanism" in Congress
  3. Barack Obama will watch our calorie intake
  4. Thank God for Joe Wilson
  5. Carbon Dioxide is just a "natural bioproduct of nature" It is a "harmless" gas

This being Michele Bachmann, of course, you had to know that as soon as they'd finalized the list of nominees, she'd come out with another hot candidate.


Line of the Day: 2009-10-01

If all Democrats were like Lanny Davis, I’d still be writing at Red State.
    -- John Cole, via Jim Newell

Dave Neiwert and Lawrence O'Donnell

Here is a short interesting discussion about Bill Clinton's recent statements concerning right-wing lunacy, then and now. It comes from a post on Neiwert's site, which is worth reading, before or after watching this.

(alt. video link)

On a related note, this post by Neiwert, "Glenn Beck's long history of extremist rhetoric," is also worth reviewing and keeping in mind.

(h/t: Twin)