Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Interesting Read

Anne Laurie has an interesting post up over on Balloon Juice … stay with her here … contemplating Ross Douthat as Bill Murray.

Not sure I entirely buy it (Ross Douthat, too hip?), but, as I say, an interesting read.

(And now that I've said interesting three times already, okay, now four, but that last one doesn't count, crap, I should have just Twatted the link, please hold that against me, not her.)


This is under the NYT's "Novelties" tag but I think the possibilities suggested are way more than that: "Recharging Your Cellphone, Mother Nature’s Way."

The technology uses a photosensitive dye to start its energy production, much the way leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis.

Related, though perhaps more likely to provoke dystopian thoughts: "Smart Dust."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

That fabulous Baker boy, back in 1992:

... the Democratic Party, as it is still called out of ancient custom and utter disregard for fact.

Felix Salmon ...

... has a post up that I'm tempted to say provides plenty of food for thought, but then I'd hate myself, so just go read it, because it's interesting.

(h/t: Atrios | x-posted)

The New Phone Books Are Here! The New Phone Books Are Here!

I'm finally somebody!

Google suggests ME, FIRST, after only four characters!

Things are going to start happening to me now!


Betcha can't guess what movie I'm living quoting …

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Line of the Day: 2010-01-31

If Mike Pence really is regarded as one of the deep thinkers for the GOP, I’m beginning to understand why they refused to admit Terri Schiavo was brain-dead.
    -- John Cole

Yes. The Internet Needs One of These. Badly.

Shoutout to the good people at You're Not Rosa Parks, "The Rosa Parks of Rosa Parks Blogs."

(h/t: PZ, who was delighted to notice Ben Stein's win)


Bob Herbert has a very good piece up, remembering and reflecting on Howard Zinn. I'd encourage everyone to read the whole thing (it's short), and then spend some time contemplating the last line.

(h/t: Wonderment)



SOTA Update

No, not SOTU. That's so Wednesday. I'm talking Signs Of The Apocalpyse.

Charlie Pierce passes along news that the Pope wants priests to start blogging. Worse yet, there's already "an official Vatican YouTube page and a set of Facebook and iPhone apps." And oh yes, it gets worse still: This is all "part of his interactive Pope2you initiative."

L4t1n is the new l33t sp34k!

Still waiting to hear back from the Vatican as to whether his online handle will be Bennie16-OMG or just good old Rat Zinger.

"Climate Chaos"

Here is the latest Science Saturday diavlog from, an interview of Jamais Cascio (Open the Future, by Mike Treder (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies).

Topics covered include …

  • Damage done by delicious cheeseburgers
  • Why global warming is the biggest problem of our century
  • The evil and the stupid among those who welcome a warmer world
  • Is geoengineering the solution?
  • Asteroids, intelligent machines, and other threats to humanity
  • Will our civilization survive much longer?

… but it's not quite as much of a bummer as it might sound.


2022-08-25 Video no longer available. Sorry.

(alt. video link)

Click the "alt. video link" if you'd like to download an audio or video file for remote consumption.

Friday, January 29, 2010

We Shouldn't Forget

Jamie Leigh Jones

According to Jones, just four days after she arrived in Baghdad, she joined a small group of Halliburton firefighters outside the KBR barracks. One gave her a drink. She took two sips, after which she can recall nothing. In legal filings and congressional testimony, Jones describes waking up the next morning "still affected by the drug," and discovering "her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured and her pectoral muscles torn‚ which would later require reconstructive surgery."

According to Jones, a rape kit was administered at an Army-run hospital. The rape kit was then handed over to KBR, and since then bits of it have disappeared as it came into the custody of various agencies until reaching its current resting place with the U.S. Department of State. Jones also alleges that after her rape-kit procedure was performed, KBR placed her under armed guard in a shipping container for at least 24 hours and refused to let her eat, drink, or call her family. For reasons that have never been entirely clear, the Department of Justice declined to investigate. Jones eventually refused to arbitrate this case in a private forum in which Halliburton paid for the arbitrator and in which there was no right to appeal.

She sued in federal court in 2007, and in September, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision allowing Jones to press some of her claims in civil court as opposed to private arbitration. Because her assault was not connected to her employment, the court said, it was not subject to the mandatory arbitration clause she had signed.

Last week KBR/Halliburton asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse this ruling. In its petition—which accuses Jones of being dishonest as well as a publicity seeker—KBR gives a whole new meaning to the politics of blaming the victim. As Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones pointed out Monday, KBR isn't above accusing Jamie Leigh Jones of being a liar who has "has gone to great lengths to sensationalize her allegations against the KBR Defendants in the media, before the courts, and before Congress."

Evidently KBR is still smarting from Sen. Al Franken's amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which withholds defense contracts from companies that "restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." That measure passed the Senate in December, with 30 Republicans voting against it. President Obama signed it into law.

Those same 30 male Republican senators who voted against the Franken amendment learned the hard way that it's never smart politics to try to lock Jamie Leigh Jones in a closet. They were mystified by the blowback last fall. David Vitter of Louisiana, for example, was confronted at a town hall meeting by a devastated rape victim. (Vitter blamed President Obama and walked away). John Thune of South Dakota tried to say the Franken amendment was a "politically inspired amendment" that aimed to do away with arbitration in labor agreements. Then John Cornyn of Texas whined about how the evil Franken was "trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape—and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues." It takes a special kind of narcissist to say a victim of gang rape isn't suffering as much as the embarrassed senators who voted against her.

Read the rest of Dahlia Lithwick's righteous piece.

(h/t: Steve Benen)

Charlie Brooker - "How To Report The News"

Two minutes of awesome.


2022-08-25 Video no longer available. Sorry.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Steve Benen)


[Added] Via Twin, something else along these lines, from ONN.

Don't Give Up On Hope

Three headlines in the NYT at the moment (stories: 1, 2, 3):

We're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. But a little encouragement is nice.



So, What I'm Wondering Is: Did PDP ...

... get a role as an extra?

(Most of you are not expected to understand this.)

USA!!!1! USA!!!1! USA!!!1!


Sidebar, same page:

Moar Like This, Plz

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Jim Newell)


[Added] Some moar, in text form.

What Would Halperin Say?

Poll: McCain Job Approval At 15-Year Low In AZ

(h/t: Jonathan Chait)

(? | previously)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Usage Note for Geeks Attempting to Master That Dialect We Heard So Much About Last Week

Love Flowcharts will bring us together.

(h/t: kezboard)


Kinda killin' me that it's not criterion, but
I guess I could get my own damn whiteboard and camera, right?

Also … someone … them???
Okay, now that I've completely ruined the joke, I'll stop.

I Got Yer Economic Populism Right Here

Once again, we learn more from eight minutes of a fake news show than we do from hours of Very Serious People. Here is Harvard Law prof and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP, Elizabeth Warren, being interviewed by Jon Stewart. (And do not fail to watch the final few seconds.)

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Betty Cracker/Rumproast)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yeah, so here is some DFH talking about "no nukes" or whatever

When I read Weapons and Hope by Freeman Dyson, one of the things that struck me most was his portrayal of the professional soldiers' utter distaste for nuclear weapons. In this four-minute clip, Colin Powell sounds like he comes right from those pages.

(alt. video link)

Maybe you don't care much for Powell, professional soldiers in general, or the other people apparently to come in the film he's introducing, but he sounds like a sincere and valuable ally for something you and I care about.

There's a more comprehensive introduction at Wonk Room.


You can also visit the site for the movie, Nuclear Tipping Point, produced by the Nuclear Security Project, and even order a free DVD. Be advised that the trailer for the movie, which you can watch on the site, leans heavily on the nukes-falling-into-terrorist-hands aspect, but it looks like the goal of the group is much broader reduction of all manner of threats from nuclear weapons. Check it out.

(h/t: Robert Farley)

[Added] Related.


That was a good one.

Gets tiresome being talked to like you're a grownup, though, doesn't it?


When did C-SPAN decide it would be a good thing to have Villagers on to bloviate before the speech? Just run the cameras and keep quiet, fer crissake.

Clickbait Fail 2

No, MSNBC. Just ... no.

All right, if it had been text instead of a video, maybe I would have mined it for lulz. Who knows, maybe Pastor Ted had a sex change operation?


Howard Zinn Dead at 87

As Jim Newell says, "... one of the last remaining leftists from the Leftists Had Balls era."

Boston Globe obit.

And if you never read A People's History of the United States, you should.

[Added] See Attaturk's brief note, too. He's got a link to the NYT obit, as well.

[Added2] LAT has a nice obit, too. (h/t: Wonderment)

More Picasso Fallout?

Tough name for someone who is your source for an article on restoring accidentally damaged works of art: Ian Wardropper.

Clickbait Fail

Sorry, HuffPo. Not even with a gun to my head.

(I realize I may be in the minority on this one.)


Following up on an earlier plea, please go read what John Rogers has to say.

(h/t: curv3ball)

Nice Moment

Note last line.

Thanks, Instaputz!


I Meta Blog

This is pretty funny, and some of the comments are outstanding.

YMMV, depending on the similarity of the twist of your sense of humor with mine, how familiar you are with blog comment memes, etc.

PZ is on it.


[Added] On a coincidental note:

... I actually wrote something here as I was being driven to Chico, and my phone apparently ate it, making it a blank post. Which didn't stop anyone since it gathered 66 comments.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Actual Liberals On Your Teevee!

Or, since you probably missed it when it aired, like me … on your computer monitor!

Bill Moyers, Eric Alterman, and Melissa Harris-LacewellSorry, but I don't see a way to embed the video. Therefore I urge you to rise up and click this link. When you do, you will get to see Bill Moyers hosting a discussion between "Princeton politics and African American studies professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell and journalist Eric Alterman," both of whom totally rock.

It's about half an hour long. I especially urge you to watch it if you're a lefty who is feeling discouraged about the Dems, pissed off at Obama, or both.

(Transcript also available.)

(h/t: uncle ebeneezer)

Heckuva Job, Georgie

The way the NYT frames the lede is eye-rolling, but there's no disputing the data:

After more than a decade of declining teenage pregnancy, the pregnancy rate among girls ages 15 to 19 increased 3 percent from 2005 to 2006 — a turnaround likely to intensify the debate over federal financing for abstinence-only sex education.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shorter of the Day

TBogg summarizes today's NYT op-ed offerings … uh … what's more brilliant than brilliantly?

Even if you care about football as little as I do ...

... you should read Mr. Riley's round-up of the past weekend's doings: "Sports Rap With Da Dawg."

Announcing a Momentary Suspension of Cynicism

I am not going to snark or even think about the mix of motivations, but instead, just take a bit of pleasure in seeing that this is currently the NYT's third most-emailed article.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dobson's Choice

James DobsonSteve Benen calls attention to something worth keeping an eye on: apparently, CBS is going to allow the fundie scold group Focus on the Family to buy ad time during the Super Bowl. You may or may not recall that CBS wouldn't accept a MoveOn ad during a Bush-era Super Bowl, claiming a policy against "issue ads."

Bonus: the ad will feature Tim Tebow. Yeah, that guy.

Paging TBogg …

"The Bagpiper’s Tale"

As a bagpiper, I’m often called upon to play at weddings, military events, and funerals. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. The man had no family or friends, so the service was set at the county pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky back woods.

I was not familiar with the backwoods and soon found myself lost. Being a typical man I didn’t stop to ask for directions. I finally arrived an hour late – the staff from the funeral home was long gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down. The vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play….

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep.

They wept. I wept. We all wept together.

When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car.

Though my head hung low my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

(h/t: TC, via email)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Except, being Dems, they'd really be saying "Let's not try to hit a home run. Let's have a jump ball."

(pic. source | via)

Your Attention Please

"Jesus rifles" are henceforth to be referred to as "Muslin-Exterminating Freedom Guns." This is what Steve Doocy wants, apparently, and he works for Fox News, so get with the program.


Friday Cat-Blogging (Stealing Thereof)

From the artist Evelyn Dehais:


Flowchart of the Day


This FlowingData website looks like loads of fun, at least if you have as much metaphorical tape on your metaphorical glasses as I do.

(pic. source | h/t: Sean Carroll, indirectly -- he liked the Engineer's Guide to Drinks)

Three Tweets

(Just in case you didn't see them in that fancy sidebar thing)

  • Hey, House Dems: Read Jim Newell's "Abbreviated Pep Talk" #hcr #p2

  • Hey, House Dems: Read Krugman's "Do The Right Thing" #hcr #p2

  • Hey, everybody else. Call your House Dems and read them my last two tweets, plz. kthxbai #hcr #p2

Line of the Day: 2010-01-22

We’ll know for sure they are serious about working on their image if they try to change their name to Xe.
    -- John Cole

Better Ask Halperin

Deep thought: Is the recent SCOTUS decision excellent news for John McCain?


It Never Rains But It Pours

So sorry, TBogg.

We won't forget.


[Update] TBogg now has another post up, if you want some of the sad details.

And don't miss Beckham as a puppy.


[Update2] And now a remembrance post.

SCLM Watch


Hate to think what they'd be saying if they weren't the liberal media.

(h/t: Steve Benen | x-posted)


And you thought Edroso was a satirist ...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Need a Piece of Furniture?

Stephen Colbert is auctioning off his interview table via eBay. Proceeds to the American Red Cross.

Sadly ...

(Chairs not included)

Current bid: $8100.

But! Free shipping.

"Beware of Sudden Downdrafts"

Hendrik Hertzberg has a must-read post up on his New Yorker blog. These two excerpts spell out most of his thesis:

Having been around a while, I have some memory of the Years One of four previous Democratic Presidents. Turbulence during takeoff has been the rule. It is wise to keep one’s seat belt loosely fastened.

Whether yesterday’s upset in Massachusetts turns out to be a catastrophe or merely a setback now depends largely on the grown-upness, or lack of it, of liberals in the House of Representatives. I don’t see any way out of the darkness right now other than for the House to tighten its stomach muscles, pass the Senate version of the health-care bill A.S.A.P., and move on to jobs and the economy. The Senate health-care bill, however inferior to the House version, is vastly superior to the status quo. The only alternative I can discern is no bill at all—a political, substantive, and humanitarian failure that would reverberate for a generation.

As to the rest, he doesn't say so explicitly, but it's clear he's talking to all the libs in the house, and not just the House, if you see what I'm saying, and apologies if you're ingesting this by audio through some fancy screen reader.

Anyway, please read the whole thing.

(h/t: KK, via email)

Usually, I'm in Favor of the Death Penalty for Spammers ...

... but since I have started getting some via email with the imperious subject line, "Answer me," I now believe we should come up with something worse. Something to do with an anthill in a football stadium, ground pegs, ropes, and a large pot of honey, for starters.

That Wolcott

I've bowed down to his way with words before, and I'll do so again. From his coverage of a spat between reviewer and reviewee:

I realize this has nothing to do with the "issues" raised by Nehring's book and Gould's review, but I don't believe in getting bogged down in serious debate when there are so many spicy inessentials to season the pot.

Bonus: the post title is "Everyone into the J'Accuzzi!"

Follow-up on the latest "Lying or Stupid?"

Sam Stein's headline (via LGF) pretty much says it all:

Scott Brown Held Tea Party Fundraiser Before Professing To Be Unfamiliar With Tea Party

Except that, having heard him speak, I'm still undecided about lying or stupid.


Looks Like New Zealand Is The Next Muslin Country That We Will Have To Bomb The Snots Out Of

Remember the Jesus rifles?

The blowback has begun. Way to go, Trijicon.

How much you wanna bet they get a plus-up on their contract with the US government, to remove those Christianist inscriptions?

[Added] Robert Farley's post title is much better than mine, damn him.

[Update] New Farley link.

This Will Be A Contest To See Who Can Best Exaggerate An Annoying Upper Midwest Accent

And there will of course be a side bet on who can bring the most crazy, also too:

Palin to campaign for Bachmann in her run for 3rd term

Those two on stage together … and you were worried about the LHC?

(h/t: watertiger, who has a good pic for your starbursts collection)

In Which I Wallow Delightedly In Groupthink

Yeah, I'm with you, John Cole. There is just something unutterably wonderful about Paul Krugman blogging in terms of the Underpants Gnomes Theory.

Two Milestones

The president had been propelled to the nation's highest office, having had no executive experience and only the briefest of tenures in Congress. He instantly found himself in charge of a crisis far graver than anything he had anticipated while campaigning. His opponents showed themselves to be implacable enemies.His allies often turned on him as well. He's too much of a compromiser, some said. No, he's too radical, said others. He struggled to chart a middle course that would keep a governing coalition together.

Plans went awry. He made mistakes. His popularity waned. At the polls, he saw his party suffer dismaying defeats. By all accounts, his was shaping up as a failed presidency.

Yeah, I'm talking about Abraham Lincoln. Have you read "Team of Rivals"?

Joel quickly protests that he is not comparing Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln, of course.

Also, happy anniversary, Joel! Finally I know where boodle comes from. And thanks for the link back to your post on Hunter S. Thompson. Missed that when it first ran.

Hey, Sad Dems! Here's What We Need!

A new shiny object!

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Tim F.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TimesSelect, v2.0? Sadly, Yes.

Following up on an earlier post ...

We now have confirmation from the source itself:

The New York Times announced Wednesday that it intended to charge frequent readers for access to its Web site, a step being debated across the industry that nearly every major newspaper has so far feared to take.

Starting in early 2011, visitors to will get a certain number of articles free every month before being asked to pay a flat fee for unlimited access. Subscribers to the newspaper’s print edition will receive full access to the site without extra charge.

But executives of The New York Times Company said they could not yet answer fundamental questions about the plan, like how much it would cost or what the limit would be on free reading. They stressed that the amount of free access could change with time, in response to economic conditions and reader demand.

So, you only have a year left to download all the free porn you can from Better get busy!

(h/t: Steve Benen)

The Jokes ...

... they just write themselves.

Hurrah! Finally a sports league where Rush Limbaugh can buy a franchise!

They were going to call it the White Nationalists' Basketball Association, but "WNBA" was already taken, by Negroes! BOOM!

(I'm sure the other Wonketteers will come up with much better.)

rePubOLITICO Watch

Just retyping GOP press releases is apparently no longer enough.

Need a Shot in the Arm?

Here is Jonathan Bernstein, quoted in full:


OK, so, the Democrats are now down more vote than they had when they passed the stimulus (albeit with Specter, who has not been replaced on the GOP side, as far as we know). Liberal bloggers urging Dems not to panic are exactly correct, but at the same time there seems to be a lot of fatalism among liberals that, well, Democrats always panic in these sort of situations.

That's not true. Democrats did not panic, for example, over the train wreck in the winter of 1995-1996. Democrats did not panic over impeachment in 1998. Indeed, Democrats did not panic this year when Obama's ratings fell in the spring, or over the August crazy, or after the VA and NJ elections in November. Individual Democrats said some things (in all of these cases) that were off-script. But overall, Democratic elected officials did not panic. The sense some Dems have that their party is a bunch of 'fraidy-cats is mostly, if not entirely, a myth.

Odds are they won't this time, either. Sure, they'll flail around for a few days, but before long they'll realize that flip-flopping isn't going to get them anywhere, and they'll pass around this fun graph by Joshua Tucker, and they'll realize that even if they want to meet Republicans halfway on everything that it isn't an available strategy.

In other words, not only is it good advice for Democrats not to panic, but it's also good advice to Democrats not to panic about the possibility that Democrats will panic.

Which is not to say, "Return to your complacency that worked so well in Massachusetts, liberal Dems!" But at this point, I think JB correctly identifies the bigger concern.

Put your fretful energy to good use. Call your Representative, and urge him or her to pass the Senate version of the bill as is. Sucky it may be, but we can fix it later.

(h/t: claymisher)


By the way, JB doesn't link, but I think he* means by "this fun graph" this (via, via):


*[Update] Link added to blockquote. Thanks for noticing, JB.

Actually, Mr. Mayor ...

... when I hear your name, I still think, "Wait, I know that's not the guy who was on 'Love Boat' and 'Mary Tyler Moore' … who is he again?" So at least in my book, you didn't actually fall that far, and now that I've read that sympathetic sketch by MoDo, I might even better remember from now on. Who knows?

In any case, I do sincerely thank you for your pioneering efforts, however less than ideally ept they might have been. And sorry our system works the way it does.

Lines of the Day: 2010-01-20

Category Joe Lieberman:

Follow that lemming. He seems to know where he is going
    -- TBogg

Category NBC:

Isn’t it great to live in a country where a cigar-smoking dog puppet and a bear that masturbates are considered ‘intellectual property?’
    -- Conan O'Brien

Monday, January 18, 2010

Somewhere in Texas, There's A Village That's Not Missing Its Idiot

Mariah Blake has a solid piece in Washington Monthly, titled "Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks." It features Don McLeroy, a clown we've noted before.

DougJ highlights one of the reasons you should be aware of this:

Until recently, Texas’s influence was balanced to some degree by the more-liberal pull of California, the nation’s largest textbook market. But its economy is in such shambles that California has put off buying new books until at least 2014. This means that McLeroy and his ultraconservative crew have unparalleled power to shape the textbooks that children around the country read for years to come.

And why does that matter? I'll let the beginning of the piece answer:

Don McLeroy is a balding, paunchy man with a thick broom-handle mustache who lives in a rambling two-story brick home in a suburb near Bryan, Texas. When he greeted me at the door one evening last October, he was clutching a thin paperback with the skeleton of a seahorse on its cover, a primer on natural selection penned by famed evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr. We sat down at his dining table, which was piled high with three-ring binders, and his wife, Nancy, brought us ice water in cut-crystal glasses with matching coasters. Then McLeroy cracked the book open. The margins were littered with stars, exclamation points, and hundreds of yellow Post-its that were brimming with notes scrawled in a microscopic hand. With childlike glee, McLeroy flipped through the pages and explained what he saw as the gaping holes in Darwin’s theory. “I don’t care what the educational political lobby and their allies on the left say,” he declared at one point. “Evolution is hooey.” This bled into a rant about American history. “The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation,” McLeroy said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis. “But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”

Views like these are relatively common in East Texas, a region that prides itself on being the buckle of the Bible Belt. But McLeroy is no ordinary citizen. The jovial creationist sits on the Texas State Board of Education, where he is one of the leaders of an activist bloc that holds enormous sway over the body’s decisions. As the state goes through the once-in-a-decade process of rewriting the standards for its textbooks, the faction is using its clout to infuse them with ultraconservative ideals. Among other things, they aim to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy, bring global-warming denial into science class, and downplay the contributions of the civil rights movement.

McLeroy is not the only one to watch out for. I'll let you read the whole thing yourself, and just suggest you be on the lookout for the names Bill Ames, Peter Marshall, and David Barton. Because sadly, yes, it is possible to be even more of a wingnut than Don McLeroy, and still hold a position of significant political power.

TimesSelect, v2.0?

Daily Intel headline:

New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers

No, I have no idea why they italicized it like that, either, and though they do it again in the article, it's otherwise worth reading for the presentation of the various pro and con lines of thought.

(Before you panic, it's not exactly going to start tomorrow.)

I can't at all fault the NYT for wanting to get paid for their work. I will say that I'm sad that they can't stick it out and see if online advertising eventually becomes sufficiently lucrative to keep site access free. I have a feeling that after enough other papers go belly-up, and/or the bulk of the readership moves away from print for whatever reason, those print ad dollars will have to find some place else to go. But, I can understand that it would probably take near-bottomless pockets to hang in there until that happens.

The bigger worry, both as a fan of the NYT and as a concerned citizen, is that not all that many people will be willing to pay, and will start getting more of their news from other sites that stay free. Not that the NYT is unquestionably the best news source, forever, but practically speaking, there aren't a whole lot of others who even come close. I suppose if all the good, serious news sites start charging at the same time, that would alleviate the problem somewhat, but it doesn't take too much indulging in cynicism to think that if all real news sites cost money, we're really going to be aggravating the tendency of people to get all of their information from one channel at best, and from chain emails, more likely.

I mean, how do you even debunk, say, the rumor that Trig is not actually Sarah Palin's baby unless you can link to a credible site that everyone can access?

(h/t: KK, via email)

Advice from a Cute Bunny

This jabs me in more than one way:


(h/t: KK, via email)

We Are Not Amused

(But nor are we surprised.)

"Speechless," tweets pourmecoffee, about this story of "[c]oded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ … inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company …"

I'm going to place this one squarely in the shocked-shocked category, with the extra dry pronunciation, but you know what? Stop doing that, Trijicon. Your Bronze Age superstitions are making other Bronze Age people even more angry with us, to absolutely no purpose.


Mixed Feelings

I see Thomas Friedman agrees with at least one of my sentiments.

Additional comfort: this column of his is on the NYT's "most emailed" list. I'll just pretend it was driven by the last two paragraphs.

In Which I Channel My Inner Amazon-Style Automated Recommendation System

If you liked "You Suck At Photoshop" …

you might also like

… "70-Minute Video Review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace."


As Robert Farley says:

I don't really understand how a 70 minute review of a terrible movie could be incomparably awesome, but there you go.

Give it a shot. The first 10-minute segment is good, the second is where it really starts getting hilariously weird.

(Okay, I have not actually read this book watched all of it yet. But I will.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Paul Campos's fine post reflecting on the Underpants Bomber and the ensuing bed-wetting is a couple of weeks old, but it is still quite applicable, since to all appearances and if the wingnuts have their way, we'll be in the War on Terra Foreva.

It may be futile to imagine that a large enough chunk of the American people, let alone our politicians, will ever get to the point where we stop falling for the most obvious tactics of a few "religious" lunatics, but what the hell, has to start somewhere. So: Don't be scared. That's how they win. Pass it down.

Another Sign?

You know I love to collect these!

Paul Campos labels this post "eschatology" because he's a fancy college professor or something, but "that hypocrisy is another reason why so many Americans are quite disgusted with the political games that are played, not only on both sides of the aisle, but in this case, on the left wing" …oh, wait. That's another post, by SEK.

Oh, and for more on the ominous (liberal) underpinnings of Google suggest, see Tintin.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another One From The 'House

Pardon me while I continue to try to catch up on my favorite blogs after a few weeks away from the 'sphere, which means that I will probably be linking to progressively older posts for the next day or nineteen, but anyway, here's a passage from Mr. Riley that is just wonderful. No one reminds us what life under St. Ronald was really like better than he.

Y'know, the three great non-magical accomplishments of the Reagan administration were 1) bringing the fusty Savings & Loan industry into the 20th century; 2) solving the open revolt of the meat industry over stricter health and labeling laws--which it had met at that point by the simple expedient of thinking up new names for every cut of beef in existence so they weren't covered by the new regs--by cutting the number of food inspectors in half, putting representatives of the Slaughter industry in charge of what was left, and down-shifting the standards for beef grades, so that overnight "Choice" became "Prime", "Good" became "Choice", "Standard" became "Good" (which was renamed "Select"), and "Roadkill" became "Would you like Fries with that?". Reagan's first head of the USDA Food Marketing and Inspection Service was the Vice-President of the National Cattleman's Association. His second was the President. You can look this sort of shit up. The USDA then instituted something called the Streamlined Inspection System for Cattle (SIS-C), which efficiently replaced all those missing inspectors with the slaughterhouse employees themselves, on the grounds that they were already there anyway. If you can do this sort of thing and keep a straight face, or, better yet, one with a genial, more-or-less Out Of It smile on it, they name airports after you.

Keeping count, were you, my sweet little anal-retentive-obsessive? Ah, you're someone after my own heart. Of course there is a "3)," and you may see it by continuing to read "Of Economics And Morality. Ha-ha, Just Kiddin'."

But really, the post is actually mostly about cable teevee, by which I mean it is still good history, but also more immediately relevant to today.

Mecca of Taste

Y'know, I lived in Los Angeles for a decade, and though I started out with the East Coaster's instinctive distaste for everything about it, I did quickly grow to love it. And one of its charms was the wacky ideas you always encountered. However, "A Gangland Bus Tour, With Lunch and a Waiver" takes it just a little too far.

Looks like they did have at least moment of awareness, though:

... after careful consideration, it was decided not to have residents shoot water guns at the bus and sell “I Got Shot in South Central” T-shirts.

Supposedly, the money made from selling tickets will go to good causes, and the organizer of the project apparently has some street cred.

But still.

(h/t: KK)

What Can Brown Do For You?

They tell me one of Ronald Reagan's image people always dressed him in that color suit, because it suggested trustworthiness. Sadly, it seemed to work for all too long. But anyway, I never really bought it. Until now. I think I finally understand what they meant.


And yeah, following up from the last post, I think the penny just dropped about the meaning of that blog's name. I may be slow, but I get there eventually.

Way Late, But So What

Still! coming across great Halloween costumes. Also, college football is over (?). Apart from those, I don't know who Tim Tebow is, beyond what TBogg tells me, but I think this thing he stole from Deadspin (who stole it from Holy Taco, etc.) might be my favorite sports picture of 2009.

Tim Tebow costume(embiggen)

[Update 2011-12-11 13:30] Fixed Holy Taco link.

Oh, My

Palinese appears to be spreading. I was Googling to double-check an idiom used last post and happened to notice an entry posted by a blogger who goes by the handle Conservative Beach Girl.

Okay, I admit. I clicked over to see if there was a profile pic. And I was punished for being a perv when I saw the tagline under the blog's title:

Conservative Beach Girl is speech protected in accordance with the Constitution of the United States of America. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact" - Justice Robert H. Jackson, 1949. Our representative republic based on our U.S. Constitution has many wolves slashing at our heels and hearts. Enemies within and enemies without; we must take them at their word, even as they dissemble at every turn to advance their cause to destroy our way of life and end our freedoms.


As the old Irishman never said, America is a land of two political viewpoints, separated by a common language.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Villager Taken To Woodshed

Doghouse Riley delivers a righteous beatdown to Michael Sherer, who, for reasons passing understanding because he is a Villager, is unable to bring himself to speak the truth about the latest "contributor" to Fox "News."

Also ...

... PZ Myers recently had an epiphany, and now believes the US should have a state religion!!!


Sadly ...

... the life of a New Atheist rock star is not all fast cars, loose women, and mountains of free blow. PZ has a sad.

(And make sure you follow the "young cool groovy" link when you get there.)



"Cognitive infiltration" will very soon become the new "chemtrails."

You have been warned.


Echo Chamber Watch

You might recall that I noted the denial of ("liberal") media access to the big (as in ticket price, at least) teabagger convention. Here's a bit of follow-up, from Steve Benen:

Yesterday, Tea Party Nation announced the lucky few who'll be able to cover the festivities. It's quite a collection: Fox News,,, the Wall Street Journal, and WorldNetDaily.

Steve notes in an update that it looks like none of the WSJ news people will be attending.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today's Edition of "Lying or Stupid?"

Republican Scott Brown, who is running for Senate against Martha Coakley in Massachusetts …

… claimed that he was unfamiliar with the “Tea Party movement,” when asked by a reporter.

If he's telling the truth (odds approx. 1,000,000,000:1 against), then he is an infiltrator from the planet Neptune. OMG, WAIT. HAS ANYONE SEEN HIS BIRF CIRTIFIKIT???1?

But seriously. See what I meant about the alternative being worse, surly liberals?


Hey, People of Massachusetts ...

... listen up:

(alt. video link)

And that goes double for you whiny liberals who haven't gotten every last thing you've wanted in the past year. If nothing else, remember this: the alternative is far worse. So this coming Tuesday, get out there and vote for Martha Coakley. And before that, call a few friends and tell them to do so, too.

Thank you.

(h/t: Jim Newell)


[Added] More on this from Gail Collins.

The Latest from the Newest Fox News Hire!

Oh yes she did! She said "all of them" again!

Her understanding of American history would make the most gullible fourth grader in Mrs. Cleaver's class start shooting heroin out of cynicism.

As with the clip I saw yesterday of the O'Reilly "interview," intentional or not, both BillO and Beck effectively just kept handing her rope. (From now on, they are part of The Gotcha Liberal Media.)

Hard to believe someone could strike out twice in a row in slow-pitch softball, but this actually happened.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hitchens on "Atheists in Foxholes"

Or, more precisely, the problem of Christianists in the US armed forces. A good read, especially if you have not been made aware of this worrisome trend.


The Schisms Will Continue Until Purity Improves

This bit of comedy from Steve Benen is worth a look. Apparently. it's not just teabaggers vs. the GOP establishment (cf.); it's also teabagger vs. teabagger!

The latest kerfuffle concerns the alleged lack of "authenticity" concerning a big teabagger event featuring none other than St. Sarah of Wasilla. Who will be getting $100,000 to show up. Which means tickets for the event now cost more than $500.

I'm reminded of Taitzers vs. Bergians. (?)

[Added] Also, unsurprisingly, the LIEBRUL media is not invited to attend, most particularly when Palin speaks.

[Added2] TPM's Zachary Roth tells Rachel Maddow about some of the backstory. A worthwhile six-minute vid. (If you're a political junkie, I mean.)


Monday, January 11, 2010

Outbreak of Common Sense in New Jersey

The really amazing part of the story is that not only is the outgoing Democratic governor going to sign the bill, the incoming Republican governor "reiterated his support"* for the idea.

Bong-a-thon at Bob's house, next week!


* They've since updated the story and this phrase no longer appears, although it still sounds like he was only against some of the details of the particular bill.

A Coup Against Michael Steele?

Led by a guy who just REJOINED a whites-only country club he "resigned" from last time he was trying to grab control of the RNC???

It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate link to Jim Newell.

"Um, Pathetic"

Hendrik Hertzberg on left-wing opposition to health insurance and health care reform.

He Forgot "Bow-tied Twerp," ...

... but other than that, I'd say Jim Newell gets Tucker Carlson’s new Daily Caller web site about right when he characterizes it as the “Reason magazine of Huffington Posts.”

(Previously. Also, too.)

That Was Fast

Good thing I added the parenthetical qualifier to yesterday's post title, huh? From Media Decoder:

Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska has signed on as a contributor to the Fox News Channel.

The post breaking this goes onto say a formal announcement could come "as early as this afternoon."


[Added] Heh. The top result from Google News about this, at this moment, is a story about the formal announcement, in the NY Daily News. Along with the story is a poll asking the question, "Are you more likely to watch Fox News now that Palin will be contributing? So far, the answer, "Yes, she's great" is running at a mere 100%. (I guess my vote was not counted.)

[Added2] Nice bit of honesty and context provided in the last line of the NYDN's piece:

Palin joins an on-air team that also includes former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hosts a weekend show, and Fox News analysts Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove.

Further comment would be superfluous.


Resist Homogenization!

There are probably more important things to worry about, but I can't help but be put off by the news that Heineken is going to buy the beer branch of the Mexican company that makes Dos Equis.

Support your local microbrewery!

Let's Start Pushing

I realize that this is probably at best a faint hope, but I am going to recommend Thomas Geoghegan's op-ed arguing against the filibuster and urge you all to pass it along. Almost certainly, we're not going to see any action on this any time soon, but we're going to have to deal with this eventually. The stakes are high. As Geoghegan reminds us:

Forty-one senators from our 21 smallest states — just over 10 percent of our population — can block bills dealing not just with health care but with global warming and hazards that threaten the whole planet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Least Surprising News of the Year (So Far)

We had to know this was coming after the "news" broke yesterday:

They'll do anything, anything to hinder progress, won't they?

And I don't need to link to the eleventy-kabillion times that some Republican said something about Obama's Negritude, and we were all instructed that LIBRULS SHOULD NOT PLAY THE RACE CARD!!!1!, amirite?

Analogy of the Day

H. Allen Orr reviews Bob Wright's book, The Evolution of God, and captures perfectly the problem I have with Bob's beliefs concerning the apparent directionality of human moral behavior (emph. added):

Although Wright offers these ideas tentatively, it's hard to see how they're supposed to work. He has offered a materialist account of moral progress. If that account succeeds (and he thinks it does), it provides evidence neither for nor against anything transcendent. Indeed Wright's use of the word "transcendent" seems gratuitous. Consider an analogy that has little or nothing to do with morality. Economists argue that the non-zero-sum game of trade—i.e., exchange in which both sides benefit—gives rise to a direction in history: the expansion of trade and the growth of wealth. But no one is tempted to conclude that this directionality suggests a higher purpose. The invisible hand is a metaphor, not a transcendent appendage.

The whole review is well worth reading. Excerpts of Bob's book, also worth reading, are available here.

(h/t: Francoamerican)

Epigraph of the Day

Before launching into Chapter 1 of The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences, Herbert Gintis attributes the following to "Anonymous." Having read the Preface, I'll bet a dollar he said it himself.

People are not logical. They are psychological.

Hat tip to claymisher, who has also directed me to watch a video of Gintis delivering the lecture "Five Principles for the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Great News ...

... for those of us who look forward all week to Alterman's principal correspondent on Slacker Fridays: Charlie Pierce has a new blog!

Sample line from a critique of a thumbsucker on "Baseball Exceptionalism" by Diana Schlub or whatever her name is ("Bats Right, Throws Right, Thinks Badly, Writes Worse"):

Ask a conservative for directions to the mall, and you will get one of two answers: a) the Negro family is imperiled, or b) tax cuts! So it is here.

(h/t: graz, via PM)

Does This Word Redundantly Say The Same Thing Twice?

I've never seen this one before: sempiternal.

It means "seemingly everlasting," and if Wiktionary's etymology is to be believed, it's …

… from Latin sempiternus, a contraction of semperæternus, from semper (“always”) + æternus (“eternal”).

Always eternal? As opposed to, say, eternal for a fleeting moment? No wonder the Roman Empire collapsed.

Anyway, you'll be unsurprised to hear I saw it referring to Sen. Robert Byrd.

Friday, January 08, 2010

No Fun League

Please, NYT blurb writer, assure me you're being tongue in cheek here …

… and not just doing that annoying SCLM "raising questions" thing on behalf of your corporate masters.

I did not dare to click the link myself. Because I remember when I used to like watching football.

Oh No He Di'n't of the Day All Time

Rudy 9iu11ani goes full metal Perino (emph. added):

What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama.


Kill Me Now Five Minutes Ago

Uh ... six "words:" Bill Kristol. Liz Cheney. 24. Obama.

No, wait. Three more: Made. For. YouTube.

Why is what wingnuts think will be "hip" always just ... so wrong?


Thursday, January 07, 2010


Shoutout to Gail Collins ...

... for her non-Villager mentality:

Two Democratic senators quitting is seen as a terrible portent for 2010. (“Democrats’ Black Tuesday,” said a headline on MSNBC.) That seems a tad overblown given the fact that six Republican senators already have announced their retirements.

From "Oh, Byron, We Hardly Knew Ye."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

[Insert Obligatory Warning to the Easily Offended Here]


I was so depressed last night I called the 1-800 Suicide Lifeline number ...

Got a freakin' call center in Pakistan

I told them I was suicidal...

They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

(h/t: TC, via email)

A Threat

Attention, family and friends: Be nice to me this year, or come next Christmas, you might find yourself opening one of these.

A Good Piece on China

Christopher Hayes's medium-length article, "The Great Leap," is well worth a look, if you haven't seen it already. (It was published 22 December 2009.) It's a consideration of China's ability to sustain its economic growth, the government's ability to stay in power by keeping the people happy, and the chances for social progress for the bulk of the population.

As Chris makes clear, he had trouble talking to anyone but Party officials for the article, something worth keeping in mind as you're reading. But, as he notes, the elites do have an enormous amount of power in China, and it's not useless to learn a bit about how they see things. Running through, subtly, are some hints of comparison to the path down which the US is traveling.

(h/t: Ross and Reihan, whose Bloggingheads diavlog posted today was considerably less horrible than you might imagine.)


Following up on the earlier post related to airport "security" …

I passed along the delightful "Take Off Your Shoes, and Is the Parrot Loaded?" article to my forum friend and African Grey owner Wonderment, teasingly asking if he had a gig at the NYT. His reply is too good not to repost (you should read the article first):

Ha! That article gives a whole new meaning to "Spread 'em."

But no, I'm not Joe Sharkey. My baby is a DNA-tested male, doesn't know the "eagle" trick (or any other trick), and would likely have bit the inspector's fingers off or delayed the flight for 48 hours while basking in police-state attention and gazing nevermore-esquely at his fellow flyers.

I do think Joe should teach Rosie to scream "Allah hu akhbar" at airports in order to prove to one and all that Islam is a religion of peace.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

All Hail Crowdsourcing!

My only worry is that some guy at Kabuki Central TSA is going to take this seriously:

Mads Oyen, a policy specialist at Unicef in New York, suggested removing from a plane any specific seat that had been used by a would-be terrorist. “If he used, say, 36E, remove that seat. Then this cannot be tried again,” Mr. Oyen wrote.

(From "Take Off Your Shoes, and Is the Parrot Loaded?")

I will be saying "36E! 36E!" annoyingly frequently in the coming days. Because, well, you probably already heard this one …

[Afterthought] Maybe I'd better not. Some people might get the wrong idea …

Because You Need A New Feed To Read

Sean Carroll tweets:

NPR has a new science/culture blog, "13.7." That's one-billionth the number of years since the Big Bang!

Cal Tech is lousy with numerologists, evidently.

No, seriously. Go see 13.7.

"Hell On Earth" Doesn't Even Come Close

Weigel tweets:

Tweet about Tucker Carlson

(Here is where his link points.)

In Which I Snicker Like Muttley

Sometimes It Pays To Read To The End Department … 

Here's the first line of a CNN post on the We're Having A Really Big Tizzy Thingy Because We Hate Our Marxist Kenyan Overlord Who's Just Like Hitler, Also, Too, event that teabaggers claim to be staging:

Some Tea Party activists from across the country are planning a 'national strike' on January 20, the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's inauguration.

And here's the last:

CNN reached out to a number of national Tea Party organizations. While some were aware of the planned strike and some not informed, none said they were going to actively take part in the event.


2022-08-25 Video no longer available. Sorry.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Dave Weigel)


P.S. Came across this interesting (to cartoon nerds, at least) bit of history while trying to remember Muttley's name.

Pr()n! Erotica! Art! Whatever! Kudos!

HuffPo has a short slideshow that they swiped from V magazine of "Nude And Clothed Plus-Size Models." They're pretty hawt, which among other things means they're still considerably more svelte than most non-coastal non-elite Americans, but at least they look like they've had something to eat in the past week besides three M&M's and ipecac syrup, so, hurrah.

Mildly NSFW.

Yes. All reporters should start describing Newt with this lead-in.

Since "disgraced" did not seem to catch on (probably because the media is too liberal), let us all adopt the Juli Weiner formulation:

Rejected minor Sorkin character Newt Gingrich …

Bonus for clicking Juli's link: picture of a polar bear cub! Would have been better if at the bottom, we saw it full-grown, messily devouring the other creature in the picture, but, well, can't have everything.