Friday, April 30, 2010

Razing Arizona

Sheesh. Forget about secession of these dumb hick states. How about we expel them?

Not content with passing a law that empowers the police to harass anyone whose skin is deemed insufficiently white, Arizona Republicans have now doubled trebled down on the stupid, looking to pass a law that would ban ethnic studies in any school that receives state funding and another that would ban teachers with "accents" from teaching kids for whom English isn't a first language. (Would this include Sarah Palin, one wonders?)

(h/t: Ken Layne)


This thinly-veiled racism has me too discouraged to say much at this point, so I'll steer you to Timothy Egan's latest -- "Desert Derangement Syndrome" -- which is righteous.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deep Thought

I wonder how many of the people eagerly planning to participate in "Draw Mohammed Day" were OUTRAGED when PZ Myers "desecrated" a wafer of unleavened bread.


Aw, hell. You're just discovering that now?

Back in the days when I pounded keyboards for a living, we code monkeys had a saying: Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.

Nice to see the Pentagon and the NYT are finally waking up to the threat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

See what you're missing by reading the liberally-biased Wikipedia?

On today's front page of Conservapedia, "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia:"

Also noted on the front page: "Conservative Bible Project" now complete!!!1!

The Conservative Bible Project is a project utilizing the "best of the public" to render God's word into modern English without liberal translation distortions.[1]

And as a further measure of the utter cluelessness of these people, they note with pride:

A Colbert Report interview featured this project.[2]



Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Maybe it's just how I've been socialized, but my first reaction to this headline …

…was something other than the writer probably intended.

The article does say that the robot's name is "Robonaut 2, or R2 for short." Yeah, like that is supposed to assuage our fears.

Friday, April 09, 2010

From the annals of How The Irish Saved Civilization

And a member of Congress, no less!

Representative Patrick Murphy (D-Pennsylvania) is the chief House whip working to round up votes to repeal the military's anti-gay "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. According to Wikipedia,* he is the first Iraq War veteran to serve in Congress. He retired with the rank of Captain, and won a Bronze Star.

Read this short NYT profile about him, for a nice shot of encouragement. For more info, see his official Congressional site's page on repealing DADT.


* Which also tells me that he was the only member of Congress to vote against a resolution honoring the New York Giants. Eh, he's from Pennsylvania, ergo an Eagles fan. No one's perfect.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Line of the Day: 2010-04-08

Are you disgruntled with the pace of change under the Obama Administration and the timid, small-bore steps that characterize progress in the Democratic Congress? Thinking about curtailing donations, not showing up to volunteer for regional candidates or even sitting out the 2010 midterm elections because the party doesn’t fully reflect your values? This is the alternative.
    -- Betty Cracker

This being this:

Also, Kevin K. wins the Internet for his three-word description of the doings in Minneapolis.

An ACORN Update, For the Record

Here is another sad illustration of the old saying, to the point of being in a lot of ways too late, but let's give it a listen anyway. Following is a report from Rachel Maddow, building on unedited tape released by the California Attorney General, showing just how much of a dishonest smear job was done on a highly worthwhile organization, that is now dead.

(alt. video link)

Those two pieces of lying scum and the amplification of Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, and hate radio exacted a heavy cost -- on who knows how many poor people -- and none of them will be held accountable for their lies.

(h/t: listener)

And now, here it is: Your Moment of Zen

Seen emblazoned on a piece of clothing in Buddhist temple gift shop: "My Parents Went to China and Found Enlightenment and All I Got Was This Lao-tze T-Shirt"

(h/t: listener)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Jon Stewart practically loses his voice over the Sainted One's recent claim:

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Rachel Slajda/TPM)

"... the coolest brown dwarf ever discovered."

In more ways than one.

And no, this is not a story about an Oompa-Loompa. It is a report on a failed state star, wandering alone through space (*sniff*), but happily! right in our neighborhood, as interstellar distances go.

(h/t: Thoreau | x-posted)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Republican Senator Explains Why Parting Your Hair Down The Middle Should Cease Before You're Middle-Aged

Tom CoburnCoburn: A divider, not a uniter.
And that's from his official portrait, y'all.

Oh, no, wait. We started this post to pass along the news from TPM that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) went to a "townhall meeting" and told those in attendance that they shouldn't believe everything they hear on Fox News, that they should listen to other news sources, and that Nancy Pelosi is actually a nice person.


Y'know, when you've got a guy who's on the record as saying he believes doctors who perform abortions should be executed and he's telling you to lighten up … just sayin', teabaggers. Just sayin'.


[Added] As your Wonkette might say, the wingnuts are already cold going nuts on the Twitter; e.g.:

a wingnut tweets

Finally, an upside to the whole "Republicans are the party of lesbian bondage nightclubs" thing

Reports The Hill (via):

RNC bondage club controversy convinces porn star to become Republican

The porn star who has toyed with a run against the Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced today that she is becoming a Republican.

Stormy Daniels has been considering a (joke?) campaign ever since Vitter was linked to the "D.C. madam" in in 2007. But back then, she was a Democrat.

Now that the RNC has patronized a lesbian bondage themed club in Hollywood, Daniels says the GOP is the party for her.


Though Daniels said she has been a lifelong Democrat, she "cannot help but recognize that over time my libertarian values regarding both money and sex and the legal use of one for the other is now best espoused by the Republican Party.”

(Previously in Stormy political news ...)


Speaking as a former stockboy ...

... I salute this well-organized shelving of products. Click it to big it:

Sean Hannity, properly filed

(Pic. from Gawker, via The Political Carnival)

Did Obama Surrender to Everybody, Or Did He Sign a Suicide Pact?

If you heard what those of us in the reality-based community would call "the welcome news," you probably thought, "Hmmm, okay. Another good, if incremental, step by President Obama in reducing the global threat from nuclear weapons."

If you belong to a different community, however, you promptly wet the bed.

Important CNN Pundit The GHEMRotRSTF ("Erick Erickson") headlines his post, "Obama’s Dangerous Game Continues," begins by linking back to four (4!) of his earlier posts howling about how the Seekrit Muslin-in-Chief is determined to surrender to everyone, goes on to ask, "How many Americans are going to die because of the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of our national security?," continues with "capitulation and waving a white flag for our enemies," "to the left of Jimmy Carter," "It is one thing to have a wimp in office. It is another thing to admit it.," and then turns into a sputterfest of repetition:

This policy is the coming home of the sixties radical left agenda of pacification in the face of our enemies and capitulation of a strong America. Bill Ayers is a happy man today. His man in the White House is doing for him what he never could himself.

How many Americans will get killed because of this administration’s incompetence or intentional capitulation of our national security?

Not content with that, he posts again.

One more thought about Obama’s new nuclear policy

Doesn’t this new nuke policy, which puts Obama even to the left of Carter, …

Yeah, I told you he likes to repeat himself.

... just mean every regime out there is going to be rushing out to weaponize small pox?

After all, if they can take out a million of us with a bug or chemical instead of investing all the time, talent, and treasure into a nuclear weapons infrastructure *AND* they won’t in turn get nuked if they just use small pox, why the hell not?

This is truly a debt relief program for third world rogue nations.

And of course we must briefly check in on Don Surber, who for reasons passing understanding is paid by a major newspaper to write what he does. Here, he features a picture of Obama bowing to the Japanese emperor and his wife (remember that fauxtrage fest from a few months ago?), and then headlines, "Surrenderer-in-chief." It gets stupider from there, and though the lede does not involve Bill Ayers, it does involve Jeremiah Wright.

Elsewhere in Wingnuttia …

Dan Riehl:

ObaMcGovern: Send Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Chemical And Biological Weapons

You're freaking kidding me, right? This, while Putin is in Venezuela making nice with Hugo Chavez? This is our response?

Screw Carter, it's George McGovern time, now. We can't get this weakling out of the WH fast enough.

Jammie Wearing Fool:

Wonderful: Obama Plans to Limit Our National Defense Capability

It really seems as if this regime intends to leave America as weak and defenseless as possible. I've really got to question the motivation here.

The highly appropriately named Scared Monkeys:

Welcome to Obamanation …

What will Obama create a new incentive program for Nukes as he did with cash for clunkers, because that worked so well. Because US national security is so over-rated. As we all know peace through weakness works wonders. Or is it peace through nuance.

What exactly is President Hussein Obama’s motivation here? How dangerous is this President for America? This President is now bordering, actually he has now gone over the line, on doing things intentionally that would weaken and harm the United States.

Obama now wants to revamp American nuclear strategy to substantially limit the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons. Are you serious? So much for National Security and protecting and defending the US Constitution. In the dangerous times we live in, what type of message does it send to the World that the US is weak and looks for appeasement?

And though it borders on nut-picking, there are, believe it or not, still quite a few people who take Pamela Geller seriously, so be advised that they're now thinking this:


Obama says to our enemies, bring it on, we won't fight ya -- leaving us bare naked vulnerable like a virgin slipped a Rohypnol on her first date with a Chicagoland gangsta.

Obama is removing nuclear defense at a time when Iran's devout mullahcracy is building their nuclear arsenal with the global objective of a universal caliphate.

He is leaving America flailing in the hostile wind. Was there ever a more frightful time in American history? Seriously? -- Yes, there were very dangerous periods (Civil War, WW1, WW2), but always the steward of this great nation was a great American, a patriot, a freedom lover, an American. This low life despises this country and the whole idea of the first moral nation in human history.

His cover in this subversive new suicide pact is "making the world a nuclear free zone." Who does this asshat think he's kidding? What despot will ever be disarmed of their power? What evil dictator has ever surrendered that which made him strong? This punk is going to destroy us.

The hustler in the White House is setting us up. This isn't a new strategy, this is surrender. And the New York Times lap dog reporting is pure Walter Duranty.

These are just a few of the wingnuts prominent enough to be noticed by Memeorandum. Thers reminded me that I should have checked there first, and he has selected some more examples for your reading pleasure(?).

This is what we're up against. You know it won't be any different on Fox News or AM radio. In that light, this from Spencer Ackerman's post "It Sure Was A Great Idea To Stay Out Drinking The Night Before The Nuclear Posture Review Was Released," is a highly useful reminder:

Besides, if you read my Friday piece previewing the Nuclear Posture Review, you know all the important provisions. Even the explicit abandonment of a nuclear reprisal for a non-nuclear attack that’s getting all the attention this morning flows effortlessly from a central shift in strategy I reported Friday: recognizing that the nuclear threat against the U.S. is from proliferation, not merely a nuclear-armed enemy. And once you accept that the danger comes from nuclear weapons themselves, as Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association told me, “That would implicitly eliminate from the roles and missions [any] potential use of nuclear weapons to fight a conflict that begins as conventional or to counter chemical or biological forces.”

Now, you might say to yourself: That’s cutting edge thinking for, I guess, 1993. And you’d be right! But this is nuclear-weapons policy. It’s a frigate shipwrecked on a barrier reef made of oil, tar, superglue and sugarless gum from the sidewalk. You have to wage rhetorical battle for years to move it a centimeter. Cable pundits and opposition leaders freak out about anything nuclear, as if recognizing that we’re not ever going to use these weapons unless we’re hit with them first actually erodes our deterrent. I submit the more important deterrent aspect of what the NPR will say comes from its embrace of bolstering conventional forces — what Adm. Mullen has taken to calling “conventional global-strike capability.” That stuff? Oh, we’ll use that.

(Much of the above x-posted, in slightly different form, starting here.)

Let's Go To The Tape!

Following up on the head-exploding post from yesterday, hurrah for TPM, I say.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: marindenver)


[Added] And let's not forget the good book.

Line of the Day: 2010-04-06

Watergate, by the way, did not begin with a tenth-rate burglary. The discovery and publicizing of "Watergate" did. The criminality behind it all probably began when some dewy-limbed girleen refused young Dick's bumbling advances, or some older kids stole his sled, and it was in full force long before Bob Haldeman first maced a Trick-or-Treater.

The above from Easter Bunny Riley, nailing some faith-based WaPo columnist to the cross.

Thanks, Easter Bunny! Bawk, bawk!

Monday, April 05, 2010

SCLM Watch

Bill Scher reams the "paper of typing out wingnut talking points without question record." Headline:

NYT Still Won't Report Obama's Reform Agenda Would Cut Deficit

It's a righteous piece.

Choose Your Next Preznit!

Terrifying thought, isn't it?

Member of Congress

If you know what I mean, and I think you do.1

Above: Republican Senator unhappy with effects
of "male enhancement" supplements he ordered
after clicking link in unsolicited email

The actual story is, if anything, stupider. Headline:

Bunning Blames GOP Blockage Of Unemployment Benefits Extension On Democrats

Message Received, Commander

Tiger's look, today, while facing pretty much every reporter on the planet:

But we know what he was really saying, don't we, my fellow Trekkers?

When he pumps his left fist after his next awesome putt for birdie, we shall have Final Confirmation.

And to think some people wasted all that time worrying about the LHC.

If this doesn't make your head explode ...

... you have a titanium cranium:

‘Maverick’ is a mantle McCain no longer claims; in fact, he now denies he ever was one. ‘I never considered myself a maverick,’ he told me.”


[Added] See also, see also.


Ken Layne has an interesting post up about a new spacecraft -- loosely speaking, an uncrewed or "robot" shuttle -- that is scheduled to launch for the first time next month. Ken's views of NASA, space exploration, etc., are considerably less enthusiastic than my own, but he offers a short cool vid and some fun links.

Also ...

Here is a picture (from Lazy G Ranch) of the (an?) X-37 being towed by a pickup truck, to give you an idea of its size:

Here is a illustration (from Space Gizmo) of it in the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle, to give another sense of scale. This is from an earlier design, when it was planned to be launched from the Shuttle, instead of via rocket from the ground, as is now the case.

And here is an illustration (from the CS Monitor) of what it will look like once Skynet becomes self-aware in orbit.

Click the images to embiggen them.

Oh, and here is your Wikipedia link, also too.

Eat Your Vegetables

As much fun as it is to document wingnuts being wingnutty, sometimes we have to have something besides treats. Here's a place where I feel as though I, at least, could use some more fiber in my diet.

The next big issue to be dealt with by our government appears to be that of financial regulatory reform. Paul Krugman's columns (e.g., e.g.) and his blog are of course good places to start, but I would like something that helps me take the next step toward getting a handle on these matters. I found this Bloggingheads diavlog between Glenn Loury and Ross Levine, both econ professors at Brown University, quite helpful -- Ross is clear without dumbing things down, and Glenn is invaluable in steering the conversation and translating the sticky bits.

It's about 50 minutes long. If you'd prefer to download audio or video rather than stream it here, click the "alt. video link" below. But do give it a shot.

(alt. video link)

[Added] Note to self: I've seen recommendations from a couple of people, including Krugman, that another good source for getting ourselves up to speed is Mike Konczal's blog, Rortybomb.

Does 0 = 1? Or is 0 > 1?

Ben Zimmer's latest On Language column has a note at the end about whether none ought to be viewed as singular or plural. My inner pedant (which, admittedly, is often my entire persona) prefers to think of none as a contraction of not one, so I will say None of us is consistent.

Which is the tip-off, of course. I realized while reading that a familiar phrase would not sound right without the plural form of the following verb: None dare call it treason. Saying None dares call it treason would just sound wrong, even though No one dares sounds fine.

Ah, well. Emerson!, I cry. And now I plan to boldly go about the rest of my day.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

What We're Up Against

Here is a fine piece from Rachel Maddow in which she reviews some of the recent "scandals" so incessantly harped upon by the right-wing noise machine, all of which have turned out to be wildly overblown, if not downright false. Which, sadly, has not prevented them from having had the effects desired by those who pushed them with such fury. As the old saying goes, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

(alt. video link)

Hat tip to commenter listener, whose post calling attention to the above deserves to be reproduced in full:

Let them eat Fake

I'd usually avoid linking in this forum to video from a popular cable news/opinion program, but this 8:50-long calling out by Rachel Maddow of the Republican party's nonstop "bull pucky" campaign is an exception (the segment having been sparked by the recently released California Attorney General's report stating that the charges against ACORN which led to its demise, were partly based upon a willfully fraudulent video). Maddow is not perfect, and sometimes her rah-rah liberalism takes her into territory I'm not entirely comfortable with, but this is Rachel at her finest -- relentlessly marshaling well-researched factual evidence with passion and intensity combined with intellectual rigor.

I'll take the further liberty of reproducing part of my response, since I was thinking of blogging about this as well:

I salute your ear for catching the turn of phrase you used as your post title. Here's another one from that vid that I liked: "the unmooring of politics from facts." On a closely related note: see this post by Steve Benen (via Instaputz) commenting on this article in McClatchy: "Not satisfied with U.S. history, some conservatives rewrite it."

Maybe it's just that I am inherently fourteen years old, ...

... but I think I might have chosen a different modifier for defense in this case:

Vigorous instead, maybe? Oh, wait, could be a problem there, too.

Oxymoron of the Day

From the spam folder, sender's name:

Reputable Viagra Dealers

Saturday, April 03, 2010

"Is Satan a Catholic?"

If you're sensitive to harsh words said about the Catholic Church, don't watch this, the latest from Pat Condell.

(alt. video link)

The NYT Goes For The Moment of Awww

And who can blame them? This picture is currently on the front page. Click it to big it.

Story here. It's about using specially-trained dogs to help veterans with PTSD, and it sounds pretty hopeful.

And damn if Senator Al Franken isn't looking to do the right thing once again.

Math Nerd Porn!

The Fibonacci sequence gone wild!

Kidding aside, this is actually quite beautiful. Use the maximize button, lower right corner of the video frame.

(alt. video link)

More information at Nature by Numbers.

(h/t: Sam Harris)

Oh, I dunno. Sounds like Pres. Karzai is embracing Western values just fine.

Western politicians' values, at least:

A day after he delivered a scorching attack on the West for its conduct in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai telephoned Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday to express surprise that his comments had caused such a stir, administration officials said.

Mr. Karzai, the officials said, told Mrs. Clinton that he had not meant to criticize the United States but rather Western news coverage of Afghanistan. In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Karzai accused the news media …

Non-apology apology? Check. Blaming it all on Teh Media? Check. Seems like the only thing he has left to learn is the past exonerative.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Obama Recession Over, Bush Recovery Beginning

So, how's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?

Stocks post best first quarter gains in more than a decade

Details here. And the jobs picture is starting to look up, too.

This is excellent news for John McCain.

(?, ?, ?)

David Frum on The Colbert Report

Truth in comedy, once again.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Jillian Rayfield/TPM)

Fun With Spell-Checkers

I just typed Netanyahu in a text box on a Web page and Firefox flagged it as a misspelled word. Among the choices for corrects was this: Netzahualcoyotl.

I guess the Balloon Juicers are right.

(Okay, not exactly.)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Inpeach The Muslin For Terrorist-Fist-Jabbing Our Troops!!!1!

Of course this must be blogged!

(embiggen | enhugen)

(previously, previously)

(h/t: Ken Layne | title: sic, sic)

OMG! I got this email about Obama's sinister plans! Forward this to everyone you know!!!1!

No one completely knows how to combat the gullibility of certain people who will believe anything that lands in the Inbox as long as it preys on their fears, but here's something to keep in mind if you're tempted to dismiss the power of this phenomenon out of hand. From Justin Elliott of TPM:

The Detroit Free Press notices that charged Hutaree militia member Tina Stone bemoaned the passage of H.R. 1388 on her Facebook page recently. That bill has been the subject of a false chain email that warns President Obama provided money to settle Hamas members in the United States.

Boy, that ol' H.R. 1388 just keeps on giving, doesn't it? Remember when it was said by certain members of the hand-tightenable threaded fastener community that this bill was designed to enable President Obama to start up the new Hitler Youth? Srsly.