Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sad News ...

... from a selfish perspective, at least. Olivia Judson, the fine biology blogger for the NYT, is going on sabbatical for a year. I wish her all the best, but I wish for myself that she comes back and picks up where she left off.

Her closing column is well worth a read, and if you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I've been recommending her pieces for some time now (e.g., e.g.). You could do a lot worse than to take a stroll through her NYT archives and stop to smell a few of the flowers there.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wonder Woman Has A New Look

Not that I've ever been much of a comic book nerd (though this seems like another in a series, I grant), but I like this, for whatever reason (nothing against Lynda Carter, but maybe because I'm biased against gaudy headbands?):

Wonder Woman's new look

Gotta love the caption that came with the above -- say what you will about the NYT, but they do droll well:

In Issue 600 of her monthly series, Wonder Woman gets a new costume a bit more suitable for crimefighting.

Story here. More pix here: "The Evolution of Wonder Woman."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Needs Moar Catwoman

Bat porn!

Other than that, it's a pretty funny slide show. Page one here: mildly NSFW.

And yes, when you get to slide 11, that's real. (The horror! And don't miss the Adam West quotes here.)

Also, you're welcome.

Unsurprise of the Day

Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, heartily approves of Camille Paglia's op-ed, because why not? Because it is vapid, full of empty wingnut assertions about the poors and the browns, and can be read as a slam of all liberals everywhere, that's why!

Roy Edroso has the shorter.


What part of NO don't you understand?

(From ... and then I found five dollars, a page worth skimming, at least.)

Relax, Thers. She's Just There To Make Chunky and Brooks Look Good By Comparison.

The proprietor of Whiskey Fire simply does not care for this Camille Paglia taking up space on the NYT's op-ed page.

Thers is a man of taste.

(h/t: Roy Edroso's Tumblr)


Note to denizens: Remember, Paglia is one of the two reasons Lyle reads Salon, by his own admission. Never Forget™.

Blogroll Update

Adam Serwer, who has been part of the The American Prospect's groupblog TAPPED for a couple of years now, has been given his own space on that site. I've added it to my blogroll. If you're not familiar with him, you should be. Here's his introductory post for the new digs.

Adam Serwer's blog. Adam Serwer on Twitter.

(h/t: PostBourgie)

Giffy Pop -- as much fun to steal as ...

... oh, forget that.

But this is an oddly compelling image, from one of the masters of the animated GIF, Substance McGravitas. (Arachnophobes and others of the easily creeped-out persuasion should maybe not click that or any of the following links.)

Earlier version here. Earlier earlier version here. Apparently started from an image posted by Jennifer/Saying yes.

[Added] Also, an Orly Taitz GIF!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oh, Yeah. That Thing.

(Updated below)


Eric Cantor is confusedRemember the National Council for a New America?

That big fundraising stunt outreachy "fill the leadership vacuum" with New Ideas™ thing started up by (erstwhile, it must be said) leading Republican and perennial vacuum-head Eric Cantor?

That held that one "pizza summit" that one time, with Willard "Mitt" Romney and Jeb "The Smart One" Bush, in Virginia?

What ever happened to that thing, anyway?

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, has pulled the plug on a national organization that was launched with much fanfare a year ago.

John Murray, a spokesman for Cantor, confirmed a report from the Washington newspaper Roll Call that Cantor's National Council for a New America is "in a suspended state."

Wants to spend more time with its family?

Cantor plans to concentrate his efforts on another project designed to craft a legislative agenda for Republican candidates for Congress this fall, Murray said.

He blamed the demise of the council on "relentless" attacks from Democrats.

Oh, yeah. We never let up on that one. (?) Just ask some other Cantor-drone:

Roll Call reports that the Cantor camp is blaming "liberals" for killing the group:

"It's very simple," said Rob Collins, president of the American Action Network and Cantor's former deputy chief of staff. "The NCNA dominated the national media so effectively that liberals in and out of Congress -- including [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] -- attacked it."

Jesus. Never mind actually believing that. Just try to imagine being able to say it with a straight face. But back to the first article:

The organization also was the target of an ethics complaint, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, claiming Cantor's office had violated House rules regarding funding for political organizations.

Oh ho!

Murray said the complaint has been dismissed.

Of course. That is why they chose to put it in "a suspended state."


Thanks to No More Mister Nice Blog for the reminder, and thanks to Pat Cunningham for the picture.


2010-06-28 01:00

Not sure why this didn't occur to me to supply earlier, but it did occur to me now: because this blog is nothing if it is not Fair and Balanced (this blog is nothing), here is what CREW had to say last July, and here is what they had to say upon Eric Cantor going into a suspended state.


2010-06-28 01:03

... upon Eric Cantor's organization going into a suspended state, I meant. Regret the error.

So, I guess the crush on Mittens is over?

Fat, wingnutty, and stupid is no way to go through life, K-Lo.

K-Lo has a new crush

(h/t: Betty Cracker)

The Odd Confluence of ...

... no. Not "The Odd Confluence of Military History and Poor Marksmanship." That's that other guy who talks about that. Here we are talking about the odd confluence of headlines on Google News.

Click it to big it:

Funny headline

Feeling Kinda Meh About The Democrats Lately?

Via Anne Laurie, here is a fifty-second video illustration of the alternative, come this November:

(alt. video link)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Wonderment pointed to the latest Frank Rich op-ed, which is about the McChrystal affair, etc. It's worth a read, but the nugget that really jumped out at me was this:

Politico theorized that Hastings had pulled off his impertinent coup because he was a freelance journalist rather than a beat reporter, and so could risk “burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.”

That sentence was edited out of the article — in a routine updating, said Politico — after the blogger Andrew Sullivan highlighted it as a devastating indictment of a Washington media elite too cozy with and protective of its sources to report the unvarnished news.

Hmmm ... a major news blog substantively modifying posts without noting that fact? A blog that has been a big part of the shrillness about the recent Weigel/Journolist unpleasantness and its supposed lack of openness and honesty? I am shocked, shocked at the rePubOLITICO's hypocrisy!

All together now ... time for a blogger ethics panel!!!1!

BTW, that first link is to a post by Jay Rosen and is well worth a look. (Secret bonus at the end, too!)


[Added] More on the Politico's irresponsible behavior and their subsequent stonewalling from The Columbia Journalism Review (via Jay).

On a personal note, I am sad to see Tim Grieve carrying water for his new paymasters on this one. I remember when I used to like that guy, a lot. Ah, well. Golden handcuffs catch another, I guess.



Can't Resist

Great moments in conservative journalism

K-Lo posts:

A blog post by K-Lo

K-Lo tweets:

Try not to think about those two things together.

(h/t: Insta and Putz)

Must Resist

I'm awfully tempted to swipe Blue Texan's last line (and probably I will, someday!) but you should read the set-up first, at least this one time.

The title is "Theodore Roosevelt vs. Dr. Helen."

Turning Bachmannia Up Another Notch

Reports Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent:

Bachmann stars in “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger”

Rep. Michele Bachmann appears in a new documentary by Coral Ridge Ministries called “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger.” The film questions “whether socialism is the Bible’s prescription for the underprivileged and assesses socialism’s track record in Venezuela, Cuba and elsewhere.” The film’s creators conclude definitively in the first few minutes that socialism is decidedly anti-Jesus.

The film combines clips from speeches by President Obama and interviews by individuals like Bachmann with images of the Communist Manifesto and of figures like Stalin, Castro, Mao and Hugo Chavez.


Coral Ridge Ministries is a religious right group that has made it a mission to oppose Obama’s policies. The group also raised the ire of Jewish groups for saying Hitler committed the atrocities of the Holocaust because be believed in evolution.

(h/t: Lauri Apple | x-posted)


[Added] Also in the cast of wingnuts: Jay Richards, from the creationist flagship Discovery Institute. "He is also critical of Wikipedia, and recommends his blog readers to avoid it." Okay! So don't click here!

Plus! Nixon hatchet man and Templeton prize winner Chuck Colson! And David Horowitz, for calmness! And Steve Forbes, because Jesus loves the flat tax? Maybe!

But wait, there's more! As a final bonus, to prove that they're totally not racist against our black socialist totalitarian overlord, they also have "Kai Chen: Native of China and former member of the Chinese National Basketball team."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bad Craziness Continues

Following up on the weirdness of my feeling compelled to give a shout-out to Antonin Scalia, it appears that PZ Myers has gone mystical.

Weird headline

This probably works for other instruments, too

From the latest Alchemy Mindworks newsletter:

A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the saxophone, but doesn't.

Crazy Lady Wants To Return Minnesota 6th To Sanity!

Tarryl Clark and parents

I just got an email from someone named Tarryl Clark (above, center), who is apparently not quite this young anymore, and so therefore would like to defeat Michele Bachmann, to serve the sixth district of Minnesota, and the rest of these United States, in Congress. Mostly self-reliant though she may now be, she wants some help (your munnies), so if you'd like to learn more about her and maybe give, here is her campaign website. Here is an article she has posted on HuffPo, "Accountability for BP -- and for Michele Bachmann," also too.

I don't know enough about her to endorse yet, obvs., although anyone who is part of the DFH DFL Party and opposed to Michele Bachmann has at least two good things going for her.

NB: I actually have no reason to think she's crazy, especially given these two reasons. It's just when you type Minnesota 6th, that other word seems to appear of its own accord.

Line of the Day: 2010-06-25: A Strange Day Indeed

Because I am going to quote, with approval, Antonin Scalia:

There are laws against threats and intimidation; and harsh criticism, short of unlawful action, is a price our people have traditionally been willing to pay for self-governance. Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously (McIntyre) and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.

Quote from Adam B of the GOS. Full text of opinion here. I recommend you start with Instaputz for context.

Simon Singh Wins! (News To Me, Anyway)

A little more than a year ago, we noted the case of Simon Singh, a British journalist who had some unflattering things to say about the crackpottery being espoused by certain chiropractors. The British Chiropractic Association sued him for libel. Loosely speaking: UK law being what it is, Singh was forced to prove himself innocent of the charge (where in the US, the plaintiff has to prove guilt).

Turns out he finally won, on appeal, although it cost him £200,000 to do so.

Here's a 1 April 2010 BBC article on this happy result. Here's another from the BBC, datelined two weeks later, about the BCA dropping their suit. At that bottom of this page, there are links to a bunch more articles. The first of that list points to this blog post by Simon Singh himself, reflecting on his victory.

Finally, here's the Wikipedia entry, if you want a quick sketch of the whole mess.

Sorry for the tardiness, but I thought it was worth noting, late as it is.

(h/t: Don McArthur, originally here, now a broken page(?))

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aw, Jesus. Not Huckabee Again.

I haven't read the New Yorker piece on the Huckster yet, because just thinking of doing so stirs up all the stomach acid generated by the endless reacharounds given to him by the so-called liberal media back in ought-seven and ought-eight.

However, over at Rumproast, marindenver makes a good point about the know thine enemy aspect. (I know this is a good point, because I often make it myself, when trying to get people to pay attention to other wingnuts.)

I'm not up for reading it just yet, but I have read her post reacting to it, and I can highly recommend that.

Mike Huckabee and family

(pic. source)

“This is a victory for the Internet and for the people who use it”

So says Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel. Why does he say this?

In a major victory for Google in its battle with media companies, a federal judge in New York on Wednesday threw out Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google’s YouTube, the No. 1 Internet video-sharing site.

(alt. video link)

The ruling in the closely watched case could have major implications for the scores of Internet sites, like YouTube and Facebook, that are largely built with content uploaded by their users.

The judge granted Google’s motion for summary judgment, saying the company was shielded from Viacom’s copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Those provisions generally protect a Web site from liability for copyrighted material uploaded by its users as long as the operator of the site takes down the material when notified by its rightful owner that it was uploaded without permission.

Viacom, which sued Google in 2007 and accused it of copyright infringement after tens of thousands of Viacom videos were uploaded to the site, had argued that Google was not entitled to those protections because it had deliberately turned a blind eye and profited from rampant piracy on YouTube.

But Judge Louis L. Stanton of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York sided with Google, saying that while the company certainly knew that copyrighted material had been uploaded to its site, it did not know which clips had been uploaded with permission and which had not.

Google and groups supporting Internet companies hailed the decision, saying it would protect not only YouTube but also other sites that host user-generated content.


Forcing companies like Google to police every video uploaded to their sites “would contravene the structure and operation of the D.M.C.A.,” Judge Stanton wrote, using the shorthand for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“The present case shows that the D.M.C.A. notification regime works efficiently: when Viacom over a period of months accumulated some 100,000 videos and then sent a mass take-down notice on February 2, 2007, by the next business day YouTube had removed virtually all of them,” Judge Stanton wrote.

(alt. video link)

Of course Viacom will appeal this ruling and they will fight about it some more in another court. But I like Judge Stanton's attitude, and I like this step. This is a good day.

Let us all express our pleasure.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Ryan Tate)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Rove

Karl Rove thumbing his noseFollowing up from last post, Jim Newell passes along a report saying that out of that massive amount of money Turd Blossom, Inc., raised last month (two hundred (200) whole dollars):

It spent $76,000 in May, primarily on legal fees and salaries, bringing its total spending to $140,000.

Apparently, Bushian fiscal thinking is still alive and well, somewhere!

(pic. source)

Does this mean I can stop worrying about Karl Rove's secret new slush fund?

Or does it mean I should worry a whole lot more??? Because clearly ol' Turd Blossom has learned how to hide the munnies, maybe!

Karl Rove's new fundraising group pledged to raise $52 million to spend on Republican candidates in November. Based on last month's tally, it may take them a little longer to reach their goal -- 21,667 years, to be precise.

Rove's group raised only $200 last month,according to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service. The group, a 527 organization set up by Rove and Ed Gillespie, is called "American Crossroads." But now it would seem American Crossroads is at, well, a crossroads.

(h/t: Josh Fruhlinger | x-posted)

Derb shows why (like Hitch?) he is ...

... impossible to hate completely.

Curmudgeonry, the Golden Age   [John Derbyshire]

Me, writing in the Wall Street Journal the other day: “Mid-20th-century England was rich with curmudgeons…”

The June 28 New Yorker, writing about Christopher Hitchens (p. 20): “His father, whom the family called the Commander, was an officer in the Royal Navy. He wasn’t much of a talker. One morning, Hitchens, age eight [so this would be 1957-8 — JD], tottered downstairs in his jammies to find the Commander baking [sic — JD] eggs in the kitchen. Hitchens asked his father if he could join him for breakfast. ‘Bloody Hell,’ the Commander said. ‘It’ll be family prayers next.’”

There were giants in those days.

I'm also gonna give him credit, without evidence, that the sic was a pun.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Matt Taibbi: Back in the Saddle (Where He Belongs!)

While looking at Rolling Stone's site for McChrystal news (vide), I noticed that Matt Taibbi is back to blogging there.

In his latest post as of this moment, he lets us know he's back from vacation/honeymoon, planning to give the financial beat a rest and take a look at BP instead, and also that he has started Twittering. Interestingly enough, he is using an account that used to be a fake Matt Taibbi Twitter account. Soooo .... post-modern(?).


Minor Irritations

I would now say that I have a better than even money chance on any given web page of seeing a Stop Teh Brown Bailout!!!1! ad. Just got one across the bottom of a YouTube video, fercrissake.

Consequently, I am now at the point I get to whenever I get saturation-bombed by any commercial: be against what's being pitched without knowing anything about it.

I wonder if this was their intent? Who is "their," come to that?

*sigh* <clickety clickety> … ding … <click> … <scroll, scroll, scroll> …

Imagine my surprise.

The fine print: FedEx is behind it all

And to think I used to have mild positive feelings about that company.

Could be worse, I suppose. They could change their ads to feature what lately appears to be the only model allowed on the Internet ever.

In conclusion, this only strengthens my suspicion.

I Shoulda Known

There's a Wikipedia page for that!

(I have never before heard the word Manhattanhenge, but pretty much anything coined by N deG T is all right by me.)

(h/t: Allan Brauer, in Rumproast comments)

Summer Solstice Follow-Up

From comments in the Roastpost I mentioned earlier, Mrs. Polly, FTW:

Forgive me if I can’t enter into the spirit of that exquisite picture, but every solstice, people keep trying to stand me up on end. Longest day doesn’t begin to describe it.

Line of the Day: 2010-06-22

Tweeteth pourmecoffee:

Even if AZ completes the danged fence, the Diamondbacks will hit over it as long as AJ Burnett is pitching.

Obama is Just Like Bush!!!1! No, wait!

It's not time for a political post, it's time for a geek post!

New York City is just like Stonehenge! Only, on different days!

Anyway, Happy Summer Solstice to you, too, StrangeAppar8us. And to all of your fellow Roasters. Esp. Mrs. P., yesterday.

Why I Do Shorters

1. Because they amuse me.

2. Because Doghouse does longers, and you don't tug on Superman's cape.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shorter Ross Douthat

Chunky Big Shaggy hears "liberal drumbeats:"

I am very concerned about liberals being mad at President Obama (rofl! schadenfreude!) But remember, America, he is still a dangerous radical! Also, liberalism is just about dead, forever. (What will I concern-troll next?)

(?, ?)

[Added] See also.

Yep. That's a defining characteristic, all right.

Proposed by Scott Lemieux: a belief held by those in the state of full-metal wingnuttery attained by the likes of Colonel "William A. Jacobson" Mustard:

... the Constitution should be correctly understood as enacting Sarah Palin’s Facebook posts.

Sadly, it appears that Reihan Salam is attaining this state. Must be something in the Kool-Aid at NRO.


D2 Assertion 2

The closing disclaimer notwithstanding, this has the ring of truth:

[1] Fundamental cultural differences between the US and UK, probably reflecting priorities in childhood education: in the US, morons are usually able to speak in coherent sentences but don't read. In the UK, morons typically shut up or grunt in monosyllables, but they do read newspapers and magazines. With various, probably not very important consequences, that aren't true anyway.

Comments, from anyone who has spent time on both sides of the pond? (Might actually "help" if you've only spent a very small, but non-zero, amount of time on one side or the other. What would be the British equivalent of a week in Las Vegas, Orlando, Albany, Wasilla, [yourstereotypicallyboneheadedAmericancityhere]?)



In Which I Do More Copying and Pasting

Because this is new to me (I was one of those who thought is was just a "posh-sounding" thing), and I ought to look into it a little more.

Basis points - an admonition

Quite why I am telling people things that any decent financial journalists' stylebook ought to have I don't know, but I have seen so much grievious abuse of the humble basis point over the last month or so ...

1) A basis point is a measure of differences between two interest rates (that's what a "basis" is; also futures and forward rates but those are basically the same thing). It is not merely a posh-sounding way of saying a hundredth of a per cent. Talking about unemployment rates, GDP growth or whatever in basis points doesn't make you look cool, it makes you look like you don't know what you are talking about (I once saw someone write that the rate of income tax was 4000 basis points. Puke.) There is a partial and occasional exception for inflation rates, as of course the inflation rate is the basis between an indexed gilt and an ordinary gilt, but usually it is not correct to talk about inflation in bp either.

2) A basis point is a measure of differences between interest rates. The current 3m dollar LIBOR is 0.54%, it's not 54bp.

3) Given that the basis point has been invented, use it. If one interest rate is 0.6% and another is 0.48%, the spread between them is 12bp. It is not "a 25% difference".

It's not difficult. The phrase "basis points" really just means "and now, since I am talking about interest rates, I am warning you that I propose to talk about adding and subtracting them rather than multiplying and compounding them, and also I am multiplying the quantities by 100 to make them easier to deal with". Bloomberg, Reuters, the FT and WSJ are all regular offenders with respect to this poor little unit.

The above was posted by the management at D-squared Digest.

Feel free to dispute the definition, of course.

If The Answer Is "19," What Is The Question?

Apparently: "How many Texans does it take to decide whether a university dormitory should be named for a Reconstruction-era Klansman?"

This story is a couple of weeks old, but it bears watching. First report is due at the end of this month.


Stephen Baldwin Progress Report

When we last checked in on Stephen ("Who? Oh, Alec's little brother.") Baldwin, it was back in October of ought-six, when Jesus (via the Republicans) controlled both houses of Congress, a God-fearin' brush-cuttin' man was in the White House, and Wasilla's former mayor had not yet become the bestest ever half-governor of the largest state in the world, at least as measured by moose carcasses per square mile, also, too.

This is what he looked like, back then:

Stephen Baldwin 2006

In the almost four years since, he has evidently lost his jacket, traded his hat for an insufficient dose of Visine, either had chin work done or learned to ask for downward-aiming camera angles, and gotten a tattoo: the initials "HM," for "Hannah Montana," which is not at all creepy.

Stephen Baldwin 2010

But! He now regrets this, he says.

What else? Ummmm ... well, according to Paul Campos, who should know, because he is a coastal elitist ivory tower college professor, in Colorado, Stephen has become the first "recipient" of The All That Know Him Movement, whose "re-work" …

… is based on the idea that the internet and social networks could be used as a platform to attract and inspire very large numbers of Christians to give very small gifts to a single worthy person, just as was originally done for Job.

Wait, aren't Job programs socialist??? Never mind. Behold their planning skills with awe:

The first challenge was to construct a website to allow for fast and efficient electronic online gifting using Credit Cards and PayPal.

Box checked!

The second challenge was to cost-effectively attract the world’s attention through the media. This was achieved through the controversial selection of the first recipient and was fitting because it was through watching the courage and outspokenness of the first recipient in the media that the movement was originally conceived. Amazingly, the hostility and vindictiveness of this same media which hates Christians, has been used to build our movement beyond anything we could have done without their unwitting assistance.

After this, the restoration of the worldwide caliphate should be a snap.

What's that? Different group?

Okay, onward.

It should be pointed out, TATKHM hastens to add (their emphasis):

Stephen Baldwin was the first recipient selected and this honor was entirely unsolicited by him.

And so never mind this bit from their FAQ page, haters:

Q- Who actually built the site?
A- For security and site content reasons the site was built by SPX Studios, SPX is Stephen’s and other celebrities outsourced internet design company.

(pic sources: before | after)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Always Liked This Song

(alt. video audio link)

Thanks for the reminder, Thers.

Line of the Day: 2010-06-20

Actually posted a few weeks ago:

Thers' Fifth Iron Law of the Internets: Twice as many people have gone on the Internet to claim they stopped being liberals because of things said at coastal liberal cocktail parties than, statistically speaking, could have ever attended coastal liberal cocktail parties to begin with.

And please do not miss the follow-up post, from MonicaA.

And now, for some pictures

Following up on the previous post: "Photos: When the cold and detached president met the angry people."

(h/t: Kevin K. | x-posted)

More Reblogging

Awfully damned hard to come up with words of my own when there are words like this out there already:


1000 times this:

I think the frustration that supporters of the president have (at least it is for me) is that his critics give him credit for nothing. NOTHING.

He gets a health care reform bill passed that is sweeping in scope and more than anyone has done in decades. And the left-wing critics say “Not enough.”

He gets a stimulus bill passed that pretty much kept a massive recession from getting worse and all the left-wing critics said was “Not enough.”

He’s on the verge of getting DADT repealed through law as opposed to using a reversible executive order and all the left-wing critics say is “Not enough.”

He gives a speech that talks about peak oil, points out how government corruption played a role and begins to lay out the way forward towards an alternative energy future and all the left-wing critics say is “Not enough” while having orgasms to Rachael Maddow’s satisfying-but-completely unrealistic “Fake President” speech.

Never mind Lily Leadbetter, killing the F-22 (something BUSH couldn’t do), expanding SCHIP, credit card reform, tobacco regulation…but no, it’s not enough. It’s NEVER enough with some people.

There is legit criticism to be made when it comes to President Obama, especially in the civil rights arena. But to hear the WATBs on the left tell it, he hasn’t done a damn thing. And that is simply not true.

And when you point that out, you are hippie-punching or just an O-bot and not a critical thinker. And he managed to do all this without ANY help from the Republicans and minimal help from the Blue Dogs, all while dealing with a childish media (Is he smoking? Does he hate the womyn folks because he won’t shoot hoops with them? Is he angry enough?) and a left-flank that thinks teaming up with Grover Norquist and echoing Republican talking points is moving the fucking Overton Window.

You point out the fact that this is the most successful Democratic Presidency in my lifetime and all you hear is but, but but… He didn’t get single payer!

And now this thread will rapidly become populated with WATB telling me I’m just as in the tank for Obama as I was for Republicans and that I hate the left and that I’m showing my authoritarian Republican roots and, oh, forget it. You know the damned drill. If I were a tough manly man like Keith Olbermann, a fierce and independent thinker who alone has the insight, bravery and knowledge to criticize the President, I’d just pre-emptively shut this blog down because you just know some anonymous commenter is going to say something mean on the internet and break my heart.

All I know is that if Obama doesn’t stop the oil leak with his massive Kenyan penis and then give a rousing FDR/Trumanesque speech delivered using a grade 7.5 language level that gives Chris Matthews a blue-vein hard-on and then personally scrubs every drop of oil from the gulf without hurting BP’s profits and making sure every oil worker has a job, I’m out. I mean, come on. That isn’t asking too much, is it? And why don’t we have gay marriage and a cure for cancer? What a loser! If only he hadn’t turned off his progressive base, all this could happen. Ed Schultz told me so.

And he better wear a flag lapel pin while doing it.

*** Update ***

Here’s what we’re dealing with:

Obama gives a speech on energy, but can’t bring himself to say “climate change.”

Beyond parody.

The above by John Cole (with an opening assist from Balloon Juice commenter Dave).

(h/t: gimmeabreak/Rumproast | x-posted)

How long until ...

... some wingnut compares the latest example of Tony Hayward's utter cluelessness to … Hitler? … no, worse: John Kerry's windsurfing!!!1!

But seriously, as commenter Johnny Zhivago says over at Wonkette:

This is what happens when you hire Dick Cheney’s people to manage your PR.

(Yeah, Sad Tony really did that, too.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Stealing ...

... just in case some of you are reluctant to click every link I tell you to.

I've admitted, here and there, that I voluntarily subjected myself to the first Star Wars flicker, complete with appropriately plastic Mall Cinema ambience, the smell of two-week-old "popcorn" reheated and topped with petrochemicals, and a crowded house of children and "adults" stomping and clapping and booing and hissing like their grandparents did for William S. Hart (it's different now, okay? As in "the people who were actually children at the time have so thoroughly adopted the parti-colored and sugar-drenched breakfast cereal of popular culture that juvenalia is in their marrow"; succeeding generationlets had no chance whatsoever. We accept and move on. But at the time we were convinced the entire exercise was a sort of mass hypnosis with a disturbingly political twist we only later came to identify as libertarian: the sort of easy psilocybin of special effects--no worries that you won't come back from this Trip, Mr. and Mrs. Middle America!--and the fact that the Good Guys won this one, like they should, like you knew they would, and in contradistinction to everything America Herself had her grubby mitts on at the time, and most everything since). And that I did so for the sake of the bible college student with the Amazonian physique and hypocritical taste and talent for premarital sex who sat to my right. It was a summer thing, as it most certainly had to be; she was up from Tennessee staying with her sister and brother-in-law. A months later we took advantage of their weekend absence to spend a night together at their place. On their return a concerned neighbor reported to Sis that my car had been parked in the driveway way past any other explanation, and my Amazon died of embarrassment.

What I don't think I've admitted is that I read the first twenty-five pages of The Fountainhead for approximately the same reason, with the same reaction most sane people who've undergone the experience while still young enough to excuse it report: five pages of thinking, "Hey, she's onto something," followed by a ten-page recognition that her crappy writing is not doing that Something any favors, followed by the distinct aroma of snake oil quickly becoming overpowering. My young darling at the time, a fellow highschooler who had, unbeknownst to me, already revealed as much of her dewy charms as I would ever be allowed, had pressed the thing into my hands between classes. I told her it sucked, even if she didn't, and that, as they say, was that. My best friend--I swear this is true--had a underclass coed walk up to him in the hall one afternoon as we were leaving and give him a copy of Justine. There's no way sexting has improved on that.

Beak Outlook

What's this?

Cool pic by KWillow

Answer may be found at KWillow's place, whence I stole the above. Bigger version there, too -- just click the picture when you get there. (Maybe before reading.)

I happened across this blog due to a comment she left over at Mr. Riley's place, which I have also stolen:

According to my conservative brother, the Minimum Wage is the cause of Illegal Immigrants because if there was no minimum wage Americans would be out there picking lettuce and digging up power lines buried under freeways for $3 an hour, AND they'd be happy because NO Mexicans!

Or something. I was distracted by the foam.

A Reminder

Mitch DanielsGiven that erstwhile Bushies like Andrew Ferguson and Michael Gerson are once again writing long pieces of fluffery about President-to-be Mitch Daniels (himself an erstwhile Bushie), you are reminded to keep an eye out for posts from our man in Indiana tagged Midwestern States Governed By Surly Megalomaniacs With Napoleonic Complexes.

Start here for a good look at Mitch's notions of proper edumacation and fiscal responsabamility.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Your Moments of Awww, Father's Day Edition

Barbary macaque male with infant riding his back

Okay, so we're a few days early. But these are good, and the article they came from -- about new findings in paternal behavior in a variety of species -- is well worth a look, and it's not just monkey business, either.

Click 'em to big 'em.

Barbary macaque male cuddling infant

Better a half a loaf repost than no loaf post at all

Following is something I posted over in the forums.

The first three blockquotes are excerpts from previous posts I had put up elsewhere in that thread, while arguing against both righties and lefties who are bent on bashing Obama. As with my post, I included the excerpts for context, and as a lead-in for the real meat, from Jim Newell, which follows.


Originally Posted by bjkeefe

It is also true that some of us, at least, who remain in the "approval" column have never thought a president got handed a magic wand on Inauguration Day. Some of us were and continue to be realistic about the checks and balances, to coin a phrase, that exist in our system. Some of us are more inclined to be pissed at the Congress and/or certain Dems and "Independents" in the Congress than we are at the President when it comes to passing legislation.

Originally Posted by bjkeefe

And of course, our media environment being what it is, we tend to see and hear those most willing to scream the loudest. It's not much of a news story to report on someone like me -- kinda phlegmatic, reasonably satisfied, willing to give him four years before passing final judgment -- as it is to report on someone howling that he is JUST LIKE BUSH!!!1! No, worse!!!1!

Originally Posted by bjkeefe

So, at the end of the day, I still consider him far better than the thought of McCain/Palin, and I still can't imagine voting against him in 2012, given any even remotely plausible options.

damn it all, i agree with that too.

Yep. It does kind of suck, in some ways, doesn't it?

Tying the above, and more, together, Newell get serious for a while, and as is usually the case in these situations, his post deserves to be stolen reposted in full.

C'mon, Give Barack Obama Some Credit For Making BP Pay

The weak, spineless worst president ever, whose abysmal speech yesterday eliminated any hope for American prosperity for countless generations, is such an evil corporatist that he's... found a way to make BP pay claims. Will he ever "show leadership"?

The reaction to Barack Obama's mediocre speech last night revealed one of the more annoying trends in parts of the Left: you're less vulnerable bashing the shit out of him at all times than trying to defend him, or even consider his motives.

It was disappointing that he didn't acknowledge the environmental need or the economic merits of pricing carbon in the wishy-washy second half of his speech, absolutely. The public has, sadly, grown more skeptical if not outright dismissive of the need to address climate change and the transition to an advanced, high-tech, clean energy economy — something only achievable through carbon pricing, be it a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax. This is understandable — most people are too busy worrying about unemployment right now — but the president can't let our carbon problem disappear entirely from the public arena. A line or two would've been nice!

But there are not and will not be enough votes in the Senate this year to pass an energy bill with a strong carbon pricing mechanism, and that's why he didn't bring it up or "set markers." This was the takeaway from his speech. You can ask him to "lead" more, but the votes will not show up in the Senate. They're not there. He cannot twist enough arms. It would go down in flames and ultimately be a major misread of the public mood, in an election year. The same people would be calling him "weak." This is the situation.

So if Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman and pretty much every other liberal pundit who freaked the fuck out over the quality or modesty of the president's 20-minute television speech last night would like to help the situation, they should direct more ire at the Senate. That is where people write laws. And they don't have the collective will or numbers right now to write a good law pricing carbon.

But what of today's White House agreement with BP for it to set up a $20 billion, independent escrow fund to pay claims, cancel its dividends for at least the rest of 2010, and set up another fund compensating oil workers for lost wages? (And that $20 billion is not a cap, either — it can, and probably will, go up.) Those seem like pretty strong results and displays of leadership! BP probably wouldn't have conceded its hand like this, either, if it thought the White House wouldn't try more aggressive legal ways of getting them to pay up were they to refuse.

This fund is going to help many, many people along the Gulf Coast, immediately. That doesn't change the fact that Barack Obama doesn't "act angrily," like a clown, for the personal amusement of pundits, but it's something.

And look at how crazy Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is reacting!

The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund. And now it appears like we'll be looking at one more gateway for more government control, more money to government

Thanks for the confirmation, Michele. Now we're making progress.

Have I mentioned how much I think this guy looks like Oliver North?

Erik Prince, CEO of Blackwater


Hard as it may be to believe, this may actually be an insult to Ollie.

Anyway, Mr. Blackwater-CEO, if the story (via Newell) about your fleeing is true, don't let the door hit you on the ass, and so forth.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Announcing! Porn Site That Goes Deeper, Shows More Than Anyplace Else On The Web!!!


Pink shot for orthopedist(embiggen)

More!!! Too hot for the US!!! And no AdultCheckID or credit card required!!!


(h/t: @kyklopsjp)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who wants to play "Doctor?"

Evidently, GOP candidate for Senator Ayn "Rand" Paul does!

Dr. Paul: Not board-certified, but self-certified

Asked by a Louisville reporter when he would explain his dubious certification, Rand Paul said: "Uh ... never"

Libertarian ideology rejects most of the modern regulatory systems that protect consumers, because everyone should be responsible for determining whether the hamburger contains E. coli on his own. But does that do-it-yourself dogma apply to the regulation of medicine, too? If you're Dr. Rand Paul, practicing ophthalmologist, the answer is emphatically yes.

According to an amusing story in today's Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Republican Senate candidate bills himself as a "board-certified" physician even though he is not actually certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology -- the only recognized body that certifies doctors in his specialty.

Paul's only certification was provided instead by something called the National Board of Ophthalmology, which is very convenient because he operates that organization himself. As the Courier-Journal explains drily, the American Board of Ophthalmology, which maintains a fully staffed headquarters in Philadelphia, has existed for roughly a century and currently lists about 16,000 doctors on its rolls. (Most hospitals and insurance companies strongly prefer doctors who are board-certified because certification indicates that they have kept up with changes in technology, best practices and so on.) The National Board of Ophthalmology has existed since 1999, when Paul "founded" it, lists no more than seven doctors, and its address is a post-office box in Bowling Green, Ky. He had claimed to be certified by both boards, but Courier-Journal reporter Joseph Gerth quickly discovered that claim was false.

The rest (via).


LOTD Runner-up

Coming in just second to CJ is Alex Pareene, on Thomas Friedman, via Ken Layne.

Line of the Day: 2010-06-15

After noting that Oklahoma has just passed a state law prohibiting judges from referring to sharia law (all judges, and not just teh Muslin ones, so it's not bigoted!!!1!), Charles Johnson concludes:

Thank you, Republican State Rep. Rex Duncan. We really dodged a bullet this time.

When last seen, Oklahoma Republicans were trying to pass a law that would force women who have abortions to undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure.

So they obviously know a misogynistic, repressive legal system when they see one.

Flowchart, please!

Entire Internet Pauses to Make a "May God Strike Me Down If ..." Joke

Seen below: The statue near I-75 in Ohio known as "Touchdown Jesus," from some time ago, last night, and this morning.

Touchdown Jesus, before

Touchdown Jesus, during

Touchdown Jesus, after

This proves that:

  1. God is a Nebraska fan
  2. God is a baseball fan
  3. Due to Texas, God thinks atheists need help lightening up
  4. God is an iconoclast
  5. God has no problem with depictions of His Son, but c'mon, people, please: something less tacky than sixty-plus feet of plastic foam

Or, maybe something else?

“I can’t believe Jesus was struck,” said his brother, who noted the giant Hustler Hollywood sign for the adult store across the street was untouched.

Actually, the answer most likely to be offered in the following days is is shown below:

How wingnuts see Obama

(h/t: KK, via email | add'l pic. sources: TJ before, final answer)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reality Distortion Field Watch

Steve Jobs on the Kindle, 15 January 2008:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Steve Jobs on the iPad, 9 June 2010:

“Amazon has done a great job” with the Kindle, he said. “We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little bit further.”

Steve Jobs, distorting that reality field

I for one look forward to Steve Jobs explaining how he has never considered himself a maverick.

(title: cf. | also | pic. source: Cult of Mac)

Ah, at last. Here is that confounded bridge!

I had that question from Led Zep running through my mind most of yesterday, because what else are you going to think while you're waiting to go over the GWB? (Except to realize, as I also did, that GWB is now an OTLA.)

And yes, the watchdog was 100% effective, thanks.

Anyway, while searching on an unrelated-to-any-of-the-above hashtag on the Twitter, I came across this lovely picture from Wlcm2Dance101, the phrase came back to mind, and I thought I'd share it.

(alt. video link)

Friday, June 11, 2010


I am heading south to attend the celebration of my favorite nephew's completion of rehab graduation from high school, so I will be off the grid for a bit.

Those who see this as an opportunity to do a little B&E should know that I have borrowed TBogg's watchdog.

TBogg's watchdog

Click his pic to see just how big and fierce he is.


[Added] Whoops. Did I put the whammy on something?

Enjoy your vakay, TBogg. I'll bring the dog back to watch your house asap.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Advanced Agnotology?!

As an antidote to the previous post, let us turn to the sure-fire cure that is Michael Bérubé. Here he is, reacting to some group calling itself the National Association of Scholars, who in addition to their tireless work combating the ravages of Librul Bias!!!1! on college campuses, has joined in with the global warming denialist crowd in seeking to harass atmospheric scientists by tying them up in red tape and nuisance "investigations:"

I have four responses to this. First and foremost, public accountability in matters of science is crucial. Somewhere in that pile of grant applications, letters, and emails, surely, is “smoking gun” proof of Michael Mann’s wrongdoing; indeed, I suspect that Attorney General Cuccinelli is looking for, and will find, the legendary “bwah hah hah” diary entry in which Mann writes, “Today! Today is the day that I will perform the ‘trick’ that hides the decline! And then the entire planet will kneel before Zod as I institute ‘cap and trade’ socialism around the world.” There is also a rumor that the files contain a valuable photograph of Mann and colleague Phil Jones rubbing their hands together in glee, as well as a LOLcat captioned, “IM IN UR NATUR / HIDIN TEH DECLINE.” Finally, and most importantly, if the files turn out to weigh the same as a duck, they must be made of wood, and I’m sure you can all draw the obvious conclusion from that. So yes, the public needs to know.

Also, his remark about bow-tied twerp Tucker Carlson KC Johnson (cf.), a little later on in the post, is a masterpiece of subtlety.

For a more extensive look at agnotology, be sure to follow Michael's links (repeated here, here, and here) to John Quiggin's three posts, which start with the Oregon Petition and then move on to take a more general look at this phenomenon. (Agnotology is the new epistemic closure!) Well worth the time of anyone who wonders how the far right manages to sustain its pride in its willful ignorance.


Your Moment of Despair

In her latest column, Gail Collins mentions as an aside:

(A recent ad in Alabama attacking a gubernatorial candidate for supporting the teaching of evolution was financed by the True Republican PAC, whose big donor was actually the state teachers’ union.)

This seems to be true, sadly. See TPM, via Carl Zimmer, for confirmation.

And, unsurprisingly, but still discouragingly, the attacked candidate, Bradley Byrne, immediately rushed to "defend" himself from this horrific thought, saying, in part:

"As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books."

It may not be quite that straightforward. Thomas Spencer of The Birmingham News has a longish inside baseball piece that while not addressing this particular issue, does make clear how this is likely due to the swirling of money from one PAC to another, plus the teachers' union, like every other special interest group, looking to hedge its bets.

But still. That anyone, regardless of political affiliation, would think that this would be a good thing to use as an attack, that the candidate would respond as he did, and worst, that it evidently is an effective tactic here in the twenty-first century, is just discouraging as hell.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Grab This

Mem ShannonI don't know if this link will work for you, but if not, hunt around on Amazon's site for their free MP3s. Because you most definitely want to own a copy of Mem Shannon's "Don't Talk About My Mama."

IIRC, you'll need to have an Amazon account (basically, just give them an email address) and if you've never downloaded music from them before, you'll have to deal with installing the Amazon MP3 Downloader (not a pain, as I recall). Worth it just for this song, and of course, once you jump through these one-time hoops, you'll have just gobs of other free stuff to choose from. They'll even send you a newsletter, letting you know what's new and free, if you want it.


[Added] Here is a video of a live version of "Don't Talk About My Mama," shot and uploaded by tombone98. Good, not great, sound, but the guitar comes through nicely. This happened at Teddy's Juke Joint, Zachary, LA, Feb 3, 2007, it says. Looks like it was a fun night. Thanks, tombone98! I'll be lurking on your YouTube channel for a while.

(alt. video link)

And if you liked that, "Let's Go Get Stoned." A serious solo near the end.

More Mem: on Amazon, MySpace (free full-length songs to stream -- this man can purely play), and of course, see the Great Gazoogle for more.

The full name of the band is Mem Shannon & The Membership. He stands as proof that contra Travis Bickle, being a taxi driver doesn't have to end badly.

Now you know as much as I do. (Probably you know more, but never mind that.)

[Added2] Heh. From "No Such Thing" (on the MySpace page):

You couldn't stop Kenneth Starr
From going too damn far ...

[Added3] "Phunkville." Wow. And LOL @ "fool around with time." Just sayin. That you should be on that MySpace page already.

Surveillance Report

New Texan Roy Edroso still hates RealAmerica™.

The Non-Angry Black Man

Jonathan Capeheart, and earlier, Betty Cracker, make good points about President Obama being his usual calm, cool, and collected self during this whole BP leak mess. (You may have heard some grousing about this.)

There are some things in both of those posts to think about and keep in mind, even if you don't -- as I don't, and as the authors don't -- want to try to make this the complete explanation for a complex human being.

Reminder to MoDo, Carville, and the rest of the usual suspects:

Obama: everybody chill, I got this

P.S. Here's what I said over at Rumproast, where I came across the above links:

Capeheart’s correspondent, Doug Graham, makes a good point about the sports angle. I have of course been glued to the NBA playoffs, and it frequently occurs to me to marvel that with all the banging under the boards—cf. Rule 1: “No layups in the playoffs”—not to mention the pressure and the stakes, how rarely one sees a fight.

And then I think about hockey.

(pic. source)

Congratulations, and Best Wishes, to Rosa Brooks

Rosa BrooksMatt Yglesias passes along this news from Spencer Ackerman: The Pentagon has created a new department, the Office for Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Policy, and it will be headed up by Rosa Brooks, currently "a senior adviser to Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and a former director of Georgetown Law School’s Human Rights Center."

Rosa has also been one of my favorite columnists and Bloggingheads. (More bio here.) If you're ever jonesing for a schadenfreude fix, her November 2007 pantsing of The Pantload is primo.

I agree with Matt's take: we should be skeptical about the new department, but it's hard not to be hopeful, and a big part of the hope is due to who they chose to run it. Knock 'em dead, Rosa!

Okay, there was probably a better sendoff than that.

(h/t: uncle ebeneezer | pic source)