Saturday, July 31, 2010

Let Them Sell Cookies

I gotta stop looking at the front page of the NYT so early in the day.

Boy Scouts shooting guns, because why not?

Especially given their layout choices.

Boy Scouts shooting guns, because why not?  Next to a headline about Teh Mosque at Ground Zero!!!1!


[Added] On a somewhat related note, I'd love to hear what the gun nuts would have to say about this case: a convicted terrorist who served his time, and was rearrested for:

... violating the terms of his release by committing new offenses. The authorities say that in 2007 he possessed a handgun and that last year he asked people to buy him an AK-47 assault rifle.

I'm sure this guy ...

Wayne La Pierre of the NRA

... and his cronies would pontificate about criminals compared to ordinary citizens. I'm equally sure I could find a pantload of criminals who happened not to be named Abdel Ghani Meskini, about whom you'd find pious statements made by the NRA types concerning the good Christian man who had paid his debt to society and deserved not to be denied his Second Amendment rights.

Yeah, but let's just say you HAD to pick

And plunging hot pokers into your eyes won't work, either. Have you forgotten about audiobooks?

covers of books by wingnuts

(via, via, GHEMRotRSTF pic src)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dogs begin to bark, all over my neighborhood

Political cartoon about the banksters and their GOP lackeys

(h/t: The Comics Curmudgeon | title: cf.)

How do we know FOR SURE Sarah Palin DID NOT impregnate this young woman, to stop the wedding?

Paging Andrew Sullivan! And "Chet!" The only two RealJournalists left alive!

Get on this (via):

“Levi insists the baby isn’t his, but no one really knows for sure,” a source told exclusively.

So, I guess "ADL" now stands for "All-Dipshit League?"

Sorry, y'all, but if you're echoing the shit Newt Gingrich is saying -- on this one, of all things -- you're against my vision of America.

[Updated: minor wordsmithing.]

Bleg: Skype is making me want to kick puppies

Hi, Internet:

I am trying to figure out why Skype won't work on my friend's computer. It's well within the system requirements Skype lists at the bottom of this page (the machine in question: Windows XP SP3, 512 MB RAM, 2.13 (-or-close) GHz processor) and it ran Skype fine until a couple of months ago. I don't know Skype well, but I have downloaded it and installed it and got it to run without drama on two other machines, one running XP, the other running Vista. I have also uninstalled and reinstalled Skype on the problematic machine -- trying both the latest stable version ( and the v5 beta.

The built-in "Echo/Sound test" works fine.

The problematic machine is clean as far as I can tell -- fully up to date with Windows patches and drivers, and not infected according to several different scanning packages. All other apps work as expected. Skype seems to consume an inordinate amount of CPU on this machine -- typically 75-90% while on a Skype-to-Skype call, according to Windows Task Manager, and closely related, it is so sluggish that it appears to be frozen if you had normal expectations. I haven't actually been able to make it crash after a day of playing around with it, but I can see why my friend thinks it has.

One possible clue: it behaves better just running through the speakers than it does with a USB headset/mike plugged in. That is, in the latter case, text messages sent back and forth don't appear, the elapsed call time doesn't update, can't even get a response from something as simple as Help→About, etc. (Granted, with no mike in the former case, I'm not doing an apples-to-apples comparison.)

I can't find a conflict with drivers or ports, to the extent that I know how to check for those things. The various Windows admin tools all indicates "this device is working properly," including the one for the headset/mike.

[Added: The headset/mike unit is a "Skype-approved" one, according to what's stamped on it, and I believe my friend bought it through Skype, or at least, on Skype's recommendation. Also, due to the CPU usage symptom hint noted above, which appears whether or not I have the headset plugged in, I don't think this is the only problem, even though it seems to aggravate it.]

Any suggestions would be most welcome. TIA.

Headline Yo-Yo

It is not a promising start to a day to visit and notice, pretty much right of the bat, a headline like this:

Added to the Recall List: Millions of Frozen Mice

I mean, seriously. Can we manufacture, grow, or distribute anything anymore? Without making people sick or dead, I mean? Yes, yes, I know, confirmation bias and all that. Doesn't change the first emotion.

On the other hand, the very next headline …

Ellen DeGeneres Leaving ‘American Idol’

… actually made me feel kinda good. I was all, Dude, I didn't even know she was on.

The lede has it as:

Walking away from a five-year contract worth tens of millions of dollars, Ellen DeGeneres said Thursday evening that she was leaving “American Idol” on Fox after just one season because it was not a “right fit” for her.

Mice to know at least one person I admire retains some shreds of integrity.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dealing with a DOCX file

Scenario: your friend sent you an email with a file attached. It has the extension .docx. When you try to open the attachment, unhappiness results -- you see garbledy-gook, or whatever program launched complains that it doesn't know what to do, or your computer says it doesn't know which program to use to open the file. Perhaps this happens even if you have a version of Microsoft Word installed. What to do?

There are several options, which I'll list here, and then describe in more detail below.

  1. Get yourself a Gmail account. Gmail can display DOCX attachments right in your browser.
  2. If you have an older version of MS Word, download Microsoft's "compatibility pack."
  3. Save the attachment as a file, and then use the online utility Zamzar to convert it.
  4. But wait, there's more!

[Added] I probably went into too much detail below, so let me just throw in this quick interjection: If this is a one-time problem, the easiest thing to do is this: (1) Save the DOCX attachment to a file. (2) Visit the free online file conversion service Zamzar, whose interface is self-explanatory. It's really not anymore complicated than that. The rest of what follows in this post considers the problem of getting DOCX files more generally.

Mo' Bros


(alt. video link)

Once upon a time I thought I might be able to convey with a guitar, like this.

Such is blogging.™


Blues for 7/28, a few hours late

In fact, it is.

(alt. video link)

One of the most beautiful songs I know. And not just about love lost.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ThreeFour-word phrase of the day

Caterpillars on treadmills, bitchez.

Okay, I admit it. The New York Times did not actually have that last word.

(But tell me their URL isn't equally fabulous.)

I blame the cicadas

(alt. video link)




Young Artists: Take Heart

Leonard Nimoy in front of some of his portraits

Leonard Nimoy, who is famous for other things as well, will be opening his "first solo photography show at a major museum," this week, according to the NYT.

Mr. Nimoy is 79.

(Maybe if you're a really young artist, this is more dis- than encouraging? Hope not!)

LOL @ Teh Purist:

... and in the early 70’s he studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Robert Heinecken, a conceptual photographer so rigorous, Mr. Nimoy said recently, that he thought if you happened to see a body falling from the sky, you would be wrong to take a picture of it unless you were already embarked on a study of objects moving through space. Anything else was mere photojournalism.

Anyway, the show will be at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Here's what they say about it:

Secret Selves Exhibition Opening

Saturday, July 31, 2010, 4:00 pm
Courtyard A
for MEMBERS only

Be the first to see Leonard Nimoy's first major museum exhibition, Secret Selves. This special opening reception is available only to MASS MoCA members and invited guests. Not-yet-members may join at anytime and attend the opening and see the exhibition on Saturday. The exhibition is open to the general public on Sunday, August 1 at 10 AM.


[Update] Western Mass gossip: Our agent at Jacob's Pillow advises Nimoy was in attendance this past weekend. Sadly, our agent was caught in a transporter beam, and so therefore was unable to deliver the greeting.

New -thers!

Forget about the Truthers. Forget about the Birthers. Forget about the Tenthers and the Seventeenthers.

Now we have ... the Thirteenthers!!!1!

In Iowa, the state Republican Party is calling for the “reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution — a provision that the state party’s spokesman admits is focused solely on Barack Obama.

The current 13th amendment bans slavery, and Iowa Republicans are not in favor of its repeal. They are, however, interested in reintroducing an amendment originally put before the states for ratification back in 1810. It outlawed any person who accepts a “title of nobility” from a foreign country from ever holding political office. The amendment was ratified by 12 states but never got the 13th state that it needed, and thus, never became law.

Some, however, argue that it was ratified and have a plethora of conspiracy theories to back up their assertion. These folks, known as “Thirteenthers,” believe that since the amendment would have banned lawyers and bankers from serving in government (since they joined the International Bar Association or the International Bankers Association, respectively), every act of the federal government since 1819 would be delegitimized.

But as Newsweek’s Jerry Adler points out, for Iowa Republicans its really all about Obama.

There are, of course, other implications of Thirteenthism, such as ensuring that the United States never again suffers the humiliation of having a president win the Nobel Peace Prize. That was just what the Iowa Republicans had in mind, according to [state GOP Communications Director Danielle] Plogmann, who wrote in an e-mail that the plank “was meant to make a statement about the delegates’ opinion about Mr. Obama receiving the prize.” (Presumably they didn’t mind if, in the process, they were also making a statement about any American scientist or writer unlucky enough to win a Nobel.) Unfortunately for them, the Department of Justice looked into whether Obama needed Congressional approval to accept the Nobel under the existing emoluments clause, and based on the meaning of “foreign state” (which would not cover the Nobel Prize Committee) concluded that he did not.

(h/t: @EricBoehlert for the RT | x-posted)

Milestone of the Day

screenshot of the moment when I reached 100 followers on Twitter

100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter! 100 followers on Twitter!

And to celebrate (and reward), here is a moving picture of Mr. 100!

Phil Kerpen

Hey, Substance McGravitas, my first animated GIF!

(pix source | thanks for the help, Gickr.)

"Countdown to Zero"

Interesting-looking movie, notice of which was passed along to me by my pal Wonderment:

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possess nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. Written and directed by acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker (Devil’s Playground, Blindsight), the film features an array of important international statesmen, including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. Magnolia Pictures is releasing the film in North America; HISTORY™ has North American broadcast rights. The film was produced by Academy Award® winner and 2009 nominee Lawrence Bender (Inglourious Basterds, An Inconvenient Truth) and developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, together with World Security Institute.

Tons of useful-looking links on that page, as well. Among them: an interview of Valerie Plame Wilson by MoJo's Victoria Rossi, titled "How to Dismantle 23,000 Atom Bombs."

I did not know Lawrence Bender produced An Inconvenient Truth. I thought he was "just a Coffee Shop."



[Added] Also via Wonderment: a review of the movie.

Speaking of bumper stickers ...

While looking for decoration for the previous post, I happened across one that I would totally have to have if I were a woman.

Bumper sticker: My other car is a broom

I can't figure out an equivalent for a male. I mean, something like "My other car is a Porsche" DOES say "I am a douche," but it's not really all that funny, is it?

"The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers"

Fascinating article, describing a study that measured the worth of teachers not by tracking test scores as students got older, but by looking at "adult outcomes." The study was done by economists (as opposed to education theorists, or something of that nature). It looked at "the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s." The claim -- not yet peer-reviewed -- is that having good teachers early in life significantly correlates with better success later in life.

Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.

All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.

The economists don’t pretend to know the exact causes. But it’s not hard to come up with plausible guesses. Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance. The tests that 5-year-olds take may pick up these skills, even if later multiple-choice tests do not.

I've been telling anyone who would listen since at least my first econ course that the single most effective way to improve our education is to make the job of teaching more lucrative, so that you will have more, better people competing for those jobs. So, obviously, this article falls squarely under the heading of Things I Would Most Like To Believe, and I should probably force myself to be more skeptical about it, starting now, at least until the results described have been more thoroughly scrutinized. Still, it is awfully intriguing.

Yeah, it's a bumper sticker, and you know what I think usually think about those, but I always did like this one:

Bumper sticker: it will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber

P.S. Here are the slides (PDF) the researchers used when presenting at a recent academic conference.

(pic. source)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Screen Shot vs. Headline

Quintessential FoxNews Screen Image


Headline: Fox News Audience Just 1.38% Black

(Click 'em for details.)

What's the matter with Kansas? You mean, apart from their Republicans?

Apparently fed up with the whining entreaties of His children, not to mention their endless bickering with each other about who He loves the most, God has resigned his position as Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Universe and taken a new position. He has joined the board of directors of Wichita, Kansas-based non-profit, the Association for Honest Attorneys. A site with its own Enemies List!

On a possibly related note, notice has been given of interest in another change of employment, as displayed by this banner on the website of the group's current CEO, Joan Heffington:

Heffington for Governor

O: say, can you see?
Nah. Cross that one off.

Also, the pattern of
6 stars, 1 star, 6 stars
means nothing.

Why does she want this new gig? Here are her top three goals. Her holy trinity, if you will. Of bullet points. So to speak.

Would-be governor of Kansas Joan Heffington's top three goals

Versus? Versus! Truly, Joan Heffington has no crazy views. About anything.


But wait, there's more! If you pick her, you also get a new Lt. Governor! Meet Pastor Mark Holick, and find out what he'd like to implement:

Spirit One Christian Center Mission Statement

 1. Turning hearts of fathers to their families.
 2. Proclaiming the nobility and glory of motherhood.
 3. Reviving the doctrine of “Women and Children First”.
 4. Embracing the blessing of children and the sanctity of human life.
 5. Building a culture of virtuous boyhood and girlhood.
 6. Reinforcing Godly masculinity and femininity.
 7. Understanding family culture as religion externalized.
 8. Teaching history as the Providence of God.
 9. Developing Biblical Worldview.
10. Training character by Hebrew discipleship and home education.
11. Communicating the applicability of the Law of God.
12. Addressing the ethical issues of the Twenty-First Century.
13. Preparing men to stand in the gates.
14. Encouraging unity between the church and home

Man, it's just Dog Whistle 101, isn't it?
Gay biology teachers for Heffington/Holick!

And Pastor Holick has his own sign!

Mark Holick billboard claiming Obama is Muslim.  This is a sin, apparently.

In conclusion: Sam Brownback, Reasonable Republican. Raise your hand! For manimals!

[Added] Post title changed after initial posting, because post went somewhere different. If you're wondering about the permalink's URL, I mean.

If You Laugh At This Picture, YOU'RE The Real Racist

Palin/Beck/NRA flyer for Apocalypse 8/28

In case it's not obvious what's going on above, you are being invited by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the National Rifle Association to come to a party!

You will get to hear Texas Governor Rick Perry's favorite guitar-warrior-hero, Ted Nugent!

Ted Nugent, Confederate gunman, at Texas Governor Rick Perry's inauguration

(Perhaps he will play some cuts from his new album, Nuge Will Show Ya How To Treat The Ladies? We can hope!)

Nugent's exquisitely tasteful album cover 'Love Grenade'  Be glad you can't see the image.

Plus this escapee from the People's Socialist Dystopia of Taxachusetts, Mitt Romney Jo Dee Messina!

Jo Dee Messina

Where: that place where the "I Have A Dream" speech was delivered

When: the anniversary of the day the "I Have A Dream" speech was delivered

Why: to celebrate the killing, with guns, of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King! And to Restore the supremacy of white reactionaries Honor™ to RealAmericans™, also, too!

Get a larger version of the flyer on the Brady Campaign's site (PDF). Read reports from Will Bunch at Media Matters and Lauri Apple at Wonkette.

And don't forget to bring plenty of Bud Light Lime ammunition, for freedom!

More Eye Candy for Us Nerds!

A scary Google Bot

The above swiped from "16 Techi-rific Google Logo Doodles," a geek-centric selection (and all one one page -- no tedious "Next" clicking required!) of those commemorative logos you sometimes see on Google's home page.

K-Lo will be very sad!


(h/t: Damon Darlin)

Eye Candy for Us Space Nerds

Stephen Colbert wagging his fingerI for one am outraged: Why is there no highlighting of the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill?

Other than that, go see this pretty cool Flash thing showing the growth over time of the International Space Station. Also has some clickies for more information on the various components.

NB: Might be a bit out of date. I went looking for a related article and it appears as though the above was put together in late 2008. Still fun to watch, though, and I doubt there's anything that wrong about the 2009-2010 parts.

(h/t: KK and KL, via email | pic. source)

Nice to see at least ONE Democrat isn't cowed

Way to stick to it, way to stick with it, Senator Franken.

screen shot: Al Franken's slogan from his home page: 'Change we can believe in'

Never let the right-wing noise machine make you ashamed of your own words, or more importantly, your own beliefs.

We are now one name lighter

Not to mention down about 800 pounds of crazy. Soon as I post this, I am going to amnesty The Daily Dish the hell off my blogroll.

Sorry, Andrew. I'd mostly stopped reading you after the 2008 election, though I still do think fondly of the many inspiring words you poured out back then. And you've introduced me to some other fine bloggers, like Daniel Larison.

But when you're writing posts that say the reason we can't trust Journolist is because … EZRA KLEIN MADE THE ENTIRE MEDIA SQUELCH THE TRUTH ABOUT TRIG … sometimes there are no words.

Except good. And bye. Said soothingly, while slowly backing away.

(h/t: johnmarzan, although probably not in a way he would like | "amnesty?")

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ya Think? (Follow-up)

Looks like EJ Dionne said in a column what we earlier noted he said on teevee: "Enough right-wing propaganda."

It's currently topping the WaPo's most-shared list. Which is nice, I suppose. But, to repeat myself from last time, why is this just now striking so many people that this is the way things are?

Ah, well. Better late than never, I concede. In any case, here's how it starts:

The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American politics. This is not, as the now-trivialized phrase has it, a "teachable moment." It is a time for action.

The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year's election.

Dionne is right: for both the MSM and the White House, bending over backward to appease these people is not working, it has never worked, and it never will work. They do not believe Democrats ever get elected legitimately, they do not believe liberals are Real Americans, too many of them don't believe non-whites and/or non-Christians are Real Americans, and they do not believe anything unless Fox or Rush or Beck or Breitbart or Sarah Palin tell it to them. It's time to stand up to these morons and bullies, once and for all.

For more on this, I direct your attention to Matt Taibbi.

Pr()n! Two different kinds!

Math pr()n in the background, the more mainstream kind in the foreground! GO!

Line of the Day: 2010-07-26 (Afternoon Edition)

The deaths you refer to, along with other associated harms that obviously and inevitably come with use of guns, bombs, and missiles might reasonably lead one to conclude that war is a mechanism suited to incurring moral debts and obligations rather than to discharging them.
    -- cragger, in the forums

Okay, so it's not exactly Dan Schorr and Dick Nixon ...

... but, hey! I made my first Enemies List!

My name on a Twitter list: sirfith's 'progressive-hacks'

(That I know about, at least.)

Thanks, @sirfith!

Line of the Day: 2010-07-26

If natural gas was going to try and pick me up at a bar, the encounter would likely go like this:

Gas: “I’m low-carbon, cute, and widely available.”

Me: “You’re not that cute.”

    -- Stephanie Paige Ogburn

Hat-tippee Thomas Levenson says you should read The GOAT Blog early and often. From a first look, I agree.

(Even though I was saddened to find out it had nothing to do with Mickey Kaus.)

Mickey Kaus and friend

Heads in the Sand

Paul Krugman's column in today's NYT, "Who Cooked the Planet?," bears a read, especially if you've only been paying limited amounts of attention to the debate -- or, more accurately, "debate" -- over steps required to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.

So does Lee Wasserman's op-ed, "Four Ways to Kill a Climate Bill."

And, believe it or not, even Ross Douthat has some useful things to say, in his column, "The Right and the Climate," at least in the beginning. He does undercut himself with his glib conclusion, though. I'll concede, at least arguendo, that the proposed cap-and-trade legislation extruded by the sausage-making machine this time around might not have been the best product possible. But "the wisdom of inaction," as Ross would have it, on this issue in particular, has got to be some kind of gold standard for oxymorons. Even ostriches know better, and you could look it up. And when you do, please tell Ross.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

McMore McMegan

TBogg post title, FTW:

Megan McArdle is just Andrew Breitbart with a broken calculator

See also the follow-up.

And if you're up for a longer critique, he recommends this from Thomas Levenson, as do I.


Eh, more tax cuts for the rich will fix everything, Part II

Did you scrutinize those numbers? Too many numbers, maybe? Sorry about that, if so. So let's tell it with pictures!

Here is the gist ...

Inflation adjusted percentage increase in after-tax household income for the top 1% and the four quintiles, between 1979 and 2005.  Shorter: rich got a lot richer.Inflation adjusted percentage increase in after-tax household income for the top 1% and the four quintiles, between 1979 and 2005 (gains by top 1% are reflected by bottom bar; bottom quintile by top bar).[21]

... and here is what we're up against:

political cartoon: Top Tax Rate of 40% = Socialism!!!1!

We have stolen these from Susan of Texas (via TBogg), whose post you should read, because she is looking at McMegan McArdle, who (1) has an inexplicably prominent platform and hence large amount of Authoriteh, and (2) is a big fan of tax cuts, including keeping Bush's tax cuts, because they help her stay rich and innumerate. Or something!

(pic. sources: graph (and caption) | cartoon: somewhere here, via)

Ya Think?

Dionne: "Traditional media are so afraid of being called liberal" they'll run with "any kind of right-wing propaganda ... as news"

However, some props to EJ, I guess, for finally working up the nerve to say on teevee what we DFHs have been saying for decades.

Up next? "Major network concedes the possibility that the evidence may be in favor of the view that the Earth is round." Know hope!

[Added] Follow-up.

That Bloggess

Excerpt from here.

· Dear Jenny, I’m going to the Blogher Conference but I feel out of place because no one ever comments on my blog and I’m afraid everyone else is going to laugh me because I’m not popular. ~ Jude

If the people you’re talking to are judging your worthiness by your technorati ranking then you are hanging out with the wrong people. Mainly because technorati is broken. And also because those people are assholes. Avoid the assholes. This is good advice no matter where you are.

· Dear Bloggess: What are you wearing to blogher? ~Janet

A t-shirt with my technorati ranking on it.

A Poignant Moment From Netroots Nation 2010

About two minutes long:

Lt Dan Choi gives Harry Reid his West Point ring & discharge papers

(alt. video link)

(h/t: @maddow via @kewuh, RT by @siouxeeq)

Eh, more tax cuts for the rich will fix everything

The following stats are from an article by Michael Snyder posted on Yahoo Finance, referring to a set of charts posted on Business Insider. The article is about the shrinking middle class in the US. I picked out some of the stats given to illustrate a tangential -- but not too tangential -- point, because though there are of course many reasons why the middle class is shrinking, foremost among my concerns is this: one of the two major political parties in this country does not think the solution given in my post title is a sick joke.

• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.

• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

• As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.

• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

(h/t: @pourmecoffee)

Senator Franken Rocks The House

Al FrankenAt Netroots Nation 2010 (#nn10), at least as far as Twitter tells me.

Examples from some of the people I follow, seen before I thought to do the above search (some are retweets, via the very helpful @sonjablair).


Thanks to @AlFranken for a wonderful closing speech to #NN10 and for being a champion for Net Neutrality! #P2 #Tech


who would have thought that sen. @alfranken would have become one of the biggest champions of progressive legal philosophy?


RT @ddayen: Franken: Your rights are disappearing one 5-4 Supreme Court decision at a time #nn10


RT @newleftmedia: Al Franken: Republicans talk about deficits as if deficits appeared, all-the-sudden, at noon January 20, 2009.


“@brownboyrocks: 'No matter how frustrated you are don't stop now.' - @AlFranken #nn10”

(pic. source | x-posted)

And meanwhile, what do you suppose Al Franken's erstwhile opponent was up to?)

Why Don't We Have Her Start With The River?

I mean, given her habit of bailing on big projects and all.

Jordan River polluted story next to ad featuring Sarah Palin(embiggen)

(h/t for the article link: @pourmecoffee)

NASCAR's decline?

Young Viewers Depart, and Fewer Young Drivers Enter

When the green flag waved to start the Daytona 500 in February, marking the beginning of the Nascar Sprint Cup season, not a single rookie driver was in the 43-car field. The last time that happened?


The Nascar rookie class of 2010 is virtually nonexistent, except for the unheralded, unrookie-like Kevin Conway, 31. Heading into Sunday’s race in Indianapolis, he is 35th in points driving for a small team that struggles to keep up with the multicar juggernauts of the sport.

Conway has no competition for the rookie of the year title. That is in part because Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski, the most prominent first-year driver, is ineligible for rookie honors because he raced a partial schedule in 2009. But it is also part of a trend, with fewer competitive young drivers making an impact in recent years. The last time a high-profile team failed to produce a rookie of the year candidate was before the rise of megateams in the mid- to late 1990s.

It is perhaps a troubling precedent for Nascar, because it coincides with a decline in ratings in the all-important young male demographic. David Hill, the Fox Sports chairman and chief executive, recently said ratings among men 18 to 34 were down 29 percent from last year on Fox.

“The biggest problem facing Nascar is that the young males have left the sport,” Hill told The SportsBusiness Journal in May after Fox’s 13-race schedule had been completed.

The rest.


Saturday, July 24, 2010


As I said elsewhere when asked about some pronouncements from the Great Orange Satan Himself:

Also, I think, like Jeff, that it's firebagger-level nonsense to say we haven't gotten much done over the past 18 months. I would say to him: Moonbat, please.

And then I would ask his reaction to this video, particularly the part starting at around 1:10.

(alt. video link)


The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, cheers to that.

(h/t: Some Hungover America- and Video-Poker-Hater, via Moonbat Command Central | x-posted)

"Lojack for Laptops"

While flipping through a recent Dell mailing, I saw a feature they are advertising for some of their new computers. It turns out you can buy this software and install it on your not-new machine as well. It also turns out that there is a free, open source version, as well. And, a little more looking around indicates there are further choices.

Basically, the services make use of a small piece of software you install on your computer. If your machine gets lost or stolen, you get in touch with them, and they track it starting the next time it connects to the Internet, possibly calling the cops on your behalf. Other features might include a way for you to trigger the wiping of your personal information off of the missing laptop's hard drive from a remote location.

The properly paranoid reader will deduce that privacy concerns exist, while the laptop is still in your possession. But maybe these worries will be smaller than the thought of your computer and/or your files going missing.

  • The pay version I first heard about, from Absolute Software.

  • The FOSS version, from the University of Washington (via). Looks to be in a testing phase right now, but there are a bunch of useful-looking links on that page. And who knows, maybe you'd like to pitch in and help with the development and testing.

I don't think I'm in the market for this right now, but I might be someday, and maybe others will be right now. Please share any experiences in the Comments. Thanks.

Line of the Day: 2010-07-24

It’s like there are long-term societal consequences to being a hyper-sexualized bloodthirsty nation of amoral idiots addicted to a downward spiral of Washington-sanctioned global murder, prescription drugs, triple-nitrate bacon-anus burgers and Internet porn that keeps “wearing out” because it never quite reaches the sensory horror of weeping bloodied Abu Ghraib prisoners being sodomized to death with gun barrels by U.S. Troops, for freedom.
    -- Ken Layne

Don't Say They Didn't Warn You, Part 2

Baby-Eater Michele BachmannBaby-Eater Bachmann explains the Republican plan for governance, after they regain control of the House because butthurt libtards are mad at Obama:

I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another. And expose all the nonsense that is gone [sic] on. And it’s very important when we come back that we have constitutional conservative leadership because the American people’s patience is about this big. So we have to make sure that we do what the people want us to do.

Probably worth mentioning Tarryl Clark again, don't you think?


I give it two dots

I forgot the keycode for a u with an umlaut* so I Googled. Found the answer, and also found a piece of very short fiction from Nora Ephron: "The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut." It's good. Don't read it first, but the last sentence is FTW.

* On a Windows machine: Alt-129 for lowercase: ü, Alt-154 for uppercase: Ü. Thanks for the reminder, Pinyin Joe! And yeah, I confess: I was typing über alles again. In my own defense, at least this time it wasn't for purposes of fanboying the Dead Kennedys.

Bob Herbert is Shrill

Demands people grow some spine:

“It’s sad that we don’t have a roomful of whites and blacks here tonight,” she said, “because we have to overcome the divisions that we have.”

There is no way we’ll overcome those divisions if people who should know better keep bowing before and kowtowing to the toxic agenda of those on the right whose overriding goal is to foment hostility and hate.

(x-posted | Yes, shrill is good)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Princess of Teabaggers Goes Cannibal

At a photo op designed to show that her new Teabagger caucus is not at all 99 44/100% pure white, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) bit off and ate the thumb of a small child.

Michele Bachmann savages small child

"It did not actually taste as chocolatey-good as I expected," she later said.


Compared to Karl Rove, Astroturf is authentic


How did American Crossroads, Karl Rove's "grassroots" fundraising operation, suddenly leap from $200 in monthly donations to a total of $4.7 million? Apparently 97% comes from four billionaires.


Daniel Schorr Has Died

Daniel SchorrA real lion of journalism has left us at age 93.

I first saw this news on CBS's site. They were kind enough to link to a story featuring a nice set of photos, on NPR's site, whence the above.

And here are some obits: from the NY Times, WaPo, and LA Times.

Everyone says he was at it up till the very end before succumbing to a brief illness. The LAT says his last broadcast on NPR aired July 10.

NPR's Ken Rudin asks, "How many people remember than Dan was pals with Frank Zappa??" He then links to reflections from, among others, his colleagues Scott Simon and Frank James.

They Never Stop

Tom TancredoTom Tancredo, a former Republican member of the US House of Representatives and one-time candidate for that party's nomination to be president, took time out from making threats to run for governor of Colorado to pen an op-ed for the Washington Times, calling for the impeachment of President Obama.

Because why?

Because, among other things:

When one considers the combination of his stop-at-nothing attitude, his contempt for limited government, his appointment of judges who want to create law rather than interpret it - all of these make this president today's single greatest threat to the great experiment in freedom that is our republic.

Yes, Mr. Obama is a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda.

And here is the artwork the Washington Times chose to accompany this op-ed.

Tom Tancredo also once said this:

If you want to call me a single-issue candidate, that's fine, just so long as you know that my single issue is the survival and the success of the conservative movement in America.

Probably the one has nothing to do with the other.

(h/t: Ben Frumin/TPM | upper pic source)

Don't Say They Didn't Warn You

Brian Beutler of TPM reports:

"If Republicans are rewarded with control of the House of Representatives, we will use every means at our disposal to take that case to the American people, and repeal Obamacare lock stock and barrel," said House GOP Conference Chair Mike Pence. "We'll also use whatever means are available to delay implementation of Obamacare."

On a related note, also see Christina Bellantoni's report: "Van Jones To Netroots: Quit Beating Up On Obama."

As long as the Bow-Tied Twerp has managed to weasel his way back into the spotlight ...

... you might have a look at this post by Ezra Klein.

If you care about the nontroversy that is Journolist, I mean.

(h/t: uncle ebeneezer)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wonder Woman's New Look Not Liked By Some Wonderful-Seeming Woman

So, the name Sandi Behrns came to my attention, due to a retweet by someone I follow, I think, so I went to her Twitter page. Then I @-ed her, to tease her about her choice of background image, because … you remember. She replied, which led me to this: "They Gave My Feminist Icon a Makeover." Which is an interesting take, which you may enjoy.

Possibly the last thing to pass along on the matter of Shirley Sherrod

Just in case any of you don't eagerly follow me on the Twitter and so didn't see this, I want to repeat the recommendation.

This is a bit old, in news-cycle terms, but this piece, written around midnight between Tuesday and Wednesday by new Wonkette Jack Stuef, is a brilliant rant.


Today's Edition of "Which of these things is not like the others?"

Newsgossip about Chris Paul:

According to a report, Paul has informed the Hornets that he wants move to the Magic, Lakers or Knicks, with hopes of winning a title.

Better reinforce those remainder bins

Won't be out for another four months, and already cut to half-price:

W's book listing on Amazon

Also, I think the cover pre-print has a typo. Shouldn't that be Delusion Points?

Maybe they didn't want that big a book.

While you're waiting, though, Laura's book is already out!

Oh. Well, hey, good enough for me.

Ann Coulter defends Andrew Breitbart

(grabbed from | x-posted)

Screen Shot of the Day

From a few months ago, but if anything hasn't changed since then, this is most definitely it. Click it to big it.

Screenshot from Chait: the quintessential Fox News image

Actually, it needs one more piece: a picture of Obama looking Muslin. Or uppity.

Happy Happenstance

From Google, I happened to click over to a Matt Welch post on the ongoing fauxtrage generator: "Day Two of JournoListMageddon: Not Very Convincing." It's a decent enough post, although one might reasonably ask if Matt Welch considers a "day" a period of time equal to what most of us would call "eight months."

However, Matt was kind enough to add an update, noting that Daniel Davies had jumped into the comments section, starting here. And just keep scrolling -- there is much goodness.

I consider "the chance to have discovered D-squared" to be an entry on the shortest lists of Reasons Why The Internet Is Great, and you should, too.

Reading Past The Headlines

The big words at the top of the page -- and the teaser in the sidebar elsewhere on the site -- read …

Bill O'Reilly apologizes to Shirley Sherrod for 'not doing my homework'

… and probably, that's all 98% of people who see these words will remember. However, at the bottom of the post is this:

On Wednesday, the host said that he “did not analyze the entire transcript, and that was not fair.” Still, O’Reilly called her a "longtime liberal activist" and said the language Sherrod used suggested that she “very well may see things through a racial prism." He said she belonged in the private sector, not working for the government.

In light of this, his apology now seems little more than mere ass-covering out of fear that people will start asking, "What's the difference between Rathergate and this?"


(h/t: graz)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On Andrew Breitbart's Lies and How Little He Will Suffer For Them

Following up on one aspect of the previous post, here are a couple of very good posts you should read:

David Frum: "Shirley Sherrod and the shame of conservative media." (h/t: graz)

Jonathan Chait: "The Conservative Pseudojournalist Method"

I tried pulling some of the good parts out to help encourage you to click over, but I ended up pretty much blockquoting both of the complete posts. So please, just trust my recommendations and give both of these posts a look.

Joyous News: Momentary Outbursts of Spine on Display

Among both Democrats and the MSM, no less!

There's a story about Shirley Sherrod on the NYT's site that keeps getting updated. Most recent version of the story appears to have been posted just before 9pm, EDT (an hour before this posting). Here are some excerpts from the way it now appears.

With Apology, Fired Official Is Offered a New Job

WASHINGTON — The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized profusely and repeatedly on Wednesday to a black midlevel official for the way she had been humiliated and forced to resign her Agriculture Department job after a conservative blogger put out a misleading video clip that seemed to show her admitting antipathy toward a white farmer.

By the end of the day, the official, Shirley Sherrod, had gained instant fame and emerged as the heroine of a compelling story about race and redemption.

Pretty much everyone else had egg on his face — from the conservative bloggers and pundits who first pushed the inaccurate story to Mr. Vilsack, who looked stricken as he told reporters he had offered Ms. Sherrod, until Monday the Agriculture Department’s rural development director in Georgia, a new job that would give her a “unique opportunity” to help the agency move past its checkered civil rights history. She told him she would think about it.

“This is a good woman, she’s been put through hell and I could have and should have done a better job,” Mr. Vilsack said, as he conceded that he had ordered Ms. Sherrod’s firing in haste, without knowing that the video clip, from a speech she gave to the N.A.A.C.P., had been taken out of context. He said that he had acted on his own, and that there was “no pressure from the White House.”

Mr. Vilsack’s late-afternoon appearance capped a humiliating and fast-paced few days not only for the White House, but also for the N.A.A.C.P. and the national news media, especially the Fox News Channel and its hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, all of whom played a role in promoting the story about Ms. Sherrod.

The controversy illustrates the nexus between Fox and right-wing Web sites like the one run by Andrew Breitbart, the blogger who initially posted the misleading and highly edited video, which he later said had been sent to him already edited. (Similarly, Mr. Breitbart used edited videos to go after Acorn, the community organizing group.) Politically charged stories often take root online before being shared with a much wider audience on Fox. The television coverage, in turn, puts pressure on other news media outlets to follow up.


Fox News began its pursuit of Ms. Sherrod in prime time on Monday night on three successive opinion shows that reached at least three million people. Leading off, Mr. O’Reilly asked on his top-rated program, “Is there racism in the Department of Agriculture?” He discussed the tape, plugged Mr. Breitbart’s Web site and demanded that Ms. Sherrod resign immediately.

By the time Mr. O’Reilly’s remarks, which were taped in the afternoon, were broadcast, Ms. Sherrod had indeed resigned, a development that Fox’s next host, Mr. Hannity, treated as breaking news at the beginning of his show. He played a short part of what he called the “shocking” video from Mr. Breitbart, and later discussed the development with a panel of guests, mentioning the N.A.A.C.P.’s recent accusations of racism within the conservative Tea Party movement.

“It is interesting they just lectured the Tea Party movement last week,” Mr. Hannity said, telegraphing a talking point that would come up repeatedly on other shows.

Fox’s 10 p.m. show also covered the resignation as breaking news. Ms. Sherrod later said Fox had not tried to contact her before running the video clip repeatedly on Monday.

Fair and Balanced™!!!1!

I'm about ready to faint that the NYT is finally showing enough stones to state such facts as appear in those last paragraphs (shoutout to Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who will no doubt have O'Reilly, Hannity, Breitbart, etc., calling for her resignation tomorrow), so I'll leave you to read the rest.

Also, here's the tweet that made me think I ought to go back to check on this article:

UOJim Cause they're lying sacks of shit? RT @daveweigel "Why is there no Sherrod correction at Big Government right now?"

(Big Government, if you didn't already know, is one of Breitbart's many websites.)


Obama Cuts NASA!!!1! Surrenders To Russians!!!1!

The next time you hear yelling along the lines of this post's title, let's remember this moment:

House Panel’s NASA Spending Bill Cuts Back Obama Plan

An authorization bill put together by a House committee for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration would greatly scale back President Obama’s plans to spur a commercial market for the launching of people into space and would direct the agency to continue developing its own rocket.

The bill from the House Committee on Science and Technology would provide $750 million over five years for the so-called commercial crew initiative — investing in companies to develop a space taxi service for taking astronauts into orbit; that is far less than the $6 billion the Obama administration requested and less than the $1.3 billion over three years that a Senate committee approved in its version of the authorization bill last week. In addition, $500 million of the money in the House bill would be in the form of loans and loan guarantees rather than direct financing.

It remains to be seen what gets worked out between the House and the Senate, and Congress and the White House, of course. But I have the sad feeling this will turn out to have been something worth noting for the record.


John McWhorter on the "progressive" brand

One of my favorite Bloggingheads has an op-ed in the NYT, which begins as follows.

The Dreaded P-Word?

IT’S no surprise that in recent years some on the left have embraced the term “progressive” as a substitute for “liberal.” The right has so demonized “the L-word” that during a Democratic debate in 2007, Hillary Clinton, asked by a voter whether she was a liberal, said that she preferred to identify herself as — of course — a “modern progressive.”

But she doesn’t have as much company as you might expect: a recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that only one in four liberals would go by the label “progressive,” while 17 percent rejected the term and 57 percent were “unsure.” Even stranger, 7 percent of conservatives considered themselves progressives, and nearly half said they were unsure if the label applied to them.

And I wildly applaud his closing paragraph.


Juxtaposition II

What we see:

What they see:


(pic. sources: top | bot)

Your Moment of Wingularity

Somehow the byline, the picture, and the headline all come together, don't they?

Just in case you were wondering, "What else does Human Events do to distinguish itself, besides be the sole remaining publisher for Ann Coulter columns?," the answer is: EXPOSE OBAMACARE!!!1!

(h/t: Benjamin Frisch)

Check out Google's fancy new Image Search presentation

By image-Googling Barack Obama, for example.

Here is the word are some words from the source itself.

"Palin’s English"

Swiped (from here) especially for the concluding paragraph.

Palin’s English

Much giggling on the blogs about Sarah Palin’s mis-tweeting the word “refudiate” to mean “repudiate.” Palin’s defense: Shakespeare made up words too.

This latest Palin invention is unlikely to endure. But I notice that one Palin word invention really does seem to be catching on: her use of the word “verbiage” (Palin pronounces it “verb-ij” ) to mean “words.”

See for example Palin speaking on Fox’s “Hannity” program on September 17, 2008.

HANNITY: Senator Barack Obama yesterday was attacking Senator McCain for saying that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Do you believe that the fundamentals of our economy are strong?

PALIN: Well, it was an unfair attack on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use.

“Verbiage” historically means not merely “words” but excessive, prolix, or obfuscatory words. To say that someone is emitting “verbiage” is always a criticism, even an insult. Or anyway, it used to be so.

In the months since, I have heard more and more politicians and even non-politicians use “verbiage” in the same way as Palin, sometimes even pronounced the same way as Palin pronounced it. It seems a real trend. Thanks to Palin, a word that used to mean the cynical use of language to evade, conceal and deceive now more and more just means “language.” It seems somehow an appropriate accomplishment.



Because why not?

Nice picture of a woman who's always caught my eye. Click it to big it.

Angelina Jolie is on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, and I got the picture from that site, but I don't see a link to the article itself as of this moment. (There is a teaser of sorts here.)

Saved! Thank God Almighty, I Am Saved At Last!

Screen grab of a Twitter email notifying me that I'm now being followed by Best Church of God

Actually it's worth a look. Come to that, it appears to be self-recommending!

Twitter avatar/logo for Best Church of God

[Added] Also: Best Church of God has a website.

Still Running Windows XP Service Pack 2?

I meant to post a note to this effect when I first heard the news, so, sorry for my tardiness. Anyway, if you're still running Windows XP SP2 for some reason, you won't be getting any more security updates from Microsoft, effective last week. This includes not only patches to the operating system itself, but patches to other Microsoft software, like Internet Explorer, as well.

If your copy of Windows XP SP2 is a valid one, you can upgrade to Service Pack 3 for free (or for a nominal fee, if you want to do it via CD instead of online). Details here and here.

If you have Automatic Updates turned on and you're a typical home user, odds are very good you're already running SP3. If you're unsure, you can check your version by right-clicking My Computer and choosing Properties from the pop-up context menu. Or, do Start → Run, type winver and click OK.

If you're bound and determined to stick with SP2 for the time being, Gregg Keizer has some tips for you. I can't stress enough, though, that it's very unlikely that your reason for sticking with SP2 is compelling, unless, say, you're on an office computer and your company's IT department makes the call on things like this. In other words, don't let inertia, procrastination, or fear of "breaking something" keep you from upgrading to SP3 -- it's painless and it is your first line of defense in keeping your Windows machine free from infection.