Sunday, October 31, 2010

Disambiguation Notice

Not me.

(Not that, on a day like today, I wouldn't like it to be.)

Now there are three. (No. Sadly, I myself have yet to win an Emmy.) [Added: Or a Peabody.]

[Update 2011-03-03 16:14] Make that four.

[Update 2011-06-30 07:30] Five.

[Update 2011-11-17 13:30] Six. And dammit, if someone mails him a surprise book when they meant to send it to me … ;)

[Update 2011-06-17 16:48] Seven.

[Update 2012-07-26 18:26] Eight. (See photo credit.)

[Update 2017-02-19 13:58] It's becoming uncountable.

(Shortened permalink:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wingnut Schism! Karl Rove Disses St. Sarah!

Sarah Palin poutingAnd while talking to some furriner from Old Europe™, to boot! Treason!!!1!

Expressing the strongest public reservations about the conservative star made by any senior Republican figure, Mr Rove said it was unlikely that voters would regard someone starring in a reality show as presidential material.


Mr Rove, who remains a major force on the US political scene, also implied that Mrs Palin lacked the stomach for the rigours of a presidential primary campaign, which will begin early next year before the first polls in 2012.


He said Mrs Palin had done a “terrific job” in 2008 when Senator John McCain took her from near obscurity to the vice-presidential nomination, but added: “Being the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket is different from saying 'I want to be the person at the top of the ticket’.

“There are high standards that the American people have for it [the presidency] and they require a certain level of gravitas, and they want to look at the candidate and say 'that candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they are up to the most demanding job in the world’.”

As for Herself, the Holly Bailey post referring me to the above also offers this quote, the latest helping of word salad served up in response to the question of whether she'll be running:

"For me, Mary, it's going to entail a discussion with my family -- a real close look at the lay of the land -- and to consider whether there are those with that common-sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion. Whether there are already candidates out there who can do the job -- and I'll get to be their biggest supporter and their biggest helpmate, if they will have me -- or whether there's nobody willing to do it, to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I believe the priorities should be," Palin told Hart.

That would be Mary Hart, as in Mary Hart, host of Entertainment Tonight.


So far, it doesn't look like the 101st Fighting Keyboardists have been made aware of this. Except for the Freepers, the only thing I see right now is Hot Air's Allahpundit trying to spin this as Rove strategery, maybe, but I look forward to the coming internecine flame wars.

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Richard Cohen Random Thought

Every time I read about his latest dumbassery, it still never fails to amaze me that this guy …

 … has ever had sex with a consenting woman. Even for money.

And remember: that is the picture he chose to grace his columns.

[Added] Random Thought 2: So glad TB lets me know that I'm not the last remaining VP fan on this planet.

"Strange New Respect"

Did you know that was a Phrase? I did not know that was a Phrase.

As in, wingnuts have a Strange New Respect for Wan Williams.

Roy Edroso rounds up their furiously pounded tribalistic keyboard hysteria reactions. Intro here, full column here.

Basically, it's LIBRULS ARE TEH REEL RASISTS times LIBRULS ARE INTOLARENT to the power of CENSORSHIP!!!1!, with no hesitation at seasoning with fat fist using ALL REALAMERICANS™ KNOW ITS ONLY COMMON SENSE TO BE AFRAID OF MUSLIN'S, but, hey, click those clickies if you want to give them a chance at nuance. (Or yourself a chance to laugh at the stuff where it hurts too much to cry.)


[Added] This bit at the end, from the important CNN employee and GHEMRotRSTF, deserves requoting. In the sense of Documenting The Atrocities, I mean.

It is how the left can embrace tolerance for both gays and muslims though many of the latter would gladly see all of the former put the death.

(orig. source, and yeah, it gets worse)

Nope. Not at all bigoted, or inclined to violence, against anyone who is not straight, white, Christian, and stupid, is our son of Erick, or any other of these teabagging Republicans.

That hope to be your new rulers. To save your America from people just like you. Is what I mean to say.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

4 pts, 17 assts

Line score of the night.

Also: five rebounds and two steals. Mr. Point Guard to you.

How fabulous does our Rondo continue to be?

The comfort I reach for when the cold wind of the end of baseball starts blowing out of Joe Buck's cakehole is the start of the NBA. Tonight was opening night. I was out to dinner at Haleim's, so I only caught the fourth quarter of the season opener between the Celts and the Heat, but … woof, at least enough poetry in motion to get me through World Series Eve.

Mañana? Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum? If I can't have my Yanks there, there is no better second choice.

You run for Senate in Alaska Kentucky with the security goons you have, not the security goons you wish you had

Hear about the woman who got stomped by Rand Paul campaign volunteers?

Woman stomped by Rand Paul campaign volunteers

Steve Benen has details.

Via Gawker, here's the face at the other end of that foot:

Stomper Tim Profitt and Rand Paul

His name is Tim Profitt.

Imagine how rich you'd be if you had a nickel for every time the following phrase was typed into the wingnutosphere today: "... just a few bad apples ..."

Rush Limbaugh applauded how this "threat" from a "professional agitator" was "restrained."

And Rand?

Mr. Paul called on “both sides” for civility ...

Yeah, lady. Hope you didn't give that poor man's foot a bone bruise with your jaw. I mean, really, you didn't even give him a chance to slip into his protective jackboots.

(h/t: Twin, who provided the first picture, too)


Voter Intimidation, Teabagger-Style

Back in 2008, I posted several items related to the hysteria wingnuts always try to gin up about VOTER FRAUD!!!1!, which is almost entirely non-existent, since there's a world of difference between being able to register to vote as, say, Mickey Mouse, and being able to vote under that name. I also called attention to the real, well-documented efforts that Republicans have long used to suppress voting using various dirty tricks, most notably and heinously, a variety of tactics seeking to intimidate people who are not white. Click the label below this post, if you're interested in learning more.

The NYT has an article up today indicating that this just keeps on keeping on. The new variation? A bunch of teabaggers plan to stand outside polling stations, to harass "individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible."

Presumably the detection mechanisms used by the teabaggers to determine ineligibility will be some blend of the never-fail criteria employed by Arizonans to detect Teh Elleegulls and Wan Williams to detect Teh Muslins.

Easy enough to ignore, you say? Suppose you went to vote by yourself and encountered something looking like this:

teabaggers and wingnuts at a pro-gun rally

There are other techniques described in the article, such as specious accusations against various get-out-the-vote groups ("CONNECTED TO THE NEW BLACK PANTHERS!!!1!") and billboards designed to intimidate people into not showing up in the first place.

I encourage you to read the article. This is what "democracy" looks like when you let the RealAmericans™ define it.

(pic. source)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pictorial Responses to Juan Williams and his Supporters

"Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things."

(h/t: Don Zeko)

If you're not already sick of thinking about Juan Williams ...

... Tobin Harshaw has gathered up links and excerpts from some thoughtful reactions from a bunch of people, many of whom I respect. Michael Tomasky's piece is worth reading in its entirety (i.e., says what I think about the whole mess, better than I have been able to). Here's an excerpt different from the one Harshaw chose:

Williams once had a distinguished career. He spent nearly a quarter-century at the Washington Post, and I remember him, back when I was in college, as a guy on television panels sometimes with a winning presence and decent insights. He rose quickly and seemed to deserve to.

He then wrote the companion book to the amazing early 90s PBS documentary series on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize. He was a big deal.

As I think back over my adult lifetime as a frequent consumer of Juan Williams news segments, I really can't decide which of us changed more. I certainly changed: I grew my antennae for reflexive and frankly lazy Beltway conventional wisdom, and I came to believe that Williams did a lot of that.

But maybe he changed, too. Because what sort of non-conservative – one perceives Williams to be some degree of liberal; he'd probably protest that he's just a reporter; in either case, he's not a conservative – agreed to be an in-house flunky at Fox? I'm sure they offered him nice money, and money is money, and I can't say with certainty that I'd have turned it down if Rupert had waved it under my nose.

But if you're any kind of liberal at all, even in the softest and most non-political possible sense, it's basically an indefensible thing to do. Fox News wants liberalism to perish from the face of the earth. Going on their air on a regular basis and lending your name and reputation to their ideological razzle-dazzle is like agreeing to be the regular kulak guest columnist at Pravda in 1929. For "balance".

It may be the case that those nervous nellies at NPR overreacted a bit. If they had been phrased another way, his comments might have been completely unremarkable. Even as they stand, they don't strike me on paper as being that far outside our established parameters (which may say something about our parameters, I guess). I doubt very much that they'd rank in the top 10 or even top 20 of the most revolting statements made on Fox that day.

Also worth reading in full:

Eric Boehlert's piece. He's good at asking the discomforting questions.

Will Bunch makes a good argument against the firing of Williams and what it says about the fetish for objectivity that sometimes hurts organizations like NPR. He is being a bit disingenuous here, I think, to ignore the near-certainty that this one remark by Williams was more of a convenient excuse or last straw than the sole reason for his firing, but that aside, he's got some useful things to say.

• Via Will, this bit from Adam Serwer, also considering only the one statement, is pretty smart:

That really doesn't matter as to whether or not the above remarks qualify as prejudice -- assuming people might be terrorists because they are wearing "Muslim garb" is the textbook definition of prejudice. Prejudice doesn't cease to be prejudice because it is widely held. Whether or not Williams "is a bigot" is beside the point, this is a bigoted statement.

That said, because it's a feeling that's so widely shared, it's a topic worthy of public discussion. Everyone at some point succumbs to their prejudices -- if reasonable people couldn't possess them then prejudice wouldn't be a problem. Had Williams phrased his statement differently, or made it under different circumstances, the conversation might have been constructive. The problem is that it's clear from the context that Williams wasn't merely confessing his own personal fears, he was reassuring O'Reilly that he was right to see all Muslims as potential terrorists.

I'd add to what Adam said that for all of the legitimate reasons we might have to talk about how much Islam is worrisome as it is misused to motivate (brainwash) young men who, due to their life circumstances, don't enjoy access to a wide spectrum of news or competing views, it is completely counterproductive to engage in the sort of broad-brush fear-mongering that Williams did, and that FoxNews sells every damned day. Even considered only as a pragmatic calculation, the people wetting their beds over Teh Muslins ought to realize that their excessiveness causes people like me, who are usually eager to be outspoken in criticizing the bad parts of organized religion, to keep quiet, lest we be seen as allied with their ilk.

And finally, a bit of blue-penciling for Tobin Harshaw is in order. Where he says, "Slate’s William Saletan feels that …," it would have been better to say, "Slate’s William Saletan, who has had his own problems telling stories beginning I'm not a bigot, but, feels that …"

Come to that, I'm not sure why in the first place Harshaw felt it was worth including Saletan's take on this. Saletan is not quite as sure a predictor as Bill Kristol, but in sorting out one's own feelings on any complex social issue, a safe bet is to see what Saletan thinks and then don't think that. Maybe Harshaw felt compelled to offer … balance.

A Mathematician Reads Writes for the Newspaper

And teaches me a new word, to boot: intensional.

(And I didn't know about the two-boy problem, either.)

Good piece by John Allen Paulos.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Looming Theocracy Watch

Here is a very good diavlog between Michelle Goldberg and Jeff Sharlet.

(alt. video link)

You might remember my recommending an earlier diavlog with Jeff, in which he was interviewed by Will Wilkinson shortly after his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power came out, as well as his precursor article on the same subject, "Jesus plus nothing: Undercover among America's secret theocrats."

This diavlog touches, in part, on his follow-up book, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. If "C Street" seems vaguely familiar to you only as a place where Republican politicians go to hide out after they get caught dipping the quill outside the company inkwell, be advised that it is considerably more sinister than that.

Other topics discussed in this diavlog include the relationship between certain US Senators and the problem in Uganda of homophobia run amok, criticism of Peter J. Boyer and The New Yorker for bad reporting on this situation, how much the tea party movement is either already driven by Christianist forces or will eventually be, and some observations on teabagger darlings like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Joe Miller, all of whom have significant connections to those who would like to replace the US Constitution with the Book of Leviticus.

Is it easy to dismiss these matters as the excessive paranoia? You will have to judge for yourself -- me, I think a healthy amount of concern is definitely in order -- but I urge you to watch the above, and look into Jeff's reporting, before you make your final dismissal. I would note in particular his criticism of those who have a fetish for centrism, who are at least as dangerous as the fundies themselves in their wish to sweep all this stuff under the rug.

If you'd rather download audio or video of this diavlog, instead of sitting here watching it stream, watching the video embedded above stream, click the "alt. video link," where you'll find a variety of options.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Even if the Phillies Could Resurrect Bessie Smith ...

... they still can't beat the Giants having Phil Lesh and Bob Weir singing the National Anthem.

San Francisco Values™ FTW!


P.S. Please resist the temptation to quote that Don Henley song. Unless you are also prepared to acknowledge the song title, and bow down to Roger Khan.

Wingnuts are Furious! And Hypocritical!

PZ was right. It is Obvious Day.

On the matter of Wan Williams, and for your entertainment, I will point you to a post by Jillian Rayfield of TPM, in which she gathers up reactions from the usual suspects (leading right-wing shouters Dumber, Dumberer, Dumbererer, etc.) and contrasts them with what they had to say when certain other media figures were fired after making various remarks.

If You Misread It Slightly, It's Even Better

Looking around the NYT's site for more on Wan, I noticed that another of their articles on his firing is number one on the Most Emailed List. For the business section, at least. Number four? Number four is the obituary for Bob Guccione, who died yesterday, of cancer, at age 79.

Oh, shut up. You did so know he was the founder of Penthouse.

Sadly, the only pictures in the sidebar are of him, about which I will only say that he was never any threat to Jim Morrison in the wearing of blousy blouses and leather pants department, but I did love this bit:

His empire began in London in 1965 with a bank loan, an idea and an accident. The loan was for $1,170. The idea was a new magazine with nude photos to outdo Hugh Hefner’s Playboy. And the accident was an old mailing list, so that promotional brochures with pornographic samples went out to clergymen, schoolgirls, old-age pensioners and wives of members of Parliament.

In memoriam, I propose that we each compose a letter beginning as follows.

Dear Penthouse Forum,

I am a student at a large Midwestern university. I always used to think these letters were fake, but now …

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere, Twitter

Just noticed the new "Similar to You" feature of the new Twitter on my profile page:

I haven't been so tickled by an unmerited inclusion since the last time some wingnut compared me to Alinsky.

Perfect Confirmation: They Tell Me Three Times

So, I just noticed that people are all a-Twitter about a recent personnel decision made by NPR. About fucking time, was my first reaction, but I Googled to see what the details were. First hit, just from the headline, tells me NPR got it right this time:

Juan Williams Whining on FoxNews about being fired by NPR ('for telling the truth')

Also, this, from the NYT:

Mr. Williams has not responded to other interview requests, but he will talk to Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday night.

And: Sarah Palin rushed to her Facebook, to defend him and to bash NPR.


Have I already shared with you my suggestion that we refer to him as Wan Williams? [1] I'm sure Fred Pohl won't mind too much. Meanwhile, door meet ass, and good riddance.

[Added] Shoutout to @ctuckerAJC:

Note to Juan Williams' fans: His 1st amendment rights are intact. He just won't be paid for them

[Added2] Except, of course, by FoxNews, to the tune of two million bucks. Who says slime doesn't pay?

[1] Comment from Donald Douglas about how THIS PROVES LIBRULS ARE THE REEL RASISTS!!!1! in 5…, 4…, 3…

Line of the Day: 2010-10-21

You know, if you know so little about evolution that you think the fact that monkeys aren't turning into humans is a credible argument, maybe you should have "MORON" tattooed across your forehead.

Evolution is an engine of diversity. It produces "endless forms most beautiful", to quote the guy who thought it up. Asking why different species don't all evolve into us is about as dumb as asking why every kaleidoscope doesn't produce the same image every time you turn it.

From "It must be Obvious Day!," in which PZ Myers notes the nonstartling revelation that Glenn Beck is, also, a creationist.

(h/t: uncle eb)


[Added] It occurs to me to wonder whether Goldline will care about this news that Glenn Beck holds yet another proudly ignorant view: will they be perturbed that their most prominent shill holds a view that is so uninformed, or are they cynical enough to think that their customer base is overwhelming likely to agree with Beck on this as they are on other of his derangements?

In either case, thinking about gold and the sad tendency of the gullible to think it has some intrinsic value not subject to popular whims got me to thinking about that delightful scene in one of the Harry Bosch books where Jed is telling Harry the story of a crook who was killed while trying to steal the airbag from a car. The contacts in airbags are gold (superior electrical conductivity is, admittedly, a real intrinsic value of this metal) and the would-be thief had been trying to pry the cover off of the steering wheel with a screwdriver to get at them. Whereupon the airbag fired and drove the screwdriver into the heart of the thief, killing him instantly. Which could be called winning a Darwin Award. So, you see, it really is all connected sometimes.

Serendipity for an Insomniac

Two nights ago, I was stuck in front of the teevee after watching the baseball. While surfing around looking for more South Park reruns, I happened across a movie, just starting, that I had never seen and always kinda, sorta thought I wanted to see.


I'm here to tell you that if you haven't ever seen Fight Club, and the reason is, like mine was, because you don't think there's all that much appeal in watching Brad Pitt and Edward Norton box, it is a whole lot more than that. I don't want to say anything more, because if you don't know anything about it, you should have the pleasure of being as surprised as I was. But, assuming you're not too squeamish about some moments of violence, do give it a shot. Netflix it or something, but I will state that even with commercial interruptions and annoying censorship [1], I was entranced. Powerfully strange and at times, delightfully playful.

[1] It is an enduring mystery to me why it is still considered impermissible to say fuck and shit on late night basic cable, but it is fine to say goddam as often as you like. I would think if I were a Tony Perkins/Brent Bozell-type of tightass, I would care at least as much about goddam as I would about any Anglo-Saxon monosyllables. I mean, in light of that Third Commandment [2] and all.

[2] Or Second, if you're one of those papists, which … hey, look! All this time, I thought Bozo was a Baptist, like Perkins. Fight, fight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More on Journalists in Handcuffs

Following up on the Joe Miller story from a couple of days ago, and related to the comment Twin left under it, Eric Boehlert has some thoughts, in "Memo to the media: The Tea Party is coming for you." Here's an excerpt from Eric's post:

Sorry folks, but we left the working-the-refs realm a long, long time ago. The Tea Party movement, and the press-hating frenzy that’s helping to fuel the uprising, doesn’t want better political coverage. It wants no political press coverage. It wants the Fourth Estate destroyed. And it wants its movement leaders not to be held accountable.

By anyone.

In order to achieve that open playing field, journalists and the idea of journalism has to be completely vilified so right-wing supporters no longer even see the pursuit as a legitimate one. So Tea Party media leaders cheer when reporters are handcuffed and subject to phony citizen “arrests,” and unleash lots of other vile attacks, portraying them as unpatriotic and treasonous.

The instinct for many of you, I suspect, will be to read Eric's and Twin's words as overreaction. I used to feel this way, too. Now I'm not so sure. I'm now leaning more toward the idea that they're being prescient about a scenario that all too many right-wingers in this country think they want to see unfold.

I'd also remind everyone of another aspect of this problem, which worries me more than the howling from the teabaggers, the bedwetters, the proudly ignorant Beck/Palin/Bachmann/Limbaugh fans: a lot of these handcuffs have been placed on the media by themselves. Partly, to be sure, in response to the wingnuts' nonstop ref-working, not to mention their hate mail, demonization, outright threats, and so on. But a large part of the problem among the most prominent members and organizations in the mainstream media is self-imposed. Even after the jaw-dropping amounts of anti-Obama and anti-Democratic vitriol, racism, paranoia, and outright lies over the past two or three years, it remains a rare occasion indeed where you see any sort of news story about the loony right where there isn't a big chunk of "balance" and "both sides do it" shoehorned in.

I wonder sometimes how much this is due to these senior people not wanting to mess up their cushy lifestyles and "access," and how much is simple ignorance of the extent of the foaming at the mouth that is going on out there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Conventional Wisdom" ...

... says JJ in the subject of his email. He continues:

Well, who are we to argue.

Perfectly done.


Heard about Officer Bubbles?

He takes respect my authoritah to a whole new low.

Little girl blowing soap bubblesIt all started when Toronto Police Const. Adam Josephs was assigned crowd control duty at a G20-related protest, where he arrested a young woman (only slightly older than pictured at left) for assault; i.e., for for blowing soap bubbles. Next, a few people on the Internet heard about this and made "Officer Bubbles" cartoons and posted them on YouTube. And then a few more people made comments on those video pages. And then Josephs picked up his shovel and really started digging.

He began by filing a $1.2-million lawsuit against YouTube, apparently finding the only lawyer on the planet who could say with a straight face, "This level of ridicule goes beyond what is reasonable." He demanded that YouTube take the cartoons down. He demanded YouTube reveal the identity of the person who posted them. Oh, and it doesn't end there. He also demanded to know the real names of twenty-four commenters, so he can sue them, too.

Soap bubble bottles

His initial abuse of his police powers is bad enough, but you really have to wonder how anyone living in the Western world in the year 2010 does not get how everything he has done since then is even stupider. Both of the newspaper articles cited above report that the cartoons have been taken down by YouTube. That may have even been true for five or six minutes, but of course it is not any longer. And of course, there is now a "Fire Officer Bubbles" Facebook group. (Now with new and improved name!)

I don't know whether this clown is looking to cash in on his infamy by scoring his own reality teevee show, or if he is just bucking for a job with Joe Miller's securitah forces, but in any case, let's all teach Officer Bubbles the real meaning of the words Streisand Effect.

(h/t: Substance McGravitas || pic. sources: assassin | WMD)

Monday, October 18, 2010

You run for Senate in Alaska with the security goons you have, not the security goons you wish you had

Pictured below: "security" guards hired by Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate and teabagger darling Joe Miller, and the journalist they handcuffed to a chair for asking Miller questions.


Not to worry. I'm sure this doesn't portend anything for America once the Republicans return to power.

Story (and pic. source): Anchorage Daily News.

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)

[Added] And then there's Kentucky ...

Another reminder for pissed-off lefties

Yes, you don't like your choices, and yes, you're mad about not having gotten everything you wanted over the past couple of years. But you still do have a choice, and here's a stark illustration of how significant it is:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has to be smiling. With one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate — including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning — accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.

The candidates are not simply rejecting solutions, like putting a price on carbon, though these, too, are demonized. They are re-running the strategy of denial perfected by Mr. Cheney a decade ago, repudiating years of peer-reviewed findings about global warming and creating an alternative reality in which climate change is a hoax or conspiracy.


Nowadays, it is almost impossible to recall that in 2000, George W. Bush promised to cap carbon dioxide, encouraging some to believe that he would break through the partisan divide on global warming. Until the end of the 1990s, Republicans could be counted on to join bipartisan solutions to environmental problems. Now they’ve disappeared in a fog of disinformation, an entire political party parroting the Cheney line.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dyslexia of the Day

Nice catch by someone, passed along by David Brown, regarding last night's Phils' starting pitcher's nemesis:

Eerie NLCS wordplay: Cody Ross spelled backward is 'Ssory Doc'

While you're waiting for tonight's Giants/Phils Game 2 ...

... here is a pretty great eight-minute interview of Brian Wilson, the Giants' closer, conducted a few weeks ago. Cliché count is just about zero, believe it or not, a rarity and a treasure in this age.

(alt. video link)

More sports talk like that, please.

(h/t: graz, via email)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I smell a rat. Oh, 'scuse me, Willard. That's just you.

Mitt Romney with magic gloveHow did Willard "Mitt" Romney make it to the top of the NYT bestseller list?

Soon-to-be-pulped fiction, is how.

But wait. Didn't Mormons swear off buying more than one book at a time? Must be thinking of something else.

The real comedy: Commenters at Conservatives4Palin are OUTRAGED.

(pic. source)

Fear and Loathing Low Expectations in Las Vegas

Apparently, last night we had yet another Republican declared the "winner" of a debate because he or she -- she, in this case -- managed not to respond to any questions by drooling, dropping trou, and doing the Funky Chicken.

"Before they


Oops. Sorry. Wrong picture. Try this one instead:

Sharron Angle"Fourteen million dollars in one quarter. Raised
by a candidate who carries on like a mental patient."

Continues Mark Warren:

We need to at last call this for what it is: This is America in retrograde, thoroughly engaged in a spasm of exaltation of the stupid and the mediocre. Now, there is a significant cohort of the population that recoils at this notion, and, led by its priestess Sarah Palin, calls this the viewpoint of an American "elite." Well, yes. We have always been called to greatness — we have always been exhorted to excellence. America is an elite nation, and it didn't get that way by being led by people who didn't know that Africa was a continent and not a country. We did not become the greatest power the world has ever known, the shining city on a hill, by being determinedly dumber than the generation that came before, by surrendering (for long) to our most vile nativist passions, or allowing ourselves to be led (for long) by the morons and the fearful. People who wander into each new day, misunderstanding it as thoroughly as they had the day before, did not make this country great. In fact, it is this kind of ignoramus that has always — always — been nothing but a drag on American progress.

Whole thing is worth reading, even as it will only make you sadder about the next couple of years.

(pic. sources: Joe Dator/New Yorker | Las Vegas Gleaner | Heather Roddy)

Oh, HST, where are you when we need you?

The Real Revelation in Todd Palin's Email

Probably you already heard about this masterpiece of prose, in which the guy Greta Van Susteren moistly refers to as The First Dude flips out on teabagger and Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller for Miller's disinclination to characterize his erstwhile half-governor as qualified to be president, but though I am getting to it late, I think it deserves to be preserved for posterity.

> Joe and Tim,
> Hold off on any letter for Joe. Sarah put her ass on the line for Joe
> and yet he can't answer a simple question " is Sarah Palin Qualified
> to be President". I DON'T KNOW IF SHE IS.
> Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be
> completely one sided.
> Sarah spent all morning working on a Face book post for Joe, she won't
> use it, not now.
> Put yourself in her shoe's Joe for one day.
> Todd
> Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Now, quite apart from recommending a device I think would be more suitable than a Blackberry for Mr. Palin …

Speak N Spell

… I think another observation is in order. There may still remain some doubt in minds beyond Andrew Sullivan's about who the mother really is, but I believe the question of Trig's paternity has now been settled forever.

(h/t: Jack Stuef | pic. source)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Line of the Day: 2010-10-14

In her famous essay on Hollywood, Pauline Kael described it as a place where you could die of encouragement. That may still be true of Tinseltown; in Tumortown you sometimes feel that you may expire from sheer advice.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

The whole thing is worth reading, especially (1) if you like you a little gallows humor and (2) if you want to hear of a real-life consequence of letting wingnuts decide science policy.

(h/t: TC, via email)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not, actually, a movie review; i.e., shallower

Is it too late to harsh on a movie (Random Hearts) that came out last millennium, that mostly got panned back when it came out?

Some other baseball notes, also from the opening round

• Okay, first. Baseball, please. Get a better name than "The Division Series." ALDS, especially, sounds like the worst set of initials to anyone who cares about baseball.

Other random thoughts about that past week or so, that started assembling during the great game 5 between Texas and Tampa Bay, just concluded. (Which among other things made me wish, once again, I'd taken notes while things were actually happening):

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baseball Note

I hate to be rooting for the team once owned by George W. Bush, but boy, I have to tell you, I am loving the way the Texas Rangers are running the bases here in game 5. [1]

When was the last time you saw two different runs scored from second base, on slow ground balls, fielded cleanly?

Not to mention that one of those two was by Vlady Guerrero, whose physical presence, on the bases as at bat, can most politely be described as "hulking?" The real old pros never miss the spots. You wait a whole season for a chance like this, and when you do not miss it, that's where we most sincerely tip our caps.

And further: after Nelson Cruz ended up on second with a double on what should have been an easy triple (due to posing at home plate after his I'm-sure-that's-gone swing), how fabulous was that steal of third on the very next pitch (and then the score on the bad throw)?

Antlers. I do like the antlers.

And over in the National League, I'm still wondering why no one told me before about Tim Lincecum? What a joy he was to watch pitch. And to watch him leaping up and down in the dugout in a game he wasn't pitching, like a pure and unadulterated high school kid? Gotta love that. (Almost as much as you do hearing Geezer Stockton call Tim's team "the New York Giants." ← we may have found something older than John McCain.)


[1] Credit here is due largely to manager Ron Washington, and decidedly not to W, whose only other baseball accomplishment besides getting Daddy's rich friends to buy him out at a fat personal profit appears to have been trading Sammy Sosa, about 600 dingers prematurely.)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Conan Fail

While watching the MLB playoffs, I've been enjoying the Conan blimp ads promoting his new show, but earlier tonight, there was a moment of cringe.

Don't say "knots per hour," okay? Knots is a unit of speed. One knot is one nautical mile per hour. Look it up.

Yeah, there is every chance someone said, "Let's say that, to see how many geeks we can get to write in, so we'll know our commercial worked!" We know about the bunny.

But just in case it wasn't just bait: noted.

Monday, October 04, 2010

"the Ministry of Propaganda has, in effect, seized control of the Politburo"

Fun fact, from Paul Krugman's latest column on the billionaire-financed wingnut welfare program we still, for reasons of tradition, call the GOP:

As Politico recently pointed out, every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News.

Ah, well. This democracy and free press thing was fun while it lasted, wasn't it?

From that rePubOLITICO link, there's also this bit of inadvertent comedy toward the end, where they've got Pat Buchanan as their go-to guy to ask about whether the above might be a problem.

No, wait, that's not the really funny part. This is:

Buchanan said the Fox reporters had no choice but treating those on the payroll as if they weren’t. “If you’re an objective journalist, you bring [the candidates] on and ask them tough questions.”

Hmmm! Tough Questions™! Yes, please tell us more.

While the commentators who have their own Fox programs have largely offered friendly forums for the four contributors, some of the reporters who have covered the group have not. When Palin appeared in Iowa recently, for example, political correspondent Carl Cameron reported that she had failed to meet with local officials and didn’t solicit any advice from Republicans in the state — basic steps traditionally taken by presidential candidates.

As you'll note, that's not asking a question. And no, there are no other "examples."

"Stuff Crazy White People Like"

Remember that Village Voice piece by Steven Thrasher that I recommended late last week? You know, the one with the drooly pix of Beck, Palin, "Dr." Laura, Rush, and Breitbart in strait jackets, that was headlined, "White America Has Lost Its Mind."

Apparently, there was some consternation among the denizens of the wingnutosphere about this. And, of course, it's all of a piece with what they've been yelling about for the past two years. (Or forty, but the last two especially loudly.)

Wouldn't you like some sort of comprehensive assessment of all this craziness? Of course you would!

Let Roy Edroso's latest column be your guide.

Hey, Catholics: Time To Denouce Bill Donohue Once And For All

Bill Donohue, apologist for child molestorsSeriously, current adherents of my former faith and upbringing: is this who you want speaking for you?

“Not All Sexual Abuse Is Equal,” headlines this appalling apologist.

"Here's what we know. We know that this case, like most of them, was the work of a homosexual, not a pedophile," he burbles a few paragraphs down.


"The work of a homosexual."   "Like most of them."

Contemplate those smears for a few minutes, if you will.


And if you can't see how wrong those are, then at least pray on this: Donohue says this shit when speaking of an adult abusing a child. Forget the genders involved. We are talking about someone whose description as "convicted sex offender" even Himself does not dispute.

Do you, good Catholic that you are, want to stand by that evil spin-doctoring from Bill Donohue? Do you want to be identified with it? And if not, ask yourself this: have you ever made a statement beginning like this: "If only those {Muslims | Jews | Protestants | atheists | etc.} would reign in their extremists …?"

Averting your eyes and murmuring incoherently is no longer an option when scum like this says he speaks for you. So do something about it. For the love of God. Please.


P.S. By the way, the child-abuser's name is McCormack, not "McCormick," as Bill Donohue would have it. According to his own source, the Chicago Tribune. And confirmation here, no pun intended.

Evidently, you cannot trust this low-life Bill Donohue even to cut and paste.

(pic source: Joe. My. God.)

"Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in Right Wing Radio Duck"

It takes a little while to get good, but then it gets very good.

(alt. video link)

Still thinking about not voting because the Democrats and Obama blarghblarghblargh? Please remember that there are many Donald Ducks out there. You want these people making your decisions for you?

(h/t: @jccherry)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Have a look at "thump and whip"

I happened across thump and whip last week when Googling for the original version of some heinous document that some heinous Republican had once written. Of course Jim Russell, like so many Republicans these days, thought that once he came to the attention of people beyond the echo chamber, he could direct with a snap of his talons fingers that his earlier efforts at building cred with the wingnut base could be shoved down the memory hole.

Not so.

And I was especially pleased when I went looking that a top hit pointed to a blog I had never heard of prior to that moment. Evidently, another no-initiative lazy-waiting-at-home-for-his-Stalinist-welfare-handout lib-blogger had been working this case from the get-go, and had grabbed a copy, and had put it out there, on the Internet, for people just like me. Just in case. Just because. Just because it is important to document the atrocities. Because your Villagers sure t'fuck aren't going to do it.

So, a shoutout for that, all by itself.

As I have said before (partly as a reminder-to-self), most recently when I urged you to take a look at JABbering Stooge, there are a lot of good people out there about whom you have never heard, who are putting in a lot of effort every day to get the word out about the wingnuts who want to Take Their Country Back™.

(Back to the Dark Ages, that is.)

These people deserve your attention. You should try to spend a little time, every now and again, breaking out of your usual ten or twenty regular reads on the Internet, and see what some of the not-yet-A-listers have to say.

Okay, sermon off. But Toma is pretty good with a keyboard, so I would be remiss if I did not share what I serendipitously came across.

And please feel welcome to recommend other people who I have not heard about, but should, in the Comments.

"When the moon hits your eye, like a big ..."

Don McArthur has a picture of Io posted. This, apparently, is what it would look like if you were, I dunno, looking at it from the surface of Europa or something. With binoculars or something. (In the right conjunctions, phases, etc., etc. People, please. No need to nerdgas.)

I can't, in all honesty, say it's eye candy. Because that would be the wrong food group. And you know how I get about taxonomy.

Anyway, it's cool. Go see.

Line of the Day: 2010-10-03

Who knows how TBogg can stand to follow these people on the Twitter, but boy, am I glad he does.

Leave it to Ann Coulter to make Kathryn Jean Lopez’s twitter-twats sound like Confucian aphorisms.

And when you click the clicky below, you will not only see details that will make you stagger, no matter how much you think you are inured to wingnut stupidity, but you will also see a title that makes you think, for the nine hundred forty-eleventh time, dammit, why is TBogg always coming up with these things when I know I could have, too, given just a little more time?

(Answer: Because he is the master.)

Vin Scully

I've never understood the attraction many other baseball fans have for this long-time announcer. It may well be entirely due to the fact that he has always called the (ick) Dodgers games (among many other disturbances, I am unable to suppress the image of Steve Garvey's Family Values™ phiz whenever I say that team name), but for whatever reason, I've always found Scully … I guess competent would be how I'd put it. Unobtrusive in a very good way, sure, and comfortable like a treasured old shirt, as John D. MacDonald once put it in another context, but not more than that, for me.

Despite that, please allow me to recommend this appreciation by Joe Posnanski. It is a very fine piece of writing.

This bit, in the beginning, makes me like him more, and then, towards the end, is what I inevitably hear from Vin Scully fans when I am being all meh about him:

Vin Scully begins his stories with apologies these days. He’s reached that plateau of fame. “I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself,” he says. “I know you’ve probably already heard this,” he says. “I’ve told this many times before,” he says. It is a mark of the man’s grace that he is the one apologizing repeatedly and not the reporter who asks him precisely the same questions people have been asking for 50 years. Scully genuinely — and generously — wants to help the writer tell a good story.

“I know you’ve probably heard about the radio,” he says, and indeed I have heard it, but I ask if he will tell it again.

“When I was a little boy in New York, we had this radio that stood on four legs,” he says. “It was huge, or at least it seemed that way to me at the time. We lived in a little fifth-floor walk-up apartment then, and the radio was just about the biggest thing in there. I remember — I couldn’t have been older than 4 or 5 — I used to crawl under that radio with my pillow. There was no baseball on the radio then, but there were football games, and I remember I used to love listening even then to the crowd.”

I wait for it. Vin, I think, knows that I’m waiting for it.

“That sound of the crowd would just engulf me,” he says, and then (I’m almost mouthing the words with him now), “it was like water out of a shower head.”

Like water out of a shower head. No announcer in the history of sports has used crowd noise more musically than Scully. Can it be a coincidence? Sinatra used to say that his musical instrument was not his voice, it was the microphone. Scully uses crowd noise as his orchestra. When Henry Aaron hit his 715th home run, Scully was there, and he called the home run, and then he took off his headset, walked to the back of the room, and let people listen to the crowd cheer. Like water out of a shower head. “What could I have said that would have told the story any better?” he asks. And he pauses: “You know what? I still love listening to the sound of a crowd cheering. Don’t you? Don’t you just love that sound?”

And then there's a later bit, about Scully's refusal to Walter O'Malley to be more of an on-air cheerleader, that if not profoundly expressed, is nonetheless to be saluted. (Back in the day, I always liked Bill White and Frank Messer far better than Phil Rizzuto, if you're scoring at home.)

I will concede today's announcers could learn a thing or two from this veteran.

Okay, and this: The story later on about Ron Fairly and Vin's one game as manager … ah, now that's baseball at its finest. (Joe Posnanski here shows why he is both a good reporter and a great baseball essayist.)

Anyway, you might like.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

More Teabagger Astroturfing Documented

Frank Rich's latest column is mostly about his worries concerning one Republican running for office: "The Very Useful Idiocy of Christine O’Donnell." But in the middle, there are some useful links concerning something that I see as a worse problem, longer-lasting by far than however this next election turns out.

In a typical example just three weeks ago, the influential publication National Journal delivered a breathless report on how the Tea Party functions as a “headless” movement where “no one gives orders.” To prove the point, a head of the headless Tea Party Patriots vouched that “75 percent of the group’s funding comes from small donations, $20 or less.”

In fact, local chapters of Tea Party Patriots routinely received early training and support from FreedomWorks, the moneyed libertarian outfit run by the former Republican House majority leader and corporate lobbyist Dick Armey. FreedomWorks is itself a spinoff from Citizens for a Sound Economy, a pseudo-grassroots group whose links to the billionaire Koch brothers were traced by Jane Mayer in her blockbuster August exposé in The New Yorker. Last week the same Tea Party Patriots leader who bragged to the National Journal about all those small donations announced a $1 million gift from a man she would identify only as an entrepreneur. The donor’s hidden identity speaks even louder than the size of the check. As long as we don’t know who he is, we won’t know what orders he’s giving either.

Such deep-pocketed mystery benefactors — not O’Donnell, whose reported income for this year and last is $5,800 — are the real indicators of what’s going on under the broad Tea Party rubric. Big money rains down on the “bottom up” Tea Party insurgency through phantom front organizations (Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Job Security) that exploit legal loopholes to keep their sugar daddies’ names secret. Reporters at The Times and The Washington Post, among others, have lately made real strides in explaining how the game works. But we still don’t know the identities of most of those anonymous donors.

From what we do know, it’s clear that some Tea Party groups and candidates like Sharron Angle, Paul and O’Donnell are being financed directly or indirectly not just by the Kochs (who share the No. 5 spot on the new Forbes 400) but by a remarkable coterie of fellow billionaires, led by oil barons like Robert Rowling (Forbes No. 69) and Trevor Rees-Jones (No. 110). Even their largess may be dwarfed by Rupert Murdoch (No. 38) and his News Corporation, whose known cash contributions ($2 million to Republican and Republican-tilting campaign groups) are dwarfed by the avalanche of free promotion they provide Tea Party causes and personalities daily at Fox and The Wall Street Journal.

I think it's worth clicking some of those.

A Few Thoughts on the Sanchez Unpleasantness

MPF wrote this on my Facebook wall:

"Rick Sanchez calls Jon Stewart "a bigot" and says CNN is run by jews"

Please blog about this!

Any excuse to run my mouth! I always try to oblige a request from  M. Following is a repost of my response.


Thanks for the link. I've read a few other posts about this, and so far, I'm not sure I have anything of use to add. (Not that this criterion has stopped me from blogging before, I grant.) I'll say this: I don't care for the sort of bigotry Sanchez displayed in that radio interview, nor do I care for someone who plays the all-too-convenient "I am held back because I am a minority" card, when there is considerable evidence in this specific case to suggest he has for years been demonstrating the validity of the Peter Principle.

I should add that with the exception of Rachel Maddow, I consider cable teevee news … not worth my attention, to put it politely … so up until this thing happened, I thought Rick Sanchez was about as much of a minority as, say, Luis Alvarez. So, okay, let's give Rick Sanchez the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and without accepting his claim that he was being held back due to his ethnicity, at least accept that he is sincere in believing that he has been. If that was the case, then I would say that there are other, better ways he could have dealt with this problem. We have legal mechanisms to address on-the-job discrimination, and I'm confident CNN has their own, in-house mechanisms as well.

The merits and/or sincerity of his claims aside, there's also this: I am kind of a maniac about free speech, and to be so, one has to accept the hard part: free speech means sometimes people will say terrible things.[1] In that light, were it up to me, and I was judging only on this one event, I would not have fired Sanchez. (I probably would suspended him for a bit and made a condition of his return that he apologize sincerely. And perhaps some other things -- counseling, sensitivity training, what have you.) However, I am getting a bit of a sense that this event may have been more of a final straw and/or a convenient excuse. See Steve Benen, for example.

On still another hand, this from John Cole is also worth contemplating.

From that last, I think it is fair to say that some problems of uneven standards exist in the cable teevee news biz, whether or not Sanchez was actually one of those suffering from them. I guess in the end I am sorry he lost his job and sorry he has some poison inside of him. I expect he will get another job, and I hope that he will do something about his inner problems.

Oh, hey, that's almost a blog post by now, isn't it? ;)

Welp, if you see something streaming past your eyes in a little bit and have that odd feeling of deja vu …

Thanks for asking.

[1] More on the hard parts of loving free speech here.

Schoolhouse Rocked

Mr. Riley has a few words on what NBC's Brian Williams and the similarly-clad feign to Think™ for the cameras about Our Failing Schools.

Why isn't Mr. Riley czar of something? Or at least, holding down a slot on a prominent op-ed page somewhere on your Internet?

When you can answer that, you will also be able to explain why else we're in the state that we're in.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Death: Not So Easy On The Living, Either

A sad and beautiful piece about the indignities that obtain, from Mr. Riley.

I could go on for many paragraphs about what I am feeling for him right now, but I will respect what he wishes, and not. And truthfully? He has let me off the hook. Condolences, for someone you care about, cannot in any case be put into the words we would want.

Recent Examples of Conservative Values

The latest post on Wonkette as of this moment is from Cord Jefferson. Title pretty much says it all:

Teabagger Who Warned of DC Black People Celebrates Black Kid’s Death

Which reminded me of some items in yesterday's news, about which I was too discouraged to blog at the time.

First, there was fake pimp, liar-by-videotape, and tool of conservative billionaire Peter Thiel, James O'Keefe, whose latest stunt involved trying to lure a CNN reporter onto his boat, where he planned to "seduce" her, and yes, of course, secretly videotape it. (h/t: Jack Stuef)

One small upside: this "prank" means he has managed the unthinkable: embarrassing another one of his past benefactors, the perennial lout, Andrew Breitbart, to the point where the Big Ho man has disowned him and is threatening to sue for libel anyone who associates their two names on this one.

Next up, we heard of one Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Michigan, who has spent the past half-year running a "Watch" blog under the identity "Concerned Michigan Alumnus." His "concern" appears entirely to have been "what can I post today, to smear Chris Armstrong?" Armstrong is the student assembly president at the University of Michigan, and he is openly gay. Yes, you read that right: a state AAG, harassing a college kid online. [Added: online and elsewhere, it now appears.]

After going on the teevee (h/t: Josh Fruhlinger) to assert that he did nothing wrong and he stood by what he posted, his next move was to flip the switch to make his big blog o' hate viewable by invitation only. Most of the posts, however, are still cached by Google, if you're interested.

Today, it has been announced that he has taken a leave of absence. Perhaps he will use this time to meet with some of the 11,000 new friends he has made on Facebook. (Oh, wait, those aren't friends? My bad, Mr. Shrivel. Shirvell. Whatever.)

Oh, and then there was news that Mark Foley is back at it again, e-stalking underage boys, this time on the Twitter. And Vox Day and Alex Knepper are having another race to the bottom, to see who can say the most offensive thing about that gay kid who killed himself. And then there's New York's Republican candidate for governor, teabagger hero Carl Paladino, who can't decide whether the best way to diffuse the attention he's been getting about his failed cover-up of his out-of-wedlock child is to make shit up about his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, or to physically threaten reporters ("I'll take you out, buddy!"). (h/t: Roy Edroso)

And then there was St. Sarah of Wasilla, whose latest graspy-grab for attention was to make sure the world knew that she'd taken out a restraining order against some kid in Pennsylvania, who, she and her lawyer claim, has been making "implied threats." Not that I condone creeps sending creepy letters to anybody, but still, here, I can't help but snort. Guess violent rhetoric is only fun when it's pointed the other way.

And so on. So you see why it gets a little discouraging from time to time.

"One Nation Working Together: 10.2.10"

(alt. video link)

More info here and here.