Monday, January 31, 2011

Corporate Dictatorship? Or Just Censorship?

A useful reminder (via):

Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. - including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. - cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country …


Readers can demand Al Jazeera English here. Here are the contact pages for Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV.

How idiotic is Politico?

One measure is this headline:

Barack Obama braces for Jon Huntsman 2012 bid

Link available here.

But do we still have to repent?

Swiped from some thoughts as we burn away.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Neologistic putdown of the month

Best new word I've seen all January appears in John Horgan's recent post on Scientific American's site. I won't give it away, but if you're too impatient to read the whole thing, just text-search the page for the first instance of cute. It comes right before that.

Though of course I agree with John that it is "not a counterargument," I do not think this word is just "cute." It's great!

Of course, who among us can really say what John Horgan means by "cute," in this or any other universe?

[Update] Not so neo: I see I am Not Even Wrong about this. I should try harder to suss this kind of thing out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kinsley Gaffe of the Day

The pool of Republicans considering a run for their party's 2012 presidential nomination ("all of them") has been reduced by one: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) has announced that he's not going to go there.

The consensus is that he'll run for governor of Indiana instead, due to the current occupant, Mitch "Heartthrob Of The Elites" Daniels, being already anointed for POTUSdom by everyone who matters term-limited after eight years in office. And in that light, especially, we must cackle at this:

“After years of falling behind, Indiana is on the verge …”

Wait'll a certain Surly Megalomaniac hears about that!

P.S. Our man in Indiana has further observations on Pence's announcement.

(h/t: Ken Layne | title: cf. | pic. source)

Caught on tape: Right-wing blogger inadvertently speaks the truth

Matt Lewis, who before landing a spot at AOL's Politics Daily used to blog full-time at Clownhall, hears from Bill Scher about Bill's recent participation in a blogger roundtable at the White House led by David Axelrod.

(alt. video link)

Spoken like well-oiled cog of the RWNM, wasn't it?

As I noted in the Bhtv forum, that's a hell of a thing for a blogger to say, or for that matter, anyone who claims to be a political commentator worth listening to because he supposedly has an independent point of view. Evidently, Matt doesn't see the point in a government reaching out unless it's to those it can be sure will repeat its talking points.

Al Franken not giving up on Net Neutraility

Good for him, and good for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). See Al Franken's blog or Reclaim the Media for the latest.

When considering the importance of keeping the Internet from being controlled by ever fewer, ever more powerful interests, you might reflect on the situation in Egypt. See recent posts by Don McArthur and James Cowie. Yes, the US is not Egypt. But the time to push back against the desire for totalitarian control is now, not when matters get worse.

[Added] These connections are already tighter than you might think.

[Added2] Correction: I had Sen. Cantwell's first name wrong in the original post. It is Maria, not Patricia. Thanks to Paul Chadwick for noting this in the Comments.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Senate votes to end secret holds 92-4. Three teabaggers and one other wingnut vote against.

From The Hill, via @on_the_media:

Although Senate leadership already agreed to stop the practice of secret holds in a gentleman’s agreement Thursday morning, the passage of Res. 28, the Wyden/Grassley/McCaskill Secret Holds Resolution, will codify the change and will apply to future sessions of Congress.

Sixty votes were required for adoption.

The four Senators voting against the resolution were Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R- S.C.), and John Ensign (R-Nev.)

Weren't these four among the loudest yelling about the supposed lack of transparency a few months back? Or was that some other teabaggers? Or is this just another case of IOKIYAR?


Secret holds gave senators the ability to anonymously stall legislation or the administration's nominees.

DeMint objected to a measure brought forth last year by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that would have eliminated the practice.

"There are a lot of pressing issues that we face as a country," DeMint said at the time. "But one of them is not secret holds."

Shameless. Utterly shameless.

Every picture tells a story, don't it?

Great post over at the House of Substance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOME might say I already own a few copies

Swiped from Better Book Titles. A truly hilarious site.

(h/t: Charli Carpenter, whose post has more of her favorites, plus some links to serious thoughts about picking titles in many walks of literary life)

How is Texas Like Wisconsin?

Following up on the earlier post concerning Wisconsin's all-Republican government looking to install Voter ID requirements, here's a recommendation from Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money:

The Vote Fraud Fraud

Texas edition. It’s also worth noting that most “Voter ID” statutes still allow for (heavily Republican-leaning) absentee ballots to be cast without ID.

Apparently, someone tried to upstage Michele Bachmann's Response to the SOTU?

@JohnFugelsang got himself a little RT love last night:

During Ryan's speech 'Eddie Munster' trended nationwide on Twitter & if that doesn't make u love the USA then I give up.

(visual aid)


(h/t: @azjayhawk47 | x-posted)

Her grasp of history is so weak ...

... she can't even keep her own lies straight:

"I never took this as a State of the Union response, necessarily," she said innocently. The title above the text of her speech her office released Tuesday night: "Bachmann's Response to State of the Union."

Discovered via this.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Windy City

Yglesias nails it:

Breaking the News

The basic phenomenon is nothing new, but the only thing preventing me from saying that the ratio of articles about Rahm Emannuel’s mayoral bid to information about Emannuel’s views on urban policy is almost infinite is my strong suspicion that the denominator is actually zero.

(h/t: Atrios)

So much for that rebranding effort

Remember how we kept being assured (especially by their fans and Astroturf leaders) how the teabaggers were all about fiscal issues, and didn't care about those back-assward, Jeebus-praisin', civil-rights-denying views? How that was the "old Republican base" and this is the new?

Goodbye to all that:

House Republicans will try to ban gay marriage in Washington, D.C.

(pic. source | x-posted)

[Added] Same shit, different issue: "Annals Of Libertarianism, Part 499,010," over at Roy's place.

I thought Republicans were supposed to be the tough guys

Move over, Louie Gohmert. There's a new top bedwetter in town: Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

"Sure, it LOOKS like a gas pedal.
But how do we know what THE TERRORISTS will use it for?"

(pic. source)

Line of the Day: 2011-01-25

When you see surveillance videos of some creep mugging an elderly person in an elevator or apartment lobby, the universal reaction is outrage. But when the fat cats and the ideologues want to hack away at the lifeline of Social Security, they are treated somehow as respectable, even enlightened members of the society.
    -- Bob Herbert

Tales of Your New Old Republican Majority

If there was ever something that deserved to be filed under News of the Unsurprising, it's this, but still, it's worth noting for the record.

Bush White House Broke Elections Law, Report Says

WASHINGTON — The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.

The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns.

The report, based on about 100,000 pages of documents and interviews with 80 Bush administration officials in an investigation of more than three years, documented how these political activities accelerated before the 2006 midterm elections.

This included helping coordinate fund-raising by Republican candidates and pressing Bush administration political appointees to help with Republican voter-turnout pitches, particularly in the 72 hours leading up to the election ...


The report found that during the Bush administration, senior staff members at the Office of Political Affairs violated the Hatch Act by organizing 75 political briefings from 2001 to 2007 for Republican appointees at top federal agencies in an effort to enlist them to help Republicans get elected to Congress.


The investigators also found evidence that the Bush White House improperly classified travel by senior officials as official government business, “when it was, in fact, political,” and the costs associated with this travel were never reimbursed.

Another one for the book.

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

Ah, c'mon. What part of "think outside the bun" do you not understand?

I mean, how else do you think they can sell those things for 99¢, or whatever it is these days?

In fact, the lawsuit claims, the "taco meat filling" used by Taco Bell contains is only about 35% beef, with binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents making up the other 65%.

The worst part? After you say "binders, extenders, preservatives, additives," what else could there be? What are these "other agents?"

Or maybe the better question is who are these other agents?

(h/t: Ken Layne | pic. source)

I applaud an hamster ...

... because that's how I always remembered that classic Python line (which involved elderberries also), but people, please, it's not an FAQ, it's a FAQ.

First, if there were ever an initialism that is indisputably an acronym, it's FAQ, and second, saying it as a word carries the sense that it is a thing (a list, a page, what have you). Saying "an FAQ" makes you think you should say "an F … A … Q" which then makes you think you should really expand the letters into the words they stand for, which makes you think the abbreviation needs to be proceeded by "a list of."

Do you want to pronounce each letter? No, you want to say things like "Just the FAQs, Jack."

Plus, think of the energy savings from omitting all those incorrect Ns.

Other than that, is a nice idea and a fine-looking website.

The Pain Will Never End! Hurrah!

Tim Kreider, 'After a photo by Sarah Glidden'Hey, guess what? This is now posted on Tim Kreider's home page, that place where we used to visit to check for new The Pain -- When Will It End? comics:

My new collection of political cartoons and essays, Twilight of the Assholes, is now available for pre-order on the Fantagraphics site, and several previews of the book have been posted on Flickr, Facebook, and Youtube. It contains nearly 300 pages of hilarious cartoons and incisive essays undimmed by the passage of time. It also has an introduction by my favorite living political writer, Matt Taibbi.

The official New York release for the book will be on February 17th, with a slideshow/reading at The Strand bookstore at 7:00 P.M., to be followed by beers at Burp Castle. It would make me look good if some people showed up.

Also I now have a Facebook page. Be advised I will friend no one.

For more information, see our new FAQs page.

(Here is a better link for the Strand event.)

While you're waiting for the big release date to roll around, do browse The Pain archives. And see the nav strip across the top of the home page for more galleries, &c.

(Artist's self-portrait(?), "After a photo by Sarah Glidden," was swiped from his Facebook page.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Line of the Day: 2011-01-24

Often it's wise to split the difference, but sometimes it's a bit like inferring from claims that 2+2=4 and 2+2=6 that 2+2=5.
    -- @JohnAllenPaulos

"Subpoenas and Online Service Providers" and "National Security Letters and Gag Orders"

Embedded below are two segments from this week's episode of On The Media that are worth your attention. Both of them are about eight minutes long.

There are two kinds of subpoenas that federal law enforcement can serve on internet service providers and online communications companies if they want to spy on a users' email or Twitter account. Both kinds frequently have gag-orders attached - which means, users are none the wiser that their account has been breached. And both types of subpoenas are being served to ISPs at an unprecedented rate. The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer explains why what you don't know can hurt you.

The most serious kind of subpoena - called a 'National Security Letter' - used to have a lifetime gag-order automatically attached. That is until Nicholas Merrill appealed his and won the right to talk about it. Despite 50,000 national security letters a year there are only three organizations who have ever won the right to say they got one. Nick Merrill explains why he's the exception and the rule.

Download MP3s and read the transcripts: first segment | second segment.

Visit Nicholas Merrill's website, The Calyx Institute.


Ed. note: This post was modified to add the second segment.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Impeachable offense?

Barack Obama failed to report wife's income, watchdog says

Michelle Obama earned over $680,000 from a liberal think tank over 5 years, a group says. But the President did not include it on financial disclosure forms.

Sounds fishy, doesn't it?

(h/t: LGF | x-posted)

Reclaiming the Right to Call Itself "The City of Brotherly Love"

One of the standard pictures of Glenn Beck fake-cryingYou want proof?

"Philadelphia sucks," Beck declares at the end of today's rant …

In possibly connected developments:

Yesterday [18 Jan 2011], hate radio hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity had their nationally syndicated radio shows dropped from WPHT in Philadelphia, which is the second radio station to drop both of the conservative commentators.

Congratulations, and thanks, to the good people of Philadelphia.

And I'm sure you all won't miss hearing that speech that is totally not antisemitic!!!1!


(Camaraderie has kept me from making any "second city" jokes.)

(Well, until then.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

With Republicans in Charge, the Myth Becomes the Reality

Colored Waiting Room signNow that every branch of the state government in Wisconsin is controlled by the GOP, wouldn't it be an excellent time to pass a Voter ID bill, and come to that, amend the state constitution to really nail it home?

And what does this mean?

That Wisconsin will be able to reduce its number of documented cases of voter fraud to zero! Hurrah! Which is a HUGE reduction from the previous number!


And who will this new law hurt?

Eh, just people without a lot of money, a lot of English, or a lot of white skin.

Whites-Only Drinking FountainAbove: not a Wisconsin drinking fountain.
Not yet, anyway.

And the real beauty of this? Don't forget: no more ACORN!

This is America, Saved. For RealAmericans™. Just like the Republican Party promised you.


Hat tip to Kay at Balloon Juice, whose post is worth reading in full.


("Colored Waiting Room" sign pic source)

Friday, January 21, 2011

There is no bottom to the wingnut derangement concerning Those People

Hateway Pundit claims: "Michelle Obama’s 'Get Up & Get Moving' Program Linked to Increase in Pedestrian Deaths."

To decorate his post, he has a picture of the First Lady jumping rope. And he gives an image credit, for once. Right under the picture. Probably had nothing to do with the name of the source.

The First Lady jumping. (African Sun Times)

Of course Jim Hoft's whole post is made of idiocy. And of course Tucker Carlson reported the same nonsense.


Move over, "Applebee's Salad Bar!"

We know he was every Republican's favorite Democrat, but it's a little early to start on the revisionist history, don't you think, David Brooks?

... Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment.

Sadly, as they say, no.

Not sure if DougJ DougJson was the first to catch this, but he was the first that I saw.

As of this posting, no correction appended. Let us hope this changes soon.

(? | ?)

[Update 2011-01-21 18:50] Still no correction. Much more importantly: Mr. Riley takes a longer, harder, better look.

[Update 2011-01-22 03:24] Still no correction. DougJ tried to get the NYT's Public Editor on it, with no success.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who is more annoying?

Tiger Mom or Octo Mom?

Does knowing that David Brooks is now writing about Tiger Mom change your mind? And what about this?

Drop back ten and pun

Stop winning the Internet, Randall Munroe.

(Click the pic to visit the source and see the hover text for another hint.)

(A short math refresher in the Comments.) ←a link I do not actually expect anyone to click.

Deep Thought

Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot
that he himself could not eat it?

(source | via)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don't hold back, Stephen. Tell us what Mika REALLY thinks.

This is goooood.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Ocean, via email)

Where does a century go? (AND WHERE IS *MY* PONY?)

Here is a picture of my father's father and his siblings, taken a few years before before tween had its current meaning. Click it to big it.

The more things change, the more they stay the same department: Now that I think about it, there exist pictures of me at about the same age wearing almost identical trousers. That was, in fact, the high point of my career as a fashion model. (True story.)

(h/t: KK, via email)

Line of the Day: 2011-01-18

Sue Gardner passes along something she once heard:

Wikipedia cannot work in theory. It can only work in practice.

Happy 10th birthday! I'll be the first to admit: you surprised the hell out of me, too.

Here is On The Media's observance, from the 14 Jan 2011 show. You listen while I go over to the grand old sight to fix some of it's typos.

Yeah, suuuuuure

Probably you heard the gossip about Holy Joe. Let us juxtapose two passages from America's favorite collection of hastily retyped GOP press releases:

On page 1:

The aide said Lieberman isn’t bowing out because he was worried about re-election. “It would be tough fight, but that’s not a reason not to run for re-election.”

On page 2:

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in late October put Lieberman’s approval rating among Connecticut voters at 33 percent. He had the support of 24 percent of Democrats, 34 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans.

Goodbye, Sen. Lieberman. We will never forget you.

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

[Added] Heh.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Knuth is still our homeboy

Knuth is my homeboy (t-shirt)Love the geek humor:

If there's a competition to uncover security holes in Google's browser, Sergey Glazunov is winning it.

Yesterday Google awarded him $3,133.70 ("eleet") for finding a critical vulnerability that Google patched with a new release of Chrome yesterday.

I hope the check was actually expressed in tenths, not cents, but still, this is the best thing I've heard since the hexadecimal dollar.

(pic. source | whaaaat?)

Facebook "Privacy" Advisory

Yes, scare quotes intentional.

In case you haven't already heard, Facebook is planning to allow app developers to access your address* and telephone number. This great new plan has been suspended (via) while Facebook reconsiders how it wants to go about doing this, but the suspension likely won't last more than a few weeks.

The truth gets its pants on? A lie is flushed? Tough call.

DougJ calls attention to a post on Salon that says they have decided to delete from their site a 2005 article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. That article played a big part in helping to push the myth, now thoroughly debunked, that vaccines caused autism.

"Sarah Palin Battle Hymn"

No one listened to me when I warned about the menace of karaoke machines.

Behold our new national anthem.

(alt. video link)

Swiped from ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Going Galt Wasilla

From the Annals of Hard-Workin' RealAmericans™:

The GHEMRotRSTF quits a government position he rarely showed up for anyway, for a more lucrative career in wingnut media.

The Republican War on Logic

Pardon me for starting with the conclusion, but it's just so well put.

... the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

Given that their minds were made up from the beginning, top Republicans weren’t interested in and didn’t need any real policy analysis — in fact, they’re basically contemptuous of such analysis, something that shines through in their health care report. All they ever needed or wanted were some numbers and charts to wave at the press, fooling some people into believing that we’re having some kind of rational discussion. We aren’t.

The whole thing.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are they really this stupid? Or do they just know their readers are?

Hateway Pundit and Ed Driscoll win the Wingnutosphere.

Victory is ours at Edrosothon

Erstwhile young punk Roy Edroso has consented to put up a PayPal button of his own. And other good news. Now if only some major publication would come to its senses and hire him full-time.

If you helped, Internet readers everywhere thank you. Also the puppy.

So, tell us about Mike Pence ...

... being that it's never too early to start talking horserace politics.

Our man in Indiana: "You Asked For It!"

And be sure to visit the "Mike Pence For President Gifts" page on CafePress. Buttons only $4!


Iz Serius Article. Haz Footnoatz.

If you ever get a Conservapedia result while Googling, click it. Lulz are practically guaranteed.

Circular logic?

(source | via)


Fresh news on the Stuxnet worm

There's a longish article in today's NYT that's definitely worth reading if you're at all interested in this case.

Key takeaways: confirmation that it was an Israeli-led operation, confirmation that it was a joint Israeli-American effort with cooperation from Siemens, increased confidence that the attack was quite successful. Some excerpts:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Blogosphere Just Got Measurably Smarter

Because that fine science writer George Johnson has just agreed to join it!

His new blog is called The Cancer Chronicles and it's subtitled "Notes for a book in progress." The debut post is titled "Paleo-oncology."

George has been running personal sites -- The Santa Fe Review and -- since forever, of course, and you've probably enjoyed his work for The New York Times.

Also, George is on the Facebook AND ADMITS TO LIKING IT, so I guess I really should have titled this post Death of a Curmudgeon?

P.S. If you want to hear him talk about dragging himself, kicking and screaming, onto this new version of the Web that you stupid kids ruined by not learning how to hand-code HTML and blithely accepting ads everywhere just so you could get stuff for free, he and John Horgan, who now also blogs at Scientific American, discuss it as the opening topic in today's Science Saturday diavlog. Stream below or click the alt. video link below that for various downloading options.

(alt. video link)

Where Should I Visit in San Francisco?

A friend planning a trip writes, in part:

... I'm considering spending a couple of days in CA. I've been to Southern California but not to SF. How many days would you recommend are the minimum to get to see the most important places, and what would you suggest I visit?

Please weigh in, in the Comments, on the Facebook, via email or the Twitter (@bjkeefe). Thanks.

On teh discourse

James Wolcott, "That’s Political Entertainment!"

You must.

(h/t: World O' Crap)

Advisory for the Bay Area

Gary Farber and unindicted co-conspirators are having a meetup today (Saturday 15 January) starting at 1 pm, San Francisco Values Time.

You are invited. You.

Details on Amygdala and the Facebook. Details PLUS CAT PIX on Obsidian Wings.

Sadly, I will be a bit too far east to attend. (Also my NetJet is in the shop.) But I will swill beer with these fine people in mind.


Thoreau has a new classification scheme.


And, because you know you like them they like you:

(alt. video link)

Moar? Oh, how can we not, at this point?

(alt. video link)

Told you.

Kickin' off Oldies Weekend?

Just read Substance McGravitas on Orly Taitz, right after reading Roger Ailes on Kenneth Gladney.

You know the rule: one more and it's a trend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Immodest Response

I guess I was not as impressed by David Brooks's column today as some others were (judging by the Most Emailed list, the Facebook share widget, etc). I applaud the overall emotion, that this is a more complicated world than any one of us will ever figure out completely, and so it behooves us all to be aware that we have limitations and to be open to others correcting us, but I don't think he supported his argument very well.

While it's nice for Brooks to include himself among the limited creatures of whom he speaks ("Every column … has its own humiliating shortcomings."), it hardly changes the reality that he is very well paid to pronounce upon whatever he feels like, including, most frequently and most annoyingly, What's Wrong With Society Today. As Mr. Riley has observed from time to time, Brooks chronically comes off as being unable to see history except as a span of time that began with his getting noticed by Bill Buckley (for being a self-described know-it-all punk, mind), peaked at Reagan's Inauguration, and has been declining ever since. Further, he habitually asserts his feelings as objective truths, and the narrowness of his perspective -- even as he criticizes others for being trapped in various bubbles -- is often nothing short of comical. Applebee's salad bar, anyone?

I grant that he has to fit his ideas into spaces with strict word or time limits, and of course I acknowledge that opinionators do not thrive, especially in today's media marketplace, unless they express themselves forcefully, but still, it's a little rich to hear David Brooks of all people telling us The Real Problem In Society Today is the loss of modesty.

There's are some other problems with that claim, too. First, it's beyond a cliché to complain about people being overly impressed with themselves or unduly self-promotional, particularly as this is supposed to be something new. I started hearing this, in torrents, at least as far back as the launch of GeoCities and the coining of the word blog. And I'm pretty sure it didn't start there. I remember the tsking about the Me Generation of the '80s and the scolding about the '60s mantra Do Your Own Thing, and while I don't have labels handy for previous generations, I'd bet tall dollars there was grousing of this sort going back as far as you'd care to look. For one thing, I seem to remember reading plenty about hand-wringing concerning that Gutenberg guy, and how awful this was going to be, now that every slob was going to be able to print out his thoughts. And for another, literacy itself has often been viewed with suspicion. By the powers that be or were, regarding their own oppressed populations and the horror that they might read and form their own opinions.

Second, Brooks's attempt to illustrate with examples, as always, inclines one to think immediately of how many exceptions there are.

Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.

We are not here to pile on Joltin' Joe, but let's just say that (a) Brooks evidently has not read Richard Ben Cramer's fine biography, especially the part about the contract rider at autograph shows, (b) appears not to have heard of Ty Cobb, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Pete Rose, Babe Ruth, or Ted Williams, or to touch on other sports, Joe Namath, Wilt Chamberlain, or Muhammad Ali, (c) suffers from extreme confirmation bias and/or only watches highlight shows instead of actual games, and (d) has forgotten about an actual new look-at-me! tic which is far more prevalent and annoying, and catnip for the replay directors: giving it up to God after every bloop single.

Anyway, who cares whether someone is being a blowhard or has an inflated ego? Ultimately, we'll judge his or her ideas, and the manner in which they're presented, same as we always have. Society is wonderfully self-regulating that way. We don't need David Brooks to wag his finger for us; most of us have ten of our own.

As for Brooks's lamentations about civility, I'll give him a little credit, because his blinders notwithstanding, his lips are not perennially foam-flecked, but then I'll take it right back, because he has either forgotten or will never admit what his colleague said, today, right next to him on the very same page.


[Added] Mr. Riley has also read this Brooks column. Probably I should just have waited for that.

Line of the Day: 2011-01-14

I don't completely agree with the whole column, because I think this country actually has more than just two harshly opposed sides, and I still do think compromises are possible, especially if the extremists driving the GOP lose some clout, but this is pretty good:

Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it.
    -- Paul Krugman

driftglass FTW

Blog post title of the day:



(h/t: bonkers)

“educating students the truth about America.”

Demanding Tennessee teabaggers!

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”

Alex Pareene, who passed along the above, also points out a headline concerning North Carolina teabaggers:

Republican school board in N.C. backed by tea party abolishes integration policy

All of this is totally not racist!!!1!


Hurrah! I Finally Lost My Virgonity!

Now I can call myself a Leotard!

(That's better, right?)

A sign of progress?

About what we've come to expect, right? But here's the progressive part:

Clear Channel Yanks 'Straight Shooter' Limbaugh Ad In Tucson

A nice victory, and an indication that the corporate overlords are listening. Keep up the righteous griping, my fellow libtards!

(h/t: Don McArthur, via email)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I used to be one of those "Grrr -- I'm calling it Sixth Avenue" snobs ...

... but how great fabulous is it that a bar for gay Arabs is located on Avenue of the Americas?

"Q&A With Eliot Weinberger"

Remember that Foucaltian review of W's book from last month? If you liked it, you'll probably like Greer Mansfield's short interview on Wonkette. And you will probably not even yell at him for neglecting his usual duties as Wonkette's book reviewer!

Also, applause is unAmerican, when it's libruls doing it

He doesn't mention the OUTRAGE!!!1! about this that I've seen noted elsewhere (e.g.), but Eric Boehlert's post listing other reactions in the the wingnut media to the ceremony in Tucson pretty much says it all about these people. Even if you think you won't be surprised, you should give it a look, to see what's at work, 24/7, polluting millions of minds non-stop.


[Added] Also worth noting, in the mode of documenting the atrocities: Paul Mirengoff from Powerline (yeah, them):

In any event, the invocation could have used more God, less Mexico, and less Carlos Gonzales.

Link available here.

If you would like to hear where I am coming from, ...

... said much better than I was able to in comments on the Facebook, see Roy Edroso and Doghouse Riley.

Okay, it's not exactly breaking news that those two are more eloquent than I am, but you should read that post anyway.

[Added] Okay, make it three. See also D. Aristophanes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Further Proof That Violent Rhetoric Is Nothing To Worry About

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), best known for (1) equating Obama with Hitler on the floor of the House and (2) warning America about the "Diabolical 30-Year Plot To Have Terrorist Babies Born In U.S.," has come up another one of his great ideas:

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert says his office is drafting a measure to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol and on the House floor.


He said there were times during the health care debate last year that he felt afraid …

(h/t: @jamisonfoser | x-posted)


[Update 2011-01-13 04:59] Not possible, you say? Au contraire! Gomer Gohmert said something even stupider.

"Blood Libel"

Can't make this stuff up. Jonah Goldberg -- yeah, him -- says (via) about the use of this by Instapundit Glenn Reynolds and Sarah Palin:

... I’m not sure either of them intended to redefine the phrase, or that they should have.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Clown of the Day: Jim "Hateway Pundit" Hoft

Jim Hoft, aka The Hateway PunditHonestly, he could win about every damned day, so my title is a bit misleading, but in this case, it's worth calling attention to. Why? Because usually when he posts something that's just plain wrong on the facts, he leaves it up, no matter how many people are laughing at him (e.g.). This time, however, he was embarrassed enough to try to flush the post down the memory hole, just like it was a map full of surveyor's symbols or something, so it was extra hilarious.

The best part is how he tries to blame it all on "Soros-funded Media Matters." So I guess screen grabs are now officially librully biased?

Great catch, Ben Dimiero!

(h/t: Twin | pic. source)

Now that's a plummeting stock chart we can believe in!

The Intrade price for Sarah Palin to be Republican nominee in 2012, over the last 14 days. Click to enjoy even more embiggen.

(What's Intrade?)

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

A gathering of calm, considered reactions to the AZ shootings ...

... from the rightwing blogosphere!

Intro here, full column here.

And don't forget about this.



[Added] Roy has a follow-up post, as well. (h/t: Twin)

The CIA is Librully Biased!!!1!

Because they, like the military, are worried about the national and global security implications of climate change. But guess who's not buying that?

Hint: Party of No.

(h/t: Riley Waggaman)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The paws that refreshes

Anne Laurie says:

Every time I watch this, I think about the blogosphere.

(alt. video link)

Sarah Palin, Just Surveyin'


(pic. sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Worst. Political. Spin. Ever.

You know Palin's map with crosshairs? Or "bullseyes," as she later referred to them?

According to the acolytes of St. Sarah, they are now -- AND ALWAYS WERE!!!1! -- "surveyor's symbols."

(h/t: Sir TBogg MooreAward)

[Added] Also, too.

Would you buy a used car alarm from this man?

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)"Step away from the car"

While we're waiting for the inevitable wingnut witch hunt to begin, Steve Benen, whom you usually read at Political Animal, has an op-ed in today's NY Daily News, "The myth of Obama corruption: Issa's claim is comical; the Prez is squeaky clean," that bears a look.

(pic. source: "Introducing Your Crooked New Republican Leadership..." | title: cf.)

Calm down the overheated rhetoric about calming down the overheated rhetoric

Says Jack Shafer, more or less (via @weareyourfek's RT). I don't actually agree, completely, with him. I think his piece is worth reading. I have no small amount of sympathy with his overall point of view. Certainly, I like vivid metaphors as much as anybody, and I'm about the last person you'll ever meet who would support limits on free speech, self-imposed or otherwise.

Nonetheless, I do think there is something of significance to the non-stop violent rhetoric that has been coming overwhelmingly from the right, especially since mid-2008. When I made a statement to this effect some time ago, and was taken to task for it, I started a thread elsewhere, just to illustrate. I gathered about a hundred particularly egregious examples that I encountered during my normal surfing between March and August of last year. I emphasize that this was not the result of actively seeking, nor was it nutpicking. I'm talking about the stuff one couldn't help but notice in the news, coming from senior members of the Republican Party and the most prominent voices in conservative media and blogosphere.

(David Niewert, you might already know, has done a much more thorough job, for years, of documenting what he calls the right's eliminationist rhetoric.)

Anyway, my point, in reaction to Shafer: Can we blame an individual act by some loon on a specific statement by a specific prominent conservative blowhard? Probably not, not any more than we can attribute a single nasty storm to anthropogenic global warming. But, as with AGW, there is something we can say with confidence -- muck with the climate, and you increase the odds that extreme events will happen. And all the sputtering by clowns like Matt Lewis, Erick Erickson, and Matt Bai won't change that. Shafer is right to push back against overreactions and emotional outbursts, especially as they would involve proscriptions on speech. He is wrong, however, to ignore the reality of the aggregate effect by one, and only one, part of the political spectrum: the right-wing noise machine. Free speech does not mean you're free from responsibility.


For a related though not parallel take, Mr. Riley has some smart thoughts on this matter as well. (No surprise there.)

"The breeding ground for all of that corruption is secrecy."

Here's a story that probably went under your radar. I know it did mine. It seems that the Whistleblower Protection Act, which would finally have ensured real legal rights to federal employees who dare to speak up about the bad stuff they see on the job, which had virtually unanimous support in both houses of Congress, was killed by … an anonymous hold, placed by a lone Senator.

Yes. "Virtually" here means "everyone except that one cowardly Senator." Who we don't know for sure is a Republican, but I know how I'm betting.

Here's a good segment from this week's On The Media to bring you up to speed. It's seven minutes long.

Here's a detailed post from Climate Science Watch on the machinations through the end of 2010. Climate Science Watch is part of the Government Accountability Project. The person interviewed in the audio clip above is Tom Devine, Legal Director of GAP.

In case you missed it at the end of that clip, GAP is now asking for help, in conjunction with OTM, in determining who the anonymous Senator is.

Need a helping of false equivalence? Call Matt Bai!

There will be ninety-seven shiploads of stupid written in the next three days about the sad events of yesterday, but this lede from the Dean of Both Sides Are Just As Bad™ journalism will take a back seat to none of it:

Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web. One was Sarah Palin’s infamous “cross hairs” map from last year, which showed a series of contested Congressional districts, including Ms. Giffords’s, with gun targets trained on them. Another was from Daily Kos, the liberal blog, where one of the congresswoman’s apparently liberal constituents declared her “dead to me” after Ms. Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi in House leadership elections last week.

Odds are pretty good that neither of these — nor any other isolated bit of imagery — had much to do with the shooting in Tucson.

Yes. Some random diary on "the liberal blog" (?) containing a phrase in common parlance, posted by … we'll say some unknown person since Matt Bai doesn't seem to know … is Just Like™ the most prominent figure in the Republican Party putting up a map with sniper crosshairs and names of her political enemies.

Nor would it be good for someone determined to maintain this Balanced Narrative to inform his readers that this dKos post* went up just this past Thursday, and so was understandably taken down in light of events, while Sarah Palin's target map was up for close to a year before being taken down. Nor do any readers need to know that Palin's target post was referred to by a Sarah Palin tweet, still up** as of this moment, saying in part:

"Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Pls see my Facebook page.

I guess you're back in second place, Adam Liptak.

* Link to a Google cache of the post. Might not be around forever.

** Here's a screen shot if St. Sarah gets around to scrubbing her Twitter feed as she has her Facebook post.***

*** [Added] Just thought to check the original link to Palin's Facebook post, and unless something strange is going on with my browser cache, it looks like Palin has sneaked the target map back onto her post, due in all likelihood to (1) the millions of people who pointed out before Bai did that Palin had been trying to rewrite history again and (2) Willow or someone explaining to her mom the concept of screen shots.

Suddenly, Wingnuts Deplore Cries of "Censorship"

INOKIYNAR, evidently.

Tom Scocca reads the only section of the WaPoo more loon-infested than its op-ed page so you don't have to.

Tales of Your New OTHER Republican Majority!

Tom Scocca:

In his op-ed column in today's New York Times, David Brooks considers the challenges facing the health-reform law, beginning with the situation in the courts:

So far, one judge has struck down the individual mandate, the plan’s centerpiece. Future decisions are likely to break down on partisan lines. Given the makeup of the Supreme Court, this should concern the law’s defenders.

And then he moves along, like that, to the next topic. This is how far the Supreme Court's legitimacy has eroded: David Brooks, who believes in the integrity of institutions and the soundness of the status quo, takes it for granted that the federal judiciary plans to vote on party lines. The "constitutionality" of a law passed by a Democratic majority in Congress is defined not by whether the law fits with the existing body of law and precedent, but by whether the Republicans have the votes on the Supreme Court to overturn it.

This is not a particularly novel critique of the right-wing-activist turn of the judiciary, but it's hard to imagine a mainstream conservative columnist accepting it so blithely in the era before Bush v. Gore. Even if certain justices always voted a certain way, the polite thing to do was to attribute it to principle. If they started overturning earlier majorities' precedents, it was because they were trying to affirm some older, deeper principle. Officially, the Court was independent and impartial.

The Roberts Court itself, however, makes very few bones about its role as a Republican-majority superlegislature. Thus we get Chief Justice John Roberts—the Court's Republican majority leader, as it were—welcoming the new House Republican majority by presiding over a special swearing-in ceremony for John Boehner's staff. Politico described this as "another statement of the new House Republican majority's commitment to the Constitution." Commitment might not be exactly the right word. It was some kind of statement about the Constitution, at any rate.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Another Coincidence?

A few hours ago, I quoted a line from that great old Dan Jenkins book, Semi-Tough. And then I just read the latest from Charles Pierce.

I gotta get the CIA to turn down the gain in my fillings or something.


A tribute to Mordecai Brown?

Far better, in any case, than anything Sarah Palin has ever written on her hand:

"Keep your mouth shut and nobody gets cut."

Swiped from Don McArthur.

"This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness."

Truest statement on Wikipedia evar!

(I didn't really think it was a real page when I read this.)

New retronym?

Have you heard anyone say p-books?

This, as you might have guessed, is what "some" are now calling those non-e-book things. The word makes Scott McLemee queasy, but I have to say, I don't hate it. Dead trees is getting old.

It pains me to have to tell you that McLemee calls p-book a "neologism." Such, evidently, is the sad state of our public intellectuals.

I kid, I kid. Scott McLemee is always worth reading.

Oh, and about the hyphen? I thought about not using it, especially with the non- prefix, and I expect it to vanish soon, just as it did from e-mail. Something else to keep an eye on. Here's how it stands now, though:

Googlefight between 'e-book' and 'ebook'

(Also: can monsters really be plush?)

And now, coming in last in the Hard-Hitting Congressional Investigations contest ...

... Chuck Grassley!

There are many clichés politicians love to babble. Probably the one that sets my teeth most on edge is the empty vow to ask Tough Questions™.


Last night at dinner, I observed to my dining companions that wingnuts, in their never-ending search for things to have Culture Wars™ about, seem to have dropped the "we own The Flag/libruls hate The Flag" shtick in favor of "we own The Constitution/libruls hate The Constitution."

Now, I'm a little hard of hearing, but I didn't think I said it loud enough to be heard in Indiana.

Okay, probably not. Probably really is becoming a thing. So, the question now becomes: how long before liberals are accused of setting the Constitution on fire?

I give it a week.

[Added] Follow-up.

Minor Setback in the Ongoing War Against Treacliness

Evidently, there are a few people in Virginia from whose rectums you couldn't pull a needle with a tractor. This great license plate ended up being revoked after being issued:

But will it be more engrossing than "Breaking Bonaduce?"

Ted Haggard, on his knees

Rachel Slajda/TPM passes along a report that Ted Haggard will be starring in a "reality" teevee "special" on Thesarah paLin Channel.

It is unclear whether the show's title will be "Ted's New Methage." Also not known: whether Mike Jones will appear.

Riley Waggaman wins the Internet for most appropriate facepalm.

(pic. source: Not My Tribe)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Appearance of Conflict

Is it an honor to be blogrolled on a site called World O' Crap?

(Actually, yes, it is. Thanks, Scott and s.z.!)

No way to start a morning

I'm not sure which is worse: that Vanity Fair has a long article about Peter Daou and some other clown trying to claim credit for creating Huffington Post, or that if you do click over, the first thing you get is a pop-up ad. Featuring the latest cover of the print edition. Featuring Justin Bieber.

I will say this, though: you know who else chronically tries to claim credit for HuffPo? Andrew Breitbart, that's who.

(h/t: Curse you, Roger Ailes)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Your attention please

What TBogg says.

Roy Edroso is a good man and alicublog is one of the best things about the Internet. Please do what you can to help. Thanks.

[Update 2011-01-06 14:42] I should at least thank Ed Bluestone for the original idea mucked with above. See Comments for details.

[Update 2011-01-16 22:58] Good news.

"The Enemy Within"

In case you missed this Special Repor:

(alt. video link)

Hope Frank Gaffney never hears about this.

(h/t: Ocean, via email)

Scientology Exposed! (Again! Maybe?)

John Cook at Gawker says Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright is currently at work on a book about Scientology, to be "told through the eyes of director and apostate Paul Haggis."

(By "apostate," he means that Haggis rather famously renounced his decades-long cult membership in 2009.)

Cook goes on to say, in part:

The book, which doesn't have a publisher yet, will be called The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology and will explore both founder L. Ron Hubbard's life and Haggis' personal investigation into [current Scientology head David] Miscavige's violence, the enslavement of "Sea Org" volunteers, and forced abortions for church workers, according to a catalog from Wright's agent Andrew Wylie [pdf] that was pointed out to us by a tipster. Full text of the catalog copy is below.

Wright has mentioned the project before in interviews, and indicated that it grew out of a New Yorker story that hasn't yet run.

So there's that to look forward to, too.

Ed. note: the phrase before the "[pdf]" bit in the blockquote is a link in the original, but it looks like an erroneous one as of this moment. Visit Cook's post to see if it has been fixed. The link is now fixed.

Frank Gaffney's hysteria reaches a new crescento

Frank Gaffney and Pam GellerApparently it's not just our president and the United States Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency -- the seekrit Muslins are everywhere!!!1!

Frank Gaffney, shown at right with his mental health counselor, has discovered another conspiracy so immense, and who better to report on it than WingNutDaily?

Now look who else is infiltrating CPAC


... Frank Gaffney, a leader of the conservative movement for the last 30 years, charges that CPAC has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law.

Gaffney, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, is founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and co-author of the new book "Shariah: The Threat to America." He told WND that Islamism has infiltrated the American Conservative Union, the host of CPAC, in the person of Washington attorney and political activist Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America.


Gaffney also accuses another ACU board member, leading conservative political organizer Grover Norquist, of helping the Muslim Brotherhood spread its influence in the nation's capital.

Gaffney told WND that Norquist got Khan into the Bush White House.

CPAC, you might recall, is the Conservative Political Action Conference. It is an annual gathering of loudmouths from the far right, sponsored by groups like Citizens United, the Heritage Foundation, and the John Birch Society. It gathers annually to provide lulz to Wonkette to crack the rightward whip on Republicans and to give the sufficiently pure among themselves awards named after Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston.

To illustrate, here's the top of the announcement for this year's gathering:


Dhimmis all, eh?

On the other hand, CPAC did give Coulter a timeout back in 2008, and this year, they have invited back Teh Ghey (and may even allow them to speak this time?). And it turns out Gaffney has been uninvited from CPAC for a few years now.

So, progress! At this rate, within another century or two, CPAC will be mere middle-of-the-road wingnuts.

(h/t: @sarahposner, r/t by @jccherry | pic. source)