Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Post Title of the Day

Toma at Thump and Whip: FTW.

"This tape is Ailes' blue dress."

Rumors are swirling that FoxNews boss Roger Ailes may be indicted.

It is fun to dream for a few minutes, isn't it?

David Corn has a good post summarizing the backstory. And remember:

Fox News, founded in 1996, went to town during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment crusade. That saga made Ailes' network. I doubt anyone kept track, but there must have been at least 17 million occasions when a Fox host or guest said that lying about sex in a legal proceeding (to prevent political embarrassment) was a high crime deserving impeachment -- or worse.

(h/t: DougJ and Barry Ritholtz | x-posted)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deja Not Vu All Over Again

The Shrill One:

That Iraq Feeling

I don’t watch cable news, or actually any kind of TV news. But I gather that there’s a virtual blackout on the huge demonstrations in Wisconsin, except on Fox, which portrays them as thuggish and violent.

What that makes me think of is January-February 2003, when anyone watching cable news would have believed that only a few kooks were opposed to the imminent invasion of Iraq. It was quite spooky, realizing that hundreds of thousands of people could march through New York, and by tacit agreement be ignored by news networks whose headquarters were just a few blocks away.

And it’s even more spooky to see it happening all over again.



Looks like the Koch Bros have bought themselves some more Republicans

LA Times:

Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington's political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee's 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group's separate advertising and grass-roots activity during the 2010 campaign.

Claiming an electoral mandate, Republicans on the committee have launched an agenda of the sort long backed by the Koch brothers. A top early goal: restricting the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the Kochs' core energy businesses.

The new committee members include a congressman who has hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff. Another, Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, won a long-shot bid to unseat a 14-term moderate Democrat with help from Americans for Prosperity, which marshaled conservative activists in his district. By some estimates, the advocacy group spent more than a quarter-million dollars on negative ads in the campaign. "I'm just thankful that you all helped in so many ways," Griffith told an Americans for Prosperity rally not long after his election.

Ah, yes. That front group: David Koch's [Misguided] Americans for [My] Prosperity. Co-founded with a man named Fink.

David Koch at the podium of the group he stealthily runs: 'Americans For Prosperity'

Back to the LAT:

Perhaps the Kochs' most surprising and important ally on the committee is its new chairman, Rep. Fred Upton. The Republican from Michigan, who was once criticized by conservatives for his middle-of-the-road approach to environmental issues, is now leading the effort to rein in the EPA.

Upton received $20,000 in donations from Koch employees in 2010, making them among his top 10 donors in that cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The rest of the article is well worth reading if you want to know how deep they've sunk their claws into the GOP.

(h/t: Frank Rich | pic. source)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Republican War on Women Continues, Part 2

Last week, after a light was shined on their shenanigans, the Republicans in South Dakota withdrew a bill that would have made the killing of an abortion provider a "justifiable homicide." The Republicans in Nebraska and Iowa are now pushing similar legislation.

(h/t: Scott Lemieux)


"God can't be THAT bored."

Take heart, Mickey Kaus! It could be worse! Not much, but some!

Because you're dying for some Willard Romney news, amirite?

Joe Posnanski wanders around a bookstore, and what should he see?

Mitt Romney has a new book called "No Apology." I was not aware that people were demanding apologies from Mitt Romney, but apparently he will not give them the satisfaction.

I first see the Mitt Romney book in the "New Releases" section with all the other new books that have grand hopes of gracing the New York Times best-seller list. Later, I see "No Apology" again ... in the bargain books section. Here it is selling for $5.98. This feels like some sort of grand mistake, but apparently it is not because there are a half dozen there, all marked down. It is, the first straight to bargain section book I can ever remember.

Maybe the title refers to the publisher's official stance about people who paid full price.

(h/t: Scott Lemieux | x-posted)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remember when we were wondering why "Congressman Craigslist" resigned so quickly?

We thought, no way does Chris Lee resign just for sending a shirtless picture to some woman he was flirting with online. Even if he's an (outwardly) conservative Republican. Has to be something more, something he really doesn't want to get out.

That would appear to be the case. The claim is, he had earlier posted:

Looking for a sexy ts/cd that i can spoil.

And had at least two respondents.

No, not top secret/compact disc. Transsexual/cross-dresser.

Meanwhile, on your teevee ...

Or not:

No labor representatives on Sunday talk shows

It's almost official: There will be no union representatives on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Unless anyone can be embarrassed into calling up someone who isn't on the pre-approved Sunday Show list of guests (ideologically ranging from Harold Ford to George Will), no one representing labor will be on the DC-based roundtable news shows that define the terms of the debate and "set the agenda" for the Beltway press. "Face the Nation" will slobber all over New Jersey's Chris Christie, though.

The best part is that in addition to Christie, "Meet the Press" has "preliminarily" booked Scott Walker and "Fox News Sunday" has invited Mitch Daniels.

I don't know who else will be on (let's hope Lindsey Graham!) but, depressing as it is, it's not surprising: People representing labor are barely ever used as sources for business stories in the press, and labor leaders are generally outside the orbit of people that political media professionals consider important. Sunday show bookers wouldn't invite an animal rights activist, either! Or an environmentalist! Or a climate scientist. Or a reproductive health expert. Or even female elected officials.

God, Sunday shows are awful ...


Thanks, Liberal Media! Now I can better understand that chart!


Military Used "Psy-Ops" on American VIPs

Jack Stuef points to an article in Rolling Stone by Michael Hastings (the guy who wrote that big McChrystal piece last summer) which describes a somewhat rogue-sounding effort by Lt. Gen. William Caldwell. Caldwell is ostensibly "in charge of training Afghan troops" but he seems to have spent much of his time thinking about how to persuade visiting members of Congress and others at that echelon to keep pouring money into Afghanistan.

Somehow, I am left feeling less than outraged. For one thing, it's hardly unheard of for anyone in a bureaucracy to lobby for more resources to do his or her job, even as such lobbying wastes time that would be better spent doing the job. The article points out, for example, that there is another, separate branch ("public affairs") that is specifically charged with running dog and pony shows for the John McCains of the world. For another, it's not as though the overwhelming majority of Congresscritters need sinister techniques of mind-control directed at them to persuade them to borrow and spend gobs more money on useless military endeavors. These days, you have only to ask Why do you hate The Troops? and pretty much anyone holding office in the US will knock you down in haste to sign the next appropriations bill.

The most disturbing part for me was the retaliation directed at Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, who attempted to blow the whistle on what he considered overstepping by Caldwell. And in turn, this perhaps suggests to me that there was something more wrong going on than I gathered from the article. So, it's probably worth a look.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chart of the Day: Wealth Distribution

This chart, and ten more over on MoJo, tell a sad story about America.

Especially since, oh, just about the time St. Ronald of Reagan took office -- see the chart titled "Winner Take All" when you get over there.

(h/t: msmarjoribanks)


[Added] The source for the above chart is a paper "[f]orthcoming in Perspectives on Psychological Science" by Michael I. Norton (Harvard) and Dan Ariely (Duke), titled "Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time." (PDF)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Republican War on Women Continues

Two reports from Georgia.

In summary: (1) women who report being raped or assaulted are not to be trusted, and (2) women who have miscarriages are to be presumed guilty of self-induced abortions until proven innocent.

Sure, Bobby Franklin is an extreme case. But is he unique to the point where the mainstream GOP, such as it is, will scorn him, or does he serve their interests by pushing the Overton Window that much farther to the right?

(h/t: Scott Lemiuex | x-posted | title: cf.)

Crony capitalism? Or just plain robber barons run amok?

Check out what else the Koch-puppet "governor" of Wisconsin is up to. Nice catch, Ed.

Further commentary on this stealth maneuver from Mike Konczal at Rortybomb.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Quantifying the Bedwetting

It will come as no shock to learn that people who watch FoxNews are generally more terrified of Teh Muslin Menniss (among many other things) than everyone else. But now, thanks to Public Religion Research, we have some specific measurements.

As you may or may not know, Sen. Joseph McCarthy Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is planning to hold hearings, starting 7 March, on how hard we should freak out about the supposed threat from "radicalized" American Muslims and their plans to murder the rest of us. According to PRR's survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they haven't heard anything about this. However, of those who say "Fox is their most trusted news source," 40% have.


• Republicans who say Fox News is their most trusted news source are more likely than Republicans who trust a different news source [Such people actually exist? --ed.] to say they are well-informed about Islam (53% to 34%). They are also more likely than Republicans who most trust other news sources to say the hearings are a good thing (82% to 60%).

• White evangelicals who most trust Fox News are much more likely than those who trust a different news source to say they feel informed about Islam than those who trust other sources of news (70% to 37%). This same group of evangelicals is also more likely than their counterparts who most trust other news sources to say the hearings are a good thing (84% to 60%).

• More than three-quarters (76%) of those who most trust Fox News say it is a good idea [to hold the hearings] compared to only 45% of those who most trust CNN and 28% of those who most trust Public television.

• Those who most trust Fox News are twice as likely as those who most trust Broadcast news and about four times as likely those who most trust public television to believe ["Muslims want to establish Shari’a law as law of the land"] (35%, 18% and 9%)

Further observations from Pareene.

(pic. source)

Romney = Excitement!

Just ask John McCain!

Pic from The Saccharinist, via Pareene, but neither of those actually has anything to do with excitement generated by Willard. Such a post could not be written.*

* K-Lo doesn't count.

Must be a pile of money nearby ...

... or maybe I just think that because she's apparently telling those who still read her Facebook page that "everyone" needs to "sacrifice."

It's no surprise that someone so smug about her own ignorance thinks public school teachers should just bend over and take whatever the Koch puppet Scott Walker wants to give them, but seeing Sarah Palin speak of "real solidarity" to her "union brothers and sisters" makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

An Oddly Compelling Image


Photo by M. Bouffant. More at the link.

Slow Grind Finally Ends Well

Remember Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. and Michael T. Conahan from a couple of years ago? Those two scumbag judges who made millions in kickbacks by sending kids to a for-profit juvenile detention center? Good news: they've finally been convicted.

I suppose I should not say "ends." Their sorry asses aren't in jail yet. Soon, one hopes.

(h/t: M. Bouffant)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Some day when I grow up ...

... I'll be able to write like this: "a skeptic is an activist who’s been mugged by the HuffPo wellness section."

And that's just the title. It is a truly wonderful blog post.

[Added] I see that the target of the ire has responded in comments under that post. "Breezy," hmmm? Way better than stagnant, that's for sure.

Drinking Sharron Angle's Lemonade

Not from The Onion:

A Montana legislator is proposing the state embrace global warming as good for the economy.

Republican Rep. Joe Read of Ronan aims to pass a law that says global warming is a natural occurrence that "is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana."

(h/t: Matt Yglesias | title: cf. | x-posted)

[Added] Wonk Room scored an interview with this clown. Among other revelations:

... the 55-year-old first-time legislator graciously explained why he filed this bill to outlaw science, which even he admitted was a “radical” act. Unlike the man who tried to get the Indiana legislature to redefine pi for a crank mathematical “proof” in 1897, Read’s motivation is primarily ideological. Read did not consult any climate scientists in the drafting of this bill, he said, relying instead on his own experience and understanding of the issues at play:

Read also explained why he chose to write a set of scientific conclusions into law that go against the last 150 years of climate research and the political consensus of every government in the world:

Sometimes you have to do fairly radical things to address a federal government.

Spoken like a real Commensense Conservative™.

Men after my own heart

Wolcott gets a cry for help from Amis:

It is a measure of the stress Martin is under that his email contains a minor grammatical error, which shook me to my core.


How to Identify a Meth Lab

(h/t: KK, via email)

The Consequences of Unplanned Parenthood

A shocking report on The Enemy Within:

(alt. video link)

Fight toddler coddlers!

(h/t: Ocean, via email)

I guess it all depends on what your definition of "standard" is

From a report on HarperCollins's plans for a new division dedicated to telling the wingnuts what they want to hear:

“What I intend to do is uphold a standard of intellectual seriousness on the right,” Mr. Bellow said.

Uh huh. But it gets better, three paragraphs earlier:

As Mr. Bellow imagines it, Broadside Books (“it had a certain combative edge,” he said of the title) will publish books on the culture wars, books of ideas, books of revisionist history, biographies, anthologies, polemical paperbacks and pop-culture books from a conservative point of view.

One does have to appreciate, however, that the head of a company seeking to prey on the KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!!!1! set is named Bellow.

(h/t: Frank Rich, whose column today is well worth reading in its entirety. And not just for the dish about the plummeting fortunes of Beck, Palin, and for that matter, Broadside Books.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good thing the Teabaggin' GOP is all about jobs!

Oh, wait ...

The House vote to end Planned Parenthood funding would make very little sense — in some alternate universe where people who want to criminalize abortion were primarily concerned about protecting fetal life rather than regulating female sexuality. In our actually existing political universe, it makes perfect sense.

Back to the 19th century, with today's Republican Party! Do you not love your American Taliban and their own brand of sharia law?

If you're interested, Planned Parenthood has an open letter to Congress and a petition for you to sign.


What is that, Bristol Palin's new campaign poster?

Over at Mr. Riley's place.

Remember that Charles and David's last name doesn't rhyme with "crotch"

Non-Wisconsin resident TBogg for the win:

Sordid details here and here.

Huh. I didn't know that.

I just happened across a mention by Amanda Terkel of a $1 million donation by George Soros to Media Matters. This happened just a few months ago. This was the first time Soros has ever given money to Media Matters.


NYT Caucus blog, 20 Oct 2010:

In an accompanying statement, Mr. Soros, a billionaire who has a history of supporting liberal politicians and causes, accused Fox News hosts of “incendiary rhetoric” and said he hoped that his money would be used “in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.”

For years, conservatives have accused Media Matters of being a front organization for Mr. Soros. In May, Mr. Beck referred to Media Matters as “the left-wing George Soros-funded media machine that is now referring to me as a jihadist.” In 2007, Fox’s Sean Hannity called it “Hillary Clinton’s George Soros-funded group Media Matters.”

Officials at Media Matters regularly deny that they have ever taken money from Mr. Soros, who repeats that denial in Wednesday’s statement, saying, “I have not to date been a funder” of the liberal organization.

Who would have thought the right-wingers we count on to give us accurate information about George Soros have been lying all this time?

If you pay any attention to conservative media, you're probably aware that Beck and Hannity have been far from alone in their assertions on this matter. But let's just note a few examples, for the record.

  • On 30 October 2006, the self-described "#1 Keith Olbermann blog in the world," whimpered, "Ultra-left, Soros-funded, Media Matters for America is attacking Olbermann Watch …"

  • On his 16 April 2007 radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted that Media Matters received funding from Soros. After calling them "Stalinist" and before saying he was "not demeaning people on this program in any way."

  • From a 6 May 2007 News Day article re-posted on FreeRepublic: "On April 24, [Fox News host Bill] O’Reilly told viewers of 'The O’Reilly Factor' that Soros and several other wealthy radicals were helping to fund Media Matters …"

  • Also in April 2007 (coincidence?), Macsmind fired off a screed, beginning with an authoritative blockquote that amounted to "someone said Matt Drudge said." He moved from there to quote at length from a "report" from CNS, a Brent Bozell outfit, which itemized categorical denials by Media Matters that they had ever received money from Soros and concluded that this proved of course they were taking money from Soros. Macsmind then quotes David Horowitz, also to the effect of "no evidence whatsoever is proof that Soros hid his tracks well." Macsmind concludes, "So as it is with liberals it all depends on what you mean by 'funded'." He also has this line in quotes in his post title, as though someone else said it. Perhaps he has a multiple personality disorder? At any rate, connoisseurs will enjoy reading the whole thing.

  • Capital Research Center, an outfit run by ex-Reaganites and ex-Heritage Foundation employees, led off its July 2007 newsletter with the headline, "Media Matters for America: Soros-Funded Watchdog Attacks Conservatives."

  • On 6 October 2007, writing on the world's most inaccurately named website, Rick Moran referred to a 2004 National Review piece by Byron York, republished by NRO in 2007, in which York, a master of plausible deniability, made up for his dearth of evidence by dropping enough guilt-by-association hints for the Morans of the world to connect the dots. Moran seems to have been helped in this by Fox News's John Gibson, who among other mentions on 4 October 2007 said on the air, "I've talked about Brock and Media Matters getting Soros' support …" (Two days earlier, Gibson had said: "Here are the facts: Media Matters was started in offices provided by the Center for American Progress, a Soros-funded operation. It has since received Soros money. Facts, not lies.") Another of the misnamed horde followed up a day after Moran, referring to "Media Matters, a Soros-funded front group."

  • On 13 January 2008, after Patterico had pontificated about Soros, M. Scott Eiland harrumphed, "And has no problems with donating heavily to organizations run by self-confessed liars for hire (cough cough Media Matters cough cough)." (Okay, that was nutpicking, but once I Googled his name, how could I not? (Related.))

  • On 13 February 2008, Debbie Schlussel wrote, "I gotta love the Media Matters people, funded by George Soros, the former Jew …" In the post title, she chose a different way to follow the money: "Nazi-Funded Media Matters."

  • On 30 March 2009, Canada Free Press (slogan: "...Because without America there is no Free World; about: "Espousing Conservative viewpoints, cornerstone of which contain love of God, love of family, love of country …" (specific country not given)) went the Byron York route: "Media Matters for America, the George Soros-funded* organization …" Do what their readers wouldn't, and look for the other asterisk to enjoy the ass-covering disclaimers.

  • Another National Review employee, Mark Steyn, on 9 April 2010: "By the way, I understood Media Matters to be a George Soros-funded website." It's not clear why he chose the past tense, since he did not go on to say, for example, that he no longer believed that. He did complain about "[t]he Media Matters guy who used to to transcribe my 'lame jokes' from The Rush Limbaugh Show," and then went on to make another … well, you be the judge: "Which NRO Professor Emeritus of Racism and Homophobia do I have to kiss up to to get a little tenured credentialization around here?"

  • On 19 May 2010, Ben Domenech, back with the RedState Trike Force for some reason, began a post, "I find the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America outlet extremely entertaining …" There is no reason to believe he did not come up with that lede himself, amirite?

  • Joseph A. Klein, a columnist for David Horowitz's Frontpage magazine and author of the book Global Deception: The UN's Stealth Assault on America's Freedom, led off a 27 August 2010 blog piece with the phrase "Media Matters, the George Soros-funded attack machine …"

  • On 7 October 2010, radio host Mark Levin, yelling about Media Matters as a "criminal front group" on his Facebook page, began with this: "Who funds Media Matters? Well, we know the loathsome George Soros was Media Matters' sugar daddy." Denizen of his echo chamber Jeffrey Lord ran with it: "Media Matters, the left-wing media organization ginned up by George Soros and currently keeping its donors a secret …

In conclusion, thanks to George Soros, wingnuts can now claim to have been telling the truth all along!

By the way, the main point of that piece by Terkel (h/t: @Wolfrum) is a report that Angelo Carusone has been hired by Media Matters. Congratulations to him and them. Carusone is the founder of StopBeck, and has spearheaded an effort to get companies to stop sponsoring Glenn Beck's show. So far, over three hundred companies have agreed that this is a good thing to do.

StopBeck home page banner

(bullet pic. source)

How To Win in Afghanistan, Instantly

One look at the "hairstyle" and the al Qaedas and Talibans would die laughing.

You have to love the comedy at the site, right from the beginning:

The Draft Trump 2012 committee is an independent grass-roots citizen's efforts to make Donald Trump President. We are neither funded nor directed by Donald Trump but we are encouraged by his public indications that he is seriously considering the race.

Uh huh. Just like those conservative Grassroots™ activists in Wisconsin.

(h/t: StrangeAppar8us, Hunger Tallest Palin)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Anonleaks is coming!

So the good people from Anonymous say:

A rare .ru link that we can feel safe in clicking:

Some details from Adrian Chen at Gawker.

The sudden new importance of Anonymous discussed on this blog starting here.

(h/t: @on_the_media)

Eye Candy: The Classic Edition

Uncle Eb advises, over at Blogpocalypse, that Art Project is now live.

Their blurb:

Explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.

Yes, this is Google, being evil once again. Seems as though it's just getting going (or so one hopes), but you can already see a bunch of work from various famous museums and do a sort of walk-through of these museums. If you've used Street View in Google Maps, it will feel familiar.

(I've just started looking around.)

[Added] Google's plain-text intro/guide to the project.

Marathon, Man

Uh ...

Politifact: "Fact-checking CPAC."

This has the smell of a task created to get someone fired for Not Fulfilling Responsibilities, but maybe it'll be fleshed out at some point.

So far, they have one bit of truthiness and one outright FALSE from Willard "Mittens" Romney. And this:

We'll update this story with additional fact-checks as we publish them.

Godspeed to you, Louis Jacobson.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Somehow, I don't think wingnuts will be blogging about "Chicago-style thuggery" this time

Remember that story about HBGary, the "security" firm that got pwned by Anonymous? Was worth it for the lulz at the time, but now it also looks like some disturbing information is coming to light as a consequence.

JAB calls attention ("You have to get up pretty early in the morning to make the Mafia look like pikers…") to a ThinkProgress post, which begins as follows:

Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and

New emails reveal that the private spy company investigated the families and children of the Chamber’s political opponents. The apparent spearhead of this project was Aaron Barr, an executive at HBGary. Barr circulated numerous emails and documents detailing information about political opponents’ children, spouses, and personal lives.

Of course, this is not nearly as sinister as the imaginary stuff Obama does, amirite?

The quoted link, among other things, points to some work done by Marcy Wheeler. She's got copies of some of the documents related to the US Chamber of Commerce's spying plans.

The ThinkProgress posts also describe other dirty tricks and disinformation campaigns that are or were being planned, that had the intent of smearing watchdog and other progressive groups. I'd say it's worth your time to spend a few minutes reading them, and perhaps also this post from Josh Harkinson at MoJo, but then I'm a liberal, so therefore I hate America, democracy, your freedoms, &c.

[Added] Hey, look! An actually decent story with some interesting tidbits (16 year old girl! lol) from the MSM: Byron Acohido at USA Today. (Don't be put off by the headline, as I almost was.) Also, Glennzilla has a typically thorough post up, which he describes as "just the summary." The more details the better in a case like this, I say. It appears that Glenn was on the list of targets.

[Added2] I should say that I don't know for sure that ThinkProgress is relying exclusively on info from the Anonymous hack. Glennzilla's post suggests they might have had other sources.

[Added3] So far, the silence is deafening from Wingnuttia.

[Added4] Soon, the emails will be made available to all, Anonymous says.

Deep Thought

Why is there so much difference between vamping and revamping?

"Repeal, Restrict and Repress"

Charles M. Blow's column presents a good summary of what we've seen from your new Republican majority thus far, especially at the less well illuminated lower levels of power. Here's how it starts:

Republican state lawmakers, emboldened by their swollen ranks, have a message for minorities, women, immigrants and the poor: It’s on!

In the first month of the new legislative season, they have introduced a dizzying number of measures on hot-button issues in statehouses around the country as part of what amounts to a full-throttle mission to repeal, restrict and repress.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

As Reuters pointed out this week, in the midterms, “Republicans gained nearly 700 state legislative seats and now have their largest numbers since the Great Depression, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Judging by the lead-up to those elections, one could have easily concluded that the first order of business on Republicans’ agendas would be a laserlike focus on job creation and deficit reductions to the exclusion of all else. Not the case.

The rest.


Music of the Revolution

Interesting segment from this week's On The Media.

Don't shy away if you're not the world's biggest hip hop fan. I'm not, either. I'll tell you this much, though. To the extent that Abdulla Darrat knows what he's talking about, and he sounds like he does, there's a lot of hope running through these ten minutes.

You can download the mixtape “Mish B3eed” (“Not Far”) and find links to the artists' Facebook pages on this page of Abdulla's site, Enough!Khalas.


A related article appears on the website run by PRI's The World.

From that article, here's a song by Ramy Donjewan that caught my ear. (Hope I didn't condemn it, or him, to immediate uncoolness by saying that.) Google tells me the title translates as "Against the government."

Ramy Donjewan - ضد الحكومة

(alt. video link)

The advantage here is that the lyrics are printed on the screen, to make it easier to sing along.


[Added] Also good: Ibn Thabit, "The Question." (More info, plus opportunity to download the MP3, here.)

(alt. video link)

If you're using the Firefox add-on Flashblock, the above might not play. Either disable it temporarily and reload this page or visit one of the above links to hear.

Oh, cool! A year-old podcast debate! About going to Mars!

This will not be for everybody, but if you're a space nerd like me, you might like it: the 10th Annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, moderated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and featuring real experts:

Answering these critical questions were Kenneth Ford of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Lester Lyles (ret) of the United States Air Force, Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Steven Squyres of Cornell University, and Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin made a surprise appearance at the end of the conversation after having listened to the debate. His comments were followed by a question and answer session with audience members and reporters.

It's about two hours long, but if your tastes are like mine, you'll think it was too short. (Okay, the Q&A part at the end was a bit tedious, and they needed the hook for Aldrin after a while, but other than that.) Visit the link above to listen, or right-click and save directly on this MP3 link.

"Godwink's Law"

Well done, William K. Wolfrum!

(h/t: that podcast)

(?, ?)

Ah, now I can die happy

You're welcome, Joshua!

And everyone else!


Going Galt AND IT’S ONLY PART 1!!!1!

Roy has the preview of Atlas Shrugged up over at his place. The comments are hilarious, as you would expect.

Also, tweeted by @driftglass:

1,000 pages of Bad Science Fiction about sock-puppets stabbing strawmen with tax cuts.

It's the new Wolverines!!!1!

[Added] More goodness from TBogg and his commenters. LOL @ gbear:

Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking flakes on this motherfucking train!

[Added2] Susan of Texas, in comments at Roy's, speaks of the man behind the movie:

What's really awsome is that some Objectivist businessman, John Aglialoro, put up all the money himself--$10-15 million, plus marketing. And he co-wrote the screenplay (!) .. So this is a labor of love and will probablybe exactly like the boring, unreadable book.

A quick Google on Agliaro yielded this bit of delicious reminder:

Susan Paris: Is Angelina Jolie firmly committed to the project?

John Aglialoro: Yes, she is. Here is what she told us: “Dagny Taggart is the most relatable character to me of all the extensive literature I have ever read.”

SP: Has she signed a contract?

Aglialoro: We have a letter of intent.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Congratulations, Blue Gal and Driftglass!

Sounds like things worked out better than it did for the couple in v1.0 of your podcast poster. Here's hoping, anyway!

News broken in the 2/11 show. (Never forget!)

Stream it from the site, or right-click and save this direct MP3 link.

[Added] Ring pic there. (Click it to big it.)

"It's in bite-sized Top Ten form, and goes down easy. Tell your friends!"


Roy tells us that he has a new article up at AlterNet: "10 Historical 'Facts' Only a Right-Winger Could Believe."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Found: Leonard Pierce

Not that he was actually hiding, I guess. But somehow, I lost track. The guy I knew from Sadly, No! stopped posting (as frequently?) there, and I guess the last time I thought to Google him, I didn't find what I was looking for.

Anyway, if you're not already way ahead of me on this, you may remember the name from the 13-part series of undercover reporting from CPAC 2008. Truly an effort for which the word epic should be reserved, and incisive and hilarious from end to end.

Also, for example, this.

The new blog is LudicLive, and the Twitter feed is @leonardpierce. Stalkers are go!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Meanwhile, as long as the Internet is still up ...

... this story is a nice antidote to the doom and gloom of the previous post.

It seems that a company called HBGary Federal, "which does classified work for the U.S. federal government among other security work," made a big noise about being hot on the trail of the "real identities of top members of Anonymous," whereupon they were promptly pwned by Anonymous.

Among other things, Anonymous:

... seized control of the internet security firm's website, defaced its pages, acquired 60,000 company e-mails, deleted backup files, seized [HBGary Federal employee Aaron] Barr's Twitter account, and took down the founder's website Anonymous also acquired this document, which HBGary was set to provide to the FBI at a scheduled meeting tomorrow.

Just another reminder that those who promise to deliver security and protect liberty often fail at both.

(pic. source)

[Added] Nate Anderson at Ars Technica has a long post detailing the unraveling. And a follow-up.

[Added2] Some disturbing revelations come to light.

Internet Kill Switch?

Another one of those FoxNews memos leaked

Remember a couple of months ago, when news broke about memos to FoxNews staff from their Washington managing editor Bill Sammon? One, sent in the middle of the HCR debate, told staff to use terms like "government option" and never to say public option; the other was a directive to maintain a tone of "skepticism" when discussing global warming. Turns out another one came to light last week:

During the final days of the 2008 presidential race, Bill Sammon used his position as a top Fox News editor to engage in a campaign to link then-Sen. Barack Obama to "Marxists" and "socialism," internal Fox documents and a review of his televised appearances show.

On October 27, 2008, Sammon sent an email to colleagues highlighting what he described as "Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists" in his 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father. Shortly after sending the email, Sammon -- then the network's Washington deputy managing editor -- appeared on two Fox News programs to discuss his research and also wrote a piece about Obama's "affinity to Marxists" that was disseminated throughout the conservative blogosphere.


By that evening, the subject line of Sammon's email had been inserted -- word-for-word -- into show notes written in preparation for the next morning's Fox & Friends, which featured an appearance by Sammon.

Eric Boehlert is right -- it is a little hard to realize for those of us who had been following the election so closely, and so were familiar with the hysterical anti-Obama messaging, but it really is rather amazing, in retrospect, how vehemently anti-Obama the wingnuts were and how unified they were in their talking points, from the get-go. This hammering by FoxNews on the OBAMA THE MARXIST!!!1! theme, from October 2008 on, helps explain why.

(h/t: Poli-Sci-Fi Radio)

"Tea Party History Lesson"

Part 1:

The lesson continues here.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Interview of Scientology article author

Lawrence Wright, whose lengthy New Yorker article on Paul Haggis and Scientology we noted yesterday, was interviewed on Fresh Air by Terry Gross today. The interview is about twenty minutes long, and there is a summary post at that link.

If you've read the entire article, there's not a whole lot of new information, although I found it interesting to hear him questioned about some of the aspects of the article. If you haven't read the article, listening to the interview may persuade you to, although it might be a bit of a spoiler for some -- I liked the way the article unfolded toward some of the points that are discussed right away in the interview.

(h/t: Substance McGravitas, in Comments under yesterday's post)

"Turns Out Steaming Bullshit Will Melt Ice, But You Need An Awful Lot Of It"

The odd confluence of Ronald Reagan and the Super Bowl: a great post.

(Or effluence, as you prefer.)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Freudian Slip of the Day

The mask of objectivity slips at the NYT?

Paring with AOL will lift The Huffington Post’s traffic.

Happy 100th! Latest Wingnut Wrap-Up from Roy Edroso Now Available


Rightbloggers Celebrate Reagan's 100th Birthday; Attack His Son, Ron Jr.; Cheer His Daughter, Sarah Palin

Intro here, full column here.

Oh, and intro to the intro here.


"The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology"

You may recall mention last month of a Lawrence Wright book and New Yorker article on Scientology, "to be 'told through the eyes of director and apostate Paul Haggis.'"

I don't know if he's found a book publisher yet, but at least the New Yorker piece is now available, and it looks like a detailed one.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so, note to self, etc. But I thought some of you might like to know right away.

(h/t: @johnmcquaid)

[Added] Follow-up post.

Eric Alterman has a new book out

This, from his home page, appears to be the thesis:

“Presidents can pretty easily pass tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations. They can start whatever wars they wish and wiretap whomever they want without warrants. They can order the torture of terrorist suspects, lie about it and see that their intelligence services destroy the evidence. But what they cannot do, even with supermajorities in both houses of Congress behind them, is pass the kind of transformative progressive legislation that Barack Obama promised in his 2008 campaign.”

In addition to analysis, there are proposals:

Alterman offers a clear game plan for potential change, expounding his belief that “with regard to almost every single one of our problems, we need better, smarter organizing at every level and a willingness on the part of liberals and leftists to work with what remains of the center to begin the process of reforms that are a beginning, rather than an endpoint in the process of societal transformation.”

The book description also says that this is a "revised, updated, and much-expanded version of Alterman’s July 2010 online essay for The Nation." That essay lives here.

Click the pic to go to the book's page on Amazon.

book cover: 'Kabuki Democracy,' by Eric Alterman


The High-Brow Version of Twitter Flaming

I am late in passing along this Scott McLemee note, but it's too funny not to:

"Crimes Against the Intellect"

Last month, in France, playboy philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy was indicted for fraud, hucksterism, and general ridiculousness, and there will be a trial tomorrow. Sort of.

Somehow I doubt this is going to affect his standing at The Huffington Post.


Developing ...


Not that we didn't already think Jennifer Rubin was a hack ...

... but this is just inexcusable.

As low as the WaPo has been known to go, I'm still surprised they're letting her get away with it.

All together now ... IOKIYAR!


(pic. source | x-posted)

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Swiped from Instaputz.

A Guilty Pleasure

Professional Left Podcast, artwork by driftglassThis week's Professional Left Podcast, with Driftglass and Blue Gal, has a good analysis of how and why the wingnuts are floundering in their attempts to spin Egypt to their advantage.

It won't be to everyone's taste, but if you're in the mood for some laughs and some bashing of the Beck/Palin®/Limbaugh crowd, you'll probably enjoy it. I did.

Stream it from their site, subscribe on iTunes, or download an MP3 by right-clicking and saving on this link here. About 36 minutes. Mildly NSFW, due to language.

An inspiring conversation

This Bloggingheads diavlog between Kathryn Clancy of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and John Hawks of University of Wisconsin-Madison is quite good. I especially recommend it to any young women considering a career in science and to any young academic considering a start in blogging, but I think anyone who is interested in science will like it.

Topics include:

  • Kate’s study of ladybusiness in Poland
  • News for women with “abnormal” menstrual cycles
  • Does academic blogging fit a university’s mission?
  • Pitfalls for women scientists
  • Did anthropology declare itself to be non-science?
  • Science: not just another way of knowing

(alt. video link)

If you'd rather not sit here and stream it, click the alt. video link to download audio or video files.

As if anyone needed another reason not to use Bing, not to mention Internet Explorer

It looks like Bing has been tuning their search results by watching what people search for on Google and what they click on the results page.

Some people are concerned about the privacy aspect. Me, I gave up believing what I typed into the Internet wasn't going to be stored and analyzed nine ways from Sunday years ago. I'm appalled here at Microsoft's cheating. I mean, we've known for decades that Microsoft has a habit of letting others do the innovation, and then absorbing them into the Borg (yeah, I'm still mad about how they ruined Equation Editor), or copying the competition from scratch and then crushing them with their monopolistic clout (you remember Netscape, right?). But this really takes things to a whole new depth. Anyone who works at Microsoft on this should be ashamed.

(h/t: Robert Waldmann)


[Added 2011-02-07 01:04] TechCrunch has an article with selections from the Twitter fight the above produced. Some good zingers. More importantly, that article gives a link to the Techmeme entry for the story, in case you want to read another nine thousand pieces of commentary on this.

I got your Decision Point right here

How can we miss him, when he'll never leave?


Former President George W. Bush has canceled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.

Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod's annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.


"He's avoiding the handcuffs," Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.


Brody is an American-trained lawyer specialized in pursuing war crimes worldwide, especially those allegedly ordered by former leaders, including Chile's late dictator Augusto Pinochet and Chad's ousted president Hissene Habre. Habre has been charged by Belgium with crimes against humanity and torture, and is currently exiled in Senegal.

"President Bush has admitted he ordered waterboarding which everyone considers to be a form of torture under international law. Under the Convention against Torture, authorities would have been obliged to open an investigation and either prosecute or extradite George Bush," Brody said.

There's more.

(h/t: @Mrxk and @pwire | pic. source | x-posted)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Journamalism Watch: kausfiles has found a new home


TBogg has passed along some sad news.

[Added] Wolcott has now heard about it, too.

(x-posted | pic. source, pic. source, pic. source, pic. source)

Some stories about Egypt, and other important matters

The first half hour of this week's On The Media is devoted to coverage of Egypt, and coverage of that coverage. Five segments, all quite good.

The last twenty minutes of the show concern anonymous holds in the Senate and whistleblower protection. The two stories are related.

Stream or download an MP3, both at the above link, right near the top of the page. Transcripts available early next week.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Some 100th Birthday Antidotes

Paul Slansky's 1989 book, pictured above, is now once again available! This time, it's an e-book, and you can pay whatever you want for it, thanks to socialism. Ken Layne gives it a glowing recommendation.

And don't forget the ongoing series available at Bats Left Throws Right: "Ronald Reagan: The Myth and the Myth." This is always 100% free, thanks to communism. The latest in the series is specific to this most glorious of all birthday celebrations: "Great. Something Else To Look Forward To."


But remember, he's with us on everything except the war

Soon-to-be ex-Senator Joe Lieberman, pictured at left during an earlier tryst with some other IDiot, will be co-authoring a book with David Klinghoffer, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. Pallin' around with creationists now, eh, Joe?

Klinghoffer's other books include How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative, published in July 2008, which may or may not have had anything to do with Holy Joe's choices during that year's presidential campaign.

As Roy Edroso reminds us, Klinghoffer also pens the occasional anti-science screed for National Review. If you'll recall the goals of the Disco'tute, this will not surprise you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New Jersey Fat Cats Given Second Helpings

The headline:

Christie: N.J. to invest $260M in stalled casino project

Tax-payer funded bailouts!!!1!

And this part (emph. added) is especially rich:

[New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie made the announcement at a ceremony at the unfinished Revel site to sign legislation turning over control of this struggling gambling mecca's casino district to the state …


A classic IOKIYAR moment if there ever was one.

It'll be interesting to see if the Christie fanboys try to explain how this is Totally Different, or if he'll be summarily labeled a RINO and booted off the list of RealConservative Rockstars.

[Added] Twin catches a bunch of other incongruities.

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

"POLITICO announced that it has decided to skip the 2012 election cycle entirely"

A shocking exposé from deep inside the bowels: Michael Kinsley reports on the secret agenda of the horserace 'n' gossip biz.

And thereby Wins The Morning™, of course.

(h/t: @jeffjarvis)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Odd Confluence of High Energy Physics and Low-Down Drunks

Swiped from Substance McGravitas:

Large Hadron Colada

(Post title: pretty much stolen, too.)

Close this Facebook Security Hole in Your Account. (It's easy.)

Last week, Ryan Tate at Gawker called attention to a serious flaw in Facebook that potentially exists for anyone who visits the site using a wireless connection. Geek details at the bottom of this post, but let's get to the important part first: prompted by the attention that this hole received, Facebook has come up with a fix. It's quick and easy to do, and you should do it right away, especially if you're in the habit of visiting Facebook while at your favorite coffee shop or other public WiFi hotspot.