Thursday, April 28, 2011

No one could have predicted that Florida ...

... would once again be looking for ways to suppress voting rights.

I guess someone still has work to do on his "Great Relationship With The Blacks"

As in, the leading candidate for the Republican 2012 nomination.

Here are a few thoughts from Baratunde Thurston, aka Jack Turner, from Jack & Jill Politics.

(alt. video link)

Quite moving, I thought.

(h/t: Angry Black Lady | title: cf. | x-posted)

Revenge Protest Sign of the Nerds

I adore this:


Quite appropriately placed in Jon Chait's fine post, "Liberalism's Bumper Sticker Problem." Obtained from Owen Abroad.

[Update 2012-02-25 09:57] Changed image URL -- new hosting site for image.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birfer Madness Continues


Obama’s ‘Long-Form’ Birth Certificate Is Released

President Obama on Wednesday posted online a copy of his “long-form” birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, hoping to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives who asserted that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.

The birth certificate, which is posted on the White House Web site, shows that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is signed by state officials and his mother.

“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, wrote on the Web site Wednesday morning. Mr. Pfeiffer said on the site that Mr. Obama had authorized officials in Hawaii to release the document broadly.

In a statement to the news media Wednesday morning, Mr. Obama said he decided to release the document in an effort to end the “silliness” about his birth that threatened to distract from the serious issues facing the country.

“Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement,” he said in brief remarks. “I’ve been puzzled by the degree to which this thing just kept on going.”

Mr. Obama said there would be a “segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.” [...]

Kerners are go!

So, which do you think there will be more of, wingnuts claiming this is faked, or Very Serious People wingnuts saying all the Birfer nonsense could have been avoided if only Obama had …

(cf. | x-posted)

How Paul Ryan will ensure continued American Exceptionalism

By magic!

Ah, well. I suppose it's not hard to believe that slashing R&D spending will enhance progress and innovation if you're already the sort of person who believes tax cuts increase revenue.

The above is from an analysis of the Very Serious And Courageous Ryan budget "plan" by Adam Hersh and Sarah Ayres: "Disinvesting in America." Matt Yglesias has a good succinct post on this particular aspect.

Let's also remind ourselves that when you get to the end of that red line in 2021, you've cut approximately this many dollars from the deficit: 0.

(h/t: Twin)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Too late?

A Happy Easter pic from MK. Click it to big it.

It's a little frightening how much expression can be read into those beady black eyes, isn't it?

Oh, yeah. Epistemic closure is just a myth, right?

Would you believe ... "The Conservative Alternative to YouTube?"

I wouldn't have, either, but apparently this is real.

They also have a Twitter feed, so they can promote what's new and hot, I guess. Here is a screenshot of the latest at this moment:


I don't doubt it makes just as much sense watching it in the order listed.

(h/t: Roy Edroso | x-posted)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

If you listen closely, you can hear a foot stomping on a porch in Alaska ...

... from which He®self may or may not be able to see Russia, but she certainly can see one thing: plummeting media interest!

Nate 538 Silver (via Ken Layne), in a post about the fluctuating attention being drawn by all the great GOP candidates for preznit, reports (emph. added):

In contrast to four years ago, however, when the relative amount of media coverage was fairly steady throughout the campaign, there have already been some dramatic shifts this year. Sarah Palin’s potential candidacy, for instance, is only receiving about one-fifth as much attention as it did several months ago.


During the month of November 2010, Ms. Palin’s name retrieved 777 hits, according to this technique. That represented just over half of the 1,533 citations for all 23 candidates combined.

So far this month, however, Ms. Palin has accounted for just 124 hits out of 1,090 total, or roughly 11 percent. [...]


The decline in media coverage for Ms. Palin tracks with a decline in her polling numbers. Whereas she was pulling between 15 and 20 percent of the Republican primary vote in polls conducted several months ago, she’s down to about 10 percent in most surveys now.

On a closely related note, it appears panic is spreading to the staff (via TBogg):

Team Palin Demands The Media Give Them Something To Complain About

(pic. source | x-posted)


Peter Rothberg of The Nation emails to say, in part:

Dorian Lynskey's comprehensive new book, 33 Revolutions Per Minute, details the history of the protest song in America and around the world. It's a bracing and informative survey, even if you're familiar with the topic, and it happily got us at The Nation thinking about our favorite all-time protest songs.

Seriously picking a top-ten is an impossible task, but in the interests of getting the conversation started, here are my choices.

Please tell us what you consider the single best protest song of all-time. We'd love to publish your choices in a special post at

I'm not sure that this is my all-time favorite, especially compared to some of Rothberg's choices (1, 4, and 9, especially) but I filled out the form to nominate this for inclusion on any short list: Country Joe and the Fish, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag."

Live solo version:

Studio version:


Friday, April 22, 2011

Speaking of gasholes ...

... which we were earlier today, read this: "The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit."

(h/t: the junior operative)

Looming Theocracy Watch

Nothing to see here. Just move along.


(h/t: The Caucus)

99 98 bottles of beer on the wall ...

In recent news of GOP leadership:

Senator Ensign to Resign Amid Inquiry

Senator John Ensign of Nevada, who had already announced that he would not run for re-election in 2012, is planning to resign, he said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. Mr. Ensign, a Republican, had been caught up in a sex scandal and an ethics inquiry stemming from his admission in 2009 that he had had an affair with the wife of a top aide (see a timeline of the scandal).

Hmmmm! Given the old boys' club nature of the Senate, which made me think that an "ethics inquiry" would be dropped upon hearing that the person involved would not run for reelection, I can only think that must have been some other shoe that was getting ready to drop.

What else?

Republican Party operatives said Mr. Ensign’s decision, effective May 3, would open the door for Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada to appoint a Republican to fill out the remainder of Mr. Ensign’s term, thereby increasing the chances that the party could hold onto what may be a hotly contested seat next year. One likely candidate is Representative Dean Heller, a Republican House member already running for the job, giving Mr. Heller a possible leg up for a full term.

While party insiders said there was no guarantee that Mr. Heller would get the appointment, if he did get it he would be in position to essentially run as an incumbent in 2012 and while skirting some of the politically charged votes likely to occur in the Republican-controlled House over the coming months.

So, Family Values™ and Political Courage®, all in one Tale of Your New Republican Majority!

(Here is another version of the story, if you don't like to wrestle with the NYT's paywall. However, don't miss the timeline linked from within the blockquote if you're able to get to it. It's mighty sordid! (Though not all that sexy.))

UPDATE: Looks like there's a chance this might not be the last we hear about this:

Ensign Resigns, But Details of Ethics Probe May Yet Emerge


The Senate Ethics Committee will now have to decide if it wants to make public any of the evidence it turned up in a year and a half spent investigating the aftermath of an affair Mr. Ensign had with the wife of a former top aide, Douglas Hampton.


The committee chairwoman, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, and its ranking Republican, Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, issued a statement late Thursday indicating that their work in fact is not yet finished. That suggests that the public might again hear from the panel.

“The Senate Ethics Committee has worked diligently for 22 months on this matter and will complete its work in a timely fashion,” the statement said. “Senator Ensign has made the appropriate decision.”

Mr. Ensign himself, in his resignation statement, made clear that he knew some kind of action was about to take place by the Senate Ethics Committee that would only open him up to more scrutiny. That could have included specific charges and possibly a public trial on those charges.



A Republican candidate you might actually care to learn more about

Michelle Goldberg has an interesting profile up on Tablet. Here's the blurb:

Fred Karger is a gay, Jewish Republican, and he’s running for president. His plan is to embarrass the Mormon GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and get the church to drop its support for gay-marriage bans.

Karger has done considerable work to expose the heretofore secret political efforts by the senior members of the Mormon church. See also

New Rule

Anyone who uses the phrase "Drill, Baby, Drill" (without irony) shall henceforth be referred to as a gashole.

(Inspired by news from TC that there's a new documentary coming out.)

[Added] Follow-up.

[Added2] Watch an interview of co-director Jeremy Wagener by Thom Hartmann (about 10 min). Thanks to TC in the Comments.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"How Low Will the 'Washington Post' Go?"

A good post by Eric Alterman that should be read by everyone who still thinks the WaPo is a credible outfit. They're not. They still have some good people in the lower echelons, but they're being propped up by a shady business, hiring Rupert Murdoch poolboys for senior editorial positions, and in general, they're doing little but dining out on their increasingly cobwebbed reputation.

(h/t: RM/FB)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today in News of the Obvious

FoxNews boss Roger Ailes is kind of a creep.

I do love this part of the story: how one of those crushed under the heel of his raging paranoia was an erstwhile bootlicker who came up through the RWNM farm team called The Weekly Standard.

Today in Headlines of the Obvious

Gawker and Time report.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wait. What year is it again?

I am on's music email list, which is mostly a good thing, since they usually offer free downloads while pitching the stuff they want you to buy. And, you know, you'd like to make some small effort to stay aware of what The Kids Are Listening To These Days.

However, the opening of today's ...

Dear Customer,

If you're looking for fresh tunes to buy and send to Amazon Cloud Drive, allow us to introduce you to our friends Gorillaz, Lady Gaga, Steve Miller Band, and many others who have swell new releases out today.

Congratulations to marketing, I guess, for finding the one adjective archaic enough to make the band whose greatest hits album was released in 1978 seem fresh.

above: Big Ol' Jet Airliner

(pic. source, pic. source)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh, my

If Scott Adams has any friends, now might be a good time for them to step in.

P.S. Don't miss Bérubé in the comments at that link.

P.P.S. Who knew that PZ has been carrying a grudge against this guy for years? (With good reason, it sounds like.)

Hey, check out the big self-awareness of Breitbart

Or not.

"I'm serious!" he screamed. "Go to hell! You're trying to divide America!"

In his defense, he was yelling at a big crowd of NotRealAmericans, by the lights of him and the guest of hono®.

(source | via)


"The Do-Nothing Plan"

How Congress can balance the budget in eight years by literally doing nothing. This is not a joke.

A pretty intriguing article from Annie Lowrey.

(h/t: Don McArthur | x-posted)

Sometimes a line of dry prose says so much

The caption under one of the pictures accompanying an article about John Tanton:

The signature event of the Federation for American Immigration Reform is an annual gathering of like-minded talk radio hosts.


The NYT article where the above appears says, "Dr. Tanton helped start all three major national groups fighting to reduce immigration, legal and illegal, and molded one of the most powerful grass-roots forces in politics." And: "Rarely has one person done so much to structure a major cause, or done it so far from the public eye." That applies to me, at least: though I know of two of the groups he started, his name does not ring a bell.

However, some people have been paying attention. The Southern Poverty Law Center has lots on "FAIR" (start here, see also) and Tanton himself (start here, see also). See also the SPLC report, "The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance," which ties "FAIR" together with the other two groups Tanton is connected with, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Ryan/Koch Vision for America

Even if they won't say so out loud.

David Simon: Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It’s the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. As we said before, economically, we don’t need those people; the American economy doesn’t need them. So as long as they stay in their ghettos and they only kill each other, we’re willing to pay for a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. Since we basically have become a market-based culture, that’s what we know, and it’s what’s led us to this sad dénouement. I think we’re going to follow market-based logic right to the bitter end.

Bill Moyers: Which says?

David Simon: If you don’t need ’em, why extend yourself? Why seriously assess what you’re doing to your poorest and most vulnerable citizens? There’s no profit to be had in doing anything other than marginalizing them and discarding them.

"Read the whole thing, you will not regret it," says Anne Laurie.

It's tough -- I've had to take two breaks already -- but I encourage you to try.

"In Defense of Offense" is not, as it happens, an NBA playoffs preview

It is, rather, a piece on political correctness run amok. I have a feeling Dick Cavett is fighting a battle that's already been lost, but hurrah for him anyway.


On an unrelated note, how can Firefox, now in its fourth major release, still not recognize hurrah?

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Red State NPR"

As is almost always the case, Timothy Egan is well worth reading.

So Long Hello, and Thanks for All the Fish!

Apparently, things are not quite as grim as we thought on the seafood front, at least for some species.

On average, fish stocks worldwide appear to be stable, and in the United States they are rebuilding, in many cases at a rapid rate.

The overall record of American fisheries management since the mid-1990s is one of improvement, not of decline. Perhaps the most spectacular recovery is that of bottom fish in New England, especially haddock and redfish; their abundance has grown sixfold from 1994 to 2007. Few if any fish species in the United States are now being harvested at too high a rate, and only 24 percent remain below their desired abundance.


... not all highly migratory fish are in danger; the albacore, skipjack and yellowfin tuna and swordfish on American menus are not threatened.

Still not out of the woods yet (beat that for an inappropriate metaphor) -- other "highly migratory" species, such as the Atlantic bluefin tuna and many kinds of shark are still being overfished, and there remain problems with:

... bottom fish — like cod, haddock, flounder and sole — that are caught in “mixed fisheries,” where it is impossible to catch one species but not another. We also know little about the sustainability of fish caught in much of Asia and Africa.

Still, a nice shot of good news.

I think I'd rather continue feeling guilty about my hunk of factory-raised cow, though.

Man, I hate suit-speak

Happened across a blog post from RSA (that computer security company that recently got hacked) that begins:

I was on a tour in Asia Pacific when I first heard the news about the attack. The investigation into this attack continues but I’m eager to share some information with you about it.


And of course it doesn't take too many more paragraphs before author Uri Rivner presents the inescapable "working hard." Y'ever notice how no one just works anymore? Let's just be honest and remove the space. These two words have become as inseparable as quarks.

We’re already WorkingHard on introducing several completely new approaches …

Fixt. (Probably should also have struck "completely," but at least it wasn't like the teevee, where new episodes are always AllNew.)

In his defense, Rivner does manage to resist telling us that he's passionate.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We're #5! We're #5! We're #5!

A short note from John Markoff in the NYT:

U.S. Lagging in Using Technology, Study Shows

The United States continues to lag other nations in its use of computing and communications technology, according to an annual study issued Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.

For the second consecutive year, the United States finished fifth in the study’s comparison of 138 countries that make up 98.8 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product. Sweden was first, followed by Singapore, Finland and Switzerland.

These rankings, for 2010, are based on an index of 71 economic and social indicators, as diverse as new patents, mobile phone subscriptions and availability of venture capital.

I was surprised about Japan's spot:

Besides Singapore, Taiwan was ranked 6th, South Korea 10th and Hong Kong 12th. Japan was 19th.

China ranked 36th and India 48th, falling five places from 2009. Rounding out the large developing BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — Brazil was 56th and Russia 77th.

The country making the most progress in 2010 was Indonesia, which jumped 14 places to 53rd — in part because of high educational standards and in part because of the importance the government has placed on information and communications technology.

Among Western nations, Canada was 8th, Norway 9th, Germany 13th, Britain 15th and France 20th. The two lowest countries were Burundi and Chad.

Kind of a fun online tool to play with on the WEForum's site. It's a little sluggish, especially at initial loading, but not too bad. Here are a couple of screen shots. Click them to enlarge.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And speaking of sad bids for attention ... Why, hello, Sa®ah Palin!

He®self endorses The Donald's birtherism, and gets coverage everywhere!* Best to start with Wonkette on an important story like this.

* When will our Lamest®eam Media acknowledge that Michele Bachmann is now Queen of the Crazies?


Donald Trump's Latest Sad Bid for Attention

Apparently, our next preznit of reality teevee has nothing better to do than read snarky things that are written about him and then scribble furious letters to the editors.

Congratulations, Juli Weiner and Gail Collins, for making The Donald cry!

(h/t: Ken Layne)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Cool pic accompanying a story in the NYT about an effort to clone these trees.


If you've never seen giant redwoods in person, don't pass up a chance, should one present in your future. Camping out among them for at least one overnight is highly recommended.

Dahlia Lithwick is Shrill

Her piece on "The Obama administration's appalling decision to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a military trial" is righteous and should be read by every American.

Our sense of hope continues to fade, Mr. President.

(h/t: Jack McCullough, via Facebook)

Rainy Sunday Crime Story

I sent this out by email to a few people, but I figured I'd pass it along here, too. If you like mysteries, it's a great read.

True crime police procedural, about the length of a short story: The Case of the Vanishing Blonde.

(h/t: @hitchbitch)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Noted for the record: another instance of Republican denialism

The full House voted a few days ago on an amendment to a Republican-drafted bill whose main purpose was to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. The amendment, proposed by Henry Waxman (D-CA), asked that we should at least acknowledge the problem exists. It read as follows:

Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate changes is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.

The amendment was defeated, nays beating ayes 240-184. The totals from the roll call for the House Republicans: Aye: 1, Nay: 237.

(h/t: Whiskey Fire | x-posted)

Line of the Day: 2011-04-09

I soon realized that there I was surrounded by hateful people; propping up a cause I created five years ago, a cause which I had begun to question.

So says a self-described "conservative-Republican" who has "spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease."

Better late than never, Louis J. Marinelli. Glad you finally saw the light, and thanks for speaking up.

It's worth reading the whole thing.

(h/t: House of Substance | x-posted)

Just another piece of the proof of Canada's inherent superiority

They have a strategic reserve. Of maple syrup.

Bomb them immediately, Vermont!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Hurrah for Tom Scocca

Probably my biggest pet peeve about the MSM -- their rampant, proud innumeracy -- is addressed: "Is a 12-Year-Old Smarter Than Einstein? Don't Be Stupid."

Local teevee news is fun!

(When Mr. Riley is the one watching it, I mean.)

Grownups Teabaggers in Charge!

If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday — which seems likely unless negotiations take a sudden turn toward rationality — it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to budge on these ideological demands:

• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.

• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.

• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.

• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.

Abortion. Environmental protection. Health care. Nothing to do with jobs or the economy; instead, all the hoary greatest hits of the Republican Party, only this time it has the power to wreak national havoc: furloughing 800,000 federal workers, suspending paychecks for soldiers and punishing millions of Americans who will have to wait for tax refunds, Social Security applications, small-business loans, and even most city services in Washington. The damage to a brittle economy will be substantial.

Democrats have already gone much too far in giving in to the House demands for spending cuts. The $33 billion that they have agreed to cut will pull an enormous amount of money from the economy at exactly the wrong time, and will damage dozens of vital programs.

But it turns out that all those excessive cuts they volunteered were worth far less to the Republicans than the policy riders that are the real holdup to a deal. After President Obama appeared on television late Wednesday night to urge the two sides to keep talking, negotiators say, the issue of the spending cuts barely even came up. All the talk was about the abortion demands and the other issues.

The rest.

More here.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How bad has it gotten?

When the Gray Lady puts it this bluntly in a news piece …

By its mix of deep cuts in taxes and domestic spending, and its shrinkage of the American safety net, the plan sets the conservative parameter of the debate over the nation’s budget priorities further to the right than at any time since the modern federal government began taking shape nearly eight decades ago.

… that is really saying something. Wingnut howling about Teh Librul Media notwithstanding.

All I can say is Josh Marshall is right and I hope Paul Krugman is wrong.

[Added] See also Steve Benen.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

"Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%"

A very good article by Joseph Stiglitz in VF.

Some excerpts:

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin.

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride.

In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit. Governments have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests have erupted in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The ruling families elsewhere in the region look on nervously from their air-conditioned penthouses—will they be next? They are right to worry. These are societies where a minuscule fraction of the population—less than 1 percent—controls the lion’s share of the wealth; where wealth is a main determinant of power; where entrenched corruption of one sort or another is a way of life; and where the wealthiest often stand actively in the way of policies that would improve life for people in general.

As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.

Read the whole thing.

(h/t: Ken Layne | x-posted)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Oh boy. Can't wait.

Click pic to feel the full excitement.

Coming soon.  Better ads in Gmail.

Friday, April 01, 2011

NYT Fail

The article about the latest teabagger rally in Washington, by Jennifer Steinhauer, currently near the top of the NYT's homepage, is a perfect example of how successfully the RWNM has intimidated the MSM. Not only is lots of space given to wingnut members of Congress like Pence and Bachmann without any context to illuminate how ridiculous their supposed goals are, there is no mention of the size of the "crowd."

According to FoxNews of all places, it measured in the dozens.

Also omitted from the article: any mention of the resurgent Birtherism among the Republican Party's base.