Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Foolin'

Say what you will, but 17 minutes and 4 seconds is a damn long time to stay underwater.

I'm In

Let's not forget all these recommendations for a "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate, ie. one with no moderator.

I'd totally watch that kind of thing with McCain and either Clinton or Obama.


US troop deaths push monthly toll to 7-month high in Iraq - Yahoo! News:
BAGHDAD - The killings of three U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 47, making it the deadliest month since September, the military said Wednesday.
Can we stop talking Wright now?

Bad Idea

Some sanity in the news:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gas tax holiday proposed by U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton is viewed as a bad idea by many economists and has drawn unexpected support for Clinton rival Barack Obama, who also is opposed.

"Score one for Obama," wrote Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "In light of the side effects associated with driving ... gasoline taxes should be higher than they are, not lower."

Republican McCain and Democrat Clinton, who is battling Obama for their party's nomination, both want to suspend the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax during the peak summer driving months to ease the pain of soaring gas prices. The tax is used to fund the Highway Trust Fund that builds and maintains roads and bridges.

Economists said that since refineries cannot increase their supply of gasoline in the space of a few summer months, lower prices will just boost demand and the benefits will flow to oil companies, not consumers.

"You are just going to push up the price of gas by almost the size of the tax cut," said Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington.

Obama criticized the plan as pure politics and said the only way to lower the price of gas is to use less oil.

"It would last for three months and it would save you on average half a tank of gas, $25 to $30. That's what Senator Clinton and Senator McCain are proposing to deal with the gas crisis," he said on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"This isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer, it's an idea designed to get them through an election."

This stance has prompted Clinton to accuse him of being out of touch with ordinary Americans as she campaigns ahead of key presidential nomination contests in North Carolina and Indiana on May 6.


Jonathan Chait:
Why did he let the story hang out there so long without a response? I don't know, but I do see a pattern here: Throughout the campaign, Obama has made very good tactical moves, but he's made them slowly. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has made a lot of mistakes, but she does grasp the 24-hour news cycle and she acts very quickly.

They'll Never Love You

First they criticized Obama for not denouncing Wright. Then, when he does, they call him Barack Stabber.

Fuck these people.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Brontë Crater

Fun list of new names for surface features of Mercury and of Saturn's moons, as made evident by images from MESSENGER and Cassini (respectively) and as chosen and "approved" by the International Astronomical Union.

Barbara and Tweety

John Cole drops a couple o' gems:
I have yet to read any memos from Barbara Streisand detailing how we should spy on American citizens
Get back to me when Chris Matthews feeds hungry people for three decades.

Dave Winer: "Buffet of human fool"

Well I'll be.

Dave Winer:
I liken [Rev Wright's] appearance yesterday at the National Press club to shark-infested water. Wright was joking in a way that one jokes with friends. But he wasn't with friends (though he brought some with him, they were the ones cheering him on). He was in the water with sharks and feeding them high quality chum and putting blood in the water and screaming look I can swim with the sharks, this is fun, it isn't bad, I'm the boss, the new Martin Luther King, but I own the president. I'm the power behind the man, and you're all going to be taking orders from me, starting now. The sharks said "Oh boy a full course all you can eat buffet of human fool!"

Sharply Etched Clarity

There’s a funny thing that happens to me – maybe it happens to you – when moving somewhere new, which is remembering with sharply etched clarity every single moment of the first month or so. It’s four years on and I still remember every banal detail of those days, every breakfast, every shower; whereas if you asked me to describe last week I’d maybe come up with something about getting into the car once, and I think we watched TV at some point. Doubtless there’s an evolutionary survival explanation involving brain activity being piqued in unfamiliar settings, but I wonder if there’s a way to get that sort of mental stenography in a perpetual way, short of moving somewhere new every month. Would beat the pants off of writing things down all the time.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good Faith

Karl Rove's army, including those in the media who revere him, aren't objectively evaluating each Democratic candidate to decide which one is strongest, which one is best, what they ought to do to win, etc. Their goal, instead, is to demonize and weaken whomever the nominee is going to be. There's a preexisting media narrative that will be fulfilled no matter who the nominee is; it's the same one that is applied in every national election.

Praising whomever appears to be the loser at the expense of the winner -- while issuing "advice" designed to exacerbate tensions and wedges -- is one prong in that strategy. Why would anyone take any of that seriously, as though it's some sort of serious political analysis being offered in good faith?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Foreign-Policy Schizophrenic

Fareed Zakaria, in Newsweek:
I write this with sadness because I greatly admire John McCain, a man of intelligence, honor and enormous personal and political courage. I also agree with much of what else he said in that speech in Los Angeles. But in recent years, McCain has turned into a foreign-policy schizophrenic, alternating between neoconservative posturing and realist common sense. His speech reads like it was written by two very different people, each one given an allotment of a few paragraphs on every topic.

Friday, April 25, 2008



Glenn Greenwald on the "photographic evidence" presented by the Bush Admin that Syria and North Korea are building a nuclear reactor together:
If two countries are engaged in a highly covert and nefarious program to build nuclear weapons, are their leading nuclear officials really going to pose together outdoors for a smiling, casual, tourist-like photograph?

Top of the Slide

Oh, this sounds like it's gonna be awwwwwesome:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A cargo ship contracted by the U.S Military Sealift Command has fired at least one shot toward an Iranian boat, a U.S. defense official said on Friday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I think I've said this a hundred times, as have many others. But this article in Thursday's Times is a good moment to revisit the point. As Patrick Healy explains, it is simply a fallacy to claim that winning a state's Democratic primary means you're more likely to win that state in the general election or that your opponent can't win it.

The dynamics are simply different between general elections and primaries. You have on the one hand patterns and preferences that Democratic voters show for different candidates in Democratic primaries. Then you have the separate question of whether these same voters will vote for the Democratic or the Republican nominee in the general. One is simply not predictive of the other. It could be -- if one candidate's voters simply refuse to vote for the other candidate. But who wins a primary doesn't tell you that.

And it's really not a big mystery that the argument doesn't hold up because it wasn't devised or conceived as an electoral argument. It's a political argument -- one that only really came into operation at the point at which the Clinton campaign realized that it was far enough behind that it's path to the nomination required making the argument to superdelegates that she's electable and Obama is not.
It actually doesn't matter whether the public thinks this is true right now. I'm just hoping that the superdelegates are smart enough to see through this fallacy, and think in terms of electoral efficacy - if that's the sole reason for them to exist.

Zen Thursday Continues

Feel the loop.

Child Leaps Over Car

It's Thursday. So a video of a child jumping over a car. Great job, kid!

Love the backpack, too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Law Works

Police believe they've found those responsible for the so-called "Ninja Burglaries" on Staten Island, but they're short of evidence – so they're turning to immigration authorities to throw the suspects out of the country.
Why let a little thing like not having enough "evidence" keep you from finding the guilty party?
Investigators say they don't have enough evidence to charge them, but the men have been arrested for other burglaries in the past.
What the hell country is this??!

( via icanhascheez)

Think For A Sec

Wouldn't you feel like an ignorant fool if you wrote headlines like "Which Terrorists Support Which Democratic Candidate?"

I Could See It

Yes, yes, the primary's not over, sure, but...whatcha think bout Hillary for Supreme Court justice?

Empirical, You Say?

PZ Meyers has the most awesomest irony EVAR, a quote from Bill Donahue:
Catholic League President Bill Donohue called Verhoeven's claim about Mary "laughable."

"Here we go again with idle speculation grounded in absolutely nothing," Donohue told "He has no empirical evidence to support his claim, which is why they say 'may have.'"
Verhoeven (of Basic Instinct, Robo-Cop, Showgirls, Starship Troopers, Total Recall, etc), is writing a book that apparently suggests "that the Virgin Mary may have been a rape victim" and "that Christ was not betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus, as the New Testament states."

Yeah...he lacks "empirical evidence." Yup.


Sadly, No looks on the bright side:
We could actually see American politicians pour millions of dollars into the economies of Puerto Rico and Guam before this is through, and how is that a bad thing?

Call All Sorts of Things All Sorts of Things

Dinosaur Comics is great today.

Picture 2.png


Rich Lowry, at the friggin' National Review:
If Hillary can’t win the nomination—and it’s clearly very, very hard for her—she’s basically a stalking horse for McCain. She’s preparing the demographic ground for McCain, by getting white working-class Democrats used to (if you will) not voting for Obama. And she’s softening Obama up for McCain, prodding at and exposing her fellow Democrats’ weaknesses.
Certainly, it's her "right" to keep fighting as long as she wants.

Her actions and her choices are, of course, her legacy.

He Left Some of the Waffle Behind

Dowd is inane:
Is [Obama] skittish around [Hillary Clinton] because he knows that she detests him and he’s used to charming everyone? Or does he feel guilty that he cut in line ahead of her? As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?
He "left some of the waffle and sausage behind?" Are you fucking kidding me??!

All her quips... "Is he XYZ?" and "Could it be that PDQ?" and "Nope, it's the case that 123" - These are about 98% Pure Wrong.

She should just write novels, not presume to understand the dynamics and psychology of politicians.

Presumptive Nominee and All That

Wouldja look at that. John McCain won only about 3/4 of the Republican vote. And Ron Paul captured 16% of the vote.

Two Great Tastes

New York Times:
ATLANTA (AP) -- Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said Wednesday its loss widened in the first quarter to a whopping $6.39 billion because of soaring fuel prices and the steep decline in the company's market value.

Northwest Airlines, which will combine with Delta to create the world's largest airline, reported a $4.1 billion loss in the first quarter.
Sounds like a real party! Count me in!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who's Clinging?

Sure, Bush's national disapproval level is the highest ever, at 69%, in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll, but what freaks me out even more is that 66% of Republicans still say they approve of the job he's doing.


Fast As Hell

Marvelous write up from Phil Plait about his visit to the Large Hardron Collider.

I especially liked the reminder of the scale of the thing here:
The accelerator itself is vast: it’s a ring of pipes 27 kilometers around, a circle about 17 kilometers across. The energies are fantastic as well. The protons zip around the ring 1100 times per second
Go, humans!

UPDATE: ...I wrote that last line, and then continued reading the article, and found this absolutely beautiful prose on how affecting the whole project is for Phil:
Some people have their issues with science; they think it’s a haphazard, random, and essentially directionless process done by cold-blooded, emotionless scientists. Standing in the LHC puts the lie to that thought. As you drink in the components of this fantastic apparatus, there is an almost overwhelming sense of purpose to all of it, a knowledge that this intricate and amazing machine was built, and its one goal, the only thing it really is designed to do, is further our knowledge of how the Universe works. Humans did this, humans desired to seek out this learning, humans proposed it, humans funded it, humans built it.

And humans will learn from it. That’s what we do

No More Waging War Against Sleep

I love the way Dean puts it, in discussing how he's started going to bed earlier and getting up earlier - a changed relationship with day cycles and sleep:
It’s not the beauty of sunrise, so much in favour with businessmen after that first heart attack. I’m hoping it’s enough to conclude that it’s learning, however late, to think of a day as connected in some way to what went on during the one previous, and what will on the one following, rather than treating one, as I have for years and years, as something to pad with distractions and microscopic achievements until it’s time once more to wage war with sleep.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fleeing the Republican Party

Nice brand ya got there, GOP:
Since Jan. 1, more than 178,000 people in Pennsylvania have changed their party affiliations, and 92 percent of them have gone from Republican or independent to Democrat.

Nerd Laughed At

Picture 1.png

Lord let me never be the subject of a picture and an article like this.


Thomas Frank, in an op-ed at
If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don't care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I'll fly the plane myself.


Think Progress finds a gem from ABC's This Week:
MCCAIN: I’m glad to have [Pastor Hagee's] endorsement. I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything. And thanks for asking.
In general, he's against anything you might not like about him.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Once-Mighty Chicken Suit

Giblets Rules:
Behold this once-mighty chicken suit! It defied the will of Giblets, and is now imprisoned for eternity within this cloven jpeg. Look upon it and despair! That's enough despairing, you can stop despairing now.

Promotional Exercise

Ezra Klein:
But the problem isn't only ABC. The incentives for the moderators in all of these debates have been, at best, ambiguous, and often times, perverse. Who, for instance, is the audience? Is it the great mass of people who will watch it live? Is it program directors for cable news shows who will be watching the debate for controversial clips that can be used on the next evening's newscast? Is it other journalists who want to see the candidates answer tricky questions they've not yet been asked? The answer changes the questions you asks. Journalists, for instance, are tired of debates about mandates and withdrawal plans. They want to break new ground. Lots of viewers, however, haven't heard of mandates and have no idea how Obama and Clinton's withdrawal plans differ. They want a pretty basic debate that retreads ground that's been well covered during this campaign. The cable news directors, however, aren't going to base a show around a dull policy disquisition that doesn't say anything new.


The candidates shouldn't be tricked into attending a debate meant for viewers that's really aimed at creating highlight reels for Hardball, and the viewers shouldn't have to waste time watching a debate that should answer their questions but instead seeks out flashpoints of controversy. There's nothing wrong with ABC inviting Obama and Clinton to a controversy hour. But tricking Obama, Clinton, and all of us into participating in their promotional exercise is pretty low.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Go, Target!

David Neiwert:
When the NBA Board of Governors meets tomorrow to vote -- as we know they will -- to move the Sonics out of Seattle and on to Oklahoma City, I'd like to suggest they take another vote alongside it: Drop the names of the cities where your teams currently reside from the teams' names. Adopt the system used by the Japanese: Just name them after the corporations that own them.

That way you could have teams like the Target Timberwolves and the Vulcan TrailBlazers and the Cablevision Knicks and, now, the Chesapeake Rustlers.

At least then it would be more honest. Fans then would know they are in fact rooting for the company that owns the team, not for their communities.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


"Perfect" pop songs in my own collection that clock in at 2:42, the duration being passed around the 'sphere recently as the Perfect Length.

1. "Birthday" - The Beatles

2. "Crocodiles" - Echo & The Bunnymen

3. "A Chicken with Its Head Cut Off" - Magnetic Fields

4. "Delicious Demon" - Sugarcubes

Bush Mind

Bush's way of interacting with the Pope: 'Awesome speech your Holiness'

(via Newshoggers)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elite Boss

Okay, rightwing. You gonna tell the country that Bruce Springstreen is elitist?

Computerized Pander-Matic Machine

Kevin Drum:
John McCain is calling for a "gas-tax holiday"? Seriously? Does the guy have some kind of computerized pander-matic machine that he cranks up every once in a while when he's in need of some new policy to toss out? Sheesh.

Monday, April 14, 2008

(a+b)/2 != TRUE

Phil Plait is not just an astrophysicist running a bad-ass blog. Today, he's a cartoonist, and he's providing a brilliant demonstration on why the middle is not always right.



The General takes on the terrors of nature:
I don't know why I didn't see it earlier. Wolves, bears, and cougars are at the center of a grand conspiracy to take our guns away. If we allow that to happen, all we'll have left are our Hummers and Dodge Rams. And as you point out, the polar bears are out to get them. Then the feminists will simply pick us off, one emasculated shell of a man at a time.

Superstition Charges

Associated Press:
In shreds from the jackhammers, the shirt still bore the letters "Red Sox" on the front. It was a David Ortiz jersey, No. 34.

Trost said the Yankees had discussed possible criminal charges against Castignoli with the district attorney's office.

"We will take appropriate action since fortunately we do know the name of the individual," he said

A spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Sunday he did not know whether any criminal charges might apply.

"It's typical Yankees," [shirt burier] Castignoli told the Boston Herald on Monday. "It's not like I snuck in there. It didn't do any structural damage. I didn't put anyone in harm's way."
Could I be arrested for making a voodoo doll of President Bush?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Next Lander

Oh oh oh! New Mars Lander! Touches down in only two months. Keep 'em coming, humans!

Clinton & Guns

Double No Thanks:
"You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught be how to shoot when I was a little girl," [Clinton] said.

Fear of Elitist Labels

Publius writes at Obsidian Wings:
Among liberals, there’s this ever-present fear that Obama — record-setting, charismatic Obama — is always teetering on the edge of collapse. To you, I say “chill out.” He’s a tough, resilient candidate as he’s shown again and again. But among always-nervous guilty liberals, Obama’s inartful wording portends not merely a bad press cycle or two, but electoral collapse because it fulfills the elitist stereotypes they live in mortal terror of.

"I meant exactly what I said"

Another excellent point from Michael D ("speaking for John," at Balloon Juice), along similar lines to what I was saying about Obama reclaiming the term "bitter" that some were beginning to use to point-and-yell at him:
That’s the difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If the situation were reversed, Clinton would have held a presser to say her remarks were taken out of context. Obama goes to the cameras and says, “I meant exactly what I said.”
I've no idea whether this approach will actually get him the Presidency, but damn it would be wonderful if it did.

Tough Times

Marvelous piece from D. Aristophanes at Sadly, No about the latest Obama-"gaffe" and the matching Clinton/McCain attacks about it, and I'm not going to quote it.

These are great words from an incredibly intelligent writer about where things stand in the Democratic nomination - a process, if nothing else, that has unearthed an extraordinary amount of buried dirt in our party and our country. This is without doubt a good thing, despite all the pain we thought we could save for later. Can you even remember all we had not yet discussed1 via this race in, say, November?

Read the whole thing. And it's not just Clinton criticism (though that is provided in plenty). It's a smart, thoughtful look at keeping our eyes on the prize. For example:
And in my opinion, Obama should immediately stop equating the Bill Clinton administration with the Bush cabal, anytime, under any circumstances, ever.
Fair enough (and oops about not quoting it). His primary position is that he's above these kind of things, so he should stay there. The pertinent quote from Obama:
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
Lead rather with your clear discussions and elucidations about how to recognize the failings of our country and how to repair it. This crap seems cheap, unbecoming, and...I'm afraid, we can start to describe it as Clintonesque.

And (again breaking my original promise about not quoting) I'll close with Obama's response, which is a fine example of confident clarity. I especially like how he comfortably reclaims the word that has become the shorthand for this issue, "bitter":
“No, I’m in touch,” Mr. Obama said. “I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, I know what’s going on in Indiana, I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed up, they’re angry, they’re frustrated, they’re bitter and they want to see a change in Washington. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States of America.”
I'm hoping that, somehow, incredibly, Obama will be able to pull an honest discussion out of this mess, dragging us out to a place we couldn't comfortably go yet, as he did with the race speech.

1. Yes. Despite all the bullshit that clogs our national neurons, it's fair to say that we do bumble along in some degree of national discussion. Some things are brought up, some folks react one way, some another, and we learn more about ourselves as a part of it, despite what sort of shoot-myself-in-the-head kind of consensuses "we" sometimes appear to reach.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


It's so depressing to watch the pile of words gather around Obama, clouding any kind of actual understanding we might reach in the next 7 months. Nope, it's just:

Pakistan Bombing

Am I forgetting any?


Less Hillary Clinton accusing Obama of being out of touch, and less US Government accusing Iran of running a "proxy war," please.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Perfect Example

RUMOR: Microsoft to open Apple-like retail shops.

Commence internet feeding frenzy of dumb jokes and throwaway blog content in 3... 2... 1...

I Could Refresh For Hours

Picture 1.png

Awesome name generator that combines separate first and last names from the 1900 US census.

(via kottke)


When Brad at Sadly, No writes "Crikey, I feel like the whole world has gone insane," you know we're reaching some serious despondency.

(Meaning...those guys deal with utter insanity on a daily basis, and can generally keep a pep in their step about it. When it's so blinding he can't avoid this statement, well...)

"Propaganda" Rules for Olympic Athletes

This is going to be what we call a smashup:
Athletes who display Tibetan flags at Olympic venues — including in their own rooms — could be expelled from this summer’s Games in Beijing under anti-propaganda rules.
The point of contention will apparently be the definition of "propaganda" - and that is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) issue, not a China issue.
The question of what will constitute propaganda when the Games are on in August and what will be considered opinion under IOC rules is one vexing many in the Olympic movement. The Olympic Charter bans any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in any Olympic venue or area.
It appears that the IOC is leaving some ambiguity in the interpretation of their rules so as to maintain their own flexibility in relating to their Chinese hosts.
The fact that the IOC has still not qualified the exact interpretation of “propaganda” means that some athletes remain confused about what they can say during the 16-day event without being sent home or stripped of a medal.

Unfurling Free Tibet banners or wearing Save Darfur T-shirts at Olympic venues are acts likely to be regarded as a breach of the charter, which was introduced after the American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the Black Power salute on the podium at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. But there are still many grey areas and concerns among human rights campaigners that athletes’ right to free speech will be curtailed to avoid embarrassing their Chinese hosts.
And I confess that I don't know much about the Times Online, the source of this article, and its biases.

Orange Juice Effect

Balloon Juice:
I watch Hardball daily because I am a masochist, and I just learned from Chris Matthews that Obama “doesn’t do diners good” and doesn’t make that “regular connection.” Additionally, Matthews was mortified that Obama, when offered a coffee, declined and asked for an orange juice.

Perennial Question

The Wingnut Mind
Joking aside, if Obama is the nominee by November a substantial portion of wingnuttia will assert that Obama is, actually, a terrorist. Not just a terrorist sympathizer, a supporter of terrorists, or looks like a terrorist, but is an actual capital 'T' terrorist.

And those of us in the saner zones of reality will scratch our heads and ponder that perennial question in American politics: are they stupid or are they lying?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Orange Plans

dday, at Hullabaloo:
Yes, please Mr. McCain, make Condi your running mate so I can follow her around in an orange jumpsuit on the campaign trail.

Welcom, Peta

Bad Astronomy Blog:
one petawatt is 1000 terawatts; peta is a prefix people will get to know in a year or two once terabyte drives prove too small to store very many illegally downloaded BluRay movies
The post's actually about "a laser that pound for pound is the brightest light source in the Universe," but Phil's right - "peta" is on its way to public consciousness.

Sound Web

There's something strikingly futuristic about this objectm the "Rockstar," from Belkin. Not the design (or the name), but the concept. Each port is a toggle between input and output. You gather your friends together and share sound. There's something about kids feeling comfortable with the abstraction of sensory ports...


(via iLounge)

I was going to say something about how super cool this would be over the internet, but I guess that's known, more or less, as a "conference call."


Good gracious! Look at this beautiful new image of Phobos ("enhanced color"), one of the moons of Mars. It's only 22km in diameter (our Moon is ~3500km), so it's just a little pup, but it's close, and that's still a pretty big chunk o' rock!


(via The Planetary Society)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Friends...

curv3ball lists Things I Know Cause John McCain Told Me So:
If we don’t stay in Iraq and ensure the longevity of an Iraqi government run by Shiite parties that were formed in Iran (including one that actually fought on Iran’s side in the Iran/Iraq war), then Iran’s influence will grow.  The only way to keep Iran’s influence at bay is to keep Iran’s proxies in power by sacrificing the lives of US soldiers. 


Five years of Friedman Units, of politicians insisting that Iraq wouldn't be an issue in the next election, of pundits assuring us that Bush would have to withdraw troops any day now, of anti-war voices even now completely excluding from the media, and of course the sage advice of the Wise Old Men of Washington...

Movin' On Up

Cheers to me.

This blog is #2 in Google searches for "M&M Licking Itself."

"Even Know" - Song for Monique Davis


I'm in the process of working on my 3rd EP as Ratio, but given all the discussion going on in the last couple of days about Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis and her silly anti-atheist comments in a public hearing ("It's dangerous for our kids to even know your philosophy exists"), I figured I'd share the song I wrote in which I incorporated some of her words.

I will note again that if you listen to the whole exchange, you can recognize that yes, her comments are completely inane. BUT, it is clear that her over-arching point is that she feels that Sherman's call to end the "moment of silence" in schools is distracting the government from facing the issue of guns in school, a perfectly worthy commitment. I think her words reflect a seriously dangerous religious viewpoint, but I don't think she's a malicious person.

You can download the song "Even Know" over at my Ratio site, which also includes the two 2007 EPs.

Thanks to Friendly Atheist for first the first post I saw on it last week!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

mount fuji from the shinkansen

I'd love to live in the shadow of this. Wow.

Welcome, Flickr Video!

Protest Office

Fake Steve Jobs to his employees:
Please make arrangements with your supervisor or manager and be sure to check with our Protest Office for tips on staying safe when confronting the Chinese special forces and various assorted fascist pigs who will be helping them carry out this sickening display of oppression. The Protest Office also will provide you with an Apple hotline phone number for you to call in case of arrest.


Fafblog! back to save the universe.:
9/11 taught us that we can't wait for danger to become dangerous before we pre-re-endanger it back! And by defeating the moon America would ensure not only its own security, but the destruction of al Qaeda's deadly space laser, the liberation of the moon men from the terrible tyranny of the Crater King, and the second coming of Astro-Jesus!
The final sentence of the article is awesome.

Andreessen on the Birth of Newspapers

Marc Andreessen is beginning a series on the birth of various media forms, starting with newspapers. I love this kind of discussion, reminding us that history as we live it is very different than we often imagine it to be. events we eventually call history do not feel like history at the time, AKA it always feels like we're at the front of time.
The idea of a newspaper, or a movie, or a television show, was not handed down on stone tablets from Mount Olympus and simply carried forward by people who said, "Oh yeah, great idea!"; rather, the forms of media we see today are in all cases the result of a mad and chaotic frenzy of experimentation, uncertainty, and enterpreneurial effort.
UPDATE: Still don't feel like I'm describing that feeling right.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rag Tag

Redstate continues to crack me up, now comparing the state of rightwing hopes for the 2008 election, and the current strength of the rightwing blogosphere, to the struggles of the colonists in the Revolutionary War:
Even here this weekend, several people have mentioned the money advantage on the left. We have become fixated on the money advantage. I’ve got to point out that 200 plus years ago a rag tag group of Americans using their own rifles and bullets beat the best organized, best funded army the world had ever seen to gain freedom. Online, it’s time for us to do it again.

Bright Side

Brilliant "Shorter Star Parker" from Sadly, No.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived and died so that black people could quit complaining and look on the bright side — yet once again they are weakening America’s spirit with their special-interest pleadings.
The "Shorter" technique is such a fantastic thing. You hear this kind of bullshit argument all the time, and it's incredibly helpful for me to see it encapsulated thusly.

How It's Gonna Be

Bill Kristol Has a Dream :
Last week, over drinks, one Republican strategist not affiliated with the McCain campaign mused about how an independent advertising effort against Obama might work. “Barack Obama: He’s not who you think he is” would be the theme. The supporting evidence would come from his left-wing voting record in Illinois and Washington, spiced up with fun video clips of Reverend Wright.
"Fun," huh?

That's a good warning of exactly what the one and only rightwing message will be this fall. They have little to criticize, so there will be a vast and resounding chorus of this: “Barack Obama: He’s not who you think he is”.

I believe we can weather it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Tetris and God

Religion explained via tetris.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


It's heartbreaking.

Glenn Greenwald:
Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?
Trying not to give up hope.

Friday, April 04, 2008

One With the Universe

Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage on Friday won an apology and damages from actress Kathleen Turner over claims in her autobiography that he had been arrested twice for drunk driving and had once stolen a Chihuahua.

How About a Remake of Bruce Almighty?

Elisabeth Rappe on the Short Circuit remake:
This has to stop. I'm too young to see my childhood paraded before me like this, a demented nightmare of what once thrilled and delighted me.


Have any of those jackasses going nuts over the Absolut ad considered that vodka ads in Mexico are probably not targeted at the same strata of society that are risking their lives crossing the border to get minimum wage jobs? The ones the "illegal immigrant" bashers find so threatening?

Glenn Beck: Polar Bears, "They Eat People!"

Oh, the glennbeckery!.

Thanks to Michael Stickings for the term!

Update: And I loved Duncan's comment on this glennbeck moment: "There's no way to actually parody these people anymore."


This has to be the Clinton campaign's worst error yet. It's a staggeringly blatant conflict of interest. How can he not resign?
(CNN) — Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn said Friday it was an "error in judgment" for him to meet with the Colombian ambassador to advocate for a free-trade agreement Hillary Clinton has said she opposes.

"The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it," Penn said in an issued statement. "The senator's well known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed."
I've heard arguments for months that it's the folks that Hillary surrounds herself with that are the problem, Penn especially. This couldn't be any clearer here.

I wonder if she's ripping him right now.

Logical Punitive Adventures with Redstate

So I've just added to my RSS reading, under the "nuts" category (with Townhall, RenewAmerica, Malkin, etc, etc), and this morning a post caught my eye because it began with this:
I believe we should punitively tax oil companies and take from them as much as their profit as we possibly can, diverting that profit into the general fund of the United States Treasury.

There, I said it.

I want the oil companies to have no profits -- none. Nothing for their shareholders and nothing to reinvest in their companies. Not one penny.
This is a relatively simple thing for the feds to do and I'm sure you'll agree with me once you understand why.
Hmm. Okay, I'll bite. What's the snapback?
First of all, 27% of oil stocks are held by union pension funds. If we punitively tax big oil, we will be screwing the unions. And heck, they want to be screwed in that way. Likewise, given unionization in the oil industry and the need for layoffs if we start taxing their profits, they'll be laying off union members, likewise hurting unions through a decline in dues.
Circuitous! You want to punish these large companies so as to hurt the workers. Gotcha.
Second, I believe there are few greater dangers in this country than the movement toward an Earth First mentality where oil is bad, keeping your lights on is bad, and people are bad. Few industries devote more of their profits to green technology and alternative fuel sources than, ironically, the oil companies -- all of whom recognize the need to adapt and become more earth friendly.
Take the money away from the Oil Companies, because you think they're using too much of that money to figure out how to generate energy from sources other than oil.

You are a most truly fucked up human being.
As we advance down this road to earth friendliness, we will see our taxes go up, our costs go up, and our standard of living go down -- all for the sake of putting the earth first. By and large, we will have the oil companies to blame. Due to their research on how to ween themselves from Saudi Arabia's teat, we will actually be advancing the radical environmentalists' agenda.

The only way to stop this is to tax the profits of oil companies in a punitive way, thereby providing them less money to invest in earth friendly technology. The sooner we start, the better off we'll be in the long run.

Taking money away from the oil companies sticks it to both unions and environmentalists. I have no problem with that. Let's do it.
Redstate has earned an honored place at the top of my Nuts list.

Cliff May Demonstrates

How do you start a wingnut article?

Let's let Cliff May demonstrate:
The same pundits who declared John McCain dead and Hillary Clinton inevitable are now saying Barack Obama has weathered the storm over his association with Jeremiah Wright. Color me skeptical. The reason? Tiger Woods.
And on it goes how Tiger's a tribute to his mixed-race, and obama's not, i mean "wright's not," but wait what does that have to do with obama?
Still, does it not speak volumes about his judgment that he chose to expose his daughters to such extremism?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Smoking Hurts the Troops

John Cole:
We are still unpacking the memos written by Bush’s henchman that paved the way for torture, and a member of our media has his panties in a knot because a candidate may have been less than candid to him about smoking a legal substance. Where was this fucking spidey sense the past eight years?

It Sucks

Weak Economy Sours Public’s View of Future, New Poll Finds - New York Times:
Americans are more dissatisfied with the country’s direction than at any time since the New York Times/CBS News poll began asking about the subject in the early 1990s, according to the latest poll.

International Community


One of the best photos I've ever seen, a Reuters photo as found on Spiegel, via Gruber.

Right Response

David Gregory, you dumb motherfucker.

"I'm With the Brand"

Carrie Brownstein, former Sleater-Kinneyist, and current occasional blogger at, addresses the brandification of rock stars:
Imagine putting brand stickers on your car, following brands around the country, asking for a brand's autograph, or trying to sleep with members of the brand. Frankly, it wouldn' be as fun. So, before Bright Eyes puts their name on a hybrid car or Feist comes out with a line of handbags, they should remember that their fans would likely be embarrassed to utter the words, "I'm with the brand."

"Not Enough Things Glow in the Dark"

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Important discussion at Dinosaur Comics today.

Plenty To Watch

Over at The Onion, Dr. Seuss asks the world to Stop Making Movies About My Books:
This must stop! This must end! Don't you see what you're doing?
You're defiling the work I spent ages accruing.
And when it's dried up and you've sucked out your pay
There'll be no going back to a simpler day,

When your mom would give Horton a voice extra deep,
And turn the last page as you drifted to sleep.
Instead you'll have boxed sets, shit movies, and… well,
You'll have plenty to watch while you're burning in hell.

They Come At Night...Mostly

Christopher Orr :
Would a president really be getting an urgent 3 a.m. call about home foreclosures?

HoHo News

I'm vegan, so I'm not really Hostess's target market, but I can get behind Phil's main point:
Piece of free advice to Hostess from an ex-customer: put the transfat back. That’s what makes the HoHos taste good. That’s why people buy them.

Sure, transfats are bad for you. But you know what? I’m buying a HoHo.

An Elephant Paints His Own Self Portrait


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An elephant paints his own self portrait.

(UPDATE: Title redundancy corrected via Jef)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pizza Fight

Kevin Drum, reacting to Glenn Reynolds' anger that a Pizza Hut employee was suspended for shooting an armed robber, breaking the company's policy against employees carrying guns:
I guess this is the aspect of the gun rights crowd that perplexes me the most. It's easy to understand their view of the Second Amendment (a view that I partly share), and it's easy to understand, in general, their view that citizens should be free to own guns if they want to. But this Wild West mentality is much harder to fathom. Do they really think that, for example, pizza delivery guys should routinely wear sidearms and engage in gun battles with crooks, and that employers should (apparently) have no right to prevent it?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Self-Licking M&M

Creepy-ass ad of an M&M licking itself, via AdWeek.

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Square It

The question is, how can they square the fey elitist non-bowler Obama with the fact that he's a scary black man responsible for all the nation's crime?