Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Bush/Pelosi/Reid/Obama" Plan

It wasn't obvious to me, but I guess that's what makes him John Cole:
For days, it has been obvious what the GOP dream scenario was- have the bailout pass, but with predominantly Democratic support, dub it the the Bush/Pelosi/Reid/Obama bailout, and then run against it. This is the plan that Gingrich and Ruffini and the other next generation Republicans have been salivating over. This was their big chance. Oops.
That's the clearest way of understanding this thing I've ever heard. Democrats were so close to being seen as responsible for "taking away your money" and to being tired tightly to Bush. It was a complete set-up - a beautiful, Republicans tricking Democrats kinda classic one.

Thank God it was diverted in some way.

Guess Not

In answer to my question in the previous post, I guess not.


The "Pelosi Was Mean" argument is one of the most pathetic ever advanced by the GOP. Will they continue to push it today? Will they OWN it for history to judge? Let's watch today...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kristol's Response

A post by SeƱor Kristol starts crazy but upbeat:
McCain should lead—by re-suspending his campaign (fine, let observers mock him when he announces this), and leading his party and the Congress towards a solution.
One update later, though, and he's showing his anger.
McCain can explain why his fellow Republicans defeated legislation that McCain had basically endorsed, apparently because Nancy Pelosi was mean to them. Is the McCain campaign sure he wouldn’t be better off coming back to D.C. and trying to help solve the problem?

The Old Days

Remember when the Right used to attack Obama by claiming that his supporters had only an emotional connection to the man, and that he had no actual knowledge of governance?

On They Go

These two are even more hilarious together. The fake joking dynamic is nauseating.

It's all so stunningly disingenuous.

Set Up

I saw a promo on FoxNews saying they would be debating "who won" the Presidential Debate. To discuss the topic, they will apparently have guests John Kerry and Karl Rove.

Expanding the minds of their viewers, huh?

Phone Wars

Do I Have This Right?

John McCain doesn't "phone it in," except that he did, and the bailout failed because Obama "phoned it in."

Big Problem

I saw this little promo bit on the home page of ABCNews.com, and it seemed exactly like the Onion home page bits that don't actually link anywhere (like, say, "Man Waxes Patriotic, Truck").

Picture 1.png

Thanks, George!


Steve Benen:
It's a great slogan for the election season, isn't it? "Vote Republican -- We're More Concerned With Our Feelings Than Your Future."

Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions. When push came to shove, the Democratic leadership delivered the votes on the rescue plan, while Republicans voted, 2-to-1, against it.

If they're going to rationalize their failure, they're going to have to do better than rejecting the proposal because of Pelosi's harmless speech.

Hurt Feelings

Barney Frank (D-MA):
Here’s the story. There’s a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity.

We also have — as the leader will tell you, who’s been working with them — don’t believe they had the votes, and I believe they’re covering up the embarrassment of not having the votes. But think about this. Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country. That’s hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interest of America, but not if anybody insulted them.

I’ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people’s names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.


Lawmakers quickly point fingers after bailout fails - CNN.com:
A majority of Democrats voted for the bill. A majority of Republicans voted against it. The Republican vote was more than 2-1 against the bill.
Who was responsible now?

I'm not saying I'm a fan. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if I'm a fan of this bill. But if there's fingerpointing by those who wish it had passed, this is a helpful statistic to know.

Genius To Go

I've decided to start offering the occasional "Mac Tip" here on my blog, since specific, optimized ways of using my mac in my life are something I really value. First up, Genius Playlists To Go!

A "Genius" playlist is a feature added in the recently released iTunes 8. You select a song, and hit a "Genius" button and a playlist is generated based on meta-data Apple has gathered. It's analogous to Pandora or Last.Fm, except that the songs it chooses are only those in your own library. Apple has not released exactly how the related songs are chosen, but I imagine it's a combination of basic genre/style info about songs, your own listening habits/ratings, and other users aggregate info (Apple gathers this info centrally and anonymously).

(Yes, there's also a feature where Apple will present a sidebar of related songs you could BUY in their Store, but that's not very interesting to me.)

In any case, the Genius feature exists both in iTunes and on iPods (iPhones, iPods Touches, Nanos, and the new Classics). Genius obviously works when there are more available songs. I listen mostly on my iPhone, which holds only ~600 songs instead of the 22,000 in my full library.

So, here's how I use it.

1. Make a Genius playlist in iTunes.

2. Hit Save. The Playlist will be added to the Sources list along the left (see screenshot), named as per the song you used to seed it.

Picture 2.png

3. In the "synch" panel for the iPhone (or iPod), add this new playlist to what gets synched.

Picture 3.png

Repeat with a few, and you acquire a nice little set of targeted flights through your full library. I've been including a "Shuffle" playlist for a while in my iPhone to get a window into the full library, but this is a different thing.

As joannou says,
Shuffle is shuffle. Genius is genius.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Makapansgat Pebble

I've just learned about this thing called the Makapansgat Pebble. It was believed to have been carried by a protohuman, the earliest example of such a thing (the Australopithecine remains accompanying it are in the area of two to three million years ago). The term for such an object - out of natural place, and believed to have been transported and deposited by hominids.

Here's a picture of it:


I learned about it from Dinosaur Comics. You can probably learn more at Wikipedia or Google.

In Public

Steven Benen notes a New Rule:
I see. So, just because Sarah Palin says something in public doesn't mean Palin actually believes what she's saying. And for goodness sakes, no one should think that Palin's comments are a reflection of the campaign's position on an issue.

This is getting pretty silly. First, what Palin said was actually fairly sensible, and consistent with the policy favored by both the Bush administration and the Obama campaign.

Second, how are voters to know the difference between the things Palin says that are "definitive policy statements," and the things she says that should be ignored? How is the public to know when Republican candidates mean what they're saying and when they don't?

Today's Rightwing Anti-Obama Tweet

Oh, my.

Picture 1.png

How's that now?


Awesome shot from about 5 mins before the debate.

(via Gruber)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Angry John McCain

80 second video summary of the debate by Jed Lewison called "Angry John McCain."


CIMG2347, originally uploaded by ©h@n.



I realize that I had a hope in my heart that Obama would totally level McCain last night - zingers, embarrassing him, forcing him into awkward, inconsistent positions, pointing out his failures in stark terms. When that didn't happen, my instinct was that somehow Obama hadn't performed properly.

Now I realize that Obama would have "lost" the debate if he had done that - if he had won, he would have lost. The effectiveness of a presidential debate is all about manner.

So, it appears that he's polling quite well out of something that seemed oddly bland to me.

Still. I think that having established a respectful tone upfront, he'll have more freedom to get fierce.

The Difference

Carol Gee:
To McCain Obama was the enemy to defeat; to Obama McCain was "John."

Friday, September 26, 2008


John Cole:
I really do not know what it is that Obama does, whether he has some sort of amazing kung-fu, but he just drives his opposition insane.

Tough Times


Feeling a bit deflated, Next Right?:
Do We Want To Win This Election?


The best thing that happened to the Republican party was Jimmy Carter winning in 1976 -- had Ford won, he would have had to have dealt with many of the same problems, and probably would not have fared much better.  It could be that losing in 2008 is a similarly good option.  There's some times the Presidency isn't worth having.
Whatever you say.

Huckabee Calls McCain Debate Ploy a ‘Huge Mistake’

Go, Huckabee!:
Huckabee said Thursday in Mobile that the people need to hear both candidates. He said that’s “far better than heading to Washington” to huddle with senators.

He said the candidates should level with the people about the financial crisis and say the “heart of this is greed.”

Huckabee said he still backs McCain’s candidacy, but said the Arizona senator should not have put his campaign on hold to deal with the financial crisis on Wall Street. He said a president must be prepared to “deal with the unexpected.”

“You can’t just say, ‘World stop for a moment. I’m going to cancel everything,”‘ Huckabee said.

Huckabee also was critical of President Bush’s handling of the crisis.

He said to lay the $700 billion obligation on the nation “in 24 hours” amounts to “holding the country hostage.”

“I just think the American people ought to be screaming their lungs out, saying to Congress, not so fast. That’s our money you’re giving away,” Huckabee said.
"Hostage," "Blackmail." More or less.

You're Not Helping, John

Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says McCain's not helping and should run along and play with his friends:
Senator McCain has said he had to interrupt his campaign and couldn’t do a debate because he had to come here to help us. God save us from such help. But in any case, there is no sign whatsoever that Senator McCain’s got any real role here, so he certainly ought to feel free to go back and debate.

The crisis explained

Corrente gathers a horse-racing explanation for the financial crisis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Matt Margolis looks into his crystal ball over at Blogs4Victory, mumbling about something that's not a problem for Obama, but which Matt thinks could be.
Obama’s actions in awarding the grant are allegedly not “a focus of the investigation.”

But, I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually are.

Fire Alarm

I love this, from a commenter at poorman (via Obsidian Wings):
Every semester during finals week someone pulls the fire alarm just before an exam.

Just sayin’...

Thanks, CNN

CNN has suggested a shirt to me.


John Scalzi, in a post called John McCain, Candidate for President of WTFistan:
I don’t mind that McCain is suddenly very actively concerned about the fundamentals of our economy; it’s a nice change from the previous week. But I wish that this sudden, overwhelming concern wasn’t such a transparent attempt to continue to McCain presidential strategy of attempting to win the White House without being required to articulate coherently to the public or the press why he’s presidential material. McCain has missed more Senate votes this year than any senator not recovering from a massive stroke, so an active presence in the Senate is not something he’s put much of a premium on since beginning his campaign. He isn’t rushing to Washington to help, he’s running away from everything else. He is the Sir Robin of 2008 presidential election. Soon they will have to eat the flacks. And there will be much rejoicing.


McCain clarifies the "suspension" of his campaign. He will not participate in the debate unless a deal on the bailout is reached.

This is called blackmail.

And it is absolutely mixing politics with governance.

Pakistan’s New President Meets Palin

Pakistan's recently-elected president, Asif Ali Zardari, entered the room seconds later. Palin rose to shake his hand, saying she was “honored” to meet him.

Zardari then called her "gorgeous" and said: "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you."

"You are so nice," Palin said, smiling. "Thank you."

A handler from Zardari's entourage then told the two politicians to keep shaking hands for the cameras.

"If he's insisting, I might hug," Zardari said. Palin smiled politely.
Because the President of Pakistan wants to feel VP Candidate Palin's breasts against his chest?! Good gracious.

Important Itinerary

Jon Swift suggests we Suspend the Whole Election:
But our economy is not the only problem that needs John McCain’s laser-like focus and once he personally gets us out of this economic mess, there are other pressing problems needing his attention that will require even more campaign postponements. It will take at least a few days for McCain to discover new sources of renewable energy and end our dependence on Mideast oil. And I’m sure the Obama campaign won’t begrudge Sen. McCain the time he needs to find Osama Bin Laden and win the War on Terror, which could take another week. I don’t think it will take McCain more than a day or two to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan and start bringing our troops home, but solving the immigration problem might be a little more thorny and time consuming, what with the logistics involved in rounding up all of the illegal immigrants and deporting them. No doubt McCain will want to waste a few days thinking about global warming, which I don’t even think exists, but he thinks is a big problem. And by the time McCain gets around to curing cancer it will probably be November already.

Giving a Hand

dday summarizes Bush's speech:
Basically, gimme gimme gimme or the economy gets it.


John Cole:
Conservatives sometimes remark that Sarah Palin must worry liberals since we can’t stop talking about her. Worry has nothing to do with it. You cannot look away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The old point/click game Myst celebrates its 15th birthday today.

When I first moved to NYC 13 years ago, it was to work on a Myst-ish game called Qin: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom.


I never really liked these kind of games, but it they were fun to work on and script and make music and sound effects for - and the game industry was much smaller and less rigid.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


AppleInsider, on T-Mobile announcing the first Google Android-powered phone:
The G1 lacks a traditional headphone jack and instead requires a USB adapter for headphone connectivity

Checking In With Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh:
Do you know [Obama] has not one shred of African-American blood?


He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. ... [H]e's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American."
Obama was born in Hawaii, of a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father. After his father left the family when he was age 2, his mother married an Indonesian man and the family moved to Indonesia for 4 years. Obama then returned to Hawaii and lived with his grandparents there from 5th grade through high school. He then went to college in LA, NYC, and then moved to Chicago.


CIA Factbook:
Ethnic Groups of Kenya:
Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Classics

Holy crap! The "Andre The Giant Has a Posse" guy also did the Obama Hope poster!

Pretty cool.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shaking In His Boots

I'm sure this will stop him from digging through his old notes and tossing out anything incriminating:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney must preserve a broad range of records from his time in office, a federal judge ordered Saturday, ruling in favor of a private watchdog group.

Best Face Forward

Oh, this sounds great.
WASHINGTON - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai next week in New York, campaign officials for GOP nominee John McCain confirmed Saturday.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Digby on Limbaugh's op-ed criticizing Obama for setting back racial progress, making a "framework of hate," and comparing him to "the segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s":
How do you deal with people who don't even acknowledge the concept of hypocrisy?


Indeed. Where IS Joe Lieberman?


I guess someone had to sit on the floor - not enough seats on the couch.


Not Helpful

Sarah Palin seems like a White House Press Secretary - like they took Scott McClellan at the height of his straight-faced playing-dumb gall, and said, you know, these skills of PR stonewalling would make a wonderful elected representative of the people!


The Big Picture has a photoset up called Observing Ramadan. Here, the Al-Zaim family of Duxbury, Massachusetts sits for dinner to break their Ramadan Fast.

Picture 3.png
(photo Justine Hunt, Globe Staff Photo)


Go, digby:
short sellers are apparently the new Fedayeen

A Thing of Beauty

Lots of beauty in my posts today. Here's the next one.

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Beautiful World

The Mars Rover...

On Mars...

Celebrates "Talk Like A Pirate" Day...

On Twitter...

Picture 1.png


Tim Dickinson:
When did we vote to become citizens of Bailoutistan?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Great Ocean Road

DSC_0106_2.jpg, originally uploaded by Scott Weatherson.

Found this randomly via FlickrSavr - what a beautiful place!

McCain Seems Confused

Paul Campos tries to understand what McCain was talking about in an interview he did with a Spanish radio station:
Finally at the end of the interview [McCain]'s asked what seems like a completely pro forma question about whether if he's elected he'll invite the head of the Spanish government, Zapatero, to the White House. McCain, without responding to the question, says that he's willing to meet with Latin American leaders who want to promote democracy, respect human rights etc. He then tries to change the subject by talking about what a great job President Calderon of Mexico is doing in fighting the war on drugs.

Clearly taken aback, the interviewer repeats the question, saying yes she understands, but is McCain willing to meet with "the prime minister of Spain, Zapatero." (McCain is doing an interview with Spanish national radio, so you'd think he might have done five minutes of prep work on subtle issues such as "who is this country's current leader?"). McCain merely repeats what he said before about wanting to work with Latin American leaders, but not being willing to meet with enemies of America etc.

So she asks a third time, does this include Zapatero. McCain dodges the question, saying he needs to study the issue, but that he wants to meet with Latin American leaders who support the same goals he does.

With something close to evident exasperation, the interviewer says, "Yes Senator, but now we are speaking of Europe, not Latin America" (it's clear she's getting the impression that McCain doesn't know where Spain is). But McCain repeats the same answer a fourth time! The interviewer gives up and the interview ends.

It seems, from the bits of his voice you can hear behind the translation, that McCain is tired and confused, and perhaps he simply doesn't know who Zapatero is, and is afraid of making a "gaffe," where he unwittingly agrees to meet with some crazy leftist dictator of an obscure banana republic. Or maybe "Zapatero" sounded suspiciously like "Zapatista" to him.

Could I Mention?

McCain says don't forget about him:
Mr. McCain interrupted: “Could I mention she was a point guard on a state championship basketball team?”

"Specifics with Specific Policy or Countries"

"female voter" at a "Town Hall" thingy:
"please respond to that criticism and give us specific skills that you think you have to bring to the White House to rebut that or mitigate that concern."
Palin's response:
"I think because I am a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize and they can kind of beat the candidate here who chose me as his partner to kinda tear down the ticket," Palin responded. "But as for foreign policy you know I think I am prepared and I know that on Jan. 20 if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice-president, certainly we'll be ready. I'll be ready. I have that confidence. I have that readiness and if you want specifics with specific policy or countries go ahead. You can even play stump the candidate if you want to. But we are ready to serve."
You can go ahead and "ask questions" and all that, but you should really not worry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spyros Verykios

For the last few months, I've really been enjoying the site called concept ships, which posts sci-fi spaceship artwork from a multitude of artists.

Check out this beautiful art from Spyros Verykios. I don't know much, but I do love it when art like this drops you right in the middle of a situation, and doesn't explain.


Group Decision

Yes, this seems like something we maybe shoulda talked about:
This may be an extremely naive question -- I'm sure it is -- but how is it exactly that the U.S. government can essentially nationalize a firm with $100 billion in sales and one trillion dollars in assets in a matter of hours, with no legislative action of any kind other than a phone call to Harry Reid?

I mean do they just go to a big ATM or something?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Against the Grain

Considering Palin will probably never be as popular as she was at the convention, McCain probably should have introduced her the weekend before the election. That would sure be Mavericky!

Good Catch

David Kurtz at TPM:
Who would you expect to announce that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin won't cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's probe into whether she abused the power of her office in Trooper-Gate?

Not Palin herself. Nor the spokesperson for the Governor's Office. Nor the lawyer the state is paying to represent her in her official capacity in the case.

Instead, that announcement was made today by a spokesperson for John McCain's presidential campaign.

Just keep that in mind as this case unfolds.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Woman's Candidate

Great T-Shirt from Vanessa at feministing.com.


Back To Earth

Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin:
Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.

Know Our Modern World

D. Aristophanes :
And at the very least, it won’t matter if Palin doesn’t know a lick about Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch, since neither are likely to exist for much longer anyway.

Sky Hoagies

A new set of cartoons has been posted from The New Yorker.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Disaster Relief Still Needed

Time to act, FEMA:
With no water or power, no working toilets, no food or phones, public health in Galveston became a growing concern on Sunday. More than 2,000 residents who defied the official evacuation order last week lined up to be taken off the island, and state officials tried to ensure that no one else could return.

“The storm was easy,” said Brenda Shinette, 51, who rode out the hurricane in her home but fled to a shelter on Sunday hoping to be taken away to the mainland. “It’s what came after that was terrible.”

She said the lack of working toilets had become so bad in her neighborhood that she has been avoiding eating so she would not have to use the bathroom.

“We have no showers and the food is spoiled,” she said. “I feel like I want to pass out but I can’t tell if it is from too much heat or too little food.”
Contribute to the Red Cross.

Nuke Reality

Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question. In a world where there is an objective reality, Republicans can't function and certainly can't run their electoral strategy. They need two things - ignorance and an unknowable truth.

ike 26

ike 26, originally uploaded by dmathew1.

It's been a while since I've posted an actual chelicerate on this site - but let's break that trend with these beauties from "dmathew1"...

Florida Newspaper on McCain's "Campaign of Lies"

St. Petersburg Times editorial: "Campaign of Lies Disgraces McCain":
McCain's straight talk has become a toxic mix of lies and double-speak. It is leaving a permanent stain on his reputation for integrity, and it is a short-term strategy that eventually will backfire with the very types of independent-thinking voters that were so attracted to him.


McCain's faux chivalrous outrage over Obama's purported ["lipstick on a pig"] insult is beneath him. He has been a serious public servant willing to say unpopular truths when he thought it best for the country, but he's more than willing in this election to put his name on campaign lies. The leader who says he would rather lose an election than lose a war now risks losing his reputation in an attempt to win the White House.


CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby really digs in to find the facts:
CARSON CITY, Nevada (CNN) — Sarah Palin's reputation for rarely deviating from a scripted stump speech as she travels from city to city is not entirely accurate.

She’s open to changing a few lines here and there — depending on the audience.
I imagine she also varies the person or people she's talking to - depending on the time.

Ike Photos

Want to try and understand the power in a hurricane?

Check out this incredible photoset from sacbee.com of the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Neven Mrgan

Picture 3.png

Ha. Totally.

'We are here to say enough is enough!'

'We are here to say enough is enough!' - Barack Obama

This could be a successful, succinct rallying cry for this campaign.


"Values Voter" humor:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.

Values Voter Summit organizers cut off sales of Obama Waffles boxes on Saturday, saying they had not realized the boxes displayed ''offensive material.'' The summit and the exhibit hall where the boxes were sold had been open since Thursday afternoon.


While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama's politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.

Placing Obama in Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is a follower of Islam, though he is actually a Christian.

On the back of the box, Obama is depicted in stereotypical Mexican dress, including a sombrero, above a recipe for ''Open Border Fiesta Waffles'' that says it can serve ''4 or more illegal aliens.'' The recipe includes a tip: ''While waiting for these zesty treats to invade your home, why not learn a foreign language?''
Wearing white chef's aprons, Whitlock and DeMoss were doing a brisk business at noon Saturday selling the waffle mix to people crowded around their booth. Two pyramids of waffle mix boxes stood several feet high on the booth's table.

''It's the ultimate political souvenir,'' DeMoss told a customer.

Asked if he considered the pictures of Obama on the box to be racial stereotypes, Whitlock said: ''We had some people mention that to us, but you think of Newman's Own or Emeril's -- there are tons and tons of personality-branded food products on the market. So we've taken that model and, using political satire, have highlighted his policies, his position changes.''
That last statement doesn't even make sense. Fucking muddle-headed racists.


It's the pure question.

Can the right wing take the fact that their candidate doesn't use email and doesn't have much familiarity with, um, the internet, and turn it into an attack on McCain's honor?

It's what they do.

Nonsense from BlogsForVictory asking if Obama will apologize.

That's how it works.

Try, for instance, a google search of the phrase "Will Kerry apologize?"

Hilzoy has the best coverage.

Lest They Get a Boo-Boo

Jesse Taylor, riffing on the latest bullshit rightwing meme - that McCain can't use email cuz of POW injuries - notices a larger overall impression such paper-thin defenses creates.
It’s telling that Jonah, along with the dozens of conservatives who’ve hopped on board this crazy train, are turning the Republican ticket into two innocent babes in the wood who can’t stand the slings and arrows of even the most indirect criticisms of them or their capacities.  Should you criticize Sarah Palin, you hate mothers and women and hunters and hockey and...well, I’m not a particularly big hockey fan.  Criticism of John McCain is slapping a prisoner of war in the face, telling him that his service means nothing.  The politically correct oversensitivity on display is turning McCain and Palin from the bold reformers they never were into sad little children, constantly needing protection from the scrapes and scratches of the world lest they get a boo-boo or come home crying about their hurt feelings too often. 
The battle over "weakness" and "toughness" continues.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Official Decline Period

It's getting worse, and we're getting angrier:
The GOP has become one giant St00p1d Machine. They revel in being ignorant about everything, and anyone who actually has knowledge about a given topic is treated at best as suspect. The fact that Sarah Palin has, at least for the moment, been a boon to McCain’s campaign is the dark reflection of a nation that has lost its ability to think. American popular culture has done to us in 50 years what centuries of drinking lead-poisoned water did to the Romans. If you ever wanted evidence that the United States is in its official decline period, Sarah Palin is it.

Distilled Essence of Wingnut

John Cole:
And Sarah Palin is the distilled essence of wingnut. She has it all. She is dishonest. She is a religious nut. She is incurious. She is anti-science. She is inexperienced. She abuses her authority. She hides behind executive privilege. She is a big spender. She works from the gut and places a greater value on instinct than knowledge.
Note that this criticism says nothing about her gender or her family. That is irrelevant to the reasons I don't want her having any control over the reins of my government.


Be safe, Texas!:
Hurricane Ike is closing in on Texas, and stands poised to become one of the most damaging hurricanes of all time. Despite Ike's rated Category 2 strength, the hurricane is much larger and more powerful than Category 5 Katrina or Category 5 Rita. The storm surge from Ike could rival Katrina's, inundating a 200-mile stretch of coast from Galveston to Cameron, Louisiana with waters over 15 feet high. This massive storm surge is due to the exceptional size of Ike.

Sorry to litter this post of humanitarian concern with political cynicism, but Dave at Hominid Views notes how Bush seems a bit more absent in the face of this hurricane.

Goldfarb's A Fool

Contrast my previous post, about the good faith (almost) apology from John Podhoretz about Obama's "precognitive" correct view (in as much as it is apparently now been revealed to be supported by Bush since July), with this utter schlock from the Michael Goldfarb at the McCain blog.
In fact, Senator McCain has always been clear that he would strike at terrorists wherever they were to be found--even if he would not go around making counterproductive statements, as Senator Obama did, merely to appear tough on the issue. But then no one seriously questions whether John McCain is tough enough to serve as commander in chief.

All options are always on the table, but that does not mean they need to be enumerated in the form of overheated bluster. That Senator Obama would openly talk of bombing an ally speaks to his own insecurity and inexperience. That Governor Palin would repeat, as every sensible politician will, that all options remain on the table, puts her in line with Senator McCain--no matter how desperate the press may be to find such a gap.
Goldfarb decides that even through Obama stated a position that everyone mocked and which has now been revealed to be Bush's own viewpoint, that Obama didn't really mean it, but just wanted to "appear tough."

And then he gets even odder, stating that even if he did mean it, that it's irresponsible for him to have said it? Somehow Obama's words are "overheated bluster," but Palin's "all options on the table" is not.

But the best part of it all is the 5th Grade talk that:
But then no one seriously questions whether John McCain is tough enough to serve as commander in chief.

Podhoretz Surprise

I was trying to find the quotes to support what Obama said last year about "taking out" al Qaeda "leadership" in Pakistan without Musharraf's approval, and how the Right FREAKED OUT over it, and how it was uncovered the other day that Bush authorized "ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government."

Who knew it would be John Podhoretz (?!?!!), in a remarkable piece called "An Apology to Obama?", who found them for me!

He can't quite bring himself to apologize for his own ridicule at the time (note the question mark in the title of the article), and ends it by saying that on this issue, Obama "was, apparently, precognitive, and may be due an apology."

I don't know when he'll decide if Obama's actually "due an apology," but it's still a pretty surreal post.


Hugh Hewitt:
Sarah Palin keeps collecting admirers. Her interview with ABC News Charles Gibson has added another legion, and that number is growing as the recognition spreads that the editing done to the interview was deeply deceptive of its overall impression --even stronger than what came through on the broadcast version--and that Gibson unfairly mangled a quote of hers. Media elites are clucking that Palin didn't instantly define the "Bush Doctrine" to the level of detail demanded by (their) judges, but another vast audience watched another attempt to diminish her and has responded with an even greater enthusiasm for the Alaska governor.
This is a prime example of the feeling I have listening to right wing nuts: does he actually believe this nonsense? Or is he hoping that by sounding like he believes it, others will be convinced that it is a coherent and truthful viewpoint - and that it will then become true? And is that goal important for him...why?

For someone as high up in the wingnutosphere, is the fundamental motivation still Atrios's Law?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anything At All?

Brad at Sadly, No:
Is there anything Sarah Palin can say or do that will make people realize that she is too crazy to be vice president?


How the NY Post honors today's date:

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Making Use

Here's a screenshot of how I use YouTube:

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Ebert on Palin

Roger Ebert is shrill:
You don't need to be a pointy-headed elitist to travel abroad. You need curiosity and a hunger to see the world. What kind of a person (who has the money) arrives at the age of 44 and has only been out of the country once, on an official tour to Iraq? Sarah Palin's travel record is that of a provincial, not someone who is equipped to deal with global issues.

But some people like that. She's never traveled to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or Down Under? That makes her like them. She didn't go to Harvard? Good for her! There a lot of hockey moms who haven't seen London, but most of them would probably love to, if they had the dough. And they'd be proud if one of their kids won a scholarship to Harvard.

I trust the American people will see through Palin, and save the Republic in November. The most damning indictment against her is that she considered herself a good choice to be a heartbeat away. That shows bad judgment.

Learning to Fact Check

On September 8th, FactCheck.org debunked a number of falsehoods in the interwebs about Palin.

McCain tried to point to FactCheck as having said Obama was responsible for these statements.

FactCheck is saying "McCain Distorts Our Finding":
With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said "completely false" attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.
Fact-checking. Ur doin' it wrong.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True Passivity

A fine one today:


Reasons For Action

It didn't take long to find another example of Atrios's Law.

The ever-goofy BLOGS FOR JOHN McCAIN:
If you needed another reason to vote for McCain / Palin, actor and Hollywood elitist Matt Damon gives it to you in comments he made about Gov. Sarah Palin. Damon, it turns out, is "terrified" by Palin, as I'm sure many other Hollywood types are.
Choose your president based on what your fantasy enemy hates.

I'm sure the poor are grateful, you fucking slime.

Obama's Running Mate's Son

Steve Benen is on False-Equivalency Watch:
Got that? McCain has surrounded himself with high-paid corporate lobbyists, who run most of his campaign operation. Obama's running mate's son is a lobbyist, who doesn't work for the campaign in any capacity. Therefore, Obama's case against McCain "could be undermined."

I have no idea what CNN is talking about.


Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground:
Ike has a good chance of becoming the most destructive hurricane in Texas history--though not the most powerful.
Could the GOP please get off the fainting couch and help Texas plan for Ike?!

Changing The Subject?

Why yes, I'd love to talk about this for the next month and a half:
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Reuters) - Lawyers for U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho asked a Minnesota Court on Wednesday to void the guilty plea he made following his arrest last year in a men's toilet sex-sting operation.

Atrios's Law

Tristero names Atrios's Law, as defined by an earlier post by the latter:
Even Republicans all know it's full of shit, but they don't care. It pisses off liberals! And that's really all they care about.


The entirety of the current McCain Campaign's rhetoric, as summed up by Michael Goldfarb, his official blogger:
It's never Senator Obama's fault.
Seven-year-old sarcasm whenever they're confronted with their nonsense.


Obama defends the constitution against Palin's line about reading "terrorists" their rights:
"We don't always catch the right person," he said. "We may think it's Mohammed the terrorist, but it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it's Barack the bomb-thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president."


Next in the occasional series of How Awesome is Dinosaur Comics??!

First two panels...

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Read the rest.

The Media Investigates Something

My heart is bursting. An actual, real live investigation into Palin's views and actions.


Paterson on McCain's "Community Organizer" Attacks

Speaking at a Crain's breakfast Tuesday in Midtown Manhattan, Paterson was asked if he thinks racism will harm Barack Obama's chances of becoming president.

"I think that there are overtones of potential racial coding in the campaign. I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama 'black' in a sense that it would be a negative,” said Paterson. “But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican [National] Convention - a 'community organizer.' They kept saying it, they kept laughing, like what does this mean?"

"It means that an individual who could have gone to Wall Street and made a lot of money and then run for office because he could buy media time chose to go back and work in programs in a neighborhood where he thought he could make a difference and became an elected official based on his involvement right in his own community," said Paterson.

McCain's spokesman said in a statement, "It is disappointing that Governor Paterson would launch accusations of racism.... Governor Palin's remarks about Barack Obama's work as a community organizer was in response to the Obama campaign's belittling of her executive experience.... These comments by Governor Paterson are a sure sign of a flailing campaign that is bordering on desperation."

Who You Callin' Science Fiction??

Others, worried about speculation that a black hole could emerge from the proton collisions, have called it a doomsday machine, to the dismay of CERN physicists who can point to a variety of studies and reports that say that this fear is science fiction.
I'd call the use of the phrase "science fiction" there bad writing. The inane talk of this thing making a black hole to swallow the earth is called ignorance.

Science fiction is generally created by people who actually understand a thing or two about science and can therefore envision the directions it might go or the ramifications it may lead to.

As one physicist told Cory at Boing Boing:
Look, it's a 1019 chance [of creating a black hole swallowing the earth], and you've got a 1011 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving.
Science. It's a statistical thing. Chances may be that you wouldn't understand.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Yay, Fafblog!:
As a moose-hunting Jesus-fearing hockey-mom mother of five who hunts moose, Sarah Palin isn't some petty Washington bureaucrat. She's a petty Alaskan bureaucrat, and she's gonna shake things up in Washington! For her first reform she will pose for photographs with a gun and a stuffed moose head! For her second reform she will say something bold and brassy. For her third reform she will give birth at a live press conference to six eagle scouts, three peregrine falcons and an American mastodon, rear them in the Christian faith and release them into the wild before hunting them down, shooting them and mounting their heads in the Roosevelt Room!


John Cole:
And it is crazy. The folks who spent a year telling us Barack is not ready to be President are now extolling the virtues of being on the PTA. The folks who mocked Obama’s “celebrity” for six months are now buying Palin dolls because of one speech she read at a convention. The whole thing is just nuts.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


I love this photocaption summary by Shaun Mullen @ themoderatevoice.com:

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I don't it's a winning strategy for democrats to focus on salacious and gossipy details, but I still think Levi's attendance at the convention was one of the stranger of many strange details.

Can They Kill It?

Key Alaska allies of John McCain are trying to derail a politically charged investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner in order to prevent a so-called "October surprise" that would produce embarrassing information about the vice presidential candidate on the eve of the election.

In a move endorsed by the McCain campaign Friday, John Coghill, the GOP chairman of the state House Rules Committee, wrote a letter seeking a meeting of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called "troopergate" investigation.
As J says, "isn't that what Troopergate is about in the first place?"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Simple As That

It's long been the case that what really gets the Republican base excited is anything that pisses off liberals. There are genuine policy differences, of course, but to get an audience of Republicans on their feet and cheering you need to mention something, no matter how pointless, which pisses of liberals. It's the glue that keeps them together.


Fester from Newshoggers describes the McCain speech:
[R]andom words were thrown about, interspersed with commas.

By Himself

Jesse Taylor:
I think the most telling point of last night was when John McCain said that he’s “been called a maverick”.  Yes, he has.  By himself.  The branding that he gave himself in 1999 and 2000 as a political calculation in a bitterly fought Republican primary has now become a tenet of faith bequeathed to him by some mysterious third party. 

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Elitism All Around

Well, well, well....

This is the kind of leading question you usually see in a headline about the Democrats. They use a different one on the actual story page, but still, the below is on the home page currently.

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More "Republican Celebrity" Silliness

Another "Republicans Have Celebrities, Too" story, oddly titled Republican celebrities get the party going at the convention.

This one, however, actually lists some celebrities that are a) at the convention, and b) in support of the party having the convention. Those celebrities are:
  • Jon Voigt
  • Ben Stein
  • Fred Thompson
  • Robert Duvall (voiceover - technically not "present")
Consider the party having been gotten going.

Also listed in this article were the following:
  • Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik "performed at a downtown nightclub"
  • Singers Aimee Allen and Sara Evans performed at Ron Paul's event

I love this bit about Boone:
"I'm here to dethrone the man who would be king," Boone said of Obama. (The crowd cheered.)

He said he saw no problem with McCain's age. "I'm two years older than he is," Boone said.

Boone also saw no problem with the McCain campaign's controversial television commercial comparing Obama's celebrity to that of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

"Where's the beef?" Boone mused. "They have identical records of accomplishment in the Senate." (More laughter from the Virginians.)
Right. "Where's the beef?" - Connecting with the young people, are you, Pat?

Finally, what's this shit?
Boone, who has been a celebrity for longer than most Obama supporters have been alive, says he just isn't impressed with the Democratic candidate or his party.
Um, thanks for that editorial flourish in your journalism, Tina Daunt. Are you contrasting this with "most" McCain supporters, who have been alive longer than Pat Boone has been a celebrity? Boone was famous by the mid-50s. That was, let's say, at least 50 years ago. The median age in the US is 36.7 years. Pat Boone has been a celebrity for longer than most people in the country, politics aside, have been alive.
And he has no problem expressing his views to his neighbors in Beverly Hills. "It's all about image," he said. "Obama's like an actor who portrays a role. . . . He's been doing that masterfully. I don't understand why people in the entertainment business don't see that."
In a week where the highest good is Ronald Reagan, is this really the criticism you're making?

Amputate My Legs

Thoughtful piece in the LA Times from Steinem:
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin Power

Pam Spaulding, writing at pandagon.net, pulled this actual image from CNN.


It's What They Do

With last night's cheerfully vicious speeches from Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, the Republicans did what they always do in order to win elections: they exploited raw cultural divides while mocking, belittling and demonizing Democratic leaders. Yet again, they delivered brutally effective and deeply personal blows to the Democratic presidential candidate grounded in the same manipulative and deceitful yet very potent themes they've been using for the last three decades.

Pundit Insurance

Smart guy, that Ta-Nehisi Coates:
But let me take a swing--this is nothing more than pundit insurance. Frankly, it's easy to talk up the virtues of the underdog. If they get stomped, you lose nothing because the favorite was supposed to win anyway. If they hold their own, but still lose, you're redeemed. If they win you get to do the "I told you so" dance. This is the real source of these "Everything is good for McCain" stories. It's just pundits watching thier ass.

Best Response to Rudy Speech

Best comment about Guliani's speech yet:

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Joe Sudbay:
Good morning.

Well, that was some night, huh.

Is Rudy insane? His speech was nasty, vicious, somewhat incoherent and just weird. I'm sure we'll have more on Rudy later today. But, he morphed into Pat Buchanan last night. That was the 2008 version of the angry, hate-filled speech Buchanan gave in 1992.

And, Palin has been taught well by her GOP handlers. Lying is fine. Attacking is the norm. Don't worry about substance. I don't know how anyone outside of that auditorium could think she's truly capable of being second in command. But, that's what John McCain thinks.

This convention has such a creepy, disturbing feel to it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just feels creepy. I really don't like having this group of people in my life - even if it's just on tv and in the news for now. Actually, it feels like Pat Buchanan's crew has taken over the whole GOP. The right wing theocrats rule -- and they're not very tolerant.
That covers it pretty well.

I tried to sum up the crowd three times at twitter during the night:

1. "Mega church"

2. "like the bad guys who own the country club in an 80s movie"

3. "goddamn horror movie!"

GOP Strategy

Echidne calls it the Party of Hate.


Does the NFL opening night also coincide with the Republican Presidential Candidate's acceptance speech? Often?

Seems like bad timing for "them."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Two Options

Brad on the great Peggy Noonan "mic still on":
There are only two possible explanations for this. Either Peggy had consumed too many Grey Goose martinis before going on the air causing her to say shit she doesn’t mean or Peggy says stuff in her column to forward the Republican agenda without regard to whether she believes those things or not.

iTunes 8?

Kevin Rose:
With iTunes 8, browse your artists and albums visually with the new Grid view

Can I get a "browse ipod playlists by album" feature with that, too?


George Bush, speaking to the Republican Convention:
“If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain’s resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure the angry Left never will.

The analogy between American liberals and Vietnamese Communists is extremely offensive. As is the analogy between criticizing McCain’s policy ideas and subjecting him to physical torture and imprisonment. As is the imputation of bad faith — that right and left can’t just disagree about what’s best for the country, but rather in Bush’s view the left is self-consciously pushing a bad-for-America agenda. And last, of course, it’s not the “angry left” that’s brought institutionalized torture and indefinite detention to the United States of America
Obama's convention speech:
But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

"McCain-Palin Family"

Michael Cooper, at the NYTimes.com:
All told, the assembled McCain-Palin family were 16 strong, ranging in age from 4 and a half months (Trig Palin) to 72 years old (Mr. McCain). The two clans stood together for a family portrait before getting into the motorcade and leaving for the convention.
"McCain-Palin family?" It was the Palins, the guy who got the daughter pregnant, and John McCain.

What weird coverage.


Tristero on Lieberman's lies in his speech last night:
Once again, we face the problem:

How do you counter bald-faced lying when the press feels it has more of an obligation to repeat the lie than investigate and debunk the lie?

The Sarah Palin Church Video Part One

This is horrifying. Sarah Palin, as governor, preaching to a church in Wasilla.

"Pray for that pipeline," etc, etc.



I love this photo of the Republican National Convention from The Jed Report.


After the GOP has spent the last week framing Palin as being a victim of sexism (trying to whitewash all the other real concerns we have), the NY Post then goes ahead and prints this on the front page of today's magazine:
GOP Defends Damsel in Distress Palin
And then the headline of the actual article is:
So, how's that convincing Clinton supporters to vote for Palin going?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Two (?) Great Tastes

I feel we've crossed some line.

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Warm Reception

As the swell of mockery and disbelief grows about McCain's choice of who should be 2nd in line for the presidency, I thought I'd visit my wingnut blogs to see how they're weathering the reaction.

First up, Dick Morris at Townhall.com begins this way:
Republicans shouldn’t mourn the loss of the first night (at least) of their convention. Sarah Palin’s warm reception by the American people and the relative success of preparations to contain the damage of Hurricane Gustav seem to have given the GOP far more bounce than it would’ve gotten from a “conventional” first night in St. Paul.
Warm wha?

Palin is a godsend to McCain. She injects charisma and novelty into what would otherwise have been a deadly dull ticket. She has a compelling record of battling corruption in Alaska - uncovering misconduct by fellow Republicans and beating a GOP pork-king governor in a primary.

And his choice of her suggests that the old John McCain - the bold, fighting Senate maverick - is back. (News that Palin’s daughter is pregnant should make no difference. The governor had disclosed the fact to McCain - and he, like the tolerant and wise person he is, accepted it.)
This is fucking nuts. The disingenuous arguments on display this week are an absolute disgrace.

As Richard Cohen said this morning, in a true diamond of an article:
Probably the most depressing thing about Palin is not her selection but the defense of it. It has produced a parade of GOP spokesmen intent on spiking the needle on a polygraph. Looking right into the camera, they offer statement after statement that they hope the voters will swallow but that history will forget. The sum effect on the diligent news consumer is a feeling of consummate contempt for the intelligence of the American people -- a contempt that will be justified should Palin be the factor that makes McCain a winner in November.

Good Enough

Apparently, during her run for Governor of Alaska in 2006, Palin agreed to respond to a Religious Right group's "questionnaire." The Group is called Eagle Forum, and I don't know anything about it really, but Steven Benen culls his favorite answer:
And then there's my personal favorite. Palin was asked, "Are you offended by the phrase 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance?" She responded:

"Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its [sic] good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."

Note to Palin: the founding fathers didn't recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It was written in 1892, and didn't include the phrase "Under God" until 1954.

Make Fools

Even Richard Cohen is appalled:
John McCain's selection of Palin, which I first viewed with horror, could now be seen in a different light. Based on various television interviews over the Labor Day weekend -- and a careful reading of the transcripts -- it is possible that this is McCain's attempt to make fools of his fellow Republicans. He has succeeded beyond all expectations.
My hat is off to this surprisingly sharp and skeptical bit of writing. Witness:
One of the more heroic efforts at Palin worship came from the commentator-columnist William Kristol, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle. He had to use the code word "traditional" three times in a single sentence to make his point: "It's a pretty amazing story of personal success, being at once a traditional woman who broke all of these traditional barriers, kind of the best of both worlds, if you believe in traditional values."

Monday, September 01, 2008


Go bless The Onion:
Each Sept. 11 morning since 2001, Cheney has come to work donning a fireman costume and handed out small, thoughtful gifts to all White House staffers. In addition, at his home on 9/11 Eve, Cheney lays out large piles of presents for his children and grandchildren underneath the colorfully lit, six-foot-tall 9/11 towers that he sets up by the fireplace.

This Shit Is Dumb

A remarkably unfunnny piece of satire from the New York Times.

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