Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Keep Accidentally Hitting Ticking Time Bombs With These Dead Cats That I Am Swinging!

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was water- , uh, treated 183 times and Abu Zubayduh got it 83 times, says Fox News' Joseph Abrams:
A U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program told FOX News that the much-cited figure represents the number of times water was poured onto Mohammed's face -- not the number of times the CIA applied the simulated-drowning technique on the terror suspect. According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected a total of "five sessions of ill-treatment."

"The water was poured 183 times -- there were 183 pours," the official explained, adding that "each pour was a matter of seconds."
Good thing he's eager to keep accurate torture stats, and to check them with "a U.S. official." Abrams cites the Red Cross as estimating Mohammed's actual waterboarding sessions at like 5 times, and he cites the fully insane Zubayduh as saying he'd had 10 sessions.

Regarding Zubayduh, former Bush Office of Legal Counsel official and current U.S. Court of Appeals judge Jay Bybee started seeing time bombs.
Zubaydah has become accustomed to a certain level of treatment and displays no signs of willingness to disclose further information. Moreover, your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of ‘chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks.
That's at least 10 time-bombs for that guy! In only one month! These guys are like Spy vs. Spy -- but only the one in black, of course.

So Zubayduh got about 8 pours per session, where Mohammed got like 37? Okay, nothing to see here. Right, just move along and make sure you don't step in the OLC memo -- whoops! --
During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water application. See id. at 42. Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period.
Hmm! If I were inclined to think that torurers don't necessarily hew to the code, I might suspect they'd gone over that 5-days-a-month limit. I mean, 183 water-pourings would seem to take 31 sessions.

Ah, never mind. I've got to call a scrap metal guy to haul off all these surplus time bombs.

Fighting to Keep

Tweet from Gen JC Christian.

Picture 3.png

Peter Popken

concept ships has a post of work by Peter Popken.

I've been reading a lot of Alistair Reynolds of late, and this style seems a perfect match for him.



Awesome photo found at a yard-sale from Sorry I Missed Your Party.


Sign o' the Times

Spencer and Heidi.


From here, via Pat Kiernan.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's the Big Hollywood Take on Swine Flu?

God these people are insufferable:
Now, in the midst of the current Economic Crisis…which is happening in the midst of the current Climate Change Crisis (hey, what happened to ‘Global Warming’?  Did focus poll results teach them that people had developed Global Warming fatigue?  Weenies.) …we have the Swine Flu Crisis.  An impending pandemic in our midst.  We must act/spend and we must act/spend now!  Before it’s too late! (And you wake up and realize they’ve act/spent all your money.)

On a side note, I think it’s fairly remarkable that it took a bunch of sick pigs for anyone to seriously consider actually sealing our southern borders. 

I’m just sayin’…

Another point of curiosity to me:  I’m wondering how, in the religious culture that reviles anything to do with pork, this swine flu will impact the Muslim community, both here and abroad.  Will a new fatwa be issued?  Will Farmer John and Oscar Mayer be slated for jihad?   (And while I’m toying with the ridiculous… Anyone know if the movie, “BABE” was banned in the Middle East?)

Just sayin’…
Just a wandering mash of ignorance.


FOX News just showed a picture of Ahmadinejad alongside a picture of Obama, following it by another picture of Ahmadinejad standing in front of a blackboard with Farsi words for "We Can." The wink-wink inference is that there is a similarity here.

Can't Help Themselves

Neil Cavuto

Cavuto is having Senator DeMint on, who's saying that Specter's switch is the "best thing" that could happen to the GOP. Cavuto says "isn't this like Custard Custer and the Indians...but Custard Custer is just you and a few of your friends?" Nice metaphor, Neil. All around good stuff.

Sen. DeMint

DeMint also said that the US is now to the left of Europe. What a student of history you are, sir.

Update: Removed references to "Custard."

Adam Serwer on Byron York

Adam Serwer:
This is another example of a really bizarre genre of conservative writing, which I call "If Only Those People Weren't Here."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Proper Imagery

When major events like Spectermas occur, I advise that everyone go visit The Poor Man Institute for the proper imagery to mark the occasion.


Democrats will understandably celebrate today’s announcement, but beyond the questions of raw political power, it is mystifying why they would want to build their majority by embracing politicians who reject most of their ostensible views.

Conservative Rump

Even Ramesh Ponnuru knows and admits that this is pretty rough.
Specter's flip will help Obama set the tone he wants for his 100-day coverage: The Democrats are growing by appealing to formerly Republican moderates while the GOP is being reduced to a conservative rump. The timing of the announcement could hardly have been better for the White House.

Frustrated, Karl?

Rove calls NY Times owner Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr "effete."

What are you, 10?


If I had to pick favorite animals besides chelicerates, I'd probably pick manta rays (if I didn't pick crabs).


From a new set at BibliOdyssey, where you can find all details about these engravings published between 1790 and 1830.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hugh's Trying

How desperate is Hugh Hewiit to find something that gets traction for him in inciting the country to hate Obama more? So desperate that he'll write an article about swine flu and title it:

Picture 2.png

As I've said before, if a headline has a question mark in it, the correct answer is almost always No.

Koreena (luvgrl448)

I think they'll kill this account soon, but I got a big kick out of this spam Twitter account (which just started "following" me), Koreena (luvgrl448). A whole fake backstory is include of "Koreena," who "loves partying, clubbing, dancing," and who just got an iphone and is looking for a free ringtone site. And then she finds one!

So, in case they kill it, here's a screenshot of the site. What a piece of literature.

Update: And it's gone. That's why God made screenshots.

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Cool Bruce

Wouldja look at that - the new editor over at CoolTools is Bruce Sterling.

Mercy of the Public

Josh Marshall:
As I've argued before, I think the answer to the ticking time bomb rationale for torture is this: that in the extremely unlikely circumstance that government officials ever found themselves in that position of having a ticking time bomb ticking away, they might have to make the decision to break the law. Not fudge it or keep their actions hidden, but take the decision on their own responsibility that it was the best thing to do in the situation -- despite it being wrong as a general matter -- and then bring their decision to attention of the people and law enforcement authorities and throw themselves on the mercy of the public. [...]

In any case, if your patriotism is such that in an extreme situation you'd risk your own liberty to defend the lives of Americans, that's courage. But nothing else really cuts it.

"Incomplete" - Really?

Above: I've got an idea

Most idiotic comment yet about the "100 Days" crap comes from one Julian E. Zelizer writing for CNN.
As we reach the end of the first 100 days this week, Obama remains much of a mystery. If we are talking grades, the best we can give him at this point is an 'incomplete.'
Seriously? This is your commentary?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bias Crimes

The Right is spinning lots of confusion about the Hate Crime bill working its way through congress, pretending the bill would mean that true protection of the law will only be offered to special minority groups.

Dave Neiwert explains:
Bias-crime laws aren't about "special categories" of victims; in fact, the victim's actual ethnic or sexual status is of secondary importance -- what matters is the motivation of the perpetrator. This is why a gay-bashing assault against a person mistaken for being gay is still a bias crime.


But can someone explain to me how these wingnut freaks can live with the dissonance in their heads when they say in one breath that the Bush administration was absolutely right to employ torture, secret prisons and indefinite detention and in the next breath scream like banshees that Obama is the second coming of Hitler and Stalin, the two most infamous purveyors of torture, secret prisons and indefinite detention of the 20th century?


Educate yourself at the CDC's Swine Flu information page. One example:
How do you catch swine flu?
Spread of swine flu can occur in two ways:

Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human spread of swine flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Swine Flu News Feed

Via The Skeptical Hypchondriac, here's a really aggregate page of the latest news, blog posts, tweets, photos, diggs, etc about Swine Flu. It's from something called Addictomatic, which, despite its terrible name, seems a great service.

Infared Facial Scanners

Some William-Gibson/Philip-K-Dick shit right here:
Ever since the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, Hong Kong has used infrared scanners to measure the facial temperature of all arrivals at its airport and border crossings with mainland China. Visitors are required to remove any hats to ensure accurate measurement, and children are checked with ear thermometers because the scanners are less reliable in measuring their faces.

Shorter John King

Second 100 days will be bigger test for Obama
Obama's been ambitious, effective and popular so far, but what if he's not later?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Worse For the Rest Of Us

No one likes credit card companies. They're about as hated an institution as anyone or anything in the public eye.

So when Obama announced he was publicly going after the shady business practices of credit card companies, I wondered how FOX News was going to stand in opposition to the President.

Well, I just saw the meme forming: the suggestion that by cracking down on certain techniques, Obama will force the companies to respond by raising other rates. And those other rates will affect "responsible" consumers - not the deadbeats that Obama is protecting.

I'll watch to what degree this concept gets fleshed out, or whether FAUX decides to simply drop finding a way to attack Obama on this point, and just move on to the next one.

This falls under a general strategy to defend large companies by saying that if you fight them you'll just be mean to all of us.


How many times do we have to say it? It's not "terrorists" being waterboarded or thrown against walls or shocked or whatever. It's "accused terrorists." It is a person that an anonymous force has accused of a crime, without recourse. Some are guilty, some are not. That is an essential distinction, forgotten over and over and over.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Why should Texans discussing secession feel anything by crushing, humiliating shame?

Imagine if New York discussed it? Massachusetts?

Patriots my ass.

Update: Oddly, here's MSNBC's Mark Murray noting the exact same thing, with the exact same example states:
Imagine the outcries of patriotism (or lack thereof) if Massachusetts or New York hinted at secession during the Bush years.

Daily "Lying or Stupid"


Michael Goldfarb, famous McCain campaign smirker, wonders how people can want government moral judgement when it comes to torture, but wants the same to step aside when it comes to gay marriage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 2009

As always, Atrios captures the moment:
The United States doesn't torture, but anyone who opposes torture is un-American.

Preaching to the Slack-Jawed Choir

I hope everyone got to hear Texas Gov. Rick Perry threaten secession the other day.
Perry called his supporters patriots. Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
What a thinker, huh? The oppressive jackboot of government must be stopped from kicking stimulus money into the state to augment dwindling consumer spending!
An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall -- one of three tea parties he was attending across the state -- that officials in Washington have abandoned the country's founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.
Preventing further economic deterioration--and thereby working to increase future tax receipts and lower the debt--is the enemy of liberty!

And sometimes the less well-traveled liberals are all eager to oblige:
As far as I'm concerned
Don't let the door hit ya, where the Good Lord split ya.
Might not be a bad idea.
Give the wingnuts their own country. Let Texas secede, but only if they take Oklahoma with them.
Sometimes I wish it was.
Mexico can have it back for all I care. Just give the non-torture Americans resettlement offers. /snark
OK, these are from the comments, and to his credit, Kos mentions that Austinites might not be so crazy. Still, he's being provincial--who's Perry even talking to? With a state five times the geographical size of New York state and 3.5 million more people--not to mention 100 times the awesome--maybe, just maybe, it's a good idea to see who's likely to be receptive to GW Bush's old second-in-command.

Those blue areas just happen to correspond with Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, and Port Arthur/Beaumont. Along the Mexican border, you see the Democratic leanings of the state's more Latino populations. It'd be a shame to throw all that away because whiter folks in smaller towns can't figure out Keynesian economics.

And besides, people are lame here in Southern California. I ain't staying.

Free Minds and Free Markets

During the go-go '90s, I often used to hear newsfolks say things like, "In this country, we have a free press" operating in a free market. It was very free. I don't have a specific instance in mind, but I think it came up a lot when they were talking about the newsworthiness of Clintonian blowjobs or the need to allow TV-station owners to also buy newspapers and radio in the same market.

With the triumph over communism still fresh in everyone's minds, it certainly would have been silly to suggest that shareholders and other owners might share certain right-leaning politics with the rest of their economic class.

For an update on this representative slice of Americans, we join a General Electric shareholders meeting already in progress (Via Yglesias):
Just before GE re-elected board members, company brass were hit with questions from shareholders critical of an alleged leftward political slant at MSNBC. [...]

Attendees who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter said shareholders asked about 10 politically charged questions concerning MSNBC as well as one about CNBC.

First up was a woman asking about a reported meeting in which CEO Jeff Immelt and NBC Uni CEO Jeff Zucker supposedly told top CNBC executives and talent to be less critical of President Obama and his policies.

Immelt acknowledged a meeting took place but said no one at CNBC was told what to say or not to say about politics. [...]

"The crowd was very upset with MSNBC because of its leftward tilt," one attendee said. "Some former employees said they were embarrassed by it." [...]

Immelt told the assembled he takes a hands-off approach to what is reported on the company's news networks, which prompted a shareholder to criticize him for not managing NBC Uni more effectively.
I've cut out the antics of a Fox News producer who showed up to ask some questions about liberals. He may have riled up the crowd, but the bolded passage above suggests that they didn't need much help.

So maybe shareholders were responding to the needs of the free market, right? After all, it's quite free. Maybe not.
Top-rated Fox News drew an average of 2.4 million viewers in prime time between Jan. 26 and Feb. 22, a spike of 28%, according to Nielsen Media Research data. CNN held onto second place with 1.2 million viewers but dropped 30% from last February, while MSNBC posted an average of 949,000 viewers, up 23%. [...]

For its part, MNSBC posted its best February in history. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” was up 32%, while “The Rachel Maddow Show” brought in 134% more viewers than the time period had last year.
Back in the '90s, with deregulation fever and Republican ascendance in the air, I guess a rightward tilt was more a feature than a bug. By 2003, a more independent press sure would've been handy. I'm sure it's all OK now, though.


Via Andrew Sullivan, here's Shepard Smith bringing some absolute clarity to FOX News - and to ANY news!
I don't give a rat's ASS if it worked! We ARE AMERICA! We do NOT FUCKING TORTURE!



You're Right

Another great post from Found in Mom's Basement.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evil Kirk / Palin 2012

The incoherent conservative tantrum since the election--culminating most recently in the Tea Parties--seemed really familiar to me somehow, but I couldn't place it. This post by Matt Yglesias helped me remember, although it describes the outermost ring of Planet Wingnut:
[T]he militia crowd exhibits much more the attitudes one would expect from a coup leader—-a Franco or a Pinochet who’s actually appealing to the concepts of patriotism and nationalism as justification for violent revolution.

I suppose there are some different ways of characterizing the asymmetry, but the underlying issue seems to be that rule by conservatives is integral to the right’s conception of the United States of America. This is part of the rhetoric of the “heartland” and “real America”—a period of political victory by a coalition grounded in the coasts and Greater Chicago is a period in which America has ceased to be herself.
And then it hit me! Of course it's nothing to do with taxes or freedom, it's the wail of a suddenly deposed Evil Kirk.

Update: Fixed the year in the title -- oooooooooops!

New Hero

Oh please please PLEASE, rightnuts, take up the Miss America contestant who lost as your new Joe the Plumber!
Miss Prejean’s greatest crime is not her looks, or her vestigial belief that a woman can be beautiful and feminine and still successful and proud.  Her greatest crime is answering a question honestly. 
Gateway Pundit's on board! Although his post is a bit confusing. He claims:
How sad.
It looks like the Far Left has even hijacked beauty pageants.
But also notes that:
If you listened to the video the crowd clearly cheered Miss California after her answer.
Oh, man, I love this. Stand by her, wingnuts! We're attacking her freedom! We're the PC monsters come to assimilate you and end free thought and freedom and your ability to procreate and attend church! Could anything be more anti-Christian than our attacks on beauty pageants!

Monday, April 20, 2009

If Greg Were President

Greg Gutfeld gives the President some advice in a post called The Case for Punching Chavez in the Face:
But by lecturing us on what’s wrong with America, Chavez is giving Obama a golden opportunity to do something we`d all love to see: to stand up for America, by flattening Hugo like a frittata.

I for one, would like to see if there’s something underneath Obama’s suit, other than well-sculpted abs.
That would be awesome. Obama levels him, Hugo drops, looks up, pulling on his jaw, spittin' up blood. He knows who's the boss! Hugo holds elections, we give Obama a ticker-tape parade, sweeeeeeet.

Thanks fer the tips, Big Hollywood!

Update: Sadly No congratulations Greg on his courage, too.

Shut Out

Brad from Sadly, No:
The Republicans, on the other hand, have been shut out of power for, what, three months now?

BREAKING - Obama Bows to Dog!!!

OMFG! Obama bows to a dog at Summit of the Americas!


(via TPM)

Glenn Greenwald-Written Screenplay About Washington

Atrios, on the Harman/wiretap story of the day:
The story was the first thing I read this morning and my first thought really was that this must be a summary of a Glenn Greenwald written screenplay about Washington.


No. I cannot accept the existence of this Giant Walking Spider Robot. Maybe in 5 or 6 years, but right now: impossible.


But there's even a video. Oh good God.

The machine is from a french group called La Machine, brought to Japan for the 150th anniversary celebration of the opening of the Port of Yokohama. The photos are from the author of the post on Kirainet, but I can't find his or her name!


The era of coherence:
"The whole notion was that if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness," Obama said, recalling his race for the White House and challenging his critics today.

"The American people didn't buy it," Obama said. "And there's a good reason the American people didn't buy it - because it doesn't make sense."

My Eyes Are Spinning

Via Neven Mrgan, who provides the best possible intro:
As of today, Sunday, 4/19/09, this is the greatest video I have ever seen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Is How You Do It

A great "Deep Thought" from Josh Marshall:
Remember when we were all Georgians?
(photo - AP/Mary Altaffer)

In Review

John Cole:
It might be worthwhile to review the lines of attacks the first couple of months:

1.) He only reads good cuz of his teleprompter- FAIL.
2.) He is a socialist- FAIL.
3.) The markets are tanking thousands of points every day because he is President- FAIL.
4.) He blames American for everything- FAIL.
5.) He is polarizing- FAIL.

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of memes, too. Maybe instead of being silly and just making things up, Republicans will come up with an alternate vision that is more than tax cuts and budgets without numbers.

Predicted New Rightwing Meme: Carter had high poll numbers, too. See, he is just like Carter!
Predicted outcome: Fail.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Verbatim, And Exhaustive, Argument Against Gay Marriage

  • Marriage is between a man and a woman.
That's it. The entire thing. All they've got.

Shorter John Hinderaker

About Those "Torture Memos"
  • I agree with the Bush Administration.
  • Majority Reality

    Perhaps we should conduct a poll asking Louisiana residents about whether they think that the existence of quarks is well supported by evidence?

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Close-up Euprynichus bacillifer


    And I found this in a newly discovered chelicera jackpot - the "chelicera" pool at flickr!

    Billed as "A group concentrating on the lesser known arachnids, for both who keep them as pets and photograph them in the wild :)" - wonderful photos.

    Teabag Juice

    Teabag, um, juice spreads through the GOP. Governor Rick Perry of Texas says Texas can leave the union if it wants to.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009


    John Cole:
    Finally, why do we have to pay attention to 100K tea-baggers when 10 million anti-Iraq war protesters were considered a focus group?

    Your Modern Conservative Movement

    Picture 1.png

    The NY Times covers the tea parties.

    Loyal, Simpleminded and Full of Misdirected Anger

    Matt Taibbi grapples with the oddities of the War on Keynes and its proximal battles now being fought bravely, albeit confusedly, by the Teabaggers:
    [T]hat’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.
    Bonus! Untoppable comment in Taibbi's, uh, comment section:
    I can’t wait for the next round of Republican protests where they all wear pearl necklaces.

    Pelvic Hick

    Could any Clownhall article begin better than this, from Marybeth Hicks?
    I've been told that if I'd been a parent in the 1950s, I probably would have spoken out against Elvis Presley's pelvic thrust as a dance move.
    Probably not. But if you have the stomach for it, read on, and you'll find this gem.
    Apparently, a sexual relationship with a park bench now is considered simply an alternative lifestyle.

    Have You Ever Enjoyed Red Dawn?

    They're circling the wagons, getting off on their victimhood even more than usual.

    Mary Katherine Ham finds something to help define her group membership, satirizing what she imagines the Department of Homeland Security will now be asking when they come to get her.
    Are you now reading or have you ever read 'Atlas Shrugged?'
    Meanwhile, the Washington Times article about the American Legion complaining about the memo (and wouldja know, they even have time to interview at Tea Party organizer about his opinions) is chock full of glaring archetypal hypocrisy.

    Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee:
    "As far as I can tell, the only thing this report does do is attempt to stigmatize people who disagree with the president," Mr. Smith said.
    David K. Rehbein, national commander of the American Legion:
    "I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are."
    Rep. Peter T. King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee:
    ...said that while terrorism can come from many quarters, Homeland Security "should spend less time focusing on ideology and the exercise of free speech and association, and instead focus on specific, actionable intelligence to counter the terrorist threats to our nation."

    Ron Paul has similar comments in the article, but in fairness, he's been saying that for years. The others have been busy vilifying those who oppose the president, comparing anti-war protesters to terrorists or Neville Chamberlain or what-have-you. Remember the 2002 elections?

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009


    Tim Dickinson:
    I seen Glenn Greenwald is smartly playing up the hypocrisy of erstwhile surveillance state boosters like Malkin now whingeing because their side has been targeted for scrutiny. But why not use this ah-ha! moment to build a left/right coalition to roll back federal surveillance rather than as an opportunity to score political points?
    I think we can agree on that.

    Shorter Paul Mirengoff

    Have we created more pirates?
  • I've always thought the "passive, blame-America-first left" was beyond parody. But this parody I saw made me change my mind!
  • YouTube Wins Worst Comments Award Again

    So, I'm enjoying the the internet and find a link to a video someone shot of komodo dragons walking around. So I visit it, and it's nice and simple, but the page is remarkable also for the excellent example of the total trash that is the world of YouTube comments. This is a piece of art in its historical horror.

    Here's a screenshot.

    Picture 1.png

    I've discussed YouTube comments before.

    What I Need To Do

    John Scalzi, in a great post on AmazonFail, reminds everyone that we're mostly responsible for ourselves.
    This also brings up a point which I think it worth airing, which is that I and at least a couple of authors I know got e-mails about AmazonFail — not the ‘did you hear about this?’ e-mails, which are fine, but the ‘you need to speak out about this now’ ones, which are pretty much not. First, of course, I don’t need to do anything about anything, other than what I decide I need to do. Random people e-mailing me about what I need to do have a grave misunderstanding about their powers of persuasion regarding me. Second, even when I’m inclined to do something, at this point, what I’m inclined to do first is make sure I have an understanding of what’s actually going on, and to use my own judgment regarding whether I need to know more before making a substantive comment.
    My emphasis.

    Of course, no one's really pressing *me* to do anything at all, but I still appreciate the sentiment and think it's well said.


    This, from Carrie Brownstein, is not cool.
    As a side note, unicycles are making a huge comeback in Portland, a city with so many bicyclists that riding a two-wheeler is no longer a signifier of uniqueness. When someone finds a way to attach roller blades to their hands and roll to work in a headstand formation, I'm moving.
    Poor city. Get better soon.

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Marched In Two By Two With A Flag and Crucifix

    US Supreme Court Clarence Thomas:
    [H]ow can you not reminisce about a childhood where you began each day with the Pledge of Allegiance as little kids lined up in the schoolyard and then marched in two by two with a flag and a crucifix in each classroom?
    Sounds like an Italian horror movie.

    Welcome to TeabaggingWeek

    Instaputz has dubbed this week as TeabaggingWeekTM.
    Like SharkWeek, only not awesome.

    Test! Test!

    John Cole:
    Is it going to be a test of Obama every time some criminal somewhere takes a hostage?

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    US Marriage for the 21st Century

    By comic artist Tom Toles:


    (via Hoffmania!)

    Thursday, April 09, 2009


    These are all official white house photos, and on the official White House blog, so of course they're going to be consistent with the carefully controlled messaging of the administration, but I still think they're great photos.

    See all four at the post


    Be Afraid!

    Gaymarriage will take away my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Gaymarriage will make hockey players skate on gravel. Gaymarriage will create weakly godlike artificial intelligences that will destroy you, soft, weak human. Gaymarriage will disassemble all of the planets and non-stellar matter in the solar system and create a matrioshka brain of infinite computational power that will achieve demiurgic godhead. Gaymarriage will alter the Planck Constant reordering the physical structure of spacetime itself and causing baryonic matter to cease to exist.

    A Good Monster

    J liked the monster in the illustration that accompanied NY Times article How to Cut the Beastly Cost of Digital Services.

    (illustration by Phil Marden)


    Juan Cole:
    The Bush administration generally stayed away from the [direct] talks [with Iran], on the somewhat bizarre theory that talking directly to the Iranians somehow legitimized them. Note that the Bush administration talked to lots of other governments of which it said it disapproved; did they legitimate Chinese Communism?
    Fine point.

    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    Not That We'd Use That Word

    Got that? "Senator Inhofe blasts the Obama administration." On foreign soil. In a war zone. On an American military base.

    What's the word people like him used when the Chicks did it? Oh yeah. TREASON.


    Sometimes I'm really sure that the interface for Microsoft Word for Mac 2008 is a joke.

    Picture 2.png

    Only Fake Americans Love Democracy

    Matt's got a very thoughtful post about the right's conception of themselves as "real America." Basically, it's based entirely on conservatives' ethnic and religious self-concepts, rather than any true ideological stances they hold.
    People who believe in violent revolution and the murder of American soldiers and policemen generally, if on the left, appeal to basically anti-patriotic attitudes. Which is about what you would expect from advocates of the violent overthrow of the established political order. But the militia crowd exhibits much more the attitudes one would expect from a coup leader—a Franco or a Pinochet who’s actually appealing to the concepts of patriotism and nationalism as justification for violent revolution.

    I suppose there are some different ways of characterizing the asymmetry, but the underlying issue seems to be that rule by conservatives is integral to the right’s conception of the United States of America. This is part of the rhetoric of the “heartland” and “real America”—a period of political victory by a coalition grounded in the coasts and Greater Chicago is a period in which America has ceased to be herself. Thus Michael Barone:

    [T]he Republican Party is the party of people who are considered, by themselves and by others, as normal Americans — Northern white Protestants in the 19th century, married white Christians more recently — while the Democratic Party is the party of the out groups who are in some sense seen, by themselves and by others, as not normal — white Southerners and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, blacks and white seculars more recently.

    Now Barone’s not about to go join a militia. But I think this is the basic mentality. The people on the outs are “normal” and the people running the show are “abnormal.”
    I'm naturally suspicious of any behavioral explanation that relies exclusively on "identity" traits, but I've been coming up empty trying to explain the sudden bizarre, illogical freakouts on the right. There's no ideological consistency at all. Take Michele Bachmann's apparent inability to believe that the Treasury Department can legally interfere with the economy, or the Teabaggers' ongoing War on Keynes:
    Ultimately, Bachand said, the Tea Parties aren't about party politics. "We want to have a real conversation about the direction of the country," she said. "I'm troubled by the bailouts. ... I'm personally opposed to any government intervention in private business."
    And somehow this all gets mashed up with paranoid right-wing fears that the gummint is gonna getcha, even though our previous president went way out of his way to spy on Americans without warrants. Where were these patriots then?

    So far, coarse group identity is about the only explanation that makes any damn sense.

    Has It Really Come to This?

    Republicans saying Obama's cutting defense spending when he's actually increasing it?

    Could any lie be easier to expose? I'd love to have a debate over how much defense spending is too little or too much, but we still have to waste our lives with this?

    Thanks, Republican party.


    When was the last time some left-winger killed a bunch of people armed with talking points provided by say, Rachel Maddow or the ACLU? I don't remember one either.


    Arch-conservative-mocker Brad spends a lot of time digging through the dark dumb places of the internet for wingnut nonsense, but even he has reached a new point of late.
    You guys are getting so stupid that I’m actually starting to feel sorry for you.

    If you had to pick...

    ...who'd you rather have as a relative? James Inhofe or Michelle Bachmann?


    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Neven on Internet Comments

    A thoughtful post by Neven Mrgan about internet comments included this sad little bit:
    The single worst Internet “feedback” I have ever seen was a YouTube comment on a video of a family visiting the zoo. As they watch bear cubs play, the three-year-old says, “awww, they’re like little kitties!” The comment, plainly visible on the first page: “kitties? they’re bears you stupid bitch”

    Can you imagine a public forum - a tech convention, a book signing, a high school debate - where a lone sociopath could get away with this sort of thing?
    I remember being surprised by this XKCD for singling out YouTube comments for being so miserable, but he was right: it's a special kind of shit.

    I also like this point from the end of Neven's post:
    Captchas, user registration (including banning), comment moderation, and community guidelines all help, but not everyone wants to spend time running their blog like a night club.

    Getting Your Face Wet

    God I hate John Hinderaker.
    Torture has been illegal for a number of years, and President Bush insisted just as strongly as Obama that the U.S. does not torture. There was a legitimate debate about waterboarding, which does no physical injury, and which I do not believe constitutes torture. But according to press reports, only two or three top-ranking terrorists were waterboarded, none after 2003. And waterboarding has been banned by the U.S. military since 2006. So what was Obama's purpose in implying that until he came along, his own government was engaged in torturing prisoners? His speech was carried live by Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, broadcast into countries where 'torture' doesn't mean getting your face wet. Obama at least impliedly exaggerated the supposed sins of his predecessors and the 'change' brought about by himself. Why? For what purpose? Isn't the campaign over?
    My emphasis.

    Climate vs. Weather, Part XXVI

    Over and over and over again, John Hinderaker has no idea what he's talking about.

    Picture 1.png

    This whole "Take that, Al Gore!" reflex post whenever a wingnut sees snow where it's not expected - it's such an example of how their mind works.

    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Don't Master

    Not that I really know, but this seems like great advice from musician Tarekith:
    "Yeah yeah", I hear you muttering, "but how do I master my songs in the first place?"

    To put it bluntly, you don't.


    Let me say this again, in case you skipped over it. If you are writing and releasing your own songs, there is no reason to “master” them per se.

    Everything you need to do to make a song sound good can be done in the mixdown, and this is where you should focus 100% of all your learning and attention if you ask me. There's only one exception, and that's getting the levels more inline with today's standards, and I'll come back to that later.

    A good-sounding song doesn't need anything done to it by a mastering engineer. It already sounds good as is. This is what you should strive for. Putting things like multi-band compression, EQ, aural exciters, sonic maximizers and such over your mixed down song is the WRONG way to approach it. Those tools were created to give mastering engineers more flexibility when they didn't the luxury of going back and fixing the individual elements in a song. They were forced to work on a single stereo file of the song, and couldn't adjust anything in the mix. Thus tools like these were created for those RARE instances they needed to adjust something beyond what simple EQ or compression might fix. You have the luxury to go back into your DAW and adjust the problems right at the source, so use it!
    I've been trying to improve my "finishing" skills in producing electronic music of late, and it's a daunting prospect. The overall message of "Patience!" is important, but the above quoted point seems important, too. Don't wait for a magic "solve everything" technique that descends from heaven at the end - build it properly all along. In electronic music, we really have that power these days.

    You can listen to my releases at

    Um, No

    Does Big Hollywood writer Brian Jennings actually think this is true?
    It boils down to this.  Jon Stewart is jealous of Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh makes more money and has a much more loyal audience.  And, Rush has had 21 years of national success.  Jon Stewart is a comparative lightweight who has to mock someone with hate to get noticed.  Well, he did get noticed.  We noticed his hate speech and won’t forget it next time the left accuses our side of it.  Can’t they rest it?  They won!  But, they won’t rest until they have destroyed conservative thought in America because they simply know best. 

    Saturday, April 04, 2009

    Powerline: You're Not Fearing Ellison Enough

    Above: Expert on "branches" of Islam

    During a an article over how the US is losing Minnesota to radical Islam, Powerliner Scott Johnson reminds us that we're not fearing our country's first Muslim congressman (Keith Ellison) enough, although it's unclear whether he believes it's because Ellison is too radical or not radical enough.
    Ellison embodies the American left's weird alliance with radical Islam. How Ellison reconciles his Islamic faith with the Democratic Party's devout belief in homosexual rights, leftist feminism, abortion rights and every other element of the party's most radical agenda is a subject that the media have somehow left unexplored. We have yet to learn of the branch of Islam that comports with the dogmas of the left.

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Mac Tonight

    Oh, my, the things that are still in my head.


    Atrios on "Imaginary Etiquette":
    I haven't been able to figure out what's been more amusing about all of the tut-tutting of the Obama trip to England. Was it the general tendency to just manufacture rules of etiquette? The racism-tinged "of course those people won't know how to behave?" The irony of tea party fetishists caring what the English monarch might think about anything?

    Thursday, April 02, 2009

    12 Years

    Obama gets what he wants:
    Democrats noted that this was the first time in a dozen years that a budget had received more than 230 votes.

    Libertarian Republican : Mockery :: Mosquito Bite : Scratching

    I just can't leave Dondero be ...
    During the '08 election, and in its immediate aftermath, we stuck our necks out on the right - being the first to declare of a complete Authoritarian takeover of America on election night. We were promptly criticized as "hyperbolic."
    I guess, dude. But the first word that comes to mind is more like "stupidtastic"! Oh, it's not really a word? Neologisms don't count? Not even some combination of "grammarian" and "The Boss of Me"?? How would you like that?!
    Lately though, even formerly cynical libertarians are starting to agree. Just last week, in an editorial liberal-libertarian Tom Palmer of Cato compared Obama's firing of GM honcho Rick Wagoner to a Musollini style gun-to-the-head execution. Now today, "Tory libertarian" writer and LR blog friend Quin Hillyer, says the same.
    Just the other day I was all, "Among other things, 'fascism' by definition involves a heavy emphasis on militarism, conquest and nationalism." Then Wikipedia was all,
    Fascist movements promote violence between nations, political factions, and races as part of a social Darwinist and militarist stance that views violence between these groups as a natural and positive part of evolution. In the view of these groups being in perpetual conflict, fascists believe only the strong can survive by being healthy, vital, and have an aggressive warrior mentality by conquering, dominating, and eventually eliminating people deemed weak and degenerate.
    So LR, are we at loggerheads, as it were? That means we have a draw, does it not?

    Then Dondero's freaking front page was always, every single goddamn day all,
    Real libertarians believe in protecting the homeland first and foremost
    [by painting their horses?? See the pic--ed.]
    Don't be a Losertarian!
    Let's win this War on Islamo-Fascism.
    Real men fight for the Homeland.
    Girlie men just sit by and bitch.
    Libertarians Against Islamo-Fascism
    You're with us, or against us
    Guys who serve get the Hottest Chics!
    Geeks who loathe the Military, just get ugly Democrat women
    Perhaps Libertarian Republican is getting the militarism and conquest stuff outsourced to them from the Obamafascist Administration? Those government suckers didn't even realize they were subcontracting out the sweetest bits!

    Obama Lies in Code!

    I am simply not savvy enough to be a voter! For example, when a politician promises something I like, then fails to do it in office, I get all pissed off.

    But last week I'm listening to my local NPR affiliate and this conservative protester at one of those anti-Keynes Tea Party events tells me I'm just a piker. You see, this guy heard Obama promising the left some things, but Obama was secretly communicating that he was not going to do those things. Regular-American types like this Tea Bagger understood the secret code, and therefore voted Obama into office.

    But Obama lied in code to our faces!

    I can't find it online, but "Hell," I thought at the time, I says. "I never picked up semaphore, much less that Ancient Masonic Head-Jerk/Eye-Blink I heard they found out about in National Treasure 2 (I fell asleep)," I continues. "But this guy's some sort of grown-up mutant cryptographer wunderkind from Brainonia-9; I doubt his skills are very widespread."

    RedState's Kevin Holtsberry tells me I generalizes in vain! At least he softens it by telling me I'm not alone:
    [Republican Indiana Rep. Mike Pence] feels that many Americans voted for Obama and Blue Dog Democrats thinking that they wouldn’t do what they said. He, however, took them at their word that they were going to raise taxes and increase government, etc. At some point the voters are going to understand this.
    Man, I hope so! The public is far too busy playing their five-dimensional chess game under water with the lights off! Show-offs!

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Scraping the Barrel

    We knew the pickens were slim, but the latest outrage on the Right is that Obama gave the queen an iPod and she already had one.

    Is that worse than giving a backrub to an elected leader when she didn't want one?

    Next: Obama buys can of mixed nuts with more than 50% peanuts!

    Update: Looks like John Cole wrote just about the exact same post. Heh.


    IMG_3354, originally uploaded by tallred67.

    Low-res shot, but it's been a while since I posted an actual chelicerate here. And I'm reminded...

    They're fucking crazy! Look at that beautiful thing! Look at those crazy spines along the side!

    What's in a Conservative Conscience?

    Erick Erickson at RedState explains the values Republicans need to return to:
    If the GOP plays its cards right, it will have a winning issue in 2010. But it is going to have to get back to “leave me the hell alone” style federalism where the national government recedes and the people themselves will have to fight to take their states back from special interests out of touch with body politic as a whole.
    OK got it. Special interests have taken over the state (Washington state, that is), and Repubs need to reduce federal power--and therefore their own, if they're in power!--so that regular folks can do things right.

    What's this all-powerful special interest group? The Washington Lake Protection Association.
    WALPA has grown to more than 200 members that include lakeside residents, lake associations, recreationists, scientists, educators, legislators, and local and state agencies.
    Among the all-powerful special interests colluding with the federal government to control the Washington state government are lake associations, recreationists, etc. Got it. (The WALPA board is similarly infested with water-quality conspiracists and the like.)

    So what might the suffering NORMAL residents do?
    At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?
    My word! They must be put-upon indeed! From a thousand directions! What's this particular issue?

    A ban on selling phosphate-containing dishwasher detergent. Seriously.
    At some point soon, it will happen. It’ll be over an innocuous issue. But the rage is building. It’s not a partisan issue. There is bipartisan angst at out of control government made worse by dumb bans like this and unintended consequences like AIG’s bonus problems.
    Are the people also mad that AIG bonuses are threatened? I'm confused. And where's the federal government in all this Washington state soap stuff? No matter--
    Were I in Washington State, I’d be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation.
    Wow! Me too, brother! We've got to schedule a major tantrum around minor issues so that we can reclaim Republican power! To Hell with water quality!

    Update: Non-sarcastically, the federal government isn't involved here. Erick's just looking for a "core conservative conscience" reason to get Republicans back at the trough. It's always been this way.

    Conservatives of Blindness

    By way of DougJ at Balloon Juice comes this bit from Andrew Sullivan, a "conservative of conscience," as the kids say:
    What I think conservatism has to do is recover its core sense of itself as the movement that values work over wealth, individual effort over collective action, and a system that is transparent and fair enough for ordinary folk with lives to live and families to take care of to keep tabs on.
    Right. There's no question that Sully, good ol' John Dean, and a heaping helping of regular-American Republican voters believe these are core conservative values, but it simply has never been true. (And Dean should've discovered that back during the Nixon Administration.) It just so happens that it's a good cover story for policies that transfer money and power to people who've already got plenty of both.

    That way you can wail about the need to rein in welfare queens with welfare reform, and then later, you can bemoan the coming socialistpocalypse when the federal government pressures the CEO of bailed-out GM to resign.

    I Can Only Imagine

    I love this take by Matt Yeager on the depressing new Wii game M&M’s Beach Party:
    There is more entertainment value to watching a $20 bill burn than there is in playing this game. Buy it for your children if you want them to feel unloved. The game is so bad, I don’t like even eating M&M’s anymore.