Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Gateway Pundit, re: Franken, provides music to my ears:
Goodbye Freedom, Goodbye America-- Hello Leftist Big Government Utopia!
First we'll take their guns, and then we'll forbid conservatism on the radio - yes!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Milbank is Back from Oblivion

So it turns out that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank did indeed criticize the GW Bush White House for making use of fake reporter James Guckert during news conferences. I relied on a recent Media Matters account, and as Milbank himself points out, Media Matters also has a transcript that proves him right. Here's a bit:
OLBERMANN: But let me ask you, finally, is it fair to contextualize this in light of the well-publicized administration payments to Armstrong Williams and two other columnists to support their policies? Is this a mutation of that? Or is it just lousy judgment? In other words, was he a plant? Or was he just an ineligible presence?

MILBANK: Well, I think he is probably somewhere in between. You saw from the clips you played there of Scott McClellan turning to him as a life line. I call him a foil. You turn to this guy when you want to get the heat of off of you from another subject.
There is probably no evidence that White House Spokesman McClellan planned in advance to call on Guckert, as the Obama Administration had done with the Huffington Post's Nico Pitney, but it wouldn't surprise me. As much as this pains me, good on Milbank for criticizing the Guckert situation.

I'm still unhappy with his characterization of liberal critics -- who "often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conferences to ask preplanned questions" -- but that's because Milbank makes it sound like an unfounded accusation. It's also not very becoming of him to play veteran reporters-versus-dirty bloggers. And his super-superficial commentary on the national security speeches of Obama and Dick Cheney still makes me freaking wince.

But Milbank is clearly off the list of People Who Are Teh Ur-Platonic Form of Douchebag Individuals. At least for the present. Later in the WaPo chat linked above, Milbank has a more substantive criticism of the Obama White House arranging to call on Huffington Post reporter Pitney.
As I wrote in the Rough Sketch blog a couple of hours after the presser, I thought it was a fine question. Once again, that's not the point. The point is I don't think it's a good idea for the White House to be colluding in secret with the media, even if the result isn't bad. Even Jeff Gannon, for that matter, didn't do any great harm to civilization with the questions he asked -- but it still wasn't a good idea for the White House to allow it.
That's certainly a better point than he made before, but now I'm left thinking that Milbank failed to mention the substance of Pitney's question because avoiding an important point is just the way he writes.

Update: Fairness compels me to say that Eric Boehlert's original Media Matters bit was douche-y.


Glenn Greenwald:
In light of today's ruling, it's a bit difficult -- actually, impossible -- for a rational person to argue that Sotomayor's Ricci decision places her outside the judicial mainstream when: (a) she was affirming the decision of the federal district court judge; (b) she was joined in her decision by the two other Second Circuit judges who, along with her, comprised a unanimous panel; (c) a majority of Second Circuit judges refused to reverse that panel's ruling; and now: (d) four out of the nine Supreme Court Justices -- including the ones she is to replace -- agree with her.

Put another way, 11 out of the 21 federal judges to rule on Ricci ruled as Sotomayor did.  It's perfectly reasonable to argue that she ruled erroneously, but it's definitively unreasonable to claim that her Ricci ruling places her on some sort of judicial fringe.

More Hot Dogs

I've been laughing at Malkin and Gateway Pundit as they've attempted to establish a new wingnut keyword: "hot dogs."

Now The Heritage Foundation is joining in with an article called Hot Dog Engagement. Example:
This was the first time since the Iranian Revolution that the Iranians had been invited to share the hot dogs.
This bit's also cute:
Regrettably, as a policy, engagement’s a failure. It’s also an embarrassment.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Magical Clouds

P1020915, originally uploaded by cricketheron.

There were some truly magical clouds over NYC last night. I've never seen clouds like this in my life.

Check out the whole set.

Update: I've learned that they're called mammatocumulus clouds.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

List Membership Has Its Privileges, Including a Seat Next to "Jeff Gannon"

Dana Milbank brought it upon himself!

Back on May 22, I heard him on NPR's Morning Edition talking about the "dueling speeches" Obama and Cheney were holding that day about terrorism. Setting the whole thing up like a boxing match he called "A Thrilla Near the Hilla," Milbank spoke plenty about the atmosphere at each event, the tone, Cheney's visceral anger and Obama's intellectual cool -- you know, drama!!

Somehow, in the radio spot and in a column, he never got around to figuring out which claims were true, false or unverifiable. Not even once. And there was plenty to pick at -- even with that middling humor schtick. (I mean, Cheney'd said, "The terrorists see just what they were hoping for: our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity." Hell, there's better evidence that they want to see X, where X equals various porn celebrities, re-runs of '50s sitcoms, Saudi pop icon Donna Nogoy, whatever.)

And still I did not add Dana Milbank to my much-afeared list of People Who Are Teh Ur-Platonic Forms of Model Douchebag Individuals.

But, re: my opener, he's done it to himself. I might have awarded Milbank membership based solely on his middling-humorous complaint yesterday that the White House planned to call on the Huffington Post's Nico Pitney, while back when George W. Bush was president, Milbank never voiced such concerns when male prositute James Guckert -- posing as a journalist under the name "Jeff Gannon" -- got called on during press conferences.

Here's the kicker, though. Milbank yesterday:
The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world -- Iran included -- that the American press isn't as free as advertised.
Right. You're a douche. Got it.
Pitney recognized his prompt. "That's right," he said, standing in the aisle and wearing a temporary White House press pass. "I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian."
[Emphasis mine.] OK. You're a status-conscious douchebag, getting all incensed over this Pitney interloper, when "Gannon" also carried a temporary pass. Noted.
During the eight years of the Bush administration, liberal outlets such as the Huffington Post often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conferences to ask preplanned questions. But here was Obama fielding a preplanned question asked by a planted questioner -- from the Huffington Post.
[Emphasis mine.] Uhhhhgggghhhhh. You're suggesting that's an implausible accusation? Teh douchebag status confirmed by way of your May '07 column:
"This isn't that kind of event," explained Jeff Gannon, spokesman for the host, the International Bible Reading Association. Gannon, actually a pseudonym for James Guckert, had earned fame in 2005 representing a conservative Web site at White House briefings until it was revealed that he posted nude pictures of himself on the Web to offer his services as a $200-an-hour gay escort.
Beeeee-ooooooo!!!! Beeeeee-oooooo!!! Teh Ur-Platonic Form of Model Douchebag: Unlocked!

Hot Dogs

I started a list of wingnut keywords, and I should mention that Malkin's been pushing and pushing to make her own: hot dogs.

Gateway Pundit's trying to help lock in the term, too, and even made a photoshop funny.

obama mullahs.jpg

Ahhh, I get it! Nice one!

Skating Owls

"A Pair of Skating Owls (first half of 17th century)" from BibliOdyssey.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pretty Crazy

Picture 1.png

CNN going nuts.

And this, via Kos.


Oldie But Goodie

Oh, man, I love RenewAmerica:
There is a rapidly growing cancer in the nation's capitol, a disease called progressive socialism which comes from repeated exposure to Marxism and Communism, This disease will become fatal to the American Republic in just a few short years if not treated and defeated in the next two elections. It's not too late to save America, but it will be very soon if we don't act now.
And this:
How do we stop Communism? Pray!
The man in the White House is being unfaithful to his country and to God. President Barack Hussein Obama thinks only of his own earthly ambitions and pernicious ideology — Marxism. We are admonished to pray for our leaders. Please place the president and his full cabinet on the top of your prayer list, and pray for God's will to be done. (See Matt. 6:9-13.)

It is time for every born-again, traditional Christian to network. All churches should plan a day to bus into Washington D.C. for a full day of prayer and repentance before the Lord. Ask Him to once again set the "captives free" and "heal and restore our land":

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Black And A White

Former President Richard Nixon, in just released tapes:
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”


David Kurtz:
I assume military recruiting offices in the D.C. area are crowded with neocons and members of the Washington press corps clamoring to enlist so they can liberate Iran. Right?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Daniel Larison:
This is hardly the most important aspect of the debate over the Iranian protests and the administration’s response, but it seems telling that according to Rasmussen’s new poll (via Scoblete) there is not one demographic in which a majority believes that Obama has been insufficiently aggressive in his support for the protesters.

Why God Made Low F-Stops

From the Official White House Photostream.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wingnut Keywords

To the list of:

  • birth certificates
  • fly-swatting
  • teleprompters
  • "we are all Georgian"
  • Fairness Doctrine
  • "in the tank"
  • Drill Baby Drill!
  • New York Times
  • Soros

    ...I guess we can now add
  • getting ice cream

    All keywords that make wingnuts swoon. I'll try to keep this list up to date.
  • Shorter Big Hollywood

    This Just In: Broadway Not Dead
  • Why so "glass empty," liberals? Sure, there are 46 million in the US without health insurance, but what about the 260 million with it?
  • Saturday, June 20, 2009

    See The World That Way

    It really is insane that the nutters have decided that it's Obama's fault that protesters in Iran are being shot.

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Might Find It Jarring

    Another classic review by John Nolte over at Big Hollywood, this one on the Jack Black & Michael Cera film Year One:
    “Year One” is one of those rare movies that can’t possibly be as bad as the trailer makes it look … but is. Actually it’s kinda worse. Sex jokes, gay jokes, incest jokes, lesbian jokes, poop jokes, urine jokes, bestiality jokes, no story, an episodic plot, fewer laughs and dialogue that’s mostly ad-libbed, makes extra sure of that.
    I've never seen the film - it could suck. But John just sounds like an old man.
    The timespan of the film makes little sense. Our protagonists start out in prehistoric times but then walk their way into the Old Testament era of Cain, Abel and Abraham. I bought it, but those of you who didn’t skip World History to smoke Newports and listen to Led Zeppelin might find it jarring.

    In many ways, “Year One” most resembles Mel Brooks’ “History of the World: Part 1 (1981),” but one of those ways is that neither is a very good movie. As far as any talk about how the film mocks the Bible… The satire is silly, not mean-spirited, so some effort would have to go into being offended.

    If you’re desperate for prehistoric antics this weekend, Netflix Ringo Starr’s “Caveman” (1981). It’s no classic, but there are at least a half-dozen laughs (six more than you’ll find in “Year One”) and Ringo’s wife, Bond-babe Barbara Bach, will help you to forget all about the comedic lulls.
    You crazy dropout youths, with your...Zeppelin!

    God of War III

    God of War III looks awesome.

    Picture 5.png

    Direct-feed HD footage from G4.

    Gateway Pundit = Dumbass

    Okay, Gateway Pundit must seriously be the stupidest motherfucker on the planet. Who in God's name would look at this chart and come away with a conclusion that the President that took over control of the country on 1/20/09 has caused the runaway unemployment

    Picture 3.png

    (from US Dept of Labor)

    Gateway Pundit, that's who. I don't think I've ever seen a more embarrassing piece of dumbassery.

    Getting The PETA Story Straight

    I thought PETA's involvement sounded a bit fishy. Here's some truth behind the "PETA Defends Flies!" nonsense.


    Ken Starr endorses Judge Sotomayor. Grasping for a narrative at how one of his hero Clinton-haters could give up the silly anti-Sotomayor crusade, Paul at Powerline calls him "old-fashioned".

    Any Character You Meet

    This Xbox community game Light's End has a fantastic new gameplay idea:
    Not many developers are ambitious enough to put a multi-hour epic adventure game in the community games. And even more rare is to have one with such an innovative gameplay hook. In Light's End you can switch between pretty much any character you meet, which leads to some excellent puzzles as you discover which characters need to interact with each other to advance the game.
    Makes me wish I had a 360.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    SATs Never Looked so Fun as They do Now

    The French "bac" tests preceding higher education are nuts! Check out these (mostly via Yglesias, with his idiosyncratic spelling cleaned up a little):
    — Is it absurd to desire the impossible?

    — Does objectivity in history presuppose the impartiality of the historian?

    — Does language betray thought?

    — Explicate an excerpt from Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation

    From the "science" series:

    — Are there questions that are un-answerable by science?

    Like I said, nuts! My first thought is that each one of these presumes a student's understanding of each word's meaning in these questions, and that therefore, the questions are probably pretty familiar to well-studied students, who can probably get through it all by just reciting what they've heard before. Another likely way to get through it all is to bullshit about semantics.

    So, in the last one, you've got to define "questions," "answerable" and "science" before you can answer. I have no idea what they mean in this context, but from a scientific perspective the correct answer is, "Yes, science cannot address untestable questions." All that hemming and hawing about semantics seems to be really attractive to folks who put more emphasis on "making an argument" rather than establishing the nature of reality. (And yes, our senses and mental representations of reality are not perfect, which is why we have margins of error, yuk-yuk.)

    But is the U.S. system better? I don't think so.

    And get a gander at Yglesias' comment section for this--it's awesome. This, from LIJ, is maybe my favorite:

    The French are taught to the test just like U.S. students; it’s just that their right answers are expressed structurally rather than in multiple choice. The questions focus on testing the mastery of the logical dissertation form which is drilled in to high school students as being the pinnacle of studied discourse. What results is an idealistic and homogenized academic culture.

    I have been in undergraduate classes in France, where professors will literally map out “the right” answer to research papers. I have also been in graduate classes where students were struggling to learn how to form their own thesis questions.

    Is the bac model, centered on the logical dissertation, beautiful and rigorous? Certainement. Does it it cultivate deep, independent critical thinking? Malheureusement, non. Should we emulate the French educational system? Vive la difference !


    Courtesy of the indomitable INSTAPUTZ,, a screenshot for the ages. Zeitgeist, is it called?


    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Same Wingnuts, Different Signs

    John Cole on the "Fire Letterman!" protest:
    The most amazing thing about it is that this could just as easily have been a McCain/Palin rally, a tea party, or an anti-abortion protest. Same wingnuts, different signs.

    The Party of Toxoplasmosis

    By way of John Cole comes Stiftung, a blogger I've never read before, who has interesting insights on the plight of the Republican Party. Stiftung riffs on Paul Krugman's recent column in the NYT about the crazy, conspiracy-obsessed right wing, in which Krugman implores "moderate" Republicans to rein them in.

    Stiftung says, in approximately a million words, that such hopes are pointless, since the right-wing "Movement" only plays for keeps. It doesn't want to win office in a democracy -- it wants to rule absolutely, and it'll seek power by hook or by crook. Infiltrated and controlled by the parasite Movement over the past couple decades, the Republican Party and its members can't do a thing to stop the slide into crazy -- and opposing it is a sure way to mark oneself as a traitor.

    Further, the mainstream media treat the Movement as if it wants to play by the rules, which is tragic because it risks letting the danger go unchecked.

    Stiftung ends with some thoughtful questions:
    Krugman just touched on three overriding conversations critical to the nation: (i) can the rump Movement ever be reconciled to participating in a liberal democratic society?; (ii) what is the price we pay for a enfeebled ‘Republican Party’ host shell paralyzed by more powerful parasite Movement?; and (iii) how can American liberal democracy be served if the media itself really doesn’t understand what it is reporting — *or more damningly* — won’t?
    I wish I knew the answers to those.

    Anyway, my main critique about the post is that it has always been this way to some degree, and it always seems to me that it's unpopular to point out that some folks won't play nice; that the truth doesn't always lie between two opposing camps; that some folks are insincere or stupid, and flat wrong, at that. People who lust for money and power will lie, cheat, steal, etc., as natural as breathing. At least as far back as the '60s, they enflamed the idiots for Republican votes and volunteers: the crazy anti-Communist John Birch Society; the racists; the Trilateral Commission conspiracists; the anti-tax fanatics; the fundamentalists. Now the idiots are running the show. But here's the thing -- there's a lot of overlap. Moderate Republicans are an anomaly, not a natural product of the system when it's working properly.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    All About Them

    Amanda Marcotte on Iran:
    Conservatives are crying for Obama to make this all about the U.S. for a lot of reasons, but right at the top of the list is they really can’t stand to believe that something may not be about them, or that they don’t have a god-given right to control other people’s affairs and decisions for them.  And, as Jesse has been saying, the delicacy of the situation really requires the maturity to stand back a little and avoid throwing a giant temper tantrum about how this entire Iran situation should be ours to control and own.
    I'm back from vacation, quotin' folks!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Shorter Weekly Standard

    Miranda Rights for Terrorists

    • Years and years and years pass, and still we'll pretend to not know the difference between terrorist and "accused" terrorist

    Paganism Switch

    Instaputz on Newt's ridiculous "we are surrounded by paganism" speech:
    Do Republicans realize how much they sound like the people they keep insisting are the problem?

    Saturday, June 06, 2009

    Endlessly Entertaining

    On my out for some tasty Mexican food, but had to note that the nutters at RedState and Newsbusters are now complaining because Google had a Tetris-themed logo today and not a D-Day-themed one.

    Keep digging, guys! Take Back America and all that!

    Chet Zar

    Illustrations by Chet Zar at Lost At E Minor.


    Medical Bills

    This year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy. Many people may chalk up that misfortune to overspending or a lavish lifestyle, but a new study suggests that more than 60 percent of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills.


    The topic of Sotomayor is really bringing to light the worst aspects of the so-called conservative movement.


    Again, what's interesting here is the notion that the way men see things is "normal" and that the way women see things is biased.


    Cute comment on an article about how George Tiller is responsible for the holocaust, or something like that.
    The left
    I am so sick and so tired of the left and their endless, ceaseless two-faced hypocrisies, lies (both by comission and omission), deceptions and slimy, slippery treachery. One day we're going to find out just who's wrong and just who's right, aren't we? Lord, hasten that day!!

    Full Outed

    I really like these words from D. Aristophanes at Sadly No:
    I recall that back in 2004, when it looked as if Kerry might beat Bush, friends and I would talk about how nice it would be if we could get to a place where political arguments focused on disagreements in the policy margins — instead of being front-loaded by the wingnuts who dominated the rules of engagement with garish loyalty tests that derailed any meaningful idea exchange before it got off the ground. Obviously, we know how that turned out. Instead of a return to sanity, the wingers became newly emboldened and it wasn’t until the 2006 elections that the tide really started turning.

    How long did the inmates run the asylum of our national dialogue? A long fucking time, and it blew goats so profoundly that it’s no wonder many of us have been unwilling to pronounce that the nightmare is over. If only for fear that, like black mold in your bathroom, the crazy would come back in full bloom if we didn’t keep scrubbing and worrying at it as if it was still a powerful force.

    Well, I am going to go out on a limb and pronounce that we have finally returned to a place of political normalcy after our long nightmare. A place where ideas matter and seriousness is not a starving orphan in the corner. I say this not because there are no longer wingnuts amongst us — the wingnuts will always be with us (and thank God for that, since occasional outbursts of earnestness aside, I’m pretty much in it for the lulz). I say it because, if you really take a good look around, you’ll find that kooks like Pam and Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck and Dick Cheney have finally been fully outed as the freakshow monstrosities that they always were, and at long last, all but a handful of people finally get the joke.
    I was just thinking this morning about how happy I am to watch the American populace getting used to having a President that can think clearly and communicate effectively. Aren't we all getting used to that? How can we not be, and how can it not affect how the country looks at new potential leaders? How can new candidates not be measured against Obama?

    This, I think, is a very good thing.

    Friday, June 05, 2009

    Jane and Ted

    Just like the Jane Fonda stuff, these people think that Ted Kennedy booze references are endlessly hilarious and important:
    What’s more, I’m not too crazy about a guy who names the family dog after his own initials.  I am curious, though, considering that Bo was a gift from Ted Kennedy, whether he drinks from a bowl or a bottle.


    I love those guys over at Alan Keyes' RenewAmerica.


    Here's Bryan Fisher:

    Obama's woeful speech
    It's hard to know where to begin to critique President Obama's speech to the Muslim world yesterday. It was historically inaccurate, as almost nothing in the paragraph in which he listed Islam's contributions to society is true. For example, Muslims did not invent the compass, algebra or printing (Gutenberg, anyone?), and that's just for starters.

    Further, he claimed that Islam "has a proud tradition of tolerance," and that "throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality." His speech contained no examples of such tolerance, for the simple reason that there are none.


    In sum, the president's speech was historically inaccurate, theologically wrong, and alarmingly naïve. The world is a more dangerous place today for the Christian West after this speech.
    You guys are great to have around - thanks for fighting the good fight to save Western Civilization! Someone's gotta do it.

    Onward Christian Soldier!

    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Down A Peg

    Sounds like "uppity" to me:
    Obama hasn't heard "no" from anyone with signifcant power for some time.