Saturday, August 01, 2009

The tsunami to come

By J. Thomas Duffy

Now, there may be other offers out there, but this is the first I have seen.

Laying on the sofa, veggin' out for a brief respite earlier today, a commercial popped on, pitching Michael Jackson Lithographs.

And the money line from it is this;

"... wearing a white suit, as pure as his heart ..."

Gag me!

And, you can get a "bonus" litho, of Michael shown in his "regal attire".

Guess, they need to cater to the freaks, as well ... Sort of, hit the span of fans ...

If this isn't the first, it surely is a sign of the tsunami of Jackson stuff to come ...

Bonus Jacko

Unconvicted Child Molester Summoned For His Judgement Day

Jacko Bombshell! ... Jackson Offers Embattled West To Be Mayor of Neverland ...Needs Experienced Help; 4-Year Contract, Regardless of Either Trial's Outcome

(Cross Posted at The Garlic)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Not a cable news feud

By Creature

Bookmark and Share

What my brand new 2010 Prius taught me about blogging


My new Prius Hybrid is two months old and I am pleased to report: It performs as advertised. Your eco-friendly Octopus gets 50 miles/gallon on average, about 40% more fuel-efficient than my last car. There is one more benefit I did not anticipate: Fewer traffic violations. That’s right!

According to a recent survey, hybrid drivers get 78% fewer speeding tickets, 75% fewer violations for running lights and stop signs, 82% fewer violations for failing to yield, and zero citations for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Zip!

For years, I have been a PhD candidate in the Professor Henry Louis Gates School of Driving, earning myself a perfect grade-point average of four violations per swear word. What I have learned: A beer and a teaching moment can turn careless drivers into instant law-abiding citizens.

All is not perfect, however, in the world of hybrids. Driving one will not dissuade bloggers from posting too much text or replying “me too” in response to a “me too” comment. Furthermore, if you are “recklessly clueless,” chances are your posts will have 400% more reader comments than if you are “cluelessly reckless.”

One caveat - the bipartisan model (pictured above) has been discontinued … and Octopus got the last one. However, Toyota has announced a GOP model that will be even more fuel-efficient. It has no engine but two trunks, which means you will have to get out and push.

(Cross-posted at the Swash Zone.)

Bookmark and Share

The House to vote on single-payer

By Creature

I guess I should be happy, but I'm not a fan of putting the best idea in this whole healthcare reform exercise to a symbolic vote. Single-payer shouldn't be an afterthought, it should be the only game in town. I don't like being thrown crumbs, but when you're starving for real reform I guess crumbs will have to do. As Steve Benen said, "It should be an interesting vote."

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

The Reaction in review (July 31, 2009)

A week's Reactions that deserve a second look:


By J. Thomas Duffy: "Must Read! ... 'A Beer with Obama'" -- Duffy highlights a funny piece by John Kenney at The New Yorker.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Life on the Island" -- As regular readers know, MJWS is a great writer, of things political and of things personal, making his delightful Prince Edward Island vacation piece a must read.


By Edward Copeland: "Obama, taking off the gloves - against your own party" -- Copeland's wonderfully written post, about why Congress needs strong presidential leadership, points out that there are "very few lawmakers on Capitol Hill [who] have any principles beyond their own re-elections and goodies."

By Creature: "Progressives get loud over conservative compromise on healthcare reform" -- Creature speaks passionately for all committed Progressives who demand a robust public plan vs. the Blue Dog Democratic deal in the Senate Finance Committee, with no public plan.

By J. Thomas Duffy: "Are the Brewster Sisters running the GOP?" -- Duffy is reminded of "Arsenic and Old Lace" as he hears the current Republican insanity (of Reps Louie Gomert and Virginia Foxx) about the Democrats' health care plan being a threat to the lives of the nation's entire elderly population. Great bonus links.


By Carl: "World's dumbest op-ed" -- Carl effectively and point by point debunks a Wall Street Journal piece on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates as misguided and ignorant of the facts of the case.

By Capt. Fogg: "Regulation is bad for business" -- Fogg's argument regarding the FDA is well put: "Perhaps there's some truth to that, but the store window where the idea is sold doesn't contain a display of all the poisoned, sickened and fleeced consumers waiting to be redeemed or resurrected while the market forces grind on in the darkness of unregulated capitalism."

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Sign of the Apocalypse #66: The one and only Kim Kardashian, celebutante" -- Michael's insightful lament: ". . . we're getting ever closer to the Apocalypse, of which her being a star, for nothing at all really, is a bright, blinking neon sign made brighter, and blinkier, by the vapid culture that put her on the pedestal in the first place and that keeps her there for the rest of us apparently to drool over."


By Creature: "The best healthcare a lobbyist can buy" -- This is Creature's take on the health care bill coming out of Senator Max Baucus' Finance Committee.


By Carl: "Bad news, worse news" -- Carl is once again helpful to his readers by explaining a complex and confusing issue, this time a recently released study of CO2 and its effect on global warming.

By Capt. Fogg: "Angertainment" -- Fogg finally defines what is so insidious about the likes of Britt Hume and Fox News: "
Their sole purpose is to select, modify, slant and sometimes create stories to make you angry at people or things selected by their owners and sponsors."


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Dead fish: Sarah Palin, the future of the Republican Party, leaves office without an iota of credibility" -- Michael would be perfectly happy if Sarah Palin eventually became the GOP's next nominee for President, as there is "no way Republicans will win with Palin at the helm."

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "(Misleading) Headline of the Day (Obama-Gates-Crowley-Congress edition)" -- Michael insightfully discusses an anti-Obama resolution introduced by Rep. Thadeus McCotter, "
who is obviously hoping to use the whole Gates-Crowley incident to score political points against Obama."


By Creature: "A dying screed" -- Creature correctly and optimistically observes that those on the Right who feel unduly burdened by race, are a dying breed.

By (O)CT(O)PUS: "Join the call to oust Lou Dobbs" -- Spurred by the "Birther" movement, the author reports on an effort to remove commentator Lou Dobbs from CNN, that includes the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with a specific name and address where you can mail a letter calling for Dobbs' dismissal.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 31, 2009

Must Read! ... "A Beer with Obama"

By J. Thomas Duffy

John Kenney, over at The New Yorker, has a most humorous post up riffing on last night's beer-and-pony show.

Here's a snip:

"A Beer with Obama"

The Oval Office. Late. President Obama sits across from Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Officer James Crowley, who share a couch. They sit amidst several empty beer bottles. No one’s wearing shoes.


OBAMA: I like giving speeches. I like press conferences.

CROWLEY: You give a lot of press conferences. Maybe, like, too many?

GATES: I think he’s right. Maybe don’t give so many.

OBAMA: But you should see the speeches I have lined up. They’re all so…emotional. I’ve got a new one on infrastructure that quotes Rosa Parks for no reason. But it makes you cry.

There's much more, so go read John Kenney's "A Beer with Obama"... It's hysterical!

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Life on the Island

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's been a quiet day at The Reaction but a busy, and very beautiful, day for me here on Prince Edward Island -- "the Island," as we call it -- and I'm rather sad that my vacation will soon be coming to an end. Thankfully, we have a few more days left.

It's a different world here, in many ways, much different than Toronto, where I live -- especially so when, as I am, you're spending your time not in front of a television or computer screen. There's simply too much to do, and why would I ruin my vacation by paying close attention to the inanity that is U.S. politics? I'll have more than enough of that when I get home and return, sadly, to "normal."

Oh, sure, I know all about the race-bridging beer-drinking at the White House, and all the rest of the mustn't-miss news of the past couple of weeks, but it's been a real pleasure being away from it all, if only for a fairly short time. I cannot recommend it highly enough, just as I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

And what's going on here? Well, gas prices are set to rise -- that's the top story at the website of The Guardian, the Island's main newspaper, based in Charlottetown, the provincial capital. (The paper covers the Island "like the dew." Seriously. That's its motto.) Also, road work is set to begin at a major intersection in Cornwall, one of Charlottetown's suburbs. On a related note, I remember listening to a "drive home" traffic report last year on the radio -- I think it was on Spud FM (seriously, that's one of the radio stations here, with potatos being one of the Island's main crops) -- and the major development was that the traffic light was out at the intersection near Sears (the only one in town). We came to the intersection a few minutes later, and -- if only big-city life were like this -- there was only a brief delay getting through. That's what passes for a major traffic problem here.

What else? Holland College, which includes Canada's justly famous Culinary Institute, is set to get a $40-million expansion, which is hugely significant for a place this small, and, earlier today, concern at a woodworking facility in Summerside (the Island's second-largest city -- or is it a town?) that "specializes in wooden doors" that sparks could ignite sawdust prompted the evacuation of a few nearby businesses. "Emergency personnel were called in," but everything was fine.

And that's about it.

It just started raining a bit here on the north shore, but no matter. I had mussels for dinner, a renowned specialty of the Island (and from a local restaurant, Shipwright's, that I consider one of the best anywhere, and one of my two favourites here) that were fabulous -- in a Thai broth that is simply amazing. And tomorrow we're off to the Charlottetown farmer's market and, after that... well, we're not sure yet. Maybe out east, maybe to the beach, if the weather holds up, maybe for a walk around town, maybe for a relaxing afternoon here at home.

Life on the Island. Honestly, you can't beat it.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not having a beer at the White House

By Creature

Bookmark and Share

Obama, take off the gloves -- against your own party

By Edward Copeland

During the lengthy 2008 primary season, I didn’t immediately rush to Barack Obama’s candidacy. I began with John Edwards, but the longer it wore on, the more Obama won me over. He did it with one simple fact. It wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t the chance to make history. It was because he was the first presidential candidate from either party that I felt spoke to voters, i.e. me., as an adult, without that air of condescension you get from most politicians who talk down to you or the ones who are so partisan or dumb you feel as if you are listening to first-graders.

Alas, while this makes me feel good as an American and is why I still admire Obama as a president, I think it explains a lot about the many bumps in the road his administration has faced and continue to face six months into his tenure: He’s not dealing with a nation of adults and, even more importantly, he’s not dealing with a Congress populated by adults. Perhaps his lack of experience really was a problem. He didn’t spend enough time in the Senate to realize that the culture of incumbency among both Democrats and Republicans have created a culture of nothing but spoiled, whiny rich kids.

Obama does have the nickname “No drama Obama,” but he’s going to have to lose that moniker and shove an iron boot up the ass of his own party in Congress. He’ll have the American people on his side: They hate Congress. He has the power to call them into special session in perpetuity. Piss them off. Find new progressive candidates that he’ll threaten to support in primary challenges to them. Separate the true reformers from those who are bought and think they are above it all.

There is a reason that progressives, deprived so long from any access to power, want it all and want it right now, but they need to be reasonable as well. There’s always an excuse from Congress. When the Dems took over Congress in 2006, they couldn’t override a veto or stop a filibuster. Now, when they have “60,” it’s not really 60 since they’ve had ailing senators and erstwhile seat-fillers such as Specter and Lieberman filling those ranks. The bigger truth is that very few lawmakers on Capitol Hill have any principles beyond their own re-elections and goodies. Just watch their own sense of entitlement when someone such as Barney Frank is asked semi-tough questions by a reporter and goes ballistic, throws a hissy fit and storms off a TV interview time and time again.

Obama must start treating them as the spoiled brats that they are. He’s paying a price by letting them screw up the stimulus package and now health care. I had my own concerns, since I actually was satisfied with my health insurance and extremely dissatisfied with the system itself, especially hospitals and their billing practices. Obama made the mistake again by letting Capitol Hill lead the way and the mess has grown worse as polls are showing that those who have health insurance, except for the horror stories or those without any, fear getting what they know and have figured out screwed up by vague promises by multiple gangs that can’t shoot straight but who are bankrolled by health insurers, the AMA and pharmaceutical companies. They should have led with reform of the system. Tough love, my friends.

This week, he even let Democrats in the House remove from a defense appropriations bill the first step to ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The Republicans are flying around with lies and nonsense but they are doing it so incompetently that I think what the Democrats are doing is worse. Obama must stand up. He is the leader of his party. I noticed by a chance a few weeks ago the Senate voting on continued funding for Senate operations to the tune of more than $5 billion. Who knows what the cost for running the House is?

Obama needs his Sister Souljah moment and that Sister Souljah should be Democratic lawmakers. Don’t let them go home. Recruit fresh blood to run against the entrenched. Imagine if Obama backed Joseph Sestak against Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary. Specter only switched to survive and he’s 80 years old for God’s sake. Despite growing dissatisfaction with Obama’s policies, polls still find him personally popular and he only has popularity to gain by taking Congress to the woodshed.

Find someone to challenge Harry Reid as Senate majority leader, since he’s the worst we’ve had in quite some time. The last time a Democratic president let a Democratic Congress get away with whatever they wanted was during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama is too smart and skilled a politician to meet that same fate. He needs to embrace some of that Chicago-style politics to figuratively bust some heads for the good of the country and his party.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

The sickness unto death

By Capt. Fogg

Dealing with the morning e-mail hasn't been a pleasure for a long time and it is certainly getting worse now that Obama is in office. Yesterday was something of a record for Obama Derangement Syndrome messages but remarkably, I got the chance over lunch to confront the jovial fellow who sent me a number of them. I had already sent detailed refutations of all of them and I asked him why he didn't bother to check out the fantastic claims before sending them to his large mailing list -- particularly after I had debunked virtually 100% of what he'd sent me over the last few months.

"I just don't like what this administration is doing,"

said he. Of course I don't either, but I'm sure we're talking about different things.

"Oh well, I've never heard of a N*gger keeping a job for 4 years anyway."

said he with a smile as we parted. I've known the man for years, a retired engineer for GM. You wouldn't think him a stupid man or in any other way unusual. Well anyway, I thought I knew him. What evil lurks in the hearts of men? If the Shadow knew, he'd commit suicide.

Among yesterday's viral outbreak was the story warning me about the "secret" House bill: HR1388 "they don't want you to know about." Shortly afterward the outraged notice that it had just passed (back in January) "behind our backs" and that Obama had added on (what?) a provision providing tens of millions to settle thousands of Hamas terrorists in the US. Of course it wasn't broadcast by the Liberal media, always trying to pull one over on us.

It's a small matter to look up the bill which actually was signed in April and read that it has to do with summer jobs for teens and veterans benefits, but who looks? Not the ODS sufferers.

Then there was the one about the millions and millions and millions "Queen" Michelle was wasting on various repugnant and narcissistic projects.

Next came the one on Henry Louis Gates, whose CV was blended together with W.E.B. DuBois' to show that Gates is a Communist Insurgent bent on a black takeover of the United States and of course the conclusions -- why should we care about his civil rights or the Constitution at all and why does Barak Obama love this man so much?

Then there is the nefarious Page 425 of the Obama health care bill which forces every citizen to undergo forced counseling about the suicide option so as to reduce the surplus population.

The rest of it? Well I have my limits. I deleted it all but I can't delete the feeling that The United States of America cannot survive. Certainly the party that creates this psychotic mythology and refuses to disown it doesn't deserve to survive, but what force can counter this kind of well funded and fanatical evil?

(cross posted from The Swash Zone)


Bookmark and Share

Progressives get loud over conservative compromise on healthcare reform

By Creature

The Hill:

A House leadership deal with Blue Dogs and an aggressive marketing push by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) shifted the healthcare debate sharply toward centrist positions Wednesday, sparking threats of rebellion from the left.

The day’s events left the Senate Finance Committee’s emergent bill as the most viable vehicle on Capitol Hill, but also made clear that House Democrats are still riven by bitter disagreements. Democrats postponed a floor vote until after the August recess, meeting a top demand of centrist Blue Dogs.

The Blue Dogs’ deal, which cut $100 billion from the healthcare reform price tag, was instantly denounced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who said, “It’s unacceptable. We’re not going to vote for anything that doesn’t have a robust public plan.”

And they shouldn't. It's bad enough that single-payer never saw the light of day, the least Congress can do is include a "robust public plan." It's how you insure everyone and it's how you bring the price of health insurance down to reasonable levels.

Today, I have good health insurance. A few years back, I had none. During that time all I ever wanted was a solid plan, at a reasonable price. As an individual buyer that was impossible (and, I'm sure it's even harder today). I understand the need. If only the Blue Dogs understood it too.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Are the Brewster Sisters running the GOP?

By J. Thomas Duffy

Man, I don't know if shooting out an Instant Ignorant Dolt Award is fast enough for these people.

My God, if this isn't classic, and unmitigated, Obama Derangement Syndrome ... Elected members of Congress, unfiltered, unabashedly, and unbridled, actually going out and promulgating, declaring in public, that the President Obama, and the Democrats', Healthcare Plan paves the way for the government to kill elderly people.

Last Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), appeared on Wingnut Alex Jones' radio show;
During the 30-minute interview about “nation ending stuff,” Gohmert used his opportunity on the Jones show to showcase his own odd anti-Obama conspiracy theories:

GOHMERT: We’ve been battling this socialist health care, the nationalization of health care, that is going to absolutely kill senior citizens. They’ll put them on lists and force them to die early because they won’t get the treatment as early as they need. [...] I would rather stop this socialization of health care because once the government pays for your health care, they have every right to tell you what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, where you live. [...] But if we’re going to pay 700 million dollars like we voted last Friday to put condoms on wild horses, and I know it just says an un-permanent enhanced contraception whatever the heck that is. I guess it follows that they’re eventually get around to doing it to us


Does Gohmert actually believe that the Government is going to line up elderly people and have them killed, or is he just expressing a most inner base fear of being raped by a wild horse, perhaps, or perhaps not, wearing a government-supplied condom?

So, there's one Instant Ignorant Dolt crown for Louie Gohmert, and we now turn our attention to a person who already has had the thrill of waking down the aisle as an Instant Ignorant Dolt.

Rep. Virginia Foxx

This week, Rep.Foxx is letting the jack-in-the-box out of her skull again;
Rep. Foxx: The Republican plan would "make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."

Rep. Foxx Says Health Care Reform Will Cause Seniors To Be "Put To Death By Their Government"

What on earth has the PartyofNoicans embracing the classic, old Gary Grant movie, 'Arsenic and Old Lace'?
Immediately after the wedding - on Halloween, as it happens - Mortimer visits the bizarre relatives who still live there, two elderly aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair) and his brother Teddy (John Alexander). Teddy thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt; each time he goes upstairs he blows a bugle, yells "Charge!", and takes the stairs at a run (an imitation of Roosevelt's famous charge up San Juan Hill). He is also digging 'The Panama Canal' in their cellar. Mortimer finds a corpse hidden in a window seat, and tells his aunts that Teddy must be sent to an asylum, as he has killed someone.

At this point, Mortimer's sweet aunts explain that they are responsible ("It's one of our charities"). They have developed what Mortimer calls the "very bad habit" of ending the presumed suffering of lonely old bachelors by serving them elderberry wine spiked with arsenic, strychnine, and "just a pinch of cyanide". The bodies are buried in the basement by Teddy, who thinks he is digging locks for the Panama Canal and burying yellow fever victims.

Zachery Roth, over on TPMMuckaker has the 411 on all this, with his "Debunking The GOP's Phony Euthanasia Myth -- Since Politico Won't."

Here's some additional posts you should read, to get caught up on the deals going down, the PartyofNoicans usually game of obstructionism', and even those Bluest-of-Blue Democrat Dogs;
Paul Krugman: An Incoherent Truth

D. Aristophanes: Also, You Are More Likely To Be Killed By A Sasquatch There

Blugal: Elizabeth Edwards Shows How to Tell a Liar on Healthcare

Krugman, again: Costs and Compassion

And, in the meantime, we'll have Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Virginia Foxx "C'mon Down!", to pick up their Instant Ignorant Dolt prizes.

Bonus Links

Igor Volsky - Dean: ‘What’s the point of having a 60 vote majority’ if you can’t pass health reform?

Robert Reich: The future of universal healthcare ... Every day that Congress delays takes us further from real reform of healthcare

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: Will Obama sell out to the healthcare industry? If all the big industry players get what they want, the country won't get the reform it needs

Jane Hamsher: Maxine Waters: White House Won’t Put Pressure On Blue Dogs

Zandar vs. The Stupid: Taibbi On Obamacare

Bonus Bonus

Arsenic and Old Lace Trailer (1944)

(Cross Posted at The Garlic)

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

World's dumbest op-ed

By Carl

And considering it's published in
The Wall Street Journal, that's a mighty large field to beat out! Meet Thomas Franks...

The essential point about Gates-gate, or the tempest over last week’s arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., is this: Most liberal commentary on the subject has taken race as its theme. Conservative commentators, by contrast, have furiously hit the class button.

Liberals, by and large, immediately plugged the event into their unfair-racial-profiling template, and proceeded to call for blacks and whites to “listen to each other’s narratives” and other such anodyne niceties even after it started to seem that police racism was probably not what caused the incident.

Conservatives, meanwhile, were following their own “narrative,” the one in which racism is often exaggerated and the real victim is the unassuming common man scorned by the deference-demanding “liberal elite.” Commentators on the right zeroed in on the fact that Mr. Gates is an “Ivy League big shot,” a “limousine liberal,” and a star professor at Harvard, an institution they regard with special loathing. They pointed out that Mr. Gates allegedly addressed the cop with that deathless snob phrase, “you don’t know who you’re messing with”; they reminded us that Cambridge, Mass., is home to a particularly obnoxious combination of left-wing orthodoxy and upper-class entitlement; and they boiled over Mr. Gates’s demand that the officer “beg my forgiveness.”

OK, so far, that's not a bad assessment of the situation. Although I might quibble with the terms "most," certainly the loudest and most public voices have focused on those two issues. And now, for the brain fart:

Conservatives won this round in the culture wars, not merely because most of the facts broke their way, but because their grievance is one that a certain species of liberal never seems to grasp. Whether the issue is abortion, evolution or recycling, these liberal patricians are forever astonished to discover that the professions and institutions and attitudes that they revere are seen by others as arrogance and affectation.

The, uh, facts broke their way? Honeychild, the facts most certainly broke against the arresting officer and one wonders exactly why the conservatives in this country, the alleged bastion of individual rights and freedoms, aren't taking up Gates' cause.

After all, if he had been arrested for brandishing a weapon at a police invasion of his premises and assault on both his private property and his person, it would be Ruby Ridge all over again!

Oh. Wait. Randy Weaver was white. It's different for white people shooting at Federal agents. I forgot.

The facts, Mr. Frank, are that the originating 911 call made no mention of the suspect's race, except when prompted and even then, Gates or his driver were misidentified as possibly "Hispanic" (direct quote).

And yet, somehow, "two black men (were reported)"
appeared in the initial police report. This, despite the firm denial by the complainant (Lucia Whalen) that she ever mentioned the race of anyone.

Those are the facts. Furthermore, since when has insulting other words, exercising your First Amendment right to be a jerk...been an arrestable offense? Detestable, perhaps. But it is not an arrestable offense for anyone, standing on their own property, to call a cop names.

After all, one would think they've heard a lot worse from traffic violators, yet county and town jails all across this nation are studiously empty of boneheads with quick tempers, mouthing off to the cop who stopped them for a taillight violation.

But wait! There's more from Mr. Franks!

The “elitism” narrative routinely blind-sides them, takes them by surprise again and again. There they are, feeling good about their solidarity with the coffee-growers of Guatemala, and then they find themselves on the receiving end of criticism from, say, the plumbers of Ohio.

Elitism, in this case, meaning a man who teaches at Harvard University is not entitled to the same basic Constitutional protections that, say, a limousine-riding Ph.D. columnist for the Wall Street Journal is. Especially if said teacher is uppity and black. But I digress.

But then again, limousine-riding Ph. D. columnists for the Wall Street Journal would hardly deign to share a beer with anyone, much less the house Negro at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, would they? Or is he just jealous that The Man is keeping a white man down?

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Regulation is bad for business

By Capt. Fogg

One of the favorite targets of libertarians and "smaller government" arguments is the FDA. The market should, could, and would preserve us from tainted, unsafe, and worthless products, just the way it didn't in the 19th century. Perhaps there's some truth to that, but the store window where the idea is sold doesn't contain a display of all the poisoned, sickened and fleeced consumers waiting to be redeemed or resurrected while the market forces grind on in the darkness of unregulated capitalism.

Of course, the FDA, or what remains of it after years of Republican misrule, can't do much better, it seems, and the free press that's supposed to be an agent of illumination in a libertarian utopia doesn't care to try. Witness today at an article telling us that products widely being sold as steroid free, body-building aids do actually contain dangerous synthetic steroids and can, in several ways, kill you. Thanks, CNN.

Of course, prominently displayed on the home page is a photo of a grotesquely, steroidal male torso which links to an ad for the very things the FDA is telling people to avoid like the plague they apparently are. "Safe, natural, legal!" Never mind that little liver failure thing.

The solution is clear. We really need to get rid of the FDA and that damned government regulation -- bad for business, don't you know.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Speculative energy trading

By Creature

Yes, it's the nub of the problem. Great, that someone wants to do something about it. But, why has it taken this long? It's not that we can't fix problems in this country, it's that the inertia (and lies) involved in getting there that is so damn frustrating.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Sign of the Apocalypse #66: The one and only Kim Kardashian, celebutante

By Michael J.W. Stickings

If you happen to find Kim Kardashian attractive, in one way or another, either in whole or in part, it's hard to feel sorry for Reggie Bush, star running back for the New Orleans Saints. He did, after all, get to date her -- and, well, to get to know her, presumably, in a deeply personal way.

But still...

Here are the two front-page Yahoo headlines that caught my attention last night:

-- "Kim Kardashian splits with longtime boyfriend"; and

-- "Kim Kardashian cuts Bush."

Notice that the first headline doesn't even mention Bush. If anything, he's an afterthought. The
story is about the big star, Kardashian, not whatever guy she happened to break up with.

The second headline mentions Bush but is clear that it was Kim who broke up with Reggie, as if it was she who was calling all the shots.

Problem is, it's not at all clear what happened. According to the AP (the story to which the first headline links), they just "called it quits." According to the other article, which (un)helpfully quotes an anonymous source, they split up because they don't get to spend much time together. (Another anonymous source clarifies: "They loved each other so much but they hardly saw each other... They just need a break right now.")

Now, you may be asking, "Who cares?" Or perhaps, as I am this very moment, "Michael, you're on vacation, don't you have better things to do than blog about this oh-so-beautiful celebrity couple?"

Well, I had a few moments to spare, late at night, and what gets me about this is not the break-up -- because, yes, who cares? -- but the coverage of the break-up, and specifically the utterly unwaranted attention lavished on Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian, who is famous mostly, and pretty much solely, for being Kim Kardashian -- and for having... well, certain assets that many men of my persuasion, and no doubt some of other persuasions, and no doubt many on the other side of the gender divide, find, well... compelling.

What else is she? What else has she done? Her dad's a famous lawyer (O.J. says thanks). Her mother married Olympian and quasi-celebrity Peter Jenner. She appeared in Playboy. She's been in some terrible movies. She's a model. She has a workout DVD (but no Jane Fonda is she, yet). She has some perfume coming out (but, then, even Britney has her own perfume). There was that pornographic home video (which seems almost de rigeur for would-be "celebutantes" -- see Hilton, Paris). And, of course, there's the "reality" show about her own family, the prime engine of her stardom (excepting her assets, which really keep her in the limelight), Keeping Up With the Kardashians, a show that almost perfectly captures the shameless self-absorption of America's celebrity culture, and of its shameless inhabitants (not that I've seen much of it, though I'm sure I've seen enough).

(Celebutante -- what a horrible word, what a horrible concept.)

Don't get me wrong. She might be a lovely young woman with brains and a personality. And if she wants to get together with me to talk all this over, to fill me in on her many virtues, well, I'm up for that (though my significant other would no doubt want to come along, which would be fine with me).

And maybe it's not her fault, not all her fault, that she's become what she's become.

But seriously. How is it that Kim Kardashian has emerged as a fairly significant, and a significantly well-known, star, a celebrity whose every move is somehow worthy of the closest attention?

That's right, it's because we're getting ever closer to the Apocalypse, of which her being a star, for nothing at all really, is a bright, blinking neon sign made brighter, and blinkier, by the vapid culture that put her on the pedestal in the first place and that keeps her there for the rest of us apparently to drool over.


Meanwhile, Reggie Bush has actually done something. He won the Heisman Trophy at USC. And although his pro career has thus far been somewhat disappointing, partly due to injury, he has been, when healthy, an exciting, game-changing playmaker -- yes, a legitimate star on the gridiron.

And 2009 will be just his fourth season in the NFL. Whereas his ex has probably maxed out, with little more to offer, Reggie's best may be yet to come.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not bipartisan

By Creature

Bookmark and Share

The best healthcare a lobbyist can buy

By Creature

Let's be clear, the healthcare bill coming out of The Max Baucus Committee will be the best bipartisan bill a lobbyist money can buy.  Hopefully the rest of America's interests can be reconciled with it once Baucus and his five greedy friends get their hands off of it.  I'm not optimistic.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bad news, worse news

By Carl

interesting study was released by the University of Hawaii overnight:

Atmospheric carbon increased 70 percent during the period known as Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago, said Richard Zeebe. Yet it was less than expected to explain a rapid increase in temperatures, he said in an interview.

"This constitutes an enigma because carbon dioxide released cannot account for the entire warming. This means something else contributed significantly to the warming," he said.

"We're not saying carbon dioxide is not important," he emphasized. "It is very important. Current and future warming is almost entirely due to carbon emissions. There is no doubt about this."

The right wing will probably crow loudly about this, in their Crow Magnon style, but this is even worse than anticipated.

See, if global climate change correlates with an increase in temperature, and that increase in temperature (which has been shown) is correlated with a rise in atmospheric carbon, then any fluctuation from that means that predictions going forward based on that mechanism are suspect.

Which might be good news IF temperatures had risen less with a rise in carbon than anticipated in history.

This study indicates something far more insidious, although you won't read about it in the news much. The implications of this story are the very real threat of a feedback loop that actually creates more warming than the levels of atmospheric carbon would dictate.

For example, it's very hard to measure atmospheric methane in ocean sediment cores-- carbon gets to the bottom of the ocean as unicelled organisms which process it in photosynthesis die and drop down-- but methane is even more of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This study showed that a 70% increase in atmospheric carbon created a 16 degree rise in global temperatures. This was a rise that would be predicted with a tripling of carbon dioxide levels.

Scientists predict now that CO2 levels will double this century. We're in for nasty weather, not just this century, but for milennia to come.

(crossposted to
Simply Left Behind)


Bookmark and Share

Quote of the Day

By Creature

"In contrast to the kind of luvfest David Vitter is used to, this trip was legal, public and no money changed hands...As we all remember, the last time David Vitter made public comments about a 'luvfest' he end[ed] up begging for forgiveness. I am anticipating an apology from him for this web ad in the near future." -- Louisiana Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck in response to a fundraising ad by confirmed john (and staunch family man), David Vitter.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


By Capt. Fogg

It's the biggest thing in America and Fox News is the dominant purveyor. Their sole purpose is to select, modify, slant and sometimes create stories to make you angry at people or things selected by their owners and sponsors.

Using animatronic devices like Britt Hume, whose synthetic skin hangs from it's metal underpinnings which in turn no longer have the ability to mimic human facial expressions, Fox sells anger and unlike our automobile industry they can come out with a finished new product in minutes.

The current angertainment opera has to do with President Obama's seemingly hasty and harsh comments about the Cambridge Massachusetts police force. That occurrence has been welded together with another twisted work of fiction in which he has been touring the world "apologizing for America" to come up with the logically contradictory premise that he is "arrogant" and too arrogant to apologize even though he apologizes too much.

The subtext is that the country never has done anything it shouldn't have and we are always perfect because of our military strength and number of privately owned Hummers and that of course is a position broadcasting megawatts of arrogance like some annoying beacon.

Of course that Obama actually has apologized and in addition arranged to mediate between the two contestants goes unnoticed by the corpse-faced Hume and to the Fox Flock who only listen to the Fox product, that never happened and so presto chango, the wimp Obama becomes the arrogant Obama all at the same time. It's all angertainment.

Who cares that self contradictory arguments based on little but manufactured tribal anger are by nature false and in effect are crippling and disuniting our country? It's angertainment and it makes money and it takes power and it feels so good to be part of an angry tribe with an enemy to be attacked!

“The president could have said ‘that was a stupid thing for me to say,’ but he can’t say that for some reason"

said Hume yesterday. It could also be that Obama's actions speak louder than Obama's words and it could also be tragically humorous since he follows the most arrogant president in our history who admitted no fault while dragging us all to ruin and lawlessness. Of course Hume and whoever runs his software never wanted you to be angry at Bush who apologized for nothing. They wanted you to be angry at his critics and they remain far too arrogant to sum up their entire malignant war on truth by saying "that was a stupid thing for me to say."

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Krugman on Blue Dogs

By Creature

He wants to call them drug and insurance company tools, but he pulls back.  I'm not so forgiving.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not a CBO analysis

By Creature

Bookmark and Share

Dead fish: Sarah Palin, the future of the Republican Party, leaves office without an iota of credibility

By Michael J.W. Stickings

"Sarah Palin leaving governor's post amid confusion, criticism," says the L.A. Times.

I'd say that's putting it mildly.

While she's as wildly popular as ever among the GOP's extremist faithful, those in the base and the Rush-driven conservative movement, she has, incredibly, even less credibility than she had during the utter embarrassment -- to her, to her party, to her state, to the nation -- that was her time on the national stage during last year's presidential campaign. (Just think back to those Couric interviews.)

It was that campaign, once the initial infatuation and media frenzy were over, that exposed her ignorance and her unpreparedness, revealing her as an endless joke worthy of some fine SNL satire but also, given her combination of ignorance and ideological fanaticism (the typically Republican blend of evangelical theocratism and laissez-faire libertarianism), all packaged within the persona of a sanctimonious, grudge-holding thug, as a genuinely dangerous political figure, one who claimed to speak for America but who really spoke for her own sense of victimhood and entitlement.

And now she's gone -- but not for long.

No dead fish is she. Her many worshippers on the right will make sure she rises again, the would-be saviour of a party that is ever-so-desperate for someone to lead it back to the promised land.

(To which I say: Fine with me. There's no way the Republicans will win with Palin at the helm. Which is why they should by all means build their future around her.)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

(Misleading) Headline of the Day (Obama-Gates-Crowley-Congress edition)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Hill:

True? Yes, strictly speaking.

Misleading? Absolutely.

As Libby puts it over at The Impolitic, the headline should have been "Insane GOPer to introduce resolution…"

Because while the House will, in fact, be considering this anti-Obama resolution, the resolution itsels is the work not of the Democratic majority, or of some bipartisan group, as the headline implies, but of a single Republican, Thaddeus McCotter, who is obviously hoping to use the whole Gates-Crowley incident to score political points against Obama.

I suppose we can have a serious discussion about the arrest,* as well as about whether/how Obama should have responded, but turning an incident with obvious racial/racist overtones is hardly helpful.

Though it's pretty much what you'd expect from the House GOP these days.

* But let's not forget the basic facts here: A black man was arrested in his own home because the police thought he was robbing it. Is that stupid? I'd say so. Obama has since refined his comments, but he remains right about it. The whole incident was an appalling over-reaction, one that brought to the fore, once more, America's extremely deep racial divides, not to mention its long history of state-sanctioned racism.

And you know what else is appalling? The way the media are covering the ongoing story -- how they're spewing Republican/conservative spin and otherwise manufacturing controversy.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Truth in Comics

By Creature

If it's Sunday, it's Truth in Comics.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share