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Ms. Marvel #16 - Adrian Alphona is back. I miss Takeshi Miyazawa but wasn't as disappointed by the return of Alphona as i thought i would be. He actually does have a good style for this book. The defense pwners set-up by Loki were sufficiently weird, for example, and i do like his comical facial expressions and poses. I did kind of read this thinking maybe i could drop the book, since it's all set up for an event that isn't directly about Ms. Marvel and which she won't have any control over. But then i got to the last page and i was like, yeah, i want to see the interaction between Kamala and Carol Danvers.

Daredevil #16 - Really great. Loved Kingpin's art collection. Also thought the verbal sparring between Daredevil and Kingpin was good. I am still kind of holding out hope that there's a twist coming with Shroud. His whole deal used to be that he's a good guy that pretends to be a bad guy. So it would be nice if he wasn't just crazily obsessed in this story and it was all a ruse. But we'll see what happens. It would have been nice to get some kind of information on Julia Carpenter in this issue. I have no idea what her current status is, but my immediate thoughts while reading this were "She's a Spider-Woman! Why can't she defend herself?!".

By fnord12 | July 30, 2015, 9:40 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

How Speedball's powers work

From 1990's Marvel Super Heroes #3. I really posted this because of the awesome/terrifying Mark Gruenwald Seal of Approval.

By fnord12 | July 29, 2015, 10:02 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

Yeah, that's sort of the problem

Hillary Clinton, on refusing to answer whether or not she supports the Keystone XL pipeline:

If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.

It's not just on this issue, which i admit is as much about the symbolism as the actual issue. But it's the same with TPP. And it's the same with most of her vague positions, which sometimes sound good but don't have any detail or commitment behind them. She really does seem to be running on the basis that we don't have any choice in electing her, so she doesn't have to take a stand on anything.

Of course, there is an alternative.

By fnord12 | July 28, 2015, 3:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Recap 68

The All New, All Different Motley Crew

By min | July 23, 2015, 12:20 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link

Silver Jetskiier


This contest required getting a high score in the notoriously difficult Silver Surfer NES game.

By fnord12 | July 22, 2015, 11:55 AM | Comics & Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

Shit Happens NOW!

Paul O'Brien discusses Secret Wars at the halfway point.

The most alarming thing to me is that he thinks it is going to be like Age of Apocalypse, where Marvel's regular continuity will return when it's all over, with maybe a few characters from other publishing lines dropped in, like Miles Morales and Old Man Logan (?!). "Alarming" in the sense that i've already sort of let go. 'Just when i thought i was out', etc..

By fnord12 | July 19, 2015, 4:48 PM | Comics | Comments (8) | Link

What the hell, people?

I've been gone an entire week and you haven't made Bernie Sanders president yet? What have you people been doing?

By fnord12 | July 17, 2015, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Game Paused

By fnord12 | July 11, 2015, 1:11 AM | My stupid life & Video Games | Comments (0) | Link

Panda: I Have a Thyroid Condition

The researchers found that pandas get by on shoots and leaves because they expend extremely small amounts of energy.

A typical adult panda burns up about 38% of the calories used by other, similarly sized animals.

The scientists found the bears' slow-moving ways were linked to low levels of thyroid hormones.


"We found that their low metabolism is correlated with very low levels of thyroid hormones, which was linked to a genetic mutation in the thyroid hormone synthesis pathway that is unique to the panda."

These hormone levels were the equivalent to those found in hibernating black bears.


In my head, it's the lack of sufficient food energy that makes them so sloth-like, but they're not clever enough to try eating something more suitable to their digestive system. How fast could you move if you were half-starved? If they move, they'll die!

By min | July 10, 2015, 1:47 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

Frog Robot

I want the frog robot!

Using a multimaterial 3-D printer, a group of scientists led by Robert Wood at Harvard University created a froglike robot from both rigid and soft materials. [Nicholas W. Bartlett et al, A 3-D-printed, functionally graded soft robot powered by combustion]

The robot's body is stiff near the core control center, making it durable enough to be combustion-powered, while the bot's flexible outer edges help it stick the landing.

It could make friends with the dog robot bob's getting me.

By min | July 10, 2015, 9:19 AM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

14% Isn't High Enough

Ugh. Chuck Schumer.

I don't think there could ever be an argument that convinces me multinationals should get taxed at a lower rate than individuals earning less than $40,000/year, so Rob Portman should shut the fuck up.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have just proposed a plan that would give those corporations something they've always wanted: a so-called "territorial" tax system in the U.S.

A territorial tax system would only tax U.S.-based multinationals on their profits earned within the United States -- which sounds like it makes sense, except that it's incredibly easy for big corporations to use financial trickery to sell to a big market like the U.S. but say their profits were earned in another country. Another country that always happens to have a much lower tax rate than here. For instance, in 2010 U.S.-based multinationals claimed that so much of their profits were earned in Bermuda that these profits were 1578 percent the size of Bermuda's economy.

According to the current law, though, U.S.-based corporations are taxed on those profits at U.S. rates if they ever bring these profits back home. So they just leave them overseas -- right now they have about $2.1 trillion stashed in other countries.

The Schumer-Portman plan would impose a tax on corporate profits purportedly earned in other countries whether they came back to the U.S. or not. But it would do so at a far lower rate than the current standard corporate tax rate of 35 percent -- President Obama has proposed 14 percent, and while Schumer and Portman haven't come up with a specific number, Portman says 14 percent is much too high.

The obvious consequence if the Schumer-Portman scheme becomes law is that businesses based solely within the U.S. would be at a permanent disadvantage. Multinationals could earn profits in the U.S., get their armies of lawyers and accountants to make these profits appear to have been "earned" in the Cayman Islands, and get taxed at the overseas profit rate. Meanwhile, purely domestic companies would either have to pay the higher domestic rate, or turn into multinationals themselves.

There is a much simpler, fairer, more efficient way to run the tax system for international corporations, called "formulary apportionment." With formulary apportionment, it wouldn't matter how many subsidiaries and departments corporations had scattered all over the globe, and which "earned" their profits where. Instead, a formula (based on a combination of a corporation's sales, payroll and capital stock) would determine what proportion of the corporation "belonged" to each country. Then the corporation's overall profits would be allocated according to that proportion, and the corporation would pay that country's tax rate on that proportion.


By min | July 10, 2015, 9:12 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Government By the People Act

If we're forbidden by the Supreme Court from limiting money coming from the 0.01 percent, what about amplifying money from the bottom 99.99 percent?

That's the basis for the Government by the People Act, introduced last year by Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland's 3rd District. (If the name sounds familiar, that's probably because his father, Paul, was a five-term senator from Maryland.)

Sarbanes has quietly garnered 160 co-sponsors for the bill and support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has 19 co-sponsors.

The bill has three main parts:

  • Everyone gets $25 to donate to candidates

All voters receive $25 per year to give to political campaigns, provided in the form of a refundable tax credit equal to half of donations up to $50. (For instance, if you donate $30 to a candidate, you get $15 of that back; to get the full $25 you have to donate $50.)

  • 6 to 1 matching funds (at least) for small donors

Donations up to $150 to qualifying House and Senate candidates are matched 6 to 1 with public money. In other words, if your next door neighbor is running for Congress and you give her $50, she'll get another $300, making $350 total.

And donations are matched 9 to 1 for candidates who completely renounce big money and take only donations of $150 or less. So if your neighbor is willing to do that, your $50 donation would turn into $500 total for her. (Moreover, if you use your $25 tax credit, that $500 she received would only cost you $25 total.)

  • Help for candidates facing an onslaught of SuperPAC money, dark money, etc.

Candidates would be eligible for enhanced matching funds in the last 60 days before an election, with incentives so they would only access the funds if it's a particularly high-cost race.


By min | July 8, 2015, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Breakdown of comic sales

The Beat has a nice infographic breaking down North American comic sales by format and venue.

By fnord12 | July 7, 2015, 9:32 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

How Sanders would "get things done"

It may not seem like it, but i've been fighting my own inclination to turn this blog into an "All Sanders, All The Time" site. But i do want to make an exception for these two articles since they aren't focused on the horse race stuff. These show how Sanders fights for his policies in a practical way, and both are interesting because they show how he's navigated the difficult legislative environment.

Sometimes it's asked how Sanders would get laws through Congress if he were president. Considering the obstruction that President Obama has faced, and the fact that Hillary Clinton is just as hated by the Republicans, i don't think that she has a greater claim than Sanders on being able to get things done. And as Min pointed out, Sanders sees keeping an active base of supporters engaged beyond election day is a big part of his strategy.

Sanders has also shown more willingness to do things through executive orders. Obama has done some great things through executive action recently (EPA regulation of carbon, the Dreamer exemption, overtime pay) but he could have done those things six years ago. I would anticipate a lot of Day One action from Sanders.

But we also have the examples below showing how he's made practical compromises while still working towards a progressive agenda. The fact that he's been in Congress (House, then Senate) since 1990 means he knows the process and has a lot of relationships. That in itself is not a panacea in a polarized environment. But coupled with his plan to use engaged supporters to pressure Congress and support primary challenges when necessary, i see it as being a more practical argument than vague promises to end the partisan divide in Washington.

Here are the articles:

Bernie Sanders' community health clinics.

Veterans Affairs.

There's also the fact that it's not helpful to "get things done" if the things you are trying to get done are terrible. Some of the things Bill Clinton got done were: welfare "reform" (i.e. cutting it), NAFTA, the Three Strikes Rule, DOMA, DMCA, and financial deregulation. The Democrats were obviously in a different place in the 1990s, and Hillary isn't Bill. But we are in a different place now, and i think we need someone not associated with all of that. Not to mention the fact that Hillary has only come around on some of those issues recently, and some not at all.

Ok, i meant for this to be a positive Bernie post and it devolved into an anti-Clinton rant. Sorry. Bernie wouldn't like me for that; he's staying positive. But i almost never see a policy objection to Bernie (among people that would vote in the Dem primary, obviously). I either see "electability" or "how would he get things done". And i think rank and file Democrats that are concerning themselves with these types of issues are outsmarting themselves, or they're cowed by conventional wisdom from pundits which is often wrong. You should vote for who you believe in.

By fnord12 | July 6, 2015, 10:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link

Re-meme-ber John Kerry

I got tired of hearing about Bernie Sanders and George McGovern, so i made my first ever (and probably last) meme.

Bernie Sanders is not George McGovern

By fnord12 | July 5, 2015, 11:45 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Thomas Paine, socialist

I'm not one that thinks citing the Founding Fathers "proves" anything, but i thought it was interesting to see that Thomas Paine was an advocate for the redistribution of wealth. This is from an article on Bill Moyer's site about Bernie Sanders:

It was the American Revolution's patriot and pamphleteer, Thomas Paine -- a hero today to folks left and right, including tea partiers -- who launched the social-democratic tradition in the 1790s. In his pamphlets, Rights of Man and Agrarian Justice, Paine outlined plans for combating poverty that would become what we today call Social Security.

As Paine put it in the latter work, since God has provided the earth and the land upon it as a collective endowment for humanity, those who have come to possess the land as private property owe the dispossessed an annual rent for it. Specifically, Paine delineated a limited redistribution of income by way of a tax on landed wealth and property. The funds collected were to provide both grants for young people to get started in life and pensions for the elderly.

Let's call this my July 4th post. Happy Independence Day!

By fnord12 | July 4, 2015, 2:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Squirrel Invasion

Min thought it would be deer, but it seems like squirrels are the next species trying to get into our home.

Unintentional soundtrack:

Little Shirtwaist Fire - Rasputina
What You Laid On Me - Ann Peebles
Pandora's Lullaby - Alphaville

By fnord12 | July 2, 2015, 11:53 AM | My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link

I'm a Semi-Dirty Hippie

I totally believe in daily bathing. I'm just not 100% on daily soaping. I'm one of those water-only washers. Sort of. Bottoms get soaped. That's non-negotiable. C'mon, people. Poo happened. Soap or get off my furniture (this is why we can't have pets).

It started ages ago when my aunt made an offhand comment and revealed she'd stopped using soap cause it dried her skin. That eventually got me wondering if it made any sense that i daily washed oils off my body with cleansers only to have to follow that up with lotion because i was now so dry and itchy. My aunt didn't smell or seem dirty, so what the hell. A few years ago, i decided to give this water-only thing a shot. My lotion usage has been reduced significantly. Now, it's pretty much limited to every other day during the winter months (except my hands, which i wash several times a day because duh, so i have to moisturize them all year).

For what it's worth, i don't believe i'm getting all that dirty sitting at my desk all day when the majority of my body is covered by clothing. My most strenuous activity is lugging my lunch-laden backpack from the house to the car, and i'm not much of a sweat-er. So basically, if i've been planting shrubs all day - soap. If i've been nesting on the couch - water and a scrub brush do the trick. My mother hasn't mentioned anything about my hygiene (or lack thereof), and people haven't been avoiding being near me (sadly), so i figure everything's fine.

I just found this article today and thought it was interesting:

I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic, developed by AOBiome, a biotech start-up in Cambridge, Mass. The tonic looks, feels and tastes like water, but each spray bottle of AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist contains billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) that is most commonly found in dirt and untreated water. AOBiome scientists hypothesize that it once lived happily on us too -- before we started washing it away with soap and shampoo -- acting as a built-in cleanser, deodorant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster by feeding on the ammonia in our sweat and converting it into nitrite and nitric oxide.
AOBiome does not market its product as an alternative to conventional cleansers, but it notes that some regular users may find themselves less reliant on soaps, moisturizers and deodorants after as little as a month. Jamas, a quiet, serial entrepreneur with a doctorate in biotechnology, incorporated N. eutropha into his hygiene routine years ago; today he uses soap just twice a week. The chairman of the company's board of directors, Jamie Heywood, lathers up once or twice a month and shampoos just three times a year. The most extreme case is David Whitlock, the M.I.T.-trained chemical engineer who invented AO+. He has not showered for the past 12 years. He occasionally takes a sponge bath to wash away grime but trusts his skin's bacterial colony to do the rest. I met these men. I got close enough to shake their hands, engage in casual conversation and note that they in no way conveyed a sense of being "unclean" in either the visual or olfactory sense.
My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna's worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning "shower" -- a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products -- I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.

Ok, not showering for 12 years sounds gross to me. Not showering daily actually sounds gross (remember the poo bottoms?). Prolly as gross to me as me mostly using just water sounds to you. But cereally - it's one thing to not use a cleanser and another thing to forgo washing altogether. As most articles about hand washing and laundry will tell you - friction is key to getting things clean. If you skip the whole showering thing entirely...is your pet monkey grooming you???

But it's not all about being a dirty hippie. There's also a medical goal to this, finding ways to heal lesions and to repel malaria-carrying insects.

Dr. Elizabeth Grice, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies the role of microbiota in wound healing and inflammatory skin disease, said she believed that discoveries about the second genome might one day not only revolutionize treatments for acne but also -- as AOBiome and its biotech peers hope -- help us diagnose and cure disease, heal severe lesions and more. Those with wounds that fail to respond to antibiotics could receive a probiotic cocktail adapted to fight the specific strain of infecting bacteria. Body odor could be altered to repel insects and thereby fight malaria and dengue fever. And eczema and other chronic inflammatory disorders could be ameliorated.
While most microbiome studies have focused on the health implications of what's found deep in the gut, companies like AOBiome are interested in how we can manipulate the hidden universe of organisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) teeming throughout our glands, hair follicles and epidermis. They see long-term medical possibilities in the idea of adding skin bacteria instead of vanquishing them with antibacterials -- the potential to change how we diagnose and treat serious skin ailments.
AOBiome says its early research seems to hold promise. In-house lab results show that AOB activates enough acidified nitrite to diminish the dangerous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A regime of concentrated AO+ caused a hundredfold decrease of Propionibacterium acnes, often blamed for acne breakouts. And the company says that diabetic mice with skin wounds heal more quickly after two weeks of treatment with a formulation of AOB.

Since we can't seem to convince people to stop using anti-bacterial soap, i hope they do find a way to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Plus, teens everywhere would thank them if they found a way to reduce hormonal acne.

So, while i'm not sold on the idea that you should just cultivate a colony of bacteria on your body and give up all bathing, i think there is something to the idea that some of our skin issues might be a result of us messing with it too much.

Now, who's got stinky feet problems? I have the perfect Christmas gift for you!

By min | June 30, 2015, 2:15 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link

Bernie Sanders and minorities

I have reached my tipping point on Bernie Sanders Needs to Make Inroads with African-Americans articles. This is the worst kind of vapid horse race political reporting. If you read that article and many like it, you will find no discussion of policy. The article boils down to "Sanders needs people to vote for him if he is going to win", which is a truism. Sanders is unknown nationally. He's been making amazing inroads in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and yes, those states are very white. So right now his support is primarily white, because he is campaigning in those states first. But there's nothing to say that his message won't resonate with non-white voters to the same degree. Except that about a million of these Bernie Sanders Needs to Make Inroads with minorities articles have been posted, and these articles, all of them content free, morph into a message that Sanders can't make inroads with African-Americans or Latinos, or doesn't want to, or something like that. And as far as i know, nothing can be further from the truth.

I don't presume to know for sure what issues African-Americans care about. I started to write a laundry list, from his involvement in the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s, his opposition to Bill Clinton's welfare and crime "reforms" in the 90s, and through to today, when he's partnering with John Conyers on a youth jobs bill. But i don't want to presume. It would be nice if these articles actually investigated and reported on the issues that African-Americans and Latinos (and other groups) care about and compared it to Sanders' (and Hillary Clinton's) record and proposals. Anything else is just reading the poll numbers to us, and telling us nothing.

By fnord12 | June 30, 2015, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Can't be "chocolate". It was already chocolate.

Get out of here, Sonny. No one wants your Hot Cloaca cereal.

This is from comics with a Feb 91 cover date.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2015, 9:52 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

And now for something sillier

This is really just for Min, because it's her favorite character.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2015, 9:49 PM | Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

The hopey-changey thing is working out ok right now

Just wanted to sort of acknowledge that it's been a pretty amazing week.

1) The shooting in Charleston was a terrible tragedy. But the silver lining is the movement to get rid of the Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy. That is of course small compensation for the deaths. But it's huge and belated progress. They may just be "symbols", but they are symbols of racism. I can't imagine the effect of being black and growing up around them.

2) The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Also huge. Still work to be done. But this was an important ruling.

3) The Obamacare ruling. It's obvious what the intent of the law was, but it wasn't obvious how the right wing justices would rule. Justice Roberts seemingly wants to assure us that the Supreme Court isn't just an extension of the politics of the other two branches. I don't really believe him, but this is an argument in his favor (on the other hand, he did vote no on the gay marriage case).

4) Bernie Sanders. Maybe some people won't think this belongs in here with the other three. But i think his core platform of campaign finance reform and fixing inequality is as important as these other issues. And i'm amazed at how well he's doing. He's already significantly changed the conversation in the Democratic primary. I don't dare hope for more than that (but i do), but it's already exceeded my expectations.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2015, 7:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Harrrr! Hand over yer mp3s, matey!

Iceland's Pirate Party surges (relatively speaking) in the polls.

By fnord12 | June 23, 2015, 7:41 AM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

History's Greatest Team-Up

By fnord12 | June 22, 2015, 9:16 PM | TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link

Just Give Me a Diagnostic Report

Fnord and i have been requesting a machine that we can hook ourselves up to in order to get a diagnostic (much like mechanics do with cars) for years. Cause doctors suck, and i put more faith in an inanimate machine to get the answer right. Also, i need someone to tell me right now why i'm suddenly having unexplained sharp pains in my chest area that don't seem indicative of any kind of problem (at the moment, i just accept that that's a thing that happens once in a while). If you try to see a doctor for that, you can either go to the ER or make an appointment for 3 months from now. Thanks.

So, i need them to hurry up and make this a reality.

The dream of a working tricorder may be on the verge of becoming a reality, as eight teams from around the world gather in San Diego this month to deliver prototypes of their entries for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. The rules for the contest are simple: build a device that will allow consumers to perform their own tests for up to 24 different ailments and deliver a diagnosis on the spot, as well as send the data to a cloud-based software platform for further analysis by physicians.
The goal of the contest is to foster commercialization of the technologies needed to build sophisticated in-home diagnostic and monitoring devices. Exactly what form those technologies will take is still not clear, nor is whether any one device will eventually make it to the market.

Some of the teams--Cloud DX for example--already have commercial systems on the market. Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Senior Director Grant Campany says one likely scenario is that winning teams will combine forces to create a hybrid product that combines the best features of each of their designs. "Every team has things that work really well, and other things that are a little clunky," says Kallenberg.

By min | June 22, 2015, 10:37 AM | Science | Comments (2) | Link

OMG! Two Pairs of Socks!

That's right, folks. It took me 8 months, but i finally managed to finish knitting a second pair of socks. That's a vast improvement over my last pair where it took me 4 months to knit one sock and then another 2 years to get around to finishing the second (to be fair, i knitted 2 shawls and a blanket in between socks, so i wasn't completely slacking).

Size 6US needles; 6oz/170g/315yd #4 "medium" weight acrylic yarn

Why make it easy, right? If i'm going to knit something, i might as well learn a new technique or four while i'm at it. With this pair of socks, i learned how to:

  • knit socks starting from the toe,

  • knit two socks at the same time (to avoid that year gap between socks),

  • use the Magic Loop technique to knit them on one pair of circular needles, and

  • cable knit.

I basically watched Very Pink Knits' YouTube video to learn how to knit the toe-up socks and combined it with other bits and pieces of advice and instruction i found on the internets (cause why go with 1 set of directions when you can use 3? how can that possibly go wrong?). Then i proceeded to fuck up no less than six times before i managed to get a finished product. That sounds like fun, right? Yeah. I'm totally knitting another pair of socks.

By min | June 20, 2015, 10:43 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link


The Dominican Republic's choice to retroactively strip some of its residents of citizenship has created the fifth-largest group of stateless people in the world. Until recently, the Dominican Republic considered all persons born in the country to be citizens, but in 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Court retroactively revoked citizenship for children born to foreign parents as early as 1929. Tuesday was residents' last chance to petition for naturalization to regain citizenship (albeit a lesser form).

The ruling is expected to primarily affect persons of Haitian heritage, who have been targeted for expulsion previously. Applying the ruling as far back as 1929 meant that families who had been citizens for two or more generations lost their Dominican Republic citizenship and couldn't turn to Haiti for a new home. A foreign-born person of Haitian descent is eligible for Haitian citizenship only if one parent is a natural-born Haitian citizen.


Once stateless people have been pushed out of their former home, they have no unique claim on any country in the world, which can wind up meaning that no nation offers them a new place to settle and be citizens. For example, hundreds of Rohingya Muslims, part of the world's single largest group of stateless people, have been in limbo after escaping Myanmar earlier this year. Although they have been given shelter in temporary camps, they have no new nation to belong to. If the Dominican Republic expels its newly stateless residents, they may also find that they have nowhere to legally live.


The UN has helpfully officially stated they are "deeply concerned" about all of this. Thanks. Our UN sucks. We need the UN of the Toho-verse. Those people could get shit done.

By min | June 18, 2015, 8:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

If Catcalls Were Cheeseburgers

By min | June 17, 2015, 3:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Ms. Marvel #15 - I'm reading currents so infrequently now that i didn't realize that i missed reading this until i went to put Daredevil #15.1 away. In my defense, the cover shows Kamala still flirting with Kamran in a casual setting, and we're way past that at this point, with Kamran having already turned out to be an evil Inhuman (and, as Kamala notes in this issue, "not even a villain... just a bad guy's lackey"). This book continues to be good. I thought the metaphor in the beginning was a little... on the nose, though:

Kamala: ...and instead, you brought me here against my will. After I said no.
Kamran: ...you just needed a little... persuasion.
Kamala: That is incredibly gross. You are incredibly gross.
Kamran: That's not how you seemed to feel when you snuck out with me the other night.
Kamala: I never thought anything like this would happen. I thought -- I thought it meant something else when we were together -- something good --
Kamran: Who's gonna believe that? You got in my car of your own free will. As far as anybody knows, you chose to be here. You put yourself in this situation.
Kamala: [To herself] Is he right? Is this my fault? Is this what I deserve?

This is about Kamran tricking Kamala into meeting his evil boss, but the metaphor is obvious, and... i don't know. I am not, nor have i ever been, a young woman. Maybe this has more resonance with other people. But it seems too clunky to work, and takes you out of the story. This book has generally been great about depicting the challenges of growing up (from a Muslim female perspective, but also universally) without being so overt about it. Kamala later later realizes that she doesn't "feel ashamed anymore, or guilty" and that she's going to stop giving Kamran power over her and her identity. I mean, all the guy did was kidnap her and bring her to be recruited by the bad guy boss. Typical young super-hero stuff. I think the above would have been stronger as subtext and it would have made the story feel more natural. I almost worry that G. Willow Wilson is reacting to the positive reviews of the book and all the wonderful letters from fans that are published talking about how the book is so empowering to them, and instead of just continuing with what she's been doing she's now trying to tailor the story to match what people are saying. Which isn't necessary.

Anyway, this can all be glossed over and we still have a fun action story, with really nice art by Takeshi Miyazawa. And let me say for a third time that he's better for this book than Adrian Alphona; in addition to the nice quasi-manga style, Miyazawa is much better at depicting action sequences, which is important for this issue. Next issue begins the Secret Wars tie-ins and "The Last Days of Ms. Marvel" and i'm not sure if we're getting them, but this issue's ending actually feels like an end to the series with the connection between Kamala and Bruno.

By fnord12 | June 17, 2015, 11:49 AM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link

Blaming the symptom

Maybe the problem wasn't Eugene McCarthy but the fact that LBJ wouldn't pull out of Vietnam. You can extrapolate from there.

By fnord12 | June 16, 2015, 10:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link


The state of Texas seems to be doing something really crazy.

By fnord12 | June 16, 2015, 10:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Daredevil #15.1 - Someone got tricked by a Waid/Samnee framing sequence into buying this. What we actually have here are a pair of continuity inserts.

The first is by Marc Guggenheim and Peter Krause. It takes place before Daredevil #1, which would have been helpful to inform us of in advance, because when i saw Matt Murdock working for a law firm that wasn't Nelson & Murdock i was pretty confused at first. The story also makes sure to rub the sliding timescale in our face by having DD (in the yellow and brown-red costume) using a burner cell phone. It also has him fighting a pair of thugs that have found a cache of super-villain equipment, which seems kind of wrong for the time period. Would Doctor Octopus have left a spare set of tentacles laying around circa 1964? And the Shocker? That's a character that doesn't debut until 1967, and while i guess there's nothing that says he couldn't have been operating much earlier than that, it still seems odd for some of his equipment to wind up in a warehouse with Doc Ock's arms (or for Daredevil to recognize it, for that matter). The point of the story is to attempt to address the friction between Daredevil as a vigilante and Matt Murdock as a lawyer, but fails to deliver anything meaningful (as Daredevil, he catches the wrong guy, and as Matt Murdock, he manages to get the guy acquitted, but that hardly addresses the problem).

The second story is by Chris Samnee (story and art, and with a style that is much darker than his regular work on this book), and at least it's more upfront about telling us when it takes place (after Daredevil #57, because Karen Page knows DD's secret ID). The premise here is that even lame super-villains can be a threat in the right circumstances. The villain of the story is Diablo, who is introduced in the Mark Waid framing sequence as "more punching bag than world-beater". The Samnee segment similarly says that he's been "little more than a thorn in the side of the Fantastic Four". I mean, geez. In the long run, Diablo may not have turned out to be a fan favorite (although he's been in some really cool stories, from the Lee/Kirby era through at least John Byrne), but in-universe, he's an immortal wizard. He created Dragon Man! People actually living in the Marvel universe should think he's a badass! The story also totally mischaracterizes Diablo as someone that would sell his wares to drug dealers, saying things like "Never has there been an operation with the potential for such a high profit margin." I don't get it.

I also have the problem that, by my placement, Diablo should be trapped in an alternate dimension by Dr. Doom at this point, but that may be something i can work around. Still, i am learning to hate continuity inserts more and more. They rarely add anything of value and they are just about guaranteed to screw something up.

By fnord12 | June 16, 2015, 6:18 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

I Don't Know Why People Believe Candidates During a Campaign

It only leads to disappointment. You really should manage your expectations better. What they say to win has nothing to do with what they will actually do.

In Barack Obama's speech the night he won the 2008 election, he made a promise:
[A]bove all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation ...

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change.

And there were a whole lot of people ready to help. According to Marshall Ganz, one of the architects of Obama's 2008 organizing strategy, Obama's campaign had 3,000 organizers who recruited thousands more local leaders, who then helped mobilize 1.5 million volunteers and 13.5 million contributors. They thought Obama meant it, and was going to ask them to stay involved and keep campaigning.

But Obama didn't mean it. As Ganz later said:

One Obama campaign volunteer from Delaware County, Pa., put it this way soon after the election: "We're all fired up now, and twiddling our thumbs! ... Here, ALL the leader volunteers are getting bombarded by calls from volunteers essentially asking 'Nowwhatnowwhatnowwhat?'"
Consider this, however: I think it's unlikely that Obama's demobilization of his supporters was actually a "mistake." As Ganz put it in 2010, Obama saw his supporters "like a tiger you can't control"; Ganz speculated that the president's real goal was simply to "keep the machine on for the next election."

In other words, Obama was acting in accordance with what I like to call "The Iron Law of Institutions" -- that is, the people in charge of institutions (as Obama was in charge of the Democratic party and his "movement" in 2009) care first and foremost about their own power within the institution, rather than the power of the institution itself.

So while the Democratic party itself would have been much more powerful overall if Obama had kept his grassroots mobilized and involved, Obama himself and his most important donors and supporters would have been less powerful within the Democratic party. So Obama let the enthusiasm and activism surrounding his candidacy dissipate, all his supporters stayed home in 2010 and Obama's party suffered a catastrophic collapse.

But from Obama's perspective, so what?


By min | June 16, 2015, 8:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | June 15, 2015, 8:16 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link

Raising the overtime requirement

I mentioned this back in December without thinking that Obama would even consider doing it, but now it really does seem to be happening.

By fnord12 | June 9, 2015, 11:51 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

Jane the Virgin is a pretty funny show

After reading the interview i linked to, we tried some of the shows that the comedians were from. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt didn't work for us, but we are actually enjoying Jane the Virgin. It's a good spoof of soap operas with lots of surreal moments...

...and a great fourth wall breaking narrator. Comics could actually learn something from how the narrator provides the recaps and brings viewers up to speed with the twists of the soap opera plots. He's kind of like Marvel's footnotes on steroids.

By fnord12 | June 6, 2015, 12:39 PM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link

Well i never bought any New 52 so you can't blame me

Morgan Wick, a regular commenter on my Marvel chronology project, has a great essay up regarding the upcoming Secret Wars event*. (Well of course *i* think it's great since it touches on my regular "continuity is the selling point" soapbox topic.)

*For a few months more, at least, all of this must come with a big asterisk that of course we don't yet know where Marvel is ultimately going with Secret Wars.

By fnord12 | June 3, 2015, 10:19 PM | Comics | Comments (8) | Link


The Medium puts up a list of questions from a Bernie Sanders interview on CNN against a list of questions from an Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit. It's (so much) a matter of the quality of the question; it's that all of the CNN questions are horse race questions. I get it: Bernie Sanders is a longshot candidate. And a question or two about he chances makes perfect sense. But don't we want to actually learn where politicians stand on the issues? And isn't Bernie Sanders a longshot candidate at least in part because people don't know him, and then all that they hear about him is that he's a longshot candidate?

I'm not saying that it's CNN's job to help Sanders get his message out (although reporters then shouldn't get upset when politicians stop going on their shows, which they do). But it just feels like the target audience for CNN is political junkies that don't know how to use the internet, not people actually looking for news and information.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 1:58 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Recession alert

The latest economic news doesn't look so good. I guess we're not going to see any efforts to change this until the next government shake-up. If i were the Democrats, that would make me worried, because the incumbent presidential party doesn't get re-elected during a downturn. And it might be good to start asking candidates where they stand on stimulus spending. I know Bernie Sanders' answer, but i have less faith in Hillary Clinton.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 9:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

A classic Sid Meier's Culture Victory

One of the guest posters on Kevin Drum's blog has been doing a series of articles on Cuba and the easing of the embargo. This one in particular is a lot of fun. I love the idea of USB sticks full of bootleg TV shows being passed around like drugs. It's funny, and of course we can all tut tut about the quality of our TV shows, but it does show that we can do more to change world opinion with our culture than with embargos or wars.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 9:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link

No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.