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September 27, 2008

Running to the hills

Service resumes next week. Try not to screw things up while we're gone.


By fnord12 | September 27, 2008, 10:15 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



Monkey Business

TPM:

And here's another note from TPM Reader TB. I guess I'm really not sure quite how to characterize it ...
I think people really are missing the point about McCain's failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear--look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior--low ranking monkeys don't look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.

So McCain may have given away his status as a low-ranking monkey. I'd never even considered monkey rank.



By fnord12 | September 27, 2008, 2:08 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 26, 2008

B-b-but of course you need a guitar!!

Interesting to see things from another perspective.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

When I came to New York a couple things happened--1.) I got kind of disenchanted with a lot (not all) of hip-hop 2.) As a guy writing about music, but no longer socially segregated, I found that that shoulder shrug I gave when someone asked about Everything But The Girl wasn't cool, it was just ignorant. If I was gonna survive I had to know more. Again, the full story is here.

When I decided to integrate my collection, one major factor stood in the way--white rockers and their unvarnished love of the electric guitar. Part of that was real, and part of it was imagined. I'm sure some of my black readers who haven't made the leap can relate to the following: You know how some white people hear "black guy" and immediately picture some dude running from the cops? Anytime, anyone mentioned "white people" and "music" all I could hear were blaring guitars. Sure enough, when I ventured out, the loud guitars of The Strokes, The White Steipes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were waiting for me.

I learned to love a lot of it--some of it not so much. But I bring this up because I've got a homeboy straight out of the South Side of Chicago--doubtlessly reading this right now--who I'm trying to put on. Know what the biggest barrier is? The guitars. Heh, so funny. So I've been going through my music trying find some "white music" that doesn't feature blaring guitars. Not the easiest task. By the way the term "white music" is great. It's one of those moments when the world is flipped. A "white" perspective views itself as introducing, say, literature to the world. Thus we have subsets and exceptions like "black literature." But Negroes think they invented music, thus music that they don't see as there own is "white music," an exception, viewed skeptically and often derisively. It manages to somehow toss country, electronic, and grunge in the same bag and dismiss it as "some white shit." Funny--when you're on the bottom you aren't any more noble. No one is clean.

Check out his original article on the subject as well.


By fnord12 | September 26, 2008, 2:15 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Corporal Punishment Doesn't Work

I often hear people say the reason teens and college-aged kids are so obnoxious and bratty (as compared to previous generations) is because their parents didn't hit them enough when they were growing up. Now, those of you who read this blog regularly or who know me personally have heard me regularly express the wish for a stick with which to hit stupid people. Now, a) i know hitting people with sticks (or Hammers of Justice) would be wrong and illegal and b) you guys never let me do it. So why is it ok and acceptable to say kids should not only be abused, but abused more?

Ok, a smack on the bottom once in a while - not really "abuse" (and once the Bush Administration gets a hold of the word, hitting someone with a baseball bat repeatedly will also not be considered abuse). But it's still not ok for me to go and smack the person who sass-mouthed me at work, right? Oh, well, those are strangers. You can't do that to strangers. Fine. Is it ok for a someone to do it to their spouse for not washing the dishes? Would you go to work and talk about how you pinched your roommate the night before when they talked back to you? But if you did that to a 5 yr old, that's fine. Am i the only one who sees a problem here?

And what exactly are you teaching children by this practice? The simple answer is "bad behaviour will result in punishment". What if you're also teaching them that it's ok to hit someone when they do something you don't like? Or mom's a mean bitch? Or that they can't trust their parents?

Mebbe it cows children to be "respectful to" (read "afraid of") their parents. But what the hell kind of relationship is that? No wonder their kids are putting them in a nursing home the first chance they get.

The typical parent, when whacking a misbehaving child, doesn't pause to wonder: "What does science have to say about the efficacy of corporal punishment?" If they are thinking anything at all, it's: "Here comes justice!" And while the typical parent may not know or care, the science on corporal punishment of kids is pretty clear. Despite the rise of the timeout and other nonphysical forms of punishment, most American parents hit, pinch, shake, or otherwise lay violent hands on their youngsters: 63 percent of parents physically discipline their 1- to 2-year-olds, and 85 percent of adolescents have been physically punished by their parents. Parents cite children's aggression and failure to comply with a request as the most common reasons for hitting them.

The science also shows that corporal punishment is like smoking: It's a rare human being who can refrain from stepping up from a mild, relatively harmless dose to an excessive and harmful one. Three cigarettes a month won't hurt you much, and a little smack on the behind once a month won't harm your child. But who smokes three cigarettes a month? To call corporal punishment addictive would be imprecise, but there's a strong natural tendency to escalate the frequency and severity of punishment. More than one-third of all parents who start out with relatively mild punishments end up crossing the line drawn by the state to define child abuse: hitting with an object, harsh and cruel hitting, and so on. Children, endowed with wonderful flexibility and ability to learn, typically adapt to punishment faster than parents can escalate it, which helps encourage a little hitting to lead to a lot of hitting. And, like frequent smoking, frequent corporal punishment has serious, well-proven bad effects.

The negative effects on children include increased aggression and noncompliance--the very misbehaviors that most often inspire parents to hit in the first place--as well as poor academic achievement, poor quality of parent-child relationships, and increased risk of a mental-health problem (depression or anxiety, for instance). High levels of corporal punishment are also associated with problems that crop up later in life, including diminished ability to control one's impulses and poor physical-health outcomes (cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease). Plus, there's the effect of increasing parents' aggression, and don't forget the consistent finding that physical punishment is a weak strategy for permanently changing behavior.

But parents keep on hitting. Why? The key is corporal punishment's temporary effectiveness in stopping a behavior. It does work--for a moment, anyway. The direct experience of that momentary pause in misbehavior has a powerful effect, conditioning the parent to hit again next time to achieve that jolt of fleeting success and blinding the parent to the long-term failure of hitting to improve behavior. The research consistently shows that the unwanted behavior will return at the same rate as before. But parents believe that corporal punishment works, and they are further encouraged in that belief by feeling that they have a right and even a duty to punish as harshly as necessary.

Link

I know it can be frustrating when they don't listen to you, especially when you spent the last 8 hours at a stressful job and sat another hour in traffic to get home. But wouldn't it be better if they did what you told them out of love for you, out of respect, and because they've learned that mom and dad are always right instead of from fear of retribution (this clearly has no bearing on me hitting stupid people because, as we all know, stupid people are too dumb to learn so we might as well hit them with sticks and Hammers of Justice)?

I haven't got any kids so i'm clearly not talking from a place of experience. But i was a kid once and considering how resentful i still am about some of the things my parents have said to me, i think that if they topped it off with spankings or slaps or pinchings, i really really would have zero warm feelings of filial devotion to them. I don't think the short term relief is worth the possible long term effects.


By min | September 26, 2008, 11:10 AM | Science | Comments (2) | Link



We're going to Vermont

And we might not come back.


By fnord12 | September 26, 2008, 10:54 AM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link



September 25, 2008

Random Lyrics Thursday

Pierre by Carol King
(Lyrics actually by Maurice Sendak)

There was once a boy named Pierre
Who only would say, I don't care!
Read his story, my friend, for you'll find
At the end that a suitable
Moral lies there

One day his mother said
When Pierre climbed out of bed
-Good morning, darling boy, you are my only joy
Pierre said-I don't care!
-What would you like to eat?
-I don't care!
-Some lovely cream of wheat?
-I don't care!
-Don't sit backwards in your chair
-I don't care!
-Or pour syrup on your hair
-I don't care!
-You are acting like a clown
-I don't care!
-And we have to go to town
-I don't care!
-Don't you want to come, my dear?
-I don't care!
-Would you rather stay right here?
-I don't care!
So his mother left him there

His father said-Get off your head
Or I will march you up to bed!
Pierre said-I don't care!
-I would think that you could see--
-I don't care!
-Your head is where your feet should be!
-I don't care!
-If you keep standing upside down--
-I don't care!
-We'll never get to town
-I don't care!
-If only you would say, I care
-I don't care!
-I'd let you fold the folding chair
-I don't care!
So his parents left him there
They didn't take him anywhere

Now as the night began to fall
A hungry lion paid a call
He looked Pierre right in the eye
And asked him if he'd like to die
Pierre said-I don't care!
-I can eat you, don't you see?
-I don't care!
-And you will be inside of me
-I don't care!
-Then you will never have to bother--
-I don't care!
-With a mother and a father
-I don't care!
-Is that all you have to say?
-I don't care!
-Then I'll eat you, if I may
-I don't care!
So the lion ate Pierre

Arriving home at six o'clock
His parents had a dreadful shock!
They found the lion sick in bed and cried
-Pierre is surely dead!
They pulled the lion by the hair
They hit him with the folding chair
His mother asked-Where is Pierre?
The lion answered-I don't care!
His father said-Pierre's in there!

They rushed the lion into town
The doctor shook him up and down
And when the lion gave a roar
Pierre fell out upon the floor
He rubbed his eyes and scratched his head
And laughed because he wasn't dead
His mother cried and held him tight
His father asked-Are you allright?
Pierre said-I am feeling fine
Please take me home, it's half past nine

The lion said-If you would care
To climb on me, I'll take you there
Then everyone looked at Pierre
Who shouted-Yes, indeed, I care!
The lion took them home to rest
And stayed on as a weekend guest
The moral of Pierre is: CARE!


By fnord12 | September 25, 2008, 9:28 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Age of Sentry! #1 - The cheesy Silver Age style flashbacks are cool when they serve as little interludes in a serious story about the Sentry. Taken all at once with no breaks, even by a good writer like Jeff Parker, and they're pretty intolerable (and only half the book is by Parker). My only fear is that this is eventually going somewhere more serious and i'll miss it if i drop the book. I mean, they can't do a whole mini-series of crap like this, right?!? Oh, well, i can always pick up the back issues. MMmmmmmmmDROP!

War Machine #33 - Some very corny stuff going on here, with the "We're at war... and i'm a WAR MACHINE" (and not just once, either), and the Stark satellite turning into a giant War Machine suit, but on the other hand it plays up the Skrull paranoia angle better than many of the tie-in and i do like the emphasis on Rhodey's tactical abilities and war experience. Could get good once we get past the cross-over. I'm also interested to see if readers accept the swap from Iron Man to War Machine as well as they did for Hulk/Hercules. The difference being that this is a different writer as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 - Alright, it's true. It has nothing to do with Secret Invasion. Still good though. They do need to move on with the Starhawk stuff; it feels less like the development of a subplot and more like the Skrull plotline is an interruption on the planned story. I hope the reveal about Cosmo is reversed or a misdirect. I suspect it will be.

Mighty Avengers #18 - Man, that Nick Fury is a hardass, huh?

Hercules #121 - Super good. I know people reach for Walt Simonson's Thor for comparison, and it's a good one, but something i like about this that Simonson never did was actually go back and re-tell the old myths, which are very enjoyable with Marvel's rowdy version of Hercules as the main character. I guess Marvel Thor is so different from the Norse myths that it may not have been possible. Anyway, regardless of what you're comparing it to, this is a lot of fun.


By fnord12 | September 25, 2008, 7:28 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



September 24, 2008

Boy, Would Our CEOs Be In Trouble If People Here Got The Same Idea

Corporate India is in shock after a mob of workers bludgeoned to death the chief executive who sacked them from a factory in a suburb of Delhi.

Lalit Kishore Choudhary, 47, the head of the Indian operations of Graziano Transmissioni, a manufacturer of car parts that has its headquarters in Italy, died of severe head wounds on Monday after being attacked by scores of laid-off employees, police said. The incident, in Greater Noida, followed a long-running dispute between the factory's management and workers demanding better pay and permanent contracts.

Link

I guess the moral of the story is "don't invite an angry mob for a visit unless what you're going to tell them is all rainbows and unicorns."

Ofc, with the extra high importance we place on CEOs in this country, i'm sure the government would be right quick to step in and deliver justice. They know on what side their bread's buttered. Now, endangering hundreds of workers with unsafe workplace practices is ok. But the peons rising up and killing a CEO is severely frowned upon.


By min | September 24, 2008, 3:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



It's all in the logo

New Metallica album is a fake.


By fnord12 | September 24, 2008, 3:39 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



The Future of Political Campaigning

I'll admit that this is just an excuse to put a picture of a monkey on our blog. But go ahead and click on the monkey anyway. Click the monkey!


By fnord12 | September 24, 2008, 3:03 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



The only 100% Certified Witchcraft-free Candidate

Do you want to watch Sarah Palin get blessed by a Kenyan Witchhunter in her Alaskan church? I know you do. Click here.


By fnord12 | September 24, 2008, 10:16 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



September 23, 2008

More suspicion on the bailout

Some strange things are going on with this bailout plan:

1) Paulson lied overtly and obviously to congress when giving testimony today. He said that the reason the Bush proposal didn't have any oversight built in was because he didn't want to be "presumptuous" and tell Congress how to conduct oversight on him. But in fact the proposal specifically ruled out oversight:

Sec. 8. Review. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

2) Changes to the proposal to make bailouts more punative, or that give taxpayers more equity in these companies, are being rejected based on the fact that it might discourage some banks from not participating. Specifically, banks that are not in danger of collapsing might therefore decide not to participate. Ummm, why would we want banks that aren't in danger of collapsing to participate? This isn't just a free hand-out that we're doing for fun.

3) Shades of the Patriot act, it turns out that his proposal was written months ago and they were just waiting for the appropriate crisis to pull it out. This leads to the observation that either the crisis isn't so bad that we need to rush into it and/or the Bush administration (including Paulson) was lying when saying that the economy was strong up until last week.

My opinion right now is that Congress ought to just hold steady for now. Frankly, neither presidential candidate has been a leader on this issue*, but i believe there is time to wait for facts to emerge and consider other proposals.





*John McCain's bizarre proposal to fire the head of the SEC notwithstanding (and yes, god help me, i'm linking to George Will).


By fnord12 | September 23, 2008, 4:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Anti-One More Day = pro-gay marriage

Hold onto your head, cause this one might send it spinning. Spider-Man writer Marc Guggenheim:

Speaking of "judging" Guggenheim said a lot of people who aren't reading Spider-Man or refuse to read Spider-Man are judging it based on misunderstandings. "Part of the problem with the controversy behind One More Day is the understanding of what was retconned overstates the extent of what was done," he said. "Everything that happened in the last twenty plus years of comic book history happened! The only difference is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson weren't married. They still dated. They still lived together. They still love each other. They just weren't married. Judging from the letters and death threats we received, I think some people were confused. It all still happened."

"Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage," he continued. Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage."


By fnord12 | September 23, 2008, 2:07 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



Mission Accomplished

Under Bush, the national debt has become $10 trillion, and that's not counting this bailout. And now Obama is saying that he's going to have to cut back on his spending proposals because of the bailout.

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." - Grover Norquist


By fnord12 | September 23, 2008, 1:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Paranoia sets in

Reading this...

The next thing that will piss me off... ...Is watching everyone rush off to read Chris Dodd's proposal, and rather than read it and judge it on the merits of the proposal, read it and compare it to the ridiculous opener from Paulson. Instead of reading the Dodd proposal and saying "this is a good idea" or "this sucks hard," we will be treated to a few days of "well, it was better than what Paulson suggested." Which, no doubt, will be true, because what Paulson asked for was completely ridiculous- "Give me a trillion dollars and then piss off."

And then I will scream, because it is clear that this nation and our leadership have bargaining skills that are less sophisticated than your average seven year old:

Mom, can I have the soccer team over for a sleep-over on Friday?

No.

How about just Jimmy and Mike and Timmy and Scott?

I think that would be ok, but let me check with your father.

...i start to wonder if this wasn't the plan all along. Paulson was awful quick to agree to Dodd's equity change.



By fnord12 | September 23, 2008, 10:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



September 22, 2008

Goddamn Scientists Are At It Again

With their goddamn science and facts and hypotheseesesesess, furthering the liberal agenda of hating America.

By tracking the amount of light emitted by Baghdad neighborhoods at night, a team of UCLA geographers has uncovered fresh evidence that last year's U.S. troop surge in Iraq may not have been as effective at improving security as some U.S. officials have maintained.

Night light in neighborhoods populated primarily by embattled Sunni residents declined dramatically just before the February 2007 surge and never returned, suggesting that ethnic cleansing by rival Shiites may have been largely responsible for the decrease in violence for which the U.S. military has claimed credit, the team reports in a new study based on publicly available satellite imagery.

"Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said lead author John Agnew, a UCLA professor of geography and authority on ethnic conflict. "By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left."

...

"If the surge had truly 'worked,' we would expect to see a steady increase in night-light output over time, as electrical infrastructure continued to be repaired and restored, with little discrimination across neighborhoods," said co-author Thomas Gillespie, an associate professor of geography at UCLA. "Instead, we found that the night-light signature diminished in only in certain neighborhoods, and the pattern appears to be associated with ethno-sectarian violence and neighborhood ethnic cleansing."

The effectiveness of the February 2007 deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops has been a subject of debate. In a report to Congress in September of that year, Gen. David Petraeus claimed "the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met." However, a report the same month by an independent military commission headed by retired U.S. Gen. James Jones attributed the decrease in violence to areas being overrun by either Shiites or Sunnis. The issue now figures in the U.S. presidential race, with Republican presidential candidate John McCain defending the surge and Democratic hopeful Barack Obama having been critical of it.

...

Long-term obstacles to meeting Baghdad's power needs may have contributed to the decrease in night lights in the city's southwestern parts, the researchers acknowledge. But Baghdad's shaky power supply does not fully account for the effect, they contend, citing independent research showing that decaying and poorly maintained power plants and infrastructure were meeting less than 10 hours of Baghdad's power needs prior to the fall of Saddam Hussein.

It's an interesting theory and correlation, anyway. At the very least, it's evidence of what a crappy job we've been doing to rebuild Iraq. We can't even get them as much power as they had before the invasion. And they were getting less than 10 hours at that point already. Course, we haven't managed to rebuild a city where we speak the language that was hit by a hurricane and is not being constantly attacked by hostile forces. What the hell chance did we have with rebuilding an entire country?


By min | September 22, 2008, 3:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Socialism through the back door

Looking a little better:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson agreed that the $700 billion plan being developed to buy bad mortgage investments should give the U.S. authority to take equity in participating companies.

The irony of all of this is that when Bush II came to power, Alan Greenspan argued that Clinton's budget surplus could have the "downside" of the US paying off its debt too quickly, and then using the increasing surplus to purchase stocks, giving the government a say in how the businesses of the stocks it owned would run. That was Greenspan's justification for Bush's tax cuts.


By fnord12 | September 22, 2008, 3:39 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Musical Road

I'm not sure what council member or planning board person would agree to something like this. Either they're not very smart (you had to know the residents would complain) or a huge fan of the Lone Ranger.

Lancaster city officials said this week that they're paving over a quarter-mile strip of asphalt grooved to play the William Tell Overture when auto tires speed over it.

The road was completed this month as part of an ad campaign for Honda. It's engineered to play the overture _ also known as the theme to "The Lone Ranger" _ at perfect pitch for motorists driving Honda Civics at 55 mph.

Or Honda offered the town a massive amount of money to do it.


By min | September 22, 2008, 2:38 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Get Your War On returns in cartoon form

Changed from an embedded video to a link because it seems to be wreaking havoc in some browsers.


By fnord12 | September 22, 2008, 2:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Eoin Who?

Douglas Adams' widow gave the ok for this children's writer Eoin Colfer to write the 6th book in the Hitchhiker's series.

Colfer, 43, was a primary school teacher in Ireland before he secured the largest ever advance for a children's novel by an unknown author.

His Artemis Fowl series went on to sell more than 18 million copies worldwide and a film adaptation is due to go into production next year.

The author said he was "terrified" by the prospect of creating a new Hitchhiker book almost a quarter of a century after being introduced to what he described as a "slice of satirical genius" in his late teens.

He said: "My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series.

"But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams".

I hate books written posthumously. Even if this guy is Douglas Adams good, it's more than likely he's still no Douglas Adams. Better he should stick to writing his own fantastic things than to latch on to someone else's coattails.


By min | September 22, 2008, 1:46 PM | Boooooks | Comments (2) | Link



We must act now

Financial-market wise guys, who had been seized with fear, are suddenly drunk with hope. They are rallying explosively because they think they have successfully stampeded Washington into accepting the Wall Street Journal solution to the crisis: dump it all on the taxpayers. That is the meaning of the massive bailout Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has shopped around Congress. It would relieve the major banks and investment firms of their mountainous rotten assets and make the public swallow their losses-many hundreds of billions, maybe much more. What's not to like if you are a financial titan threatened with extinction?

If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public-all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims. My advice to Washington politicians: Stop, take a deep breath and examine what you are being told to do by so-called "responsible opinion." If this deal succeeds, I predict it will become a transforming event in American politics-exposing the deep deformities in our democracy and launching a tidal wave of righteous anger and popular rebellion. As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice.


By fnord12 | September 22, 2008, 9:31 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 19, 2008

Rush Holt Rewls

I really love our Congressman. I hope he runs for Senate one day. He's teh awesome.

On the recent issue of offshore drilling, Congress passed it even though the Dems should be holding the majority and should have learned to stop cowering in the corner by now. Evidently not seeing as they're still cowed by the Republicans who mostly spew misinformation and ignorance.

Anyway, Holt obliviously voted against it. Here is the statement he issued after the vote.

There is much that I strongly support about this legislation, including the expansion of renewable energy, repealing of tax subsidies to big oil companies, and creation of green jobs.

However, I still believe that drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, such as our coastline, is unwise. Some in America claim that drilling - here, now, and everywhere - will bring instantaneous relief to families paying painful gas prices. The facts do not support this claim. "Drill baby drill" is not an energy policy, it is a slogan to hide behind to avoid coming up with a real policy which will help America move towards sustainable, affordable energy. The evidence shows that drilling in OCS would save perhaps pennies per gallon years from now. We can begin now, not years from now, to move to sustainable, affordable energy. We will never be able to drill our way to energy independence. The United States consumes 25 percent of the world's oil but only possesses 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. Even if we drilled on every single square inch of land where oil is assumed to exist we will never be able to meet our national demand.

That said, the environmental and financial requirements for an oil or gas company to drill are strong enough that few if any wells will be drilled under this legislation, and I expect smarter, more comprehensive legislation will follow next year.

I like this bit best: "Drill baby drill" is not an energy policy, it is a slogan to hide behind to avoid coming up with a real policy....

In his Congressional Record statment, he also points out that there are currently 68 million acres being leased by the oil companies that are open both off and on shore for drilling, but they aren't using it. They so desperately need to relieve our suffering by drilling everywhere they've been told they can't drill and not on the 68 million acres they've been told they can drill. Must be magic in them thar tracts of land.


By min | September 19, 2008, 3:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Let's Just Check the List

In a move that many are calling voter suppression tactics, the Republicans in Michigan are making a list of people who have foreclosed on their homes.

For years, Republicans have engaged in "caging"--challenging the eligibility of voters on election day to suppress turnout and intimidate voters.2 They'll often try to reject voters by claiming they don't live at the address where they're registered. This year, they've taken it to a new low--the chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan said last week, "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses."3

In other words, they'll target every voter whose house is on a foreclosure list, and challenge their voting rights on election day. But just because your name is on a list, it doesn't mean that you've lost your home or moved. In fact, many homeowners stay in their homes for months after the foreclosure process has begun, and some people are able to catch up on their payments and reverse the process.4

So why are Republicans illegally targeting homeowners who've had a tough time under Bush's economy? Because they know they're likely to vote for Democrats, and for Obama for President. In Michigan, over 60% of sub-prime loans were made to African-Americans.5 And in general, people who've been hit hard by the economy are less likely to vote for Republicans. This tactic won't just affect struggling homeowners--it will cause longer lines and delays at the polls for everyone that lives in a neighborhood with a high number of foreclosures. And that's the point.

Check out the Color of Change site if you'd like to send a letter to McCain to shame him into addressing it. Or just to piss him off some.


By min | September 19, 2008, 3:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



High End Girlfriend Index

I rolled my eyes but still read the whole thing.


By fnord12 | September 19, 2008, 10:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Spamming the bulletin board

Much like the polls that showed that a good percentage of Americans actually believed that Iraq had something to do with the attacks on the Twin Towers, the passage of a House bill authorizing offshore drilling demonstrates a major failing of our media.

The debate has largely been presented as a conflict between environmental concerns vs. the need for more energy sources. But the truth is that this policy will result in literally no benefits at all in terms of lowering gas prices. Virtually all experts agree that offshore drilling will result in nothing in the short term and a minimal amount of extra oil in the long term - and due to the way the oil market works, that oil will be spread out among all the countries in the world; it won't be going directly to the US.

So the overall effect on this is absolutely nothing. And yet allies of the oil companies and Bush's corrupt Department of the Interior have managed to convince a majority of Americans that drilling will have immediate effects on gas prices, forcing the Democrats to capitulate (yet again)(and of course, it hasn't stopped Republicans for attacking them on the issue). You can (and should) blame the Democrats for not holding their ground and getting a counter-message out, but the media should serve as something more than just a giant bulletin board for the two major political parties, where political success is based entirely on your marketing abilities, regardless of the facts.

Update: Palin apparently thinks we can just keep the oil in the US. Maybe. As even Wolf Blitzer said, she was "not exactly easy to understand".


By fnord12 | September 19, 2008, 10:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Bye Bye Free Market

The SEC has banned certain types of trading. Here is Dean Baker's take:

Short Selling Ban: Why is the Bush SEC Scared of the Market?

That is the question that serious reporters would be asking after the SEC banned all short-selling on financial firms. Have the folks at the SEC determined that stocks of financial firms are under-valued? They must be really smart if they can determine that. Of course if the SEC crew can recognize undervalued stocks, presumably they can also recognize over-valued stocks. Have they ever stopped trading because a stock's price had gotten too high?

Let's hypothesize that the SEC folks really don't know that financial stock prices are too low. Then they are preventing the shares of financial companies from adjusting to their proper level. Is there a public interest in artificially inflating the prices of financial stocks? I suspect that many insiders and large investors might take advantage of this SEC stock price support and dump their shares on people who are not quite as smart. I'm not quite sure what the public interest is here.

There has been a lot of silliness about the evil "naked shorts" in recent weeks. There is nothing sinister about a naked short, it is just a convenience, it is easier and cheaper to do a naked short than a covered short. It is analogous to buying stock on the margin.

We now see that the issue is not really naked shorts, it is shorts pure and simple. I can think of no reason whatsoever why the SEC should be preventing investors from acting on the belief that stocks, financial or otherwise, are over-valued than they would in acting on the belief that stocks are under-valued.

If the issue is stock price manipulation, then the SEC absolutely should be cracking down, but if there are actors who can easily manipulate the market on the downside, then they can presumably also manipulate the market on the upside and have been doing so. The media should be asking questions on this. What justifies the ban on short-selling? It's a real simple question.



By fnord12 | September 19, 2008, 10:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 18, 2008

Recap #19

Troll Tartare, anyone?


By min | September 18, 2008, 8:36 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link



Is it drafty in here or is it just me?

Looking at various statements by McCain and his surrogates, it seems he wants to bring Georgia, and possibly the Ukraine, into NATO, thus pushing us towards a war with Russia. He wants to keep troops in Iraq and move more troops into Afghanistan. He wants to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. He wants to increase hostilities against Venezuela, Boliva, and Cuba. And he seems to want to freeze diplomatic relations with Spain, a NATO ally.

We can't do all of that with our current armed forces, which even the Joint Chiefs of Staff say are stretched too thin. If i were in charge of the Democrats' campaign strategy, i would feel justified in suggesting that McCain's stated policies will lead to a draft.


By fnord12 | September 18, 2008, 4:48 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Penisberg

Oh, thank you Colbert Report for bringing this to our attention.


By min | September 18, 2008, 3:11 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (3) | Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Mother's Little Helper by the Rolling Stones

What a drag it is getting old
Kids are different today,
I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though shes not really ill
There's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

Things are different today,
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husbands just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

Men just aren't the same today
I hear evry mother say
They just don't appreciate that you get tired
They're so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mothers little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

Lifes just much too hard today,
I hear every mother say
The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mothers little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day



By fnord12 | September 18, 2008, 8:55 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



September 17, 2008

Partisan

Paul Krugman:

So last night I was on Larry King Live, dressed in my TV-from-the-Princeton-studio uniform: dress shirt, jacket, tie, shorts, and sandals (the camera doesn't pan below the belly button). With me, Andy Serwer of Fortune and Stephen Moore of the WSJ.

Moore offered an argument I hadn't heard before. The reason I hadn't heard it that it's really, really stupid. Our financial problems, he said, are caused by the falling dollar, which has reduced the value of American assets. It's hard even to know where to start on that. But, um, we're talking about balance sheets here; by and large the United States has liabilities in dollars (e.g., Chinese holdings of agency debt), while we have many assets that are, effectively, in foreign currency (Ford Germany is worth more when the euro rises against the dollar). So America's balance sheet improves when the dollar falls, which is actually a major issue in international macro modeling.

Plus, the weak dollar is good for exports, which are about the only source of strength our economy has.

But the WSJ crowd is deeply attached to the idea that a strong dollar = a strong country (and if you believe in America, you believe that asset prices only go up, too). So reason has no impact.

But Serwer's comments were what bothered me the most. He was saying that Obama and McCain are equally off on the financial crisis. I said that's not true: Obama has called for expanded regulation, while McCain takes his advice from people like Phil Gramm, who helped create this mess. Plus McCain's new line denouncing excessive executive bonuses makes no sense: Washington doesn't set executive compensation! Unless McCain is willing to say what he'd actually do, it's empty posturing.
And Serwer's response? "That's awfully partisan."

So there you have it: if the facts have a liberal bias, pointing them out is excessively partisan.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2008, 12:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



The media has made itself irrelevant

Media Matters:

It's like that scene in a movie when the superhero realizes his unique power (for the press, it's collective indignation) has suddenly been rendered useless...
...
Instead of recoiling, the Republican ticket seems to have adopted a post-press approach to campaigning in which the candidates simply don't care what the press does or says about their honesty. More to the point, the candidates don't think it will matter on Election Day.

They may be right. And that's the media's fault. They've reported their way right into the margins. Submerged in trivia and tactics for the past 18 months, the press, I think, has damaged its ability -- its authority -- to referee the campaign.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2008, 9:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Brave

Link:

"Kudos to Governor Palin for standing up to dermatologists and other members of the sun scare industry who are trying to frighten Americans away from UV light."

By fnord12 | September 17, 2008, 8:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Secret Invasion: Young Avengers / Runaways #3 - One more issue for the teams to find a way to broadcast that Dorrek exists and is on Earth to the Skrulls, and you'd have a perfectly satisfying ending to Secret Invasion. Ending where it does, the series seems to lose a little of its dramatic importance, but that's to be expected in what is actually a tangential mini-series, even though it's felt to me to be as or more significant than what's going on in the main books. I'm definitely liking Yost as a writer. Miyazawa has an enjoyable manga style but his fight scenes are a little disjointed (and i still don't like Nico's outfit).

Secret Invasion #6 - Remember when Bendis used to be the "decompressed storyline" guy? Now he's got enough plot in here to make Stan Lee blush. There's a lot to like: the message the Skrulls have for the people of Earth was really good; i'd like to have seen , and people's reaction to it, developed out over a full issue or so that a la Childhood's End, instead of just having a bunch of deluded Obama-kid stereotypes falling for it and looking stupid. The Skrull's grudging respect for Richards was good as well. But a lot of other things seemed really rushed - the bad guys joining up with the good guys could have used a lot more attention, and Thor's return just plain sucked. And even if Lenil Yu's pencils are better than they were in the New Avengers, never, ever let him have two double-page spreads. That's just ridiculous. (And i know this may be more of an easter egg than anything, but one of the Super-Skrulls has Galactus powers? That doesn't even fit the concept of the Skrulls getting their powers by analyzing Earth's heroes.)


By fnord12 | September 17, 2008, 7:34 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



September 16, 2008

It's pronounced nuk-ya-ler

A hidden gem in an article about whether or not Palin lied mislead* about whether or not she used a teleprompter in her Convention speech:

(Especially those of my colleagues on the convention floor at the time, reading along on the prompter with her, noticing her excellent and disciplined delivery, how she punched words that were underlined and paused where it said "pause," noting that "nuclear" was spelled out for her phonetically.)



*Yes, this campaign season is so ugly that we now defend our actual outright lies by instead saying 'oh, now, we just intentionally let the audience think something that wasn't true'.

By fnord12 | September 16, 2008, 1:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Backwards

Link:

Five former U.S. secretaries of state said Monday the next American administration should talk to Iran, a foe President Bush has generally shunned as part of an "axis of evil."

Engaging Iran is important because Washington's military options against Tehran are unsatisfactory, said the diplomats, who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations.

The five -- Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger -- all said they favored talking to Iran as part of a strategy to stop Tehran's development of a nuclear weapons program.

"Frankly the military options here are very poor. We don't want to go down that route," said Christopher, who worked for former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

I appreciate the sentiment here, and the fact that Kissinger, current a McCain advisor, is endorsing Obama's policy for Iran, but the reasoning that seems to have led these people here is exactly backwards. Military action is supposed to be a last resort; you don't decide to talk to someone only because your military options are poor.


By fnord12 | September 16, 2008, 8:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 15, 2008

Losing the Army Times

The McCain campaign seems determined to prove that it is possible to win an election based entirely on telling the public what it thinks they want to hear, facts be damned.


By fnord12 | September 15, 2008, 9:07 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



September 12, 2008

Beware the Sausage Smacker

A man suspected of breaking into the home of two California farmworkers, rubbing spices into the face of one man and smacking another with an 8-inch sausage has been set free.

Prosecutors say they do not have enough evidence to file criminal charges against 21-year-old Antonio Vasquez. He was released from Fresno County Jail on Tuesday.

Sheriff's Lt. Ian Burrimond says Vasquez was found hiding in a field wearing only a T-shirt, boxers and socks after the Saturday morning attack. Vasquez is also accused of stealing $900 from the home.

Link

Where did he get the sausage, i ask you? Where?

Fnord and i have been watching season 1 of the A-Team and when i read this story, i picture Murdoch doing the sausage smacking.


By min | September 12, 2008, 12:25 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Farce

You may have heard about the most recent event where the US has been accused of killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan. The US of course denies it despite mounting evidence and confirmation from the Afghanistan government, the UN, journalists, etc..

The US military investigated itself and of course found no evidence of wrong doing. Their investigation was supported by an independent journalist. Who was that journalist?

The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was a[ Marine] colonel.

Glenn Greenwald looks at this from the perspective of the recent demotions of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews from campaign coverage and debate hosting at MSNBC in favor of a "real" journalist. In justifying their demotion, MSNBC made the comparison between Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, saying that O'Reilly is for commentary but Brit Hume, part of Fox's "legitimate news arm", does the campaign coverage and hosts debates.

North "works" for Hume, of course (in the sense that he's working for anyone other than the Republican propaganda machine generally), so what does that say about Fox's "legitimate news arm"? Nothing you didn't already know, i'd guess.



By fnord12 | September 12, 2008, 12:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Oh Lordy Day

I fear what might come out his mouth during the debate with Pitbull Palin, but i can't help but like this guy. He cracks me up.

Earlier in the week, in Columbia, Missouri, Biden urged a paraplegic state official to stand up to be recognized.

"Chuck, stand up, let the people see you," Biden shouted to State Senator Chuck Graham, before realizing, to his horror, that Graham uses a wheelchair. "Oh, God love ya," Biden said. "What am I talking about?"

...

"He has overwhelming support here, he's well liked," said James Baker, mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden's home. "We forgive him every once in a while when he says something dumb - 'Oh, that's just Joe."'

Biden recognizes that his tongue sometimes ventures ahead of his brain and often catches himself with a smile.

In Fort Myers, Florida, last week, he referred to the "Biden administration," before quickly correcting himself to say the "Obama-Biden administration."

"Believe me, that wasn't a Freudian slip," he said, laughing and crossing himself. "Oh lordy day, I tell ya."

He told the guy in the wheelchair to stand up. Oy. I'm sorry. Mebbe it was very un-PC, but i cracked up when i read that.

At least, unlike Bush and McCain, Biden does actually recognize right away when he's said something wrong. And so far he hasn't said anything completely outrageous like "the Iraq-Pakistan border". It's just his slip of the tongue comments are so frequent that it's only a matter of time before he says something really cringe-worthy. I'm sure both the McCain camp and their MSM steno pool are waiting for that moment with anticipation. Beeeee careful, Biden.


By min | September 12, 2008, 12:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



You love the monkeys!

You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!
You love the monkeys!

ADMIT IT!!!!!!


By fnord12 | September 12, 2008, 10:16 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



September 11, 2008

Random Lyrics Thursday

Gorgar by Helloween

(I have to say i'm a little disappointed to learn that this song is about gambling. I always assumed it was about a giant monster named Gorgar that would eat you. Clearly.)

You're runnin' around in the gamblin' hall
Every night it's the same
You're lookin' for something new to play
To win and have fun is your aim
A pinball speaks to you
His metal voice is knockin' in your head
You can't resist you'll have to play
You're just another victim caught in the trap

Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
You'll never win - hey!
Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
But you keep on playin' - hey!

Your blood is boilin' your eyes grow wide -
Advance - too late
Gamblin' fever has taken your mind -
This fuckin' machine of hate
You spend all your money but you'll never win
You're always the loser and the
Robot's voice keeps hammering


Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
You'll never win - hey!
Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
But you keep on playin' - hey!


Wastin'..! money...! for fun...! every night
Livin'...! for today...! no thoughts...! for tomorrow
Man you are dead don't you realize
Wake up and live before it's too late

Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
You'll never win - hey!
Gorgar will eat you!
Gorgar!
But you keep on playin' - hey!



By fnord12 | September 11, 2008, 8:53 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



September 10, 2008

Marvel Sales

July


By fnord12 | September 10, 2008, 11:32 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



I loved you all

Just wanted to say goodbye to everyone since today they are attempting to re-create the Big Bang in a lab in Switzerland.

If all goes according to plan, the Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic particle accelerator underground near Geneva, could re-create the very moment 13 billion years ago when scientists believe a tremendous explosion known as the "big bang" created the universe.

When a new universe* comes crashing through your reality, crushing you in an explosion of matter, i hope you will remember the good times we had together.


*References in the comments section to Marvel's failed "New Universe" line from the 1980s will only receive half credit.


By fnord12 | September 10, 2008, 11:17 AM | Science | Comments (15) | Link



September 9, 2008

Rumors About WTC Attacks Not Just "Conventional Wisdom" Abroad

Link

Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom here that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the United States and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution, too.

This is not the conclusion of a scientific survey, but it is what routinely comes up in conversations around the region -- in a shopping mall in Dubai, in a park in Algiers, in a café in Riyadh and all over Cairo.

"Look, I don't believe what your governments and press say. It just can't be true," said Ahmed Issab, 26, a Syrian engineer who lives and works in the United Arab Emirates. "Why would they tell the truth? I think the U.S. organized this so that they had an excuse to invade Iraq for the oil."

I also don't believe what our government and press say. First off, the government lies alot about their intentions and what they're doing and what they have done and why. The government is made up of politicians, and another conventional wisdom is that all politicians are liars. Just look at Palin with her Bridge to Nowhere thing, Larry Craig and his "wide stance," Clinton and his "I didn't inhale," and Cheney on just about everything. As for the press, they're too stupid and too busy kissing ass to do more than repeat what they're told to repeat. Lots of countries have dictators. We decided to go after the one sitting on an oil field. I can see how someone might possibly think the two are related.

The rumors that spread shortly after 9/11 have been passed on so often that people no longer know where or when they first heard them. At this point, they have heard them so often, even on television, that they think they must be true.

First among these is that Jews did not go to work at the World Trade Center on that day. Asked how Jews might have been notified to stay home, or how they kept it a secret from co-workers, people here wave off the questions because they clash with their bedrock conviction that Jews are behind many of their troubles and that Western Jews will go to any length to protect Israel.

"The Jews" being in on it and not going to work on the 11th is out there, even for me. But i remember exactly where i heard the rumor about our govt being involved in the attack - it was in my brain on the day of the attack. The only reason i don't completely believe it is because after 8 years of these bumblefucks, i can't believe that they're smart enough to have hatched such a plot. They're just too incompetent. It seems more likely they got lucky and seized on a opportunity. Manipulation they can do. Disinformation they can do. Pre-planning, not so much.

That these rumors might hold sway in the Arab world is a very telling example of just how badly our government has completely failed on the international front. Remember all the sympathy we got initially? Thanks to our policies and the quick shift to go into Iraq (which had nothing to do with the WTC attacks), we've turned the goodwill that could have been ours for the asking into suspicion.

Mebbe where there's smoke, there isn't always fire. Mebbe sometimes people add 2 and 2 and get 5. But it should have been obvious how the government's actions would be construed by people who didn't really love us to start but were willing to feel bad for us in light of the tragedy we experienced. The real tragedy is it wasn't obvious to more than 50% of the voting population 4 years ago when they had a chance to undo the mistake they made in the first place by electing Bush and Co.


By min | September 9, 2008, 11:13 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Go Bob Herbert!

He's usually kinda milquetoastie. More like this, please.


By fnord12 | September 9, 2008, 9:18 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 8, 2008

Serious, wtf is that?

The description says he's just a thief, but he sure doesn't look human.

Beware the mad hermit! Whatever it is...


By fnord12 | September 8, 2008, 7:02 PM | D&D | Comments (2) | Link



Jealous of our geeky fun?

You should be, cause now we have trees.

The only problem with Heroscape is that you really need a dedicated room for it. Otherwise you're spending half the night setting up and putting stuff away, which means less time watching Dr. Doom possess everyone and ordering them into the lava.


By fnord12 | September 8, 2008, 6:58 PM | D&D | Comments (1) | Link



Hey, did you know they made these?

These Superhero Mega Packs are pretty cool. They make a Galactus and even a Fing Fang Foom. I might have gotten them if someone had told me about them when they first came out.


By fnord12 | September 8, 2008, 6:53 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Never Mind The Sex Pistols

I heard once that there was a punk band called the Bollocks, and they put out an album called Never Mind the Sex Pistols.

If you've also heard that somewhere, let me know, cause if we both heard it, it must be true.

(There was a documentary and remix album with that title, but that's not what i was thinking of. I'll keep looking).


By fnord12 | September 8, 2008, 4:31 PM | Music | Comments (1) | Link



Reticulating Dendritic Splines

Dendritic spines are the sites where your brain cells communicate with each other. Apparently, with chronic drug use, the density of dendritic spines increases. It had been previously speculated that the increase in dendritic spines supports behavioural changes associated with drug addiction. Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have now discovered that the formation of dendritic spines in your brain during cocaine usage might actually help limit addiction-related responses. They call it "cocaine-induced brain plasticity". Ooooooh.

In a study appearing in the Aug. 28 issue of Neuron, researchers found that cocaine suppresses the activity of the protein MEF2 in mice. Because MEF2 normally reduces the number of brain connections, suppressing MEF2 leads to an increase in dendritic spine density. The researchers also found that when they enhanced MEF2 activity in the brain this blocked the drug-induced increase in dendritic spine density and increased addiction-related behavioral responses to cocaine.
...
When the researchers manipulated animals so that their MEF2 levels remained high in the presence of cocaine, the animals were more sensitive to the drug. This suggested that increased communication sites might help combat the addiction process.

The question is - what's the dedritic spine response to other drugs? And, more importantly, how is this related to the complete lack of effect Benadryl has on me when it puts everyone else to sleep? But then as soon as i stop using the Benadryl (after mebbe 1 1/2 days of usage) i get a massive headache? Are my dendrites reticulating so densely that my behavioural response to drugs is nil? At least it made the itching stop...


By min | September 8, 2008, 1:47 PM | My stupid life & Science | Comments (1) | Link



Smattering comments

Make of them what you will.

TPM:

Polls aside though, I continue to see a campaign in which the McCain camp has a consistent and aggressive message. They're constantly on the attack and largely defining the debate. The Obama campaign is largely reactive, parrying the attacks -- sometimes rapid response, sometimes slower response, but defined largely by response. It seemed that way to me in July, in August and it seems that way to me now.

At several points over the last year, I've underestimated Obama's campaign. And I take it that their position now is that they're not going to get knocked off their game. Instead they're staying focused on the ground game in the dozen and a half states where they believe the race will be won or lost. That's difficult for someone in my position to evaluate. The messaging and air war is something that is inherently visible. The ground game is very difficult to evaluate because it's much more difficult to see. So we're left to take it on faith that they know what they're doing, without having much way of seeing for ourselves.

I certainly hope they do. But what I see is a campaign that is for some reason either unwilling or unable to take the initiative in the national messaging war. It's all reactive. And, yeah, that worries me.

Matthew Yglesias:

[M]ost of the data points where Gore lied or "exaggerated" were actually made up by the press. McCain, by contrast, has not only been caught in several bald-faced lies, but in a few instances - this business with Palin and the bridge most notably - keeps on doing it in very high-profile contexts even though they've gotten called on it repeatedly. So where's the narrative about how McCain's key strategy introducing Sarah Palin to the public and turning his campaign around is based on putting lies at the heart of the presentation?

Atrios:

Repeating debunked lies is something which pisses off liberals and pleases the base. It's a feature, not a bug.

By fnord12 | September 8, 2008, 1:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



September 5, 2008

Oooh Barracuda

Heart:

"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The 'barracuda' represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."

Now where's the Pretenders with Rush Limbaugh using My City Was Gone as his theme song?


By fnord12 | September 5, 2008, 4:14 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (1) | Link



Who's who in our group?

Penny Arcade:

Much like the party being modeled on the board, the player group needs a few established "classes" in play to genuinely flourish: you need the Actor, the Comic, the Interpreter, and the Human Abacus to meet the challenges games like this present. Relatively few of those challenges actually occur in game.

By fnord12 | September 5, 2008, 2:57 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link



Uppity, yeah.

Initial Statement. Response.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican, released the following statement in defense of his having called Barack Obama "uppity": "I've never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense."

Of course this is the guy who couldn't name the ten commandments despite being behind the push to have them hung in the House and Senate chambers, so maybe ignorance is his best defense.

But note how carefully the Obama campaign has to tred with this stuff:

The Obama campaign, asked about the quote, did not note any racial context.

"Sounds like Rep. Westmoreland should be careful throwing stones from his candidate's eight glass houses," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

If he complains about obvious racism, he's 'playing the race card'. But they can say all the crap they want.

Similarly, if anyone questions anything about Sarah Palin, even her abuse of power in firing librarians that wouldn't ban books for her or the trooper who wouldn't fire her ex brother-in-law, they are sexist, but Hillary Clinton was a whiner.


By fnord12 | September 5, 2008, 10:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



McCain gives speech in front of Walter Reed... Middle School?!?

Sounds like a Spinal Tap style screw up to me... unless you can think of a reason why he'd be giving a speech in front of a picture of a middle school...?


By fnord12 | September 5, 2008, 8:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



September 4, 2008

Oh they'll pay! Don't think they won't pay!

Bill O'Reilly:

"Now, the latest thing is that people like me don't condemn Palin's family but we condemn other people who, uh, gave birth out of wedlock. I've never condemned anybody who gave birth out of wedlock. Ever in my life. I don't make those kinds of determinations. What I do say and, this nut Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal Constitution makes a deal out of this, I said that Britney Spears and what's her sister's name who's pregnant, their parents were irresponsible - Jamie Lee - because they were running around unsupervised.

Yeah, I said that and I believe it. It has nothing to do with the Palin situation, okay? So, I mean, it just, it really, it makes me angry. I know what's going on. You know what's going on. Uh, and we're going to have to start making some people pay, you know, we're going to have to start to make some people pay because of the irresponsible attacks."

Honestly, i don't know why i bother posting about this nitwit, but it is interesting to watch his brain just kind of meltdown into paranoid ranting as he tries to explain why this one's different.



By fnord12 | September 4, 2008, 11:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6) | Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

X-Force #6 - I had no problem with the art. The characters that showed up at the end had been introduced in previous issues. I think with the exception of Lang and Stryker, most were late 90s and early 00s characters that i'm not familiar with, but Lang and Stryker were recognizable. There was a strange sequence where Wolfsbane looked like she was wearing a weird mask in her human form, but i'm going to allow for the possibility that it was deliberate - possibly she was in a half-changed mode. As for the story, it was a better conclusion than i was thinking it would be, better than the last issue or so, but still not living up to the potential i saw in the first few issues. It's still early in the series so there's a good chance the team will find its groove. I thought the scene at the end, with Cyclops and Wolverine looking at a screen with their bad guys and going "who's next?", is a nice sign that they're continuing with the proactive theme.

Daredevil #110 - Warning: This issue actually ends with Matt Murdock smiling. Maybe he'll turn out to be a skrull. This arc was good. Even it if was a little overt in its goal of making DD less depressing, it was a necessary step in restoring something of a status quo to a series that, while very good, was getting way too dark. I'm not liking the promo art by Dodson for this "Lady Bullseye", though. Hopefully, he won't be drawing the actual interiors (actually, i'm pretty sure he's not, if i remember from skimming the preview in that DD Saga recap book that came out a few weeks ago.).

Avengers Initiative #16 - Woot to the SKull Kill Krew. I'm trying to remember if these characters should still even be alive. I'm pretty sure part of their original story was they were all dying and they needed to take care of all the skrulls before they died. Maybe it was resolved in the end of the series. Anyway, good stuff, and the Freedom Ring plot was good as well.

Thunderbolts #123 - Osborn rules.

Nova #16 - I like the character development for the Super-Skrull, but i always worry that when they develop out the bad guys they wind up turning them into good guys and then we lose all our cool bad guys. With the cliffhanger it seems like that won't be the case here, but i think that's a ruse. Also, was the whole "losing the Worldmind" plot
devised just so Nova wouldn't be able to automatically detect Skrulls for his Secret Invasion crossover? If so, that's pretty impressive planning/plotting.

Mighty Avengers #17 - I'm trying to figure out if the idea that the Skrulls are having so much trouble imitating Hank Pym is Bendis sort of redeeming a character that he's got a reputation for bashing, by saying he's so unique and independently minded that the Skrulls can't handle his personality, or if it's Bendis bashing Pym further, saying he's so erratic and unstable that the Skrulls can't control it. Either way, i enjoyed this. Although i do feel like we're close to scraping the bottom of the barrel on the "what were the Skrulls up to" parts of these tie-ins. And min pointed out that the Skrull that replaced the Pym Skrull that was killed at the diner had the same name as the diner Skrull. And it definitely wasn't an out of sequence scene or anything like that. Probably min is the only person in the world who noticed; i don't even read those Skrull names. Maybe Xrtl'lrt or whatever just happens to be a common Skrull name.

New Avengers #44 - Wanyas is right in that the supposed big reveal for this issue wasn't really all that big; i thought we already knew that the Skrulls used Reed's mind to figure out how to hide themselves. This still was good, even though it seemed more like an issue of the Fantastic Four than the Avengers. Completely unrelated to this issue in particular, i do hope when this Secret Invasion is all over, they do find a way to basically reset to the status quo on Super-Skrulls. I know i'm not normally an advocate of resetting to the status quo, and i'd like it if the Skrulls did retain their ability to not be identified by scent/mental/technological detection, but i wouldn't want to have all these super-skrulls running around. It makes the original not very special.


By fnord12 | September 4, 2008, 10:56 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link



Random Lyrics Thursday

Retirement by the Kaiser Chiefs

There are many things that I would be proud of
If I'd only invented them such as the wheel
The washing machine and the tumble dryer
On these inventions surely I could retire

I want to retire
No longer required
I want to get by without the man on my back
A tear in my eye
With a heart full of pride
I must go out on a high
And tell nobody why

There are many things that I know I could do
If I'd only have wanted to, such as create
The perfect soulmate everyone would admire
On this creation surely I could retire

I want to retire
No longer required
I want to get by without the man on my back
A tear in my eye
With a heart full of pride
I must go out on a high
And not to answer to why

I want to retire
Inform the suppliers
I'll leave the party in style
And not to be carried out
Without a cloud in the sky
I got my fingers in pies
A golden watch on my side
Will measure my free time

Now my place in History is surely assured
I will be remembered here forever more
Brand new product in place and a potential buyer
Up on this next transaction surely I could retire

I want to retire
No longer required
I want to get by without the man on my back
A tear in my eye
With a heart full of pride
I must go out on a high
And not to answer to why

I want to retire
Inform the suppliers
I'll leave the party in style
And not to be carried out
Without a cloud in the sky
I Got my fingers in pies
A Golden watch on my side
Will measure my free time


By fnord12 | September 4, 2008, 8:16 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



September 3, 2008

There's "analysis" and then there's analysis

Why do we have to wait for the pundits to get caught with their mikes on to hear what they are really thinking? Aren't they paid to give their opinions? By keeping their opinions to themselves and offering phoney analyses, doesn't that prove that they're just propagandists? Or at least interested in prolonging the contest in the interest of ratings?

Update:

After the NBC comments surfaced, Noonan updated her Journal column online, lamenting that she had been "mugged by the nature of modern media" and apologizing for her rough language. She said that her statement that "It's over" was out of context, and was not a conclusion about the likely outcome of the McCain-Obama race, and her true feelings toward Palin were favorable.

Bullshit! Propagandists it is.


By fnord12 | September 3, 2008, 6:43 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Beware the Professional Seducer

Apparently, divorce is a difficult thing in Japan. If your spouse doesn't agree to get a divorce, you might be stuck. And if you're a woman, you might be socially ostracized. Enter the professional seducer.

Mr A

Mr A is outside a bank in a busy part of Ikebukuro, a faintly seedy area of Tokyo, waiting for his date. He beams as she teeters across the road on high heels. Kyoko, 20, is half his age. She has a mane of black hair, sloe eyes, a fetching smile and a cute giggle. Her blouse is open to reveal her cleavage and she has on a short skirt and sheer black tights. Mr A is a bald 40-year-old salesman in a crumpled grey suit and glasses.

...
Mr A doesn't know that a team of private investigators is recording his every move. The boss, the ebullient Mr Tomiya, lurks behind a lamppost on the other side of the road and takes photographs as Kyoko meets Mr A. Tomiya's equipment includes a packet of cigarettes and a pen, both of which are actually cameras. Shimizu, a heavy-set man with a bullet head and cropped hair, carries a black bag. It contains a camera with which he films continuously through a tiny hole in the bag. A third man acts as a lookout. They follow the couple down the street, dodging the crowds and sprinting across red lights, keeping far enough behind so as not to arouse suspicion but close enough so that Shimizu can film.
...
Mrs B

In a very different part of Tokyo, Mrs B is waiting for her date. She works in the glitzy Ginza district, near the new Gucci building, where they've arranged to meet. She's 29 and wears a blue short-sleeved jumper over a sparkly low-cut blouse and pretty skirt. Her husband is away on business. The marriage isn't going well; in fact, he asked for a divorce, but she refused. Even so, she's nervous to be seeing someone else.

...
The young man on the leather sofa directly opposite is playing with his mobile, as everyone does. But he is filming the pair canoodling. The whole scenario has been carefully planned to suit her taste. The flash car is one of a fleet of company cars. The restaurant bill is paid by the company and ultimately by her husband.

The goal is to get the target to fall in love with the seducer to the point where the target is the one trying to get the divorce so that they can marry the seducer. Failing that, the cuckolded spouse now has a file proving the other's infidelity.

It's not all about catching the spouse cheating, though. In other cases, in a more Hitch-like method, they help couples get together by creating a situation for the client to meet the target and coaching the client on how to make a good impression.

The bit where the seducers have sex with their targets and often have several cases going on at once while carrying on a regular relationship with a boyfriend or a spouse is kinda oogy, imo. But i think i liked this line best:

Men are not suspicious when a lovely young girl starts chatting to them. Even a bald 40-year-old salesman in a crumpled suit with a cheap briefcase assumes he's irresistible to women.

Tsk.


By min | September 3, 2008, 12:52 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link



Mebbe SC Will Loan Their Tank To St. Paul, MN

I don't want to think they're crazy. They keep giving me reasons to suspect they're crazy.

The Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department (that's them above) just obtained an armored personnel carrier, complete with a belt-fed, .50-cal turreted machine gun. Sheriff Leon Lott has charmingly named the vehicle "The Peacemaker," and insists that using a caliber of ammunition that even the U.S. military is reluctant to use against human targets (it's generally reserved for use against armored vehicles) will "save lives."

Perhaps they, too, have to deal with random assaults on their schools. It's dangerous living in the south. And i don't think it's cause of the civilians.


By min | September 3, 2008, 12:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Hey, My Face Is Up Here!

And what about the ring fiddling?

Good thing she waves her finger around when she's talking otherwise he wouldn't know when to look up and smile that creepy smile at the crowd.


By min | September 3, 2008, 11:13 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



St. Paul Teams Up With RNC To Kill The First Amendment

The RNC got St. Paul to replace their cops with Storm Troopers in order to keep the unsavouries away from the convention. Not content with beating on the protesters, the St. Paul baton-wielding enforcers started arresting journalists trying to cover the protest. Not only did they arrest Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (liberal hussy) for asking them about the status of 2 other journalists they had previously arrested, but the got an AP photographer and pepper sprayed Donna Brazile.

Now, when the anarchists start smashing cars and breaking windows, it's no surprise that the riot police would get out the gear and start beating people down before they arrest them. It's not exactly a winning tactic, but not really a surprise. But, when they start pepper spraying CNN correspondents, you know they're a little trigger happy and power mad.

So, while all this is going on near the Xcel Center, police also surrounded a quarantined a house where video journalists I-Witness were staying. They had no warrant initially. And when they finally did get one, it was for the adjoining house. Not to be deterred by a dangerous radical group who happen to know about Constitutional Rights, they went into the house next door and broke down the attic door to get into the I-Witness house. Then they handcuffed the lot of them and sat them in the back patio until, presumably, they were given the word that it was ok to let them go. No charges were brought against the journalists. Here's the video:

If this pisses you off (or scares the bejeezus out of you), go sign the letter on Free Press.


By min | September 3, 2008, 10:47 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



War on Weather

Krugman:

Let's start with that red folder. Assuming that the folder contained something other than scrap paper, is the planned response to a hurricane a state secret? Are we worried that tropical storm systems will discover our weak points? Are we fighting a Global War on Weather?

That photo is so staged. It's like they aren't even trying anymore.


By fnord12 | September 3, 2008, 9:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



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