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August 31, 2009

Disney to acquire Marvel

Holy crap!

When Marvel went bankrupt i considered buying some Marvel stock just for fun. Guess it would have actually paid off...

Marvel has always been derided by indie comic fans as being "corporate" but Marvel was small potatoes in the real corporate world. Now it's going to be on par with or beyond DC/Time-Warner. It was actually pretty impressive how Marvel's been self-supporting and doing well since bankruptcy, and their self-produced movie venture was looking promising, so it's sad to see them get gobbled up.

I don't expect any immediate 'Disney-fication' of Marvel. I doubt they'll even change the branding. Deadpool will continue to be Deadpool, etc. In the long term we may see some changes. I worry about their susceptibility to boycotts from the religious right. Remember that they had to pass Kevin Smith's Dogma to another company because of protests. But i suspect that the actual comics are a little under the radar of things like that. That would be more about their depictions in movies and tv shows, which we'd probably start seeing a lot more of. We'll see.

On the other hand, it's possible they're interested in Marvel as an idea factory. They may
be more willing to keep low-selling titles alive and stuff like that. So from that perspective it may actually be a positive thing.

Personally, not sure if i like giving money regularly to Disney, which isn't one of the cleanest companies in the world, from a variety of perspectives - human rights/slave labor, labor issues, environmental issues, copyright issues...

By fnord12 | August 31, 2009, 9:52 AM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link

August 28, 2009

It's time for a cute animal picture

By fnord12 | August 28, 2009, 3:58 PM | Cute Things & Ummm... Other?| Link

Sorry, but...

This guy is absolutely right.

By fnord12 | August 28, 2009, 3:07 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 27, 2009

Should i be suspicious?


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won't be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor's large political donors, someone familiar with the case said.

The decision not to pursue indictments was made by top Justice Department officials, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe.

"It's over. There's nothing. It was killed in Washington," the person told The Associated Press.

I don't have any idea if Richardson did anything wrong. Politically speaking, he's generally a 'good guy', so i ought to be happy that he's not being charged with anything. But it seems suspicious that the investigation was dropped after Democrats took back the White House.

By fnord12 | August 27, 2009, 10:14 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

IFO by (hed) pe

Somewhere, somehow, somewhen
We'll see it happen again, my friend
A simple visitation gone wrong like back in '47
Only this time we'll be on the scene like Kent Brockman
Or Sam Donaldson live in New Mexico
But now you can't fool us
Now you can't lie or deny so much
It's obvious why none of us trust you
How does a flying disc turn into a weather balloon
How long did you think you could trick us with lies?
Can't put a cover on the skies
Can't hide that face or those big black eyes
So how you gonna put a cover up on the skies?
Realize, I'm not surprised at your deception
Correction, I welcome the challenge to intercept it
The message loud & clear
You think we fear it
Reverse it
Me & mine we will embrace it
So face it
I got the 411
I got the CNN
We on-line
TV & me we kin
My click is the mandelbrot set
My crops lie unbroken
Your hoaxes, a feeble attempt
Circle perfect, bring the revelation
Your realization far too many videotapes to go around erasin'
This ain't no J.F.K.
Check the I.F.O.-out the box
Fresh like sightings on FOX
Documenting the coming of the chariots
Gods in the making, no more jiving
No more fakin' the real
How long did you think you could trick us with lies
Tricks are for punks
Can't hide the face or those deep black eyes
How you gonna put a cover-up on the skies?
Take me to your leader
He don't even know you
We the niggaz of earth
Got to show you
The peckerwoods can't stand the site of the Africans
What are they gonna do when they face off with a gray man
Prepare to meet your maker in the skies over the pyramids
Check Stonehenge
Go ask the Mayans
2012 soon come
I will be waitin' sayin' I told you so
When the skies are ripped open
And the mothership lands on your cynical ass
Maybe then you will believe & concede
That you can't hide the sun
Can't hide the moon
Can't keep some secrets so big
Yes, the truth must transcend
And when it does, my friend I will be chillin' by the TV
Rockin' with CNN
Yeah, my bong in hand
Surrounded by friends
When the world as we know it will end

By fnord12 | August 27, 2009, 8:49 AM | Music| Link

August 25, 2009

Did your parents deprive you of the privilege of worshipping Thor?

Update: Neither I nor my online editor realized that this article was published in 1970! We regret nothing and pass the blame onto others!

Shameful original post remains below:

My online editor wanted you to see this:

In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."

Pointing out the obvious, wouldn't Protestant parents unduly influence a child to not worship a Roman Catholic God, etc., etc.? I guess as long as we've got them worshiping something, it's ok. It seems to me that the child of an atheist (and a pantheist, for that matter) is more likely to have the freedom to worship as she sees fit than the child of parents of a particular religion, since she's not forced down any particular path before she's old enough to decide.

That Judge ought to be impeached, not because he's got a bias against atheists, but because his reasoning skills are badly flawed.

By fnord12 | August 25, 2009, 9:35 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 24, 2009

I was just issuing orders

Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed a prosecutor to investigate the torture that went on during the Bush Administration. But the prosecutor's mandate will be "relatively narrow" and seems to be focusing only on individuals who may have gone beyond the 'guidelines' given by top White House officials (i.e. John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Dick Cheney). If true, and if it's not just the first step in a larger effort, doesn't really get to the heart of the problem, which isn't about bad apples down the food chain but about elected officials breaking the law and violating the Geneva Convention. If the people who issued the commands aren't prosecuted, there's no deterrent for a future Administration to not to it again.

Someone in the comments at the TPM article wrote:

Because the new paradigm is "I was just issuing orders" not "I was just following orders". This way, the little people get held to account.

By fnord12 | August 24, 2009, 3:37 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Lieberman's Recession Excuse

Ezra Klein says everything that needs to be said about Lieberman's excuse that we should hold off on health care reform because we are in a recession.

By fnord12 | August 24, 2009, 10:48 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 21, 2009

I have reason to fear the hammer of justice myself

Click for full sized image. And see here for inspiring article.

By fnord12 | August 21, 2009, 4:22 PM | Comics & D&D | Comments (1) | Link

August 20, 2009

Something you knew already


Among the headlines promoted by publisher Thomas Dunne Books: [Former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom] Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.

It's worth noting that he didn't actually resign or make this known to the public. And now thinks he can write about it with impunity to sell his memoirs.

Also, as Atrios writes:

Sometimes it's a bit hard to remember just how nutty the world was in those post-9/11 days. Suggesting that Bush was using the terror alert for political purposes would have made you a crazy person, the mere suggestion of it would've put you outside the bounds of acceptable discourse.

Nowadays, of course, Obama is creating Death Panels.

By fnord12 | August 20, 2009, 12:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Dirty tricks come back to bite you

Another problem reaching 60 votes is that we have two very old and sick Senators, both of whom would normally be a reliable vote for health care reform. Neither have been making it to the Senate for votes lately, and both really ought to resign. From a tactical point of view, it's more straightforward for Senator Byrd from West Virginia. They've got a Democratic governor, and their law for replacing Senators is a simple appointment.

For Kennedy, it's more complicated. Massachusetts also has a Democratic governor, but when Kerry was running for president and Mitt Romney was governor, the Democratic state legislature changed the law from an appointment to an election held 5 months from the resignation to prevent Romney from appointing a Republican if Kerry won. That would leave a vacancy in the Senate during this critical time.

Kennedy is now asking the state legislature to change the law back. It's a pretty clear abuse of power, in my opinion.

By fnord12 | August 20, 2009, 9:37 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Blue dog filibuster inevitable?

After finally realizing that the Republicans aren't negotiating in good faith and being surprised that people would be upset if they tried to remove the Public Option, the Democrats are now considering splitting health care reform into two bills, one which they pass normally, and one with more 'controversial' features that they pass via reconciliation.

(For those who aren't up on this procedural stuff, passing something via reconciliation means that you can bypass debate and get right to voting on the bill. So you don't need 60 votes to end the debate/filibuster. It's supposed to be used only for budget related votes, and anything passed via reconciliation expires when that budget plan expires, typically in 10 years. That's why Bush's taxes cuts will expire; you've probably heard talk of 'making the Bush tax cuts permanent'. Of course 'budget related' is relatively ambiguous. Clinton's odious Welfare Reform passed via reconciliation. Since health care costs are such a strain on our federal budget, it's reasonable to pass laws that seek to reduce that strain.)

I don't have any opinion on the tactics of splitting the bills this way. I think it's a joke to think that Republicans will respond positively to this tactic and vote for the less 'controversial' bill. I suspect they'll vote against anything the Democrats put out there, especially when they see that this is a trick to get the full reform passed. But i'm open to anything that gets us health care reform, and i have no insight into whether or not this is the best way.

But it clarifies a key point for me. The WSJ article on the bill split assumes one of two options: either you only have 51 votes, or you have 60 votes. In fact there should be a 3rd option: you don't have 60 votes for final passage but you have enough votes to break a filibuster. In other words, there will be some senators, especially these conservative Democrats like Nelson and Baucus, who won't vote for the bill... but do they really intend to filibuster their own party? Apparently yes.

So why are they Democrats? These Senators are given key committee chairs. We only need 50 Senators to keep Reid as majority leader. Not 60. And if these guys weren't Democrats, we'd have better Dems as committee chairs and we'd be getting better bills out of committee. If they won't vote to break a filibuster, there's no value to keeping them as Dems.

Immediate Update: One problem i see with this tactic is you pass the subsidies for people who can't afford insurance under reconciliation, and you pass the mandates that everyone has to buy insurance the regular way. In 10 years, the subsidies expire, and the Senate is now held by Republicans. They may restore the subsidies at a reduced rate or let them die altogether. And now you've created an impossible burden on those who can't afford insurance.

On a related tangent, I have a major problem with mandates without a public plan in any event, with or without subsidies. Without a public plan, you are simply creating a huge giveaway to insurance companies. You are saying everyone has to buy their product, and the government just pays the insurance companies for the people who can't afford their rates. This does absolutely nothing to reduce costs, and simply provides insurance companies with a captive consumer base (which is actually an incentive to raise prices, since demand is artificially raised).

By fnord12 | August 20, 2009, 9:00 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Venus In Furs by the Velvet Underground

shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather
whiplash girlchild in the dark
comes in bells, your servant, don't forsake him
strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

downy sins of streetlight fancies
chase the costumes she shall wear
ermine furs adorn the imperious
severin, severin awaits you there

i am tired, i am weary
i could sleep for a thousand years
a thousand dreams that would awake me
different colors made of tears

kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather
shiny leather in the dark
tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you
strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

severin, severin, speak so slightly
severin, down on your bended knee
taste the whip, in love not given lightly
taste the whip, now plead for me

i am tired, i am weary
i could sleep for a thousand years
a thousand dreams that would awake me
different colors made of tears

shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather
whiplash girlchild in the dark
severin, your servant comes in bells, please don't forsake him
strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

By fnord12 | August 20, 2009, 8:50 AM | Music| Link

August 18, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Marvel Divas #2 - This continues to be really good. I like the indie-ish art style, and i just love the character interactions and attention to continuity. I'm sad it's only a 4 issue mini.

Marvels Project #1 - This will be interesting. I'm really surprised that Marvel is interested in putting out a Roy Thomas/Mark Gruenwald style continuity dot connector in this day and age, but i have no complaints about it, especially when Brubaker and Epting are the creators.

Hercules #132 - I guess this won't be leading up to a line-wide Casket of Ancient Winters crossover, huh? Still, this was awesome. I like the art, too. Reilly Brown? Keep him on the book.

By fnord12 | August 18, 2009, 9:55 AM | Comics| Link

August 17, 2009

It's what he's there for, right?

Greg Saunders at This Modern World:

You know what the healthcare debate could use right now? Profanity.

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

The debate over healthcare has become so poisoned with lies and bitterness, we need something to really shake it up. Something that really grabs attention and is a game changer media-wise. If I were in charge of media strategy for the White House, I'd get Joe Biden on a high profile interview show and when the subject turns to the townhall protests/death panels/etc., I'd have him say that it's "bullshit".

Do it on a Monday and the VP's potty-mouth will be the trivial topic du jour for the entire week. Republicans will spin up the faux outrage machine, reporters will pepper Robert Gibbs about whether or not Obama would repudiate Biden, and news outlets across the country would report the story and its various twists because, like it or not, it would be one of those silly little news stories they can't help but obsess over.

Sure, there's downsides. Biden looks like a jackass (again), it would distract from the White House's wonkish healthcare messaging (that people aren't really following anyways), but there are two huge upsides.

One, it energizes the base. When Dick Cheney told Patrick Leahy to fuck himself, liberals nearly passed out from all the faux outrage, but at the end of the day Cheney refused to apologize and conservatives respected him all the more for it. With liberal enthusiasm pretty much at a nadir, we could use a galvanizing middle-finger like gesture to feel more empowered (because our majorities in both houses of Congress don't seem willing to stand up for anything).

Secondly, if Joe Biden calls protester bullshit for what it is, every mention of the story just repeats the association. Death panels, bullshit, pulling the plug on grandma, bullshit, euthanasia, bullshit, socialism, bullshit, Hitler, bullshit. It's a seed that needs to be planted in the minds of every uninformed person who's seeing footage of these rabid townhall protests and thinking "If they're THIS mad, there must be something wrong."

Ummm...no, it's just a bunch of bullshit.

By fnord12 | August 17, 2009, 4:58 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 16, 2009

Probably better than Gleaming the Cube

The only question is: how is it possible i've never seen what must have been the greatest movie of all time?

By fnord12 | August 16, 2009, 4:57 PM | Movies| Link

August 14, 2009

The Bipartisan spirit


PRESIDENT OBAMA (Aug 11): I think that there are some of my Republican friends on Capitol Hill who are sincerely trying to figure out if they can find a health care bill that works -- Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

CHUCK GRASSLEY (Aug 13): If I had not been at the table, there would have been a bill through the committee the week of June 22, and it would have been through the Senate by now because there's sixty Democrats.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2009, 4:09 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Europe vs. the US

Naked Capitalism:

Reader Alex C sent a link to an article in the Guardian by Mark Weisbrot in which he surveys some recent findings aht disproved cherished myths about the US economy. Two are related to the widely-held fantasy that America is a land of dynamic entrepreneurship. In fact, a recent study found that the US ranks low among advanced economies in the proportion of people employed by smal businesses. The likely culprit? Lack of universal health care. But you won't see that on the agenda of organizations like the right-leaning Kauffman foundation, whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. And I must say from my own sample that most of the self-employed people I know did not have a career goal of starting a business, but out of necessity, due to job loss or being badly stymied at their employer and unable to land comparable new work.

A second element of the entrepreneurship myth is that the US is a land of economic mobility, that if you work hard and apply yourself, you can improve your economic standing considerable. Again, the US scores poorly in by international standards in economic mobility. The have-nots tend to remain have-nots.

In addition. the high level of US carbon production is due to a surprisingly significant degree to our lifestyle, working long hours to consume, rather than "consuming" more vacation as Europeans do.

The vacation part was interesting. Here's more from the Guardian article:

On the other hand, most Americans pay a high price for the institutional arrangements that bring us these mythical successes. We have the dubious honour of being the only "no-vacation nation", ie no legally required paid time off and of course some weeks fewer actual days off per year than our European counterparts enjoy. We have a broken healthcare system that costs about twice as much per capita as that of our peer nations and delivers worse outcomes, as measured by life expectancy and infant mortality. We are near the top in terms of inequality among high-income countries and at the bottom for parental leave policies and paid sick days. The list is a long one...

There is another area where the comparison between the American and European model has serious implications for the future of the planet: climate change. "Old Europe" uses about half as much energy per capita as the US does. A big part of this difference is because Europeans, in recent decades, have taken much more of their productivity gains in the form of increased leisure time, rather than working the same (or longer) hours in order to consume more.

We estimated that the US would consume about 20% less energy if it had the work hours of the EU-15. This would have a significant impact on world carbon emissions. Furthermore, when the world economy recovers, there are a number of middle-income countries that will approach high-income status in the not-too-distant future (South Korea and Taiwan are already there). Whether they choose the American or the European model will have an even bigger impact on global climate change.

More from a different Naked Capitalism post:

It was conventional wisdom in the US and UK financial press that Europe was dong a hopelessly bad job of responding to the economic downturn, that it needed to do vastly more in the way of fiscal stimulus, that it was consigning its citizens to continued recession, and the Te Germans in particular were to blame for their conservatism re emergency fiscal measures. German readers begged to differ, pointing out the Germany (and the rest of Europe) has large automatic stabilizers (very generous unemployment insurance, for instance), making discretionary fiscal spending less necessary.

I was traveling along the Danube and Rhine in June, and saw far fewer signs of distress (like vacant retail stores) then I see is TARP-supported Manhattan. I thought this was merely sample bias, the vagaries of being in tourist areas (albeit before tourist season was in full swing) and discounted my impressions.

Turns out my sample may not have been so unrepresentative. The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe appears on the cusp of a bona fide recovery, with France and Germany both showing decent second quarter growth, while the US is trying to pretend that "things are getting worse less quickly" is tantamount to recovery.

Now are any of the Euro bashers about to give the EU authorities some credit? I doubt it.

And this disparity, if it persists, points to a much deeper issue. The US chose to deregulate across a wide range of activities and let the devil take the hindmost. Europe cares more about institutional frameworks and collective outcomes. US commentators regularly describe Europe [as] sclerotic. But if the EU winds up delivering better growth, what justification do we have for a system that seems best at redistributing income to [the top?]

By fnord12 | August 14, 2009, 3:19 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 13, 2009

CEO of Whole Foods comes out against health care reform

Guess i won't be shopping there anymore.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2009, 3:02 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Les Paul

I guess i never realized that Les Paul literally invented the solid-body electric guitar:

A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.

"I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut." He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a traditional guitar shape.

Update: Reading more about this, it seems Leo Fender and Adolph Rickenbacher also independently came up with their own solid body inventions, so it's not quite as linear as i first thought.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2009, 2:43 PM | Music| Link

These town hall meetings

I'm seeing that a lot of Democrats are publicly stating that the reactions they're running into in their town hall meetings are not influencing their decisions about supporting health care reform. I'm a bit torn about that, actually. On the one hand, these protesters are extremely misinformed and irrational, and according to polls they don't seem to represent even close to a majority opinion. And it's nice to see Democrats actually standing up for (supposedly) their principles. But on the other hand, i know what it's like to hear your protests dismissed as fringe views and that despite a huge showing at demonstrations across the country, politicians are going to continue with their proposed policies. It feels very anti-democratic.

Also, strategically, you have to wonder what the purpose of these town halls are. It's clearly not to gauge the opinions of their constituents. And it doesn't seem to be a great forum for educating or gaining support. It seems largely a way to generate news coverage for the protesters. Even if the Dems weren't prepared for that initially, by now they should know better. This is a tactical failure; the Democrats were outmaneuvered by the Republicans. They let the debate on the bill extend into recess, and didn't anticipate the attack that was waiting for them at their town halls. It's time to cut that loss and find a new way to go on the messaging offensive.

By fnord12 | August 13, 2009, 10:46 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

U Got the Look by Prince

Here we are folks
The dream we all dream off
Boy versus girl in the world series of love
Tell me, have u got the look?
U walked in, I woke up
I never seen a pretty girl
Look so tough, baby
U got that look
Color u peach and black
Color me takin aback
Crucial, I think I wantcha

Youve got the look, youve got the hook
U shonuf do be cookin in my book
Your face is jammin
Your bodys heck-a-slammin
If love is good, lets get 2 rammin
U got the look, u got the look

Look here
U got the look (u got the look)
U musta took (u musta took)
A whole hour just 2 make up your face, baby
Closin time, ugly lights, everybodys inspected (everybodys inspected)
But u are a natural beauty unaffected (unaffected)
Did I say an hour?
My face is red, I stand corrected (I stand corrected)

Youve got the look, youve got the hook
U shonuf do be cookin in my book
Your face is jammin
Your bodys heck-a-slammin
If love is good, lets get 2 rammin
U got the look, u got the look

(theres no girl to do)
Well here we are, ladies and gentlemen
The dream we all dream of (oh, please!)
Boy versus girl in the world series of love

U walked in (I walked in)
I woke up (u woke up)
I never seen a pretty girl look so tough baby (baby)
U got that look, yes u do (yes u do)
Color u peach and black
Color me takin aback, baby
Crucial, I think I wantcha

Youve got the look, youve got the hook
U shonuf do be cookin in my book
Your face is jammin
Your bodys heck-a-slammin
If your love is good, lets get 2 rammin (now)
U got the look, u got the look

Here we are folks
The dream we all dream of

You got the look
You got the look
You got the look
You got the look
You got the look

By fnord12 | August 13, 2009, 9:06 AM | Music| Link

August 12, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #2 - The first issue walked a really thin line between showing a lot of potential and looking like it might be a typical Deadpool comic: "outrageously zany" without actually being funny. This issue makes it look like we're heading towards the latter. I liked the "from Deadpool's perspective" shots in the first issue, but this one didn't have any, and the three-way internal "monologue" was less funny this issue as well. So we're left with a straightforward action plot with a silly premise (a talking zombie Deadpool head from another dimension), and it really wasn't all that interesting from an action point of view. Plus, the T&A is just stupidly overt. So i dunno, give it one more issue?

Captain America: Reborn #2 - This is great, nice art, but it runs the risk of being pointless if we don't move beyond the time jumps by next issue. And since it focuses on things going on in the 'real' world as well, i don't see how it differentiates itself from the main Cap title.

War of the Kings #6 - I really like the idea of Gladiator becoming the ruler of the Shi'ar (did i understand that right?). And this was a decent resolution, i guess. Plus it's good for the Marvel Universe for Vulcan to be killed off, and it'll actually strengthen Black Bolt for him to be dead for a while. I can already sort of envision the cool factor of someone like Abnett & Lanning bringing him back into some future crossover 3 years from now. I still feel like the crossover issues were better than the main story. But this was good.

Agents of Atlas #9 - It's such a personality shift for Suwan, and it threatens to retcon the meaning out of some old Yellow Claw stories, so i'm a little apprehensive of this. But it's definitely being told well.

By fnord12 | August 12, 2009, 8:11 PM | Comics| Link

Bizarro world

Ladies and gentlemen, the Wall Street Journal:

Liberating Afghanistan, like the various bailouts and stimuli, was a direct response to an immediate crisis, whereas liberating Iraq, like ObamaCare, was a response to a chronic problem. Thus one could argue that ObamaCare is the domestic equivalent of a "war of choice."

But the comparison sells President Bush short in a way that is independent of the merits of the policies. Whereas Obama seems to think the country owes it to him to accept ObamaCare because he was kind enough to agree to be our president, Bush actually made an effort to persuade the public--including the opposite party--that his plan for Iraq was a good idea. The effort was very successful: Congress authorized the use of military force with strong bipartisan majorities, and by early 2003, public approval of the plan was in the 70% range.

Republican politicians did not label opponents of the war effort "un-American," as Steny Pelosi and Nancy Hoyer have done to ObamaCare foes. Bush's White House, unlike Obama's, did not urge supporters to report "fishy" pro-Saddam arguments. Bush did not tell his critics to shut up and "get out of the way," as Obama did last week. The Bush administration simply made a compelling argument and won. The Obama administration, on the verge of losing after making a poor argument, now is lashing out at its critics--which seems a strategy to maximize the damage of this effort.

By fnord12 | August 12, 2009, 9:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

August 11, 2009

Sugar Daddy Dating

I guess nothing should shock me anymore. But this is a real ad on a 'respectable' website (TalkingPointsMemo). You have to agree it's at least a little bizarre.

By fnord12 | August 11, 2009, 3:55 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (3) | Link

Dwarf Miniature Horse

Cute animal pictures!

By fnord12 | August 11, 2009, 3:21 PM | Cute Things & Ummm... Other? | Comments (3) | Link

August 10, 2009

I guess they couldn't tell, because he doesn't have an accent


But my favorite part of the editorial deals with the British health-care system, which if you believe IBD is basically condemning the old and disabled to die.

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless," the editorial claims.

Of course, that same Stephen Hawking who wouldn't have a chance in the United Kingdom was in fact born in the United Kingdom, has lived his entire life in the United Kingdom and lives there still today, at the ripe old age of 67. (He was in fact hospitalized earlier this month.) Hawking is, you might say, living, breathing proof that these people are first-class fools.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2009, 1:16 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Alberto Gonzales double-speak


Q: Some 70 professors at Texas Tech have signed a petition that protests your appointment and cites your "ethical failings," including misleading Congress abut the firing of nine federal prosecutors. What will you tell your students about that?

Gonzales: All the inspector-general investigations, they're now over with. They found that I had not engaged in any criminal wrongdoing.

Q: Isn't there still an ongoing investigation by a special prosecutor who was appointed last year to look into the removal of the attorneys?

Gonzales: I wish I could comment on that, but because it's an ongoing investigation, I cannot.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2009, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Backdoor line item veto

Presidents do not have a line item veto. It's something they've been asking for at least since the first George Bush, but Congress have never enacted it. As well they shouldn't. Giving a president line item veto essentially destroys the negotiation process in Congress. You want to provide a tax break to a certain industry? Fine, i'll vote for that, but only if you'll put in a restriction on their carbon emissions. Then we send the bill to the president, and he crosses out my restriction before signing it? Forget it, i'm never negotiating on a bill again.

But the use of signing statements attempts to do the same thing. The president signs the bill, but says "Now, this portion of the bill right here, we're not going to comply with that." It's usually only done with laws that attempt to restrict Executive Branch power in some way. But it's still unacceptable. You can't sign a bill but say that certain portions of it don't apply.

President Obama campaigned against Bush's use of signing statements. But now he's doing it.

...other legal experts argued that signing statements were lawful and appropriate because it was impractical to veto important bills over small problems.

That's nonsense. Imagine reading over your lease agreement, seeing some provision you didn't like, and instead of going back to the landlord and negotiating, you just crossed out that line. If your landlord ever caught you doing whatever the lease was restricting, you'd be laughed out of small claims court if you told them you crossed that out before signing the lease.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2009, 8:55 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

August 7, 2009

Candidate for Secret Wars IV

By fnord12 | August 7, 2009, 12:32 PM | Comics| Link

August 6, 2009


Am i beating this to death? I really thought this was a fluke, ironic and funny but nothing more, when i saw the first example of it. Not anymore.

During the town hall, one conservative activist turns to his fellow attendees and asks them to raise their hands if they "oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care." Almost all the hands shot up. Rep Green quickly turned the question on the audience and asked, "How many of you have Medicare?" Nearly half the attendees raised their hands, failing to note the irony.

By fnord12 | August 6, 2009, 3:27 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Mr. Jackhammer Man by Michelle Maldow & the Smoots

Well my kitchen floor is warm
And i aint' got no heated floorboards
I hear the pipes a'flowing
But the water ain't headin' sink-wards

We've been eatin' nothin' but take-out
But our kitchen's almost done
Just in time for us
To build another one

Mr. Jackhammer Man!
Wake the neighbor's baby!
Mr. Jackhammer Man!
Smash our new tiles and cabinets, maybe!

By fnord12 | August 6, 2009, 10:40 AM | Music | Comments (6) | Link

August 5, 2009

Our new kitchen

We put a lot of time and money into it. Hope you like it:

By fnord12 | August 5, 2009, 10:47 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | August 5, 2009, 4:45 PM | Comics| Link

August 4, 2009

This is getting serious

Arthur Laffer on CNN:

If you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they're run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.

We've moved beyond 'confused old people at rallies' and we're now looking at right wing economists on television. Are people really this confused or is this a coordinated effort to mislead?

Update: This is interesting. Don't know how accurate it is. But if it's true, i bet it's still effective with certain segments of the population, despite being "obsolete".

Let's be frank. From about the 1960's to the 1980's, the Post Office and other government agencies had a "disproportionate" number of blacks. That's due to a number of factors, the primary one being that the federal government was quicker to hire blacks than private enterprise. For a long time "the Post Office" and "the DMV" was code for such staffing.

But that's changed over the years as a visit to both places will attest. Laffer is dating himself, using an obsolete slur.

By fnord12 | August 4, 2009, 2:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link

August 3, 2009

Recap #28

Just Deserts

By min | August 3, 2009, 5:36 PM | D&D| Link

August 1, 2009

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

OK, we've got a quite backlog, so let's do this quickly:

Reborn #1 - I don't know why this couldn't just be in Captain America where we're getting fill-in material instead, but this is good.

War of the Kings #5 - I can't remember what happened in this issue, but i'm sure it was fine.

Agents of Atlas #9 - See? They're allowed to make out, even though they're cousins. They were made for each other!

Marvel Divas #1 - I guess i like a book about bunch of characters sitting around talking to each other more if they're Marvel characters rather than an indie book, even if the indie book is better written. Because i know these characters, know their history, etc. So as long as the writers are mindful of the characters' history, books like this have a lot of payoff for me. So i liked this quite a bit. I thought the art was good too. Not the cover, which was totally not indicative of the story or art inside. I imagine a cover like that puts off most people who would be interested in this book while attracting people who will just be disappointed by the contents. And i'm not sure about the title, either. I suppose Felicia might be a "diva" but not any of the others.

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #1 - Funny, especially the triple internal monologue and the few 'what the world looks like through DP's eyes' scenes. The T&A was very disappointing, though.

Captain Britain & MI13 #15 - I enjoyed the surprise appearance of Death's Head, yes? And the other Marvel UK characters. And this wrapped up well. It might read better all at once, but i'm not like all these people i see on the internet, lamenting how Marvel is canceling its only good title.

Hercules #131 - Hmmm, splitting up Herc and Amadeus... And they blew their last chance to have Armless Tiger Man destroy some machinery with a hammer held between his toes.

Nova #27 - Very good.

Guardians of the Galaxy #16 - Very good.

Agents of Atlas #8 - Always nice to see the Hulk, especially now that he's been hijacked by Jeph Loeb. This is an excellent series.

Captain America #601 - A very special fill-in issue. The coloring didn't exactly compliment Gene Colan's art.

Dark Avengers #7 - When did Cyclops become such a dufus? Why is everyone so belligerent? Would Namor really be hanging out with those losers and be so easily goaded into a pointless fight? Why has my Dark Avengers comic been hijacked by Matt Fraction?

X-Force #17 - Definitely better now that the crossover with Cable is over. The whole Hrimhari/Frost Giant sub-plot seems totally out of place, but i'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

War of Kings: Ascension #4 - Ok, thanks.

Secret Warriors #6 - Whenever this book arrives, i kind of frown at it, like i don't really want it and i'm not sure whey i'm getting it. But then i read it and it's really good. I don't know why that happens. This actually seems like it will be a significant book, as Fury is wresting back control of HAMMER/SHIELD.

Hood #3 - I liked the scene with Satana. Actually, i like this overall, except i'm really not interested in the White Fang parts.

New Avengers #55 - Immomen! Nice art! Kind of mundane plot, though, but it is done well enough. Although now that i think about it, i guess it's fall-out from the last arc and the defeat of the Hood. That didn't even occur to me while i was reading it because i'm all mixed up about the Hood's appearances since i'm reading the Hood mini at the same time and there's all these flashbacks.

By fnord12 | August 1, 2009, 2:36 PM | Comics| Link

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