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October 28, 2017

It's not a queue as long as we pretend not to notice

Right now you mostly only hear about stuff like this and this on Twitter (and personal experiences, ofc). But the minute President Bernie Sanders signs Single Payer into law in 2021, it will officially become A Problem.

By fnord12 | October 28, 2017, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 24, 2017

How to tell you're a professional

Back when i was in college circa 1996 i remember either Tom Brevoort or Kurt Busiek on racmu advising someone about pursuing a career in comics. The warning was that you may love comics, but once it becomes your job it changes everything. For one thing, you learn more about the technical aspects of how comics are produced and it makes it impossible to just read it and enjoy a comic for what it is (in that sense, it's probably similar to - but not identical to - being a comic critic or whatever the hell i am). For another thing, you should always have hobbies that you can retreat to after a bad day at work, but if your hobby is your work that becomes a lot harder. I never harbored a fantasy of becoming a comic book writer or a musician (my other main hobby) but i did think it was good advice and i think about it every so often and have shared the story with others.

(In retrospect, if it was Brevoort, i also should have seen it as a warning sign that he was already becoming the burnt out shell of a man that seems to be nowadays.)

Anyway, i cam across this random comic on Twitter and it seems that the sentiment isn't exclusive to the comics industry:

(I hope no one minds me posting this. I don't have a way to link to the "source". The version i saw on Twitter even had the copyright info cropped off, but at least i was able to find that.)

By fnord12 | October 24, 2017, 2:16 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Get out of there, Conan

I swear i've groused about this before but i can't find a post: I often come across cool Marvel subscription ads from the 70s and think that it would make a good poster or t-shirt, but i'm always put off by the appearance of Conan. I know he was very popular, and his stories are technically in the Marvel canon, but (for better or worse) he never marched in a line-up with Spidey and the Thing and friends. Maybe i could like paste Ka-Zar's head on top or something.

Send for the Marvel Superheroes! from Jan 79

By fnord12 | October 24, 2017, 2:10 PM | Comics| Link

October 23, 2017

Streaming Mimi

MightyGodKing hasn't posted in a while, but he's back with an analysis of some semi obscure (and some not-so-obscure) movies with what i would call Historical Significance which are not readily available via any streaming service. Most of these movies, in my stupid opinion, should be in the public domain by now and therefore would be freely available for any service. Relatedly, this is why i prefer to have my own video file library; even if things are available for streaming at the moment, there's no guarantee that they always will be. The kids today, with their Kodi streaming plug-ins, don't seem to understand that (and/or care).

When i first read the above, there was was a comment that left me scratching my head, and it turns out that MGK has addressed that comment in a follow-up post. I grant that Blockbuster wasn't very good, but our local EZVideo was pretty great, especially if Netflix's "Nothing But Made For SyFy" selection is the comparison point.

If nothing else, MGK has made me want to seek out Dark of the Sun for the chainsaw fight.

By fnord12 | October 23, 2017, 12:51 PM | Liberal Outrage & Movies| Link

October 22, 2017

The Singularity's Approaching

Crap! First they teach themselves to beat you at Go! and then they take over the world.

The AI learned without supervision--it simply played against itself, and soon was able to anticipate its own moves and how they would affect a game's outcome.
AlphaGo Zero even devised its own unconventional strategies. The game go is typically played using "stones" colored either black or white on a board with a 19 by 19 grid. Each player places stones with the objective of surrounding an opponent's. "In training, AlphaGo Zero discovered, played and ultimately learned to prefer a series of new joseki [corner sequence] variants that were previously unknown," says DeepMind spokesperson Jon Fildes.


By min | October 22, 2017, 3:46 PM | Science| Link

Children Dying in Foster Care Isn't News

Why is the foster system for-profit???

Children in the for-profit foster care system are dying at alarming rates, but the deaths are not being investigated, a two-year investigation has found.

The investigation, conducted and released in rare bipartisan fashion by the Senate Finance Committee, looked closely at one of the largest private providers of foster care services, the MENTOR Network.

The companies and agencies charged with keeping foster children safe often failed to provide the most basic protections or take steps to prevent tragedies, the investigation found.

In the wake of the report, shares of the MENTOR Network's parent company, Civitas Solutions, traded sharply downward, but quickly rebounded amid a lack of press coverage.


As always, only life that involves controlling a woman's womb merits attention.

By min | October 22, 2017, 3:37 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 20, 2017

More on the DNC purge

The Intercept focuses on Keith Ellison's predicament.

By fnord12 | October 20, 2017, 3:08 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 19, 2017

Selective Feminism and the Myth of the Bernie Bro

Part one of a series by Katie Halper.

By fnord12 | October 19, 2017, 3:04 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

DNC Purge


...the Democratic National Committee's first transgender member and a number of people of color -- who happen to represent the left wing of the party.. have just been ousted from their roles.

What that article doesn't mention is that disgraced former DNC head Donna Brazile has been added back , and so has the guy who runs the Georgia Restaurant Association and opposes the Fight For Fifteen (which is technically a party plank). Also lots of lobbyists and Clinton loyalists.

I remember when we were told that the Ellison vs. Perez battle was pointless since Perez was every bit as progressive as Ellison.

By fnord12 | October 19, 2017, 2:54 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Even a small UBI would help a lot

Peoples Policy Project:

In 2016, the Federal Reserve reported that nearly half of all Americans would not be able to cover a $400 emergency expense without either borrowing money or selling valuables.

...So, it seems, a modest UBI really would help cushion families' financial security.

A low UBI would also have significant ramifications for America's financial sector, for the better of many Americans. It is no secret that it is expensive to be poor in America. Financial institutions make a significant amount of money every year by taking advantage of people who are unable to make ends meet in the short term. A low UBI would substantially diminish many Americans' reliance on exploitative financial products, saving billions in fees and interest payments on top of the cash payments themselves.

Two products that would be directly addressed by a partial UBI are overdraft fees and payday loans.

Postal banking would also address some of these issues, but like the girl in the taco commercial says, "Why don't we have both?".

By fnord12 | October 19, 2017, 10:23 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 18, 2017

The chocolate is a lie


"Mars and [other chocolate companies] made a conscious decision to invest in science to transform the image of their product from a treat to a health food," said New York University nutrition researcher Marion Nestle (no relation to the chocolate maker). "You can now sit there with your [chocolate bar] and say I'm getting my flavonoids."


But despite the industry effort to date, cocoa still has never been proven to carry any long-term health benefits. And when it's delivered with a big dose of fat and sugar, any potential health perks are very quickly outweighed by chocolate's potential harm to the waistline.

By fnord12 | October 18, 2017, 3:21 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science| Link

Oh we remember

A former consultant to Bill Clinton has an OpEd complaining about Bernie Sanders' influence on the Dem party platform, saying, "Memories in politics are short, but those policies are vastly different from the program of the party's traditional center-left coalition." No, we remember. That's not the problem.

Dean Baker responds in more detail.

By fnord12 | October 18, 2017, 12:18 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 17, 2017

How paleoartists would depict modern animals

This is amazing.

By fnord12 | October 17, 2017, 1:55 PM | Science| Link

Dem senator says carbon tax may be closer than we realize

I'm torn about whether or not Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse sounds hopelessly naive, but i'm rooting for him.

By fnord12 | October 17, 2017, 8:18 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 11, 2017

McConnell ditches Blue Slips

For reference, see this from four years ago when Obama's nominees were getting held up due to this "rule".


No longer will "blue slips" be allowed to deny a nominee a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation. In the past, senators have sometimes barred a nominee from their state by refusing to return their slip to the committee, thus preventing a hearing and confirmation.

"The majority"--that is, Republicans--will treat a blue slip "as simply notification of how you're going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball," McConnell told me. The use of blue slips, he noted, is not a Senate rule and has "been honored in the breach over the years." Now it won't be honored at all.

The only people shocked by this are the Democrats, who are shocked by everything.

By fnord12 | October 11, 2017, 2:20 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

One day i hope these conversations will be made public


At one point, Trump responded to a presentation on the U.S. military presence in South Korea by asking why South Koreans aren't more appreciative and welcoming of American defense aid. The comment prompted intervention from a senior military official in the room to explain the overall relationship and why such help is ultimately beneficial to U.S. national security interests.

By fnord12 | October 11, 2017, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 9, 2017

But in Canada you have to wait on a queue for MRIs

In the US we have the freedom to be denied them entirely.

By fnord12 | October 9, 2017, 12:13 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Campaigning works

If Bernie Sanders' campaign proved anything, it's that campaigning for issues can make those issues more popular - you can see that through the increased popularity of things like Single Payer as well as the explosion in membership of the DSA. So the Democrats' idea to run fake ads convincing Republican voters to vote for extreme candidates in their primaries is not just a dirty trick and hypocritical after all their "fake news" complaints, it's also counter-productive in the long term because they'll be spending money to promote extreme right wing ideas.

By fnord12 | October 9, 2017, 12:08 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Defense Industry analyst thinks Marvel fans are a mess

I thought this was an interesting outside (i.e. non comic person) perspective on the Marvel/Northrop Grumman fiasco.

Regarding what he says about "facing criticism from the right for what they believe is a liberal agenda", see Bigoted Santa Claus.

By fnord12 | October 9, 2017, 11:43 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage| Link

October 7, 2017

Thinking about getting into cryptozoology

Hard to resist the appeal: "The skunk ape, also known as the swamp cabbage man, swamp ape, stink ape, Florida Bigfoot, Louisiana Bigfoot, myakka ape, swampsquatch..."

Since we've turned off comments on the blog, i'll do this one myself: Half of these were my college nicknames.

By fnord12 | October 7, 2017, 1:20 PM | Cryptozoology| Link

Poisoning the bees

There's always been a little bit of a debate about whether or not vegans should eat honey. I don't eat it, but i acknowledge that the main reasons for being vegan don't necessarily apply to honey. But it turns out you should probably be avoiding it anyway. And that's all of course beyond the main point of the article, which is that we are killing the creatures that pollinate our crops.

By fnord12 | October 7, 2017, 11:29 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 6, 2017

Holy crap, Joe Biden

It's bad enough he's been positioning himself as the anti-populist, but now:

"I've been around so long, I worked with James Eastland," said Biden, referring to a segregationist senator from Mississippi. "Even in the days when I got there, the Democratic Party still had seven or eight old-fashioned Democratic segregationists. You'd get up and you'd argue like the devil with them. Then you'd go down and have lunch or dinner together. The political system worked. We were divided on issues, but the political system worked."

Yeah, it worked alright, but it was nothing to look back on with wistful fondness.

By fnord12 | October 6, 2017, 7:01 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 5, 2017

The FBI And The Case of the Stolen Piglets

This reads like the start of a disaster-horror movie where it turns out that the pigs had some sort of mutant disease or something, but it's really just the meat industry using the power of the federal government to suppress some bad PR.

By fnord12 | October 5, 2017, 6:20 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

So close

If we could somehow get Trump surrounded by better people, it might have a profoundly positive effect (click through to the AP article too).

By fnord12 | October 5, 2017, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

The NYTimes are a changin' too

Stephanie Kelton again. Unfortunately the timing kind of sucks because it's in the context of Republican tax cuts. We could have used more of this when we were debating the size of the 2008 stimulus, or hell, even when/if we get to Trump's infrastructure bill. But hopefully it'll be the beginning of a change in the way we talk about deficits.

By fnord12 | October 5, 2017, 11:08 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

October 4, 2017

"Coates's goal is to invalidate the possibility of class solidarity across racial boundaries"

Here is a long essay by Asad Haider addressing (in part) Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent (and also long) article. Coates has long had a weird blind spot where he's argued on the assumption that class-based struggle and race-based struggle are exclusive tracks (i.e. the antiquated and rightly disputed idea that racism is just a subset of classism), which has never been entirely true and it's been a fringe view among socialists for a long long time. Coates has seemed so obtuse on that point that i'd assume he was just against socialism, but that doesn't seem to be the case (he voted for Bernie Sanders saying it was "awesome" and "great" that an "avowed socialist" had a serious shot at the nomination). So i'm interested in where Coates is coming from. This article by Asad Haider is uncharitable to Coates but it's at least an attempt to address his points.

By fnord12 | October 4, 2017, 6:16 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

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