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Liberal Outrage

What the hell is going on in this country?

From thinkprogress:

On Tuesday, while "wildfires raged" in California, FEMA staged a live press conference at which agency staffers posed as journalists and asked softball questions. One of those staffers, Director of External Affairs John "Pat" Philbin, has now resigned. He has instead landed an "amazing opportunity" to head public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Holy crap, what a banana republic we live in...

By fnord12 | October 30, 2007, 1:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Where's my "bizarre, unsolicited email"?

Check out this insane exchange between Glenn Greenwald and General Petraeus' spokesman, Colonel Boylan.

By fnord12 | October 30, 2007, 1:32 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Doctors Rejoice Over Our Obesity


Use of cholesterol and blood pressure medicines by young adults appears to be rising rapidly -- at a faster pace than among senior citizens, according to an industry report being released Tuesday.

Experts point to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol problems among young people. Also, doctors are getting more aggressive with preventive treatments.

"This is good news, that more people in this age range are taking these medicines," said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

Still, he said many more people should be on the drugs that lower cholesterol or blood pressure and which have been shown to reduce risks for heart attack and stroke.

I see that our medical professionals are unclear on what the meaning of "preventative". I suppose they mean that by putting people on medication sooner, they are preventing the inevitable heart attack. Silly me, i was thinking preventative in terms of keeping people healthy so that they don't get to the point of actually having symptoms. You know. Lifestyle changes so that they don't have high cholesterol or blood pressure in the first place. Not, "Oh, now that you're starting to get sick, let's give you drugs so that you can maintain your current unhealthy lifestyle longer." I always get it wrong.

Dr. Howard Weintraub, the heart disease prevention expert at the American College of Cardiology, said he's "thrilled" by the dramatic increase, which he says is tied to requests from patients with "a brand new sense of urgency" and referrals from other doctors to his private practice.

"If you wait until a heart attack or stroke, it's a little bit late," Weintraub said.

And that's coming from the "heart disease prevention expert". Fantastic. I wonder how much he gets in "thank yous" from the drug companies for pushing more meds. Seems to me that if you got to the point of needing the drugs, you're already late. Not too late, perhaps, but late all the same.

I am clearly no medical expert. My advice would have been 1) stop eating those deep fried twinkies wrapped in bacon, 2) get on a treadmill, and 3) get acquainted with that other food group - fruits and vegetables. Shows what i know.

By min | October 30, 2007, 8:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link

Remember The Guy Who Got Tased Asking Kerry Questions?

Well, i think they must have tased his brain because he's now talking like one of the "re-educated".

Andrew Meyer, 21, yelled "Don't Tase me, bro!" as he scuffled with officers during the on-campus speech last month. In letters to the university, its president and the campus police department, he apologized, attorney Robert Griscti said.

"I made the decision to supersede the rules, and for that I apologize," Meyer wrote. "I should have acted calmer and obeyed the directives of the officers. If I had, none of the subsequent issues would ever have arisen."


"I am a far more reasoned individual than I was a short while ago, and the reasoned response of the university has helped me a great deal," Meyer wrote.

I think somebody had a frontal lobotomy while they were in police custody. Or they made a deal where he thanks them for tasing him repeatedly and they don't press charges. That's like a lobotomy, except it's not his brain they cut pieces off of.

Not that he wasn't an ass when he got up to the podium to ask his question. He was definitely an ass.

By min | October 30, 2007, 8:38 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Iowa's a Jerk

Iowa has moved up its caucus to January 3rd in order to maintain their "first-in-the-nation status". So much for trying to allow for everyone in the country to get a fair chance at voting in the primaries. No. We're not much interested in that. We only care about getting ours in first. New Hampshire has responded that they're going to set a date no later than January 8th. Their original date was January 22nd.

Other states are now moving up their primary dates in reaction to Iowa's assholery. I still don't understand why we need to have multiple primary dates. There should be one date for all states to hold their primaries at once. No longer are we in the days where the candidates need to travel from state to state to campaign in each one individually. We have tv. We have the internet. They can campaign from their own living rooms if they wanted to. The practical reason of having different dates for primaries is no longer valid. And yet, we still practice this ritual.

The only thing that has come out of this is that with tv and the internet, now whoever doesn't win the first couple of primaries is pretty much screwed. The media will continually harp on how they didn't win and inflate the significance of it to the point where people who were originally going to vote for that candidate either switch their vote or give up on them entirely.

Bully for Iowa and New Hampshire, but i sure as hell don't want my candidate selection to hinge on their decision just as much as i'm sure they wouldn't like it very much if New York and California were the first 2 states to hold primaries. I want everyone to throw in their vote at once and see who wins. This jockeying for supremacy and status is completely missing the entire point of the process. It's idiotic. And these are the people who are going to whittle down my choices for me before i even get to cast a vote. Excuse me if i'm less than happy about the prospect.

Howard Dean has tried to mitigate the problem by scheduling more primaries closer together, having experienced first hand how having just a handful of states decide the primaries can destroy a campaign (having your own party members calling up potential voters and bad-mouthing you doesn't help either). I don't think his party is cooperating with him, though. They don't want to offend voters in Iowa and New Hampshire by coming out and saying "Yeah, you don't need to be first." They're Democrats. That's the story of their lives. Don't do anything for fear it might offend someone. Even the people who already don't like you. Poncy wankers.

By min | October 29, 2007, 9:09 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

What gets redacted.

Only highly sensitive information that we wouldn't want our enemies to see, surely.

(Found in the comments for this post also talking about redactions).

By fnord12 | October 26, 2007, 4:28 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Update on the Ice Haven thing

Here's an update on the issue where a teacher assigned a Daniel Clowes (the guy who wrote Ghost World) comic to a student and it caused a controversy. Short version: he lost his job even though he did nothing wrong.

By fnord12 | October 26, 2007, 4:14 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage | Link

Blood In My Eyes

...crabapples in my cheeks.

Glenn Beck is some wingnut on CNN and has his own talk radio show (seems to be the standard career for wingnuts) who said

I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

Check out Digby for his drunken explanation of what he really meant by that. I won't spoil it by recapping it for you. Let's just say, it had something to do with blood spurting from his eyeballs.

By min | October 24, 2007, 1:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Microsoft Seemingly Bows to the EU's Demands

Microsoft last week said it would withdraw an appeal against a 2006 antitrust ruling by the South Korea Fair Trade Commission, which fined the company $34 million for bundling media software into its operating systems and abusing its dominant market position in the country.

The company is also seeking an end to monitoring by courts in the United States, imposed after rulings determined that it had used illegal means to bolster its effective monopoly on software for home computers, claiming it has institutionalized compliance with U.S. antitrust law. If a newly contrite Microsoft translates into enhanced competition, as competition regulators around the world say, consumers could benefit from lower prices and faster innovation in software.

While some speculate this will open the door for more competition and provide consumers with lower prices, others are less certain there will be any significant impact because most of these issues were already addressed in previous lawsuits. It seems like Microsoft fought it as long as they could and when it was no longer much of a sacrifice to concede, they did, hoping to come out looking reasonable and magnanimous.

"This is an important but incremental step," said Dan Kohn, the chief operating officer of the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit consortium.

For years, Kohn noted, open-source engineers have legally picked apart the Microsoft communications protocols and written code that mimics them. This is now included in Linux. "So we have generally good interoperability with Windows now," he said.


By min | October 23, 2007, 2:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Lots of Not-Bribery From Telecoms

IHT Link

Executives at the two biggest phone companies contributed more than $42,000 in political donations to Senator John Rockefeller IV this year while seeking his support for legal immunity for businesses participating in National Security Agency eavesdropping.
The money came primarily from a fund-raiser that Verizon held for Rockefeller in March in New York and another that AT&T sponsored for him in May in San Antonio.

Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, emerged last week as the most important supporter of immunity in devising a compromise plan with Senate Republicans and the Bush administration.


Rockefeller's office said Monday that the sharp increases in contributions from the telecommunications executives had no influence on his support for the immunity provision.

"Any suggestion that Senator Rockefeller would make policy decisions based on campaign contributions is patently false," Wendy Morigi, a spokeswoman for him, said. "He made his decision to support limited immunity based on the Intelligence Committee's careful review of the situation and our national security interests."

So, corporations raise tons of money for politicians but it has no bearing on the decisions they make. Is anyone buying that one? Are they doing it for kicks?

A spokeswoman for AT&T, Claudia Jones, said contributions from its executives related to Rockefeller's role on the Senate Commerce Committee, not immunity or other questions before the Intelligence Committee.

Oh. So, it's not a bribe. It's just a very large "Thank You" that politicians can expect to get if they do things the businesses find favorable.


bribe (brīb)

1. Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct.
2. Something serving to influence or persuade.

Sure sounds alot like a bribe to me.

"That these companies are going to focus their lobbying efforts where their business interests are is no revelation," Bennett said. "That's the standard Washington way of doing business."

I see. Since it's nothing new, it's not a bribe. It's a "focus of efforts". Right.

"Mendacity. You know what that is. It's lies and liars."
--Brick Pollitt, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By min | October 23, 2007, 1:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Water Wars

Man i thought this was going to be another article about the problems they're having in Colorado and Nevada. Nope, this is Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Are you sure you don't want to buy one of those lake houses in the mountains?

By fnord12 | October 22, 2007, 2:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Who is Howard Kurtz?

Here's a good article about him, which helps explain why i snorted when he appeared on the Daily Show a couple of weeks ago. (Definitely check out the links in the updates as well.)

By fnord12 | October 22, 2007, 1:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Faith in government collapses (Updated)

Everyone's miserable.

Bush's approval rating: 24%.
Congress' approval rating: 11%.

"There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them," pollster John Zogby said. "They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don't believe they are going to get it."

And yet people still flip out when a Ralph Nader type tries to give people another option.

Update: Here's some commentary by guest poster Chris Floyd on Glenn Greenwald's blog:

The prospect of a Democratic victory in 2006 was for many people the last, flickering hope that the degradation of the republic could be arrested and reversed within the ordinary bounds of the political system. This was always a fantasy, given the strong bipartisan nature and decades-long cultivation of greed, arrogance and militarism that has now come to its fullest bloom in the Bush administration. But desperation can crack the shell of the most hardened cynic, and no doubt there were few who did not harbor somewhere deep inside at least a small grain of hope against hope that a slap-down at the polls would give the Bush gang pause and confound its worst depredations.

One year on, we can all see how the Democrats have made a mockery of those dreams. Their epic levels of unpopularity are richly deserved. At every step they evoke the remarks of the emperor Tiberius, who, after yet another round of groveling acquiescence from the once-powerful Roman Senate, dismissed them with muttered contempt: "Men fit to be slaves." The record of the present Congress provides copious and irrefutable evidence for this judgment.

After 10 full months of Democratic command in the legislative branch -- 10 full months under the "liberal," "progressive," "antiwar" Democratic leadership -- where are we? The Iraq war, far from being ended or even curtailed, was instead escalated by Bush in the face of popular discontent and establishment unease: the first, and most egregious, Democratic surrender. Bush's illegal spying on Americans was not only not punished, it was formally legitimized by Congress, whose Democratic leaders are now hastening to give their telecom paymasters retroactive immunity for taking part in what they knew to be a massive criminal operation, as Glenn Greenwald has often noted here. The Military Commissions Act -- which eviscerated 900 years of habeas corpus, as even Arlen Specter admitted (before slavishly voting for the bill anyway) -- remains on the books, unshaken by the Democrats, despite all the cornpone about "restoring the Constitution" they've dished out for the rubes back home.

And now we stand on the brink of another senseless, useless, baseless war, this time with Iran -- a conflict that, as Juan Cole pointed out on Salon recently, is likely to make the belching hell of Iraq look like a church picnic. Dick Cheney's bellicose outburst Sunday in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Studies -- a reprise of many similar war dances he performed in the run-up to the unprovoked invasion of Iraq -- takes us one step closer to this new crime. But Cheney's assertions of Persian perfidy -- all of them unsubstantiated, and in the case of the nuclear program, refuted by the IAEA -- were simply the culmination of a remarkable bipartisan campaign of demonization in which the Democrats have actually taken the public lead, repeatedly castigating the administration for not being "tough enough" on Iran, and repeatedly vowing that "all options are on the table" against the mad mullahs: strong words indeed from the only nation on earth that has ever exercised the "nuclear option" against another country.

The Democrats have already overwhelmingly -- and officially -- accepted the administration's arguments for war against Iran. The first on-the-record embrace came in June, on a 97-0 Senate vote in favor of a saber-rattling resolution from Fightin' Joe Lieberman
To be sure, stout-hearted Dem tribunes like Dick Durbin insisted that their support for declaring that Iran is "committing acts of war" against the United States should not be taken as an "authorization of military action." This is shaky-knees mendacity at its finest. Having officially affirmed that Iran is waging war on American forces, how can you then deny the president when he asks (if he asks) for authorization to "defend our troops"? Answer: You can't. And you know it.
But Bush is not the only president -- or potential president -- who might seize on the Senate votes. Last week -- just a few days before Cheney's speech -- Hillary Clinton weighed in with a "major policy article" in Foreign Affairs that regurgitated the administration's unproven allegations against Iran as indisputable fact. This too is ominous stuff, coming from a strong front-runner who not only is leading in the opinion polls but is also way out in front among an elite constituency whose support is much more important and decisive than that of the hapless hoi polloi: arms dealers. Clinton has surpassed all candidates -- including the hyper-hawkish Republican hopefuls -- in garnering cash payments from the American weapons industry, the Independent reports. Obviously, these masters of war are not expecting any drop-off in profits if Clinton takes the helm.

And indeed, beyond her "all options" thundering at Iran, Clinton has vowed to do the one thing guaranteed to breed more war, more ruin, more suffering, more "collateral damage," more terrorist blowback: keeping American forces in Iraq, come hell or high water. Clinton's "withdrawal" plan calls for retaining an unspecified number of "specialized units" in Iraq to "fight terrorism," train Iraqi forces and protect other American troops carrying out unspecified activities. Is it any wonder that she's the apple of Lockheed Martin's eye?

But in fact, the "antiwar" plans of the other "liberal" candidates -- the "serious" ones, that is -- are remarkably similar. In other words, the Democrats are promising a permanent (or in the current weasel-word jargon, "enduring") U.S. military presence in Iraq -- which of course has been one of the primary war aims of the Bush administration all along (even before it took office). Credible analysis shows that up to a million people or more have been slaughtered in this ghastly enterprise -- and still the Democrats will not act to end it or, God forbid, try to remove its perpetrators from office. Instead they will keep the red wheel of death rolling toward the ever-vanishing horizon.

So this is where we've come to, one year after the people spoke at the ballot box, fighting through government propaganda, media distortions, pundit scorn, terrorist scares -- and the Karl Rove vote-skewing, vote-suppressing, vote-stealing machine -- to deliver a strong call for a new direction, for an end to war and torture and tyranny and corruption and lies. They believed -- perhaps for the last time -- that their vote might make a difference, that the "consent of the governed" might still retain some meaning.

So they turned to the only serious alternative the system provided: the Democrats. And this is what they got: more war, more torture, more tyranny, more corruption, more lies.

What should the people believe now? What should they hope for from the system now?And what new nightmares await them in the second year of this perverse union between a power-drunk president and a cowardly, corrupted, complicit "opposition"?

By fnord12 | October 22, 2007, 11:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

And the Chinese Evolved from Different Apes than the Rest of the Planet

Better apes, it goes without saying.

The DNA pioneer James Watson came under fire today from a government minister and his own research laboratory, as they rushed to condemn his claim that black people are less intelligent than whites.
He made the controversial comments in a Sunday Times interview, reportedly saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really".

Dr Watson was quoted as saying he hoped everyone was equal, but that "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true".


So much for the scientific mind, eh?

By min | October 18, 2007, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

And another thing!

Had another thought* this post from a month ago. Remember back in 2000 before Jim Jeffords left the Republicans, there was a 50/50 split in the Senate, which meant that Dick Cheney had the tie-breaking vote**? Well i guess if there was a Democrat in the White House, the Vice President would get the tie-breaking vote only whenever they had 59 Senators.

* I've picked up this really bad habit of saying "I had a thought" from some of the executives that have worked at my company over the years. I hate the phrase because it makes having a thought sound like some rare occurrence, possibly involving difficulty similar to having a baby or having a bowel movement. Which, for some of these executives, i suppose it was. But i swear i have thoughts quite often, possibly two or three a week. And i'm fairly regular, too. And no, i'm not equating having a baby to having a bowel movement.

**At the time i thought it was unfair that the Vice President got to break the tie. Remember, originally in the Constitution, the Vice President was the guy who got the second highest number of votes. So the person breaking the tie would be more likely to be associated with the minority 'party' (i know the framers didn't envision political parties, either). When they updated the rule on where Vice Presidents come from, they didn't update that rule, so the tie no longer goes to the runner, so to speak.

By fnord12 | October 15, 2007, 9:46 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Digby On Ayn Rand

Interesting if you've read Ayn Rand, played Bioshock, or happened to be in the car with me the other day when we were talking about Objectivism.

By fnord12 | October 15, 2007, 9:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Good article on the housing market bust

From the AP, believe it or not, and yet the paragraphs actually seem to be sequential and related to each other.

Think this means in the future, reporters will be more likely to listen to economists who had it right, like Dean Baker and Paul Krugman, and less likely to those who spouted optimistic bullshit all throughout the housing boom? No, i don't think so either.

By fnord12 | October 8, 2007, 1:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

One day it might even affect us!


Thousands of walrus have appeared on Alaska's northwest coast in what conservationists are calling a dramatic consequence of global warming melting the Arctic sea ice.
It looks to me like animals are shifting their distribution to find prey," said Tim Ragen, executive director of the federal Marine Mammal Commission. "The big question is whether they will be able to find sufficient prey in areas where they are looking."

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, September sea ice was 39 percent below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000. Sea ice cover is in a downward spiral and may have passed the point of no return, with a possible ice-free Arctic Ocean by summer 2030, senior scientist Mark Serreze said.

Starting in July, several thousand walrus abandoned the ice pack for gathering spots known as haulouts between Barrow and Cape Lisburne, a remote, 300-mile stretch of Alaska coastline.

The immediate concern of new, massive walrus groups for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is danger to the animals from stampedes. Panic caused by a low-flying airplane, a boat or an approaching polar bear can send a herd rushing to the sea. Young animals can be crushed by adults weighing 2,000 pounds or more.

Longer term, biologists fear walrus will suffer nutritional stress if they are concentrated on shoreline rather than spread over thousands of miles of sea ice.

Deborah Williams - who was an Interior Department special assistant for Alaska under former President Bill Clinton, and who is now president of the nonprofit Alaska Conservation Solutions - said melting of sea ice and its effects on wildlife were never even discussed during her federal service from 1995 to 2000.

"That's what so breathtaking about this," she said. "This has all happened faster than anyone could have predicted. That's why it's so urgent action must be taken."

And Japan is suffering from giant killer jellyfish:

Since last summer, Japanese waters have been inundated with the massive sea creatures, which can grow 6.5 feet (2 meters) wide and weigh up to 450 pounds (220 kilograms).

Though the jellyfish are more common in Chinese and Korean waters, their numbers have grown a hundredfold in some areas off Japan, causing a crisis in the local fishing industry.

The invertebrates are choking fishing nets and poisoning the catch with their toxic stingers, fishers say. And although reports of serious human injury are rare, there are records of people dying from the creature's noxious sting.

Also: Top Five Nastiest Creatures Getting Stronger Due to Climate Change

By fnord12 | October 8, 2007, 1:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5)| Link

Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know.

Readers of this blog may have pieced together the fact that i am no fan of Giuliani. But then i read this:

Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke, who made headlines last presidential season by saying he'd refuse Holy Communion to John Kerry, has his eye on Rudy Giuliani this year. Giuliani's response: "Archbishops have a right to their opinion."

Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, was asked if he would deny Communion to Giuliani or any other presidential candidate who supports abortion rights.

Asked if the same would apply to politicians who support the death penalty or pre-emptive war, he said, "It's a little more complicated in that case."

No, it's not any more complicated, you hypocrite. Either you follow your church's beliefs or you don't. Why does one belief, which is not even mentioned in your bible, get more weight than Thou Shalt Not Kill and turn the other cheek?

But i liked Giuliani's response:

"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know. There's freedom of religion in this country. There's no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion."

And later in the article:

As for Giuliani, when a voter in Iowa asked him in August if he was a "traditional, practicing Roman Catholic," he said: "My religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not-so-good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests."


"But I think in a democracy and in a government like ours, my religion is my way of looking at God, and other people have other ways of doing it, and some people don't believe in God. I think that's unfortunate. I think their life would be a lot fuller if they did, but they have that right."

That last line isn't what i'd love to hear, but it's a far cry from George Bush I's "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God".

Giuliani may wind up being a fascist dictator, but at least he won't be a religious zealot. And he's more direct about it than the Democratic candidates, who blather on about their "faith" to an audience that now and always will considers them to be godless heathens regardless of what they say or do.

By fnord12 | October 5, 2007, 5:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

But we're just reporting on what the public is interested in!

What people want to hear from presidental candidates:

What Tim Russert asked Democrats at the last debate:

1) Russert found time to ask John Edwards (for the ten millionth time) about his troubling haircuts.

2) He found time to present the latest 24-style hypothetical - and to play "gotcha" with Hillary Clinton, employing an old Sean Hannity trick. (You get your guest to disagree with a quote. Then, you try to embarrass your guest when you reveal who said it!)

3) He found time to bore the world with a question (to Dennis Kucinich) about a municipal problem in Cleveland - a problem which occurred in Cleveland in 1978.

4) He found time to collect a Bible passage from each of the hopefuls - after leading with the latest RNC-scripted suggestion about the troubling lack of faith among these bad vile Democrats. ("Before we go, there's been a lot of discussion about the Democrats and the issue of faith and values. I want to ask you a simple question...")

By fnord12 | October 2, 2007, 9:28 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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