August 31, 2010

Glenn is the White Malcom X

Totally intriguing think-piece of the day.

August 30, 2010

We Need an Authority

Every single protest/march/gathering a massive argument breaks out over how many people showed up. Glenn Beck is claiming 500,000 people fell for his charlatan act last weekend. CBS, using actual photos of the event and not a fever vision, puts the number at 96,000 tops. Be it black men or teabaggers or anti-war folks, no one can ever agree. The organizers claim a lot and everyone else says a lot lower number.

In fact, the Federal Park service long ago gave up trying to estimate how big the crowds on mall were, because it became such a poltical football.

I propose a government agency to solve this. The National Agency to Figure for Real How Ginormous the Crowd Coulda Been or NAFRHGCB (pronouced "Nah-Forgetaboutit" with a Boston accent) It will be run by a committee of ten with five Democrats, 4 Republicans (my idea, my rules), and one guy representing those anti-nuke guys who are in front of the White House every single day. The Agency will gather the best minds in the science of crowd size estimation and have a budget of millions to carefully and completely produce a report on the exact size of the crowd.

Which will then be ignored as everyone pushes their own number to suit their agenda.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Libya's dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi travels with an all-female team of bodyguards?

Now you know.

August 29, 2010

The GOP Electorate

Republican primary voters will punish elected officials for several crimes. They will throw you out for not acting conservatively enough and...that's about it. You definitely won't lose your seat for banging hookers. David Vitter, notable pro-family Republican and hooker-banger, just got renominated overwhelmingly last night. Nice job, party of family values.

August 26, 2010

I Wonder...

Take a look at maybe-Senate nominee Joe Miller's positions. He's conservatism turned up to 11. No abortions period, even in cases of rape and incest, eliminate Medicaid, there should be no government employment benefits, full stop.

Could this kind of program ever make it in the real world? If the Joe Miller program came about, and no one got got employment benefits and the tens of millions of people on Medicaid got no health care and the government worked to make sure that women had to carry their rapist babies to term? Could we even survive as a County in Joe Miller's world?

August 25, 2010

The Results Show

Several States had their primaries last night and many results were had. In Florida, the slimy Republican Billionaire won and the slimy Democrat Billionaire lost. GOPer Rick Scott, the former health care CEO who's company paid massive fines for defrauding Medicare, won the nomination for Florida Governor, while super party guy Jeff Greene lost in the Democratic Senate Primary.

John McCain won his primary over conservative gas-bag J.D. Hayworth. In the end, it wasn't even close. Of course, John McCain had to dump just about every last bit of his political persona to get to this win. McCain disavowed his previous support for climate change legislation, immigration reform, campaign finance reform, and reform in general. Hell, he even declared himself "not a maverick." Oh John. Why even run?

Dan Qualye's son Ben won the primary for an Arizona congressional seat, despite...well, despite a lot of things. Its a Republican district, so he's likely to be Congressman Qualye by the end of the year. Those Qualyes, always failing up.

The shock result of the night seems to be Sen. Lisa Murkowski losing in Alaska's Republican Senate primary to Tea Party insurgent Joe Miller. This being Alaska, they have to run the last few votes in by sled dog or something, but Murkowski is currently down 3,000 votes. Murkowski had issues. Her dad, the former Governor of Alaska appointed her to the seat in 2003 in one of the most blatant acts of nepotism I've ever seen. She opposed the Obama Adminitration, but wasn't an ass about it, which counts as moderate in the Tea Party era. And naturally, Palin is involved. Palin backed Murkowski's opponent Miller, not so much over issues, but as part of a long standing intra-family pissing match between the Murkowski and Palin clans. With Palin, its always personal. So expect Palin to get plenty of the "hail the conquering hero" treatment if Miller pulls this out.

August 24, 2010

Daily Show Makes News

The Fox News-Terror connection.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I'm with team evil.

The Grayson Way

Alan Grayson shows us how its done. While other Democrats try and survive by ducking votes and running away from fights, Grayson plans on surviving and thriving by picking fights and generally making a spectacle of himself. Grayson doesn't represent a safe district. The normal playbook to win in such a district is to act as much like a Republican as possible. We shall see if the Grayson way works

August 23, 2010

Yeah, Racist

Via Balloon Juice, here's some video of a protest over the anti-Coat Factory mosque rally, where some random black guy gets accused of being a Muslim and subjected to a two minute hate.

I do like his comeback though “All y’all dumb motherfuckers don’t even know my opinion on shit.”

This isn't about where a mosque should or shouldn't go. This is about being scared and angry at people. People with dark skin.

August 21, 2010

The Dream Dies

Wyclef Jean's bid for Haitian President has come to an abrupt end, as an election commission has ruled he is not qualified to run. Something about having to live in Haiti for the last five years.

Oh well.

August 20, 2010

Reality Can Sometimes Suck Less

Remember Viktor Bout, the real life "Lord of War?" The highly evil arms dealer and inspiration for the movie. Well in the movie (spoiler alert) the arms dealer is arrested but released, due to his powerful friends in the United States government.

Well, as it turns out, sometime you can be too cynical. Not only are the Feds not springing Bout, they are extraditing him from Thailand and are going to try him on a whole host of charges.

So hey, the world doesn't suck as much as you though. We get the Hollywood ending in real life.

August 19, 2010

Just Add Congress

Want to make the baseball steroid scandal even better? Just add Congress. Sure you can lie to the public, the media, the fans. But lying to Congress is a crime. A crime which Roger Clemens now stands accused indicted of.

Sure when Congress held those steroid hearing it was a show and everybody, players and Congress-critters did their grandstanding, but in the end, you swear to tell the truth, and it looks like Clemens didn't.

Couldn't have come at a better time. Let's hope this circus takes attention away from the Cordoba House. If we have to burn baseball to keep religious freedom in America. I'm ok with that.

So Confused

Ted Olson stands up for the Cordoba House.

Howard Dean is opposed.

Ann Coulter is getting in trouble on the right for being too nice to gay people.

Did somebody declare opposite week?

August 18, 2010

Blago Semi-Walks

The jury hung on 23 counts and convicted on just one, the charge of fibbing to the Feds. Looks like the government is going to refile and try again. We get the whole circus over again!

August 17, 2010


Nothing helps gin up a war like a sense of crisis. Remember how Iraq was so close to building a nuke and we HAD TO ACT RIGHT NOW. Well, I'm pretty sure there is exactly zero interest in the United States in getting into a third Middle Eastern war at the moment, but the warmongers are trying to get it going.

Here's everyone's favorite anti-diplomacy diplomat John Bolton calling on Israeli to bomb Iran in the next 8 days. The warmongers are trying to impose a sense of crisis and fear to override common sense. And if this deadline passes? Well, we will soon have another deadline, which if bombs don't drop, SOMETHING TERRIBLE will happen.

Freedom From Freedom

I find Tea Party opposition to Net Neutrality to be fascinating, because it represents just how far their anti-government agenda will go. The Tea Party world view is pretty simple - government is the opposite of freedom. No matter matter what. The tea vanguard would rather be screwed by corporation every day of the week and twice on Sundays rather that accept government action. It doesn't matter that corporations trying to set up a multi-tier Internet are the true threat to free speech and free markets. To the right-wing, the only threat can come from government. Corporations can loot your pension, but the true threat is Social Security checks. Tea party-ites will fight to the death for the right of a corporation to give your child cancer. Because a government with the power to stop your child from getting cancer is too powerful in the Tea Party worldview. They would have the internet burn to ground rather than let government put out the fire.

August 16, 2010

Just Wondering

If this guy had found his victims in the on-dead-tree want ads and not on The-List-Named-After-Me, would we have ever heard of him?

Anyway, good job Craigslist killer-guy, for sparing us all the cost of a trial. And from hearing the phrase "Craigslist Killer" ever again.

August 12, 2010

Son of Quayle

Ben Quayle, son of every late-night comedian's favorite Vice-President, is running for Congress. Of course ,being a Quayle, upon bursting on the public scene he immediately stepped on a rake and fell down a hole. Its a very crowded primary field, but for the sake of comedy, we can only hope he pulls through.

August 11, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Linda McMahon won the Republican Primary for Senate in Connecticut. That Linda McMahon of the pro-wrestling McMahons. As in, her husband owns the WWE and she helped run and appeared on-camera as part of the whole men-in-tights, women-in-bikini drama. Really Republicans? This is your family values candidate? A woman who runs a company where two women compete to rip each others cloths off on national TV? When people complain about sex and violence on TV they are not talking about The Good Wife, they are talking about the WWE. And Linda McMahon is running for US Senate. As a Republican. What a freak show.

August 10, 2010

The Danger of Privilege

Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who helped make Alaska a State and gave us "the Internet is a series of tubes" has died today along with four others in the crash of a small plane in Alaska. Being killed in a small plane crash is one of those particular dangers that politicos face. TPM has a rundown. It is a surprising long list. I'm still sad over loosing Paul Wellstone. Politicians have to get to some out of the way places to campaign, and they are the sort of privileged folks who get private planes. But the truth is, small private aircraft are much, much more dangerous to ride in that the big commercial jets.
So just think how safe you are, stuck back there in coach. Those privileged suits in front of you in their private little puddle jumper are the ones in danger

Disapointment is Certain

Every four years Newt breaks my heart. He flirts with running for President and bringing his own special brand of wacky policy wonk and soulless money-grubber. He just reeks of massive potential for an entertaining President run. The kind of disastrous spectacle best selling novels and a flood of blog posts are made of. But as part of a truly epic and highly recommended profile of Newt in Esquire, someone who's been even more disappointed than I makes it clear that I will never see my dream realized: His ex-wife Marianne Gingrich.

She gives a jaundiced look. "There's no way," she says. She thinks he made a choice long ago between doing the right thing and getting rich, and when you make those choices, you foreclose other ones. "He could have been president. But when you try and change your history too much, and try and recolor it because you don't like the way it was or you want it to be different to prove something new ... you lose touch with who you really are. You lose your way."

Marianne, by the way is Newt's second wife. He divorced her in 2000 to marry a much-younger aid that he was boffin while he tried to impeach Bill Clinton for...well...that. 

Deep down, I know she's right. Newt just can't do it. But still, hope lingers

August 9, 2010

Russia on Fire, Choking on the Smoke

Every so often we see some conservative know-nothing present some version of the argument that "there's snow on my driveway, what is this global warming you speak of?" Then the whole conversation become an argument of weather vrs climate and so on.

Well, Russia, land of cold, is suffering from the worst heat wave since, well...

Alexander Frolov, head of Russia's weather service, said judging by historic documents, this heat wave could be the worst in up to 1,000 years.

"Our ancestors haven't observed or registered a heat like that within 1,000 years," Frolov said at a news conference. "This phenomenon is absolutely unique."

So a thousand year heat wave covers Russia, but it was cold in some places last winter, so it all balances out.

August 7, 2010

President Jean?

Wyclef Jean is running for President of Haiti. Haiti has been badly served by Presidents in the past, some merely corrupt, some beyond that. Maybe a Grammy winner is what they need.

August 6, 2010

What Happen to Don't Be Evil?

Is Google cutting a deal with Verizon to ensure priority access to the Internet? That seems to be the story. This really is the very thing that net neutrality (NN primer here) advocates have been warning about. This is the kind of thing that will ruin the web. Google pays more and Google products (which power this blog) get better access through the web. Somebody comes along with better software the run a blog, it doesn't matter, because the new guys don't get the access that Google does.

Not Good

August 5, 2010

Prop 8 Goes Down

A Federal Judge has struck down Prop 8. It turns out "gay marriage make me feel funny" isn't really a compelling argument. The case continues to grow for some sort of judicial review of Props before they go to the ballot. Like prop 209 before it (denied services to the undocumented) we could have all been saved a lot of time, trouble and attack ads if only the judges had gotten a crack at this first.

Of course, the courts being the courts, this isn't over. No tux rental just yet. This sucker is getting appealed and appealed again. Supreme Court, here we come.

August 4, 2010

Born Free

Once again, what was once a crazy idea talked about on the far right has become the stated policy of Republican Senators. Not that the GOP is truly serious about taking away birthright citizenship. Amending the Constitution is really, really hard, not to mention that opening this can of worms might even come back and bite white people in the ass.

Think about it.

I know conservative think that birthright citizenship is solely the domain of brown people come fresh to America. But most white people came to the States in earlier eras, where the paperwork of immigration was much less or non-existent. So you have to show your parents papers to prove you're a citizen? Where is your Mom's papers? Your Grandma's? Your Great-Great-Great who came over back when. If only citizens can give birth to citizens, then you have to prove your ancestor were here legally. Could you do that? Remember, in the new tea party regime, having a birth certificate is not enough.

That's just one complication. How about mixed marriages? What if mom is a citizen and Dad's student visa has expired?  Is the kid legal? There's a reason why we have birthright citizenship - in a nation of immigrants and ever-changing immigration laws, it keeps things simple. Born here, citizen.

August 3, 2010

Kill it With Fire

I've always held contradictory positions on burning the the American Flag in protest. I've always argued that the act is free speech, protected by the first amendment. Second, that its a piss poor way to protest stuff. As a symbol, the American flag is just too big a symbol. It represents too much. Its boy scouts and school class rooms and bombs and coffins. You try and burn all that, and no one gets that you're after just the one thing.

But burning the Confederate flag is an idea I can get behind. Nothing good about a Confederate flag. It was the symbol of those who would destroy this Country in order to preserve their right to own other people. And in the modern age it is a symbol of racists. Burn that sucker.

August 2, 2010

I am Evolved!

It turns out that the eating of meat helped us evolve intelligence. Turns out, its hard to have both a big brain and the internal pluming to handle an all vegi diet.

So my love of a good New York strip is not an indication that I am an unevolved primitive. It shows advancing intelligence.


It gets completely lost with the ongoing leakfest and debate over Afghanistan, but Obama is steadily moving down the checklist to get the hell out of Iraq. Today marks the "end of combat operations."

I would just like to note, in this age of total Republican opposition to every single thing the Obama Administration does, from health care to appointing the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Relations, there is complete radio silence on Iraq withdrawal. Not one Republican is quoted in the Times story about how Obama is endangering the nation with this move. The Weekly Standard, war central for all these years, doesn't have a single story on the front page about Iraq.

Considering how much it dominated American politics for the last eight years, it shocks me how unremarked on Iraq is these days.