Saturday, October 31, 2009

Names and Races

Well as predicted the wingers jumped right on the White House visitor list and leapt to false conclusions. Some are admitting they were pwned, some are insisting the "real" people were there and it's all a conspiracy. I'd note for the record that I did a quick check out of curiousity and discovered there are 59 listings for Malik Shabazz on the internet White Pages and 6 for George Soros. I assume none of those are the "real" Soros. Figuring it's just a matter of time before some hit hungry wingnut starts trying to track down the "real" story and reports the personal details of some hapless American who happens to have a famous name.

Speaking of hapless, I haven't read the interview in the interests of keeping my blood pressure in check, but MoJo runs down 22 things Cheney can't remember about Plame. If only this all would lead to an indictment. But it won't.

In case you missed it, I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn Lieberman sticks the shiv into the Dems again. He will campaign for some Republicans next year and isn't sure he will run for re-election as a Democrat. Which assumes the state party would even want him back. Not that he's suffering in DC for it. His fellow Senators still refuse to call him out for his back-stabbing attention ploys.

On the bright side, for me, only 19% of North Carolina residents think my useless Senator Burr deserves re-election. Think I'll hold the champagne until I see who they think does deserve it though. It could end up being someone even worse.

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Dead Heat in NY23

The crazed base of the GOP, a/k/a The Mad Tea Party Hatriots, managed to push the handpicked GOP candidate out of the race. Dede Scozzafava "suspended" her campaign, or in other words -- she pulled a Palin and quit.

The usual suspects are, of course, crowing about their victory against turncoat moderates in the party. I'm wondering why they're so excited about a race that's still a dead heat in a district that hasn't been won by a Democrat since the 19th century. If the crazed cons were really such a moving force "representing the majority of Americans" as they claim, wouldn't the race be a blowout?

I'm thinking that sound you hear in NY23 is the death knell of the GOP as a national party. If Hoffman does win, the tea party base will feel all powerful and amp up their demands that the party move even farther to the reality challenged right. Hard to see how they'll win the White House that way.

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Happy Halloween

Trick or Treat


My pretend boyfriend Mark Knoller has some very creative co-workers. (Mark o' Lantern by Fernando Suarez, CBS News)

Enjoy the festivities but if you're driving keep an eye out for the little trick or treaters. Don't think I'm going to get any here. Didn't even buy any candy, but maybe I should get a bag of baby Kit Kat bars -- just in case.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Transparency

Big Friday news dump today. The Cheney FBI interview about Plame was released. Newsom dropped out in the CA race and rumors that the Afghan runoff election was cancelled. But the biggest item was the "unprecedented" release of the White House visitor logs along with a caveat to anyone who may get all excited when they see the list.
In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly ("R. Kelly"), and Malik Shabazz). The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.
I'm predicting a fury of investigation by far right bloggers into who the unfortunate people with the famous names really are along with enduring myths that the real people really were there.

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Health care hijinks

My former insurance company got caught in an act of embarrassing hypocrisy.
Earlier this week, we reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina had recently sent out mailers that urged recipients to lobby Sen. Kay Hagan to oppose a public option, which it called "a slippery slope to single payer." (You can see the mailer here.)

The story was picked up by the Raleigh News & Observer, which added an additional key fact: Just before sending out the mailer, BCBS of North Carolina had informed its customers that their rates would rise by an average of 11 percent next year.
Of course the public option would force them to stop arbitrarily raising the rates of us older folks to the point they priced us out of affordable individual policies. Not so sure the average resident around here will get the irony, unfortunately.

You of course know that the House reform bill was released yesterday. From what I hear the public option was watered down quite a bit to placate the insurance industry and conservatives but it still looks better than I expected. Now to see what happens in joint committee. They can, and probably will, still screw it up before this is over.

Via HBK comes this bit of trivia. Why does Joe Lieberman oppose healthcare reform? Ask his wife. And while you're at it you can ask Evan Bayh's spouse too. Both of the women have received significant sums of money from their side gigs in the health care industry.

And this is just fascinating reading. A newly leaked Frank Luntz memo: The GOP guide to undermining health care reform without looking bad. Or in other words, how to pretend you support reform without actually reforming anything. These people are just shameless.

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The Spies Who Love Me

I never know quite to make of these announcements. The cynic in me says the government has been spying on us in various ways for as long they had technology to do it. And private monitoring of our transactions from using the ATM to handing over your discount card at retail vendors leaves a record from which much can be extrapolated about your life, already makes the concept of privacy something of a joke. But still, this is Charlie Savage, so I'm willing to take some hope from this headline: Obama Order Strengthens Spy Oversight:
In an executive order released Thursday by the White House, Mr. Obama rolled back several changes made by the Bush administration that had weakened the Intelligence Oversight Board, a panel that helps presidents make sure spy agencies are obeying federal laws and presidential directives.

Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said an order about the oversight panel issued by President George W. Bush had “cast a cloud of uncertainty upon the board’s independence and powers.” Mr. Obama’s revision, Mr. Vietor said, “is designed to correct those deficiencies.”
There's no doubt that the Bush administration pushed the limits of domestic surveillance to far beyond any reasonable metric, so to the extent that it's being reined back at all, it strikes me as a good thing.

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Krugman calls GOP's bluff

Good Krugman post today. He says it's time for everyone to step up and unequivocally declare their position. Looking especially at the anti-reformists.
The odd thing about this group is that while its members are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform, they’re having a hard time explaining exactly what their problem is. Or to be more precise and less polite, they have been attacking proposed legislation for doing things it doesn’t and for not doing things it does. [...]

For this is the moment of truth. The political environment is as favorable for reform as it’s likely to get. The legislation on the table isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as anyone could reasonably have expected. History is about to be made — and everyone has to decide which side they’re on.
Normally I'm against the "with us or against us" mentality, but I think he's right this time.

In related news, you know I hate polls, but I've seen these numbers stay pretty consistent for a while now. A majority of Americans don't give a flying leap about bipartisanship and want a public option.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The future of the internet

While we're all busy pushing for health care reform and following the horrifying developments in Afghanistan and whatever else the obsession of the moment is, there's been a quiet movement spearheaded by John McCain to eliminate net neutrality. McCain, who has his pockets regularly stuffed with telecom lobbyist bucks, is pushing some lame bill with the usual GOPer style Orwellian name to allow the telecoms to become the gatekeepers of our internet content.

The graphic was created by some random regular on the technets. Click to enlarge it to get the full impact of what your package plan would look like if McCain succeeds in sneaking this through while we're distracted.

This is what happened to the cable television industry way back when. As I recall in the beginning, cable was more like the internets. Kind of a free for all where entry was relatively cheap and you had a rather large diversity of programming to choose from. You paid extra for the movie sites I think, but otherwise, it wasn't unusual to see independent stations.

Then the industry bigwigs noticed that there was money to be made in this medium and they started buying up the stations to form big conglomerates. They pushed for deregulation, to "stimulate competition" but of course what really happened is they formed quasi-monopolies and the content of the programming became more homogenized. Meanwhile, the cable companies started breaking down the content into "packages" so to get you get everything you wanted, you ended up paying more. Plus you were stuck paying for a bunch of stations you never watch.

If we're not vigilant, it will happen to the internets too. The telecoms can't wait to break it down, just as this imaginary graphic predicts. If they succeed, the internet won't only get more expensive, it will be less useful and the small voices will ultimately get lost. I know there's an overwhelming outcry for everyone's attention to various causes, but this is a fight that's worth having. Keep an eye out and when you're asked to take action -- please do.

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RIP Bonnie

Sorry about not posting. In kind of strange mood today. Just found out that Bonnie died. We weren't that close, but still -- I'm sad.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lights! Camera! Action!

Gah, I hate this time of year. When the light fails, I fall apart. My new pattern seems to be sleep for 9 or 10 hours two nights in a row and then don't fall asleep until dawn for the next one. Working on 3 hours of sleep today and feeling a little brain dead so some easy links I collected in the last couple of days.

It's only 37 seconds, but as part of an ongoing pattern, I have to think Shep Smith is going to lose his job one of these days for saying stuff like this. Worth a view just to see the look on the other Fox "reporter's" face. [link repaired] [via Andrew]

Glamour magazine puts our First Lady under the lights, naming Michelle Obama as Woman of the Year. Nice piece and a great cover shot.
Apparently the first time a FLOTUS has made the cover of the magazine.

Via Matt this is the coolest space shot I've seen, maybe ever. High-res photo of a Martian windstorm. Matt thinks it looks like an elaborate tattoo. I think it just looks like a painting.

I think Yunjid is from Hawaii, so I assume this photo is from there. Armstrong Park at sunset.

Still on an Empire State Building kick. Great daytime close up and a fabulous shot of the tie dye light scheme that I especially liked because you can see the Chrysler building. Truth be told, the Chrysler is my very favorite building in NYC. Always wanted to get to the top of that one, but they don't the public go up there.

And blame Andrew if you can hooked on this time waster. It's kind of pointless but really pretty colors.

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Activism Matters

Some updates on various protests I've flagged here in the last week. Glad to see the anti-Bankster demonstrations getting some tradmedia exposure. LAT covers the angry crowd outside of the annual Bankster confab. It seems I mistakenly said earlier it was in NYC. It actually happened in Chicago.

I was glad to see TPM cover the 350.org protest. They posted a a good slideshow with some photos I hadn't seen yet. But the motherlode of pictures can be found at this 350.org Flickr page. They are literally hundreds of shots. Just looking at the thumbnails of the various albums turns up some really lovely shots. Heartening to see this is an international grassroots effort.

Meanwhile, via The Grand P it seems 75 GOP House members introduced a resolution to honor the "gazillions" of people who took part in 9/12 Teabag protest. The GOP is so funny. They're worse with numbers than I am. Underestimate the impact of stimulus spending, ignore the savings of a public option for health insurance, but see 50,000 protesters and it looks like millions.

And as I said, I'm just not going to get worked up yet about the reform bill based on media speculation but it wouldn't hurt to keep the pressure on the obstructionists. Via Adam Howard, these are the Senators who could still kill the public option.

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Soros Launches New Project

Fresh off the Open Society twitter feed, I see George Soros just launched a new project to reclaim economic thinking from free-market zealots.
Now financier George Soros is announcing a $50 million effort to speed things along. This week Soros is gathering some of the leading practitioners of the market-skeptic school, who were marginalized during the era of "free-market fundamentalism," among them Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Sir James Mirrlees. He's also creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" to make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation. Soros hopes matching funds will bring the total endowment up to $200 million. "Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society," says Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who will direct the new institute. "That's what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance."
Here's hoping the project is wildly successful. Now if only Mr. Soros would send that check that my critics keep claiming is in the mail...

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Even a blind squirrel...

Ha! Joining in the Greek chorus here. I also hope, for once, that Kracked Kristol is right. Steve M explains how it all works. Hilarious.

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GOP cracking up in NY State

I haven't been following this race all that closely, but I can't deny I'm somewhat amused to see the fringe far right base challenging the mainstream GOP machine. Newt is concerned about the hijacking.
"This idea that we're suddenly going to establish litmus tests and all across the country we're going to purge the party of anybody who doesn't agree with us 100 percent; that guarantees Obama's reelection, that guarantees Pelosi as Speaker-for-life," he told Fox News last night.
These are the fruits of the wingnut noise machine. The party was happy to exploit the fringe base anger when it was directed at Democrats, but they failed to plan for an uprising when they didn't deliver the extreme policy changes they promised. Meanwhile, the base feels empowered because the unofficial spokespersons of the GOP like Beck and Limbaugh have been telling them they are the "silent majority" and encouraged them to make some noise. Now that they're raising a ruckus, they feel like a majority because they've drowned out all reasonable discourse.

This is a Republican held district so a Democratic loss won't mean much and how the results here will play out in terms of 2010 remains to be seen. But if Hoffman wins, there's probably a lesson here for both parties.

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Why I stopped reading about health care reform

I've done most of my health care reform posting at DetNews where the reader base needs to be convinced of the necessity of immediate action, but I've stopped posting about the proposed bills because all I've seen for months is speculation and "color commentary" like this about Reid's announcement yesterday:
Only Dana Milbank could write an entire column about the "proposal" Harry Reid laid out at yesterday's press conference without explaining what Reid actually proposed: That the health reform bill he is sending to the CBO will include a public option giving the states the choice to opt-out. Since that policy detail pretty much undermines his entire column, it's not surprising that he left it out. After all, Milbank's columns are about the story, not the facts.
To be fair, I believe pressure from liberal progressives did have a lot to do with keeping the public option alive, but I doubt that was the sole reason Reid surprised us yesterday. Thinking it's more likely those 300,000+ phone calls generated by Obama's tweetathon had a lot more to do with it. And of course, the plethora of polls that show a majority of Americans support a public option choice. But in any event, we're still pretty far from a final bill. I just can't bring myself to waste a lot of energy getting excited by media speculation. After all, these are the same people who pronounced the public option dead only a couple of months ago because some angry right wing shoutragers were bussed into town meetings.

Of course, if you enjoy reading this stuff, Memeorandum has it all.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

On Easy Tweet

I've got a busy afternoon ahead of me so a few easy links, mostly from the twitter feed that may amuse and enlighten you today.

First, please click over and watch El Gato Negro's youtube ad in support of the public option. El Gato is a long time internet friend and I would love to see this go viral for him.

Steve Hynd passes along this stunning gallery of this weekend's suicide attack. BBC - In pictures: Baghdad blasts. I can't help but have great empathy for our president when I look at what he inherited on his first day in office.

I'm quite tired of hearing about the WH v. Fox, but Adam Howard has a really good post at The Nation on the right's claims that it's 'beneath the presidency.'

Still digging all the autumn photos pouring in. This is a really beautiful gallery from Vermont.

Litzz11 sends us a slideshow from Tennessee. Fall color in the Smokies.

Continue to be thrilled with ESB Lights. This is a great aerial shot of the Empire state building in the daytime. Astounding how one building can be interpreted in so many ways.

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and the White House is in on the action. My pretend boyfriend Mark Knoller sends a pix of the hoisting of a huge pink ribbon to hang from North Portico.

And via the lovely Hecate, my new favorite house. Not sure how I would do without windows, but it just looks so charming and cozy.

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GOP keeping it 'classy' - Updated

Update: Raw Story has more of the photos and notes that the takedown may have been triggered by a discussion at Democratic Underground. [My original post below]

As in class warfare. This was on the RNC Facebook page since October 20th. They apparently took it down today after HuffPo and others started posting about it.


More at Media Matters. This was apparently just one out of dozens of offensive photos.

Update: Tracing back the twitter links, it appears that Windy City Watch lit the fire under the MSM tweeps and it was a call by Karen Tumulty of TIME that resulted in it being taken down.

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Crashing the Bankster's Ball

This is the first I've heard of this, so I'm not clear on what the American Bankers Association conference is meeting about, but hot off twitter, the SEIU is holding a protest, inside and outside of the venue at Goldman Sachs. They're saying over a thousand people have surround the building. Very exciting civil action.

You can follow the action at SEIU twitter page, where they have lots of links to pictures and video already. (Even if you're not a registered twitter user, you should be able to see the profile page and access the links.)

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

So long Soupy, and thanks for all the pies

I'm late in marking the passing of one of my very favorite childhood icons, Soupy Sales. They don't make television like that anymore. Of course as a kid, I didn't really appreciate the double entendres so much, but being a bit precocious I did get there was a certain naughty undertone to the whole deal. Which was no doubt, part of the attraction.

I adored all the running gags and regular characters on the show but if the truth be told, Pookie was always my very favorite. Who wouldn't love a puppet that did stuff like this:



I didn't know he started out as a noontime show in Detroit, but that may be why DetNews had the best obit. The multimedia links on the sidebar are worth a view too. That's where I got the graphic and the youtube for this post.

Even though the show has been off the air for years now, I'm really going to miss Soupy all the same. They don't make performers like him anymore.

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View from the Front Porch

My sleep schedule is so screwed up, I'm off to another slow start today, so something easy to digest for the first post. This is what I see when I walk out the front door.


A lot of other people sharing their views too. John Dickerson and Pearlagogo and Lance Mannion. And some people sharing the view from other places. Loved this one from Greg Mitchell and Tits McGee is in Boston.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Doing a 350


You probably didn't see much on the news about this event, but at least the NYT managed to cover it in their environmental section Some 4,300 demonstrations, from the Himalayas to the Great Barrier Reef were held today, all centered on the number 350.
For some prominent climate scientists, that is the upper limit for heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million. If the gas concentration exceeds that for long, they warn, the world can expect decades of disrupted climate patterns, rising sea levels, drought and famine.

The current concentration of carbon dioxide is 387 parts per million.

The goal set by the group to reduce emissions back to 350 is said to be probably impossible to reach, but as they say why not set the bar high? Even if you don't reach it, it worth striving for. Shame they're not getting more attention.

I first learned about 350.org this morning from joshlevscnn myself, so at least they're covering it too, but it's a damn shame that the media will go into a saturation frenzy over crazy tea party protesters obsessed with bizarre conspiracy theories, but barely mention this huge international demonstration of concern over the very real danger of climate disruption.

The NYT has some photos, but you really should go to 350.org site and watch the rolling gallery on their home page. It's just mesmerizing, and inspiring.

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You Oughta Be in Pictures

Dozed off earlier and now I'm awake too late. Expect I'll be sleeping in, once I get back to sleep, so here's the early bird special. I'm ready to stop talking about Fox but Rachel did do a great segment on them tonight.




By the way, that whole story about Fox being shut out of interviewing the pay czar was a lie.

Meanwhile, the White House released a new official Obama family photo taken by Annie Leibovitz. I like it.

I didn't watch this yet, but I've heard that Michelle Obama rocked the house with her speech on health reform.

And Sweet Jesus Flying. This is why I got out of ballooning. For some reason, it became overrun with fundies. [via racymind]

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Friday, October 23, 2009

All the world's a stage

I do so love this kind of stuff. If I could carry a tune, I would dedicate my life to singing protests. Click over for the short video of the performance at a lobbyist meeting sponsored by AHIP.

Hilarious. At first the speaker thought they were seriously cheering him on. Then they busted into a revised version of the song Tomorrow from the musical Annie. "The option, the option, we must have, the option... " went the rendition, in reference to the public plan.

In what I assume was tongue in cheek, the group issued a statement afterwards saying:
The musical was written and performed by Billionaires for Wealthcare, a grassroots network of health insurance CEOs, HMO lobbyists, talk-show hosts, and others profiting off of our broken health care system. A group official writes to say: "We'll do whatever it takes to ensure another decade where your pain is our gain. After all, when it comes to health insurance, if we ain't broke, why fix it?"
They managed to get through the whole song before being ushered out of the room. Even the speaker had to admit, he was impressed by their talent. Complete lyrics at the link.

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Grayson schools the GOP

This is why Alan Grayson is the new hero of the left. And this is mild compared to his television appearances on the talk shows and other public speaking events.



Glenzilla has more on this confrontation.

On a semi- related note, Litzz11 passes on this DSCC ad that I think just rocks. And in case you're wondering, TheyGaveUsARep does the math and figures out how many people died because of lack of health insurance in those 1000 hours. That being: 1 ea.12 min=5 per hour=5000. More than the number that died in 6 yrs in the Iraq occupation. Just horrible.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Airport security

I saw this story break yesterday and wasn't going to blog it because it looked like a run of the mill nutcase threatening Obama, but then this new information struck me as significant.
According to Port Authority, Breck made the threatening remarks to a co-worker. They said a third party heard the comments and that person along with the co-worker reported it to police. Investigators said Breck gave police permission to search his home and they found 43 weapons, some of which are legal.
Some of which are legal? I mean, that's a lot of guns. If he was just a collector, that wouldn't scare me. But if he has the ammo stockpiled to go with them... then I'm thinking paranoid wingnut. Not a good combo and somewhat scarier than usual that he's a private airport security guard making threats against our president, who is about to arrive in the airport he's "guarding."

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Wall Street's House of Cards Still Falling Down

I kind of hate it when Atrios does his "it's not over yet" posts about the economic meltdown, because I think he's right and it's scary. This article on Wall Street's mortgage Ponzi scheme certainly lends some weight to that theory. Worth reading in full, but here's the money grafs.
Three plain talking judges, in state courts in Massachusetts and Kansas, and a Federal Court in Ohio, have drilled down to the “straw man” aspect of securitization. The judges’ decisions have raised serious questions as to the legality of hundreds of thousands of foreclosures that have transpired as well as the legal standing of the subsequent purchasers of those homes, who are more and more frequently the Wall Street banks themselves.[...]

There’s no doubt that one of the contributing factors to the depression of the 30s and the intractable unemployment today stem from a massive misallocation of capital to both bad ideas and fraud. Today’s Wall Street, it turns out, is just another straw man for a rigged wealth transfer system.
Which is exactly what Atrios has been saying for well over a year now. It seems history repeats itself because people get comfortable when, rightly or wrongly, they feel secure and forget its lessons.

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Is there a botanist in the house? - Updated

Mystery solved!

After most of a lifetime living in the north, I knew the names of just about every fruit and wildflower in the region. Since I've been in the south, there's still a lot of flora and fauna I can't identify. This fruit is one of them.

It's about the size of a large golfball. It's pretty hard but you can squish it easily by stepping on it, and it's full of those seeds that look like very plump pumpkin seeds. It just seems to be the seeds and some stringy flesh inside and it's vaguely fuzzy but not at all furry. It grows on a shrubby tree in my neighbor's yard or maybe it's just a really large bush. Any idea what it is?



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War and Peace

Posting is light because I'm dealing with moving again so here's yet another linkfest of short items to peruse.

The "war" between the Fox and the White House is still generating much buzz. As this Media Matters mashup illustrates, Fox started it and as always, John Cole delivers the prime snark.

Meanwhile, the GOP still has nothing to offer, so they now are occupying their time creating fake accounts on Twitter and fake websites on the internets using their Democratic opponents' names.

Barack Obama is using Twitter for better purposes. They held a tweetathon yesterday asking people to call their Congresslizards in support of health care reform. The final tally: 315,023 calls placed or pledged. Watch Obama's online address.

Mark Knoller flags an underreported event where Obama honored some Vietnam Vets.

You probably heard about the racist JP in Louisiana that refuses to conduct interracial marriages, but I didn't see this quote played much and it's worth preserving in the archives.
"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the AP on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
Well doesn't that just make it all better? Gah.

Moving on to more cheering news, Congratulations to Octopus at The Swashzone for some much deserved recognition.

And congrats also to Dan at Pruning Shears on a new arrival. What a sweetie.

ESB_lights continues to thrill me with pix. I had no idea they light up the building in different colors every night in honor of some event. Last night she was smoking in red and I love this daylight shot from somebody's fancy terrace.

ESB also sends me to nycphotos with a gorgeous sunset from the Random House 20th floor. I really miss NYC sometimes. I should have visited more often while I was in easy traveling range.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faux outrage of the week - Obama v. Fox

I'm really not getting the outrage over the White House pushing back against the disinfo being spewed daily by Fox and their right wing critics. The way the media and the wingnuts have been carrying on about it, you might think Obama was trying to shut down his critics altogether. Which is of course, not the case at all. First Amendment rights don't end at the White House door and the Obama team is using the F.A. exactly as it was intended, by countering bad speech, with good speech and lots of it. Their critics are still free to speak as well.

I got into an argument about it on Twitter with Jake Tapper yesterday morning. He pissed me off with his disingenuous posturing, first demanding I provide specific examples of Fox's mendacity and them mocking me for refusing to engage on those grounds. As if he doesn't really know what they do. Frankly, I think I won the argument but I didn't press it. I don't need to be validated by an admission of surrender.

In any event, Media Matters jumped in with a long and varied accounting of Fox mangling of facts, or as I like to call it lying, and I'm not the only one supporting the White House in this fight. The bottom line, as Atrios put it, is that people, and yes I'm looking at you Jake, pretending that Fox isn't the broadcast arm of GOP is not OK. I remain astounded that clearly intelligent people don't see how excusing Fox mendacity destroys the credibility of the whole traditional media. Which is pretty shaky already.

Boggles the mind but in any event, ranggrol digs out one of my favorite MMFA mash-ups. Really, some people -- they just don't get it.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The internets make me crazy

My internet is all screwed up today and I have a bunch of errands to run, so just a quick link dump until later when I hope my connection will have fixed itself.

I've been remiss in linking to Avedon lately. Too much there to choose. Just start at the top but if you don't have time, at least read Ruth's post, The Kids are Not All Right.

And this is from way down the Sideshow page. Orwell would be proud of the CoC's new anti-regulatory lobbying effort disguised as a concern about job creation. Some folks are fighting back.

I've also been neglecting Swashzone lately and they're on fire over there. It's another scroller, but this one I especially liked. A pre-occupation with rubber ducks.

If you're a progressive who is frustrated with the slow progress of the Obama administration, or even if you aren't, Robert Parry on liberal purists versus pragmatists is really worth reading in full.

And wasn't it just great that the Dems let Lieberman keep his chair so he could hold hearings like this?

Guess I'm a sick puppy too.

This was an interesting slide show. The 50 most powerful people in Washington, DC.

In case you missed this, one of Jon Stewart's finer segments, CNN Leaves it There.

Via Erin O'Brien I adore these 50 Vintage Ads.

And you know how much I love these sightings. Jesus on a bathroom door.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Bright Lights, Big City

This is why I love Twitter. I posted a request for a picture of the Empire State Building tonight and ESB_lights found me and gave me one. I love the ESB so I immediately followed them of course. I'm now being bombarded with twitpic links of the light display tonight. It's a special "tie-dye" configuration in honor of some Grateful Dead art show that's opening somewhere.

I'm not sure it looks so much like a tie-dye. It looks more like a space alien to me but I'm loving the photos. They're pouring in. This was the first one and this was a blurry cell phone one, but I liked the way it looked like a DeadHead. A great skyline shot. A fabulous close up. Thinking this person some good connections to get that angle. And a view of the other side for the colors.

I think I was nine years old the first time I went to the top of that building. I've been back several times. It's a relatively cheap amusement in New York and a unique view of the city. I recommend going at sunset and staying until dark to watch the city light up. It's rather magical. But go in the summer. And bring a sweater, even if it's hot. It's always cold and windy up there and btw, I hear it's not fun at all in February.

[Song in my head]

Update: For the archives. A late entry of a whole gallery of shots. Some really nice ones there.

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GOP Dirty Tricks

It just never ends. The GOPers have nothing to offer in terms of policy, they don't have the votes to block it, so their "new" strategy on health care reform is to "delay, define and derail" the reform bill. More specifically, "Republicans are demanding a deceleration of the process and moving to define whatever plan that emerges as a combination of Medicare cuts, tax increases, higher insurance premiums and rising overall costs." Not sure what's new about that. Looks like just more of the same old lies and obstruction to me. [h/t PR wire]

Meanwhile, Ranggrol pointed me to this story. In a banner on the website of Supreme Court candidate Joan Corie Melvin, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania replaced the “O” in Obama with the Soviet hammer and sickle symbol. TPM reports it was taken down already but they have an archived copy of the banner. When are the GOPers going to learn you can't really erase anything once it's been published on the internets?

And in other news, DavidShuster catches Georgia GOPer Rep. Kingston handing out stimulus money while hiding the fact that the stimulus bill he voted against was the source of the largess. I'd go as far as to say, the press release is so deceptive, it's not at all clear that the money came from federal funding at all. A trick that is apparently popular in Georgia, having been used by other mendacious GOPers there. Sadly, it will probably work to fool some of the local rubes.

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DOJ releases 'new' policy on medical marijuana

More "war on some drugs" news this morning, although the only new part is the DOJ issued an official memorandum outlining its policy on medical marijuana prosecutions in the 14 states that have enacted laws allowing its use. Not really ready to pop the champagne corks just yet myself considering Holder made an unofficial announcement last spring and then the DEA almost immediately busted four California dispensaries.

It's certainly progress that they commited the policy to a written policy document. However, the language leaves plenty of discretion for the feds to get involved. Still one hopes that the new tenor will at least end the Bush era grudge cases against marijuana reform activists that ushered in the incarcerations of people like Tommy Chong and Ed Rosenthal, who clearly pose no danger to society.

You can read the memorandum here and click over to Alan Colmes link, where I saw the story first, for the best graphic.

Update: While I'm unwilling to read too much into this announcement until we see how it plays out in real world prosecutions, Adam Serwer rightly points out that sanity is slowly seeping into our drug policy on the Congressional level and the White House has been supportive of these positive policy changes as well. So there's that.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Planting seeds of discontent

If I hadn't clicked on the link to Woody's blog Whiskey, Dogs & Weed to try to win his fabulous prize for being the 100,000 reader, I would have missed this item by my old friend Phil Smith about a terrific civil disobedience action at DEA HQ where some hemp activists "took shovels to the lawn and planted hemp seeds. Within a few minutes, they were arrested and charged with trespassing."
Hoping to focus the attention of the Obama administration on halting DEA interference, North Dakota farmer Wayne Hauge, Vermont farmer Will Allen, HIA President Steve Levine, hemp-based soap producer and Vote Hemp director David Bronner, Vote Hemp communications director Adam Eidinger, and hemp clothing company owner Isaac Nichelson were arrested in the action as another dozen or so supporters and puzzled DEA employees looked on.

"Who has a permit?" demanded a DEA security official. "A permit -- that's what we want from the DEA," Bronner responded.
Classic case of the DEA trumping state's rights here. Several states have authorized hemp farming and research but the DEA has been refusing to issue the licenses required to allow them to proceed. The irony is hemp products can be sold here legally but the plant can't be grown because the DEA refuses the acknowledge the vast difference between agricultural hemp and the psychotropic cannabis plant. "According to the hemp industry, it is currently importing about $360 million worth of hemp products each year from countries where hemp production is legal, including Canada, China, and several European nations." That's money that could be bolstering our lagging economy instead.

On a vaguely related note, I also stumbled onto Phil's report on the latest developments in Prince of Pot, Marc Emery's extradition case. Some four years after his arrest for selling cannabis seeds to US customers, he's in a Vancouver jail awaiting transfer to a US prison to fulfill the Bush era vendetta against marijuana smokers. Yet another waste of the US taxpayers' precious resources. Details on how you can help stop this travesty at the link.

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Key to Consensus

I don't entirely agree with this Charles Blow op-ed. It plays too much into what I see as an unrealistic impatience, complaining that Obama hasn't fixed a laundry list of problems of varying degrees of importance, after ten months in office. And while I'm as appalled and disappointed as anyone that our President is escalating in Afghanistan instead of exploring an active exit plan, he did actually tell us he was going to do that during the campaign. So yeah, trying to push him in the opposite direction is fine and necessary, but let's not accuse him of breaking any promises.

All that being said, Blow does a good job of summarizing the issues that irk "the left" but this one point, buried too far down IMO, is the key to the general anger on all sides of the political spectrum.
Obama pledged to stem the tide of job losses and foreclosures and to reform the culture of the financial sector. Well, the Dow just hit 10,000 again while the national unemployment rate is about to hit 10 percent. And the firms we propped up are set to dole out record bonuses while home foreclosures have hit record highs. Main Street is still drowning in crisis while Wall Street is awash in Champagne.

When will this imbalance be corrected?
As the old saw goes, "It's the economy, stupid." When people feel financially insecure, they're more resistant to change. I know it's easy for me to say, but I continue to think if Obama had pushed harder against the Banksters and not rewarded them by bringing so many of their veteran shills into his cabinet, and pushed more strongly on the issues of mortgage cramdowns and bankruptcy reform, the rest of his agenda, like health care reform, would have been easier to sell to wary Americans.

As it stands, the "little people" are feeling sold out in the culture war to the have-mores, and rightly so. They have been. If they saw the people who brought us into this state of economic anxiety actually pay some meaningful price for their criminal exploitation of the system, I think they would be much more trusting.

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Un-American Broadcasting Company

I haven't been reading Newsweek since they decided to go after the right wing readership, so I was surprised to stumble across Jacob Weisberg's The O’Garbage Factor posted there. The subheading sums it up: "Fox News isn't just bad. It's un-American." It's worth a read in full but this graf really hammers the point I've been trying to make to the journos I harrass on Twitter.
Whether the White House engages with Fox is a tactical political question. Whether we journalists continue to do so is an ethical one. By appearing on Fox, reporters validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations. Respectable journalists—I'm talking to you, Mara Liasson—should stop appearing on its programs. A boycott would make Ailes too happy, so let's try just ignoring Fox, shall we? And no, I don't want to come on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss it.
Weisberg is right on. It's all well and good for the White House and us DFHs to shout out the obvious. Fox News is a living lie brought into the homes of America 24/7 every single day. But we can't repair the damage they cause on our own. As long their peers continue to treat them as a legitimate news source that deserves to be taken seriously, not only are they complicit, they're contributing to the demise of the industry that provides their own livelihood.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

On The Move

My indulgence in balloon nostalgia aside, posting has been light because I'm about to move again. I'm at the end of my lease and I can't stay in this place for a number of reasons. Link on the sidebar to Last One Speaks if you want the gory details. Meanwhile here's some fun stuff to peruse on a Saturday night.

Woody is having a contest. His blog is about to turn a milestone and the 100,000 visitor gets a New Mexico Edibles gift-basket in celebration: pinon-roasted coffee, blue-corn pancake mix, Chimayo red chile powder, something like that. It's a fun blog. Click over to win, but do have a look around while you're there.

Don't do it myself anymore, but I love Halloween decorations.

If you were wondering what the fuss is about, Google Wave explained, via Jay Rosen. I think I made the right choice in skipping the early adopter thing.

Moonbootica always finds the best science links. I think this could be The Lost City of Atlantis, no matter what they call it.

And Mark Knoller passes on a nice picture of Obama's basketball game last week with members of Congress & the Cabinet. Neither Harry Reid nor Joe Lieberman were on the court.

But my favorite link of the week came from Whiskey Ina. I swear I got goosebumps when I watched this. Mama Cass, Mary Travers & Joni Mitchell - I Shall Be Released.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Great Balloon Hoax

It seems the Balloon Boy obsession is going to continue for some time yet. I'm already sick to death of the Hennes, but I continue to be fascinated by the balloon itself.

As it turns out, the lost boy angle most definitely looks like a hoax. The family released video of the accidental launch and Falcon was no where near the balloon when it took off. There's also a big buzz today over an interview last night where Falcon says he "hid for the show." I don't know how much to make of that. A six year old says a lot of things but it does fit my new theory on their motives.

The only gossip that interested me was that the Dad reportedly called the media before they called 911. A lot of speculation about that, and granted to some extent it falls into the general pattern of attention seeking of the family, but still, why destroy an expensive balloon just for publicity? I'm revising my earlier estimate and now think they probably spent much less than 100K, but nonetheless they have a lot of time invested and I have to think they spent in the tens of thousands of dollars. So what purpose would it serve?

It suddenly dawned on me a few minutes ago. If they're testing an experimental balloon, they would want video of the flight. That wouldn't be so easy to get on their own. Sure they could have chased the thing on the ground, but you can't count on constant visual contact from the ground so aerial footage like this would be invaluable. That's not something you could get on the cheap, and maybe not at all, as a private citizen. You would probably even get in trouble for launching without FAA permission. I heard they had to ground flights at a commercial airport at one point.

So voila. "Accidental" launch. Lost kid drama. Helicopter chase crews. It adds up to great documentation of your experimental craft's performance. It's the only thing that makes sense to me. [h/t SoBeale for CNN video]

Update: A commenter questioned my cost estimate on the construction of the balloon. I admit I could still be way off, but it's not really material to the point of why obtaining the aerial footage would be valuable to the project. I left links to additional info in comments, if anyone feels like figuring it out.

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Greenspan says break up the Banksters

One might ask where the hell Alan was when they were passing out the TARP money, but still this is significant.
U.S. regulators should consider breaking up large financial institutions considered “too big to fail,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

Those banks have an implicit subsidy allowing them to borrow at lower cost because lenders believe the government will always step in to guarantee their obligations. That squeezes out competition and creates a danger to the financial system, Greenspan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big,” Greenspan said today. “In 1911 we broke up Standard Oil -- so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that’s what we need to do.”
Of course, Greenspan is late to the party. Lots of people have said this already, but they were mostly those *unserious* DFH types who were so irritatingly right about Bushenomics all along. So if somebody in power actually listens to Greenspan now and acts on it, I'm willing to say, better late than never.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balloon story built on hot air

Okay. I'll admit I got caught up in the Balloon Boy drama today. I can't believe after I just said that any sensational cable network story should be allowed to age for at least a day before you take it seriously, I spent the entire freaking afternoon analyzing the developments. But in my defense I'd offer that I'm a long term small craft aerophile and a former hot balloonist. I love everything about ballooning.
I know a little about helium balloons from having followed the progress of various experimental crafts built by guys like Richard Branson and Steve Fosset to try to fly around the world, so I was fascinated by this one. Pretty crazy design with the 50s spaceship envelope. And what a crazy story it turned out to be.

Couldn't get the live footage because I don't have cable so I followed it on Twitter until the archived footage showed up on the internet. By the time I saw the video, my whole analysis changed. Once I saw how small the "giant saucer" was and the size of the attached "gondola" which was basically a big cardboard box I was pretty sure it would not have taken an 80lb kid that far aloft. But of course then came the reports of a falling basket early in the flight. With photos...

While in the interim, every major site was digging up the dirt on the family. They're a bit eccentric. Building flying saucers is the most "normal" thing they do. I'm sure by now you've heard about the Wife Swap show they did, whatever that may be. I don't think I really want to know. And the Youtubes they've made and the conspiracy theories the Dad promotes and the weather chasing and all sorts of eccentric attention seeking stuff. I didn't look at any of that myself. I was just interested in the balloon and kid.

If by some chance you missed it, as it turns out my first gut feeling was probably right. Falcon, which for the record I think is a great name, was eventually found hiding in the garage attic. He was never in the balloon. I suspect the rest of my of theory that he somehow accidentally untethered it and then hid because he knew he was in trouble is going to be true as well. The balloon was homebuilt but I'm guessing the lad just cost his daddy well over a 100K not including the helium. Don't really blame him for hiding.

I expect we'll be hearing about this for days and predict a rash of internet posts comparing Balloon Boy to -- well -- everything along with some deep analysis of "what it all means" to society. All I have left to say is, that really was a very cool balloon. Glad the kid is safe and really sorry the poor balloon got destroyed.

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Rushbo Nation

Yes, it's funny in a self-parody kind of way, but the scary thing about this is, these people actually appear to believe they represent the thoughts of all Americans, except "teh left" They really don't appear to know they're a minority because Beck and Limbaugh and Rove tell them they're the majority and they'll believe anything that validates them. And the violent ideation continues to concern me.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beta testing

The RNC's new website has been an endless source of amusement. My favorite fail of the day was this one from Josh Marshall. True story. Under GOP Heroes or some such sub-heading GOP.com rechristened Reagan as "Ronaldus Magnus" on his bio page. I read somewhere that Rushblo uses that term of endearment about Ronnie quite often. Also heard that they've since taken out the reference.

The site is now prominently labeled as being in beta. Thinking they might have wanted to test it in house for just a little bit longer before releasing it to the general public. On the other hand the failures are getting no end of attention, where a smooth rollout probably would have been more or less ignored.

We laugh, but in a way, it's marketing genius. Playing dumb draws the sort of leftwing mockery that solidifies the loyalty of their faithful. On some level the mockery brings their message to their target audience better than they can themselves.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For the children?

Today's low in wingnuttery. SoBeale has it. It's so disgusting I don't even want to excerpt it here. Just go over there and read it.

What is it with these people taking their anger out on innocent kids?

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Tell us how you really feel Booman

Booman tells us how he really feels about the meltdown over that anonymous Harwood comment I talked about yesterday. This should really be read in full to get the total context, but a couple of choice grafs.
If you supported Obama during the primaries, you know who you are and this does not necessarily apply to you. For the rest of you, you spent the primaries either shilling for Clinton and telling us our guy was all talk and no show, or you spent them bitching that David Plouffe wouldn't respond to and obey your emailed wisdom. As soon as he won the presidency, you started bitching about his appointments. As soon as he became president, you started bitching about his messaging, his framing, his agenda, and his lack of deference to your opinion. I want to know where the point was in this process when Obama was supposed to conclude that you were his allies and that you were responsible for his victory. When was he supposed to conclude that he owed you something, or that you had any respect for him, or that you credited his good intentions, or that you understood the myriad responsibilities of the job might mean that your pet issues might have to wait six months, a year, or two years to get to the top of his agenda. [...]

Criticism is fine. But the sense of entitlement involved here is staggering. Ooh, some big, bad White House adviser defended the administration against one more heated attack. My feelings are hurt. Guess what? You should get over it.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and what bothers me the most is the impatience. I'm not suggesting complacency or blind support but I don't think it's a cop-out to acknowledge that Obama inherited a shitload of problems between the election and when he took office that aren't so easy to solve. It sometimes seems that in the zeal to prove we're willing to hold our own accountable that the constant criticism ceases to be constructive and contributes to obstructing progress. I suppose everyone needs to find their own balance point but it is useful to remember that no one can wave a magic wand and instantly repair decades worth of damage.

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Code Pink Changes Anti-war Approach

Contrary to the wild rumors circulating a couple of days ago, Code Pink did not suddenly go pro-war but after spending two weeks in Afghanistan and talking to women there, the group is taking a more nuanced position.
Medea Benjamin, a founder of the group, Code Pink, said in an interview on Friday that most of the 150 Afghans she and seven colleagues had met with told them, “We’re afraid of the Taliban coming back in, we’re afraid of more civil war, we’re afraid of more chaos.”

They talked about responsible withdrawal,” Ms. Benjamin said.

But those same people also made clear that they considered NATO troops magnets for violence whose presence incited anti-foreign sentiment and encouraged impoverished villagers to pick up weapons for the insurgency.

“Everybody we talked to said that most of the Taliban are poor rural people, $10-a-day Taliban, who are doing this for economic reasons,” she said. “If you want to encourage people to stop fighting, encourage them to work.”
Code Pink will continue pressuring Congress and the White House to come up with an exit plan. However, they've softened their approach a bit. They're saying, "Don’t send more troops. But don’t pull out precipitously, either." [via Steve Hynd]

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What Up? - Updated

Too funny. Via Taegan Goddard, I see the GOP redesigned their website. It features a new blog by Michael Steele, that really is called "What Up?" Even funnier, their "Future Leaders" page is blank.

Rumor has it that they were going to feature Sarah Palin on that page but she cancelled the photo shoot at the last minute, claiming despite numerous communications with the RNC, that she had never officially confirmed the appointment. (Okay, I made that last part up -- but it could have happened).

Update: Apparently the launch was such an epic fail, it's already been dubbed Web 2.D'Oh. And Steele has now changed the name of his blog from "What Up?" to "Change the Game." Not sure that's much of an improvement.

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Follow the money

You recall those 30 GOPers who voted against Franken's amendment? I'm sure you'll shocked to learn this.
The thirty GOP Senators who voted against the Franken amendment, which protects women who were raped or sexually abused while working for private defense contractors, received generous contributions from those same private contractors.
Of course, the campaign cash may have had nothing to do with it. It's entirely possible they really are objectively pro-rape, or more likely don't believe rape is a crime because they know how women are. They're always just asking for it.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

NC State Senator airs anti-Obama ads

I suddenly remembered this horrible ad I saw on the local television station as I was dozing off the other night. It was like watching one of those really fringe viral emails on video.



I went to bed wondering how some fringenut wacko group could get a station to air an ad so borderline seditious. Having now investigated, it's paid for by this group, Wake Up America. A look at their cause page, reads exactly like any viral email that circulates among the far right. But it's no fringe group. It's the brainchild of North Carolina Senator Andrew Brock (R-34) along with Raleigh businessman Will Head, who said "he provided $30,000 to air the first commercial."

Even worse, Brocks tells the local media that the group bought two weeks of air time in South Carolina because the ads are needed to back up Republican U.S. Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson.

They're registered as a 527 issues advocacy group with a unique fundraising system.
Brock said he hopes to generate money for future ads by organizing "citizen fundraisers" who would receive commissions based on the funds they bring in for the group. The commissions, which could be in the 5 to 10 percent range, are lawful, according to Brock.

"We're not going to do anything illegal," Brock said.
I know nothing about the law on this, but even if the Amway style fundraising scheme is legal, I'm wondering how a sitting state Senator can legally be promoting a 527 at all. How is his involvement not a direct, de facto connection to a political party?

[Thanks to Alan Colmes for the cool link at Liberaland]

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Much Ado About Anonymous Sources

While I think it's true that progressive bloggers don't get the respect from the White House or the Villagers that they deserve, when the instant mass outrage over an unsourced quote reported by John Harwood lit up Twitter and the blogs, my first reaction was this is probably not going to help. As it turns out, it's not even clear that the quote is real. The White House firmly denies that is came from them or reflects their thinking.

Of course, as has been rightly pointed out since, while the White House has reached out to bloggers as a useful tool to relay their messaging, they haven't exactly taken our concerns to heart nor I would add have they been all that inclusive in putting the progressive left into advisory positions of great consequence. There are many examples of dismissals of the 'far left' which are unfair and don't reflect the reality of the public temperment. However, I can't help but wonder if the left isn't falling into the same trap as the tradmed in racing to be first to report, at the expense of getting the facts straight first.

I confess I don't watch CNBC and I only vaguely know who Harwood is, but it strikes me that giving creedence to an unsourced slur about pajama clad bloggers contributes to the whole problem with the media today relying so heavily on "off the record" remarks. The way I see it, the only winner here was Harwood, who got the attention and the ensuing traffic for a bad piece of journalism. I'm thinking the better strategy would have been to ignore him. But what do I know? I'm just a B-list blogger who doesn't get invited on White House conference calls.

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The GOP's dilemma

I remarked some time ago that the GOP was treading on dangerous ground in encouraging the far fringe element in their base. One aspect of the tea party tantrums that went pretty much unnoticed is while they were clearly anti-Obama and anti-Democratic party, they weren't pro-Republican for the most part. And sure enough, there's now a growing movement among this crowd to challenge the "ideologically impure" GOPers as measured by the shoutragers' yardstick.

Steve Benen gets the quote of the day on this story.
Yes, the recovery-opposing, nominee-blocking, ACORN-hunting, Fox News-following, health care-rejecting, gay bashing, global warming-denying, scorched earth-raging Republican Party isn't far enough to the right for the Teabggers.
As Steve notes, the angry conservatives have every right to "try to take over their party" and drive it to the fringes, just as we on the left seek to pull our politicians in the other direction. But it leaves the GOP with bad choices all around. Loud though they may be, the shoutragers are a minority of Americans. Not enough of them to carry an election but the Republicans can't afford to lose them since they sold their souls to this crowd at the expense of alienating their moderates and the intellectuals.

Therein lies the fatal flaw of the anti-government strategy. The GOP apparently forgot that they're part of the government too. Or maybe they were just hoping everyone else forgot.

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Are we making progress?

Breaking my embargo on linking to Politico for this rather nice profile on Think Progress. It mainly focuses on how TP has adjusted in the post-Bush environment and maintained and grown their influence on the narrative. But this offhand quote stuck at the end of the piece says volumes to me.
Shakir says he'd be "lying" if he claimed he "didn't think about traffic," and that the focus on right-wing media personalities helps bring readers in for more substantive conversations about, say, health care reform.
Even on the left side of the politisphere, snark sells better than substance. Hard to blame the MSM entirely for the decline of journalistic standards when we all focus on the peripheral stories to some extent.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fox just an arm of the GOP

This so needed to be said out loud and I'm so happy to see it coming from a White House spokesperson. This short Youtube clip is priceless. Love the way she refuses to be intimidated and keeps calling the anchor Howie, with just the barest inkling of a sneer.

Let's not pretend they're a news organization indeed.

Update: I just realized the anchor was Howard Kurtz. Don't watch enough teevee apparently to have recognized him. Makes the exchange all the more delicious.

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The Sunday Slacker

Took the day off from the internets yesterday to go visit with the parents. Coolest part of the visit was when Dad asked me to show him how to navigate Facebook. I love that he's getting into the geekery. May get Mom Helen into it yet. She's more of a book reader but she's starting to express some interest in the computer.

Speaking of FB, I found this bit of trivia in my stream. Via Dan with an assist from Marcellina, it seems the guy who runs the Nobel committee is named Thorbjorn Jagland. His name translates as "Thor Bear Me Country." I think that's pretty cool.

Quote of the day via Taegan, from John Boehner, on why the GOP didn't allow members 24 hours to read bills before the vote when they had control of Congress: "Well, it was a different time."

Shockingly, the National Equality March for our LGBT community isn't getting the blanket coverage the shoutragers of August did. Guess there aren't enough Bubba types with beer bellies waving idiotically misspelled signs mocking the President. I hear CSPAN might air it later and there are some MSM reports of tens of thousands marching. Only photos I'm seeing are on Twitter and this site appears to be aggregating the blog coverage. [via MatttBastard]

Is Limbaugh losing his grip on the wingnut throne? Beck does seem poised to usurp him in hot contention for Supreme Leader of people like these who cheer failure and jeer success for our country if it comes attached to a Democrat.

This week's LEO atrocities. Remarkable video of a cop beating down a kid at school for untucked shirt. And a "suspicious bicyclist" is killed when a cop runs him over after he failed to bring him down with a taser. [via Matt]

And in our picture galleries today, this one was heartbreaking. The faces of Pakistan's children. Haunting eyes indeed.

Less disturbing, the latest round of pix on the The White House Flickr account.

And I may have posted this one before, since Greg Mitchell tends to repost his stuff a lot, but this is still one of favorites. Manhattan skyline at sunset from the Hudson.

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Wrong-Way McCain

Frank Rich's column in NYT worth a read in full this morning. Shorter version: All the people who were declaring Afghanistan a great success story three years ago, now claim it's a failure and that Obama must escalate.

And yes, he's looking at you John McCain.
Along with his tribunes in Congress and the punditocracy, Wrong-Way McCain still presumes to give America its marching orders. With his Senate brethren in the Three Amigos, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, he took to The Wall Street Journal's op-ed page to assert that "we have no choice" but to go all-in on Afghanistan -- rightly or wrongly, presumably -- just as we had in Iraq. Why? "The U.S. walked away from Afghanistan once before, following the Soviet collapse," they wrote. "The result was 9/11. We must not make that mistake again."

This shameless argument assumes -- perhaps correctly -- that no one in this country remembers anything.
Which I suppose explains why McCain is on my teevee seemingly every single day.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Values Voters

This week in Obama Derangement Syndrome brings us a little hate-based vandalism presumably from the hatriots who want their country back.
Two political signs in Cave Creek, Arizona, were vandalized when the words “Kill Obama” were spray painted on them.
The two signs, displaying political views on Cave Creek propositions 400, 401 and K3, had the words “Kill Obama” sprayed in purple paint across the front of them.
Our old friend, the creepy, sadistic vigilantte Sheriff Joe Arpaio is apparently in charge of the investigation. Not holding my breath for finding the perps.

Meanwhile at a gun range in South Florida, a Republican congressional candidate exercised his 2nd amendment rights in an unusual manner.
At a Republican party meeting held at a gun range, Robert Lowrey (R), the candidate challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) in Florida's 20th congressional district, "fired at a full-body silhouette with 'DWS' written next to its head," the AP reports.
This was part of a weekly GOP meeting at a gun range. Another popular target at the event is a "cut-out of a Muslim holding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher." Lowry initially laughed off the incident as a joke, but called it a mistake only minutes later. His fellow GOPers weren't so apologetic.
Others refused to apologize for the Southeast Broward Republican Club event, featuring assault rifles and handguns. A conservative activist said they should stand up for their beliefs in the heavily Democratic county.
Their beliefs apparently being they despise everyone who is not them, and should regularly blast the shit out of symbolic targets of their hate? Stunning. [h/t SoBeale]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Warring about the Peace Prize

If you can stomach it, there is a whole page of reaction at Memeorandum about Obama having received the Nobel Peace prize. The wingnuts are responding as one might expect with anger, mockery and revulsion. The media is busy telling us what it all means, offering unsolicited advice and the usual concern trolling about how this is going to affect his agenda. A surprising number of lefties are also buying into the "what has he done to deserve it" theme.

I did a long post at DetNews so all I'm going to say here is, change is one of those things that is hard to see when you're living in it. It's kind of like raising a child. When you're with them every day, you don't notice the little changes, but when the faraway relatives show up for a visit they're astounded at how much your little tyke has grown.

Yes, I know that we're still stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan and I'm not happy about it either, but I thinking it's probably harder to end a war than it is to start one. Especially wars begun premised on lies, with no clearly identified enemy or exit strategy and aren't even actually so much wars as military occupations. Particularly when one also entered office with an economy on the brink of total failure, an opposition party intent on fomenting civil discord, a media that encourages triviality and an agenda that includes making major social changes such as universal health insurance.

As I said at DetNews, anybody that thinks they can solve all those problems in ten months should run for president and show us how easily it's done. Otherwise, all I'm going to say is congratulations Mr. President. I, for one, am glad to have a president who works so hard instead of one that complains being the leader of the free world is such hard work.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bombing the Moon

I guess this bombing the moon thing is going to happen early in the morning. Virgotex tells me @LCROSS_NASA is live tweeting and you can also watch it live at NASA TV.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]
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Politico Fail

It doesn't quite sink yesterday's scoop, that I understand ran in the Wall St. Journal among other places, about Bo the First Dog taking a poop in the president's airplane, but today's Drudge bait at the Politico comes close to being dumbest story of the week. It seems that a few celebrities who signed a petition to free Roman Polanski, also donated to Obama's campaign. DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse sums it up well:
“It’s a silly story that’s just meant to try to generate a sensational headline and a lot of clicks,” he continued. “It’s really unfortunate that it was written, period. But also, we were blindsided by it. They didn’t contact us. We raised $750 million, and they found that $34,000 of it that was raised by people who know Roman Polanski.”
But that's not all. Adam Serwer catches a major factual mistake, so Politico wins for most fail in a single day. Really, if Politico wants to do some pearl clutching over syntax, you might think a *serious* news outlet, might at least try to get the basic definitions straight.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Picture of the Day

A blowup of this shot is now hanging in the West Wing of the White House


Mark Knoller tells me the photo was taken during a pickup game Obama played in a gym at St.Bart's Church in NYC during a break in his UN meetings. The question is, is that a foul and or a block? Obama's aide Reggie Love who's in the shot, graciously calls is a good block. I'm sure I don't know, but I like the photo a lot.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Congress gets great health care - for themselves

I did a long post on this at DetNews a few days ago, but I want to archive the link here too because I was looking for one about this for a while. It's not just that our Congresspeople have an insurance pool of private insurers to choose from. They have unlimited use of this state of the art, personal health care clinic on The Hill too for the princely sum of about $550 a year. Quite a deal.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Out of the darkness

This is the time of year when the daylight ends too soon and I crash out early for a few weeks while I'm adjusting to living in the dark. So here's a few links I didn't get to while I was perfecting my new trick of falling asleep while sitting up in front of the computer.

Loved this. Science night at the White House. About 150 schoolkids got to play with NASA telescopes on the White House lawn last night.

It's not often I would think of linkiing to Ruth Marcus -- okay I never think of it -- but this is a pretty good piece, despite her short foray into false equivalence, on the GOP's obstructing the confirmation of Obama's nominees for crucial positions in the administration. [via at_howard]

On a more dismal note, Washington Post also published an article recently without a single named source. And they wonder why their circulation keeps going down? That trick is getting very old.

Meanwhile, wingnuts get coverage for even the most trivial obsessions but for our traditional media peaceful protestors aren't news. Ever. They can't even buy coverage since the major cablenets won't air their paid ads.

And speaking of ads, forgive my glee at another's misfortune but I'm thrilled to see 19 more advertisers ditched Glenn Beck. In fact two British companies cancelled their ad buys on Fox altogether. This is how to shut down the hatemongers. Hit them in the wallet.

But to end on a brighter note, via LanceMannion this is possibly the coolest bird photo I've ever seen in my life. A kingbird riding a red tail hawk Just wow.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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