Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:44 pm

The entire judiciary is conspiring to hide the fact that Obama was born in Kenya

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Either that, or there’s not a shred of evidence that he was, because those (most famously including Orly Taitz) who have filed suit claiming that he was born in Kenya are now 0-for-166 in district courts, with nine cases pending.

Counting rulings by the appellate courts and SCOTUS, that total rises to 0-for-258.

I’d take better odds on whether Mitt Romney was born in the trunk of my car.

Give it up, guys.

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 4:44 pm

Quote of the Day, Athenae on Sandy and the Govt. Edition

What it boils down to is: What kind of country are we going to be — the kind people want to live in, or not?

When a disaster strikes I want big government, small government, medium-sized government. I want all the government ever. I want the neighbors and the charities and the churches and the families and the friends, too. Every crack in the plaster needs to be patched and every problem needs to be solved, and I want as many people putting that puzzle together as possible. All hands on the [expletive] deck. Here’s a bucket. Start bailing the water out.

I want everybody to be figuring out how to do more, instead of fighting over the best way to do less without looking like too much of an [expletive] about it.

And you know, I think the majority of Americans want this, too. It’s just that for the past 40 years we’ve had this constant drumbeat of no we can’t, it’s too hard, we can’t afford it, everybody fends for themselves, there’s no help for anybody, let’s all just go home and if you have to step over a homeless dude to get to your car then do it because that’s the price of doing business. People deserve to have their homes submerged and their shops wiped out and their lives ruined because of where they live or what they do or who they are, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, because only government is big enough to solve this problem and we all know government isn’t the answer to anything anymore.

But deep down we’ve still got that nagging feeling that somebody somewhere ought to be on top of [stuff] that most of the time people don’t deserve what they get (and thank God for that, by the way, she says while conducting the express train to hell), that we are better and bigger and stronger than this, and we’re just straining against the goddamn harness to do something. And disaster preparedness and emergency management are some of the most basic things government can do to prevent us from tearing ourselves apart when something [awful] happens, to take that instinct and direct it outward instead of inward.

To make us help, rather than letting us hurt.

I made the mistake earlier today of getting into an argument on Facebook with a couple of wingnuts. They argued that “compulsory charity” — which, for reasons that escape logic and which they declined to explain, they defined strictly as “government” charity; guys, go tell it to the LDS Church — is always wrong. (They also argued that abortion is the biggest sin there is, but then consistency is seldom a hallmark of wingnuts.)

Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s. The implication, often offered up by wingnuts as stone fact, is that the two differ. And certainly they frequently do. But there’s no practical or metaphysical reason why the two couldn’t overlap from time to time, as in, say, stopping the Nazi genocide machine.

Or helping our fellow Americans, our family, our friends, our neighbors to get their lives back in order after an unparalleled natural disaster.

No one with a lick of sense will claim that he knows what Mitt Romney believes, but it is a matter of public record that Romney has said that private interests ought to be responsible for disaster recovery. Given that mutant weather alone is likely to become an important aspect of our new normal in this century, that claim alone disqualifies him from any role in government. And yet somewhere around 50 percent of Americans say they are ready and willing to make him president, as if, in this “Christian” nation, the Golden Rule and the Second Great Commandment were tiny codicils in the articles of incorporation for a company that Bain Capital long ago acquired, stripped of its assets and steered into Chapter 7.

Does Dr. Seuss’s ghost need to choke a bitch?

Why, yes. Yes, I believe he does, if so-called journalists are going to pull sweeping indictments of blue states right out of their feces-choked derrieres:

Well, perhaps if instead of sprinting off to write a page’s worth of “nuh uh, YOU’RE the poopyheads” drivel, you could have hung around and read the studies cited showing the math on how blue states rate better than red states. Perhaps you could have even gone on to see the correlations in Europe that further back up the sobering reality that yes, it turns out that liberal economic and social policy really do create stronger economies and happier people.

Almost as if people are less likely to be stressed out balls of violent desperation when people aren’t willing to collapse society just to “get at them” and where tightly-wound right-wing psychotics can see that the gay isn’t really the existential threat they pretend it is to make the truck stop visits more exciting. Where people can just be people.

And as if the economy was healthier in areas where racing to the bottom wasn’t the only game in town and people have a social safety net to fall back on if things get hard. Because it turns out that founding new industries and businesses and retraining workforces to new industries is easier when people aren’t freaking out about starving if things go wrong.

The “journalist” expresses concern that blue states are growing more slowly than red states. As if that is actually some kind of problem:

Okay, yes, wingnuts, I get that the freakout about “relative population growth” is all a racist sexist freakout hoping that if you go oogedy boogedy about brown third world nations, white women will agree to give up their rights and become brood mares to “balance” things.

But still, let me make one point perfectly clear:

WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE POPULATION GROWTH.

We really [expletive] don’t. In fact, we could do with a hell of a lot of relative population shrinkage while we can still afford to do that without having to resort to costly and bloody wars over basic resources.

Sorry if this is a bit blunt, but we don’t even really have the food resources for the population we have now and we’re running out of the natural resources we need to prop up the current system. We don’t need any more [expletive] babies. I don’t care how scared you are of the third-world horde outbreeding you.

But hey, you know what might work better than trying to out-[reproduce] them? How about stop exploiting the [expletive] out of them and help give them a hand forming a legitimate first-world economy and help fight for global women’s rights and universal education. Then they’ll stop underbidding your workers and as a bonus, they’ll also stop out-breeding you as first-world nations with high education and strong rights for women tend to breed less overall.

Much, much more at the link — a lengthy but worthwhile read.

Monday, October 29, 2012 7:34 pm

Context. Perspective. They are good things. That John McCain does not have.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lex @ 7:34 pm

Thanks to Charlie Pierce for watching John McCain on one of the Sunday gasbag shows yesterday so that I didn’t have to. Here’s what Senator You-Kids-Get-Off-My-Lawn said about the recent Benghazi tragedy:

This tragedy turned into a debacle and massive cover-up or massive incompetence in Libya is having an effect on the voter because of their view of the commander in chief. And it is now the worst cover-up or incompetence that I have ever observed in my life.

Really? Because, keep in mind, kids, that not only was McCain old enough to be sentient during the Vietnam War — speaking of incompetence and cover-up — he spent seven years in an enemy POW camp because of it, as he never ceased to remind us during his 2008 campaign. He was around during Watergate (though not yet inflicted upon the body politic in any meaningful way). And, as Pierce observes:

John McCain was in the Congress when Ronald Reagan sold missiles to the mullahs. John McCain voted for the Iraq war on the instructions of George W. Bush. Perhaps John McCain failed to observe that either cover-up or that incompetence. Perhaps John McCain should get his ass over 2008 and leave the rest of us alone.

As for how horrible this whole Benghazi thing is, you know what? It was horrible. Four Americans died. But when Condoleezza Rice, of all people, tells Republicans they’re making too much of what the Obama administration should or shouldn’t or might or might not have done, maybe they’re, oh, I don’t know,  making too much of it.

Also, on Sept. 20, 1984, two dozen Americans died in a terrorist attack in Lebanon. What did then-President Ronald Reagan do the next day? Made three campaign stops, including one in Iowa where he was up 23 points at the time. Then-Sen. John McCain got in a lot of trouble for his public criticism of the president at the time. Oh. Wait.

Pierce on Sandy and who we are as a nation

As I write, I imagine that all kinds of hell is breaking loose in the Northeast, the kinds of hell that, among other things, make it difficult to report in real time on what kinds of hell are breaking loose. I’ve covered hurricanes before, and believe me when I tell you that it is No Damn Fun, from getting sandblasted by what used to be that dune over there to living on Lance Toastchees and bottled water from your trunk for four days while wearing the same clothes and being unable to bathe to trying to navigate a car that don’t float when half or more of the bridges are underwater. People, including myself, joke about the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore as the Angel of Death, but I’ve done Cantore’s job (albeit for a different news outlet), and I would have to think very, very hard before doing it again, for love or money.

It’s bad enough in any one location. But when all hell breaks loose in a huge region, and when that region is the most heavily populated of its size in the country … well, we have no precedent for this. And when it happens a week before a presidential election, the potential for feces to hit the fan is shattering the glass on every meter in the boiler room.

And yet there also is likely to be an enormous point of clarity coming out of this event, as Charlie Pierce explains:

However, as to the campaign itself, and taking as axiomatic that almost anything can “impact” an election as close as this one apparently is shaping up to be, there’s absolutely no telling what the effect of massive four-day weather event in the middle of this week will have on the events of the middle of next week. Certainly, in situations like this, the president has several trump cards he can play simply by virtue of being the incumbent. He can act as president. He can engage FEMA and the rest of the federal disaster apparatus to help those governors, Republican and Democratic, who are in the path of the storm. (He just might be in more pictures with Chris Christie over the next week than with Joe Biden.) He can demonstrate, top to bottom, by example, why “leaving it to the states” and, worse, “the private sector can do it better” are empty platitudes. The storm is hitting 12 states. This is something we need to do as one country. …

The problem, of course, is that a good piece of the political opposition doesn’t recognize this president as president when the sun’s shining. The people who will tell you that disaster relief is best left to the states, or to the private sector, are going be howling at the White House if some cat isn’t brought down from a tree in Cape May in less than five minutes. There are a thousand things that can go unavoidably wrong in a situation like this. It is the most fertile environment imaginable for unpredictability. The good news for the president is that he’s in charge. The bad news for the president is that he’s in charge, and the opposition is still truthless, and demented.

(Pardon this interruption from your host for this illustration of just how demented that opposition is:)

(We now return you to Pierce:)

Here’s the last thing that I’d like to throw out there before we all go 1856 all over for a while. This entire campaign has been fought out over the issue of whether or not we are all members of a viable political commonwealth with implicit mutual obligations to act through our government — a self-government that is, or ought to be, the purest creative project of that commonwealth — for the common good, or whether that government is some sort of alien entity repressing our fundamental entrepreneurial energy. Over the next few days, I believe, we are going to see that argument brought to the sharpest point possible. If you want to see how this event will “impact the election,” look to what answer to that question emerges from the storm. It will tell us a lot about the election, and about ourselves.

When the Framers put the phrase “general welfare” into the preamble to the Constitution, things like Sandy were what they had in mind. And whether we remember that fact over the next week and more will determine whether we keep, and whether we deserve to keep, the “Republic, if you can keep it” that Benjamin Franklin and his compatriots bestowed upon us when that document was signed.

Buyer’s remorse, Zombie Election edition

To probably no one’s surprise, I voted for Obama. But this ad from film director Joss Whedon makes me think maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea.

Ghost in the drone?; or, Skynet harbinger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lex @ 6:50 pm

I realize we’re all a little busy right now what with an apocalyptic storm battering the mid-Atlantic, but apparently we have other existential crises, too:

Air Force mechanics have reported mysterious incidents in which the airborne robots went haywire. In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem. “After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,” an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript. “Right now, I still think the software is not good.”

I have seen this movie. Absent the intervention of a reformed Schwarzeneggerbot, it will not end well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:46 pm

Respect mah authoritay, Technorati edition

Filed under: Fun,Weird — Lex @ 9:46 pm

Don’t ask me how, but this blog is, at least at the moment, the 27th most authoritative on matters related to science out of 12,200 or so blogs registered on Technorati that actually deal with matters related to science.

Well played, Mayans. Well played.

 

 

 

Friday, October 26, 2012 7:43 pm

Republicans and rape; or, zygote fetishization

The recent comments on rape from a long list of Republicans including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, along with the fact that the GOP’s national platform has opposed safe, legal abortion since 1980, have brought “social issues” to the fore in a national election that ordinarily would have been almost entirely about the economy. (Not arguing that it should have been almost entirely about the economy — I’d’ve loved some discussion of global warming, Afghanistan and using drones for extrajudicial assassination, to name just three topics — just that it ordinarily would have been.)

I won’t rehash the moral arguments about abortion, but I will offer this quasi-theological observation: The people who argue that their faith dictates that a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant must carry her rapist’s baby to term are not worshiping God, or any god. Rather, they are fetishizing a zygote. Their “culture of life” has become the idolatry of a cargo cult. It is nothing that Jesus would recognize as God’s love here on Earth.

With her gracious permission and without additional comment, I offer this take from my mother’s cousin Edith Hay Harris of Houston, Texas* Durham, NC:

My two cents: I was a volunteer for Greenville (SC) Rape Crisis Council for 8 or so years, some time back. I don’t think anyone can imagine what these women and girls endured. I think a lot of people don’t realize victims come in all ages and from all walks of life. I still remember a woman with a husband and children who became pregnant from the rape and had to have the baby; a 68 yr old grandmother who was nearly beaten to death by her attacker who put her grandson’s training pants over her face while he raped her; and a 12 year old who was impregnated by a homeless man. In the last case, we took her to Atlanta for an abortion, since no one in Greenville was providing that service then, and United Way dropped us from their funding for doing so. So, yes, I still feel that rage so many years later. I think these Republicans actually have contempt for women and need to control them. Sort of reminds me of the Taliban.

*Oops. Cousin Elsie lives in Houston, not Edith. I knew this.

Sandy’s a piker

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 6:02 pm
Tags: ,

It might seem strange to you that there’s a nontrivial chance that a combined hurricane/nor’easter/snowstorm could hit the New York area the day before Halloween. And indeed, even in the era of climatic instability caused by global warming, it is strange … though not unheard-of.

However, things got a lot stranger than that barely seven years ago. It’s a comic strip, but all “dialogue” really happened.

Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:29 pm

Blessed — uh, I mean kicked — are the poor

Today’s sermon comes from the Rev. Athenae:

If you added up all the fraud and waste and horror that poor people supposedly cause, I doubt it would total a month’s worth of time blowing [stuff] up in Afghanistan, but hey, people on public assistance are already down, so that makes them much easier to kick.

I do not understand what we get out of this, as a society. I really, really don’t. If I thought making poor people feel like [crud] about themselves would actually end poverty maybe I’d be a little more in favor of doing it, but you know, it’s not about the objects of our charity. It’s about us, and what we deserve to do. To send outward into the world. To show others.

And all of the testing, the probing, the constant suspicion that somebody somewhere is getting away with something, that doesn’t do [anything] to make people any less poor. All it does is make those of us who are not poor a little less rich.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:51 pm

Quote of the Day, Civility & Priorities Edition

Commenter Batocchio at Roy Edroso’s blog:

Civility has its place, but honesty over civility, accuracy over politeness. Alternatively, if you define “civility” in part as showing respect for the truth, a liar has broken the implicit contract of the debate/discussion, and as a moral matter should be called out. (Not that that happens much in the Village, but boy, it’s awesome when it does.)

 

U.S. Journalism Fail

The fall of the mainstream media has had many causes, but speaking as someone who spent a quarter-century working in it, I think few have been more damaging than the adherence to narratives that were either no longer operative or never true in the first place. And nowhere has this adherence been more in evidence than in how the MSM, your so-called liberal media, has behaved toward the Republican Party. Yes, journalists tend toward the middle of the political spectrum (there are almost no true leftists anymore), but 45 years of working the refs has had such an all-encompassing  effect that no one is mentioning the elephant defecating in the room. Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog summarizes:

But the press had a story. It’s a great, multi-threaded story, really, even though nobody in the press thinks it is. It’s a story the press could have been telling us for years, but never wanted to bother: the story of a major American political party going absolutely stark raving mad, while having the power and persuasive ability to potentially take the country with it. It’s a party that flirted with nominating barking lunatics such as Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum before settling on a guy who was able to mollify supporters of those lunatics by faking (or imbibing) madness himself, by being a pathological liar, and by spending millions of dollars — because this party is crazy about the rich, and has persuaded much of the country to want to coddle the rich even after the rich nearly destroyed the world.

The party lurches from superstitious belief to superstitious belief (in the phoniness of climate change, in the existence of massive Democratic voter fraud, in the imminence of sharia law in the U.S., in the socialist/Muslim leanings of the centrist Christian in the White House, and so on). The rich guy at its head flirted with some of those beliefs and gave aid and comfort to firm believers in them.

If the party were a celebrity or a historical figure, it would be Charlie Sheen or Caligula, and everyone would want to tell the story. But nobody wants to tell this story. Nobody wants to write that the GOP is insane. Nobody wants to write that a great country can’t survive with crazy zillionaires selling conspiracy theories to angry white people via 24/7 media, just so they can get somewhat lower tax rates.

The story is there, guys. It wasn’t good enough for you, I guess.

Or, as Driftglass puts it:

And yet the MSM continues to prop up the rotting carcass of the GOP like the corpse in ”Weekend at Bernie’s”, and waltz it lovingly across the national stage year after year after year, protecting it as ferociously as they would their own children even as it goes raving mad, putrefies and crumbles to reek and maggots in their arms.

If a guy commits a crime and you help him, you’re guilty of a crime yourself — aiding and abetting, at the least. So when you aid and abet the journey to insanity of one of the country’s two major parties, and perhaps the entire country along with it, what does that make you?

“I’m a great person, but don’t look in my basement, ‘kay?”*

Filed under: I want my money back.,We're so screwed — Lex @ 7:01 pm

Rajat Gupta, a former director of Goldman Sachs, is getting two years in prison and being fined $5 million for his role in providing insider information to  Galleon Group hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

The max he was looking at was 25 years, but the max generally isn’t a real number. The government was recommending 10 years, which sounds about right; Rajaratnam got 11. But Gupta got off with two after lots of people testified about what a nice guy he was and his daughter testified about how she’d been harassed at school after his arrest. I’m sorry for his daughter, but that has no bearing on Daddy’s sentence. The guy was walking directly out of Goldman Sachs board meetings to telephone Rajaratnam; that’s pretty brazen.

Unlike homicide, a crime often committed in the heat of the moment and with a less than clear head, it takes a fair bit of premeditation and deliberation to engage profitably in insider trading. That’s exactly the kind of crime that stiffer sentences really will deter. Frog marching the banksters around in orange jumpsuits on live TV probably would also help, I think.

But getting sentenced for insider trading is so 1980s. How ’bout we start sentencing people for blowing up the economy? We wouldn’t want Gupta to be lonely in prison, missing all his friends at Goldman Sachs, would we?

*hed h/t commenter rgqueen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 7:32 pm

Syria, weapons, Romney and Obama: no easy answers

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 7:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Freelance journalist Benjamin Hall in this guest post for Esquire:

I have just returned from Aleppo, the northwestern Syrian city with some of the most bloody fighting (at least 20 dead today) and some of the most striking examples of just how factious the rebellion has become.

I watched as one FSA brigade fired a 50-caliber machine gun as cover fire for another to retrieve a dead body, only for the same two groups to scream at each other later and refuse to help in fighting the next day.

I watched (and ducked) as rebel groups fought over a new weapons influx and shot over each others’ heads, and I wondered: If they’re shooting arms at each other, how do we decide who to better shoot at Assad’s army?

I watched (and listened) as FSA members told me they prefer to enter into Aleppo illegally, rather than crossing through an FSA gate held by the Islamic Asft Alshmal brigade, saying, “They’re not our guys — they’re bad and they take bribes from refugees.”

I watched (and worried) as Salafi jihadis entered into the conflict here, voicing their opposition to Western values — and their aim to impose Sharia law — and I wondered: “Partners”? What partners?”

Obama seems to be indicating (correctly) that it is impossible to know where U.S.-backed weapons will end up and who will get them — that it could then become irresponsible to arm any factions at all. “We are making sure that that those we help are those who will be friends of ours in the long term,” he said on Monday — in a seemingly rationale (if cautious) approach.

Romney believes (correctly) that weapons are getting to the wrong people already, and that is irresponsible for the West not to try and flow weapons to more moderate groups — that it is not impossible. “We need to have a very effective leadership effort in Syria,” he said at the debate, “making sure that the insurgents there are armed and that the insurgents that become armed are people who will be the responsible parties.”

The president shot back that the U.S. is, in fact, “playing the leadership role,” but therein lies the Catch-22: If the U.S. doesn’t actively arm rebels, fundamentalists might get more weapons anyway; if the U.S. goes far enough, as Romney has suggested, to arm FSA partners with rockets and surface-to-air missiles, Sunni insurgents can’t be far behind in tracking down that kind of heavy artillery in the crossfire. And we all know how that turned out in Iraq.

 

Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:07 pm

Learning from the (not-so-ancient) Greeks

Thereisnospoon (@DavidOAtkins), writing at Digby’s Hullabaloo:

It turns that when you throw a proud people who have lived a relatively decent lifestyle with modest provisions for the middle class into the desperate grinder of austerity economics, fascist movements start to develop. That’s pretty much how it happened in Germany in the first place, which is why the the rest of the world learned from its Post-WWI mistake to implement the Marshall Plan after the Second War. When people start to lose everything, it’s easy to blame immigrants and the dispossessed. Those people start to become scapegoats for the sorts of scoundrels who use jingoistic xenophobia for career advancement in the guise of patriotism.

It’s no surprise that the ascendance of the far right in the United States tracks alongside the erosion of the middle class. Fortunately, America has been spared the full force of austerity. So far.

But the rise of a Golden Dawn [Greece's fascist neo-nazi movement, now polling at 14% there -- Lex] in the U.S. isn’t at all unthinkable. All that need happen is for the Very Serious People to get their way in voucherizing Medicare and Social Security, destroying the safety net, and remaking society in Ayn Rand’s image.

History repeats itself, and sometimes, if it doesn’t feel like you heard it the first time, it shouts.

 

Friday, October 19, 2012 7:53 pm

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of David Brooks, Green Energy Edition

… outsourced to Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog:

Brooks tells us in this column that green subsidies are evil because they often don’t pay off and because they make Al Gore fat — er, rich, because he’s so heavily invested in green tech. Subsidies are immoral! The people who support them are immoral! But it’s not immoral to demagogue the issue altogether, or to block any other approach. The Brooks finger gets wagged only one way.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 7:56 pm

Quotes of the Day, Charlie Pierce’s Comments Section edition

Filed under: Evil,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 7:56 pm

Below this post:

“Too many in this country would rather be [raped] by business than helped by government.” — Barry Friedman

“Those of us who drive on our nation’s roads are well aware that most of us are idiots at best, and greedy, selfish, homicidal morons at worst. At least once a month I now get to see an ambulance (and once a fire engine!) with lights and siren on, have to fight its way through an intersection because cross traffic simply refuses to stop. Stuff as simple as driving depends almost entirely on self-policing, but for too many of us, “self-policing” is what suckers do. There’s a good reason why the modern GOP still commands such a strong following — most of us are scum.” — John Robinson (not this one)

But there’s no war on women, Washington Free Beacon edition

If you watched Tuesday’s presidential debate, you may have noticed that a 24-year-old woman named Katherine Fenton stood up and asked President Obama what he intended to do about the gender wage gap. This action, of course, was so intolerable to the existing order that it resulted in Internet smearing supported by your tax dollars by the Washington Free Beacon, a six-month-old online newspaper that apparently has decided that its get-rich-quick scheme consists of:

  1. Tax exemption
  2. Bash women.
  3. Profit!

And I wish I could say that’s never worked, but, sadly, no, it has.

And speaking of Sadly, No!, Cerberus takes on the Beacon boys’ club, not only explaining in excruciating detail just how incredibly cruel and misogynistic this behavior is but also putting it into the context of how anti-everyone-except-pale-penised-people people have, in the past decade or so, stopped even pretending to be decent human beings anymore:

At least all the bitterness at women who dare think about [having sex] or being aware of the existence of sex proves that said horrible abusive little [jerks] aren’t getting any. We can only hope their horrible personalities keeps this true for a long, long, long-ass time.

I’m sorry but this is low, even for wingnuts and if I may speak honestly, is part of an escalation that’s been brewing for years now. Stepping up terrorism not just against public figures, but ordinary people. Instead of the Graham Frost incident being a fluke from a deranged meerkat wearing a woman suit, it’s become the new standard. Doesn’t matter if you’re a random low-level government official like Shirely Sherrod, a citizen speaking to Congress like Sandra Fluke, or just a woman asking a question at a Town Hall like Katherine Fenton. They will try and destroy us all in hopes that will cow us so much we all play along with their fictional reality and protect them from having to deal with their cognitive dissonance.

[Expletive], this attack had nothing to do with her question. A trained monkey could have answered her question. But since The Smiler is so divorced from human reactions he can’t imagine why bragging about a binder full of women might sound like something out of a slasher movie, well, blame the messenger, right?

I would hope that my daughter wouldn’t do some of the things Fenton talks about, and wouldn’t talk about it on the Internetz if she did. But you know what? Freedom means that some people are going to do things you don’t necessarily approve of. And while it might be legal to use the power of a media outlet — sad, lame and minor-league though it be — to go full-metal jackass on an otherwise anonymous 24-year-old woman, and to hide behind the byline “Washington Free Beacon Staff” at that, that doesn’t make it right.

Our terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad news media and the deficit; or, Don’t point that gun unless …

Economist Dean Baker:

In the middle of a steep recession, any measure that reduces the deficit will cost jobs. That is because it will reduce demand. If anyone wants to see a lower deficit in 2013 (certainly the Post does), then they want to throw people out of work.

This is sort of like pulling the trigger on a gun pointed at someone’s head. Presumably this is not done unless the desire is to see the person dead.

 

Clean ‘n’ green debate?

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 6:47 pm
Tags: ,

A whopping two protesters were arrested outside the presidential debate Tuesday night: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala.

Charlie Pierce has questions. So do I. Like Gibbs, I do not believe in coincidences.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:34 pm

Paging Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, or at least her brain lining cells

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 7:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

And just in time for Halloween, too! From LiveScience:

Death will come for us all one day, but life will not fade from our bodies all at once. After our lungs stop breathing, our hearts stop beating, our minds stop racing, our bodies cool, and long after our vital signs cease, little pockets of cells can live for days, even weeks. Now scientists have harvested such cells from the scalps and brain linings of human corpses and reprogrammed them into stem cells.

In other words, dead people can yield living cells that can be converted into any cell or tissue in the body.

Now, here in real life, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got some skin in the stem-cell game, so to speak. But there is still a part of me saying, quietly but insistently, that we’ve seen this movie before and it didn’t end well.

Quote of the Day, Aftermath of the Second Presidential Debate edition

Commenter Frank Armstrong at Charlie Pierce’s place:  “I think tonight Barack’s name was Inigo Montoya, and Willard did something bad to his father.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 8:00 pm

Why tonight’s debate matters; or, Quote of the Day, What the GOP is Good At Edition, cont.

From DougJ at Balloon Juice:

The American right’s real genius lies in [mess]ing things up, then using that [mess]ed-up-ness as the crisis that necessitates the implementation of the right’s policies. I don’t claim that the [mess]ing up of things is always deliberate—they’re incompetent enough to [mess] a lot of things up by accident—but the reaction is very cynical and very carefully thought out.

DougJ considers what the GOP is up to in this instance analogous to the Reichstag fire. But if you’re going to go Godwin, given how clear Romney/Ryan have been about their plans for government spending right up until Romney shape-shifted into Moderate Mitt during the first presidential debate, a better example than the Reichstag fire might be the Nazi blitzkrieg  of Poland. And Jon Chait at New York magazine believes the Romney campaign/would-be administration plans just such an assault on the American social-welfare structure. In a piece titled “November 7,” to which DougJ also links, Chait writes:

Let’s first imagine that, on January 20, Romney takes the oath of office. Of the many secret post-victory plans floating around in the inner circles of the campaigns, the least secret is Romney’s intention to implement Paul Ryan’s budget. The Ryan budget has come to be almost synonymous with the Republican Party agenda, and Romney has embraced it with only slight variations. It would repeal Obamacare, cut income-tax rates, turn Medicare for people under 55 years old into subsidized private insurance, increase defense spending, and cut domestic spending, with especially large cuts for Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs targeted to the very poor.

Few voters understand just how rapidly Romney could achieve this, rewriting the American social compact in one swift stroke. Ryan’s plan has never attracted Democratic support, but it is not designed for bipartisanship. Ryan deliberately built it to circumvent a Senate filibuster, stocking the plan with budget legislation that is allowed, under Senate “budget reconciliation” procedures, to pass with a simple majority. Republicans have been planning the mechanics of the vote for many months, and Republican insiders expect Romney to use reconciliation to pass the bill. Republicans would still need to control 50 votes in the Senate (Ryan, as vice-president, would cast the tiebreaking vote), but if Romney wins the presidency, he’ll likely precipitate a partywide tail wind that would extend to the GOP’s Senate slate.

One might suppose that at least a handful of Republicans might blanch at the prospect of reshaping the entire face of government unilaterally. But Ryan’s careful organizing of the party agenda has all taken place with this vote as the end point, and with the clear goal of sidestepping any such objection. When Republicans won control of Congress during the 2010 elections, Ryan successfully lobbied the party to take a vote on his budget plan the following April. The plan stood no chance of passage (given Obama’s certain veto) and exposed dozens of vulnerable House members to withering attacks over its unpopular provisions. So why hold a vote carrying huge potential risk and no chance of immediate success? So Ryan could get the party on record supporting his plan, depriving quiet dissidents of any future excuse to defect should the real vote come in 2013.

And if this were only a policy difference, that would be one thing. But the fact of the matter is that if these planned changes happen, a nontrivial number of America’s most vulnerable citizens — the very old, the very young, the chronically ill, those most hampered and hammered by the past four years of insufficient-bordering-on-indifferent action on unemployment — will die prematurely. That’s not hyperbole. That’s not an idle prediction. It is, rather, an absolutely foreseeable consequence of cutting social services, particularly Medicaid, in a time of great need and want. And if you don’t care about that, you’re a sociopath, pure and simple.

There are many things at stake in tonight’s debate and this year’s presidential and congressional elections, not the least of which are the fate of the globe’s environment and the fact that both my children  will be of military age before the end of a second Romney term. But for a combination of big and fast, the GOP plan to destroy what remains of the social safety net and give the proceeds to the very wealthy tops the list, and it simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Monday, October 15, 2012 7:51 pm

Quote of the Day, “What the GOP is good at’ edition

Commenter Roy Webb at Charlie Pierce’s blog:

… it isn’t governing, it isn’t the economy, it isn’t fighting wars, it isn’t “promoting the general welfare,” it isn’t anything relating to the normal functions one would assign to a government. What they are good at is making up inflammatory names for normal processes, and scaring the less-informed into voting against their own best interests. At that, they are masters.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 8:21 pm

It took two years, but “Eastern Inferno” is now officially a WSJ best-seller!

Two years ago, my sister-in-law Christine Alexander and her brother Mason Kunze published in book form the journals kept by their grandfather, a Wehrmacht infantryman who had fought on the Russian front during World War II. The hardcover version of the journals, which began just before the June 1941 German invasion and continued through mid-1943, sank without a trace,. That didn’t surprise me — small publisher, labor of love and all — but it did disappoint me because the book was compelling enough to appeal to a wide audience, even people without any particular interest in World War II. The writer wrote simply, from a grunt’s-eye view, and he wrote without flinching about what he witnessed. As the kids say, it was about as real as sh*t gets.

However, the Kindle version did better. Much better. In fact, unbeknownst to any of us until earlier today, back in mid-August the Kindle version hit No. 8 on the Wall Street Journal list of best-selling nonfiction e-books.

If you’ve got a Kindle and 10 bucks, download it. I’m not going to swear that you’ll enjoy it, but I promise you you’ll have a hard time putting it down. And when you’re done, take a minute and think about the fact that sterile terms like “pre-emptive strike” and “collateral damage” boil down, in real life, to the savagery you’ve just read about.

Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:30 am

Woofpack nation

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

It was a big day for Triangle ACC football yesterday. Carolina whomped Virginia Tech at home for the first time since 1938, Duke won in a blowout (how often so you hear THOSE words during football season), and, to top it off, my brothers’ alma mater, N.C. State, upset No. 3 Florida State 17-16. Naturally, all of Carter-Finley Stadium was rockin’, but there was one State fan who had become an Internet meme before midnight. Here he is, but I’ll warn you: You might want to keep eye bleach handy:

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