Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Senate Dems to Blago: "Hold on there!"

Senate Dems will not seat Blago appointee.

Good for them. It would have been easy just to let another Dem in the caucus while things sort themselves out. This feels like the exact correct thing to do.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top 10 Science Centers (well, 25, anyway)

My family goes to 3 different science centers on a semi-regular basis: Ithaca, Allentown, and Cleveland. I'm not sure what it means that none of them are in the top 25, according to Parents.com.

We've been to the Liberty Science Center (#4) at least!

Very funny ads

My wife and I saw TBS' Very Funny Ads of 2008 last night. About what you'd expect--very lame bits by Kevin Nealon with some very good ads. Our favorite was this one.

Funny graffiti humor

Some of these took a few seconds to click in.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Regret the Error's year-end roundup

I love the web site Regret the Error. Their year-end roundup is pretty good, but this image in particular was pretty good:

Whiny billionaire grandaughter has to make due on $40K...

In case is isn't clear to her, $40K a year for an artist would put her in in the top half of income for a full-time artist.

Given the state of the economy, there are many people who would be pleased to be making $40K/year without dependents or real health care costs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dubai hotel to cool their beach

Such a huge expression of the super-rich in the wake of auto company failures here in the States is a bit staggering. I understand that Dubai is just that way, and I suppose if I had a small country that took in way more than it needed I'd probably be putting in indoor ski mountains in the middle of the desert, too.

I hope I'm not coming across as jealous (I'm really not). The gap between the super rich and poor (or even the moderate) is most accutely felt when normal people are really struggling to stay afloat.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dealing with global warming skeptics

First, make sure you aren't dealing with a global warming denier. A skeptic is someone who is at least open to the argument. Global warming has, on account of the Right's pervasive and ongoing anti-intellectualism, caused many otherwise-thinking people the belief that "opinion," "theory," and "fact" as being interchangible. They aren't.

Here are some arguments to help in fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai bombings

Mark Kleinman with some sane words on the bombings in India. Time to separate the sheep from the goats there. Since we have a tradition of backing goats, this might have the effect of thumping Pakistan a bit, but I've always held that we need to maintain a tough love approach to our suckling friends.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad sex (writing)

Fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) what some writers think is arousing writing.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt halts new book acquisitions

Apparently this includes trade and references divisions of this huge company.

I suppose the feds might be taking notes on this. I would have hoped that the merger between Harcourt and Houghton Mifflin would have raised the same red flags that Cengage's acquisition of Houghton Mifflin's College Division did.

Thank you, God

Ann Coulter's jaws wired shut.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Regular movies recut as horror movie trailers

I love these. Here's a collection.

An answer to Citi?

Andrew Sullivan points to the ultimate hostile takeover.

Blogging blues...

Don't you just hate it when you have a decent idea for a blog post and don't get a chance to post it, then a nationally-known blogger posts about it a few days later?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Elected officials fail basic history test

Take the test first before you read the Yahoo story.

It takes some thinking, but 10 minutes on this should get at least a 60% score.

[Missed 3 myself]

Friday, November 21, 2008

Worst nicknames entry

Obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Juror stands up to judge's effort to seal Anna Politkovskaya murder trial

The whole thing didn't pass the smell test, but the courage of one juror brings to light an effort by the judge to keep the public away from the trial. Good for him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another timewaster

Hot Chicks with Douchebags

Don't know if I'm sad or creepified.

Private jets??

Auto CEOs take private jets to Washington to ask for bailout money

"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

Heh.

Let them fail, if that's what it takes.

Bush's midnight dance of death...

Here's a sample:

-Truck drivers can stay on the road longer

-EPA doesn't have to regulate a rocket fuel contaminant in drinking water

-even more expansion of domestic surveillance

-the opening up of more parkland for oil leases (without the benefit of Park Service comment)

More here and here.

The Bush Administration long ago became that which it criticized. And it is going out the same way.

Politico asks if the rules are reversible (the answer: Maybe, but some might be hard to do).

Obama supporters uninformed?

Nate Silver interviews the pollster in question.

A bit defensive, he seems to me. Comes from trying to blame anyone (except himself) for the election.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lists!

I've been a recent convert to The List Universe. The word "quirky" doesn't begin to do it justice. Here are a few recent lists:

30 Brilliantly Timed Sports Photos

Top 10 Least Densely Populated Nations

10 People Made Famous By Their Deaths

You're welcome. See you next week.

Andrew Sullivan, going to town on the HRC

It isn't exactly a feud, but Andrew once again points out (quite accurately, IMO) the failings of the Human Rights Campaign. While Andrew is quite right that the HRC is simply an ineffective political organization (and, because of this, sucks up time and effort that could be put to use in other ways), Andrew seems to have fallen for some of the same shortcomings that all radicals do: He doesn't propose any alternative mechanism.

It would be one thing if there was a fledgling gay rights political organization that Andrew (and other HRC critics) are urging people to start getting behind. But that's not happening. So Andrew is essentially proposing a leadership vacuum in the hopes that from this vacuum an effective leadership will emerge (an argument that he is also proposing for the conservative movement in general, I should point out).

So my suggestion to Andrew is to help put into place the mechanism for a new political leadership first. Maybe that means a new organization entirely, or taking one already in place and promoting the hell out of it as the new leadership of these important civil rights. I realize that, despite his Catholicism, Andrew isn't ready to work within the HRC structure or try to reform it from within. But leaving gays without any real central political representation at this point is just silly, and is more a product of frustration with the HRC than any hope that having no centralized political voice is somehow going to advance the cause better.

In fact, a politically self-destructive gay rights movement, while mirroring the one the GOP is now undergoing, is far more likely to cause real damage to real people. So the approach needs to be much more positive. And I'm not seeing that from Andrew Sullivan.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Want a job in the Obama Administration?

The 2008 Plum Book was just released. Go at it!

The online Right's derangement

Average Joe struggles with finding a sane voice on the Right.

Many on the Right have been pushed (or willingly gone) to the fringes, which is what you might expect after having a series of talking points over the last few months which have been increasingly unhinged. Many are now holding forth on watching for marxist-like moves by Obama, hoping to salvage some sort of pride out of what has been just an embarrasing list of proclamations by rightwing bloggers.

Even their singular achievement this last election (Prop 8 in California) has been under fire. I'll write more about this particular issue (and how many anti-Prop 8 folks are playing right into the hands of those who argued for its passage). But the Right, by and large, have marginalized themselves into a mixed up mumbling, grumbling, whiny group without any central guiding force other than the demands of their own self-certified crankiness.

RIP moderate Republicans. I suspect that some will come over to the Democratic Party (later rather than sooner) as people realize that Obama simply isn't a foam-mouthed marxist baby-killer, and never was.

They still make a pot of money

Spammers get extremely low response rates, but still make lots of money at it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Herb Score

The Indians lost a good one.

Growing, the voice of Herb Score (along with Joe Tait) were the voice of the Indians. I grew up mostly in Lorain County, so I didn't get to many actual games at the Stadium, but listened as much as I could on the radio, through some awful teams in the 70's and early 80's.

RIP.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why are most Christians stingy?

Ron Sider with a review of a book study on the wide gap in Christian giving:

Many have lamented the meager giving of American Christians. Others have questioned the data on which this criticism was based or pointed out that American Christians give more than those in most other nations. Now we have a careful, scholarly analysis of how much—i.e., how little—American Christians give, plus a sophisticated sociological analysis of why.

...


Chapter 1 hits the reader like a ton of bricks, spelling out in detail what American Christians could accomplish if they would tithe. If just the "committed Christians" (defined as those who attend church at least a few times a month or profess to be "strong" or "very strong" Christians) would tithe, there would be an extra 46 billion dollars a year available for kingdom work

In my own church, I see the same small number of people doing a lot of work; giving of their time all the time (teaching the children, doing readings, coordinating fundraising for the bell tower, etc). I have the sense that these same relatively small number of people are also the ones who donate the most.

This book looks to be worth a look.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Michael Schiavo responds to emails for the other Michael Schiavo

At least he's got a sense of humor about it.

There are some fundamental differences between Michael Schiavo and Michael Schiavo. For example, Michael Schiavo has a moustache. Michael Schiavo does not. In fact, Michael Schiavo would not look good with a moustache. Some people, like Michael Schiavo, can pull off a moustache. Not Michael Schiavo; he looks pretty skuzzy with one.

Already?

From the "Getting Ahead of Ourselves" file:

Impeach Obama!

HT: Ben Smith

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Poll "tightening" and cell phones

Notice anything interesting about this chart?




All the yellow polls include cell phone users. Maybe it isn't so much a "tightening" as the old poll techniques beginning to fracture from reality a bit.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Apparently, being a dickwad is "change"

LOU!!

Kanjorski should not have run this time around (as I've noted before): His health is an issue, and quite frankly he's been coasting for some time now. That all said, he's a damn sight better that Lou!!, whose only claim to fame is a race-baiting local ordinance which was never implemented and did not pass judicial scrutiny on constitutional grounds.

For my geek broadcast band readers (both of you)

Broadcasting organizations: Flopping around like fish on the dock on broadcast band white space use.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Defeat traced to...me!

Move On's brilliant personalized ads. Here's mine.

Credit reports

I'm about to apply for some credit to help in paying for a geothermal system (via Keystonehelp.com)

Through the FTC's site I was led to annualcreditreport.com, through which one can check all three credit reporting agencies. The first agency showed a Dell account that I thought was closed but was still open--no balance but showing a $5000 credit line. I got Dell to close it right away. The next agency showed four accounts which had closed 9-10 years ago and should have been off the report as being too old.

For the most part the information was correct, but it is a good idea to look over your free annual credit report and prune outdated information and correct errors.

PA in-play?

Looks like McCain thinks PA might be in-play now. I seriously doubt it, but welcome the attention as we've been having a real problem drumming up volunteers to fill shifts for GOTV. Apparently many people think PA is in the bag.

Meanwhile, their new yard sign is out:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

K-Lo redefining "conservative"

Andrew Sullivan posted a bit of tet-a-tet with K-Lo about conservatives and the GOP. I happen to agree with Sullivan, that conservatives traded in their cred the moment they started holding party loyalty as being more important than political philosophy (Democrats have, in the past, been slammed for not being cohesive as a party. But having a group of people who refuse to compromise their political values is more important than having party unity, particularly when the Democrats can actually evolve as a party.

More to the point: K-Lo uses as an example: "Remember Rush blasting McCain during the primaries?" This completely misses the point. The prime example of what the GOP has become isn't that Rush blasted McCain during the primary. It is that Rush came back to McCain when it was clear McCain was the GOP nominee, despite McCain not changing any of his positions.

GOP voter "fraud": Destroying the fabric of democracy?

We've seen this before, where the GOP starts a short-sighted, strong concerted effort to demonize something they don't like. In this case, they don't like new Democratic voters, so they make up "voter fraud" and portray ACORN as, essentially, un-American.

In the not-so-distant past, the GOP laid waste against the federal government itself, saying that government was the problem (while simulaneously asking to be elected to federal government positions). The result is the inability of pretty much anyone on the Right to think about what goverment is good for (and, given the ineffective and dreadful efforts at warmaking, even the last bastion of goverment (the military) is being called into question.

Slamming the Press, and government, and voter registrants simply isn't a good long-term strategy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama endorsements

More as I come across them:

Bryan/College Station (TX) Eagle

Every 20 or 30 years or so, a leader comes along who understands that change is necessary if the country is to survive and thrive. Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century and his cousin Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan -- these leaders have inspired us to rise to our better nature, to reach out to be the country we can be and, more important, must be.

Barack Obama is such a leader. He doesn't have all the answers, to be sure, but at least he is asking the right questions. While we would like more specificity on his plans as president, we are confident that he can lead us ever forward, casting aside the doubts and fears of recent years.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Tax Cut calculator

Enjoy

The final push by the Right

Increased hysteria, whipped up by lies and smears.

Obama is a Black Muslim, Anti-Christian Socialist Plotting with an Evil Jewish Billionaire


Of course he is.

Ben Smith with some side-by-side hysteria.

Don't these people know that independents and moderates, who make or break elections, don't care about winger hysteria? A hard lesson that the Democrats had to learn from 2004.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ohio GOP suit bounced

SCOTUS rejects GOP suit in Ohio

Decided on standing reasoning, it appears.

So ends another GOP fishing expedition, designed to distrupt the process just long enough to steal an election.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ACORN and Obama

More scare tactics, of course. FactCheck.org takes on the ACORN allegations:

It's true that the voter registration wing of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now has run into trouble in several states. ACORN employees have been investigated and in some cases indicted for voter registration fraud. Most recently, more than 2,000 registrations in Lake County, Ind., have turned out to be falsified.

But does this constitute "destroying the fabric of democracy"? More like destroying the fabric of work ethic. There's been no evidence that the ACORN employees who submitted fraudulent forms have been paving the way for illegal voting. Rather, they're trying to get paid for doing no work.

It's a long way down.

Via Andrew Sullivan, a mailer from Virginia:




Update: Looks like the flier used Bin Laden as its model. Man, close up like that, it really looks like Barack Obama. Wonder if that was the point?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Jersey Nets star gets smoked in 1 on 1 game

I know Harris was just playing casually, but the second point is amazing...

video

Friday, October 10, 2008

Enough to make you cry

Dogs greet returning soldier

Does home ownership make sense?

Houses are not investment vehicles, treating them as such is pretty foolish and potentially destructive. And the economy as a whole is far less flexible when too many workers are tied down in one spot with a home. And when fringe exurbs are developed to allow for more lower-income families to own, it leads to enormous inefficiencies and a massive amount of energy wasted on extreme commuting.

Rob Horning with a nice post.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ralph Stanley (!) cut a radio ad for Obama

Playing in SW Virginia. Enough to pick off some voters? I dunno, but it is probably giving some people pause.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Racism in politics

I see it pretty much every day, where people are using words like "Muslim" or "big city" as code words to allow them to find a reason to reject Barack Obama because of his race. Truth be told, in my hometown area (Cleveland-Lorain) there is a strong undercurrent of work anxiety by blue collar workers which has been exploited many times in the past by companies in racist ways, by trying trying to divide up the workers along race lines to make the union less effective in negotiations. Such tactics cause racism to take root in communities, even ones where blue collar workers literally live and work together side-by-side.

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, here's an awesome speech by the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka (particularly the first 3/4) where he confronts racism directly.

Stop those catalogs!

Sometimes we forget that we can cut down on the catalogs, by registering with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service.

Sarah Palin's Facebook page

Heh heh

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout fun!

Oops.

McCain takes credit for helping pass the bailout bill which didn't pass. Wonder if he'll take the blame like he tried to take the credit?

The GOP lost their balls, it appears. They are blaming hurt feelings about a Pelosi speech rather than own up to their own votes. Up or down doesn't matter, so long as you have a good reason and own up to it. The GOP can't get their own story straight on this bill.

Meanwhile, I got a flyer from Paul Kanjorski today, saying "No Bail Outs" in big letters on the front. He voted for the bailout bill today. Talk about losing political cover. He's probably going to be the only sitting Democrat to lose his re-election bid.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Your political yard sign getting stolen? Put up a web cam!

We can all sympathize, I think, with this woman in Oregon who had her yard sign stolen. So she put a webcam on the next one. Nice. I think she'd have more luck if she put a webcam on a regular (i.e., non-homemade) sign, but there you go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Taking on bad debt

David Kay Cay Johnston with some clearheaded writing:

The Administration has scared the markets and some key legislative leaders, but it has not laid out a coherent, specific and compelling need for this enormous proposal, which is the equivalent of a one-time 55 percent income tax surcharge. (Instead the money will be borrowed, so ask from whom and how this much can be raised so quickly if the credit markets are nearly seized up with fear.)

A very good question: If there is no credit going around and this is what is driving the crisis, how does the government expect to pay for this? Obviously the expectation is that the governement will borrow the money. But if this were commercial paper we're talking about a serious downgrade given that the entity will be using the money to take on huge amounts of bad debt. How high will the government have to set an interest rate to borrow the money to take on this debt?

I think much of this credit squeeze is manufactured--an emotional overeaction by a drama queen industry hoping to get stroked back into dreamland through the infusion of billions of dollars into their pillows.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The truth will set you free

Hardcore lefties: The Rosenbergs were commie spies.

I think Howard Zinn and others are right to concentrate on what the government was trying to do (apparently, they were trying to frame two guilty people). But the Left needs to stop running away from the fact that the Rosenbergs were, in fact, guilty.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Son of Spain

The Spain gaffe seems to be having more life than I would have thought, mostly because the McCain spokespeople seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot, repeatedly, about this:

Email from Randy Scheuneman referring to the Prime Minister of Spain as "President" and saying that McCain meant what he said (whatever that is)

Meanwhile, the interviewer believes he wasn't confused about Spain not being in Latin America, but just wanted to avoid the question. By way of background, George Bush is still pissed that Spain pulled its troops out of Iraq (they are still in Afghanistan) and has refused to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister despite several requests.

I think that this falls into one of those "gaffes on the campaign trail" areas. Happens in a campaign sometimes, and while I would have liked McCain to have boned up on Spain a bit before sitting down for the interview, this kind of thing happens. And Josh Marshall appears to exhaustively believe the same thing. But, like Bush, this refusal to admit a tiny mistake might end up giving much more play to a small thing and could nudge the news cycle in a direction McCain won't want it to go, and at a critical time for him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Garfield minus Garfield

Brilliant.

Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.


Katha Pollit with some questions for Sarah Palin

Last question is just a slap at religion, IMO, but overall a pretty darn good list.

Personal income taxes. Where they stand



This is just personal income taxes, but it is pretty clear where both Obama and McCain's tax policy philosophies lie when they are laid out like this.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Paul Reiser on the election

"I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America," the Senator from Arizona tells us.

Am I just losing my friggin' mind? Seriously. I keep looking around the room to see if I'm living in some suddenly altered state where everything we know is now called the opposite, and nobody notices. Or can stop it.

Goodnight Bush

Love this one.

Ohio invalidates some absentee ballots

McCain campaign-printed ballots had an extra box.

This seems to be an incredibly narrow interpretation of the law. So, despite Democrats taking over the office from Ken Blackwell, petty politics seems to hold sway in that office still.

102 Minutes

My wife & I watched the History Channel's 102 Minutes last night. Amazing. Stunning. And it brought it all back. As I said to her: I found myself mentally rooting for the people to hurry to get out of those buildings, even though it happened 7 years ago.

Monday, September 08, 2008

What the GOP seed corn looks like

PA student GOP leader resigns over Obama lips flap

Heh. Couldn't resist that title.

I don't know this guy but I know people who do, and they tell me he would have been right at home in the 60's with his confrontational political antics intended, more than anything, do draw attention to himself.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Got a grassroots idea for the Obama campaign?

OhBoyObama.com looks like an interesting site. No evidence that the Obama campaign actually looks at it, but there are some good ideas and the exchange of good ideas is all for the good, IMO.

BTW, my idea is here.

What'll kill you?

An interesting chart

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trekkies!

Not much time these days--post vacation catching up and all. But came across (via Andrew Sullivan) this cool Trekkie photo collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama, temperment, and economic policy

Some friends of mine have been complaining about Obama and his economic policies. While most are doing little more than complaining that they can't get a good bead on the guy, the others seem genuinely mistified at the difficulty in getting a handle on pragmatic economic policy.

Here's a long NYT article on Obama's economic policies and tendencies (the latter, IMO, more important than the former). Andrew Sullivan pulled out a good money quote already:

As anyone who has spent time with Obama knows, he likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research. (James Heckman, a Nobel laureate who critiqued the campaign’s education plan at Goolsbee’s request, said, “I’ve never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows.”) By surrounding himself with economists, however, Obama was also making a decision with ideological consequences. Far more than many other policy advisers, economists believe in the power of markets. What tends to distinguish Democratic economists is that they set out to uncover imperfections of the market and then come up with incremental, market-based solutions to these imperfections. This helps explain the Obama campaign’s interest in behavioral economics, a relatively new field that has pointed out many ways in which people make irrational, short-term decisions. To deal with one example of such myopia, Obama would require companies to automatically set aside a portion of their workers’ salary in a 401(k) plan. Any worker could override the decision — and save nothing at all or save even more — but the default would be to save.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Just about 3 years ago Hurricane Katrina hit lane, with Rita following just a few weeks later as the Gulf states were still reeling from Katrina. Much has been written about the political fallout from those disasters, and the human (and animal) suffering. But the actual work of the pair of hurricanes in natural terms sometimes gets glossed over in lieu of the other stories reflected in their effects.

The USGS has a lot of data on the hurricanes. Here is a page with some images and maps, just to get a reminder of the awesome forces they were.

Something to ease back into the work week with

Amy Winehouse game

Friday, August 15, 2008

Russia: Thug or Super-thug?

Russia: Poland risks attack if they accept US missile system

A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

This has gotten out of hand.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Administration as a Circus...

Ron Suskind interview on Jon Stewart

We have a freaking circus running the country right now. Years from now, historians will wonder at the incredible incompetence of it all.

Raining on Obama's parade

During most of this video, I kept expecting the guy to say "that's exactly what some evangelical Christians are doing...praying for very hard rain during Obama's speech."

But apparently is was a bit of a joke, and has been pulled. A joke--like "hope you trip going on stage" or "look at her again and I'll knock your teeth in. Ha ha."

Monday, August 11, 2008

I.O.U.S.A.

How sad is it that it'll have to be the Democrats who show fiscal restraint?

Looks like a scary film:

Friday, August 08, 2008

Russia & Georgia go at it

Could be a very big deal. NATO did something stupid in (all but) promising George a place at the NATO buffet. Thuggish Russia is acting like themselves.

This'll either blow up or blow away--the next couple of days will determine which way it goes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

You are what you search

Here's a 2006 article I just came across (which is like pulling a 1913 book off the shelf in internet terms) doing an analysis of AOL search terms.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hugo Chavez -- Leftish thug or misunderstood softie?

Lots has been said already about Hugo Chavez, and he keeps grabbing power, whether he's allows to or not. Has Venezuela had enough of his power grabs?

Use your work email for personal stuff?

Careful! According to a survey by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, over half of all employers fire workers for E-mail and Internet abuse.

Medical marijuana

I've been avoiding the whole medical marijuana issue, for no other reason that the arguments tend to be muddy, expansive, and the goals are not altogether clear.

But there appear to be clear divisions between states trying for statutory innovation in this area, and the ham-fisted federal government. Charlie Lynch, who apparently carefully followed all state laws regarding his business in this area, was busted by the feds anyway.

I guess "states rights" for the federales only applies to state efforts to expand gun rights and restrict abortions.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama as Reagan

It is almost eerie how the Republican slams against Obama mirror those of the Democrats against Reagan in the 1980 election. Amazing how completely the GOP has flipped-flopped on this. Given that their current criticism is not policy oriented, but is about "fitness" this video hits the bulls-eye:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

McCain's race problem

The race to play the race card.

McCain campaign's strategy on race is to (a) play the race card and then (b) accuse Obama of having played the race card.

So much of modern politics involves the art and science of taking umbrage.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Semantic games in California

Prop 8 backers angry about description of the proposition on the ballot.

"Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

Backers of Proposition 8 argued that they are not trying to eliminate anyone's rights but are simply seeking to restore the definition of marriage that existed in California before May 15, when the state Supreme Court struck down the law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Of course, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry in California is exactly what they want to do. And if the prop somehow didn't do that, they would keep at it until their goal is realized. The title seems entirely truthful to me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WTO Doha round collapses

The WTO's Doha round collapses, mostly (it seems to me) as a result of US protectionism infused in the last farm bill. We should be used to this by now, I suppose.

The Progressive Policy Institute chimes in, including the interesting factoid: No Republican president has concluded a multilateral trade agreement since Dwight Eisenhower oversaw the Geneva II Round of the GATT in 1956.

Pejman Yousefzadeh at RedState.org is simple in his post: This is a disaster, and clears the field for new protectionist trade policies.

Yet another reason, IMO, to do away with the yearly porkfest that is the Farm Bill.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain on Osama bin Laden

Sounds a lot like Bush. All gung ho, then peters off...

This TPM post says it all

For those of you trying to sell your house

You have my sympathy. Really: Home prices drop by a record 15.8% in May

Ted Stevens going down?

As we know from the Middle East, oil and power politics often combine to despots out of politicians. So the news today shouldn't be a surprise: Ted Stevens indicted Is the the end of corrupt Alaskan politics? Maybe Don Young is next?

TPM's rundown of Stevens' stories

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Video trailers for books

Maybe this has been around awhile and I'm just coming to the party. Have these things been around awhile? Here's one for a book I did some work on:

Monday, July 21, 2008

How dispersing Section 8 housing vouchers dispersed crime throughout Memphis

Much of this article seems to be about people being overly sensitive to potential criticism about racism. But sometimes (like the widespread failure of bilingual education in early public school grades), the truth needs to be told so that the problem can be addressed.

Web site comparisons, Obama & McCain

Hilzoy with an excellent comparison of the two candidates' campaign web pages. It is important to note (as she does late in her post), that the web pages (good and bad) don't reflect the actual candidate positions. But the do reflect upon the candidates' professionalism, which reflect upon the candidates themselves, good & bad.

Obama's web site has, from day one I believe, been full of detail, and while McCain shouldn't be held to the standard of being as familiar with a web page as Obama, we can certainly fault those who advise and support him for not holding to that standard.

I suspect that the McCain campaign will start feeling some heat for the differences between the two, and start filling in more on their campaign site. At least, I hope so.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A million! And counting!

On a related note, the terrorist watch list is now at one million names and counting.

Feel safer?

Begun, grown, and developed by a political party who came to power lamenting the size of government, including how bureaucracy can self-perpetuate. Irony, anyone?

Massachusetts moving to allow same sex marriages for out-of-state residences

Looks like a racist law, which Mitt Romney used to temporarily bar the no-doubt deluge of gays rushing into the state with their dirty, perverted money, is about to be overturned.

Amazing how things have turned around in just a relatively short number of years. Next up: Removing the HIV travel ban, in which the chief sponsor of keeping it on the books apparently doesn't even have his facts straight.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tony Snow

How much time does one wait before calling a spade a spade?

Never? I've never gotten the whole "respect for the dead" thing, so maybe that's my problem. Respect for the survivors, sure. Absolutely. But Snow was a dick, and proud of it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Run, don't walk, Olga!

The biggest dick on earth?

Reasons he gives for "Olga" not returning his call:

"Maybe you were abused in your childhood?"
"Maybe you have an anxiety disorder?"

I said it three times so it must be true!

Federal government references itself three times as "evidence" that a man is an enemy combatant.

Mr. Parhat, a former fruit peddler who in recent years sent a message to his wife that she should remarry because his imprisonment at Guantánamo was like already being dead.

We've gone from the "city on the hill" to a "thousand points of light" to a country which claims a fruit peddler is an "enemy combatant."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bottled water

The environmental costs of using bottled water seems to be coming into focus for many. A good transitional product (from soda); it is time to get back into tap water if possible.

The PC Right

Those homosexuals sure are fast!

HT: Andrew Sullivan

Loony French Leftists

When not burning cars because slackers aren't guarenteed jobs, apparently they take their time up writing political party planks which are so full of buzzwords they don't even make sense.

MILF House?

Single mom in Florida, 42, selling house and herself.

Trabosh, a Barbie-esque blonde who teeters around the nearly 2,000 square-foot house in patent leather heels...

I see I've just lost half my readers...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gas stations starting to go cash-only

Can't say I blame them, even if it is an inconvenience to carry around a lot of cash to fill the tank. The truth is that gas stations don't make very much money at all, and with bank fees rising higher and higher (without any additional benefits, just the same "convenience" that bank card companies tout) I can certainly see their point.

I'm under the impression that debit cards are cheaper for the merchant, but I don't see any information on them in this article on the gas stations. Maybe even a lowered fee structure for debit cards is too much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stuff found in books

A great post here, about the stuff people find in used books.

Can't say I've found more than a couple of pictures, or some newspaper clippings. I was surprised to find author autographs in a couple, though.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How ISPs are handling child pornography

Well, it isn't so much how they are handling the actual pornography, but how many companies are being manipulated into acting with overbroad policies, like banning Usenet.

A good post there by Daniel Radosh.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More gas tax holiday hooey

Factcheck.org takes McCain to task for saying that the poor drive more than the wealthy.

As an excuse for his "gas tax holiday" McCain has been relying on inside-the-beltway anectdotes instead of the facts, it appears.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If you teach a monkey to fish...

Monkey who fishes found in Indonesia.

Dealing with a stick in the mud

A reader at Andrew Sullivan makes interesting points regarding how to engage people who use skepticism to keep things the same instead of a reason for more debate or research:

I think you are wrong when you insist that greens have to engage the dissenters and convince them of their errors. It is one thing to express scepticism as a result of sincere doubt; it is another thing entirely to use scepticism as a way to avoid changing your behaviour. One is capable of being convinced through providing evidence and coherent argument; the other is simply using that doubt as a socially acceptable way to continue on with 'business as usual' without paying the social penalty of blatant selfishness. The result is already locked in stone in the dissenters' minds; the arguments are merely the way to create that result, rather than sifting evidence to come to a conclusion that was not pre-determined.

You say that it is 'not a good sign when greens seem eager to discredit dissent rather than engage it', but what do you do when the 'dissent' is the public domain version of a filibuster - not meant to achieve anything on its own, but instead cause paralysis so that the status quo can continue unchecked? There is nothing there to engage - there is no possibility of changing minds or convincing those people otherwise. All that is left is to show how bankrupt their arguments are so that others will not follow along. That is why discrediting and debunking is the focus, not engagement.

A peek into the underbelly

hilzoy does some digging through the muck.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How bottled water is unsafe for the environment

One of those things that you think you are doing well by drinking water. Just water, right? Think again.

Lots of oil went into the bottle, then more to get it to you. And even if you recycle it, this only saves a little bit of carbon since there is still all that energy that will go into making it usable again.

Use a recycled bottle, then use tap water. Save you big bucks, and it is better for the environment. And since many of those bottled waters use tap water anyway, you're just as well off in the end health-wise.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton - Iconic path, or infamous one?

The first time I cast a vote in a presidential election as an informed voter was in 1992, when, as a 22 year old college senior in Massachusetts, I voted for Bill Clinton. Yes, four years earlier, in my very first presidential election, I voted for George Bush the Elder. But, I was 18, had grown up in Texas, was going to college in Texas, and, as a result, I did what any Texan does – I went with the home team.

But four years later I had grown, and learned, and really explored my options this time, and what Bill Clinton promised seemed alright for me, and, at least in part because of my vote, the majority of my 20s were spent with Clinton as my president, and damned if the world didn’t seem like a good place.

Bill, his wife Hillary, and their daughter Chelsea, were MY first family. I had put them in the White House, I felt that the Clintons were doing a fantastic job running the country, and I thought the way they were not afraid to defend themselves with extreme vigor against the dolts who would try to bring them down, was balls out super.

And now, it’s 2008. Twenty years since my first presidential ballot, and 16 years since I put Clinton in the White House. A year ago, I was excited at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidential run. The Clintons were great the first time around, and heck, another run of eight good years might be just the swift kick in the pants this country needs after eight years of George Bush the Lesser and his minions of hate and murder.

The Clintons are icons to me. Legends, if you will. Heroes of the people, and, have a real chance to earn mythical status, much like the Kennedys and other important political families of the last 50 years.

But then Barack Obama happened. It happened quickly, and suddenly, and it was as if a series of light bulbs went off over the heads of under 45, left-leaning Americans everywhere.

Suddenly, Hillary Clinton didn’t seem like a great idea. After eight contentious Bush years, another eight years with a president that clearly brings the bile from her enemies, had the potential to divide this country even further than Bush and his supporters had already done.

I switched over to being an Obama supporter early. Most of the people I know that lean left have also come over. My parents – in their 60s – are still ardent Clinton supporters. My step-mother was overjoyed at the prospect of a woman in the White House, something she probably didn’t imagine possible growing up in 1950s and 1960s.

It has pained me a bit to see those dreams of hers deferred, but that’s all it is. Clinton’s campaign opened so many doors that had been previously thought shut, and in another time and another place, she would have been our President. Instead, she has blazed a trail for other women, and I feel confident that in my lifetime, I will see a woman president.

But right now, I fear that Hillary Clinton is destroying her legacy, and the Clinton legacy in general. Instead of gaining mythical status, her hubris, and seeming lack of respect for the Democrat Party, may doom her to a legacy of broken dreams, crushed hearts, and a terrible taste for all things Clinton.

When the odds against her becoming the Democratic nominee for President became long and nearly impossible, she refused to back down. While frustrating to those who want to see the Dems stop tearing each other apart, there is also a bit of respect for her tenacity.

Last night, however, Obama finally clinched the nod, gaining enough delegates. But instead of conceding to him and graciously accepting defeat, Clinton refused to do so, and now appears to be more than willing to divide the Democratic party and risk losing the presidential election to Republicans, in an effort to at least angle for a Vice President position, which is something that would excite her supporters, but leave a sour taste for many Obama supporters, myself included.

The way Clinton is speaking to, and about, her supporters, the risk is great that they will defect and not vote for Obama because of anger, if he does not pick her as VP. That’s VERY dangerous ground, and it makes my sour taste for her even more so.

Her supporters appear to be rabidly angry about her not being the Presidential nominee. I can only imagine how much more anger they’ll have if Obama doesn’t pick her to the be the VP nominee, because it will appear as if he once again, “stole” something that she and her supporters believe are naturally hers.

For the sake of the Democratic party, and the chances of having a Democrat in the White House, Hillary Clinton must not only graciously concede, but also tone down her rhetoric, and must let Obama’s search for a VP take on a natural course, not a forced one that could send her supporters away from voting for a Dem in November.

The choice is hers. Hillary Clinton can earn her spot in history as an icon of mythical proportions, or she can go down in infamy as the person responsible for fracturing the Democratic Party, perhaps irreparably.

Monday, June 02, 2008

SCOTUS declines to take on MLB stats case

Their action leaves stand the rights of the public to use statistics without the need to obtain permission. In particular, fantasy game producers need not pay fees to MBL or the MLBPA to use baseball statistics in their games.

Finally a victory for the public in a copyright case.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reaction to McClellan and groupthink

John Cole drawing the groupthink parallel. Ring any bells?:

In order to make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms that are indicative of groupthink (1977).

1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
2. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
6. Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
8. Mindguards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Political correctness on the Right

Exhibit One: Right wing bloggers force Dunkin Donuts to pull ad because of Rachel Ray's scarf.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Poking in the shale...

The big news in PA the last year or two on the energy front is that companies are now able to drill for natural gas profitably from the Marcellus Shale.

Close or running under a large number of cities, this is good news, particularly those of us who use home heating oil as their primary source for winter heat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On the traction of political narrative

Kevin Drum with a good post on the difficulty (on non difficulty) of each side's political narrative.

It certainly is easier to point out how easy it is for the other side/how hard it is for your side than to confront their narrative directly.

Good news--we no longer have to outsource our torture to Syria

Heck, we're importing prisoners to import now.

Of course, given how poorly we're doing it, it should not be a surprise that we need more practice.

Meanwhile, SecDef Gates, after previously saying we need to close Gitmo, now says we are stuck right now, partly because if we return some of these people to their home countries they might be released outright,

Uh, Mr. Secretary? That's what we do to innocent people. Rather, that's what we used to do, before potential political embarrassment meant more than innocence or guilt.

"Busted is what you see!"

Gotta love the chutzpah of old city mayors.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The biggest puffer issue?

It is hard to tell whether Saddam's WMD or "rampant voter fraud" is the "biggest" non-issue foisted upon Americans by the Administration. But we see that, on the state level, things are becoming clear that much of the outcry over widespread voter fraud is a lot of nonsense.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Catholics being denied Communion for supporting Democrats?

Just came across this somewhat disturbing piece in Commonweal

The calcifying of the Catholic Church around the abortion side of their pro-life stance is not new. As is their relative silence, in the US, on the death penalty. But denying communion for Catholics who support Democratic candidates seems to be using communion as a political weapon. There is a real tax liability, at minimum, for the Church, if true.