Monday, July 21, 2014

She never got there, they say

RIP James Garner: "Through many films and two influential television series, Maverick and The Rockford Files, James Garner, who has died aged 86, developed a persona with a subtly different appeal. It began as original and accrued familiarity over the course of four decades: a coward who was the soul of honour, a hero likely to ride away, stick his finger up the barrel of his opponent's gun or get winded in a fight and complain of damage to his dentistry." It's got to be a national day of mourning for at least my whole generation. And the one compensation I ever get from these things is some great story from Mark Evanier about all the great stuff the guy did and when he met him and - but we don't get that this time. Lots of people saying good-bye, of course, he meant so very much. (BBC obit)
Watch Maverick, "Stage West"
The Rockford Files, "The Deep Blue Sleep"
And, of course, there is when Charlie meets Mrs, Barham and what he said to her. (And I know there is a clip of the whole scene in one clip somewhere because I've posted it before, but I just can't seem to find it now.)

Wired: "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted its expensive device back, the student told Wired.com in an interview Wednesday."

Frog Gravy: An Evening Spades Game, KCIW ‘PeWee Valley' women's state prison, near Louisville, sometime in 2009.

David Dayen says, "The Costs of Obama's Housing Mistakes Keep Piling Up [...] When homeowners hear from a government looking to help them, and previous efforts along similar lines led to broken promises and foreclosure nightmares, you can't blame them for saying no. This is why, if you believe in an activist government that can help solve problems, failures of this sort become so debilitating. The housing policy disappointments reinforced the old Ronald Reagan dictum that the most dangerous words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

"I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame [...] To make up for my own failures, I voted to give rich people tax cuts, because somewhere deep inside, I knew they were better than me. They earned it. My support for conservative politics was atonement for the original sin of being white trash."

ADVICE TO CONSERVATIVES (OFFERED NOT IN KINDNESS, BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE TOO STUPID TO TAKE IT).

"Everyone In Middle East Given Own Country In 317,000,000-State Solution"

Check to see if your website is being blocked in the UK.

John Oliver on Warren G. Harding's love-letters

George Takei on Bill Shatner

It's amusing to see some of our friends in pictures on the Forbes site.

The Iron Throne

Vocabulary word: squick

In Memoriam: "The KKK Took My Baby Away"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It's a long, long way to Paradise

This week's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Jay Ackroyd and Avedon Carol, discussing the Supreme Court decision on religious exemptions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Homework for the show includes:
"Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use" - new Guttmacher report (.pdf) says pretty much all women use contraception, including Catholic women.
NYT, "Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices"
The American Prospect, "5 Men on Supreme Court Impose Substantial Burden on Women in Illogical Decision"
Salon, "Here are the highlights of Justice Ginsburg's fiery Hobby Lobby dissent"

- In The Nation, "The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal [...] People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year. So it's more than a little odd that CADCA and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, this funding has shaped the organization's policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse. In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers."
- In The Daily Beast, "Why Did America's Only Pot Researcher Suddenly Get Fired?" - They don't say so, but I'm willing to bet that Nation article could help them answer that question.

At Black Agenda Report, Bruce Dixon on "Why Elections Still Matter, Except When They Don't".

"Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?" I really hope something will, because it's become increasingly obvious that Monsanto is doing more harm than good.

Noam Chomsky has some advice for people who support the Palestinians, but that whole two-state solution thing seems a bit dead to me what with what's left after the settlements. I'm not the only one who is starting to think that way.

Via some High Snark from Atrios, here's Kevin Drum baying, "The NSA Said Edward Snowden Had No Access to Surveillance Intercepts. They Lied."

Kentucky court strikes down gay marriage ban. Judge: "These arguments are not those of serious people."

"How is this painting 'pornographic' and 'disgusting'? You might think that in an art world that encompasses the Chapman brothers' phallus-nosed children and Jeff Koons' lascivious studies of La Cicciolina (sample title: "Dirty Jeff On Top"), you would have to sweat blood to produce a work so offensively sexual it would be ejected from a top London gallery. This, however, was the fate meted out to Leena McCall's Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing, which was removed from the Society of Women Artists' 153rd annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries after being deemed "disgusting" and "pornographic", according to the artist."

I don't know whether to call this one "RIP" or "Independence Day" since it's really rather a relief that Richard Mellon Scaife kicked the bucket on the 4th of July, one day after his 82nd birthday. Few men have wreaked such destruction on America as Scaife did by financing his far-right gravy train of lies and distortions; beside his works, 9/11 is barely a squib. The Guardian's obituary is more polite, but Counterpunch pulls fewer punches, which is as it should be.

I think Laura Ingraham confused soma with chocolate.

I found a radio station called Absolute Motown.

"Be My Lover", live, with snake.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Make me an angel

Last week's guests on Virtually Speaking Sundays were David Dayen (dday) and David Waldman (KagroX), who discussed the hollowing out of the middle class in a slow growth economy, a solution for the absurdly high college tuition and student loan burdens as an example of counterproductive public policy, and #gunfail. And I was already going to link this story they discussed:
He got disgustingly rich by seeing the emerging patterns and knowing where to bet, and now Nick Hanauer says, "The Pitchforks Are Coming - For Us Plutocrats [...] But let's speak frankly to each other. I'm not the smartest guy you've ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I'm not technical at all - I can't write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks."

I hadn't been aware of the nanny from Hell story, but as Atrios points out, it's a real mark of how much we value kids that we expect to pay their caretakers (nannies or mothers) nothing. Don't like paying teachers much, either, for that matter. And Thursday, Sheila Bapat was on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd to discuss Economic and gender justice are the focus of Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights (reviewed here). Note that Alito actually invented a new category of employee just to prove that he is either stupid beyond credence or will literally say anything, no matter how nonsensical, to get an anti-union ruling out of it.

A new poll says Mitch McConnell's got trouble, but it also says this: "The survey shows that by an almost six-to-one margin, 80% to 14%, voters are more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to close loopholes to make sure millionaires do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.' Wide majorities of Democrats (87%), Republicans (70%) and independents (80%) support this position. The poll also reveals that by more than four-to-one, 76% to 17%, Kentuckians would be more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to make sure that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes,' including 88% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans and 83% of independents. But they would be less likely by a two-to-one margin, 63% to 31%, to vote for 'a candidate who wants to cut the taxes of the wealthy and corporations.' Voters also said by more than a two-to-one margin, 66% to 27%, that they would be more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.'" What a shame McConnell is just going to be beaten by another "centrist" Dem and not someone who would campaign to give the public what it so obviously wants - and needs. Just think, if we had a politician who would simply vote for what most of these red state Republican voters want, we'd have more liberal policies than the "centrist" Democratic leadership is giving us.

"Flawed Oversight Board Report Endorses General Warrants [...] The board skips over the essential privacy problem with the 702 'upstream' program: that the government has access to or is acquiring nearly all communications that travel over the Internet. The board focuses only on the government's methods for searching and filtering out unwanted information. This ignores the fact that the government is collecting and searching through the content of millions of emails, social networking posts, and other Internet communications, steps that occur before the PCLOB analysis starts. This content collection is the centerpiece of EFF's Jewel v. NSA case, a lawsuit battling government spying filed back in 2008. The board's constitutional analysis is also flawed. The Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for searching the content of communication. Under Section 702, the government searches through content without a warrant. Nevertheless, PLCOB's analysis incorrectly assumes that no warrant is required. The report simply says that it 'takes no position' on an exception to the warrant requirement when the government seeks foreign intelligence. The Supreme Court has never found this exception."

It would be nice to replace the creeps in the Supreme Court with people who are better, but that doesn't usually happen unless other things happen first. It's a mistake to just wait on the Supreme Court. It's also crazy-making to have people talk about how important it is to have a Democrat in the White House to make sure crazy judges don't get appointed when we elect Democrats who go out of their way to protect the nomination of someone like Roberts. Roberts is a radically crazy judge and that was obvious from the outset. People really have to stop thinking that sociopaths can't come in the form of soft-spoken or mild-mannered folk; actually, it is the mark of a really effective sociopath that they don't foam at the mouth.

Charlie Pierce, "The United States Of Cruelty: We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it."

Some people complained that they couldn't get the Beth Schwartzapfel Great American Chain Gang piece, so here's the direct link for "Modern-Day Slavery in America's Prison Workforce" in The American Prospect.

John Oliver on Hobby Lobby

Barbara Ehrenreich On Marriage Equality & 2-Party System

Annie Lowrey in the NYT, "Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones" The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants. In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery.

Surviving the 'Pit of Vipers'

RIP: Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014), author, editor, fan, and Harvey Milk's speechwriter.
Felix Dennis, former hippie street vendor and eventual staff-member of the alternative newspaper Oz, who became frighteningly rich as your basic cut-throat magazine publisher in later years. Christopher Priest, who once shared a flat with him, doesn't remember him fondly.

The Guardian, 100 years ago: "'It is not to be supposed,' wrote a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian analysing the significance of the assassination 100 years ago on Saturday, 'that the death of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand will have any immediate or salient effect on the politics of Europe.'"

"Orphan Black Embodies the Female Gaze Better than Anything Else on Television: As a show chiefly concerned with the ways women's bodies are commodified and controlled, Orphan Black is careful not to view its female characters with that same hungry eye. This is a triumph: On so many shows, the camera works at cross-purposes to the high-minded themes."
"Fandom Fixes: Don't over-dude it, Orphan Black [...] Orphan Black is also the TV embodiment of the modern LGBT community's most perplexing question: Are we born this way? It takes that Pride anthem and flips it on its head, offering up clones created from the exact same DNA who have completely different ideas about sexuality and gender. 'Sexuality is a spectrum,' Delphine says in season one, after finding herself attracted to Cosima. 'But social biases codify sexual attraction, contrary to the biological facts.' And that certainly seems to be Cosima's take on it as well. She's attracted to who she's attracted to. 'It's the least interesting thing about me,' she says."

See the Earth LIVE! ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment

Yes, kids get into everything.

Who's the mastermind behind this?

Where armor meets corset - and before you ask, yes, they are leather.

When radiologists take a selfie

Well, I had no idea that Harlan was a Scooby-Doo! character. It's the kind of thing you just have to look up.

Donnalou Stevens is hawt.

4th of July Cake Wrecks

Bonnie Raitt, "Angel From Montgomery", live.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ain't that peculiar?

This week's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Avedon Carol and Dave Johnson, who argued about why the Democratic leadership keeps sabotaging the Democratic Party and democracy. Homework for this one includes:
WikiLeaks, "Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)"
"Secret Rahm memo to Clinton: Step up attack on immigrants. Be Nixon on crime".
Digby on "Triangulatin'90s style"
Populist Majority
"Why Blue Dog Mike Ross Will Lose His Run For Arkansas Governor"
"The Lamest Operation in America" - or how Emily's List siphons off liberal donations for losers.
(Also at Down With Tyranny!"Vive la libération: St. Louisans celebrate as their city is declared a George F. Will-free zone.")
David Atkins talked about his blog post "Wherein I sympathize with Erick Erickson" on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. (Related story: "Crazy Mississippi runoff turns ugly: 'Poll watchers' head to black voting sites.")

"Obama alums join anti teachers union case [...] The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones - the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign - will take the lead in the public relations initiative." (via)

David Dayen, "Wingnuts and liberals' bizarre role reversal: Why Export-Import Bank politics are so perverse: Nowadays, Democrats are defending Ex-Im, and the right is calling it "corporate welfare." It wasn't always that way: A fascinating game of role reversal is playing out in Congress, where Democrats are teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce, and Republicans are using phrases like 'stop corporate welfare.' Many of the same politicians lined up on the other side of the debate just a few years earlier. What has turned Washington into a wonky remake of Freaky Friday? The reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a government-run enterprise that grants loans and insurance at below-market rates to facilitate large trade deals. [...] But pre-Internet liberals might want to get out their back issues of the Nation and Mother Jones at this point to jog their memory, for they will see article after article condemning the 80-year-old institution as a slush fund that allows the government to fund a series of nasty activities. Here's one from 1981 ('The Ex-Im helps sell nuclear reactors to dictatorships like the Philippines'). Here's another from 1992, about the Reagan administration using Ex-Im to funnel loans to Saddam Hussein's Iraq during their war with Iran. Even more recently, in 2011, Mother Jones reported on how Ex-Im loan guarantees helped build one of the largest coal plants in the world, in South Africa. (Ex-Im subsequently announced it would stop facilitating coal plant production - but only in December of last year.) [...] And Sanders certainly did not believe that financing for multinational trade deals would dry up without Ex-Im. He questioned the head of the bank in 2004, asking, 'General Electric, which itself is one of the largest financial institutions in America, cannot get loans anyplace else but from the taxpayers and the workers of America? Are you going to tell me with a straight face that GE is a struggling small business, a minority business in the barrio of New York, and they just cannot find financing?'" So, looks like we're lucky we have Republicans in Congress to finally refuse re-authorization of this piece of crap.

And here's a little reminder that stop-&-frisk and marijuana possession laws criminalize being black, because it's routine to stop and search black males, and to ignore whites who are at least as likely to be in possession of marijuana.

On The Majority Report:
Beth Schwartzapfel discussed her recent piece, "The Great American Chain Gang." Yes, there is legal slavery in America, they just call it something else.
Philip Mirowski talked about How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown.

Of course, it could be worse. You could, for example, be a 95-Year-Old WWII Vet who the police shoot to death for refusing to go to the hospital. Will these cops be held to account? Even if the UK, it just doesn't happen. The police are the most dangerous people on the streets.

Digby on the exoneration of the Central Park 5: "This case is actually one of the few that has a satisfying result but a lot of the credit has to go to the DA's office which actually endorsed the fact that they had wrongfully convicted these men. That is an anomaly."

Democracy Now!, "The Guantánamo 'Suicides' Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site? In one of the great mysteries of the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, three prisoners, two from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen, died the night of June 9, 2006. Authorities at Guantánamo said the three men - Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi - had killed themselves. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, described their deaths as an "act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." But explosive new evidence shows there may have been a cover-up on how the men actually died. Recently discovered pages from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service suggest that the men died not from suicide, but torture."

Thanks to esteemed commenter jcapan for reminding me of why Bernie Sanders should not run for president: "In other words: We recognize this guy won't win - we're implicitly acknowledging that in the very petition calling on him to run - so don't worry, loyal Democrats, after we blow off some steam during the primary we will turn out in force for whoever isn't the Republican."

Hm, who would be deliberately committing voter fraud? Oh, right. "Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it's the worst case of multiple voting in memory. Oh, and, did I mention he's a Republican?"

Why, yes, if Detroit is really planning to take people's water away, I see no reason why they shouldn't dump their unflushable waste on toney golf courses. I liked the first commenter's inventory of rights: "Things that are, according to conservatives, not a right: drinkable water, breathable air, food, jobs you can earn enough to survive on, health care, education, functioning infrastructure, voting. Things that are rights, according to conservatives: hoarding as many guns as possible, the legal standing to refuse to serve someone whose race or sexual orientation you don't like, sexual harassment of women, publicly exposing one's racism and bigotry and not getting fired for it, shooting people who look like criminals and getting away with it, the entire media and entertainment industry catering to you and only you, and, of course, delivering college graduation commencement speeches."

"Mass. abortion clinic buffer zones ruled illegal"
The Rude One says, "You Wanna Keep Harassing Women at Clinics? Then Let's Play." Great idea!

"City to fine owners of Little Free Libraries" - I hadn't seen this idea before but I love the thought of having a little "library" on your front lawn where people can just pull out a book and sit down and read it. "'We came back to find a letter from the code enforcement telling us it was an illegal dwelling or structure,' Brian Collins said. Collins put up a Little Free Library on Mother's Day in his front yard near the intersection of 89th Street and Ensley Lane. 'Given that nothing can dwell in here except maybe mice, I really didn't understand what that was all about,' he said."

John Oliver makes a deal: Sit through his discussion of the death penalty and be rewarded with a video of a tiny hamster eating a tiny burrito/

After everything sex has done for the internet, it seems an awful lot of important sites are biting the hand that fed them. Paypal cracking down on adult sites, a big image-hosting site banned adult content, Amazon weeding out porn books, and now Google refusing to make shortlinks for "adult" content.

Last month's feelgood story: "Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, Intentionally Loses Race So Opponent Can Win"

I've really been enjoying these "This is what anti-pot messages look like to me" mock-ups.

Costume party

17 British accents (via)

This article on Merry Clayton's recent car crash injury includes a clip of just the vocal track on "Gimme Shelter".

I admit, I did not get why this old ad was supposed to be funny, at first.

"I want to imagine that this is what Fernando de la Jara intended all along when first constructing the sculpture. 'Someday,' the artist must have mused, 'years after all of Germany has come to marvel at the beauty and wonder of my work, some kid will jam his legs right in there 'for the vine,' and his cries for aid will briefly awaken the bright soul of Georgia O'Keefe from death's cold embrace, and her ghost will laugh so hard that her face falls off.' You know, something poignant like that."

More Firefly .gifs.

Marvin Gaye at The Bitter End

Friday, June 20, 2014

Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand

Marcy Wheeler and BMAZ on Virtually Speaking Sundays about the military's war on media freedom, after Chelsea Manning's op-ed in the NYT, " The Fog Machine of War".

Lina Khan in The Washington Monthly, "Thrown Out of Court: How corporations became people you can't sue [...] All this may seem like an archetypical story of our times, combining corporate misconduct, cyber-crime, and high-stakes litigation. But for those who follow the cutting edge of corporate law, a central part of this saga is almost antiquarian: the part where Target must actually face its accusers in court and the public gets to know what went awry and whether justice gets done. Two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings - AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and American Express v. Italian Colors - have deeply undercut these centuries-old public rights, by empowering businesses to avoid any threat of private lawsuits or class actions. The decisions culminate a thirty-year trend during which the judiciary, including initially some prominent liberal jurists, has moved to eliminate courts as a means for ordinary Americans to uphold their rights against companies. The result is a world where corporations can evade accountability and effectively skirt swaths of law, pushing their growing power over their consumers and employees past a tipping point." Khan discussed the article with Sam Seder on The Majority Report.

Sammy also talked to Jack Schneider about The War on Teachers & Democracy. He diplomatically didn't say anything about his co-blogger, Michelle Rhee. Meanwhile, Alan Bennett wrote an attack on private education in the Guardian.

Sterling Newberry has a paper up on economics, "Recession and unemployment", which I haven't finished reading yet, but it's good to see him back in the saddle.

It seems Justice Scalia has a little trouble discerning the difference between not liking something and, you know, an establishment of religion. As a matter of personal offense, of course, the people who should be most outraged at public displays of false piety that harness the trappings and talismans of faith to political posturing and tribalism would be the Christians who should recognize this blatant flouting of the teachings of Jesus for cynical purposes. That is personal. But letting the government do it is an affront to the 1st Amendment, which one would think a Supreme Court justice might find just a bit, you know, unconstitutional.

On the other hand, the Supremes unanimously did something intelligent: they curbed software patents.

In The American Conservative, a thoughtful piece on Bowe Bergdahl as a GOP scapegoat for a host of warhawk/chickenhawk failures, and of course Obama.

I just love the way Charlie Pierce writes. "Here's Some Stupid For Lunch: We've kept a weather eye on Ruth Marcus, who writes a column at Fred Hiatt's House Of Hopeless Hacks, ever since she explained that 'potty-mouthed' teenagers - Her word, by the way - should know their place, and that their place was not mocking Sam Brownback, the Papist loon currently turning Kansas into Mordor. Recently, she joined the mourning over the loss to the Republic of the genius that was Eric Cantor." I don't know what the fuss is about, they just exchanged one No vote for another.

I expect a walk-back update momentarily, but it seems Glenn Beck admitted on the air that liberals were right about Iraq. I'm not holding my breath for the "liberal media" to make the same admission on CBS or in the Newspaper of Record. Of course, Beck's analysis of why liberals opposed the invasion are at about 180 degrees from anything any liberal actually ever said, but still.

An alert from ql at Eschaton: "One of our pals has launched his own news site, The Halifax Examiner. Even though I don't live anywhere near Halifax, I subscribed because the issues covered are the same whether they occur in Philadelphia, Seattle or Halifax. From juicing the numbers as to how much revenue a convention center will generate to how a contract for a sewer plant is awarded, it's almost as if they are all using the same playbook. It seems no one else in the main stream press is covering these stories and they have a direct impact on our quality of life. I look forward to seeing how this develops. Good luck! "

"Recovered Economic History: ''Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious' [...] Yep, despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalistic society did not happen naturally or smoothly. See, English peasants didn't want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in shitty, dangerous factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith's own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours, and spend the rest of the time getting wasted on ale. It's really not much of a choice, is it? But in order for capitalism to work, capitalists needed a pool of cheap, surplus labor. So what to do? Call in the National Guard!"

"PRIVACY BREACH: Oklahoma posts ALL of your personal info online if you get arrested: Online court records in Oklahoma reveal your social security number, birth date, telephone number, address, and much more personal information before you're ever convicted of a crime."

Richard Wolff: We Need "Democracy in the Workplace"

Should politicians wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers to identify their corporate sponsors?

Iggy Pop Praises Justin Bieber (Under Torture) in Amnesty Ad

"Hobby Lobby Fires Employee For Divorcing Husband"

Quiz: How Well Do You Know America?

Obama's first term: a reminder.

Churchill on democracy

Leonard Cohen's Seven Immutable Laws of Business

Jeff Schalles dug up this old photo he took of me and John Shirley and Tess Kissinger.

Imagine my surprise upon learning that Frank Zappa was once a guest on The Steve Allen Show.

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot - The Sequel: Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann in the Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Photo: BBCPaul McGann has reported that a sequel to last year's online/red-button anniversary special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot has entered production. The actor, who appeared briefly in the original, was speaking at an event for Cambridge Union Society, which also saw "Reboot" co-star Sylvester McCoy speak back in May.

Whorhythmics

Congratulations: Andi Schecter and Stu Shiffman got married - woohoo!

RIP Gerry Goffin, 75. The Guardian has its own Six of the best, but here's some more breadth:
The Animals, "Don't Bring Me Down", Goffin-King 1966
Bobby Vee, "Take Good Care of My Baby", Goffin-King 1961
The Righteous Brothers, "Just Once In My Life ", Goffin-King 1965
Freddie Scott, "Hey Girl", Goffin-King 1963
Barry Mann, "Who Put The Bomp", Goffin-Mann 1961

Friday, June 13, 2014

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

How gay activists - led by GetEQUAL and Service Members United - won in the Obama era, when other progressive communities were stymied by Democratic inaction and hostility. AmericaBlog former Deputy Editor Joe Sudbay talked with Contributing Editor Gaius Publius on Virtually Speaking.
Dave Johnson and Joan McCarter talked about game-changers on last weekend's Virtually Speaking Sunday.

On The Majority Report, David Huyssen discussed his book Progressive Inequality: Rich and Poor in New York, 1890-1920, about why the progressive movement wasn't what was needed and was failing the public.

When It Came To Wall St., David Brat Actually Ran As Elizabeth Warren: "Brat told Internet radio host Flint Engelman that the 'number one plank' in his campaign is 'free markets.' Brat went on to explain, 'Eric Cantor and the Republican leadership do not know what a free market is at all, and the clearest evidence of that is the financial crisis - When I say free markets, I mean no favoritism to K Street lobbyists.' Banks like Goldman Sachs were not fined for their role in the financial crisis - rather, they were rewarded with bailouts, Brat has said."

Chris Floyd: "US and European politicians won't explain it because any honest explanation would expose the emptiness at the core of all their proffered reasons for the Terror War. They can't explain it because the Terror War system -- including the increasing militarization and repression in their own countries -- has now become organizing principle of Western society. Or rather, it is the latest incarnation of what has been the guiding principle of Western society since World War II: organizing society and the economy around war, either active war or the ever-present "threat" of war (assiduously exaggerated -- or even manufactured -- at every turn). For government and big business, the immense power and profit and control they inevitably accrued from conducting total war on a global basis was far too enticing to give up once the war was over. The full mobilization of society's resources for war simply carried on; indeed, was expanded and amplified."

"Republicans Aren't The Only Anti-Gay Members Of Congress [...] On April 29, 2009, the House passed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 249-175, 18 Republican abandoning their hate-filled and bigoted leaders, crossing the aisle and voting with the Democrats. Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and McCarthy were against the bill and they had support from 17 of the most racist and conservative Democrats in the House"

"China Laughed When It Saw How Cheap Solar Could Be: Do you remember when Dr. Evil was going to hold the world ransom for $1,000,000? This is what we are facing today in Solar - the Dr. Evil ultimatum. The cost to get Solar to coal parity is going to be laughably tiny."

The technocrats who want to eliminate cash - and why we need to oppose them: "So there you have it: Let Yglesias and his technocrat-manager friends bring all money under the control of government and corporate financial institutions (never mind their recent performance record) and hard times will be a thing of the past! Does that sound too good to be true to anyone else?" I'm sure the idea of never having to use cash at a counter must sound great to anyone who has never, ever needed to send someone else out to the shops for something, but I have had days when I simply couldn't have functioned if I'd been unable to hand someone some cash. Like those times when you need to have someone pick up your prescriptions and you don't want them to have to pay for it, or those moments when you just don't have time to do two things at once. And when I buy something directly off of a friend, I don't see why I should have to find some way to make an electronic transfer to them instead of just pulling a couple of quid out of my pocket. And that's just what's on the surface, the everyday stuff. There could be a lot more important reasons to deal untraceably among honest people. Especially when you know how dishonest your government is.

The Mass Murderers' Conference

Adam Roberts in the Guardian, "War of the worlds: who owns the political soul of science fiction?: In the sci-fi genre, two diametrically opposed ideologies are battling it out as leftwing writers embrace otherness, while the rightwingers look up to authority"

"Bill Watterson's Strips For Pearls Before Swine", and "‘Calvin and Hobbes' creator Bill Watterson returns to the comics page - to offer a few ‘Pearls' gems".

"Saskatoon honours Joni Mitchell with new parking lot: After years of contemplation on how to pay tribute to an iconic Canadian musician, the City of Saskatoon will honour Joni Mitchell with a 400 space parking lot. The Joni Mitchell Paradise Parking Lot will be located beside a Wal-Mart and several other box stores located in the city's East End." (Okay, it's a parody site, but it was good for a laugh. Waitin' on the Tree Museum.)

This is from 2008, but still: "Where Are They Now - WKRP in Cincinnati".

The Band, featuring Paul Butterfield, "Mystery Train"

Paul Butterfield, "Two Trains Running"

Al Kooper and Steve Stills

Monday, June 9, 2014

Money for nothin'

David Margolick, senior contributor at Vanity Fair, discussed his book Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. "He takes us back to 1939 when Billie Holiday first performed, and then recorded, one of the most extraordinary songs of the 20th century. The book reflects wide-ranging interviews, from Lena Horne to Pete Seeger, all of which describe how they were affected by the song." (.mp3) "Strange Fruit" has, of course, since been covered by a remarkable range of artists (I had some surprises looking around YouTube), but it almost never got recorded at all, because no record company would touch it.

Jim Hightower: "5 Signs That America Has Gone Bonkers - And a Glimmer of Hope [...] It might appear that the U-S-of-A has gone bonkers. So let me clear up any confusion that you might have: Yes, it has! Yet, it hasn't. More on that in a moment. First, though - whether looking at the 'tea party' congress critters who've swerved our nation's political debate to the hard right, or at the peacocks of Wall Street who continue to preen and profit atop the wreckage they've made of our real economy - it's plain to see that America is suffering a pestilence of nuts and narcissists in high places. These 'leaders' are hell bent to enthrone themselves and their ilk as the potentates of our economic, governmental and social systems and they are aggressively trying to snuff out the light of egalitarianism that historically has been our society's unifying force. [...] Most people know that things are screwy, that this is not the America that's supposed to be. And therein lies the good news: The USA hasn't gone crazy - its leaders have and they can be changed." Hightower is always more optimistic than I am, but some part of me needs to believe.

As to what's actually happening, Sirota, "If the Left Had a Tea Party: Suburban Albany is not known for its rip-roaring weekend scene, but this most recent Saturday night, it was the momentary center of the political universe, as an underfunded political party was using its quadrennial convention to try to force America's most powerful and best-financed governor to submit to its demands. Though the Working Families Party's conventions are typically low-key affairs, this one had drawn 800 activists and operatives and most of the New York press corps - all to see if the party would endorse conservative Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo or run a third-party candidate against him." In the end they endorsed Cuomo, but maybe they got something for it. He should still be run out of town on a rail, though.

NY Times reporter faces jail time after Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal: A New York Times journalist faces jail time after the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on Monday over whether the First Amendment gives him the right to protect his confidential source. James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has repeatedly refused to name the source for his 2006 book entitled the State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration exposing CIA abuses he had discovered. In particular, chapter 9 of that book disclosed an attempt by the CIA to have a former Soviet nuclear scientist subvert the Iranian nuclear program. Arguments presented in Risen's book, forced the US Department of Justice to search his phone, credit card and bank records to compile a case against a former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, charged under the Espionage Act, for allegedly leaking the Iranian story to the reporter.

Amazon plays Monopoly: "But the fact that it's entirely normal doesn't mean that we should casually dismiss this particular spat. Amazon's influence over the book business is now greater than anything Barnes & Noble ever enjoyed. The retail landscape is vastly different than it was five or 10 years ago. There are far fewer options for buying books. What Amazon's most virulent critics feared has come to pass. Having consolidated its power over the book publishing industry, Amazon is now exploiting it. If it continues to do so, unchecked by antitrust enforcement or meaningful competition, there's a very real chance that the quality product at the center of all this - the book! - will suffer."

"Pepper Spray Cop's Settlement Sets Dangerous Precedent [...] Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police pepper-sprayed a group of sitting protesters in 2011. Amidst an autumn of federally-coordinated, violent police suppression of the Occupy movement, the incident in Davis was clearly one of the most heinous cases. A group of students had linked arms, sat down, and refused to move when the police came to evict their encampment. Lt. John Pike then casually exhibited a red can of military-grade pepper spray, nonchalantly strolled past the protesters, and doused them in orange gas, which led to the hospitalization several of the students. International outrage ensued. "Pepper Spraying Cop" became a widely-shared meme, and Pike was originally put on paid leave and eventually fired. The students sued, and a $1 million settlement was split between all 21 of them. Pike was just awarded $38,058 in disability payments, after claiming he suffered "emotional and psychological damage" from his attack on UC Davis students."

Matt Stoller on "The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party" and Geithner's self-serving book: "There's another serious omission about this period in Geithner's career: his time as a Treasury lobbyist. As documents unearthed by financial analyst Josh Rosner show, in the late 1990s, Geithner, Summers, and Rubin lobbied for World Trade Organization rules forcing the liberalization of financial services across borders, at the behest of large bank CEOs. This matters because the entire book is about Geithner's reflections on financial crises, and one of the central causes of these crises was 'hot money.' 'Globalization had unleashed enormous sums of ‘hot money' that could instantaneously flow across borders,' he warns, 'while the aspects of human psychology that had helped produce financial booms and crises for centuries remained unchanged.' By presenting globalization as an inherent natural force, and not mentioning his role in crafting the policies that led to hot money flows, he misleads by omission. In other words, Geithner wasn't just a firefighter, but an arsonist. You wouldn't know this, because Geithner in the book laments free capital flows. But he wasn't lamenting them when it mattered (and the position of the US government's trade representative today is still that hot money is good)."

David Dayen, "Summers: Helping Homeowners Would Have Hurt Banks: I have a review of Mian and Sufi's House of Debt out today, and so does Larry Summers. His review is very strange. It starts off with almost unvarnished praise for the book, saying 'it could be the most important book to come out of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession.' He celebrates their data collection, largely agrees with their alternative rendering of the causes of the crisis, and pronounces it 'a major contribution' that should give pause to what Mian and Sufi call 'the banking view' of the crisis, essentially that the economy hinges on protecting and saving the financial system. And then, Summers calls them naive and says they didn't understand the reality of what policymakers faced in 2008 and 2009. Specifically, he says that 'We all believed in 2009 what Mian and Sufi have now conclusively demonstrated - that reducing mortgage debt would spur consumer spending,' saying they did not have a narrow banking view of crisis response. Yet almost every one of Summers' objections - to supporting bankruptcy judges rewriting terms of primary mortgages, to forcing principal write-downs, to buying underwater mortgages through a Home Owners Loan Corporation-type structure - comes with the warning that the preferred policy of mortgage debt relief would hurt the banks." There's a more detailed analysis of Larry Summers' Attempt to Rewrite Cramdown History here from someone who actually understands bankruptcy, unlike, apparently, anyone in the Obama administration.

Elizabeth Warren And Thomas Piketty Discuss Nature, Causes Of Economic Inequality

The price of austerity is one those who won't pay it are always willing to pay.

I suppose Stiglitz is being circumspect in his calls for higher taxation of capital, but surely everyone has figured out by now that there's a level of wealth that no one should have.

Torture isn't torture in California prisons, either.

"There is a certain ironic symmetry in the resignation of General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs" - but of course, it's so much easier to short-change the VA and blame everyone else than it would have been to simply fund it - and fix it.

John Oliver on Net Neutrality. Update, the FCC website couldn't handle it.

Theory And Practice - Conversations With Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn

Here's the FULL PREMIERE of Lee Camp's new weekly TV show.

The Ansible obits tell me Ken Brown has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. Damn, I liked him. He even occasionally commented here at The Sideshow.

I really miss Steve Gilliard. I just can't help thinking it would have been better if he'd been here these last seven years.

The Absurd Reason Why America Circumcises Baby Boys

When George Clooney made Roseanne work overtime

Wouldn't you know, the Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014.

The Comics Curmudgeon

Mark Evanier has a nice clip up of Holbrook's Mark Twain.

The Jazz Photography of Bill Gottlieb

Dire Straits

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Madness takes its toll

I meant to have posted this piece from the Bread and Roses page earlier, but I didn't get around to it. They're on Facebook, which many people are justifiably allergic to, so here's the full text:

"We are coming up on the anniversary of the MEMORIAL DAY MASSACRE - one of the bloodiest days in labor history: On May 30, 1937, outside Republic Steel in Chicago, heavily armed police and company thugs attacked workers and their families with impunity, as they peacefully marched across a field to picket at the steel mill after a holiday picnic. At the time, mill owners were refusing to recognize the Steelworkers union. Many workers were shot in the back, others were beaten while bleeding and on the ground. Police bullets killed four marchers right away; six more would die from their wounds. Thirty more people were seriously wounded, with 100 more clubbed by police. Nobody responsible was ever prosecuted and newspapers called the massacre 'a labor riot', claiming it was led by 'Red Chiefs' and a 'Mexican Army.' Mill bosses and their govt. supporters suppressed film footage of the event. The U.S. Senate eventually held hearings on what happened that revealed most strikers were shot in the back while fleeing."

RJ Eskow and Stuart Zechman talked about ACA, the VA, and Democrats' disappointing election strategies as they emerge, on Virtually Speaking Sundays.
Steven Durlauf discussed the Piketty data and Durlauf's 2008 paper Are Growth Theories Robust? on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd.

Michael Kinsley has turned into the cranky old man who gets trotted out to yell at the kids, I think. But he started down that road a while ago, and I don't suppose we should be surprised that he came out waving his golf club at Glenn Greenwald. Still, it's always bizarre to see a journalist advocating giving the government veto power over what the press can publish and suggested that somehow prior restraint is preferable to letting Glenn Greenwald decide that he's got a story the public needs to hear. So you would expect lots of journalists - especially those who supposedly have liberal credentials - to be recoiling in horror. I just hope we can put to bed once and for all the fantasy that any of these people are part of anything liberal. Oh, but that Glenn Greenwald, he just makes those "liberals" So mad!

Las Vegas cop cleared after shooting unarmed man [...] This is the consequence when we put a premium on officer safety, giving it more value than the rights and safety of citizens. When I was researching my book, I talked to Neil Franklin about this. Franklin is a former Maryland state trooper, a former narcotics cop and was once in charge of curriculum at the Maryland State Police Academy. 'I think there are two critical components to policing that cops today have forgotten,' Franklin told me. 'Number one, you've signed on to a dangerous job. That means that you've agreed to a certain amount of risk. You don't get to do start stepping on others' rights to minimize that risk you agreed to take on. And number two, your first priority is not to protect yourself, it's to protect those you've sworn to protect. But I don't know how you get police officers today to value those principles again. The 'us and everybody else' sentiment is strong today. It's very, very difficult to change a culture.'"

The Washington Post continues to be a voice for the warmongers, and Charles Pierce has a rather good rant about Fred Hiat's War.

On the other hand, good on the NYT for looking at The Price of a Sex-Slave Rescue Fantasy. It's very difficult to get across to people that the figures we have are unreliable and usually heavily inflated. Not to mention the people who just make stuff up. It's even harder to tell people that general economic issues, not kidnapping, account for large numbers of girls and women going into prostitution when they'd rather not - just like it accounts for many, many people all over the world staying in employment they can't stand. (via)

Could aspirin be an anti-cancer drug?

Union workers see only part of big hourly markups at Convention Center - and middlemen get 150% more than the workers. The "new economy", generates a special kind of thinking, where being a middleman is worth more than actual work.

Maya Angelou on the Black Side of the Tracks, 1982, with Bill Moyers.

"New STEM Education Initiative Inspires Girls To Earn Less Than Men In Scientific Career"

"Permission Slip" - Father versus "Christian Volunteer" (via)

A Great Big Bunch Of Game Of Thrones Interviews To Help Tide You Over

Best privit hedge ever

The Worst Waiter in History

Alien retro

The Necronomithong

Let's do the Timey-Wimey Time Warp again.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong

Marcy Wheeler was this week's guest on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. For background, you might want to check out Marcy's "Why USA Freedumber Doesn't End (What You and I Think of as) Bulk Collection", "The Source of the Intelligence Legitimacy Problem", "No Protection For International Communications: Russ Feingold Warned Us" and all the other stuff on spies she has up at Emptywheel. Of note is "The Disturbing Paradox of the David Barron Nomination". It's amazing how helpless Obama is to appoint good nominees and yet still manages to appoint bad ones.

Stephanie Kelton joined Sam Seder Thursday to talk about how money works, on The Majority Report.

"Barack Obama, Wall Street co-conspirator" - It's nice to see Sirota has come to grips with the issue. "Of course, that many can and do see him as something else is proof that Obama's cynical political formula works - and works well. As I wrote in my column last week, he seems to know that in a short-attention-span country where the electorate focuses more on TV packaged rhetoric than on reality, he can give tough-sounding speeches and be widely credited as 'tough on Wall Street' - even if he isn't doing anything to stop financial crime. He also seems to know that liberals, in particular, want to believe 'their guy' is trying to do the right thing, even when he's trying to do the opposite. He knows that for many liberals, it is simply too painful to admit 'their guy' is often as duplicitous and destructive as their sworn GOP enemies - and so he knows he probably will face no real opposition movement among the voters who put him in office. "

Dean Baker, "Robert Samuelson Wants Us to Default on the National Debt: Actually, he probably doesn't, but that would be the logic of his complaint (taken from Gene Steuerle) that "dead men" have established priorities for federal spending. After all, dead men made the decision to borrow the money that constitutes the debt, which thereby obligates the country to pay back the interest and principal. But Samuelson's complaint is not about the interest and principal being paid back to rich people like Peter Peterson, Samuelson is upset about the money being paid out to ordinary workers (mostly retirees) for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."

It's pretty amazing that a grown man could believe some of the crap that comes out of the Chicago School boys. The idea that health care is exactly the same as the automobile market is so bananas that even David Cameron - David Cameron! showed them the door when they proposed it.

New Obamacare Loophole Shows Failure of For-Profit Health System: "This new rule to limit payments for needed medical procedures is a reminder of everything that is wrong with our profit-driven healthcare system."

Digby says there's "No hope and change for mortgage relief: If you've been reading Dave Dayen's work over the past few years (and I know you have) then you already know the details of what went wrong with housing policy in half a dozen different ways. It's not a pretty picture. Today legislative expert Sarah Binder summarizes one of the more depressing aspects of the failure: the administration's strange unwillingness to push for "cramdown" --- the mortgage relief program which had been widely assumed, even by the banks, to be a done deal."
Also at Hullabaloo, David Atkins alerts us to a worthy NPR report on increasing court fees that further disadvantage the poor. The logic of the poor house seems to have overtaken our "justice" system with startling effectiveness. "Defendants are charged for a long list of government services that were once free - including ones that are constitutionally required."
Also from Digby, collusion between the NSA and the DEA - spying on everyone in the world is not just for terrorism anyone. As if it ever had been.

Commenter ksix points to an article on "Five things you need to know about Credit Suisse's criminal charge" and notes that, yes, it's hard to want to see your friends go to prison, but you do choose what kind of friends you will have.

If you want to know why southern Republicans think the Democratic Party is a thing of evil, you might ask why the Democratic Party keeps working so hard to push Democratic candidates who are too right-wing for the Tea Party.

To recap: Obama tried to get Congress to have a commission to worry about the important work of "reducing deficits" (aka cutting or privatizing Social Security). Congress wanted nothing to do with it (because it's a stupid idea) and was smart enough to ignore him. So Obama put his own commission together stacked with anti-Social Security crackpots and housed by uber-SS-hater Pete Peterson. Even they couldn't manage to agree to screw up Social Security, so Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson wrote a letter saying we should really do some nice destructive things to the economy and, fortunately, nothing happened except some windbags continuing to insist that we really really really need to do something about "entitlements". And David Brooks apparently thinks that's just what we need more of!

Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies to Prisoners Convicted of Pirating Movies

50 years on: The reason conservatives hated Great Society programs is because they worked.

It's just amazing to me that it's taken this long for women to be included in pharmaceutical testing. I've been complaining about this since at least the '70s and I really had thought by now that no one would assume that tests on males were sufficient to account for female responses to drugs. Just another example of how people are so busy inventing false differences between men and women that they keep forgetting the real ones. (And now I see PZ Myers has picked up on this one, too. This reminds me of the argument about using "he" as the default general pronoun, even though it produced nonsense sentences and phrases.)

"Fine Line Seen in U.S. Spying on Companies" via Atrios, who notes that this service is not going to be available to a little guy with a big idea, but to a big guy with a a lot of power.

"AR-Gov: Asa Hutchinson (R) Turned Away from Polls Because of Voter ID Law: Asa Hutchinson was turned away from the polls because he didn't have proper ID as required under Arkansas's Voter ID Law. Given Asa's support for making it harder for Arkansans to cast a ballot, you'd think he would have been prepared to produce his ID at the polls."

Valued Sideshow commenter Jcapan recommends "Western intervention will turn Nigeria into an African Afghanistan" the "best thing I've read about Boko Haram", and Ian Welsh's "Equal Rights to Profit from Impoverishing People and Causing a Great Extinction Event" as the best reaction to the firing of Jill Abrahmson.

Everybody hates Comcast.

Ohio Replaces Lethal Injection With Humane New Head-Ripping-Off Machine

My favorite headline of the week

Dracula's castle for sale.

Law & Order Game of Thrones

Sudden extreme homesickness: I just made a typo on YouTube and accidentally discovered an advertisement for something I had never seen an advertisement for previously. It used to just be one restaurant I first learned about when, um, well, when my friends were stoned and had the munchies and remembered that I had a car and phoned me up and convinced me to come pick them up and drive them to Adelphi. When I was in college and feeling flush and wanted to treat myself - or a friend was feeling flush - we would stop there on the way home to pick one up. (But only if we had enough time on our hands for what seemed an excruciatingly long wait.) Then at some point we discovered that another restaurant had been given a franchise to serve the miraculous dish. And one day, after I moved to London, my brother picked me up at Dulles when I went home for a visit and drove directly to something that hadn't existed before: They'd opened a restaurant in Wheaton, not far from his house! Wait, they have an advertisement now? But Wikipedia tells me that, "There are now over 100 restaurants in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, Delaware, South Carolina, and Florida." I can't believe anyone living within a 20-minute trip to a Ledo's would even think of going anywhere else for pizza. How could you?

I'm pretty sure I already posted the original link to this, but I'm posting this one because David Bowie or his lawyer or someone is being a jerk.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Please, Mr. Postman

David Waldman and Stuart Zechman will probably be talking about guns and gunfail on this week's Virtually Speaking Sundays. Stuart may very well take issue with the idea of being anti-self-defense. But actually, despite Jay Ackroyd's obsession with KagroX's #gunfail habit, David is good on some other issues I hope they'll be talking about, too.
David Cay Johnston discussed Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd.

Well, Geithner managed to score Atrios' World's Worst Human award, and he links to Michael Hitzik's article in the LAT, "What Tim Geithner doesn't know about Social Security is ... shocking : Could Tim Geithner really not know that Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit?"
Meanwhile at Salon, David Dayen continues his mission of making sure no one believes the story the World's Worst Human is trying to tell about himself, with "This man made millions suffer: Tim Geithner's sorry legacy on housing."
Felix Salmon says Geithner is an unreliable narrator.
I'm thinking Geithner's book doesn't say much about how he and Summers engineered the crisis in the first place.

The FCC's Net Neutrality Proposal Is Out: It's Time to Make Our Voices Heard
House Democrats aren't supporting Big Cable like they did in 2010
Somehow, Activists Have Put Protecting Net Neutrality Back on the Agenda

"The touching, eternal optimism of liberal hawks: As the response to the kidnapping of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls has grown from hashtag activism to full blown international incident, the calls for action have become increasingly bellicose. Some of those calls have revealed (once again) a deeply rooted militaristic streak in America, one that transcends political affiliation. [...] "

Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now!: U.S. Corporate Media is "Neutered, Impotent and Obsolete".

"Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa" - Glen Ford tells you more than you're supposed to know about the madness of Boko Haram, and how it got that way.

Mad Cops:
"Cop Shoots Dead an Unarmed, Tased and Subdued Teen, 'We don't have time for this' Bang!"
"Cop Who Zip Tied, Tortured, & Beat His Daughter Daily is Trying to Stay Out Of Jail"

We know that the spy program was going on at least as early as February of 2001. It's well-known. We don't get to forget this. So why does everyone - and I do mean pretty much everyone - talk about it as having been instituted "because of" or "after" September 11th of 2001? Because that just isn't true.

Obama's Worst Judicial Nominee - Maybe it's time we all ask Pat Leahy why he is so busy giving so much power to the Republicans?

"Why a Principled Left Should Support the Benghazi Inquiry [...] One would think that those on the left would support this inquiry, as limited and partisan as it will be, on the democratic principle that the people have a right to know what occurred before, during and in the aftermath of the attack. But even more importantly, by demanding a more comprehensive examination of all the activity of the U.S. in Libya in the aftermath of the destruction of that state, including the mission of the CIA in Benghazi, the left can and should raise serious questions that expose the dangerous strategy of empowering anti-democratic, right-wing forces, from al Qaeda-connected jihadists in Syria to neo-fascists in Ukraine."

"Jill Abramson fired for seeking equal pay: Report: The announcement, today, that Jill Abramson was departing her job as executive editor of the New York Times prompted much speculation across the media. Abramson, appointed in 2011, had enjoyed a relatively brief tenure and one riven by nasty, critical coverage, particularly in Politico. Howard Kurtz, a Fox News media reporter, noted that there's 'Gotta be a backstory there.' Ken Auletta of the New Yorker has reported on Abramson in the past, and today reports that there indeed was: that Abramson recently learned her pay package was not commensurate with that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, and sought parity. Auletta reports: 'She confronted the top brass,' one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management's narrative that she was ‘pushy,' a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.' The counterargument to Abramson's pay request, predictably, is that ownership did not want to outlay more money in a difficult time for print media, but in an update, Auletta notes that a deputy of Abramson's, a man, made more money than she did while she was managing editor." Romenesko has more. Pierce has a few words of his own for the Times brass. But Wonkette wins this one.

"The court that created the patent troll mess is screwing up copyright too [...] The Federal Circuit is the court that hears appeals in all patent cases. Over the last three decades, it has shown a consistent bias in favor of patent holders, setting legal precedents that made the current patent troll problem possible."

Henry A. Giroux | Noam Chomsky and the Public Intellectual in Turbulent Times

RIP HR Geiger

Correlations - This is fun.

Browsing an Incredible New 'Social Atlas of London'

I just love this picture.

Cool steampunk dragon-eye jewelry and stuff

Jazz for Cows

The Marvelettes