Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Senator

Alter: Lieberman, Health Care, and Hurt Feelings | Newsweek Voices - Jonathan Alter |
I'm not a public-option-or-bust guy. There's enough good stuff in the legislation that the loss of a public option, while damaging, wouldn't wreck the whole thing. I'm a bill-or-bust guy. If we need to fix the legislation later—Social Security was fixed several times after enactment in 1935—we can. But failure is not an option. I don't get the impression that Lieberman agrees. If the public option is defeated, he'll find something else to complain about. The only leverage Harry Reid has over him is the threat to take away his committee chairmanship. It may yet come to that. History is littered with big moments that turned on the pettiness of small men. Now the fate of the most ambitious social legislation in a generation may come down to the hurt feelings of one senator.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Look at the last 5 countries

CPI 2009 Table/2009/cpi/surveys_indices/policy_research
Corruption Perceptions Index 2009

  • The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) table shows a country's ranking and score, the number of surveys used to determine the score, and the confidence range of the scoring.
  • The rank shows how one country compares to others included in the index. The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public-sector corruption in a country/territory.
  • The CPI is based on 13 independent surveys. However, not all surveys include all countries. The surveys used column indicates how many surveys were relied upon to determine the score for that country.
  • The confidence range indicates the reliability of the CPI scores and tells us that allowing for a margin of error, we can be 90% confident that the true score for this country lies within this range.
I feel very good about the fact that we are spending huge sums of money making Iraq and Afghanistan safe for corruption. What, you mean that isn't what the idea was?

Secret Service Take note

Biblical anti-Obama slogan: Use of Psalm 109:8 funny or sinister? |
There’s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”

A nice sentiment?

Maybe not.

The psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and hats with “1/20/09” commemorated President Bush’s last day in office.

But the verse immediately following the psalm referenced is a bit more ominous: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
I despised President G.W. Bush. I never wished him dead. This is fucking revolting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maybe I won't read it after all

INSTAPUTZ: Review: Going Rogue
Following American politics for the last two decades (and teaching about it for the last six years) I often feel like our political spectacles have taken on the air of an elaborate Dadaist performance piece, with each “Tea Party,” Fox News segment, and Republican Savior more egregiously blurring the lines between reality, farce, and surrealism. We watch each Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal speech fully expecting Ashton Kutcher to appear and let us in on the joke, informing America that it has in fact been punk’d and laughing uproariously at our gullibility. Our collective capacity for credulity has been strained to breaking.

Now we are faced with the daunting task of wrapping our minds around the Palin memoir Going Rogue, appearing atop a bestseller list near you. Millions of copies will be sold of a book written by someone who can’t write, intended for an audience that doesn’t read, about the thoughts of a person who doesn’t think. God is dead.

If you are in a hurry, here is the succinct version of this review: Going Rogue is shit. It is groundbreaking in its banality and disregard for facts. If you are sentient, it will pain you to read it. Imagine watching your parents 69 one another while John Madden sits behind you and bellows out color commentary and you will have some idea of how excruciating and profoundly scarring it is to plow through each page of this wholly fictional monument to self-aggrandized mediocrity. Going Rogue is to the art of writing what the Holocaust is to the concept of a just God – the piece of disconfirming evidence so overwhelming that we are left questioning whether it can exist at all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can Easily Imagine This Scene

MediaPost Publications These Aren't The DROIDS You're Looking For 11/12/2009
You know that catchy little metallic "Droid" voice that emanates from the new Verizon/Motorola/Android device released last weekend? Guess when it stops being cute? About an hour into a traffic jam on I-95, while in a Mini Cooper with two women who have to pee.

"Oh my god, Dad, make it stop!" my daughter whined from the back seat. We took the DROID on a road trip from Wilmington, Del. to Baltimore to test its various geo-location features, including the turn-by-turn navigation system baked into the device.

Facebook app leaderboards - Facebook Application Metrics
Leaderboards for Sunday, November 15, 2009
#1, to no one's surprise I am sure, is FarmVille.

The subtitle says it all

Eek! Keep Those Scary Bra-Burners Away From My Sexy Feminine Self! : Thus Spake Zuska
Subtitle: It's really cool when feminists can help me advance my personal interests, as long as nobody sees me talking to them, 'cause, you know, they're ugly.
Zuska does a nice takedown of a preening little twit that thinks that feminists are icky despite the fact that she would not be where she is without them. I consider myself a feminist and I am male. A feminist, to me, is anyone that espouses equality of opportunity for the sexes, it is also what any sane person should be.

Especially amusing is when Victoria attempts to explain herself more fully.

Note: I am not saying the men and women are precisely the same because that would be delusional and, to be honest, not much fun for me.

Not merely stupid but dangerous

Skeptic North: Magician Prescriptions: Ontario Poised to Let Naturopaths Prescribe
The other day, I went to a magic show. The magician manipulated energy fields, pulled toxins out of my stomach, and then gave me a remedy - but there was nothing inside. Then he pulled out a prescription pad, prescribed some Tamiflu, and sent me on my way.

Seem unlikely? Well, the Ontario government is poised to give another type of magician -- the naturopath -- prescribing rights, despite the reams of evidence discrediting their approach to patient health. It's a move that legitimizes a well-meaning but baseless profession, and puts patients at significant risk.
I know otherwise sane people that believe in homeopathy and that naturopaths do good work. I do not think that any of those people would think that allowing a naturopath to prescribe "allopathic" medicines more powerful than tylenol is a good idea.

Shocking News

Superstar CEOs Suck
We find that award-winning CEOs subsequently underperform, both relative to their prior performance and relative to a matched sample of non-winning CEOs. At the same time, they extract more compensation following the awards, both in absolute amounts and relative to other top executives in their firms. They also spend more time on public and private activities outside their companies, such as assuming board seats or writing books.
But they have to pay them so much or they will leave... Fine, let them

Fooled By Randomness

Surprise (Not): Madoff’s Results Were Generated Via a Randomizer
Defendants knew that all of this data was, for all intents and purposes,
randomly generated and assigned to purported trades by programs they created.
Defendants knew that this was unlike the [internal] House 5 system, on which trade blotter
came from actual executed trades and was verified through data received from
counterparties and clearing agencies. Some of the House 17 programs even included
randomness checks, i.e., code that analyzed program results to ensure they were
sufficiently random.
With apologies to Nassim Nicholas Taleb

On defense spending as economic stimulus

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Obama Wants Spending Cuts, He Should Start With Military
Defense spending means that the government is pulling away resources from the uses determined by the market and instead using them to buy weapons and supplies and to pay for soldiers and other military personnel. In standard economic models, defense spending is a direct drain on the economy, reducing efficiency, slowing growth and costing jobs.

Global Insight’s model projected that after 20 years the economy would be about 0.6 percentage points smaller as a result of the additional defense spending. Slower growth would imply a loss of almost 700,000 jobs compared to a situation in which defense spending had not been increased. Construction and manufacturing were especially big job losers in the projections, losing 210,000 and 90,000 jobs, respectively.

What Scares Me about Obama

“President Obama, deficit terrorism is not the answer!” « naked capitalism
After sensibly calling for a jobs summit to deal with the problem of rising unemployment, President Obama’s Herbert Hoover-like alter ego has re-emerged again to warn us again about the evils of government deficit spending. According to, the President “plans to announce in next year’s State of the Union address that he wants to focus extensively on cutting the federal deficit in 2010 — and will downplay other new domestic spending beyond jobs programs, according to top aides involved in the planning.”

The President and his economic advisors are now being driven by the polls, which, in turn, are being driven by the deficit myths of their own creation. It is a case of the blind leading the blind down the rabbit hole. They impose political constraints on their own actions in a manner which is highly destructive in terms of securing their prized legislative goals (like the health care debate, where all decent policy proposals have foundered on the question of “how are we going to make this ‘deficit neutral’”?).

Not Left And Right - Left and Wrong

Matthew Yglesias » A Good While Longer, I Think
The Obama plan is, in my view, sort of loosely modeled on the Swiss and Dutch systems. And it’s attracted no support whatsoever from conservative politicians. But the GOP leadership did release a health care plan, focused on deregulation of health insurance companies, that would do nothing to reduce the number of uninsured people. I think it’s perfectly fair to say that universal coverage is the issue separating the left and right. When I see conservative politicians getting behind some version of universal coverage—even something like Martin Feldstein’s plan to give everyone catastrophic coverage—then I’ll stop saying conservatives don’t care about helping the uninsured.

Small Time Banksters

Calculated Risk: Orion Bank CEO Had a Plan ...
In order to improve its management, the Bank must dismiss Jerry Williams (“Williams”), its current chief executive officer, president, and chairman of its board of directors, from office and as a member of the board of directors, based on the following:

(a) Prior to June 2009, the Bank reached its legal lending limit under Florida law with respect to the aggregate loans outstanding to a borrower and his related interests. In June 2009, Williams permitted the Bank to make loans of an additional approximately $60 million to straw borrowers who were related interests of the borrower referred to above in continuing violation of the Florida legal lending limit statute (the “June 2009 loans”);

Cool Clear Water

Jim Nash - Controversial Science – Water Found on the Moon - True/Slant
“Indeed yes, we found water.”

With those words, relayed by the New York Times, NASA investigator Anthony Colaprete ended one of the biggest Moon debates since we first landed there in ‘69 and found no green cheese.

Stupak Stupid?

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Stupak also displays a stunning lack of understanding about what his legislation actually does, and what the original language, the Capps amendment did, to maintain Hyde. Particularly deceptive is his assertion that "There is no greater restriction placed on anyone."

There's very much a greater restriction placed on those women whose employers might currently be offering insurance coverage, which is very likely to include abortion coverage, and decide to move into the exchange for a better deal. those women are very likely to lose coverage, because the chances are pretty good, they or someone else in their plan with them will be getting a federal subsidy to help with coverage. How many might it be? Potentially millions

Missing the Obvious

Jim VanDeHei said on MSNBC that there's no way to cut the deficit without cutting entitlement programs unless we can grow our way out of the deficits with a growing economy.

Kos Makes a Funny

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Thanks for making clear that "home of the brave" refers only to US liberals, since we aren't pissing our pants at the thought of Gitmo inmates on US soil.

Althouse vs the Palin Worshippers with a side order of Bush

INSTAPUTZ: Althouse finds out what happens when you cross the 20-percenters.
The problem with a Bush supporter like Althouse (Frum is guilty of this, too) calling Sarah Palin "dumb" is -- I'm pretty sure she's a hell of a lot smarter than Shrubya.

Yes, she might be pig ignorant and intellectually lazy -- I doubt she can name half the state capitals. But she did a hell of a lot more with what she started out with in life -- pretty much nothing -- than Chimpy did.

Jobs Saved

RGE - Counting "Jobs Saved" by Obama Fiscal Stimulus
I am astounded by claims that fiscal stimulus under recession circumstances doesn’t create jobs. Or at least I am astounded when such claims come even from some reputable economists. Do they think that a construction job on a road-building project doesn’t count as a real job if the funding comes from the government? Or do they think that the increase in demand doesn’t raise output in the aggregate, because the federal debt crowds out private production and so someone else somewhere loses his or her job? That would be hard to believe, at a time when the Fed is keeping interest rates at zero, long-term interest rates are also quite low, and capacity is lying idle. Moreover, Republican lectures to Democrats about the evils of the national debt take real chutzpah, after Presidents Reagan, Bush I and Bush II increased the debt ten-fold during periods when no national emergency required it.

Balloon Juice Comment Of The Day

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » I Want You, I Don’t Want Anybody Else, And When I Think About You
Has “No, I won’t put this on the internet” replaced “No, I won’t come in your mouth” as the lie most often told in bed these days?

Comedy Podcasts - Marc Maron Edition

Brian Donovan - NewsCast Aside – The Comedy Podcasts You Should Be Listening To - True/Slant
2. WTF with Marc Maron (bi-weekly): Marc Maron is another comic who should be bigger than he is. Smart, intellectual, and a good bit angry, Marc is George Carlin meets Sam Kinison but with a baking fetish and a lot of cats. His podcast feels a bit more “show-y” than Fitzsimmons’, as he has actual segments, and a regular opening monologue/rant. Maron is an Air America graduate, and that’s not hard to guess from his show’s bent, but he rarely gets preachy. Recent must listen interviews are Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, and Todd Barry. Seriously, you see what I’m talking about here? Marc and Greg are offering you some of the best comics in the COUNTRY totally for free. Get on that, would ya! Oh and the Caroline Rhea episode is a clinic in passive aggression, so check that one out too.
Personally I think Marc Maron is hilarious. If you know who the rest are, you know what to do.

Wingnut Begging

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » About That Free Market
And I just love how they are using the market collapse as a Reason to keep them in wingnut welfare. Let the financial market crash, and then deregulate even more! Invisible hand!
The part that amuses me the most is that they want people to give money to the foundation that publishes the magazine because that way it will be tax deductible...


RGE - An Open Letter to Harry Reid on Controlling Health Care Costs
Nobody promised you this would be easy, Harry. But, hell, why are you there, anyway? Your responsibility isn't just to pass whatever will muster 60 votes and that the President and Dems can later call "health care reform." It's to do the right thing by the American people and bring down future health-care costs. Don't cave in to Lieberman or Nelson or the drug companies or the private insurers or the AMA or anyone else. Lead the charge.

Real Filibustering

Latest Installment of Make ‘em Filibuster - Swampland -
So do it, Harry Reid. Don't try to stop a filibuster on the health care bill. Let them. Make them. Also, while you're at it, if Tom Coburn wants to read the bill on the Senate floor, let him do it--with two stipulations. It should be Coburn himself who does the reading, not the poor overworked clerk. And the entire Senate should be forced to sit there in the Chamber and listen.
Bring on the popcorn

Not Paying Attention

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Seriously? They voted against an amendment that was prompted by the brutal gang-rape of a young woman by her co-workers while she was working for a company under contract for the United States government, after which she was locked in a shipping container without food or water, threatened if she left to seek medical treatment, and was then prevented from bringing criminal charges against her assailants. And they failed to anticipate the political consequences?

Boy, are they stupid (among other, less flattering things).

The 900 Lb Gorilla in the 9/11 trials - Torture

Emptywheel » The 9/11 Trials: The Torture Question
Isikoff: [inaudible] harsh interrogation techniques. Inevitably, defense attorneys are going to seek full disclosure about the circumstances of how these detainees were treated while they were in US custody and get as much of that before the jury as they can. What is the department’s position on whether the defense will be entitled to know the full story of how these detainees were treated while they were in US custody?

Holder: Well, I think the question … among the questions that have to be asked in that regard is relevance. How relevant were those statements? Will those statements be used? I don’t know what the defense will try to do–it’s hard for me to speculate at this point, so it’s hard to know exactly what our response will be. But I’m quite confident on the basis of the evidence that we will be able to present, some of which I said has not been even publicly discussed before that we will be successful in our attempts to convict those men.

Zero Tolerance

Karen Dukess - Monkey Bars – High School Girl Gets 2-Week Suspension for Taking Birth Control Pill - True/Slant
Does this punishment fit the crime? A Virginia high school girl broke a school rule against taking any kind of drugs in school by taking her daily birth control pill. She got caught, and got a two-week suspension and a recommendation for expulsion.
Zero tolerance rules are there so that administrators don't actually have to make tough decisions. But isn't that precisely what they are paid for?


What's wrong with 'meep'? It's all in how you say it -, Salem, MA
DANVERS — It's no surprise that using bad language in school can get you into hot water. But "meep"?

Danvers High parents recently got an automated call from the principal warning them that if students say or display the word "meep" at school, they could face suspension.

Meep doesn't mean much, unless you are Beaker — the hapless, orange-haired assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew on "The Muppet Show."

While meep may be nonsense, what it represented was no laughing matter to the high school's administration. High school Principal Thomas Murray said students were using it and other words to disrupt school in a particular part of the building on Cabot Road. The term later became part of a disruption some students were planning online.

Here Endeth The lesson

Halperin: 'It Paints Such a Different Picture' if Obama's Standing With Republicans When Announcing Afghan Policy | Video Cafe
Yeah, that’s just what he need Halperin. Obama and Mr. Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran standing hand in hand announcing his Afghanistan policy. News flash to Halperin—McCain lost the election. And Obama needs to be listening to his base, not McCain.

Thus Spake Digby

I'm not saying that we should panic. These people are politically weak in their own right. But when I see the liberal gasbags on TV blithely dismissing this as if it''s impossible that Americans could ever fall for such lunacy, I feel a little frisson of alarm. I've read too many accounts of people who, 80 or so years ago, complacently made the same assumption. And the whole world found out that under the right circumstances even the most civilized nations can throw in with the crazies.

Shitty Legisation

Because the bill was held up for so long in the Senate, an end-of-the-year filing deadline will prevent anyone from accessing the final six weeks of benefits, according to state officials and sources on Capitol Hill. On Friday, President Obama signed into law legislation extending jobless benefits by 14 weeks nationwide, with an additional six weeks for those states where unemployment rates top 8.5 percent. Those benefits kicked in on Sunday. But there’s a glitch. The new law treats the 20-week extension as two separate extensions of 14 weeks and six weeks, with participants required to exhaust the first 14 weeks before applying for the next six. However, the current law keeps a Dec. 31 application deadline, roughly seven weeks from now, making collecting the full 20 weeks impossible.
Why the fuck do the GOP legislators keep outsmarting the Dems on things like this? I refuse to believe it is because they are actually smarter. Unfortunately it leaves me with the conclusion that they have some sort of pact with Satan and since I am an atheist that seriously fucks with my worldview.

This piece has no title

CO Republican's Tweet Compares Obama To 9/11 Hijackers | Crooks and Liars
Schultheis' full tweet Tuesday was: "Don't for a second think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed. Let's roll."
Untitled because I couldn't figure out whether to call this esteemed gentleman an asshole, a douchebag or a fuckwit.


Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » A Question
Without google, who are AC Wharton and John Peyton?

Answer: The mayors of Memphis and Jacksonville, respectively, both of whom govern cities with population sizes comparable to Alaska. I’m betting 99% of you have never heard of them.

I have noticed this trend too

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Feel the Thunementum
In for a Broder, in for a Brooks. Am I alone in thinking that “prairie background” sounds like a euphemism? And why do so many profiles of Republican presidential candidates read like soft-core gay male pornography (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?

Via Atrios

Looney Birther Lawyer Won't Pay Up

Judge Directs US Attorney To Collect $20K From Orly Taitz After Failure To Pay Fine | TPMMuckraker
"Orly Taitz has failed to pay the $20,000.00 sanction ordered by the Court on October 13, 2009. Accordingly, the Clerk is ordered to enter final judgment in favor of the United States of America and against Orly Taitz in the principal amount of $20,000.00. The United States Attorney is authorized and directed to collect the judgment as provided by law.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 13th day of November, 2009. "

Headshakingly Disingenuous

Daily Kos: Really, GOP? Dems are Anti-Woman?
It's not that you really expect honest debate out of Republicans, but seriously, how do they come up with this stuff?

Justice II

O'Reilly thinks letting terrorists have their day in court is a waste of taxpayer money | Crooks and Liars
O'Reilly just wound up shouting at them about the four-year trial of Zacarias Moussaoui -- who in fact was convicted. But to O'Reilly, what was intolerable was that Moussaoui was able to use the trial as "propaganda" for radical Islam.

O'Reilly just doesn't believe in the American way of justice, and is afraid to let the world see our justice. Fortunately, many more of us are not so cowardly.



WASHINGTON — In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.

Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

Problem Bank List

Calculated Risk: Unofficial Problem Bank List increases to 507
Note: This was before the three FDIC bank seizures today.

This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks.

Mark Sanford doesnt think he should resign

AP NewsBreak: US governor says he considered resigning over affair, but will remain in office
The governor admitted last week to a yearlong affair with a woman in Argentina. He and his wife say they will try to reconcile. Some lawmakers are calling for him to resign because he used public money to see the mistress during one trip, and because he was out of touch with his staff during his recent weeklong tryst.
Sanford repeatedly said he did not use public money for the trip, so it was not clear why he has agreed to reimburse the state for some of the more-than $8,000 in taxpayer money spent on the Argentina leg of an economic development trip to South America last year.

I think it is pretty clear. Mark Sanford is a lying sack of shit. Something that is no surprise to his wife at this point.

Addendum: I originally wrote this in June and didn't publish it for some reason. He didn't resign. He is still a sack of shit.

Michael Scherer Being Simultaneously Pedantic and Obtuse

Barack Obama: First Pacific President? Not exactly. - Swampland -
It seems awkward for Obama to claim that the United States and Asia are "bound" by the Pacific Ocean, but those born on the U.S. side of that bind do not count as "Pacific" people. But then I guess "first Pacific president" sounds better than "me and Richard Nixon are two Pacific presidents."
I know a fair number of folks that live or have lived in CA and I don't know of one of them that thinks that they are of the Pacific unless they were born somewhere else, like on an island. Feel free to correct me but does any non-politician really see the US, or Canada for that matter, as a Pacific country?

This is weak even for Scherer.

Precisely Right

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Saturday Night Open Thread
5.) There is a strong relationship between those who do not think we should trust our democracy and try terrorists as criminals and those who got their panties in a bunch because the President shows his respect to foreign leaders. So much of understanding the current Republican party and their behavior can be explained away as small penis syndrome. Just a bunch of bedwetters.


Internal Moon Church Memo: Fired Wash Times Publisher Was Escorted Out By Security, Cell Phone Seized | TPM LiveWire
When Washington Times Publisher Thomas McDevitt was fired last Sunday, his successor Jonathan Slevin and two security guards escorted him from the Times headquarters to his car and confiscated his cell phone and computer, according to an internal Unification Church memo provided to TPM by multiple church members.
I like TPM a lot but what is described here is no big deal. If I was terminated by my employer I would expect to be escorted out to my car and have my work supplied computer and cell phone confiscated. I wouldn't like it, but I would expect it. It may not seem polite but terminating someone who has been in a position of trust is not a polite circumstance.