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Thursday, June 30, 2011

GOP Sabotaging America, Ctd...

June 30th, 2011

Yesterday evening on MSNBC's The Last Word, Lawrence O'Donnell drew attention to a blistering editorial lamenting the intellectual decline of the GOP. It appeared what many regard to be one of the stalwart conservative papers from the American heartland, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The full text follows the video. It is essential reading.

Quote Of The Day

June 30th, 2011

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's The Worst That Could Happen?

June 29th, 2011

Let's say that debt limit deadline arrives and there has been no "agreement."

TPM reports:
"According to one of the most influential economists in federal policy making, the next four weeks will make the difference between a slow glide toward economic recovery, and a severe tumble into a new recession.

Moody's chief economist, and former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi 

is forecasting GDP growth of 4 percent by the end of the year and into next. But in response to a question from TPM, he told reporters at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that his forecast would be "blown out of the water," if Congress fails to "reasonably gracefully" raise the national borrowing limit."

Sounds pretty bad. But hey, what does he know? Zandi is only one of the most respected conservative economists in America. His analyses don't mean diddly to RNC Chairman Reince Preibus who had some interesting things to say about a default yesterday morning while talking to Joe Scarborough.

Quote Of The Day

June 29th, 2011

"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity"
-- Andre Gide

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Accurate Chart

June 28th, 2011

Seriously. (via)

Quote Of The Day

June 28th, 2011

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." 
-- John F. Kennedy

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day - Marriage Equality Edition

June 27th, 2011
HT to the Daily Dish for shining a light on a "small C" conservative with great resolve.

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. 

Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think.

I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this."

-- Republican NY State Senator Roy McDonald who voted yes on Friday

Stick A Fork In Him

June 27th, 2011
UPDATED 7/1/11 with video below via Newsy
Rod Blagojevich is done. From AP via Yahoo:

"CHICAGO (AP) — Rod Blagojevich, who rode his talkative everyman image to two terms as Illinois governor before scandal made him a national punch line, was convicted Monday of a wide range of corruption charges, including the incendiary allegation that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's Senate seat.
The verdict was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who had spent 2½ years professing his innocence on reality TV shows and later on the witness stand. His defense team had insisted that hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud.

He faces up to 300 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines are sure to significantly reduce his time behind bars.

After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky and asked "What happened?"

What happened? Seriously? Rod, it's really not so much what you did or even that they caught you doing it. They wanted you. They were going to get you. Instead of comporting yourself with dignity, you behaved like a cartoonish buffoon. Instead of copping a plea, you went on Trump's freak-show. You were already largely convicted in the court of public opinion for being very nearly the most strident asshole in 21st Century American politics. 

The wages of hubris are this, man.

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

Today In WTF? Wisconsin Edition

June 27th, 2011

After the miraculous discovery of unsecured votes in the 11th hour of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election, one might have thought that the victor, Justice David Prosser, would be mindful that his every action would need to bear greater scrutiny. After all, Prosser didn't have the most sterling of reputations prior to the debacle.

Just before the vote, Meg Jones wrote for the Journal Sentinel:

"Prosser recently acknowledged that he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "bitch" behind closed doors and threatened to "destroy her" more than a year ago when the court split over removing fellow Justice Michael Gableman from a criminal case as he faced an ethics allegation."

Flash forward to just two weeks ago. Not only has Justice Prosser seemingly learned no lessons in decorum, much less humility, it is alleged that he has taken his resentment and animosity towards his fellow female justices to dangerous new levels.

From the JS:
"Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley late Saturday accused fellow Justice David Prosser of putting her in a chokehold during a dispute in her office earlier this month.

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," Bradley told the Journal Sentinel."

If true, the actions stipulated by Justice Bradley constitute a felony assault under Wisconsin law.

Now, if you thought that this was the WTF? moment, hold onto your hats. Leave it to the resident, senior legal expert at FOX News, Greta Van Susterin, to devolve the discussion further. In a post from her Gretawire site, a post that has been subsequently scrubbed, Van Susterin coolly analyzed the breaking news and argued that Chief Justice Abrahamson must resign. You read that right.

Greta Van Susterin as quoted by ThinkProgress:

"And while I have no idea who is off the wall (Justice Prosser or Justice Walsh or both), I do know one thing, CHIEF JUSTICE SHIRLEY ABRAHAMSON sure is not doing her job to lead the court and to give confidence to the people of Wisconsin. She needs to step aside and let someone else attempt to run that zoo."

Greta seems to have actually argued that a male Justice allegedly physically assaulting a female Justice is the result of a failure to lead on the part of... another female Justice. Again, Van Susterin has removed the post from her site without comment.

We are requesting that any reader who has a cached version of the Gretawire piece or a screenshot to contact us. The story continues to develop...

Quote Of The Day

June 27th, 2011

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." 
-- Victor Hugo

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quote Of The Day - Pride Day Edition

June 26th, 2011

"Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law." 
-- Boethius

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 24th, 2011

"There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world."
-- J. William Fulbright

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Very Helpful Accountants"

Jun23rd, 2011

This is a pretty amazing examination of how American corporations are manipulating the tax code.

Sabotaging America, Ctd

June 23rd, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on an article by Robert Parry and made the supposition that the GOP may well be attempting to directly sabotage our country's economy. 

Yesterday, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) had the nerve to suggest this publicly. The process continues. Ezra Klein notes that Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) departure from the debt-limit talks today is not just irresponsible, it is also dangerous. Frankly, I think Klein is easy on the man, but his conclusion is clear and correct.

From WaPo:
"...if you had to write a plausible scenario for how America defaults on its debt, or at least seriously spooks the market, this is how it would start. After insisting on using the debt limit as leverage for a budget deal, the Republican leadership finds they can’t actually strike a deficit-reduction deal, but nor can they go back on their promise to vote against any increase in the debt limit that isn’t accompanied by a deficit-reduction deal. What follows is a lot of jockeying and fingerpointing, a short-term increase or two, and eventually, a market panic.

Cantor is putting personal power before country here, and in a very dangerous way. If Boehner actually does manage to cut a decent deal despite Cantor’s effort to throw him under the bus, he may not hold on as leader of his party, but unlike Cantor, he’ll deserve to. For better or worse, this is when we learn whether anyone on the Republican Party’s leadership team is actually prepared to lead."

When we look back years from now, this may be one the most important moments in our history. And one of its most devastating. No foreign enemy has ever put the United States in a position of defaulting on its obligations. The GOP now has.

GOP Sabotaging America

June 23rd, 2011

Some of us have been suggesting for months that the Republican Party is actively trying to injure ordinary Americans and limit any potential recovery for ballot leverage in 2012. At last, some senior elected Democrats are willing to call them out for their tactics.

Ryan Witt writes for The Washington Examiner:
"President Obama is generally considered the favorite to win re-election in 2012, as he consistently leads all Republican candidates in the polls, but there are some who believe the President could still be vulnerable if the economy continues to weaken. Today Talking Points Memo reported that Senate Democrats accused the Republicans of purposefully blocking any measures to improve the economy in order to better their chances of beating Obama in 2012.

To support their case the Democrats point to the most recent debt ceiling negotiations. The Democrats have proposed a temporary reduction in the payroll tax, which would theoretically free up more money and generate some more economic growth. Democrats generally favor more direct economic investment, such as spending for infrastructure projects, but were willing to meet the Republicans on their terms by proposing a tax cut.

Democrats had assumed that the Republicans, who generally have never met a tax cut they did not like, would accept the measure. However, the Republicans have said they oppose the temporary tax cut as a "gimmick." The Republican position has caused Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to make the following bold accusation against Republicans,

"Would Republicans really oppose a tax cut for business that created jobs? This is sort of beyond the pale. So if they'd oppose even something so suited to their tastes ideologically, it shows that they're just opposing anything that would help create jobs. It almost makes you wonder if they aren’t trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain."

With all due respect and in consideration of the fact that the single largest barrier to domestic growth currently is demand, there's no "almost" about it.

Who ARE We?

June 23rd, 2011

Artist Rendering
Who are we indeed? What do we value? What matters to us? It is rare that a story so disturbing as the one that follows comes across my desk. The headline could just as easily have read No One Notices Man On Fire

Simon Black writes for Business Insider:

"Late last week, Thomas James Ball reached his breaking point. 

Driven to desperation by a system that bankrupted him and destroyed his family, Ball walked up to the main door of the Keene County, New Hampshire courthouse, doused himself with gasoline, and lit himself ablaze.

Hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

Conversely, when a 26-year old Tunisian man lit himself on fire a few months ago after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he had been selling without a proper permit, it launched a wave of revolution across the Middle East.

People were shocked into taking action… protests and riots swept the region and one regime after another crumbled.

Rather than sparking an “American spring” and shocking US citizens into taking their country back, though, Mr. Ball’s act of self-immolation seems to have been largely ignored. There has been scant coverage (and scant is being extremely generous) of Mr. Ball in the mainstream media, and what little coverage there is generally discredits the man as a troublemaker."

The question of whether or not Thomas James Ball was altogether rational is not what is important here. The question is when did we become a country in which a fellow citizen could set themselves on fire for a political purpose in a public square and it wasn't news?

Stutter, Stammer, Mumble

Jun23rd, 2011

ThinkProgress puts Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on the spot for his inability to recommend the resignation of the whore-monger, and now alleged bribe-seeker, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).

The official Santorum world-view: Clinton perjury? Bad. The sexual enslavement and debasement of women in violation of both explicit law and conventional morality? Well... um... uh...

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Jun23rd, 2011

Migrant workers picking GA Vidalia onions
It seems that the State of Georgia is learning some very hard and very expensive lessons in the wake of their having recently passed a sweeping new law cracking down on "illegals."

Jay Bookman writes for the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
"After enactment of House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

The resulting manpower shortage has forced state farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry."

The story goes on to detail the looming agricultural disaster while highlighting just how unattractive these essential positions are... even in this economy. Once again, popular Republican fundraising mechanisms and social engineering schemes are bad for, well, the economy.


Quote Of The Day

June 23rd, 2011

"A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury."
-- John Stuart Mill

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stewart Counts The Fox Lies

June 22nd, 2011

...And he is hilariously crowded out of the frame in short order.

Paul Ryan's Little Ethics Problem

June 22nd, 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been called "a very serious man." Ross Douthat lauded his "honesty." Peter Wehner credited Ryan with restoring the GOP as a "party of ideas." David Brooks called him "courageous." The National Review said that Rep. Ryan was doing nothing less than "pointing the way back toward a republic."

With all due respect, it appears they might have hitched their carts to the wrong horse. This is putting it very politely.

From The Daily Beast:
"The financial disclosure report Ryan filed with Congress last month and made public this week shows he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan's budget plan."

"Ryan’s office says the congressman wasn’t thinking about himself or the oil companies that lease his land when he drafted the budget blueprint that extended the energy tax breaks. “These are properties that Congressman Ryan married into,” spokesman Kevin Seifert said. “It’s not something he has a lot of control over.”

Nonetheless, the properties have been a lucrative investment for Ryan and his wife, earning them as much as $117,000 last year, and $60,000 the year before, his personal financial disclosure reports show. Overall, Ryan, 41, listed assets worth between $590,000 and $2.5 million, putting him in the top third of the richest members of the House."

An ethical man would have already divested personal holdings that directly benefit from his own legislation. Period. But not Ryan... He apparently thinks this isn't "serious."

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

June 22nd, 2011

Two words... Barking Cat

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

June 22nd, 2011

What a novel approach
"We can cut spending without wrecking social programs on which people rely."
-- British Prime Minister David Cameron

Michigan Residents Fight Back

June 22nd, 2011

Remember that "Emergency Manager" law up in Michigan?

From the NY Times:
"More than two dozen residents of Michigan filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against top officials in the state contending that a new law broadly expanding the powers of emergency managers in the most financially troubled cities violates Michigan’s Constitution.

The lawsuit, filed in Ingham County Circuit Court, contends that the law approved by Michigan lawmakers this year improperly allows the state to place new costs on municipalities without paying for them and, in essence, bars local residents from picking their own elected representatives."

I hate to resort to cliche, but taxation without representation is what again?

The Assault On Hoosiers

June 22nd, 2011

Rachel Maddow examines the impact of Indiana's controversial removal of Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid system.

Quote Of The Day

June 22nd, 2011

"What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"
-- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Poem For Today

June 21st, 2011

It's great to work for nothing. Right? It's wonderful to hurt and watch your children not have enough. Right? You're lucky to struggle with buying food... or medicine. Right? It's great... once you get in.

It's Great When You Get In 
by Eugene O'Neill

"They told me the water was lovely,
That I ought to go for a swim,
The air was maybe a trifle cool,
"You won't mind it when you get in"
So I journeyed cheerfully beach-ward,
And nobody put me wise,
But everyone boosted my courage
With an earful of jovial lies.

Quote Of The Day

June 21st, 2011

"Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you will die too."
-- John Hollow Horn

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stewart Meets Wallace

June 20th, 2011

And Jon Stewart tells it like it is. This is the unedited version via Mediaite. The FOX broadcast version is also available at the Mediaite link.

Bennet On "Voter Fraud"

June 20th, 2011

Definitely worth a thousand words, Clay Bennett takes on the GOP's obsession with combating the imaginary crisis of "voter fraud."
Copyright © 2011 Clay Bennett/ Chattanooga Times Free Press

Well, You Have To Draw The Line Somewhere

June 20th, 2011

A not-so-funny thing happened in New Orleans this weekend at the Republican Leadership Conference. One of the invited speakers was FOX-favorite and Obama Impersonator Reggie Brown.

From Politico:
"A comedian impersonating President Obama made racially tinged jokes Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference before being pulled off the stage by an event organizer."

Here's what I found interesting:
"As Brown was preparing to make a Michele Bachmann joke, one of the conference’s officials came out to the lectern and told the comedian to leave the stage."

There is the appearance that Brown's act only became an issue for the organizers after he had moved on from racially based remarks about the President to roasting the Republican field. Others have noticed.

From Mediaite:
"On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asked his panel whether it was a big deal that a President Obama impersonator, Reggie Brown, spoke at the Republican Leadership Conference where he received laughs for his racially-sensitive jokes about the President, but was yanked off stage once he turned his attention to the Republican presidential nominees."

Hitch Shreds Mamet

June 20th, 2011

Having recently read David Mamet's jaw-droppingly shallow The Secret Knowledge: On The Dismantling Of American Culture, I was pleased to see that Christopher Hitchens also had endured its confused mixture of false history and pamphleteering. I was also surprised. I say this because my reaction to the whole of the work upon completion was, "Well... there went 2 days worth of reading I'll never get back." Considering Mr. Hitchen's ongoing battle with cancer, I expected his review to be more withering.

Hitch writes at The New Times Review of Books:
"Propagandistic writing of this kind can be even more boring than it is irritating. For example, Mamet writes in “The Secret Knowledge” that “the Israelis would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all.” Whatever one’s opinion of that conflict may be, this (twice-made) claim of his abolishes any need to analyze or even discuss it. It has a long way to go before it can even be called simplistic. By now, perhaps, you will not be surprised to know that Mamet regards global warming as a false alarm, and demands to be told “by what magical process” bumper stickers can “save whales, and free Tibet.” This again is not uncharacteristic of his pointlessly aggressive style: who on earth maintains that they can? If I were as prone to sloganizing as Mamet, I’d keep clear of bumper-sticker comparisons altogether."

Who Bears Responsibility?

June 20th, 2011

This NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted from June 9th to June 13th shows a shift towards holding Bush 2 more accountable for our current economic crisis.

Quote Of The Day

June 20th, 2011

"Between persons of equal income there is no social distinction except the distinction of merit. Money is nothing: character, conduct, and capacity are everything. There would be great people and ordinary people and little people, but the great would always be those who had done great things, and never the idiots whose mothers had spoiled them and whose fathers had left them a hundred thousand a year; and the little would be persons of small minds and mean characters, and not poor persons who had never had a chance. That is why idiots are always in favor of inequality of income (their only chance of eminence), and the really great in favor of equality."

-- George Bernard Shaw 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Anecdote For Fathers"

June 19th, 2011

Happy Father's Day. A poem to refelect upon by William Wordsworth.

Anecdote For Fathers (1798)

"I have a boy of five years old;
His face is fair and fresh to see;
His limbs are cast in beauty’s mould,
And dearly he loves me.

Quote Of The Day

June 19th, 2011

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
-- Samuel Johnson

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And You Thought The Bush Tax Cuts Were Bad?

Jun 16th, 2011

You may have heard about Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty's recent tax proposals. Most analysts have focused their attention on Pawlenty's insistence that his plan would spur an annual growth rate of 5%. Such a claim is, as economist Michael Ettlinger of the Center For American Progress put it, "patently ridiculous."

As TPM reported, withering criticism is coming from the right as well:
"The trend growth rate is not going to be 5% in the United States," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the CBO under President Bush and a top GOP advisor, told TPM. "The market just doesn't support that. It just doesn't."

While a brief spurt of high growth is not uncommon coming out of a deep recession, sustained 5% growth appears a bridge too far. Pawlenty cited expansion periods under Reagan and Clinton as models, but neither president achieved comparable numbers -- in fact from 1980-2000 there was only one time in which growth surpassed 5% at all, a 7.2% boom in 1984 that immediately leveled off the next year.

"It's impossible" Robert Reischauer, former CBO director under Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton and current president of the Urban Institute, told TPM. "You get growth because of investment, an increased labor force, a rise in human capital, and innovation. Add all those components together and they don't sum up to 5% given what the labor force is going to be and the investment possibilities are."

While a critique of so stunning a claim is necessary, it is perhaps more valuable to look at T-Paw's numbers next to the disastrous Bush cuts of 2001 and 2003. The crippling expansion of the deficit that would result from these policies is not hard to estimate... merely to fathom. If we are ever going to grapple with the U.S. debt in an adult manner, we have to reject this devotion to the provably false supply-side mantra of the tax-cut as "cure-all."

From Chuck Marr at The Center For Budget and Policy Priorities

Kevin Drum sums it up perfectly:
"As usual, a bone is thrown to us schmoes making 50 grand or so: our after-tax incomes would go up about 5%. Let's all go to Disneyland! But the real action is at the high end: income increases of 15-20% for the wealthy. Party time! And the super-rich millionaire class? It's Katy bar the door: they'll see their after-tax income go up by a walloping 33%. Time to buy that second yacht!

Say what you want about how boring Pawlenty is, but he knows his audience: scraps for the middle class who aren't in on the con while the wealthy who understand exactly what's going on rake in billions. Is that cynical behavior from this son of a milk truck driver? Sure. But hardly a surprise from anyone who knows the Republican Party's real power base. Pawlenty obviously knows it better than most."

Indeed. This proposal seems to have a lot less to do with organizing the country's finances than expanding the former Governor's campaign chest. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that the rest of the Republican field will embrace the plan generally. And this is dangerous.

Quote Of The Day

June 16th, 2011

"It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. 

And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success."
-- John Steinbeck

Monday, June 13, 2011

"The Weinerlogues"

June 13th, 2011

A dramatic performance indeed.

Raising Cain

June 13th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker

Here they come. The Republican Presidential "contenders" will be duking it out tonight in front of the American people in the second debate of the season. 

We can expect most of the afternoon to consist of "expert predictions" and "reading the tea leaves" which is amusing considering that the lineup is, for the most part, an utterly unpredictable collection of irresponsible rabble-rousers who don't stand a chance.

Brian Beutler has a fun piece this morning over at TPM:
"Not since the first head-to-CPU contest between Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue has the world waited so breathlessly for the kind of battle of the minds we're likely to witness Monday evening."

It is very disappointing to see that Gary Johnson, the two term Governor of New Mexico has been excluded from tonight's show. Frankly, his answers in the previous FOX News "debate" regarding the role of the military, the size of Pentagon budgets and the responsibility of government to adhere to the basic protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights made me sit up and take notice. 

I guess we can't have that sort of "sanity factor" potentially marring tonight's festivities.

Here's the line-up: Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and of course the new darling of FOX, Herman Cain.

Let's be honest. The real draw tonight is Cain. Not even Rep. Bachmann looks crazy or unqualified in comparison to the Pizza King's series of pronouncements over the last month. You find that too bold a statement?

Then you haven't been paying attention. Last week, Herman Cain made the most amazing proposal for security on the southern U.S. border I have heard in my adult lifetime.

Quote Of The Day

June 13th, 2011

"Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy."
-- Jose Marti

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Matter Of Time

June 12th, 2011

It was reported yesterday the the IMF was the target of a cyber attack which constituted a "very major breach." It would seem that the attack came from inside the headquarters of the organization over a period of months and is alleged to have been orchestrated at the behest of an as yet unidentified "nation state." From the wikileaks phenomena to Anonymous to the recent attacks against the Sony Gaming Network, it feels as if we are firmly within an era of new vulnerabilities. 

From the BBC:
"A cyber security expert told Reuters the infiltration had been a targeted attack, which installed software designed to give a nation state a "digital insider presence" at the IMF.

"The code was developed and released for this purpose," said Tom Kellerman, who has worked for the Fund.

Bloomberg quoted an unnamed security expert as saying the hackers were connected to a foreign government - however such attacks are very difficult to trace. The World Bank said it briefly cut its network connection with the Fund out "an abundance of caution".

"The World Bank Group, like any other large organisation, is increasingly aware of potential threats to the security of our information system and we are constantly working to improve our defences," said spokesman Rich Mills."

I suspect that it's only a matter of time before an intrusion of this kind actually is a game changer for the world economy.

Quote Of The Day

June 12th, 2011

"A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy."
-- Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 11th, 2011

"Only Americans can hurt America."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, June 10, 2011

Should I Say "Sorry" To Andy?

June 10th, 2011

I have been kind of rough with Andy lately. Last week, I noted that almost his entire machine was devoted to Weiner's weener. I then observed that Andy seemed to find Weiner's weener simply too throbbing to let go of. Today, I had the audacity to highlight the fact that his "Big Journalism" stooge, Ron Futrell, whose job it is to critique the failings of journalists, might have committed that little, bitty, oopsy-daisy error that traditional journalists call "LIBEL."

So... should I apologize to Andy? Ummm... I don't think so. But, it would be wrong if I didn't publish at least some of the kind words said in his defense. Right?

It's Really Not The Onion

June 10th, 2011

HT to Andrew Sullivan for this... Headlines that seem like they simply have to be Onion headlines now have their own tumblr. Here's a good one.

Just in case you think they're pulling your leg, they all have active links. Here is the original from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Quote Of The Day 2

June 10th, 2011

"The left and the right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet."
-- Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) discussing modern communication in 2009

A Frightening Perspective

June 10th, 2011

Augusto Pinochet and Henry Kissinger
Yesterday, Robert Parry wrote a piece drawing an analogy between the tactics of elites in Chile prior to the deposition of Salvador Allenede, particularly under the guidance of their U.S. sponsors, and the efforts we see today from groups like ALEC, The Koch enterprises and the GOP.

It really isn't as far-fetched as it should sound. There are dramatic similarities, for example, between El Mercurio and FOX News.

Wacky Misandrist's Big Adventure

June 10th, 2011
HT to Oliver Willis' new linkblog, Very Big Story

Some stories just make me scratch my head. Apparently, one Claudia Smith, 66, of California had two agendas this past week; buying clothes for mostly poor Mexican-American women and giving a public speech about how much she hates men.

From AP via MSNBC:
"A woman with a foul mouth, fat wallet and dislike for men bought $7,200 worth of clothing for more than 50 women at a Southern California discount store..."

"...Some customers blushed at the profanity Smith used to criticize men and dispense nonsensical advice, but many hugged Smith as they left the store."

You'd think in this day and age at least someone would've gotten video.

Smearing Maddow

June 10th, 2011
F. Grey Parker

Tucker Carlson likes to pretend he's a journalist. Which would be amusing if he weren't taken as seriously as he is. The latest exploitation of the "Weinergate" debacle is an attempt to tarnish MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Here's the "story:"

After publishing a love-link to Andy which includes video of Breitbart gleefully showing his cameraphone-pic of Weiner's actual naked weener (allegedly), Carlson began a series of near breathless "UPDATES." It would seem that Tuck was trying to re-cast the net, so to speak. Why just continue to humiliate Weiner when you can also attack the most prominent LGBT commentator in America, Rachel Maddow?

The first "UPDATE" involving Maddow sought merely to embarrass her.

It Costs Us MORE To Pollute

Jun 10th, 2011

Imagine being able to prevent 300,000 American sick days annually. That is nearly 2 1/2 million hours of American labor. Think how much this costs in terms of productivity, strength and stability for everyone from the standalone shops to the large corporations. Now, imagine fighting not to do so.

As Republicans continue their campaign to gut the major EPA accomplishments and proposals of the Obama Administration, Isaac Shapiro has published a detailed cost-benefit analysis of these regulations. It is increasingly clear that the conservative position is not merely anti-science or even anti-health... it's bad for business.

From Shapiro's Economic Policy Institute paper:
"Two broad conclusions emerge from this analysis. First, the dollar value of the benefits of the major rules finalized or proposed by the EPA so far during the Obama administration exceeds the rules’ costs by an exceptionally wide margin. Health benefits in terms of lives saved and illnesses avoided will be enormous. Expressed in 2010 dollars:

The combined annual benefits from all final rules exceed their costs by $32 billion to $142 billion a year. The benefit/cost ratio ranges from 4-to-1 to 22-to-1.

The combined annual benefits from four proposed rules examined here exceed their costs by $160 billion to $440 billion a year. The benefit/cost ratio ranges from 12-to-1 to 32-to-1."

One dramatic section deals explicitly with the regulations proposed but not yet in place.
Click Image To Enlarge

In light of Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) bringing the "TRAIN Act" to the floor of the house, the EPI numbers deserve some attention. 

Quote Of The Day

June 10th, 2011

"I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Emcee From Space

June 9th, 2011

In case you missed this, I think it's profound. One has to dig an astronaut quoting Bowie's "Space Oddity" from space.

"Uncharted Ground"

June 9th, 2011

If Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) maintains his resolve not to resign, Ben Pershing of The Washington Post notes that the investigatory process will find itself in potentially murky territory:

"Within hours of Weiner’s public confession Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, as the ethics panel is formally known, to launch an investigation. The panel issued a statement the next day, saying, “If and when an investigation is appropriate in any matter, the committee will carry out its responsibilities pursuant to our rules.”

But which rules, exactly?

The word “Twitter” does not appear in the House Code of Official Conduct, nor does “direct message” or “explicit photo.” Infidelity is not referenced, either, and while the means of communication may be new, lawmakers have generally been wary of policing each other’s sexual behavior.

“If the only evidence out there . . . clearly indicated that this was personal conduct only between consenting adults, I just don’t see a reason why the ethics committee would or should take it up,” said Robert L. Walker, the former staff director of both the House and Senate ethics panels. “Even if people think it’s reprehensible conduct, that doesn’t mean it’s an ethics violation.”

The House does have guidelines governing “official electronic communication content,” and rules permitting lawmakers to post content on external Web sites for “official purposes,” but it’s not clear whether Weiner’s Twitter account falls under those categories."

The Auschwitz Promotional Tour

Jun 9th, 2011

"I'm going to take you to Auschwitz, live... you can sign up now at"

Well, I guess there really is no limit to what the Crying Man-Baby will do for a buck. What better way for Glenn Beck to hype up enthusiasm for his new subscription-only service, GBTV, than to bring his unique brand of rabid conspiracy theories to...


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the man who has called Holocaust survivor and Jewish-American George Soros a "spooky dude" and a "puppet master" plans to use the the memory of an exterminated people for media gain. The fact that it wasn't long ago everyone from ADL head Abraham Foxman to Michele Goldberg to Ron Chisud accused Beck of outright anti-Semitism seems to have escaped him altogether.

The full text of his remarks from 6/7/2011(via)
"BECK: I am going to take a tour, and I will announce who I am going on this tour with. But I think it is pretty stunning who's hopefully taking me on this tour. I have never wanted to go because I know the story. I - this is going to be a train wreck, an absolute train wreck. But I think it is important, it's an important part of the story of 8-24. I'm going to Poland in a few weeks and I'm going to take you to Auschwitz, live, as I am taken on a tour of Auschwitz, as I prepare mentally and prepare the story for 8-24. I don't even know what that's going to be like. I have no idea what that's going to be like.

But there are going to be things, live events, including 8-24, with behind the scenes access, documentaries that you won't see anywhere else, interviews and things with world leaders, right there as they happen. It's going to be quite a wild summer. And you can sign up now at"

It's Different This Time

June 9th, 2011

Rachel Maddow on the current wave of Republican Hypocrisy surrounding "Weinergate."

Morality Vs Criminality

June 9th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker

Yes, this is another article about "Weinergate." What do we know? We know that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was responsible for the cheesy underwear tweetpic that has so enthralled all-media. We know that he may have used a Blackberry associated with his official House accounts for flirtatious chat and that might have cost the taxpayers, gee, tens of dollars. We also know that he lied about it. That's it. There really isn't much of an actual story here. Face it. As political sex scandals of the last several decades go, nothing much happened.

Quote Of The Day

Jan 9th, 2011

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path."
-- Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 8th, 2011

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world." 
-- Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 7th, 2011

"There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain."
-- Plato

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 6th, 2011

"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out."
-- Anton Chekhov

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 5th, 2011

"Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote." -- William E. Simon

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quote Of The Day

June 3rd, 2011

"In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so."
-- Immanuel Kant

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hartmann On The Valuation Of Work

June 2nd, 2011

Thom Hartmann examines the plutocratic valuation of work in contemporary America. I believe this is now no less than a moral issue.

Quote Of The Day

June 2nd, 2011

"Balancing a nominal budget will solve nothing, and attempting to achieve such a spurious balance will produce much mischief."
-- William Vickrey

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

June 1st, 2011

First of all, I admit I am a fan. Second of all, I have been taking crap for being a fan of Justin Timberlake for years. Nuts to that. This is genius. Here is his explanation to Lorne Michaels as to why he "is not going to sing" on the season finale of SNL as its host.

Breitbart Can't Get Enough Weiner

June 1st, 2011
Not necessarily safe for work. HT to Jenni for humor support.

Since I pointed out yesterday that Breitbart is fixated on Weiner, Andy has gotten even more excited. He really loves Weiner. He is definitely behaving like a guy who has been waiting for this particular Weiner his whole life. Perhaps this Weiner completes him. One thing is certain, he is going to ride this Weiner as long as he can. After all, this Weiner thing is getting bigger and bigger.

And all this breathless excitement is over... this weener?

We still don't know if this is, in fact, Weiner's weener. All we know for sure is that it is somebody's weener. Let's say that, just maybe, this is Weiner's weener. Frankly, we all got a much better glimpse of Marky Mark's weener back in the day and it was on the side of a third of America's buses.

Maybe Stewart is right, and Weiner's "d**k is just not that big."

SO. How do we prove it? A lineup?

Sigh. I can't take all this spectacular salaciousness but I will say one more thing...

I am secretly longing for Dick Armey to come to the defense of Weiner. I think Andy's head would explode.