Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'M SURE THIS REFLECTS POORLY ON ME BUT: When I read about the "19 year old Oregon State student arrested for attempted terrorist bombing in Portland" my very first thought it "well I wonder how badly this poor schmuck was entrapped." Which I don't stop thinking when I learn he was carrying a fake bomb the FBI had provided him.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NANOWRIMO UPDATE AFTER TWO FULL WEEKS: Well over 30,000 words, so I am on pace for a victory. Actually winning my novel, though, may take more than 50,000 words, and another draft to get it to the point where I'd actually show it to somebody. A task that may require more strength than I can summon, though I haven't had a problem yet pumping out 2,000 words on a daily basis. When I have to worry more about the quality of those 2,000 words though, I might encounter problems.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SO IT'S NOVEMBER: And it's National Novel Writing Month. Gonna give it the ol' incredibly expensive private university try. Follow my progress here. Posting will hopefully be light for awhile.
QUICK RALLY TO BE IRONIC RECAP: Like most gatherings of crowds of people, you definitely will have a better time following everything on television and the Internet. I don't think they were expected a couple hundred thousand people so we either needed more volume on the speakers or more speakers in general because it was really hard to follow near the back. Quite possibly they could have used some more jumbotrons near the back too, I got caught in this terrible crush between people watching the few jumbotrons they had and people trying to cross the street and it felt like the opening stage of good old fashioned panicky trampling. Luckily sanity triumphed over fear and that did not happen. Missed most of the funny signs. Saw a lady dressed like a pimp whose sign said "It's hard out here for a pimp" on one side and "Pimp my Government" on the other. Also saw GOD HATES TEA. Restaurants blocks away were completely full, I don't think they anticipated the business they got either. People were defiantly not angry, so I guess the Rally worked!

Friday, October 29, 2010

CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT BUT HATE AL GORE?: Become a climate hawk!

And a third thing:  I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve been at some of the cutting edge of ignoring, hand-waving and justifying away tail risk in a manner profitable to the top 0.1% of Americans and that maximized the social costs to everyone else.   So I’m also conscious of that move by elites as well.

So you see the dilemma.   Severe warming, impossible to reverse once it has happened, with serious tail risks.   But my natural reaction is to hate hippies.  What can I do?  And how can I think of myself?

And then Rortybomb linked to an article introducing climate hawks. And notes that if you have climate hawks, then you have climate doves, who are the Pollyanna-ish faith-in-human-progress types who think if we just keep investing in technology and stuff, things will work out on their own! But now that we have climate hawks they'll be taken seriously by the media because hawks are always serious people who get to go on tv and have the debate revolve around them. Yes, I'm sure this will totally work.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

OBAMA AND THE BLOGGERS: Atrios is big time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

STEWART MANDEL ON BIG EAST FOOTBALL: Troof:

I've long said the Big East's highs and lows tend to be exacerbated by the league's small size. When West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers all rose into the top 10 in 2006 and stars like Ray Rice, Pat White, Steve Slaton and Brian Brohm were pushing for the Heisman, we in the media were rightfully trumpeting the conference's rise from the ashes; but if the 12-team SEC ever had three good teams and a bunch of also-rans, we'd be ripping it. Four years later, the entire league is struggling. No Big East team is currently ranked, and that might be the case the rest of the season. Obviously, that would never happen in the Big Ten.
(Mentions how easily Big East coaches are poached.)

It's hard to maintain success with such instability, which means the Big East will inevitably have to make some changes. Some of the schools may need to start investing more heavily in their programs (no small feat in the current economy) to make it enticing for good coaches to stay. But most likely, the league will need to expand. We know the Big East has been discussing just that, with TCU in particular. Even a 10-team league provides greater assurance of having at least a couple of bell cows in any given year to help avoid debacles like this season.

Highs and lows just look worse or better when you're an 8-team league. This is still my go-to board for pointless Internet Big East expansion talk.
WE CAN REBUILD YOU--SO WHY NOT ENLIST?: Darpa wants better, more responsive prosthetics. Danger Room's had a lot of cutting edge technology updates lately, so if you want to know what our absolutely uncuttable military budget is going towards, check them out. (Not that better prosthetics should be cut, obviously. But maybe we need not squander cash on Johnny 5's lil brudda. Well, actually that's kind of cool too. Since military spending is untouchable it's the easiest way for the government to fund science. Just make up some random military application and you got your grant! And then the military application fails but we still have the science done and it leaks into "private" (heh, indeed) industry and maybe we all get to retire with robot butlers.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GOOD THING WE'RE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN ELENA KAGAN WILL NOT FAVOR CORPORATE INTERESTS: The Roberts court hearts the Chamber of Commerce.
THE LIMITS OF "A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES" IN ONE PARAGRAPH: DougJ. If I had to pick one reason why I've gradually stopped paying attention to Reason as a whole (not including individual writers that I like), it would be their fidelity to the idea that both sides are just as bad. No no, I lived through the double-Os, I remember the double-Os, and there is definitely a more destructive party, which is halfheartedly opposed by an incompetent party.

Monday, October 25, 2010

OMAR KHADR'S PLEA DEAL: Daphne Eviatar points out that the former child soldier plead guilty to more crimes than he was charged with. So yay rule of law yet again. This is of course after the judge in the trial ruled his certainly-coerced testimony was admissible; the deck was obviously stacked against him from the beginning. At least he won't have to be in jail much longer, he gets transferred to Canada in a year where his illegal sentencing will be invalid. Seriously though, making an underage criminal confess to things he hasn't been charged with? Even Florida prosecutors wouldn't do that! Though they're probably taking notes, Florida is close to Guantanamo after all...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

JEEZ, JOHN YOO IS RIGHT THERE, THEY COULD HAVE JUST ASKED HIM: Dave Weigel is embedded in a conference in Berkeley hosted by the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, dedicated to understanding the Tea Party movement. Often I wonder if the Berkeley higher-ups understand how brand-destructive it is to keep Yoo around. I certainly think "Yoo" first when I think about the place, and the hypocrisy therein, and how ridiculously easy it must be to get tenure in law school provided you went to the right schools, and why didn't anyone tell me that was such an easy path in high school? Stupid guidance counselors, tellin' me I should learn metalwork...(not really.)

Article suggests, by the way, that Dave does quality work when reporting on partisan movements in general, not just rightwing movements. But he said mean things on Journolist once!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

THANK YOU, AUBURN TIGERS: For preventing the embarrassing spectacle of the 2010 incarnation of the LSU Tigers continuing to be a viable candidate for the fake national title game. The Hat even tried his patented "mass confusion after an LSU timeout to try and get the other team to do something stupid" at a 4th and 6 and it didn't work. Ordinarily I'm all for chaos in college football but it's the chaos of established powers going down, not chaos as embodied by Les Miles.

Friday, October 22, 2010

IT'S THE RATFUCKING, STUPID: Would it really surprise anyone that a Republican activist called Anita Hill a few weeks before the election just to get her name out there and get the usual suckers agitated about ancient culture war bullshit again? Katha Pollitt is just making that obvious point here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YOU WOULD THINK NPR WOULD SUPPORT AN IRONIC RALLY: But no, NPR employees banned from the Million Moderate March/Rally To Keep Fear Alive. (Late to this, I know.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'M NOT EXACTLY A SOCCER IN AMERICA CONSPIRACY THEORIST BUT: Every time I see a couple of soccer highlights in those ESPN Top Tens I'm a little bit mystified, especially when they're from Euroleagues which, to my knowledge, ESPN barely covers. They can't even pronounce the team names correctly ("Ajax" does not sound how it looks) but there they are, big soccer shots in the best plays of the day or the week or whatever time period they're covering. Curious. Softening us up for the black helicopters, taking away our native football, making us care about the World Cup, et cetera.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BLOGISTAN IS BACK BABY: I may even have, like, links and stuff again! But nothing today. I think I may have slept twelve straight hours last night. Vacations really wear you out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

GONE FISHIN': Be back Tuesday maybe.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DEPT. OF HISTORICAL SARTORIAL INTERNET MOMENTS: Put This On has discovered Craig Sager.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THREE LINKS: No time for thinking:

Silly article arguing because there's no undefeated teams left in the NFL in a year with no salary cap, socialism always fails. Mmm-hmm.

People angry the latest Nobel laureate for literature isn't left-wing enough.

Illario Pantano, congressional candidate, fears Chinese radarmen from the moon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DEPT. OF MOVIES I HAVEN'T YET SEEN (YET FEEL COMPLETELY QUALIFIED TO POST ABOUT BECAUSE IT'S THE INTERNET): Here's a Pandagon thread where Amanda reacts to people who didn't like her positive review of The Social Network. Hearst didn't have a sled, biopics never tell the whole story, etc. As far as I can tell, though, the problem with The Social Network isn't just that it fictionalizes its subject, it's that it links Zuckerberg's success with his misogyny while omitting his long-time, present-at-the-founding-events-of-Facebook girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. This Priscilla Chan:

"Hey Priscilla, do you want a job at the facebook?" Zuckerberg asked a passing friend. "I'd love a job at facebook," Priscilla Chan '07 responded, offering him a Twizzler.

Look at that! That's adorable. That's a movie moment. Think of Wes Anderson doing this story (and yes, I am thinking of Rushmore here, since it's a similar sort of "young genius" story (not that I think Facebook is a work of genius) and of course because of the races of the couples in that movie.) Why exclude Chan? Why make a Zuckerberg movie about misogyny when--I mean--you can't even argue "well, okay, we left people out, but he was really super misogynist, we're getting the essence of the story correct"? Because he complained about a girl on his Livejournal once? That's absurd, and clearly the work of a person who said ""I've heard of Facebook, in the same way I've heard of a carburetor." This is not a person who understands the way people use the Internet. (This is a person who can't even use Google, apparently.) So this is where Sorkin fairly leaves himself open to criticism: he made a story about bad people and attached real names to those bad people that just isn't fictionalized, it's directly opposite to reality.

(Let's not get into poor Brenda Song doing the "crazy Asian chick" role. London Tipton apparently is more nuanced than her TSN character. And when your Disney channel role is more complex than your Fincher-Sorkin role...yeah.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

DEPT. OF THINGS AMERICANS ACTUALLY DON'T DO WELL: Toxic sludge versus Hungary: one executive arrested. Oil leak versus Gulf of Mexico: zero executives arrested. Compare and contrast!
DEPT. OF THINGS AMERICANS ACTUALLY DO WELL: Free speech. Or at least free speech as it relates to religion (qualifier added as I am sure there are some kinds of speech the Europeans are freer about than we are--pornography maybe? I mean, it's definitely not illegal here, but it's easy to legislate out of public spaces.) A veil ban would never be legal in this country. The closest we've come to that is--what was that lady's name who wanted to wear a veil for her driver's license? Ah yes, Sultaana Freeman. Apparently her case is still ongoing (what Wikipedia says, and I can't quite google up the final resolution to her case at the moment.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MANKIW'S NOT EVEN TRYING ANYMORE: I'll spare you his actual words and go straight to the K-Drum rebuttal:

Do you see the card he palmed? Basically, the effect of letting the Bush cuts expire is so tiny that the only way to make it noticeable is to compound it over 30 years, which reduces his eventual payout from $2,000 to $1,700. (And even that's probably overstated, since it assumes Mankiw pays all his taxes at their full statutory rate, which virtually no one does.) The rest of the reduction down to $1,000 comes solely from the estate tax. But even on the heroic assumption that you should take this year's zero rate as the baseline for comparison, the estate tax has an exemption of several million dollars. Unless Mankiw leaves his kids a helluva lot more than they need for a down payment on a house, they won't pay a dime of estate tax.

In general estate tax agitating is the most nakedly cynical Republican plank, as--given the income distributions in this country--it gets a whole lot of people to at least vote for something that doesn't affect them at all, if it doesn't get them to vote against their own economic interests.
ORDINARILY ALABAMA LOSING WOULD BE A FANTASTIC VICTORY FOR TEAM CHAOS: But now we have to deal with the far worse alternative of Ohio State--whose best victory is a win over an ACC team--as number one team in the country. Exhibit A in the "not only do AP voters not watch games, they also don't check if wins were quality wins either" thesis. You know who should be ahead of Ohio State? Nevada, whose best win is at least over a Pac-10 team. But no, Sweater Vest State won a title awhile back, and they have lots of fans, so...yeah, totally number one material.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

GOOFIEST CROSSOVER EVER?: Infestation! IDW's line-wide crossover. What's IDW's line? GI Joe, Transformers, Star Trek, and Ghostbusters. It's also the most instantly-dated crossover ever, as it has all those properties versus--yes--zombies. George Romero, what hath you wrought? At least Abnett and Lanning are writing it, so it'll at least be professional.

Friday, October 08, 2010

AND SOME DAYS YOU GOT NOTHING: So you go to the recipe box: Kimchi bacon fried rice. Bacon makes everything better! Kimchi makes everything better! So this should be doubly better. Two issues: 1. I have to go to the Korean supermarket miles out of my way to get good kimchi. 2. I'm not allowed to eat much bacon anymore, due to a questionable LDL number. Thus making this will require careful planning.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

ELIZABETH WARREN HAS A POSSE: And some days I like Obama again: Obama "not signing" HR 3808. Warren: "The President is exactly right. It’s important to think through the unintended consequences on consumer protection before we finalize a bill like this." Not that I completely clear on the effects of HR 3808, but nobody else seems to be, and then there's the whole thing of Congressmen staring at each other, saying "Did you vote for this? I didn't vote for this!" And I may be a simple man, but if Warren says it shouldn't be put into law, than dadgummit, it shouldn't be put into law, blast yer ornery hide.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

MOSS TO VIKINGS: Heard people theorize this is basically Belichick conceding that they can't win this season, so they might as well get something for Moss. But did you see that Dolphins game?? Belichick has basically concluded his special teams are unstoppable. Moss was thus superfluous.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I MEAN LOOK AT THESE GUYS: They probably have every scene from Heat memorized:

No wonder they're shooting people, running guns, and still getting big government contracts.

Monday, October 04, 2010

ONE MUSTACHE TO UNDERSTAND THEM ALL: Tom Friedman wants a party more responsive to Tom Friedman. Via. I mean, Friedman is fish-in-a-barrel obviously terrible, but I'm glad people are still making the effort with him. Involves phrases like "[t]he phenomenally wealthy New York Times columnist" and sentences like:

According to Friedman, "at least two serious groups"—presumably within his usual plutocrat/technocrat circles—are planning third-party challenges, because it is time for a "superconsensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now."
The smart people are always in charge! They just need a Mustache to be their mediator.
ONE MORE CFB TIDBIT: Dennis Dodd:

There was bad, bad news for the Broncos on Sunday. They were jumped in both polls by Oregon for No. 3 in the rankings despite having superior accomplishments and super schedule strength to this point. Oregon has played a I-AA (Portland State) and a team that might as well be I-AA (New Mexico). Boise has played two ranked teams, one in the top 10 on the "road" (Virginia Tech at FedEx Field).
For the previous two weeks Boise, at No. 3, had gained on No. 2 Ohio State and pulled away from the No. 4 team. After one week of WAC play -- against admittedly horrible New Mexico State -- the voters have fallen in love with Oregon and are already damning the Broncos for their schedule.
So even though this is the year Boise State was double pinky-swear promised that if they won out, they would get to play in the fake title game, voters are already voting an Oregon team with a lesser resume over them. Yep. Not that the AP Poll contributes to the BCS standings, but the polls that do are usually even more predictable than the AP, so--yeah. Boise gets screwed again.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

THE WEEKEND IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA MEMBERS KINDA SORTA WATCHING COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Well they managed to bounce Texas out of the Top 25, so they at least watched that game. But there's no way Ohio State deserves to be ahead of Oregon, Boise and TCU after a cruddy performance against Illinois, other than, you know, the institutional inertia of CFB media types. I certainly hope they do not keep this "Bama and Team Sweater Vest on a collision course!" narrative for the whole season, because nobody wants to see tOSU lose that crystal football game again.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

BECAUSE WE NEED A LITTLE CORRECTIVE TO THE CONTINUING PORTRAYAL OF DHARUN RAVI AND MOLLY WEI AS HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTERS: This looks pretty good. A little biased obviously due to the poster's relationship with the accused, but still. People, please, there was no sex tape. And contra what I linked to, there's no evidence that anything was actually livestreamed on iChat.

There is (relatively) decent discussion at this Sepia Mutiny post and at this Gawker post. Approve of what Abhi said to razib here:

That is the central question Razib. If you think he is a sociopath then he becomes an isolated case and all we have to do to fix the problem is hang him. If you think he is not a sociopath, but a very average kid that made a stupid decision (and this is what I think), then that means that the problem will be a lot more difficult to fix and requires all of us to help. Sexting blackmail, Facebook bullying, casual homophobia, all of these things are rampant and many people are working to make progress in changing how kids view the acceptability of each of these problems. I feel "our" energy would be better utilized in education in these areas (especially as related to the South Asian American community) then in being shocked.
 But shock is so much easier! Let's git those no good cyberbullies!

Friday, October 01, 2010

THE STYLE GUIDE FOR REPORTING ON JAPAN, AS ACTUALLY PRACTICED: Our Man provides it:

2. Do not use pictures of Japanese people behaving normally, such as shopping at CostCo, walking around IKEA or eating a hamburger, as this will imply to potential readers that you don't know the real Japan. As everyone knows, the real Japan is only evident in pictures of geisha, sumo wrestlers and toothless grinning old men, or if 19 and a beddable girl, in cosplay gear, or French maid outfit pouting for the camera making peace signs with her other nubile friends. Bonus points if they are in high school uniforms. Other acceptable cover art include blurry shots of commuters, female fashion victims walking on zebra crossings in the rain, or robots/people in multicoloured motorbike helmets.

Print out the whole guide, memorize it, and you too can be a reporter for foreign media in Japan!
EVEN WITH ALL THE IRONY IN THE WORLD I COULD NOT BUY THIS: National Collector's Mint 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Collector's Coin:

Then, in two separate strikings, the skyline of the Twin Towers and the silhouette of the U.S.S. New York – clad in a total 14 mg .999 pure silver actually recovered from the vaults beneath the ashes of Ground Zero – are inset with a jeweler’s precision, rising up into a 3-dimensional sculpture. The obverse is double dated: 2001-2011. The special reverse features the United States Department of Justice – FBI insignia, along with the mottos: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” and “JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL.” This unique and unusual piece is minted under exclusive license, and will never be released for circulation.

I guess the FBI insignia is there so we never forget how bad our intelligence services are.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

THE INTERNET REVENGE SQUAD IS FULL OF SHIT, AS USUAL: This "Rutgers freshman commits suicide after he finds out his roommate caught him doing the act on camera" story is driving me up the wall. I mean the media cannot even get basic facts of the case straight. Read this. According to Tyler Clementi himself at no point were his sexual acts broadcast on the Internet. He made sure they weren't. "[M]eanwhile I turned off and unplugged his computer, went crazy looking for other hidden cams....and then had a great time." Look at Dharun Ravi's twitter page. The only thing he witnessed was two dudes making out. That he watched on his friend's computer. And his friend--Molly Wei--well she needs TO BURN IN HELL too apparently, because it was her computer. Because a whole lot of assholes have a righteous cause or something, and facts are superfluous. Even though it's hard to get "bullying" out of the facts of this case, but still, this must be part of the national gay bullying phenomenon! It just has to. Look, it's not like Ravi has nothing to answer for here (Wei seems to have next to nothing to answer for, but still, shitheads gonna hate) but it's impossible to read that Gawker link above there and get to "Dharun Ravi practically pushed Tyler Clementi off that bridge." Unless you're a member of the Internet Revenge Squad, who always get their man, or woman, because on the Internet revenge is a dish served incredibly easily.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WELL YES, THERE'S A NEW TAIBBI TEA PARTY ARTICLE: And it's fantastic, as it usually is, but I would like to note this undercurrent of Taibbi hate from odd sources, like erstwhile "liberal" twitterers, or people who post in the Balloon Juice comments section. Think it's closely related to Greenwald hatred. He's just not a blue team member, and the true blue people know this and resent him for it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WAIT, THIS ISN'T GOING TO MESS UP THE SOCIAL NETWORK'S PERFECT SCORE ON ROTTEN TOMATOES, IS IT?: Jeff Jarvis did not like it, because it's not very accurate at all about the founding of Facebook or Zuckerberg or anything else. Which, for me, is more reassuring, because the idea of a movie that's about the founding of Facebook and how a rich, entitled Harvard kid became more rich and more entitled is not really something I'm interested in. And since the trailers tell me that's what The Social Network is going to be about I'm thinking the trailers are doing the movie a disservice. The trailers are telling me this is the story of Zuck starring Justin Timberlake and Fake Michael Cera and that's not much of a hook, aside from the "directed by David Fincher" part. A movie that owes its existence to some Hollywood producer saying "Facebook? Everybody uses Facebook! We'll make a mint!" is paradoxically difficult to sell, going by all the people dismissing "that Facebook movie." Because--yes! They are right! A Facebook movie does sound dumb! I'd be avoiding it myself if the reviews weren't so positive.

Monday, September 27, 2010

WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT FAMILY DICTATORSHIPS RARELY LASTING PAST THREE GENERATIONS?: Meet the Dear Leader in waiting:

Jae H. Ku, director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said there was a stark contrast between this transition of power and the one that occurred when Kim Jong Il took command after the 1994 death of his father—“Great Leader” Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founder.
Ku said the “Dear Leader” was “groomed for the job over a good 20 years” and had solidified his power by the time of his father’s death.
“Now we have a person who has been groomed for the job in less than two or three years,” he said of the Dear-Leader-in-Waiting, Kim Jong Un. “It’s amazing—we know so little about this guy. We have so little to work with.”
 Title refers to some article I remember reading that said dictatorships like the Kims do not last beyond one or two transfers of power, that I can't google back into existence at the moment. Kim Jong Un is not the guy who got arrested trying to get into Tokyo Disneyland, by the way.
FORGOT TO POST YESTERDAY TOO: Whatever, it's the weekend. Good to see Texas get crushed. Shame Alabama lost, more BCS teams with unblemished records means less chance for CHAOS!

Oh, and usually the Big East isn't the worst football league. People always think it is, because it's the smallest, but usually there are at least two BCS leagues behind it (the ACC and whatever other league has a bunch of shameful losses to lower division teams.) This year? I mean there are no losses to FCS teams like the ACC, but there are plenty of head to head losses versus the ACC, and a lack of wins over BCS schools in general. It really is the worst BCS conference, and probably sub-Mountain West and WAC as well since there are no Boise or Utah caliber teams.

Friday, September 24, 2010

HAYEK FORGOT TO TELL ME ABOUT THE DRUG WAR: Conor Friedersdorf's shortcut to serfdom. In Forbes! I forgot they had bought True/Slant--it looks like they didn't change it at all, just slapped their logo on the top of everyone's pages.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TWO POSTS CONCERNING JAPAN: To make up for my zero posts about Japan yesterday, and my zero posts about anything yesterday:

1. If you're wondering why a Chinese fishing boat is raising Japan-China tensions to an uncomfortably high level, Shisaku has some answers. China has not forgotten the 19th century--probably a good thing in general since they had a lousy 19th century. But not good in this case, where they are remembering the past a little too clearly.

2. D. finds a Japanese equivalent of a Tea Partier. Or a nativist, or a God-and-guns type, or whatever, these cross-cultural "X is the Y of Z" comparisons are never exact. Love D.'s blog, if you've ever been tempted by the "Japan IS JUST SO DIFFERENT" line of thinking he's always there to beat it out of you. Put it this way: suspecting the politicians you don't like are secretly foreigners is not a strictly American phenomenon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PROFESSOR HENDERSON'S DAY OFF: Internet retirement, of course, is about as permanent as professional wrestling retirement, and as much of a gimmick, but he has lain down his keyboard. Or fired the person he hired to type things on his keyboard, thanks to that Marxist Obama! But he's not rich though. Everyone he knows has a person to type things into their keyboards. Their jewel-encrusted keyboards made of pure ivory.

Anyway, Henderson deleted his original piece that started all this, but Delong rescued it from the cyberaether. And commented on it. And Felix Salmon, and--John Scalzi?! You know your post has made it when it escapes your little corner of the blogosphere.

EDIT: Though maybe it isn't a gimmick retirement, since the original post was done over the strenuous objections of his wife.

Monday, September 20, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF UNUSUAL CORPORATE CROSSOVERS: Colonel Sanders guest starring in Phantasy Star Portable 2. Usually it's the video game characters appearing on the limited collector's glasses...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ARRGH, AND THEN THAR BE SOME DAYS WHEN YE DON'T HAVE TWO POSTS TO SWAB TOGETHER: Thank the ghost of Davy Jone's lockers that those days also happen to be--ARRRR--fictional Internet holidays. Arrrr. Verily. No, wait, that's for International Talk Like An Asgardian Day...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SHE WAS ON TWENTY-TWO EPISODES OF POLITICALLY INCORRECT?!?: Those poor Media Matters and Think Progress interns are going to be doing mad overtime! Except non-profits don't pay overtime. Well, whatever! The effort will be there for their sub-subsistence wages.

So anyway, she--the one, the only Christine O'Donnell--was on that Bill Maher show quite often. One wonders since she was on so much, and in various other media places as well, during her culture warrior years in the 90s that it won't hold back her campaign that much. This is not somebody running a squeaky clean campaign and somebody finds her college thesis and finds something questionable. No, this is somebody with a huge video trail, and when so much stuff gets leaked at once the overall impact is muted. Like today's OMG SHE DABBLED IN WITCHCRAFT THAT'S HILARIOUS. More or less hilarious than the masturbation stuff? Or thinking God would magically whisk Jewish refugees to safety from the Nazis so she wouldn't have to lie to them? There's just so much there to point and laugh at that perhaps the overall impact is blunted.

Besides: way more attractive than Sarah Palin. Ain't even gonna lie about this. Especially in her S.A.L.T. years.

Friday, September 17, 2010

YOUR E-MAIL CHAIN FORWARD OF THE DAY: Oh, and happy Yom Kippur:

ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH CALENDAR FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17,2010 YOM KIPPUR
WILL MARK YEAR 5771

ACCORDING TO THE CHINESE CALENDAR THE YEAR IS 4708

THIS MEAN THE JEWS WENT WITHOUT CHINESE FOOD FOR 1,063 YEARS

Stolen from wlu_lax6 in The Swamp.
SO IS HAROLD KOH STARTING TO ACT A LITTLE LIKE JOHN YOO?: I'm no legal mind--I'm barely a mind--but: Hmmm.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

THE LATEST IN VIDEOTAPING WHILE NOT BEING A COP: Carlos Miller covers this stuff all the time, but this one looks particularly bad:


It was no surprise to her when she pulled up to the theater and learned that the officer who had detained her son was the same officer who had detained him in March 2009 after he was accused of entering the theater without paying for a ticket.
The same officer who arrested her on wiretapping charges after she videotaped him in a public parking lot of the movie theater.
The same officer who is named in a federal lawsuit she has against the Boynton Beach Police Department.
His name is Robert Kellman.
“He is angry at me for the lawsuit so he’s taking it out on my son,” Ford said. “He is a ticking time bomb.”

Lady gets arrested for photographing cops during her son's initial arrest, which isn't illegal, files lawsuit, son gets arrested as a retaliation. That's a whole lotta abuse of power! Stuff like this is what drives good people to libertarianism..

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WHEN IN DOUBT, LINK TO YVES SMITH: Or Tim Duy posting on her blog:

What it all boils down to is this: There apparently is no motivation for global central banks to stop directing capital inflows at the US in an effort to support mercantilist objectives. If it isn’t China, it will be some other economy. And equally apparent, there is no motivation among US policymakers to address such government directed capital flows. Which will leave politicians falling back on ultimately harmful trade barriers. The absolute inability of US policymakers to seriously address a global financial architecture where a rule of the game is “when in doubt, by Dollars” will ultimately have serious consequences via disruptive adjustment when the system can no longer be maintained, via either external or internal forces.
And to think originally I was just going to post something from this post (actually by Yves):

Big finance has an unlimited credit line with governments around the globe. “Most subsidized industry in the world” is inadequate to describe this relationship. Banks are now in the permanent role of looters, as described in the classic Akerlof/Romer paper. They run highly leveraged operations, extract compensation based on questionable accounting and officially-subsidized risk-taking, and dump their losses on the public at large.
But the subsidies go beyond that. To list only a few examples: we have near zero interest rates, which allow bank to earn risk free profits simply by borrowing short and buying longer-dated Treasuries. We have the IRS refusing to look into violations of REMIC rules, which govern mortgage securitizations. We have massive intervention to prop up real estate prices, with the main objective to shore up banks; any impact on consumers is an afterthought.

Which is disturbing! But it's, umm, known disturbing. This Japan vs China vs us currency manipulation, government-directed dollar flow stuff, it's a bit newer to me, and something that I was looking for more info on. So it goes first!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

AND THE MARCH TO US ALL FLYING TOTALLY NUDE, UNCONSCIOUS, AND HANGING FROM THE CEILING LIKE SLABS OF BEEF CONTINUES: "They’d sit at an angle with no more than 23 inches between their perch and the seat in front of them — a design that could appeal to low-cost airlines that have floated the idea of offering passengers standing-room tickets on short flights." Air travel IN THE FUTURE sort of sucks. Where's my goddam jetpack??? Via Collette Bennett.

Monday, September 13, 2010

BUT, BUT, SAINT RONALD OF RAY-GUN PROMISED ME IT WOULD TRICKLE DOWN: But it actually doesn't. And it doesn't give the government additional revenue in some silly "a rising tide lifts all boats" way either. Nope, tax cuts for the rich leave the rich in the same state they were before their taxes were cut: rich! How very convenient for them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FIORINA WAS JUST PART OF THE GENERAL PATTERN, APPARENTLY: HP's board = total mess. Read! Be appalled! And not just at the board but at the large figures people command for being in charge of fairly terrible companies like HP. There's some talk of reform here:

But when I asked her what could be done about a board like H.P.’s, she lit up. Under the new Dodd-Frank bill, she said, shareholders for the first time will be able to nominate their own candidate for the board. To do so, the nominating shareholders have to hold 3 percent of the stock — for three years.

That was a high bar, but not an impossible one, she believed. She said Calpers — the giant California public pension fund — “and a couple of its buddies could get together” and nominate a director or two.

She added: “It won’t work unless you can leverage extreme shareholder unhappiness. You can’t find a better example of that than at H.P.”


Which is something, I guess, though giant public employee unions would not be my preferred agents to reform corporate boards. Via the invaluable Felix Salmon twitter.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

HAPPY REPUBLICAN THANKSGIVING!: Trademark Jim Henley. Where "never forget" means "always fight."

Friday, September 10, 2010

THIS PHIL DAVISON THING: Here (just the first link I saw.) People are mentioning Chris Farley's Matt Foley but I think it has more of the purely energetic cadence of a professional wrestling promo. As the blogger in my link suggests, someone told him passion makes a good speech so passion was what he went with. Though at least part of it was heartfelt--he's between jobs and probably really needed that gig. Well, maybe he can parlay Youtube fame into some actual cash, like that Double Rainbow guy. Though considering he didn't even know what Youtube was before this...well let's hope he has good management. And that he doesn't end up on the wingnut dole like his lifelong Republican profile suggests (and he's pretty emotional in his speech, suggesting he might be a true believer.) Any dole is better than no dole, of course.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

LATEST BREAKTHROUGH FROM BLOGISTAN MEMETIC LABS (FORMERLY THE BLOGISTAN GLORIOUS MINISTRY OF INFORMATION): We'll start calling Barack Obama....wait for it....Status (Qu)O! Get it? Quo sounds like O, and Barry is dedicated to not rocking the boat, and...ummm...it's a humorous sort of thing, to say, since...since they sound alike....yeah. Too Easterbrook?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

THINGS NOT TO CUT OUT OF THE JAPANESE BUDGET: Because--hey! they're hurtin' too--but the JET program should be maintained, argues Debito Aridou. True, it completely fails as an English instruction program, but the real goal of the program is cultural exchange and it succeeds at that. A solution to Japan's well-known problem with teaching people the English language should be sought elsewhere, goes the argument.
RETAIL INVESTORS CONTINUE TO FLEE THE STOCK MARKET: Zero Hedge. I'm pretty sure "retail" means what I think it means, reg'lar old investors in mutual funds and such, not investment banks and their employees. Just in general I am never quite sure how to take Zero Hedge. All the gold stuff seems to be the purview of cranks. And yet just because one is a crank doesn't mean there isn't an oligarchy dedicated to looting the middle class before it seals itself away in its guarded compounds.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

LOOK, I HATE MURDOCH AS MUCH AS THE NEXT PERSON WHO HATES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY: But this "Murdoch is in business with North Korea!" thing is weak weakass tea. A Fox unit publishing crappy mobile phone games--and only two crappy movie tie-in games, so those are like the worst possible type of games ever, mobile games and movie tie-in games both being on the low end of gaming quality--that were developed in the DPRK is barely greater than nothing. Though I guess it's all right in a "turnabout is fair play" sense. But not in a "being as bad as the villain is bringing us down to the villain's level!" sense.

Monday, September 06, 2010

WELL--HAPPY LABOR DAY: A holiday when you're supposed to enjoy yourself!

The first-ever Labor Day took place on September 5, 1882. It was dedicated to honoring the efforts of America's working class--and it was founded specifically to provide recreation and amusement to them. Isn't it good to know that the government acknowledges your hard work?


Yes! No supernatural beings! No wars to enshrine! Not even any genocide to feel bad about if you start to wonder who was giving thanks for what. Hope you didn't have to work, whoever you are. Though I know some of you did and that's a darn shame. The government probably hates you.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

ANOTHER ENTRY IN THE "WORTHWHILE COMMENTS FOUND IN OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOGS" DEPARTMENT: And possibly the first entry in the "What Liberals Actually Believe versus Caricatures of What Liberals Believe" Department? Who knows! I post lots of stuff. But surely this is among the first entries in the latter Department.

Anyway Erik Kain wrote something, and Larison responded, and Larison is always worth reading. But then the commenters get talking about what liberals actually believe, and there's some neat stuff there. Here's Spiffy McBang:

More over, lefties today nearly always show awareness of the fact that the theory of government intervention to make lives better and the practical application do not match up, or even close to it. This seems to be what a lot of people look at when they scoff at liberal thinking- aspects of old-school liberalism like the beer regulation Kain wrote about not too long ago that made no sense at all. But the idea of government knowing what’s best is definitely not part of current lefty theory; you don’t read anything like that even from people like Digby or Glenn Greenwald, and you are more likely to see government bashing from them over issues like privacy and war than anything positive.


And Pacific moderate:

Indeed the notion that people on the left are automatically enamored of “ever-expanding government” is a clich├ęd accusation of right-wing bloggers, and unworthy of someone of Daniel’s intellect and temperament. In fact, my impression of plenty on the left is that they’re particularly suspicious of governmental intervention and control over individuals. Free speech, opposition to censorship, opposition to drug laws, etc., are pretty common themes on the left. Where I think liberals differ from at least movement conservatives is that the former dislikes regulation of individual people but feels that GROUPS of people require regulation (since the propensity for human evil is mainly an issue when they get together in the form of businesses, labor unions, religious groups, militaries, governments, etc.)


And Jim Kakalios:

I think your point, Mr. McBang, regarding liberalism distrusting corporations more than they loooooove big government is exactly right. The false choice opponents of HCR presented was between you, your family and your doctor versus the government making health care decisions. In reality, it is between you, your family and your doctor versus the insurance corporations. My sister in law has dealt with a husband’s cancer, and daughter’s diabetes and another daughter’s need for multiple serious surgeries. The time she has spent arguing with insurance companies, to get them to provide services that they agreed to and that they were paid for – well, she could have used those manhours to build a space elevator to the moon. It is hard to argue that the present system represents the finest of the free market, or that it would change in the basence of major government intervention. The completely rational (in my opinion) lack of trust in the behavior of corporations led many to argue for a single-payer system.


A lot of this resembles my own "liberal" drift. It's not that I'm suddenly OMG I HEART STATISM, it's that I distrust corporate power more than government power, and I would seem to have good reason to feel that way, both post-financial crisis and post healthcare "reform."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

AH, THAT SUBTLE NYT SENSE OF HUMOR: Funning us with article titles: "On Economy, Democrats Face a Lack of Unity." There are very few things that couldn't be substituted for the word "economy" in that headline...

Friday, September 03, 2010

IF I EVER I AM TEMPTED BY NOSTALGIA FOR THE DUBYA YEARS: And start to think "shoot, he was an amiable doofus, right? It's not his fault he was a cretin" and really, if you just look at him as a comic figure he'll become tolerable, I hope I remember this and the fact that this is on him. And on us too.

Eventually, he found the police report of Muhammad’s death.

Dated July 3, 2005, it read: “We discovered 11 unidentified bodies, their hands bound from behind, their eyes blindfolded and their mouths gagged. The bodies bore signs of torture.”

“All of us were victims,” Officer Hassan told Hamid, in an attempt at sympathy. “Who was the exception? No one was. Not the martyrs, not the policemen, no one.”

“If they just shot them, O.K.,” Hamid said. “But they beat them, tortured them and then they burned them. Why? And those guys” — the politicians, he meant — “ are just watching.”

“Power and positions, that’s all they’re worried about,” Officer Hassan said.

“Let me be honest,” Hamid said, flashing rare anger at no one in particular. “Just to tell the truth. It would have been better if we had stayed under Saddam Hussein.”

The policeman shrugged and stayed silent.


Via Eric Martin.
WATCHING ESPN HIGHLIGHTS: And watching them slobber over a team that isn't even eligible for postseason play (the University of Smug Cheaters) and not even acknowledge the fact that Hawaii scored 36 points on them is making me hate college football already. Dudes, Coach Pete isn't even there anymore. And you didn't even mention Li'l Lane going for all those assholish two point conversions! If there was a year to not do this, this was it, a year in which USC is irrelevant from the very beginning...and yeah. Lazy coverage remains stubbornly lazy.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

WHEN DIGBY AND RADLEY LINK TO THE SAME INCIDENT: Well, it's worth noting, right? Man tased in his own home. See, he fell and hurt his leg, and some cops showed up, and...and...well he was asking for a tasing, you know? He was just asking for it.

(Digby, Radley. Pretty sure this means the Kochtopus has gotten to Digby.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

HEY LET'S COMPLAIN ABOUT SOME OTHER COUNTRY'S CRAPPY MEDIA: Reporters for British Murdoch papers are not just hacks, they're hackers. And Scotland Yard and Murdoch are besties so sweet creamy justice is being ladled ever so slowly, and sometimes not ladled at all. A good read from the NYT that apparently is getting underplayed in the UK for obvious reasons ("Murdoch owns everything" is the main obvious reason I'm thinking of.)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"ALWAYS ONE TO BE COUNTED ON TO MISTAKE TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENT AND ADVANCES FOR ART": And that's just the start of Dennis Cozzalio's response to James "Movies like Piranha 3D cheapen 3D!" Cameron. Dude's still bitter about Piranha 2 I'm guessing. I so love this little paragraph (bolding done by Dennis):

My favorite nugget re all this is the company line when someone, in this case the VF writer, notes Avatar’s apparent parallels to other big, familiar Hollywood movies. “I’m not really influenced by other movies that much,” Cameron says in the interview. “To me, storytelling is organic to the story you’re trying to tell. Which is not to say that there weren’t movies during that time period that I liked. I’m a big movie fan, but I tend not to be overly influenced by other films.” I think those comments speak plainly enough for themselves (except for that bit about storytelling being organic to the story you’re trying to tell—- Would anyone care to take a crack at interpreting that?) I can't think of another Hollywood director who has so garishly flourished by employing this recyclable narrative philosophy; perhaps the persistent existence of Piranha 2 is too sharp a reminder even for Cameron of where his roots really lie.


Original Cameron softball piece here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL: Kim Jong Il went to China. North Korea confirmed it! Thus it really, truly did happen. Said visit provoked this thought from Robert Koehler:

Something else, too. It’s being widely reported that Kim’s visit is to seek Chinese approval of his son, Kim Jong-un, as successor to the family business. Now, I don’t really doubt that it this stage in North Korea’s decline, Pyongyang is very dependent on Chinese largess for the regime’s survival. Still, it seems to me odd — given Pyongyang’s nationalist rhetoric — that Kim would seemingly resurrect the old Joseon practice of Korea seeking Chinese approval of Korean kings, a practice — while mostly ceremonial — still symbolized Korea’s relationship as a tributary of China. If I were a South Korean leader, I’d be very worried about what that means.


Maaa-an, China doesn't really want the DPRK, do they? 20 million starving people? Though China does have that Borg-like appetite for raw materials, and I'm sure that's lots of stuff buried in the ground in the North...

(Note: ignore Robert's Carter-bashing in that post, everyone has their silly spots.)

Also: The Korean on the same visit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BECAUSE THE NASHVILLE SUBURBS ARE HALLOWED GROUND: Mosque fire was arson.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A NAKED CAPITALISM THREAD WORTH READING: Yves poses the question "What is the Proper Libertarian Response to Concentrated Corporate Power?" And her commenters are mostly not particularly libertarian, and you get a good sense of what the general problems people have with that school of thought (some of it trollish, but some of it well-considered.)
MAGNETO BEING AWESOME IN THE HANDS OF GRUENWALD BEING AWESOME: Some wonderful Scans Daily user dug up Magneto confronting the Red Skull. By Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer. When people have a strong reaction against Grant Morrison's Magneto, they're remembering scenes like this. Magneto's much closer to Namor, spiritually, than the Red Skull, or even Doctor Doom.

Friday, August 27, 2010

WELL IF YOU'RE GOING TO SMUGGLE A TRANQUILIZED TIGER CUB: Hiding it in a bag of stuffed animals seems like the way to do it, as noted here. A tiger amongst Tiggers, or something.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I HAVEN'T WATCHED THIS VIDEO: The one embedded here, done by some Scandinavian weirdo who embedded himself with the Taliban, but I enjoyed Spencer Ackerman giving us the gist of it:

Refsdal portrays the Taliban as a bunch of dudes goofily hanging out: combing their long dyed hair; joking with one another; praying a ton; and repeatedly firing on U.S. convoys from high in the mountains. (“Use the rocket launcher, Rafiq, the rocket launcher.”) Dawran is a doting father of young kids who tells the reporter stories about how he came this close to killing a “traitor” but then took mercy on him. His men gawk at how scared Refsdal appears and can’t seem to load their ammunition properly. “These guys sound and act a lot like a U.S. small unit, but replace all the quotes from ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Talladega Nights’ with ‘Allahu Akbar,’” observes Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE WEEK IN FIGURE SKATING: We cover figure skating around here sometimes, right? I'd check but I started blogging on a VIC-20, way before tags were invented, thus...I lack tags.

Anyway--SHOCK! Yuna Kim splits with Orser! Speculation is rife--there's been deleted tweets, hints of parental involvement (her mom), Orser claims he has no idea why he was fired. I'm wondering if maybe she's got her gold medal, made her huge payday, and just doesn't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn to head to the rink every day.

Enjoy this Soompi thread, for it is an information and speculation clearinghouse on this issue.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

DIRECTV SUCKS HARD, THE CONTINUING SAGA: $350 to watch Sunday Ticket on the Internet? Does anyone use DirecTV who doesn't have to? That is, either 1. you have it because you're in some sort of rural cable-free area or 2. you're trapped by Sunday Ticket (my situation.) I mean I suspended it sometime back in May and I haven't missed in the least--if there's ever something I really have to see, it will inevitably wind up on the Internet. I already get ESPN 3 for free (thanks, Verizon!) So, yeah, not looking forwarded to the crappy $100+ monthly bills because the stupid NFL prefers monopolistic practices.

Monday, August 23, 2010

TODAY IN CREDIT CARD COMPANY PERFIDY: Prime rate goes down, credit card interest rates go up! "Even though banks are getting all kinds of bennies from the Fed and regulators, such as a nice steep yield curve and lots of regulatory forbearance (econ-speak for extend and pretend), they are still out to extract a pound of flesh from the retail borrower. Since that has been a core element of their business model for the last decade, it is probably not so surprising that they are loath to give that practice up." Yep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

OMG I OWE THE INTERNET A POST!: Ummm--this mosque thing is the dumbest thing ever. No links cuz that's not the kind of statement that needs a lot of supporting evidence. Totally unAmerican too, of course. Timing of it suggests another GET THE BASE EXCITED! issue from the increasingly out-of-ideas Gooper braintrust.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

REMIND ME TO NEVER MAKE ANY VARIATION OF THIS ARGUMENT: The old "box office success = quality of a film" argument. It's tempting! When you're on Team My Favorite Movie Ever, it certainly is tempting to take satisfaction when that movie scores in the box office. That's your team! They represent you! It is good that they win. And yet there are countless films that involved Bay or Ratner that scored FLAWLESS VICTORIES in the box office. There are Boll movies that no one went to see. Actual human beings are watching Vampires Suck right now. Fictional human beings are spending their hard-earned Monopoly money to see Scott Pilgrim in droves (possibly displacing most of the actual human beings.) There is next to no relationship between quality and box office. There. I said it. (Qualifier because...I don't know why? I can actually imagine a pretty good movie that literally goes unseen, in theory. And in theory and in practice there are massive turds that have drawn audiences. So....)....yeah. There is no relationship between cinematic quality and box office. Poor K-Drum--I know he means well, and wants a fresh angle on the Scott Pilgrim disaster, and of course for those kids to get off his lawn, but this is an argument that just should never be employed. And yet it rises from its grave again! It's A ZOMBIE ARGUMENT ARRRFGHH KILL IT WITH FIRE

Ah, shame about the box office and all, but they got the whole story done, so whatever. It's awesome. Go see it! You'll be able to pick your own row and stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

IT'S CALLED A GRIND BRO: Just to get another Scott Pilgrim line into Google.

I don't follow Spoony very much (mostly because I don't do video reviews, or podcasts, or really anything that isn't text, since, you know, text is fast) but here he mentions another possible "if you like this you'll like Scott Pilgrim" movie: Big Trouble in Little China. Well, I don't think he actually says it quite so explicitly (I was falling asleep as I listened) but he brings it up and I do think it's the sort of "strange stuff happens and people just accept it--don't think about why anything's happening on screen too hard" experience that if liked it, you might Scott Pilgrim.

Another one that might be even a better barometer was brought up in the comments of Outlaw Vern's Scott Pilgrim review: Streets of Fire. Oh gosh yes. If you loved Streets of Fire you are going to love Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. I speak from personal experience.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"I'M IN LESBIANS WITH" IS TO SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD: As "The cake is a lie" is to Portal: a quickly overused phrase on the Internet that doesn't make the source material any less fantastic.
THERE'S, LIKE, A JAPANESE VERSION OF EVERYTHING: Something or other is always described as "the X of Japan," even though it's usually a lazy shorthand and whatever the X is really isn't like his/her/it's alleged non-Japanese counterpart. But! Sometimes it's true! The DPJ really is the Obama of Japan! Maybe even more so--it depends on whether breaking decades of one-party rule and then going quickly into disillusionment is more paradigm-shattering than being the first black guy in the White House and then going quickly into disillusionment. Actually it's a thorny question since the DPJ being disappointing also involves Obama being disappointing...

(Via D.)
CLASSICS IN HEADLINE WRITING: Sharks Attack Missing White Girl at Ground Zero Mosque. Thank you Jesse Walker.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

IT'S THE LITTLE DETAILS THAT GET ME IN THE SCOTT PILGRIM MOVIE: Like the Ming the Merciless cue that plays when Gideon flashes his ring. Or the details of the Bass Battle--Scott is there spamming one or two chords like a noob, while Todd is playing actual combos with skill! So of course Todd wins. Or the slo-mo hi-five the Vegan Police give each other as they're leaving. I could go on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

LET THE ANTI-ANTI-HIPSTER BACKLASH BEGIN HERE: I guess all the people giddy over the fact that Scott Pilgrim tanked are the general audience version of the critics who were judging the audience, not the movie. I just don't get the hipster objection to Scott Pilgrim--when did comics that weren't done by Clowes or Ware become hipster properties? It's this Michael Cera person, isn't it? See, I never saw Juno or Superbad so there might be legitimate reasons to hate this person (I certainly have never wanted to see Juno, which did not look like something I would like from the descriptions I heard of it) but there is no legitimate reason to hate Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim. What other Canadian are you going to get to play Scott Pilgrim anyhow? Jim Carrey?

Anyhow, box office doesn't matter anyway. You anti-Scott Pilgrim Hate Squad people? You guys are actually hilarious.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"I LOVE THE [PENNY ARCADE] GUYS TO DEATH,: but they are guys in the guyest sense of the term. And they do get incredibly defensive when anyone discusses that fact." Said by Punditus Maximus here in a Pandagon thread discussing somebody somewhere getting offended by a Penny Arcade comic. A dispatch from the occasionally productive Department of Recycling Comments On Other People's Blogs For Posts Here. Because it was a comment that struck me as fairly true, from my limited amount of PA exposure. (PA, like South Park, is one of those things I like and respect and find amusing, and yet am never motivated to seek out on a regular basis.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A LITTLE BIT OF LORD WHORFIN IN THE TEA PARTY?: My first thought after reading this:

Mark Williams, a controversial tea party political movement supporter, said the center would be used for “terrorists to worship their monkey god.”

Williams was publicly ousted by the National Tea Party Federation last month after posting a satirical letter supposedly from “the Colored People.” He resigned as spokesman of the Tea Party Express in July and told reporters he would focus on fighting the mosque plan, the New York Daily News reported at the time.


If the Tea Party was dominated by Red Lectroids it would explain so much...

Friday, August 13, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF CONFESSING MY IGNORANCE OF INTERNET CULTURE: I only recently discovered that the letters "FTW" in sequence mean "for the win" and not "fuck the world," as I had always been reading them. I'm going to go ahead and keep thinking it means "fuck the world," since it almost always applies just as well as the other meaning. Slotman FTW!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

COULDN'T GET PAST THIS SENTENCE IN THIS ARTICLE: "Klinsmann is not an American, so I don't want him coaching the U.S. soccer team." Gregg Doyel writes articles to troll at least as often as he doesn't, but this is particularly trollish.
THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS IS THERE JUST AREN'T ENOUGH OF THEM: Oliver Wang offers anecdotal evidence, and asks for more evidence of that type, in support of his argument that people in our culture prefer girls as children, possibly as a reaction to the patriarchy. An interesting enough discussion topic, so anecdotal evidence should be freely admissible, but I suspect this is merely a quirk of Oliver Wang's social group and not a trend of the overall society (though it would not surprise me if some subcultures preferred one gender of the other, but on balance I suspect we're close to a 50-50 nation.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HEY KIDS! COMICS!: Some sequential art stuff:

Neal Adams' current Batman comic is apparently so bad it's awesome (unlike Kevin Smith's current Batman comic, which is just bad.)

It looks like Michael Uslan is taking a page from Grant Morrison's "all Batman stories actually happened to Batman" playbook--there is now an Archie multiverse.

I loved today's One Big Happy:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MACHINES SHOULD DO THE WORK--THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE BEST AT: If only old IBM taglines applied to "network warfare."

Monday, August 09, 2010

DUR GOSH HOW ARE COMPANIES STILL NOT FINDING WORKERS?: It's, like, a depression or something! And the Wall Street Journal is mystified. It couldn't possibly be that companies are attempting to underpay skilled workers. Or that the jobs that are available are scarcely worth working. No, that can't be right.

By the way, it's encouraging to know that Yves Smith is a Spinrad fan. (And that she mistrusts the current wave of charity of the uber-rich. You should read that too.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

NOT THE FIRST USE OF WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS I THOUGHT OF: But now American families have a much better sense of what happened to their loved ones. The government was certainly never going to provide this level of detail.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

SOME DAYS ALL YOU HAVE IS A WEBCOMIC: XKCD's Frogger.

Friday, August 06, 2010

TODAY IN HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER: How Jimmy Carter saved the trucking industry. Not that Bacevich would necessarily agree with the statement I am about to make, but it's because of him that I am now of the view that Carter was the last serious person in the White House. (Well--Poppy sort of was. His public persona wasn't completely theatrical, at least.) Which might be seen as an overly hipster political stance--if there's a president hipsters would love, it's Carter. I mean he's from the 70s and everybody hated him and everything! (Everybody hated Dubya too, but there's some things not even irony can make enjoyable.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

PROP 8 DECISION WAS THE RIGHT DECISION: And if you worried about social change via the courts producing a backlash you'd never get anything done in this country. But as Scott Lemieux points out, litigating now, with a conservative Supreme Court at the end of things, could have unintended consequences.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

MMMM YEAH GRIST FOR THE CONSPIRACY MILLS: IMF proposes global currency. Yeah, this'll end well. Though I am still libertarian enough to think there's nothing wrong with a global currency, provided there were competing global currencies--possibly even some backed by private entities! Of course that isn't much different from what we have right now, with the exception that we don't have a global currency that isn't backed by a government. Besides, I dunno, Pokemon cards.

In other finance blogging: the Chinese property bubble.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

YOU WANT ME TO NOTICE YOUR BLOG POST IN THE ENDLESS INFO STREAM OF MY GOOGLE READER?: Title it: "Army’s Vaccine Plan: Inject Troops With Gas-Propelled, Electro-Charged DNA." And then have your first paragraph be:

The Army’s got a one-two punch to perfect vaccinations and offer scientists the ability to quickly develop inoculations that stave off new dangers. First, they’ll shoot troops up using a “gene gun,” that’s filled with DNA-based vaccines. Then they’ll follow it up with “short electrical pulses to the delivery site.”


Yeah, much like the anthrax vaccine this is the sort of thing The Troops are going to avoid if at all possible.

Monday, August 02, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF UNDERHYPED SUMMER MOVIES: Or maybe I just don't peruse the venues where it might be hyped, Nickelodeon and such. Anyway--Ramona and Beezus is solid, says Dennis Cozzalio. I guess I can go see this, even though I'm really old, but I read those Beverly Cleary books back then goshdernit. Though I think I would be more hyped for Superfudge: The Motion Picture (different author, I know.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

OH WHY DON'T WE JUST LINK TO TAIBBI?: Cuz I love his style sometimes:

It’s just not necessary to say whether or not these people are racists. All that needs to be pointed out is that when they get a chance to gape at a video purporting to show a black Obama official confessing to having mistreated a white farmer (it turned out to be the opposite of that, of course), or a tape of Black Panther King Shamir talking about “killing cracker babies,” the word that best describes the emotions they display at these times is glee.

They enjoy these morbid stories about offenses to white dignity way too much. I caught Glenn Beck talking about some case involving a Black Panther who was intimidating people at a voting booth back in 2008 – the guy had this pervy smile on his face that made him look exactly like one of those creepy dudes sitting hunched over at the edge of the bed playing the cuckold in cheating-wife porn videos. Over the Black Panthers! Who the hell has even seen a Black Panther since the seventies? The whole thing reminds me of that Chris Rock routine about Native Americans – “When was the last time you saw two Indians?”

Saturday, July 31, 2010

OH I SO HOPE THIS ISN'T A PHOTOSHOP: Scans Daily brings us the Archie universe's token nerd Dilton Doiley, summarized in four panels. (Bonus Scans Daily: the debut of Squirrel Girl.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

POSSIBLY AN UNDERREPORTED BREITBARTESQUE STORY: If you dimly recall hearing about a murderer getting a liver transplant ahead of more deserving non-murderous people--as I dimly recall hearing about on one of our dismal local talk stations on the way to work--it isn't the least bit true. Of course had I known the New York Post was the original source for this story I would have suspected its truthiness from the start.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SOME OLD COMICS LINKAGE: On the enduring appeal of Catwoman:

Okay, Wayne might have had a tough go of it, but a million young’uns the world over lose their parents every single day and its only because he’s so stinking rich that he can indulge and nurse that wound forever. Most people just have to get on with it. Poor Bruce, yes, but poor Selina? Definitely yes. Literally yes. ‘At least you get to work out your neuroses in a palace surrounded by stuffed tyranosaurs and batbikes…’, she seems to say. The point is, every time she thumbs her nose at Batman, something inside us should give a little cheer. Batman represents old money, old power and, essentially, patriarchy. He’s stiff and uptight and privileged. Selina Kyle is none of these things. Basically there’s an element of class war to everything she does and all of her best incarnations reflect this.

Via a more recent Catwoman appreciation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

THE LATEST IN LOCAL DEAD TREE MEDIA: The Inquirer remembers one of the things you can't get on the Internet:

Beginning next Sunday, The Inquirer will make some important changes to the Sunday newspaper.

First, we have heard you loud and clear, and your favorite comics will return to full size in a four-page, reader-enhanced, color broadsheet section.
In addition, we've decided to change with the times as our readers' habits have changed. Because most television viewers now use their remotes to access up-to-the-minute schedules through their cable providers, we are discontinuing our Sunday TV section. However, the Sunday prime-time TV listings will move to the Sunday Arts & Entertainment section, while daily TV listings will continue to run in the features sections.


YES. Thank you, Philadelphia Inquirer, for acknowledging the twin realities that 1. a TV section in this day and age is a waste of paper and 2. there is no on-line equivalent to the broadsheet full color Sunday comics. (They had been sticking the Sundays in the back of a magazine-style foldover TV section. Wasn't great.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HEADLINEZ: BP replaces CEO Hayward, reports $17 billion loss. Yes, the yacht race guy is replaced by an American. From Mississippi. And if they lose enough money maybe people will say they've suffered enough and not take egregious punitive action against them, would be my dual meta-analysis of this AP headline.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ME PERSONALLY I WOULD NEVER JOIN ANY JOURNOLIST THAT WOULD HAVE ME AS A MEMBER: But Foster Kamer has retroactively joined the vast media conspiracy TO MAKE OBAMA PREZNIT!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

AND IN EVERY ERA WE EXPLAIN THE UNIVERSE IN TERMS OF CULTURAL ARTIFACTS WE UNDERSTAND: Aliens are probably using Twitter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

RANDOM LINKS AS I GET MORE LEFT-WINGY: Bernie Sanders says say no to the oligarchy--and I approve. Slate says Breitbart is, objectively, a liar--and I approve. Honestly I don't feel all that different than when I was more of a self-declared libertarian. I just don't see much value in defending the oligarchy or Breitbart. Which means I must be a total pinko!

Friday, July 23, 2010

SOME FINE PIC SPAM FOR YOUR RSS READER: A blog full of unconventionally beautiful animals. Via Jim Henley.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WILL THE LAST KAGAN HATER PLEASE TURN OFF THE LIGHTS?: God bless Paul Campos here for summarizing everything that's wrong with the Kagan nomination, and why Barry O is the kind of person who thinks nominating Kagan is the right idea. Hint: he may not be the liberalist liberal who stole from industrious self-made individuals to give to the shiftless lazy underclass.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SO CERTAINLY EVERYONE LOOKS BAD IN THIS SHIRLEY SHERROD THING: Except Shirley Sherrod, of course. Breitbart obviously looks worse than usual--I mean this time his creative edits were exposed in a matter of hours. But the Obama administration looks bad too for responding so quickly. You fire somebody to avoid a night of cable news talk? Ridiculous. Though I guess it worked in the sense that we're all talking about how wronged Shirley Sherrod was and not about how OMG REVERSE RACIST she is. It does sort of turn the tables on Breitbart, in other words, though I doubt that was the intent. And of course the NAACP looks bad for getting bamboozled hoodwinked snookered by Breitbart. But at least they owned up to it, unlike Vilsack and company. Yes, it was all Vilsack's decision, and the Obama administration supports it completely. Mmm-hmm.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

OMG LIBERAL JOURNALISTS COLLUDED! THOUGHT LIBERAL THOUGHTS!: This is this the dumbest Journolist scandal yet. Breitbart really thinks Spencer Ackerman is going to get fired over this? From freaking Wired? Ridiculous. Dismaying to see Matt Welch continue to have his buddy's back in this sort of sluggery.

EDIT: Because Matt didn't mention Breitbart in his piece I am being unfair in that last line. Apologies!

Monday, July 19, 2010

THIS WEEK ON DRAMABLOGS (SPONSORED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE): A blogger leaves. What does this mean? Where will other bloggers go? Is it all tl;dr? DRAMA!

(P&G reference since they're a soap opera sponsor--not a reference to Pepsigate.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SO I OWE THE INTERNET A POST OR TWO: Please enjoy my Tumblr. Tumblr appears to be like Twitter, but with pictures. Kids these days and their crazy social networks...
IF THIS IS CHART PORN, IT'S A CRUSH VIDEO: How many months to get the economy respectable again? A whole lotta months:



Via TPM.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WHEN YOU'VE LOST THE ACHINGLY LOWER-MIDDLEBROW USA TODAY EDITORIAL PAGE: You've probably lost the argument:

Occasionally, however, citizen videotapes show an entirely different set of events than the police report. In March, for example, police in College Park, Md., arrested several students after celebrations following a basketball game turned rowdy. Police charged two students with assaulting mounted police and their horses — until a videotape surfaced that showed police officers beating the students. Charges against the students were dropped, and the officers faced investigation.

Some police departments have acknowledged reality and instructed officers to assume they'll be recorded and act accordingly. Other departments learn the hard way. Beaverton, Ore., was ordered last month to pay a $19,000 settlement to a man arrested after he videotaped his friend's arrest.

As police officers point out, videotapes can be taken out of context, or show an incomplete story. And, in some instances, police might have a legitimate need for privacy, such as when they meet with informants. But there are ways to deal with this without shutting down citizens' rights to protect themselves from abuse.


Via Radley, who is probably responsible for this issue getting attention from the USA Today hivemind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DAVID AXELROD HAS NO IDEA: Why the banks blew up, not even a lousy narrative. He has the absence of narrative. Russ Feingold has the right idea, bless his heart.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HARVEY PEKAR LINK SUMMARY: Tom Spurgeon does the link work for you. Go! Read, remember.

Monday, July 12, 2010

FROM OFF THE STREETS OF CLEVELAND: And for the last time. Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010. One of the very greatest comics creators of the underground era, who remained active in comics up until the present day. Scott Eric Kaufman notes if you read him, you sort of knew him--his comics were a sort of proto-blogging. But since he recruited some great talents to draw his stuff, Crumb in particular, his stuff has a kind of depth blogging usually lacks. And for someone like me, who has spent most of his adult life working fairly mundane office jobs in a hospital, it was an inspiration knowing Harvey was out there. That he had gone through mundane life too, and made something out of it, and seen value and beauty in it and expressed it. One of my personal heroes, and I am sad today.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

PROBABLY MY FAVORITE TAKE ON THE INTERNET VERSUS THE DAILY SHOW: Sady at Tiger Beatdown.

But that’s not what the interviewers are asking, and anyway, you’d hope that the “funny” part would be more important, if she’s being hired to do comedy. And thus far in her career, the “pretty” has been way more central. Her indignation that Jezebel described her as “primarily known for putting things in her mouth” is understandable on a human level (no-one likes to be told that they’re not qualified for their job) but doesn’t necessarily take into account the fact that she’s worked for years at a TV show that produced a greatest-hits package of her putting things in her mouth, and that there are over seven million hits on a G4TV-posted YouTube video of her (at first, reluctantly! Like fucking always, because that’s the dynamic her gross-assed viewers find sexy!)


Also worthwhile: Ginger Stampley's brief thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DEBTOR'S PRISONS ON THE RISE: And debt collectors have worse manners than bail bondsmen. Funny that they're so desperate in the midst of all this economic recovery...

And the fact that these tactics are being employed in the service of the very rich, who have the luxury of strategic default at any given time, is nauseating.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

AH, FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET BLOGGER WORKING AGAIN: The new editor whatever wouldn't let me create anything! So I am off my usual post-a-day pace. On vacation anyway though, so limited posting until the end of the week. Have a good 4th! If you're an American. If not, just do what you always do.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CERTAINLY ANOTHER DATA POINT RE: WHY PLAYBOY IS AMONG YOUR VERY WORST PUBLICLY-TRADED INVESTMENT CHOICES: Olivia Munn strongly encouraged to show naughty bits at Playboy shoot. Despite a signed contract which stated the naughty bits were off-limits. Yeah, this is probably their standard operating procedure for recalcitrant models, that they just forgot to turn off in Munn's presence. And--leaving aside the morality of the situation--isn't signing celebrities to non-nude contracts a form of brand destruction for a skin mag? I mean when you pick up a Playboy, you expect the lady on the cover to be in all her photoshopped (used to be airbrushed) glory on the inside. 

Note that you can understand Munn is a wronged party here, while still acknowledging her career thus far has been based on good looks and a gift for self-promotion, and not much more. Perhaps the Daily Show has recognized additional potential in her, or perhaps she's a great networker--we shall see.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WE HARDLY NEW YI: Yi Jianlian to the Wizards. Yes, some days all one has is a bad pun.

Monday, June 28, 2010

AND NOW WE'RE LINKING TO BIG BREITBART AROUND HERE?!?: The confessions of Dave Weigel. By Dave Weigel. The comments are hilarious.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DAVE ZIRIN'S TRYING TOO HARD: Here and here. Mixing your politics with your sports is fine, but don't pretend the continent of Africa needs a Ghana win, or there's going to be rallying around the concept of mythical African unity. It's good for Ghana! And African soccer clearly needs some respectability. But that's as far as it goes, really.

Also enjoyed this from Dan Drezner. Honestly, we're better off not tying national pride to soccer. We already do that with basketball--one sport is enough.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

IT FEELS WRONG TO LINK TO THE WAPO THE DAY AFTER TEAM WEIGEL WAS FOUNDED: But gosh, it's new Bacevich:

To be an American soldier today is to serve a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of armed conflict without end. Once begun, wars continue, persisting regardless of whether they receive public support. President Obama's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding, this nation is not even remotely "at" war. In explaining his decision to change commanders without changing course in Afghanistan, the president offered this rhetorical flourish: "Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths." In fact, when it comes to war, the American people avert their eyes from difficult truths. Largely unaffected by events in Afghanistan and Iraq and preoccupied with problems much closer to home, they have demonstrated a fine ability to tune out war. Soldiers (and their families) are left holding the bag.

Yes! Yes, we live in an America where war is just another federal project, to be debated like school vouchers or drilling in Alaska or what have you. Heard on the radio last night (the BBC, natch) that four Americans got killed in Afghanistan and their deaths make no impact on our daily lives. War is just another thing that we do. It's absurd and horrible, this situation.

Friday, June 25, 2010

IT APPEARS I OWE THE INTERNET A POST: Because I blog daily and I missed Thursday somehow. Please enjoy this animated gif of Fernando Torres' flop today. Dive of the World Cup thus far! (Hopefully it'll still be there when you watch it. Thought about hotlinking it but hotlinks from unknown sources have a tendency to become pornographic at some point. And this is a staid, buttoned-down Republic.)
THIS WEIGEL THING JUST FLOORS ME: Seriously--this rises to the level of fireable offenses? (Or resignable, the shitheads accepted his resignation so, you know, same difference.) The statistically insignificant chance that I would ever link approvingly to something Mark Ambinder wrote approvingly has just become true:

Weigel is best described as an anti-denialist. He hates stupid people and stupid human tricks and stupid political consultants. He's developed a natural rapport with conservatives because he says what he thinks.  I was a member of the now defunct Journolist group. I'm also a voracious consumer of Dave Weigel's tweets. And I can tell you that nothing he wrote on the list was more outre than what he Tweeted.

As a fellow Weigel twitter fan I concur. And did you catch this thing from the WaPo's ombudsman? "But the bigger loss is The Post’s standing among conservatives." Dude. The WaPo doesn't have any standing among conservatives--that's why this has become an issue.

And a big ol' insolvent eff you to the folks at Fishbowl DC for publishing this shit in the first place, knowing it was only publishable because Weigel worked at the Post and they could generate the sweet hits from movement conservatives flying their LIBRULMEDIABIAS freak flags. Even though Weigel is not at all a liberal. He's just insufficiently conservative, so for a certain class of AM radio cretin that makes him a liberal. And those are the cretins the WaPo management fears, not the actual liberals who might be their audience, but, you know, aren't anymore. Who are they left with? "Liberals" of the Tom Friedman type. That's no way to run a newspaper.