Saturday, October 31, 2009

Read This Now - Pumpkin Smashing

After some All Hollows Eve document dumping (the Friday evening dump will never get old will it?) Andrew Cohen has a brief rundown...

Still, when this sort of corroborating evidence emerges into the light of public scrutiny, it becomes harder for those who deny the basic facts to continue to do so. The third or fourth draft of history is usually clearer than the first.

So, the trick this Halloween is the recognition that there are still plenty of liars and con men and rogues running around doing great damage to our legal and political and economic systems.

The treat this Saturday is the knowledge that they usually get busted in the end — and sometimes even before all the damage is really done.
(via TPM)

Breathe Deep Cubbies Fans

Sounds like ya'll just got a class act new owner. The storied franchise certainly deserves as much.

Check out Scott Simon's great interview with the new owner of the Chicago Cubs, Tom Ricketts, from Weekend Edition Saturday. Be sure to actually listen to the conversation, that is after all what makes NPR so great.

Now if he'd just buy the Skins too...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gotta Give It To The Governator

Arnold doesn't mess around, not only has he done a pretty decent job running California, he always comes up with a reason to keep watching.

This week he vetoed a bill and in his return letter to the State Assembly he called them out for focusing on "unnecessary bills." It probably didn't help that the bill's Author shouted "you Lie!" at Arnold during a recent public event...

The picture comes from Think Progress, who has all the details.

A little more direct than the presidential response, then again at least the guy didn't get terminated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wait, We Really Have Trained Military Dolphins?

Apparently, this photo is the first thing that came up when I searched flickr for "usmilitary".

I'd noticed it as the credit link for a photo on Tom Ricks' blog and wondered if that meant that the military had its own flickr stream. While that question remains unanswered Johnny Nemonic fans can take solace in knowing that the mine clearing dolphins are out there...

The photo is from flickr user lakerae.

Fred Hiatt Can't Handle The Truth

Well, what else is new? You may be tempted to ask. This time around at least someone's willing to point out the lies (I'm sorry we call them suggestions in DCese).

Peter Orszag (on his White House blog no less) has the take down, and Paul Krugman allows as how Orszag was too kind by far.

Bottom line, Hiatt says specific cost controls are missing from proposed health care reform when in fact they are included.

At this point I'd say Hiatt's credibility is pretty much shot but hey this is the WaPo we're talking about here...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Read This Now - Muslim Brotherhood Better Watch Out For Kanye

Abu Aardvark has the details on the brewing feud between (and when I say between I mean that one side cares and the other is likely to have no idea the opponent exists, like some supposed sports rivalries) Egypt's (increasingly marginalized) Muslim Brotherhood and international pop star Beyonce.

Bottom line, ya should of thought twice before taking on the global hegemonic force that is Jay-Z and you know Kanye's showing up too.

(I kid, but seriously it's interesting and amusing at the same time)

(via news desk)

Getting Closer

Harry Reid has reportedly scheduled a 3:15 press conference this afternoon and is expected to announce the details of the health care reform bill that will hit the Senate floor.

Rumors currently have it including the state opt out version of the public option and a CBO score in the works.

We'll try to bring you a round up of reactions later tonight, it seems like only 8 or 9 months ago that the powers that be said this day would come 3 or 4 months ago...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Gonna Be A Long Season

I haven't even managed to watch a Skins game yet this year, partly due to a lack of TV (although that technological fix has been made) and mostly because everyone says don't bother it's just too painful.

You know things are officially really bad when The Onion comes a calling...

Redskins Hold Press Conference to Announce That They Are Still Sort Of A Football Team.

(via FB)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Taking the Sandbox to a Whole New Level

This is absolutely mesmerizing...

the amount of time and practice and trail and error in discovering what moves would be required to create the desired images boggles my mind.

(via kottke)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Read This Now - SuperFreakonnomics, A Super Waste of Your Time

I've been increasingly disappointed in the quality of the posting and general work and thought on the Freakonomics blog of late, and now with a new book out I've been wondering whether I should try and make time to read some of it.

Reviews on the climate change section lump the authors squarely in the George Will camp and that's not a good place to be if you'd like to remain a respected author or academician (Right wing editorialists being another breed altogether.) Which makes me think I have better ways to spend my now (grad school is a lot of work) more precious time.

To seal the deal lets turn to Ezra Klein who'd like to point out that the problem isn't so much that Dubner and Levitt get climate change wrong it's how they go about getting it wrong and that they make those same errors throughout the book...

But before people begin believing that the problem with Super Freakonomics is that it annoys environmentalists, let's be clear: The problem with Super Freakonomics is it prefers an interesting story to an accurate one. This is evident from the very first story on the very first page of the book...

You can go on and on in this vein. It's terrifically shoddy statistical work. You'd get dinged for this in a college class. But it's in a book written by a celebrated economist and a leading journalist. Moreover, the topic isn't whether people prefer chocolate or vanilla, but whether people should drive drunk. It is shoddy statistical work, in other words, that allows people to conclude that respected authorities believe it is safer for them to drive home drunk than walk home drunk. It's shoddy statistical work that could literally kill somebody. That makes it more than bad statistics. It makes it irresponsible.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Saving the Environment Can Save $ Too

Well this seems right up my alley, strangely I knew nothing about it until 10 minutes ago and now there are but a scant two hours left to get on board with this years theme and blog about climate change.

Luckily I was already planning on steering folks towards today's NYT piece on gas leaks in natural gas processing and delivery. It seems that ton of methane, the major part of what we commonly refer to as natural gas and a really scary greenhouse gas worse than CO2 scary, is pretty much constantly escaping. The leaks go largely unnoticed since they are only visible through an infra red camera and apparently most of the industry isn't aware of or doesn't care about the problem. Not only is this bad for the environment, it's bad for business as any lost gas costs the companies extracting and transporting it.

As Revkin and Krauss point out this ought to be a no brainer, patch the leaks, save gas, make more money, save the environment and score some good PR all in one fell swoop. At least a few companies have already gotten with the program, but it would make sense for everyone to be doing it. And if the companies don't come to that conclusion on their own this would be one of those situations where regulation forcing innovation really would be a good thing for everyone involved.

Visit the Blog Action Day website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Gauntlet - Does Harry Reid Have A Backbone?

Last week the insurance agencies peeled off and hit the current leading health care reform plans hard.

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid testified as a witness before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the need to strip the insurance agencies of their anti-trust exemption.

Ezra Klein points out that Harry Reid doesn't have any qualifications to testify as a witness in this hearing other than he's the Senate Majority Leader and if the insurance agencies want to take a run at health care reform well then they better be ready for the repercussions.

If Klein is right, that's a pretty nice turnaround from Reid and the Senate Dem's who have shown very little spine to date.

Forget Photo of the Day

This site will keep you busy for a while and coming back to see more.

Vivian Maier's photographs were recently acquired at auction, around 40,000 of them from the 50's, 60's, and 70's in and around Chicago, previously unknown they are now being exhibited for the very first time online.

That's my favorite from the first dozen or so, if you're in to street photography you're in for a good time.

(via kottke)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Morning Mr President, You're Now A Nobel Laureate

There's a lot of hubbub out there about whether President Obama deserves to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. You should take six minutes to hear what he thinks about it...

First I'd like to note that this was so far off the White House's radar screen they didn't have a speech ready (It isn't often you see Obama giving a speech that he clearly hasn't rehearsed and isn't intimatly familiar with) which is interesting, it also begs the question do winners get a heads up? Apparently not would seem to be the answer.

I'll just say that while Obama hasn't accomplished any concrete peace accords or disarmament or even managed to wrap up the fiasco in Iraq he has made significant strides in returning multilateralism and international cooperation to the forefront of global diplomacy and I am certain that the world is a safer and more peaceful place for his Presidency and leadership.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Read This Now - A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

Nick Kristof has had just about enough out of Congress on health care (finally) and proposes in today's column that if Congress fails to pass health care reform this year that members of Congress lose their health care (government run by the by) in an equal proportion to the number of Americans who are uninsured or under-insured...

Congressional critics of President Obama’s efforts to achieve health reform worry that universal coverage will be expensive, while their priority is to curb social spending. So here’s their chance to save government dollars in keeping with their own priorities.

Those same critics sometimes argue that universal coverage needn’t be a top priority because anybody can get coverage at the emergency room. Let them try that with their kids.

Some members also worry that a public option (an effective way to bring competition to the insurance market) would compete unfairly with private companies and amount to a step toward socialism. If they object so passionately to “socialized health,” why don’t they block their 911 service to socialized police and fire services, disconnect themselves from socialized sewers and avoid socialized interstate highways?
And you know what? He's only getting warmed up, go read the whole piece.

I Got Your AutoTune Right Here

AutoTune the News doesn't do it for me. Autotuning Carl Sagan on the other hand...

(via kottke)

Lawyers, Guns, And Money

Or Congress, Warplanes, School Lunches, And Money...

Apparently $1 billion is too expensive when it would go toward making school lunches healthier and more accessible to the nation's children, but $2.5 billion is just the right amount to spend on military cargo jets that the Administration and the military don't want.

I guess money only costs something when it would help children.

(via EK)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why A Public Option Is Necessary

Fox News's Shep Smith is making sense again, this time he's off the reservation taking apart Senator John Barrasso's (R-WY) asinine anti public option arguments...

(via TPM)

Wait, The Democrats Are In Charge?

Funny cause it's true, unfortunately that's also why it's so sad...

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grayson To House GOP - Go F**** Yourselves

Alan Grayson (D-FL) is calling 'em like he sees 'em. First he equated the GOP healthcare reform plan to "don't get sick" and if you do, do us all a favor and "die quickly".

Then Grayson stepped it up a notch after House GOP members complained and demanded an apology. Grayson took to the floor to apologize all right...

...only he apologized to the estimated 40,000 plus Americans who died last year in part because they lacked health insurance.

As several folks have already pointed out, the GOP is really going to attempt to take exception to Grayson's charge that they have no plan when a) they have no plan and b) the GOP has spent the past couple of months running around spewing blatantly fraudulent statements about the Democratic healthcare proposals (death panels anyone?)?

Give me a break already, actually give me universal healthcare and a public option already.

(via Salon)