Monday, November 30, 2009

In Which We Take A Musical Interlude...

Procrastinating during finals reading week can take some work, luckily the muppets are here to help...

(via Geek Dad who just got added to the RSS reader)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Charles Krauthammer Can't Handle The Truth

Krauthammer had another error filled fear-mongering anti health care reform column out this past week. Instead of taking it apart here I'll let the White House do the honors, yes that White House...

In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes great pains to paint a bleak picture of health care reform as "monstrous," "overregulated," and rife with "arbitrary bureaucratic inventions." The columnist's argument may be cogent and well-written, but it is wholly inaccurate.
Running on the White House blog under the heading "Reality Check: Column Ignores Facts about Health Reform" the post calls out Krauthammer's lies; yes the MSM and the WH will prevaricate and give them a nicer name but the fact of the matter is that Krauthammer knows the truth and he's giving his readers lies instead, lets call them what they are shall we.

The Plum Line says to expect more WH push back on media fallacies, let's hope they're right.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goodbye Abe

Abe Pollin passed away last night. The now late great owner of the Caps and Bullets was a force in DC for years and one of the few sports owners who seemed to truly care about the city and fans that supported his teams.

Building the MCI Center (yes we're rolling old school with the names today) with his own money in a downtown DC neighborhood probably did more than any other single action to help the city and its denizens in the past several decades. It is a shame that other owners couldn't follow his example.

The WaPo has lots of coverage including a nice bit from Ted Leonsis, who thankfully does seem cut from the Pollin mold.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Read This Now - Because Rahm Said Too

If you've ever wondered what gets read at the White House, TPM has a peek inside at least for this week.

The President liked this blog post from Ron Brownstein and its summary of cost controls in the health care reform bill.

Rahm apparently told senior staffers not to come to the next meeting if they hadn't read the piece, don't worry you're welcome to keep reading this blog regardless.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Al Gore Is On A Rampage

On the airwaves of NBC at least, first 30 Rock now this...

Apparently it's 'Green Week' on NBC.

(via my friend KS)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Begun It Has...

End soon it will not I fear. The Democratic caucus in the Senate marshaled the requisite 60 votes tonight to pass a cloture motion opening debate on the health care reform bill (you are correct that makes no sense, unfortunately that's how the Senate rolls).

Now we're likely to get fairly endless debate and a ton more cloture votes, somewhere online today someone remarked that Harry Reid needs a cloture vote before he sneezes these days, with the smart money on the action coming to a head shortly before the State of the Union to give the President a deliverable.

Right now Lieberman (I-narcissistic asshole land) (Is Joe reminding anyone else of Ralph Nader a bit these days?) and Blanche Lincoln are threatening to filibuster a bill containing a public option and Bernie Sanders is making noises about whether he'll support a bill that doesn't contain the public option.

Ahh the Senate, gotta love me some parliamentary procedure!

Maybe He Should Have Said Excuse Me Mr. Nobel Laureate

I'd tell you to just go read War Room, but our interface is nicer than Salon's these days so you should stay here and laugh along with Al Gore...

Let's go far, quickly people.

Obama Goes Deep

A little hokey yes, but pretty cute too (hey kids and football almost always go over well). What's with all the slo-mo with the President though? This would be a much better spot if they just showed him tossing the ball around with the kids and the pros.

(via Salon, who's new look I'm not fond of. Lets just say I'm happier with google reader everyday)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Au Revoir Jean Claude

Jean Claude of Jean Claude & Christo fame has passed away.

Christo & Jean Claude's website has a brief note, the art will go on.

(via kottke)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Read This Now - Sen. Coburn Still An A-Hole

The NYT editorial board breaks it down...

(it's short so you get the whole thing)

November 16, 2009

Dr. No and the Wounded Veterans

A creative plan to help wounded veterans and their exhausted families adapt to the strain of long-term home care is on the brink of bipartisan approval — but for the familiar obstructionism of Senator Tom Coburn. This is one of the most deplorable displays by the lawmaker-physician, an Oklahoma Republican who relishes playing the self-styled budget hawk by putting attention-grabbing holds on crucial legislation.

The urgently needed legislation consolidates more than a dozen improvements in veterans’ health care — most notably a new assistance program for family members who wind up providing lifelong home nursing to severely disabled veterans. These vital caregivers — who sacrifice careers and put huge strains on their own mental health — assume an obligation “that ultimately belongs to the government,” Senator Daniel Akaka, the bill’s chief sponsor, properly notes.

The measure also expands benefits for women veterans who suffered sexual trauma on duty, extends veterans’ care in rural areas, tightens quality control at V.A. hospitals, and ensures that catastrophically disabled veterans will not be charged for emergency services in community hospitals.

The omnibus legislation drew unanimous committee approval. But Senator Coburn objected to quick floor passage, demanding that the five-year, $3.7 billion cost be offset with immediate budget cuts. The senator’s argument rings hollow in the face of veterans’ suffering and the world of deficit budgeting brought on by his party’s tax cuts and zealous war investments.

Now he is demanding balanced books for wounded vets? Sheer embarrassment should drive the senator into retreat as he trifles with veterans’ needs and burnishes his petty role as Dr. No.

When the board is on they're tough to beat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Read This Now - The Government Wants Your Land

Yeah so that Kelo eminent domain decision worked out really well, eh?

Pfizer said it would pull 1,400 jobs out of New London within two years and move most of them a few miles away to a campus it owns in Groton, Conn., as a cost-cutting measure. It would leave behind the city’s biggest office complex and an adjacent swath of barren land that was cleared of dozens of homes to make room for a hotel, stores and condominiums that were never built.
I hate to say it, but man does this make Clarence Thomas look good. Maybe that just goes to illustrate how crazy the Supreme Court ruling was on this case...
Justice Thomas called New London’s plan “a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation.”
I also didn't know that 43 states changed their laws to bar similar eminent domain takings in the future.

Now You See Him...

Liu Bolin, the artist and subject of this image, is not truly an invisible man. He's just painted to look that way.

(That means no photshop, and be sure to follow the link for more shots, try to find him in the last image)

(via MR)

Tea Party Like it's 2009

So I'll let you watch this one and soak it in... Wait for it though it starts like you would expect but give the kid a chance...

"Columbus Go Home!!"

(via TP)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Read This Now - Environmental Takes

I almost called this post Things Are (Not) Getting Better All The Time, but that isn't really the point.

The point is to mention a couple of new articles from the past week...

The NYT has the continuing saga of the Pacific Garbage Patch or Trash Gyre or what ever the nom de jour is these days. Bottom line: it's getting bigger, which given the amount of waste we produce as a planet is too be expected...

The research team has not tested the most recent catch for toxic chemicals, but the water samples show that the amount of plastic in the gyre and the larger Pacific is increasing. Water samples from February contained twice as much plastic as samples from a decade ago.

And just when you thought the fuss had subsided Elizabeth Kolbert, who has been doing yeomen's work on the environment beat at the New Yorker, takes down the Superfreakonomics crew. Hard.
To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction. This is the turn that “SuperFreakonomics” takes, even as its authors repeatedly extoll their hard-headedness. All of which goes to show that, while some forms of horseshit are no longer a problem, others will always be with us.

HTWW chimes in, recommending Kolbert's piece and trashing the DCMA take down notice served to Brad DeLong when he posted the Superfreakonomics climate change chapter (which can still be found out there on the internets if you know what you're doing).

Also DeLong has announced that in response to the take down notice served by HarpersCollins he will also be taking down his praise for and links to any HarpersCollins published works and will no longer recommend anything from the publisher.

(Kolbert will be discussing climate change in a live chat today at 3)

(NYT via EK, NY'er via kottke)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Read This Now - The Great Debaters

They don't reside in Congress, at least not these days, and I wouldn't go looking for them in the Senate either.

Ezra Klein
has the withering details, the truth hurts but it's good that someone is willing to say it.

Most members of Congress know virtually nothing about health care. Even the relevant committees only have a handful of knowledgeable legislators. Congress doesn't debate the legislation so much as debate its politics. Watching Congress consider this bill is like watching campaign ads being recorded. It's not like watching people talk about hard issues in a serious way. It's sad, actually.

Is This The Week That Twitter Really Arrived?

I'm not sitting here tonight breathlessly following the events on the house floor, but if I was I would be doing it on twitter. Of which Ezra Klein just opined "live tweeting is the new live blogging" in directing his readers to his twitter feed for ongoing coverage as well as offering a few other good sources to follow in the twittersphere, or whatever we're calling it these days.

Tonight's health care coverage coupled with the coverage of this past week's elections where the cable channels were widely panned, Dan Rather said (and I quote) "So much of what passed for political coverage last night was like watching a manure spreader in a windstorm." Has the consensus building that the place to be to follow politics is on twitter. Particularly if you are looking for decent, up to the minute, on the ground reporting.

It's entirely possible that we've just crossed a threshold into a new era of news delivery and a greater sense of legitimacy and import for twitter as a news medium.

If you were curious, yes I am on twitter (hcoppola) and no I don't actually post anything.

Ladies & Gentlemen Markos Moulitsas Is In The House!

Tom Tancredo is a hypocritical, disingenuous scumbag and Markos Moulitsas isn't having it...

The red meat comes about five minutes in when Tancredo claims that veterans tell him they don't like their government run health care and Moulitsas says that as a veteran and not a draft dodger he can speak to that issue and Tancredo is wrong.

(via Rick Hertzberg)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Have a Cat?

You'll love Simon's Cat even if you don't but cat owners out there these are for you.

Unfortunately the videos aren't embeddable so head to the youtube page or the website to meet Simon's Cat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nuclear is Natural

Did you know that there are naturally occurring nuclear reactors in uranium deposits in Gabon?

Maybe I should say were since none are currently active (that we know about) and most of the 16 possible sites were up and running so to speak millions or billions of years ago. The short version is that water flooded the uranium deposits and somehow acted as a neutron moderator which set off the chain reaction for fission. Things heated up the water boiled off, things cooled down the water reflooded the uranium and boom more fission, apparently this cycle was repeated for approximately 150,000 years and none of them ever blew up.

I got the story from kottke, who linked to Wikipedia but then came back to offer this more interesting BLDGBLOG post which then goes on to link to a Scientific American piece which I haven't gotten to yet.

Needless to say this is very cool.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still Worth Reading the Newspaper

I pick up a copy of the NYT pretty much everyday (it helps that my school provides them free of charge) and I thourgouly enjoy reading the paper and doing the crossword even if it takes me a few days to get to it.

Which brings us to this video...

Because I just got to the article in Thursday's Business section on how United lost this guys bags last week.

Welcome To Novemember

It's a rainy morning here and I'm spending my extra hour (perhaps unwisely) catching up on some online reading.

Among other things that I've skimmed, here are this mornings highlights...

Tom Pelton and Jennifer Jacquet (who's gone a bit off the deep end of late) both take a look at a recent Pew poll showing a decline in the number of Americans who believe that global warming is real. And no Tom, I'm not comforted by the fact that roughly the same percent of Americans also don't believe in evolution.

Tom Pelton also touched recently on enforcement issues being the make or break part of finally cleaning up the Bay; this is a fairly routine conversation for me and several of my fellow students who've also spent time on the Bay.

The WaPo ombudsman runs down reader reaction's to the Post's make over.

Glenn Greenwald raps David Brooks and Paul Krugman salutes neo-con bravery.

And now I need a fresh cup of coffee...