Posted by James @ 10:17 pm on October 20th 2010

Meanwhile, back at the Log Cabin…

While our military is playing hop-scotch trying to adhere to the court-ordered debacle the DADT policy has been turned into by their Commander in Chief, that same Commander in Chief continues to attempt end-run that football.

Well, he seems to have “found” an ally in arguably the most liberal court in the US of A.

A coincidence? Mmkay.

Barack Obama’s next book should be entitled The Audacity of Obfuscation.

This man is a vapor, period.

Posted by Cameron @ 8:13 pm on October 20th 2010

Funny of the Day

Posted by Brad @ 9:24 am on October 20th 2010

Quote of the Day

“If it’s not completely intolerable to have active-duty soldiers handcuffing American journalists on U.S. soil while acting as private “guards” for Senate candidates, what would be?”

Glenn Greenwald fiddles while Rome burns, God bless ‘im.

Posted by Brad @ 3:28 pm on October 19th 2010

Fallout: New Vegas

Is out today, and has been acquired.

Fallout 3 is the best video game I’ve ever played, full stop. So between this and the playoffs, don’t expect me to be around for awhile.

Posted by Brad @ 3:27 pm on October 18th 2010

Dumbest F’ing Political Controversy of the Month

Goes to Jack Conway and Democratic talking heads for deciding, in the waning days of a pivotal campaign, to have the Kentucky Senate race turn on the issue of whether or not Rand Paul pulling a prank on a member of his undergraduate swim team while at Baylor that entailed having her bow down to Aqua Buddha disqualifies him forevermore as a Christian or not.

To which I say:

What’s particularly jarring is not just that Jack Conway would make that strategic choice, but that guys like Josh Marshall are making the issue about whether or not Democrats have the testicular fortitude to go on the attack. To which I reply:

I don’t think anybody is saying that politicians should not go on the offensive. But Jack Conway, at least in significant sections of the debate and that ad, is not attacking or defending based on, say, ideas or issues. He’s doing it based on religious identity politics. He’s telling voters they shouldn’t vote for Rand Paul because his Christianity is suspect. In any another context, I’d suspect you might consider that an obnoxious meme to push. Of course, if a Democrat does it, the Republican deserves it…but you’re still validating the meme. I mean, listen to yourself. You’re taking seriously the idea that voters should (or will) take seriously the idea that Rand Paul’s stated religion is a hoax because of the Aqua Buddha thing and the fact that he likes Ayn Rand.

And really, if you’re spending an inordinate amount of time in the closing weeks of the campaign against RAND PAUL taking the spotlight off ideas and issues, and onto a bizarre prank he may have pulled in college, I don’t think anybody would argue that that’s a a move coming from, or exuding, a position of strength. It comes off as it is being characterized as it is…kind of dumb and pretty desperate. It’s weak at best and, at worst, it’s validating the same campaign milieu that, say, “Obama is a secret muslim” comes from.

And, if anything, giving Rand Paul cover (for his ideas and issues, and any subsequent disengagement from the Conway camp or the press), and the high road.

But, in that response, I actually OVER-estimated Marshall and his audience. Apparently, they really DO think that the Aqua Buddha incident proves Rand Paul isn’t a Christian. At least that’s what this followup post implies.

To which I reply:

Between the reader email and your comment about Paul being a “total fraud [on this issue]”, am I to understand that some of you guys honestly believe that the Aqua Buddha incident is proof that Rand Paul is not, in fact, a Christian?

Really? That seems to me either just bizarre, or maybe some of you guys need to step outside of the circus tent of horserace coverage for a minute and regain a little perspective.

If the bar of proof required to determine whether to take someone at their word as a Christian is so high that it can be immediately broken solely by a prank he pulled on a member of the swim team as an undergraduate at Baylor – that strikes me as blinkered on a level at least on par with saying Obama is not a Christian because he went to a muslim school as a kid.

But as to efficacy (which nobody seems to care about), who in their right mind thinks, as satisfying as they may find it on some juvenile level, that sucking up the debate, the ads, and now 99% of campaign coverage in the Kentucky Senate race with the issue of Aqua Buddha does any kind of strategic service to the Conway campaign? I mean, you can get in a decently interesting, if purely academic debate, on the whole “high ground or sink to their level” issue which comes up every single damn cycle, but it strikes me as a little academic here. Going “on the offense” is not good OR bad—it depends enitirely on whether that offense works to your advantage or not, or whether, in the zero sum gain sense of it, doing so is to your benefit or not. And even those strident emails don’t seem to care or even consider whether the attack works or not – they’re just happy its mean. Well, ladi-da I guess.

I mean seriously, congratulate yourself on “playing hardball” all you want, but if that entails having campaigns turn on witchcraft and Aqua Buddha and the like, I think you’ve at some point listed dangerous close to Distractionville.

Gives me an excuse to dust off an old favorite blog post series, at least.

Posted by Jerrod @ 11:21 pm on October 17th 2010

Mountain Goats are just like terrorists

Yet another American has fallen victim to the short-sighted policies of the US government with the blowback coming in the Olympic peninsula region of Washington state.

A hiker has died after being attacked by a mountain goat in the US state of Washington, officials have said.

Robert Boardman was gored in the leg by the goat while out walking on Saturday with his wife and a friend on Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

The telling information follows this lead:

Rangers later killed the goat, which was known for its aggressive behaviour.

Barb Maynes, park spokeswoman, told the Peninsula Daily News that in the past rangers had tried “hazing” the ram – inducing it to be frightened of people – by shooting it with bean bags and throwing rocks.

Damn those unintended consequences! I mean, really, who could have thought that a territorial animal know to aggressively defend its territory would conclude that humans are a threat if we provoke it with bean bags and rocks?

It’s kind of like of like what The Cato Insitute, the Department of Defense, and most recently, Robert Pape’s analysis of the entire history of suicide bombing identified when it comes to terrorism, namely that people resort to it when provoked. Indeed, all we really need to do is look at our own response to 9/11 and ask ourselves what we’d have done if we were a minor power and something like that had been perpetrated by a major power seeking to eliminate some kind of threat to it.

Terrorists don’t emerge from a vacuum. Recognizing that military interventionism is deeply associated with motives to resort to terrorism is not the same as saying that such intervention “causes” terrorism or that the country deserves to be attacked or the terrorists excused as a result. But its is just straight up idiotic to refuse to recognize the contribution that military actions have (be they direct attacks and the inevitable “collateral damage” or even passive actions such as bases and such).

Cycles of violence based on retribution never end as long as neither side is unwilling to be the last one attacked. There are alternatives to dealing with threats (we did a good job with Iraq following the Gulf War and there are some good ideas out there for the current problems) that need to be explored and adopted. And as much as I’d like to pin it all on a failure of leadership, I can’t entirely blame them for being responsive to their constituents. It’s time for the United States to put down their grief and anger over 9/11 and begin dealing with aftermath for real.

Posted by Brad @ 3:50 pm on October 15th 2010

Great(est) Moments In Political Advertising

Canadia showing us how it’s done.

Posted by Brad @ 1:17 pm on October 15th 2010

Tea Party Signage Study of the Day

We often anecdotally bitch about how the media loves to go to Tea Party rallies, find the craziest, most offensive person there, and use them as the pivot point of their coverage, implying, for instance, that broadly speaking “many” of the people at Tea Party rallies “condone or don’t repudiate” the dude with the sign saying “NIGGAR!”, for instance.

So, some grad student at UCLA went to the 9/12 rally, and counted every single sign in attendance she could. The result:

more than half of those she saw reflected a “limited government ethos,” she found – touching on such topics as the role of government, liberty, taxes, spending, deficit and concern about socialism. Examples ranged from the simple message “$top the $pending” scrawled in black-marker block letters to more elaborate drawings of bar charts, stop signs and one poster with the slogan “Socialism is Legal Theft” and a stick-figure socialist pointing a gun at the head of a taxpayer.

There were uglier messages, too – including “Obama Bin Lyin’ – Impeach Now” and “Somewhere in Kenya a Village is Missing its Idiot.” But Ekins’s analysis showed that only about a quarter of all signs reflected direct anger with Obama. Only 5 percent of the total mentioned the president’s race or religion, and slightly more than 1 percent questioned his American citizenship.

Of course, 6% of 2,000,000 attendees is still 120,000 people, but still.

Posted by Brad @ 12:26 pm on October 15th 2010

Strange Coda of the Week

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A New Jersey car dealer plans to keep his word after offering Florida pastor Terry Jones a new car if he promised to not burn a Quran.

Car dealer Brad Benson made the offer in one of his dealership’s quirky radio ads, which focus more on current events than cars.

But he was surprised when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for $14,200.

“They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car,” Benson recalled.

At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver’s license. He did.

Jones, of Gainesville, Fla., did not burn a Quran on Sept. 11 this year as he had planned, but told The Associated Press on Thursday that the offer of a car was not the reason, saying he learned about the offer a few weeks later.

He said he plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.

Posted by Brad @ 12:08 pm on October 15th 2010

Great Moments in Political Advertising

I wouldn’t have pegged him to the be the guy, but David Vitter manages to limbo under the already-low bar for Republican candidates accusing their opponents of being soft on illegal immigration.

For the record, Louisiana has one of the lowest populations of illegal immigrants in the country.

Posted by Brad @ 1:56 pm on October 14th 2010

Electronic Voting Machine Error of the Day

Rich Whitney is a hippy progressive type, which makes him a perfect fit to be running for Governor of Illinois this year on the Green Party ticket.

Unfortunately for him, electronic voting machines were sent out to 23 wards, most of which are predominantly African-American, which spell his name “Rich Whitey“.

Aghast at the idea of being the Rich Whitey candidate on the ballot in the South Side of Chicago, Mr. Whitney has appealed to the state election board, but for whatever reason, has been told that the error cannot be corrected by election day.

Posted by Brad @ 7:42 pm on October 13th 2010

The Tea Party’s Brain

A big feature profile of Ron Paul and his influence in the new Atlantic.

To address these grievances, Paul was ready and waiting. He is not the Tea Party’s founder (there isn’t one), or its culturally resonant figure (that’s Sarah Palin), but something more like its brain, its Marx or Madison. He has become its intellectual godfather….The Tea Party has overrun the Republican Party everywhere from Alaska to Kentucky to Maine, and a version of Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve just passed the Senate unanimously en route to becoming law. Today, on matters of economic politics, Paul is at least as significant as any of the Republicans he shared the stage with in the 2007 South Carolina debate. And has anyone noticed that he’s a fixture on Fox News?…

In February, Paul startled the Republican establishment by handily winning the presidential straw poll at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a big event for party insiders. As the Republican Party swings into line behind him, it has upended the consensus that has prevailed around fiscal and monetary policy since the Great Depression, pressuring the Fed and blocking any additional stimulus. With the Tea Party gathering force, Paul is at last where he has always wanted to be: in the vanguard of a national movement.

Brian Doherty, as good a Paul-beat journalist as there is, discusses the article a bit here.

Posted by Brad @ 4:57 pm on October 13th 2010

Huxley, Not Orwell, Had it Right

The Liberty Papers hasn’t been all that active lately, but here’s a nice digression about how Brave New World is a lot scarier, and prescient, than 1984. It’s not overt repression we have to fear so much, but a culture in which we neuter ourselves, happily.

Posted by Brad @ 1:36 pm on October 13th 2010

Medal of Honor

Marc Ambinder tries to figure out who precisely worked with Electronic Arts to develop the latest Medal of Honor game. EA claims that they worked with special forces to develop the game, but special forces denies this. Nevertheless, at least a few retired special forces guys did work with developers, and the result is a game that’s a little too close to home for those whose job it is to keep things classified.

“There are at least six things in that game that you shouldn’t know about,” a former JSOC operator told me.

Good publicity for EA! I wonder if WikiLeaks can get into the video game business. I’d play.

Also, it’s BS that the option to play as a member of the Taliban was removed due to complaints. Bad taste perhaps, but not any more so than any other FPS that has you play as criminals, mobsters, psychopaths, Nazis, mutants-trying-to-destory-the-world, etc. I remain bothered by the not really deferential but more mythologizing treatment that our servicemen get in our society.

Posted by Brad @ 4:09 pm on October 12th 2010

Your Fascinating Debate About A Disney Movie of the Day

Roger Ebert squares off with Salon critic Andrew O’Hehir over his problems with the movie Secretariat, on the grounds that it creates a Christian, Tea-Party-friendly sanitized conception of American life (or somesuch, read his original here). Awesomely, in the comments section to Ebert’s post, the author of the book the movie is based on (who was there for all the original events) comments, as does the real-life son of Penny Chenery, played by Diane Lane in the film.

Posted by Brad @ 4:05 pm on October 12th 2010

Judge Suspends Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Obama wouldn’t, so it finally came down to a federal judge ruling on a lawsuit by the Log Cabin Republicans to order a suspension of DADT enforcement.

Posted by Brad @ 3:14 pm on October 12th 2010

Show Me the Money

Do you know what the largest single quarters of fundraising in the nation’s history are for a U.S. Senate campaign?

#1: Scott Brown. January, 2010, Massachusetts. He pulled in $14.2 million.

#2: Sharron Angle. October 2010, Nevada. She just announced a third quarter fundraising total of jaw-dropping $14 friggin’ million dollars.

For comparison’s sake, that’s about how much Rudy Giulliani (~$15 mil) and John McCain (~$12.5 mil) raised in a quarter at the beginning of the Republican primary for President last cycle, when they were the two frontrunners, and gets in the ballpark of Ron Paul when he beat the field for most money raised in a single quarter, not including self-loaned funds, (~$19.8 mil) in the fourth quarter of that cycle. For, you know, President.

For further comparison’s sake, the only two Senate candidates this cycle anywhere in the neighborhood are Mark Rubio in Florida ($5 mil) and Dino Rossi ($4.5 mil). Angle’s opponent, Harry Reid, has not yet released his numbers, but he’s raised about as much as Angle has…over the course of the entire calendar year.

Posted by Brad @ 12:07 pm on October 12th 2010

Quote of the Day

Rand Paul has minced and parsed his position on Medicare quite a bit in his race against Jack Conway, but he is at least one of the few Republicans not totally onboard the “Protect Medicare at all Costs!” campaign underway within the GOP. Speaking of Conway’s attacks on Paul’s previous statements about a Medicare deductible, he sounds a lot like…us:

“Now people say ‘don’t talk about this, don’t talk about this. People are crazy that I’m talking about the solution.

If you don’t, are we going to just devolve to the dumbest of the dumb or the blandest of the bland, and have no debate in our country until we have chaos? That’s what happened in Greece — chaos. They couldn’t pay their bills, they couldn’t pay for their debt. We’re having some of that coming in our country if we don’t do something.

Will we just simply elect people who will pander and say ‘here’s some money, I’ll give you some more money?’ I think people are waking up across the country. I think people realize we can’t keep doing things the same way.”

Posted by Brad @ 10:35 am on October 11th 2010

Dear Leader, v. 3.0

North Korea held a succession celebration (after a fashion) this weekend, wherein Kim Jong Il introduced the masses to Kim Jong Eun, 27, his youngest son, who precisely nobody knows anything about, but who is the new de facto leader and all set to be Godhead when Jong Il kicks it.

Of course, nobody knows how solid Eun would be or if there might be a power-struggle over Jong Il’s death (he reportedly looks like shit these days, but is still not even 70 so who knows, but one wouldn’t expect a guy like that to name a successor unless things were bad). Or even, for that matter, whether Eun shares his father’s peculiarities or might have any interest whatsoever in loosening up. But, should Eun take the reigns with relative ease, and should he prove to have Jong Il’s taste for and panache with running the world’s largest cult, we only have another 60 some odd years of this crap to look forward to, until such a time as North Koreans breed themselves into an entirely different species and become Morlocks or something.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:28 pm on October 8th 2010

The Big Obamacare Cave-In

Brad explains here how the regulatory state empowers big business to skew the markets in its own favor. Can we really be suprised that the same principle turns out to apply to the newly emerging system of national health care?

As the New York Times explains, the new insurance mandates require the alteration of many private plans to meet a federally-declared minimum acceptable standard. Those businesses that cannot affordably meet said standard are, predictably, dropping their policies for affected employees entirely.

But…not ALL of them have to, because those with the proper political connections (or those which can afford the best lobbyists) are being granted “waivers” from said standard. Among the exemptees: McDonalds and some specified teachers’ unions.

Why should ANY business be exempted from the standards which Obama and his allies argued were critical? Why should the practitioners of greed, widely decried a year ago, suddenly be granted a pass and absolved of what was portrayed as a basic human duty towards their employees? And why, above all else, should this privilege be granted to certain companies but not to others, based on no set standard but on a bureaucratic calculus to which no form of transparency or accountability can be applied?

Well…if you’re a federal regulator, why the hell not?

Posted by Rojas @ 4:45 pm on October 8th 2010

Maybe they can find an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory…

Posted by Brad @ 2:47 pm on October 8th 2010

From the Department of I Told You So

Hey, remember how letting Gitmo detainees be tried in New York would lead to waves upon waves of muslim terrorists descending on Manhattan to wage jihad here in solidarity or somesuch?


Well…

Posted by Brad @ 2:13 pm on October 8th 2010

By the Way, You Know What Kicks Ass?

The collection of Music Videos this site has accrued over the years.

Been cruising around revisiting them today (instead of hitting Pandora, as usual). One of these days when I have some down time, I may make a YouTube playlist.

Posted by Brad @ 1:52 pm on October 8th 2010

Another Election Cycle, Another Spate of “They Had Illegal Immigrants Working on Their House!” Stories

This time, the subject is Lou Dobbs.

I understand that with people like Dobbs and Whitman, there is a certain hypocrisy factor involved, but still, these always strike me as the kind of stories where everybody pretends to be shocked, but ultimately, we’re all just going through the motions at this point.

Posted by Brad @ 9:15 am on October 8th 2010

In Case You Were Holding Your Breath…

The first federal ruling on the constitutionality of the health care law dismisses the challenge.

Posted by Brad @ 4:57 pm on October 7th 2010

Great Moments in Campaign Advertising

Via Weigel: the most mellow attack ad in history, courtesy of Hawaii Governor candidate Duke Aiona.

I think they should have just replaced the words with “If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong though. It’s Hambone.”

Posted by Brad @ 4:42 pm on October 7th 2010

Big Business is the Biggest Fan of Big Regulation

Here is a pop quiz in the ongoing chronicling of the feedback loop in which outrageous big business practices spur calls for more regulation which, surely coincidentally, always wind up benefiting big business to the detriment of their smaller competitors, which then leads to even more outrageous big business practices.

This crazy kook believes the following:

XXX urged government and tech industry officials to act collectively to protect citizens and critical infrastructure from growing cyberthreats. He compared unprotected and infected computers to unvaccinated and contagious individuals. Both, he said, can pose a threat to society.

“We need to improve and maintain the health of consumer devices connected to the Internet in order to avoid greater societal risk,” says XXX. “To realize this vision, there are steps that can be taken by governments, the IT industry, Internet access providers, users and others to evaluate the health of consumer devices before granting them unfettered access to the Internet or other critical resources.”

The model would require each PC to, in effect, present a “health certificate” that outlines its security posture before it could connect to the Internet. Enforcement would come from the Internet service provider or some other authority.

Such a certificate might contain information about the overall health of the machine. It could verify updated anti-virus and other protections and screen off machines carrying infections by known malicious programs.

Is this guy:

A. A powerful minister in charge of technology and infrastructure in the ruling Chinese regime;
B. President Barack Obama in all his anti-colonialist Sharia Big Government glory;
C. Some crazy technophile liberal futurist with more brains than sense, holed up in a cabin in the woods of Montana and writing treatises on the coming Communal Computing event horizon;
D. Mayor Michael Bloomberg;
E. Famed hacker and Wired correspondent “Tulane22”, secretly plotting to backdoor the world;
F. Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft.

Answer.

BONUS QUESTION: Who would be in a good position to provide us with those mandatory computer “health certifications”? You know, if you asked them to, for the public good and all.

Posted by Brad @ 1:38 pm on October 7th 2010

Music Video of the Week

Electric Six – Gay Bar

Posted by Brad @ 11:22 am on October 7th 2010

Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say

So Fred Phelps and his band of Merry Pranksters have made it to the Supreme Court, where yesterday the judges heard oral arguments in a case where the Westboro Baptists picketed a soldier’s funeral, (previously written about here), were sued, and won.

Lyle Denniston at Scotusblog recaps how the arguments went, and it really does sound like, to the justices, they have at last found speech so inherently offensive as to be worth carving out of the First Amendment. I’m hoping that cooler heads prevail in deliberations, but it will be interesting to see.

Posted by Brad @ 9:54 am on October 7th 2010

Honeybee Hive Collapse Agent Found

Where can I get me some of this fungus-virus supercompound?

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