Friday, May 30, 2008

Condi Rice Joins The Army


"I-i-i, wanna rock n roll all ni-i-ight! And party ev-er-y day!"

Say, This Crow Isn't Bad With A Bit Of BBQ Sauce

Hahahaha. Well, it seems that Scott McClellan and Richard Clark ran into each other at the Essex House Hotel. You know, Richard Clark, the former Counter-Terrorism Czar that quit in disgust and wrote a book, to which press secretary Scott McClellan said:

"Let's remember why we are having this conversation, because Mr. Clarke made assertions that we have said are flat-out wrong," McClellan said. Moreover, in his book, "Mr. Clarke certainly decided on his own to go ahead and reveal conversations that were considered private previously," the spokesman said.


McClellan pointed to the timing of Clarke's book.

"If Dick Clarke had such grave concerns, why wait so long? Why wait until the election?" Instead, McClellan said, Clarke "conveniently" released a book in the middle of the campaign season.


So how did that go?

"I should have known how personal it would get when they went after me, well, I mean, after what I said about you", Clarke says McClellan told him

Mmmmmm. That's some good crow.

[PS: For some reason embedding links has stopped working... I'll put them in when this changes]

Blind Justice

Well, despite getting off to a rocky start, Gov. Patterson in New Jersey recently went 2-2 in big decisions.

Governor Patterson issued a directive to all government offices in New York to recognize out of state marriages regardless of the gender of the couple. The Fourth Circuit decision in Martinez v. Monroe (PDF) held that under the New York Constitution same-sex couples married out of state remain married in New York. Patterson simply instructed the state government to comply with the ruling. This doesn't mean that gay and lesbian couples can get married in New York, that would require a change in our marital statutes. Still, it's great to have a sitting Governor just being so openly supportive of the idea.

On a totally non-related note, he also granted a full pardon to Riky "Slick Rick" Walters. Slick Rick was one of the early pioneers of hip-hop, comming on the scene with his first album in 1988. Now he is mostly known for the people that cover (Snoop Dog covered "LaDiDaDi" on Doggystyle) or sample him.

Remember When The World Recoiled In Horror? No? Me Neither...

As Atrios points out, it's the fifth anniversary of Tom Friedman's justifiably infamous (although sadly only infamous in lefty blog circles) appearance on Charlie Rose. Gaze in awe as Tom Friedman justifies the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people as some kind of international machismo demonstration.

Seriously, if you watch that clip and don't come away thinking that Mr. Friedman has serious moral deficiencies you're not comprehending the horror of what he's saying. It's literally "i think we should destroy a country which is no real threat to the US, cripple their infrastructure, displace families, and kill thousands so that the US can prove we're tough."

This statement did not label him as a moral pariah. He did not lose his nationally syndicated column. He ... no everyone still thinks he's some kind of smart guy in international affairs. You would be better off getting your foreign policy advice from chicken shit bingo.

Pitch Perfect

Check THIS out:

Now that's the best thing to come out of this Scott McClellan book so far. This ad shows Scott's comments about the buildup to war in context. Then it shows in-context quotes from John McCain doing exactly what the white house wanted. It's just spot on. I don't even think it's a "negative campaign" per se. I mean it is designed to make people have a negative opinion of the candidate, but the quotes are accurate and in-context. Is it really negative to accurately display your opponent saying things explicitly intended for a public audience?

Another point here is that this shows a major strength of Obama in a general election race. Obama can credibly say "I thought that it was a dumb idea, and it was. My opponent loved this war so much he helped lead the PR campaign to convince you, the American people what a good idea it was. And he was wrong." Hillary as a general election candidate COULDN'T use this line because SHE VOTED FOR THE STUPID WAR. This line of attack is really powerful now that 70% of America thinks it was a bad idea, but it needs to come from a credible source.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Scott McClellan (background middle) shown here with the film's antagonist (foreground) and the merciless Cobra Kai sense.

So Scott McClellan is coming out with the first salvo of the inevitable post W. Bush fingerpointing wars. It turns out, ok sit down before you read this shocker, the White House made "a decision to turn away from candor." (AKA - they lied). WOW. Big news I know. Prior to now, this extremely insider information was available only to people with a functioning cerebral cortex and access to information sources other than Fox News.

I suppose this is significant because a Bush insider, a guy he brought with him from Texas, is the source. Maybe the media will look at criticizms from a source so close to the President and actually believe the things he says instead of listening to the inevitable denials. On the other hand, I think it's really obvious what's going to happen. McClellan will be subject to character assasination and any smear that can be brought forward in an attempt to move the discussion away from the substantive claims of the book. They've already started calling him a "disgruntled former employee." Worse is to come. I mean, it's not like this hasn't happened before. Or before. Or before. Or before that.

Look, it would be nice if at least the press were to learn some lessons from this. Scott basically calls them all a bunch of patseys. He said that the press wasn't critical enough, and that the White House was able to successfully play the media game and drive their narrative to achieve war the same way they worked the press during the campaing (calling it a "campaign mentality"). Sadly, when the heads, or at least the faces, of ABC, CBS, and NBC nightly news got together, they... agreed on what a good job of reporting they did!

Sigh. Some times the state of our democracy is really depressing to contemplate. The press is a really important part of our democracy (it is mentioned EXPLICITLY in the constitution) and it seems to be badly ill. The good news is that with the availability of foreign news sources, internet reporting and commentary, etc, the information is out there, and traditional sources of information are rapidly losing market share. Still, it would be nice if there was one network, ANY network, that had actually used critical thinking and questioned the claims of this administration BEFORE the war started.

And as Ezra says, no Scotty, you don't get any hero points. You were there in 2002. You were there in 2004. Now that this president is setting all time records for being unpopular you decide to come out and tell us you lied for your master. I don't think I'm reserving a chapter for you in the update of "Profiles in Courage."

Kos points out here that one of the people discrediting Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil was... SCOTT MCCLELLAN. I guess he will at least know what's coming.

Japanese Troops To Attack Chinese Soil!!!

... forming unstable dams after the Sichuan earthquake.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Congressional Race Update

Here's a link from yesterday on dailykos covering some developments in the House and Senate races. Some pretty good news there for Democrats. In addition to the McConnel race (discussed below) Al Franken looks like he's rebounded nicely from a bad news cycle (it turned out he owed $70,000 in back taxes) and has pulled closer to Coleman. Norm Coleman is one of those "moderate" Republicans who talk about how they're moderate but really only break with the party on environmental issues and when their vote doesn't matter to the outcome. What's worse, he took Paul Wellstone's seat after his untimely death in a plane crash during the campaign. Paul Wellstone was truely a committed progressive. He was probably a damn sight more liberal than I, but he was so unabashedly honest and enthusiastic in his advocacy. It was really refreshing to have his voice in the senate. His being replaced by a war-approving lobbiest-loving Republican is an insult to Paul's legacy. I'd LOVE to see Al Franken in that seat. First, he's ... well come on! He's AL FRICKEN FRANKEN!! This is the guy that could draw a complete map of the US freehand and know the number of electoral votes each carried. He's really smart as hell.

Plus, he'd make CSPAN kill in the ratings.

This Week In Global Climate Change

Check out these cool photos of the church in Sant Roma, Spain, which had been submerged since the 1960s to create a resevoir.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WOW. Kentucky Poll Seems... Unreal

Ok, keep in mind: 1) it is WAY early, there's tons of time to go before the election; 2) this is ONE poll only, but according to the latest Rassmusen poll from Kentucky, Lunsford (D) leads Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel by 5 points.

Like I said, take this with a major grain of salt. Lunsford just came off his primary win with a boost in name recognition, and it's just one poll, etc... The real thing to keep your eye on here is that McConnel's approval is below 50%, and it was below 50 in the only prior poll on Any time an incumbent is polling below 50, it means that they are vulnerable. Not that they will lose, but it is a clear indication that there is a large enough block of the electorate out there that is persuadable that a run against an incumbent is realistic.

Part of this is also taint that McConnel got from his long association with and support of Ernie Fletcher, the very corrupt Kentucky governor.

Still, this is pretty big news. McConnel is one of the most odious pricks in the Senate. He will go on television and lie about any Republican talking point, and he's always been the GOP point man against Campaign Finance Reform. If his scalp is taken while he's Minority Leader, that would be a major coup.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Phoenix Has Landed

Phoenix landed on Mars yesterday. The craft landed in the northern polar region. It will be looking for evidence of water in the soil.

Photo courtesy of NASA. Image gallery here.

Snakes Can't Play D

Kobe Bryant shows some snakes what it's like to be DUNKED ON. YEAH!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Kevin Drum highlights a good response from Biden to Lieberman's "gosh, it's terrible to talk to people we don't agree with" op-ed and in the process agrees with me that Biden might be a good choice for a VP for Obama.

He's articulate, smart, has foreign policy cred, and is willing to throw a punch. All good traits for a VP.

Tired Joke Turns 124 And 11 Months

Happy Birthday to the Brooklyn Bridge, which turned 125 yesterday. It was given fireworks and a jet flyover but sadly no cake.

It remains the property of New York City.

Photo from Flickr user James Gordon used under creative commons license.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Problems In Puerto Rico

I noted some time ago that those delegates from Puerto Rico could well be important, and now we're coming up on the June 1 Puerto Rico Democratic primary with the race still on. Well, Clinton has lost, but she's still campaigning, so it sort-of matters, at least in terms of optics I guess.

As I also noted previously, Obama has the support of the current governor, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. Unfortunately, said governor was recently indicted on corruption charges. Now, the sad state of the Bush justice department means that you can't rule out the thought that this indictment of a leftist politician was brought for political reasons (while not technically a Democrat, Acevedo is a Democratic Superdelegate).

If Acevedo has a powerful local machine, his endorsement may mean something. On the other hand, his endorsement could be a negative following his indictment. In addition Hillary typically polls well with hispanic voters. The lone poll at is from early April and shows Hillary with a 13 point lead. This is so incredibly stale though it's hard to know if this means anything.

Cat Graph

From Graphjam via icanhascheezburger comes a graph that is the result of years of cat research.

song chart memes
more song chart memes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Split Decision

Well, results from yesterday's primary have now been reported. As expected Clinton won in Kentucky and Obama in Oregon. Interestingly, Kentucky was a really big win, 35%, and it's the more populous state. Even so, she only netted 13 or so delegates (depends on the tallies by congressional district). It doesn't narrow the gap enough.

Indeed, the big take away this morning (at least it was on NPR) seems to be that Obama has won the pledged delegate race. Even if Hillary won an implausible 100% of all remaining pledged delegates, Obama would still have more. I really don't see 2/3 of the pledged delegates willing to rip the party apart by choosing Hillary. It just can't happen. Look for more committments and defections to Obama post haste. At this point, if you haven't committed where your super delegate will go, you obviously are not a diehard Clinton supporter. Add to that Clinton is very unlikely to be President at this point, so your vote won't be rewarded. Short of bribery I don't see any reason for a remaining uncommitted super to support Hillary.

UPDATE: Well, maybe her "next vote wins" proposal would help her.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You Won't Have Vito To Kick Around Anymore

Vito Fossella, proud defender of traditional family values in both of his families has announced he will not run for re-election. This is sort-of bad news for Democrats, as he might have been strong enough to fight off a primary challenge but would have certainly lost in the general. Still, it's nice to see such a hypocritical prig leave in disgrace.

This Is Real

Quite possibly the strangest political attack ad I've ever seen. If it weren't for the complete absence of any SNL actors and the candidate message at the end, I would have thought this was a spoof:

Aparently mixed race people dancing together is "San Francisco values." I don't know what's supposed to be so bad about this other than their taste in music. Is it the straw cowboy hat?

If you want to see real fake commercials (instead of real real commercials) check out Nerve's list of the 50 best. Bassomatic is #1, but the Shimmer ad (it's a floor wax AND a dessert toping!) and Yardapult are sadly absent.

It's Not A Tuma

No, wait, it is. Crap. AP is reporting that Kennedy has a brain tumor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feel The Power

This computer has it.

Thanks Technology Liberation Front. $8,499 in 1989 dollars is the equivalent to $14,724 in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

Set Phasers To Stunning

George Takai (Sulu from the original Star Trek Series) and his long time partner Brad Altman have announced that they plan to marry.

This announcement comes courtesy of the California Supreme Court which ruled on Thursday that the ban on same sex marriage in CA was unconstitutional. The decision was based on the California constitution, not the federal constitution, so the decision cannot be appealed (but it only applies in California).

As the article notes "This issue is particularly close to Takei as he first came out as gay in 2005 to speak out against a veto, by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, of a same-sex marraige law."

Congratulations to the happy couple. My only question is how many quatloos should an appropriate wedding gift cost?

UPDATE: A more lengthy disquisition on what this does and doesn't mean by commentator and former NY lawyer Glenn Greenwald can be found here. One thing he points out is that the California constitution contains an explicit "right to marry."

Don't Talk About The War Indeed

This post by Matt Yglesias is so good, I even stole the headline. The post is in reaction to this article in The New Republic in which Michelle Cottle interviewed "a broad cross-section of her[Hillary's] staff" anonymously for their comments on what went wrong in the Hillary campaign.

Matt is right, the MOST interesting thing about the article is what was not said: Hillary's vote on the war. As Matt points out:

Her support for it was a mistake. What's more, it's inconceivable to me that Obama's campaign could have gotten off the ground had Clinton spent 2002 and 2003 as a lonely liberal voice speaking out against the war, then spent 2005 and 2006 being completely vindicated in her judgment. It's not just that Obama wouldn't have beaten her, he wouldn't have run at all -- it would have been preposterous. She would have faced a from-the-right challenge in the primary that would have gotten some attention but never posed any real threat.

I find it interesting that her campaign staff has such a blind spot for this. It may be their preception of the question, they consider her record to be past business beyond their control, they had a winnable campaign and the "what went wrong?" question is asking about process not legislative record. On the other hand, it may be symptomatic of a certain strain of conventional wisdom and/or beltway thinking in her campaign that any vote for war is politically smart and "tough" and any stand against a war must be "weak" on national security. It's just a given that voting for a war that was popular at the time the vote was cast couldn't be a mistake.

It seems inevitable to me that any discussion of "what if" scenarios must surely consider her war vote as a POLITICAL as well as a policy mistake. If you poll the staff anonymously and no one mentions it, then maybe "what went wrong" was that her campaign was full of people that thought this way in the first place.

PS: For those that don't get the reference, it's from John Clease's excellent but short running post-python sitcom "Faulty Towers" where he plays the proprietor of a bed and breakfast.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Amazing New Product! Buy Today!

My friends have completed a new board game. I helped playtest it, and I have to say it's REALLY GOOD. It's called Reels & Deals. Check out the website here. They don't have an order online function yet... but it's coming (and coming soon to a game shop near you).

Each player is a movie producer. You need to get a script, then assemble the right director and actors to complete your films before the other players can. You score points based on the complexity of the film(s) you complete.

It went through a lot of iterations before it got to this final form, and I have to say it is a really fun playable game. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The new survival beverage. Tired of those pansy sports drinks in "electric lemon" or "frost grape" flavors? Now there's MEATWATER. Available in flavors like "Hungarian Goulash," "Peking Duck," and the New York specialty "Dirty Hot Dog."

Very well done.


Interesting discussion here, here, and here regarding the fact that the map of counties where Clinton carried 65% or more of the vote shows her heaviest concentration of support in the Appalician Mountains.

Listen Here

Last week's This American Life was all about the "Giant Pool of Money." I've blogged about CDOs and MBSs before, but this is by far one of the most understandable and INTERESTING explanations you'll get. Give it a listen, it's well worth it.

Big Win For Clinton, Bigger Win For Mississippi Democrats

As predicted, West Virginia was a big win for Clinton in the Democratic primary. She won 67/23%, one of her biggest margins ever. To be fair, the demographics of West Virginia were particularly unfavorable for Obama (as are Kentucky's which votes next week). Clinton maintained a big lead, and Obama did not campaign a significant amount there to combat it, focusing instead on the more populous (and more demographically favorable) Oregon.

Oh, and apparently it's only 28 pledged delegates, the other 11 from WV are supers I guess. I don't know why cnn shows different totals on different pages, but it's annoying. Anyhoo, looks like a pick up of about 10 delegates (not counting the supers) which is nice for her but not really close to closing the gap.

Meanwhile, Swing State Project is reporting that Travis Childers beat Greg Davis for MS-01 house seat. Yet another special election for an open house seat in a very Republican district is taken by Democrats, by a whopping 8%. This is less symbolic than taking of Denny Hasterts seat, but it's in an even more heavily Republican district.

Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm that this primary is generating, Democratic voter registration and voter turn out is up across the board and Democrats have won every open house seat in the last year. Congressional Republicans are scared, and for good reason.

UPDATE: MS-01 went for Bush by 62% in 2004 according to Oliver Willis.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mountain Mama

Looks like Clinton is on pace for a big win tonight in West Virginia. Probably over sixty percent of the vote. It still won't change the fundamentals though. There are not enough people in WV to swing the race back to being competitive, even with a big win. There's only 39 delegates at stake. Even getting all of them wouldn't pull Clinton within 100 of Obama. The finaly will likely be on May 20, with Oregon and Kentucky on the list. Obama will take Oregon and that with the slow, steady drip of Superdelegates switching to his side will probably get him to 2025 by next week.


Asdrubal Cabrera achieved the rarest stat line in Major League Baseball yesterday. He recorded the 14th unasisted triple play ever in Major League history. To give you an idea how rare this is, consider that 17 perfect games were pitched in the same 132 year span.

Unlike a perfect game though, the unasisted triple play is much more serendipity than skill, requiring these exact circumstances: a hit-and-run with two runners on and no outs, and line drive hit to either the second baseman or the shortstop.

UPDATE: Ok, according to Wikipedia, four home runs in one game is the rarest stat line [EDIT: but it says 15 have been recorded, so UTP has to be more rare with only 14]. I don't know what "counts" as a stat line but one could argue that taking a perfect game to extra innings only to lose is even more rare. It has only happened once. Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings only to lose the game in the bottom of the thirteenth.

UPDATE II: Had to change video feed, MLB made YouTube take it down.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Follow Up On Propaganda Revalations

Glenn Greenwald has a followup to his discussion late last week about the Pentagon's "military analyst" program. These documents turned over due to FISA requests provide pretty damning evidence that the US Government was illegally distributing propaganda in the US Media.

On a lighter note, here's a website that features "Things Older Than John McCain." Includes Bugs Bunny, Superman, McDonalds, the Polio Vaccine, and the AARP.

Best Food Ever Invented

Chocolate. Covered. Bacon.

Yes it's real.

OH MY GOD, it's available in Chapel Hill. Sweet Crap I'm going to have to visit my sister as soon as she starts her residency at Duke.

BTW, this is yet more proof that the best food culture in America is southern food.

Nothing But Class

Vito Fossella, the Long Island congressman who, as discussed, has a DUI, a mistress, and an illegitamate child, THAT Vito Fossella, is apparently such an upstanding Catholic that he shuns his lesbian sister and her partner. You know, because of "family values" I guess. Apparently he would refuse "to go to family events if she [his sister] and her partner attend[ed], a source close to the family said."

So, just to review: adultery, secret out-of-wedlock children ok; same sex relationship, THREAT TO MARRIAGE.

This guy needs a serious ass kicking.

UPDATE: Hey, looks like he'll get one. According to friends, he's going to run again! Good luck with that Vito.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Do You Have A Permit For That?

Apparently, since August of last year, it has been illegal to reincarnate in China without permission from the government.

Regulations "require all Tibetan lamas wishing to reincarnate to obtain prior government approval through the submission of a reincarnation application."

Probably form 28B/6

Hey, What's That Tolling Sound?

It started early Wednesday morning with Tim Russert saying "we now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be." By Thursday the meme had spread throughout the media. Now, polling firm Rassmusen has announced that they will soon discontinue polling the Democratic Primary. Their press release today says:
[W]hile Senator Clinton has remained close and competitive in every meaningful measure, she is a close second and the race is over. It has become clear that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.
Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

I'm not crazy about the active roll that the media is taking in declaring it over. I mean, if it was merely a matter of objective reporting on the math they could have said this after the Texas/Ohio primary. The "media narrative" is this weird viral event that spawns somewhere and then crescendos through an endless cycle of repeating until it becomes truth. Be that as it may, it is absolutely true that Obama has this race. If this meme ends Hillary's campaign (or at least convinces her that her long term interests lie in eliminating negative, no holds barred campaigning against the next Democratic nominee for President) then all for the better.

UPDATE: Over at Tapped Dana speculates that Clinton may feel she has a responsibility to history to take it as far as she can. As long as she keeps it clean and positive, I think that's a fine idea. There certainly are women who have waited their whole lives to cast a vote for a female for president (hi Grandma!). If she wants to be on the ballot as a legitimate candidate in all 50 states, I think that's a noble goal. Just stop with the agreeing with McCain and attacking Obama k?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Brand Do Barney And Fred Smoke?

Pure Whiskey Tango Foxtrot From The Past

Seeing cartoon characters promote smoking is really mindbendingly surreal to me. It's funny to realize that this was totally normal when my parents were growing up.

Two Important Dates

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Israel. It is also VE Day.

News Hour Places Egg On Face

Ok, so I'm watching Michael Hais and Morley Winograd both at least 50 years old, talk to 64 year old Judie Woodruff about their book "Millennial Makeover."

These old white males have these really deep insights about what a new generation thinks about politics. They've got this great insight about how the yootoobe and the facebook change how the young kids think. Oh, and all the "co-operative games" that they play makes them get along or something.

Wow, I couldn't think of a less credible source of information about the thinking and socialization of today's youth than these two guys. Yeesh.

General Sherman, Someone Called Putin On The Telegraph For You

Tensions are escalating between Georgia and Russia over Abkhazia. What is Abkhazia you ask?

Well, as you can read here, the recorded history of Abkhazia goes back to the 5th or 6th century BC with the arrival of Greeks on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Abkhazia and Georgia have long and proud histories of nationalism and independence.

The current issues are hang-over from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Abkhazia had been part of the Georgia SSR, but when the USSR collapsed, Abkhazis fought a series of armed conflicts for autonomy with Georgia. The Abkhazis sided with Russians in wishing to remain allied with Russia, while Georgia has been increasingly oriented towards the West. With Georgia seeking to join NATO tensions are on the rise agian, with Russia strongly opposed to a loss of influence over it's neighbor.

Anyway, hopefully this is just a Mexican standoff, and it will be resolved without stuff really hitting the fan, but it's scary, make no mistake.

Real Headline Of The Day

Great Tits Cope Well With Warming

Well That's One Way To Increase The Democratic Majority...

Well, it looks like Vito Fossella has decided to make NY-13 a Democratic house seat. Rather than switch parties or step down, he's gone the more direct route: Arested for DUI and then bailed out by his mistress and mother of his illegitimate 3 year old daughter.

Wow. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory.

NY 13 consists of all of Staten Island plus Bay Ridge Brooklyn. As New York districts go, it's pretty conservative. Democrats hold an edge in registration, but Bush won it in 04 by 10 points. Up until this point, the race was looking competitive but a probable hold for the GOP. Now Fossella will almost certainly lose if he runs, and if another Republican runs, they're going to be behind in funding and organizing.

Disaster + Incompetence = Misery

Remember when Katrina devestated a major US city? And then how we all looked on in horror as the incompetent management and piss poor decision making stopped foreign aid, bought poison trailers, and generally served to worsen the problem in every way imaginable?

Ok, take that, and now imagine that instead of happening in the richest country in the world, it happens in a country where the per capita GDP is $1,900. Well that's what they have in Myanmar in the wake of a massive cyclone.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hiphopopotomus v. Rhymnocerous

I went to see "Flight of the Conchords" last night at Town Hall. The show was great. They played for about 2 hours. Here's a little taste to give you an idea of what they do.

Oldie But Goodie

Moises Alou, Mets outfielder and the oldest non-pitcher playing in the Major Leagues, stole home in the third inning of the Mets 5-4 loss last night.

McGovern Tells Hillary To Quit

George McGovern switched his endorsement from Hillary to Obama, and urged Hillary to pull out of the race.

Look, if George McGovern says you're gonna lose, you're gonna lose. No one in the Democratic party knows more about losing than George McGovern. (Ha ha! Sorry Mom and Dad)

UPDATE: To be fair I should say Mondale is up there too. Note I'm not sure if I'm trying to be fair to McGovern or Mondale here.

It Ain't Over Until The Lady Sez It's Over

Well, results are in from Tuesday. A big win for Obama, as he rolls North Carolina while Clinton squeaked out a win in Indiana. Remember, this is not like the electoral college. Proportional representation means there's little difference between a small win and a small loss. According to the current CNN count, Hillary is up 4 delegates from Indiana while Obama's margin in North Carolina is 16, for a net win of 12 delegates.

(note: CNN says that there were only 172 delegates in play yesterday. I thought that there were 214, that may be a count that includes super delegates from the states, or it may be a mixed popular vote/caucus system like Texas, I don't really know. HMM, CNN has internally inconsistent totals as of this writing, look here. No idea what's going on there... )

Anyway, the upshot of all this is there is no way Hillary is going to win. There just aren't enough votes and delegates out there for her to win to close the gap. That said, her campaign is insisting she is not going to quit. So basically this will keep going until she decides to stop. There's some speculation that she may keep going just to raise enough money to retire the debt her campaign has built up.

Obama's campaign is taking it's argument to superdelegates now in an attempt to finish this process.

UPDATE: Ah, I bet this accounts for the discrepency. Apparently Indiana and North Carolina were awarded "bonus" delegates because they delayed their primaries until later in the season. Trying to account for these is probably why the number of delegates doesn't seem to match up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Business Quiz

Ok. Here's the scenario. It's 2005 and you are an executive at Sprint. There are two plans on the table for possible transactions. One, take $15 Billion out back, pour a bunch of lighter fluid on it, and set it on fire. Two, buy Nextel. Which is the better busines plan?

If you said one, you're right. You just saved Sprint $15 Billion.

This Should Be Interesting

Well, looks like former Deputy Attorney General and war criminal John Yoo has agreed to testify before congress.

Yoo was the author of the infamous "torture memo" which gave the CIA and Army the green light to use "harsh interrogation techniquies" (torture) against detainees. It will be interesting to see what he will answer and what he wont. Also there are bound to be questions about the "principles meeting" revealed by ABC news which implicates the entire administration in this.

What will be even more interesting is if a Democratic AG has the stomach to actually prosecute these people for war crimes. Mukasey has made it perfectly clear he will not, since he thinks that the law is whatever the Justice Department says it is.

I really have no end of contempt for Mr. Yoo. He's a disgrace to the legal profession, and deserves no more respect than a mafia lawyer. No, I take that back. That's unfair to mafia lawyers.

UPDATE: Just so everyone is perfectly clear, waterboarding is torture and is a war crime. There is precedent for people being convicted and sentenced to death for waterboarding (see here).

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, commemorating the defeat of the French by Mexican forces at the Battle of Puebla.

The French were there to collect debts owed by Mexico to France. Essentially they were performing an international knee-cap breaking excercise.

Image of "Battle of Puebla" is public domain.

Above Average Tuesday

Tomorrow is the biggest day left in the primary season with 218 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina and Indiana (split 134/84).

Going into today, Obama seemed to have a solid high single digit lead in North Carolina with Hillary having a similar (perhaps slightly narrower) outlook in Indiana.

As I've discussed before, SUSA has had the best results predicting the final outcome of primaries so far this cycle. That being the case it's worth noting that the SUSA poll has Obama underperforming the polling average in both states (9 pt. Hillary margin in Indiana, and a 5 point Obama margin in North Carolina).

At this point Hillary needs to out perform expectations by a good deal. It is now mathmatically impossible for her to catch Obama in pledged delegates. Even if you count Florida, it's dang near impossible for her to catch up in popular vote. If she were to pull out a stunning 4-6 point upset in North Carolina along with a 10 point win in Indiana, she MIGHT get enough momentum to pull this out, but that's just not going to happen. Her only realistic chance is for some totally unforseen disaster to strike Obama rendering him unelectable (like, well, if he were to die or be thrown in prison).

UPDATE: I wanted to point out that if Clinton and Obama each win by about the same margin in the states where they're ahead, it's a net pick-up for Obama. Even just keeping the margin the same (which would probably mean a fair sized win for Clinton in Indiana along with a very narrow loss in North Carolina owing to NC's larger number of delegates) would be a loss for Clinton. There aren't many more delegates to win out there. Every contest that she doesn't close the gap is essentially one she loses, because each time there are even less possible delegates left with which to catch up. Put another way, if the margin remains the same, Clinton will need to win a greater percentage of the remaining delegates to pull ahead. Like I said, practically speaking Obama would have to be rendered completely unelectable for her to pull this out.

Super Delegates (again)

Josh Marshall Has a good post up that discusses how super delegates came to be and their raison d'etre. Worth a read if you have time.

Hybrid Utensils

Original here.

New York Times: Not A Reliable News Source

Sad to say, but the New York Times is seriously calling it's usefulness as a source for accurate information in question. Go read this article by Michael Gordon. It reads as a relatively informed piece telling you about troubling new developments in the Middle East. But notice anything odd? Look carefully, who are the sources for this new information about an Iran/insurgent connection?

Here are, in order, the sourcing for each statement in the article which alleges an Iranian or Hezbollah connection to Shiite insurgents in Iraq:
"An American official"
"The United States"
"the Americans"
"President Bush and other American officials" (noting general condemnation)
"American officials"
"American officials"
"The officials"
"Americans say"
"American officials"
"they" (referring to American Officials)
"American officials"
"American officials"
"captured men described themselves in the accounts" (according to American officials)
"American officials"
"interrogation reports"
"American officials"
"An American official"
"American officials"
"The Bush administration"
"American officials"

The only direct quotes in the article are from Iraqi government spoksemen discussing the official Iraqi position on Iranian relations.

This is propaganda. It's an entire A1 Sunday Times story based on anonymous US Government sources. Completely uncritical, and completely uncorroberated. It's 100% regurgitation of administration talking points with the protection of anonymity. The author doesn't even talk to academic middle east experts for an independent evaluation of the truthfullness of the claims. Nope, Michael Gordon just tells us straight up that Iran is training people to attack US troops inside Iraq "according to American officials."

Please read Glenn Greenwald here for a complete deconstruction of this abysmal hackery. Also, as Glenn notes, this is not the first time that Mr. Gordon has been involved in craptacular reporting. Mr. Gordon was the co-writer on a number of pieces by Judith Miller who wrote all those "Iraq has WMD, according to American officials" stories (see here for example).

It's truly sad. The fact that the New York Times still takes this man seriously as a reporter and prominently features his work is disappointing. It used to be that you could pretty much trust the work of the New York Times. Maybe you wouldn't get the whole story, but at least what youread wouldn't be an active attempt to misinform the reader.* Now, at a minimum, I would reccomend check the by line before crediting a New York Times article.

*I'm sure the work of Jason Blair will spring to some people's mind here. But Blair would make up details and interviews to enhance his narrative about some general interest story he was writing. That's wrong, but he was lying out of self interest and laziness. Blair had no stake in decieving you about the appearance of Jessica Lynch's house, he just made it up so he didn't have to go himself.

Picture Of The Day

Check out this amazing picture of a volcano erupting during a lightning storm in Chile.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Empire Strikes Barack

Another Pickup for House Dems

The Democrats picked up another seat on May 3 with Don Cazayoux winning LA-06 in a special election to replace Republican Richard Baker who resigned to become a lobbiest. Previous to this win, LA-06 had been a Republican seat for 25 years. If this is any indication of how things are going nationally the Republicans are in serious trouble.

In 2004 Bush won LA-06 by 14%.


In another in an ongoing series of "impending doom" posts, the US army has announced that they are developing "electronic insects."

The doomsday clock just advanced another tick.

Tom Hanks For Obama

"as an official celebrity, I know my endorsement has just made your mind up for you"

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Obama wins Guam. I guess this means you can add 5 delegates to his total and 4 to Hillary's.

Indiana and NC on Tuesday.


You think?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

International Workers Unite (outside the US)

Happy May Day!

Celebrate the Proletariate by casting off your chains. May Day was adopted by the Second Workers International which chose May 1 to commemorate the Haymarket Affair (aka Haymarket Riot) in Chicago.

That's right. That holliday where Krushchev would wave at tanks and missles was started right here in the U.S. of A.

Photo by Flickr usere get down used under creative commons license.

Not So Dirty

The official response to Women's Voices Women's Vote about the questionable robocalls in North Carolina is up here at dailykos.

Looks like it wasn't really the shennanigans it appeared at first. Probably. It appears to be just a mistake rather than a coordinated effort to confuse minority voters. I tend to credit this explanation, but I admit it's just because I am more positively inclined to the group making the statement. I'm still a bit skeptical, but on balance I'd give them the benefit of the doubt barring more evidence.

Play Ball

Thanks to a good friend who got tickets from work, I went to my first ball game of the season last night. It was cold (not least because I didn't dress for it... I wasn't planning on going to a game when I went to work) and the Yankees lost to the Tigers, but it was really great to go see a game again. I'm looking forward to many more this summer.

Photo of Yankee Stadium courtesy of Flickr user Jeff Keen used under creative commons license