Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cuz It's My Blog

Saturday, Port Townsend
It's a Siat, didja seeit? Spanish Fiat, Craig's List. 

Why Palin Quit

Because it was about to be revealed that she is the biological mother of Blanket, Michael Jackson's youngest son.

Other amusing, informed and purely speculative discussion here.

Fire It Up!

Torture: Greenwald Clarifies, About 100 Died

I've seen the number many times, but never the link to a source.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gail Collins On Sarah Palin

Pretty quick work. Thanks, Gail.
Perhaps there is some new and interesting scandal that Palin has yet to let us in on. (If so, I hope it involves a soul mate.)

'A criminal indictment is pending authorization'

Like Iran, totally completely unconfirmed at this point, but still, Josh Marshall kind of thought there was something else there.

Why Wittgenstein?

Andrew – we're on a first name basis now — throws in some quote in the German for July 4 and I gotta, ya know I gotta, go read about him.
My favorite so far:
He felt that giving money to the poor could only corrupt them further, whereas the rich would not be harmed by it.

I haven't found the Andrew quote, but this one seems to fit me today:
"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits." — Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.431[51]

The Runner Stumbles: Sarah Palin Resigns

So a guy walks into a bar and...we interrupt this program to bring you this breaking news.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has resigned effective the end of this month. She blames the national media.

Course, they never did get a picture of her actually running — not that I doubt her athleticism or anything, I mean, doubt Sarah? — but some joker of a reporter actually tracked down a whole lot of embarrassing crap and put it all in one place a few days ago.
Gotta figure it made a difference.

Josh Marshall's take:
this clearly happened so quickly that Palin hasn't even had a chance to come up with a coherent cover story for her resignation. Some context is probably helpful here, however. Remember that based on the public record, Palin is a wildly unethical public official, guilty at a minimum of numerous instances of abusing her authority as governor. And a lot of very damaging information has come out about her in the last few days -- though mainly embarrassing information about her character rather than new evidence of bad acts. I would not be surprised if this latest round of revelations shook something else loose that we haven't heard about yet.
Oh, and the world needs more Down syndrome babies, not fewer. Oh, and the troops, the troops, the troops.

Oh, point guard, point guard, point guard. Gen. MacAruthur, too. Nice. I am willing to bet that Sarah Palin didn't know who Douglas MacArthur was until she got schooled for the McCain campaign.

Somethin' stinky there. Oh, yeah.

H1N1:Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

On Wednesday, emergency rooms that normally receive 200 patients had to attend to 1,000, and in Buenos Aires Province the minister of health, Claudio Zin, said about 40 percent of health care workers were not showing up, either because they were ill or were concerned about catching the virus. The province had called up retired doctors and medical students to help out.

They decided not to postpone elections, but no doubt Argentina was caught flat-footed. Anyways, this could be us (U.S.) come fall.

Public Option Switcheroo

The woman who, to everyone's relief, sidelined Liddy Dole, turned out to be a problem on health care. Or at least that's what progressives were saying up until yesterday.

One of the Democratic senators who was on the fence when it came to backing a public option for health insurance coverage is coming out in support of the measure.
On Thursday, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) offered her support for the health care overhaul proposal put forth by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which she is a member. In the process, she issued a statement that removed any doubt about where she stands on a publicly run insurance option.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You Don't Want To Know This Either

Taplin's commenters just keep giving and giving. I should go to bed. Early day.
We are, in short, ‘governed’ by a not-quite-open kleptocracy in collusion with a political class striving to make itself permanent. Though particular members have divergent concerns, they’re all distinguished by one characteristic – unrelenting self interest and a systematic disregard for the common good. Short of outright treason, this is a terrible trajectory for private and public leaders alike.

Bernie Madoff: Oh, Yeah, That

 God, I love the internet.

Well, as far as I can gather, the total amount invested was closer to $13.5bn. $65bn was the total of what people thought their accounts were worth.
It seems that Jeffry Picower, one of Madoff’s big clients, and initially listed as one of his “victims”, actually withdrew $5.1bn more than he invested – netting him far more than Madoff himself.
Good article here:
Of course, the trustees in the Madoff case are going after him. Two more like him, and now you know where the money went.

Quote O' Teh Day

here's a great book out called Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. Did you see that? That book says the statute of limitations has expired on all childhood traumas. Get your stuff together and get on with your life, man. Stop whinin' about what's wrong, because everybody's had a rough time, in one way or another.
Quincy Jones

Michael Jackson Redux: What Does It All Mean?

Taplin takes the easy way out, throws up his hands about the end of journalism as we know it, and goes for a walk.
His commenters? Not so much.

I have Google maps on my iPhone. It shows me realtime traffic data on any freeway I choose. I don’t even have to ask. It’s just there. Always.
So why on Earth would I ever tune into KCBS with ‘traffic every 15 minutes’, sandwiched in between commercials for dish soap and muffler repair?
That point and more is made here, in an excellent piece on the future of scientific publication by Michael Nielsen. What’s remarkable about his analysis is how well it applies to a broad range of enterprises dominated by pre-internet organizations that were build around tightly controlled flows of information.
Their inability to adapt is not due to stupidity, or arrogance, or greed, or malice. It’s because they were optimized for a world that’s vanishing rapidly, and that the amount of pain they’d have to suffer in order to transform themselves is more than enough to kill them outright. Consequently, decisive advantage falls to those with the greatest of all assets – a blank slate.
The bottom like is that whatever you think of the MSM is going to matter very little in the coming years, because they are already toast. The culture, the people, the organizations, everything. It’s going to be gone in very short order.
And my suspicion is that the people who can do the best job visualizing data, and providing humans with dynamic maps (especially of abstract things like economic variations and fluctuations in levels of political influence) will become the new news.
I suspect that a lot of the MSM’s fascination with the MJ story isn’t just a function of the hive-mind. It’s also the realization that his heyday and theirs were very closely aligned, and that they both owed the power enjoyed at their respective peaks to the same underlying conditions.
It’s like a last hurrah. In the same way they won’t get another star this big, they probably won’t ever get a chance to publish an obit like this one either.
Moving on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

That Was Quick

AMA Reverse Its Opposition To Public Option In Health Plan

In May, the AMA told a Senate committee it did not support a government-sponsored public health insurance option.
Kabuki, I tells ya all the time.


From a base line of 43,000 newsroom employees in 1978, the numbers steadily rose to a high of 56,900 in 1990 and hovered at about 55,000 until 2008 when they dropped to 52,600. The 2009 census results of 46,700 newsroom hands indicates a genuine decline, but the loss of newspaper jobs has had more to do with the shrinking of most daily newsrooms than the closure of newspapers.
Of course you could argue that it should have grown in proportion to population, but that kind of ignores the realities of competition from other media and advertising vehicles, doesn't it?

But, sigh, as usual, Jack Shafer at Slate promises more than he delivers on the state of jouralism today. Oh, well.

Franken Gets Seated, So What?

Erm, about those 60 votes, that filibuster-free majority:
[Franken] will not make for a particularly crisp #60. Though no one wants to say it, it is not clear that Sen. Ted Kennedy will ever vote again in the Senate, given his medical condition. Massachusetts lawmakers are already quietly jockeying for his seat. A replacement senator in Massachusetts needs to be chosen by the electorate (the governor has no role), which could mean weeks, even months, for primary and general election campaigns to be conducted. Meanwhile, after a month in the hospital, Sen. Robert Byrd was released today to continue his recovery at home, but the 91-year-old remains in delicate health.

Headline O' Teh Day

CBS News Blows The Doors Off Of This Sex Stuff We Keep Hearing About
as Jason Linkins blows the doors off media idiocy

And Now...TaDa! Dog Flu!

From NYT
While fears of a flu pandemic among humans have shifted from the lethal H5N1 avian flu to the relatively mild H1N1 swine flu, the H3N8 canine flu has been a quiet undercurrent in the United States, rarely discussed except among veterinarians and dog owners in the few areas where it has struck hard: Florida, New York City’s northern suburbs, Philadelphia and Denver.

Breast Cancer

Have a friend recovering from a partial mastectomy and one of our cohorts has invoked the aid of the appropriate goddess, the Great Mammogramma.
Just a smile for you.

Teddy's Health Care Plan

The rest of it, that it.
His HELP committee, which we don't hear much about because of Baucus and Cantwell, et al, will release it this week.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Okay, Maria

Where is it?

Okay, I checked the wire at 6 p.m. and still no Maria.
But the P-I posted this about an hour later:
Cantwell Favors "public option" on health care

With local liberals making rumbles, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Tuesday that a "public option" should be part of a package to reform the nation's health care system, but was vague about what form it should take.

Cantwell, who sits on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, said that Congress needs to develop a new system of health delivery to replace a status quo that "rewards inefficiency" and "rewards volume" in the form of unnecessary tests.

Cantwell and Gov. Chris Gregoire were headliners at a forum sponsored by the University of Washington Medical School.

The forum took place on a day of events underscoring the urgency of reform, the political pressure on lawmakers, and the political calculations of getting reform through the U.S. Senate.

Victims of state budget cuts, several centers providing nursing, health and rehabilitative care to senior citizens and the disabled closed their doors in Seattle and several other cities.

Seattle-area Democratic organizations, longtime champions of a Canadian-style single payer government health plan, convened in Renton to plot ways to put pressure on Cantwell.

But she's still flirting with that co-op idea.

Coming Today

The long-delayed CIA inspector general's report. Oh, goody. Last time I read one of these things, I was obsessed for months.

Blogger is being weird. This was supposed to post at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Okay, coming tomorrow.


Take a few hours off to actually do something and Al Franken becomes a senator and Mark Sanford confesses to multiple women.
Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he's trying to fall back in love with his wife.
And she said, fuck you you fucking fuck.
Think I'll go clean the refrigerator. Maybe Imadinnerjacket will concede.

Because They're Desperate?

And more than a few Dems right along with them. The sands they are a shifting, baby.
What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded? What does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life? Why did so many skilled veterans of the Republican Party—long regarded as the more adroit team in presidential politics—keep loyally working for her election even after they privately realized she was casual about the truth and totally unfit for the vice-presidency? Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?
...Palin is unlike any other national figure in modern American life—neither Anna Nicole Smith nor Margaret Chase Smith but a phenomenon all her own. The clouds of tabloid conflict and controversy that swirl around her and her extended clan—the surprise pregnancies, the two-bit blood feuds, the tawdry in-laws and common-law kin caught selling drugs or poaching game—give her family a singular status in the rogues’ gallery of political relatives. By comparison, Billy Carter, Donald Nixon, and Roger Clinton seem like avatars of circumspection. Palin’s life has sometimes played out like an unholy amalgam of Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure.

Japanese Iris Summer 2009

In the water garden.

The Dangerous Public Option of Cheaper Health Care

People Whose Heads You'd Pay to See Explode Dept.
Olympia Snowe , Lobby Whore - ME.

What's New?

PEW tells me every week, and last week was one of the newsiest I can remember since maybe the election, and that was just one item. What else happened that week? Haven't a memory of anything else.
Anyway, your media at work forthwith:

In Just Two Days, Jackson’s Passing Nearly Passes Iran in the News of the Week

With unrest in Iran and a new political scandal, the media had its pick of stories to report on the week of June 22-28. But by week’s end, the death of Michael Jackson quickly dominated the media agenda, according to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Early last week, ongoing attention to protests over the Iranian election continued to dominate the news narrative, and by week’s end Iran filled 19% of the newshole, making it still the No. 1 topic of the week. But much of that came early. Indeed, in the first two days of the week, nearly a third of all coverage (31%) was devoted to events in the country. But as the protest movement moved underground, and the story became harder to cover, coverage subsided. By Wednesday attention shifted to the third biggest story of the week—the controversy around South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who admitted to an extra-marital affair after having gone missing for several days (11%).

But it was the late Thursday afternoon reports that Michael Jackson had died that captured the essence of the media narrative last week. The passing of the “King of Pop” was the No. 2 story last week, accounting for 18% of the newshole. From the time of the announcement of his death through the end of day Friday, more than 28 hours (60% of news coverage studied) was dedicated to Jackson’s passing. Cable news led the coverage, devoting 93% of airtime to the icon on Thursday and Friday. The story captured 55% of online coverage and 37% of front-page newspaper coverage. All other stories vied for attention amidst the biggest celebrity story in a decade.

These findings are part of PEJ’s running content analysis of media coverage, called the News Coverage Index, which studies 55 outlets from five media sectors.

Other findings include:
Michael Jackson generated the most headlines last week, appearing as lead newsmaker in 15% of stories. Following Jackson was President Obama (11%); Mark Sanford (8%); Farah Fawcett (1%); Neda Agha-Soltan (1%) and Ed McMahon (1%).
Jackson as lead newsmaker the week of June 22-28 marks only the second time this year that someone other than Obama generated the most headlines in a single week. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor was the only other person to do so.
Other big stories last week included health care reform, largely centered on Congress negotiating Obama’s plan (7%); the ongoing economic crisis, especially troubled banks and effects on state governments (7%) and the tragic red line metro crash in Washington D.C. (5%). The deaths of Farah Fawcett (1%) and Ed McMahon (1%) rounded out the list of top stories last week.
Click here  for a direct link to a PDF of the report.  The study is for immediate release at our website, .

Tom Rosenstiel
Project for Excellence in Journalism
The Pew Research Center

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Just Love These


Shorty And Spencer

Maria Cantwell Tomorrow

will be issuing a statement about her position on the public option, and will clarify her support of the concept, although there is as yet no formal bill she can support.
The statement will also be about her work on five other pieces of the health care bill that she's been working on as her chores for Sen. Max Baucus', (Prick-Mont.) Finance Committee.
You heard it here first.
I never believed it was about the money with Maria. She doesn't get all that much from the industry anyway, and has used her personal — earned, I might add — wealth to fund her campaigns.
What I think is that she's more cautious than necessary, learning to play by the old-boy rules in order to attain some clout over the long term, and when the time came, would have voted right. But now's the time to be speaking up, loudly, so her constituents can hear her. Apparently, that message has found its way to D.C., and I am grateful. Let this be a lesson to Maria and her advisors. Stay in touch out here. We're pissed as hell and not going to take it anymore.
BTW, I called the White House today as well.
Long (maybe 15 min.) wait. First thing I asked was how come no 800 number. Staffer said then I'd never get through.
Cited the Talking Points memo health care article and the underlying report in my support for the public option.
Then I sent my Cantwell letter to the Seattle Times.
That was all before lunchtime. Fun day.

UPDATE: I will be reading for you, of course. But TPM, which is doubling its staff, has promised to be on top of health care to the glorious and/or bitter end.
Of course, the Senate is where the major legislative showdown will likely occur. So in some forthcoming posts, we'll be taking a close look at just which senators have taken money from insurers who control major percentages of the state-wide market -- and where those senators stand on the public option. Stay tuned...
UDATE II: Huffpo will go all out, too.

Contrarienne's Head

just exploded. This is better than the naked former mayor in the state park any day. San Diego County! Go, guys!
Now this is a truly bizarre story, about a Democratic Congressional candidate's fundraising event being raided by a whole squad from the San Diego Sheriff's Department -- including pepper-spray and a helicopter!
And TPM hasn't even made its new hires yet. Go, TPM. Go Big Daddy!

Maria Cantwell, Maria Cantwell, Maria Cantwell

Get off the fence, Maria Cantwell.
Your constitutents are fed up with this will-I-or-won't -I support the public option — no triggers, no compromises, no watering down — in health care.
I read this morning an excellent analysis of the monopoly power most insurers have in the health care marketplace in the United States and it's more than just disgusting, it's inexcusable that a progressive senator from a progressive state can't make up her mind.
This monopoly industry is crying about the loss of competition and it's just deja vu all over again. They've got a stranglehold in most of the smaller rural states and they're pouring millions a day into Congressional lobbying to hold their position.
Nowadays folks like their facts straight (you do, don't you?) so I'm not going to bore you with unverifiable details. Don't take my word on anything. How about the AMA for a source, the ones who just had to backtrack on their opposition to the public option as their officers checked to see if they still held their board positions with Blue Cross Blue Shield or whatever.
Free market, my sweet patootie.
Call her, 1-888-648-7328.
Call the White House, too. 1-202-456-1111. You will have to hold.

P.S. You can free FAX and email here.
White House
Reps in other states

Health Care: They Want It All, Baby. All.

 Tell Maria Cantwell to get off the goddam fence, godammit!

TPM is doing yeoman work on health care and their success — doubling the staff this week — gives me hope for journalism in this age of ... omg, what age is it now? Must take a walk. Soon.

$15 For Persiankiwi

Avaaz,'s online activism arm is raising money to help Iranians keep on keeping on with the tweeting, etc.
Folks, when was the last time anybody asked you to go fight in Spain against the fascists? This is so easy it's ridiculous.
Will they win? They live to fight another day. That's what revolution is.
(N.B. Persiankiwi was the very prolific blogger that no one had heard from in a few days. Still no definitive word.)

Is This About North Korea?

I mean, don't we have Trident submarines for this sort of thing? I see the big black death ships in Hood Canal all the time.
I like that the wire story gives no context whatsoever, so why is there even a story about this. How many readers would even care given there's no explanation for the story as news at all. I think this is about North Korea, yeah. That's what your morning newspaper is for, to send subtle messages to North Korea. Like spitting in the wind. There are white guys with fruit salad on their shoulders who sit around dreaming up this stuff and then go to the Officer's Club for a drink with lunch.

UPDATED Forgot link.

Headline (not) O' Teh Day: 'Political Damage Minimum'

Oh, Yeah, That Dept.
That white firefighter case has been decided by the Supremes, who narrowly (surprise! All together now, Anthony Kennedy, Anthony Kennedy, let's hear it for Anthony Kennedy!) decided to reverse Sotomayor's three-judge panel. Or was it the whole nine? Whatever.
Quick read from CBS News' legal affairs guru Andrew Cohen: "Could have been a lot worse for Sotomayor, whose candidacy for Court finds solace from four dissenting Justices. Political damage minimum."
Why do I even read this stuff?
Oh, for you, contrariennes, for you. Smooch.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Look, C-SPAN is a friend of mind and you, sirs, are no C-SPAN. But if you really want to sit through 16 minutes of Krugman v. somebody named John Taylor debate Obama v. con econ solutions, have at it. Okay, I admit it, I am listening as I write. Oh, health care now. Yada yada yada.
Embed not working. Sorry.

Guffaw O' Teh Day

The Republican Party may be suicidal but this is just plain old ordinary crazy.
Governor Haley Barbour said on Sunday that he could not "just say flatly no" about a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. But he stressed that both he and his wife would be greatly "surprised" if he ultimately chose to throw his hat in the ring.
I mean look at that face, doesn't it just have slobbering corruption plastered all over it?
The guy on the right, I mean.
The guy on the left, just slobbering.
Please God, let there be a big fight and they compromise and settle on the Mississippi governor/lobbyist.