Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Real Cheese

I spent much time growing up in the suburbs and eventually moved back to the city and until 2004 when out of touch reporters decided Kerry was out of touch I had never heard of cheese whiz being the standard cheese steak cheese. Provolone it was, though nobody actually gives a shit what you put on it.

But pundits, pleez note: Whiz wasn't first historically, and it's no runaway favorite regionwide.

At John's Roast Pork, which serves up taste-test winners on Snyder Avenue, the processed cheese sauce isn't even served.

"I'm a cheese eater, sweetheart, and I love cheese, but Whiz is not cheese," says owner Vonda Bucci, 75. "It's a lot of grease and coloring."

"We won't do it. We will not carry Cheez Whiz," said Jack Mullan, 50, co-owner of popular Leo's Steak Shop in Folcroft. And customers never complain.

A recent poll asked, "What cheese belongs on a cheesesteak?" and Whiz finished third. American edged out provolone after more than 5,700 votes were cast.

Even Geno's owner Joey Vento, 68, downplays Whiz. "To be honest with you, I've never eaten Cheez Whiz, and I'm the owner," he said. " . . . We always recommend the provolone. . . . That's the real cheese."

Two Cats On The Lap

28 pounds. That's my Saturday night. Yours?

CarShare Everywhere


BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Hoping drivers will ditch their rides and rent one instead, Baltimore transportation officials said they are putting the final touches on the first citywide car-sharing program.

After a two-year effort, officials at the Baltimore Parking Authority said they are creating a nonprofit organization to start a car share, giving drivers quick and easy access to a pool of rental cars. Organizers said they’ve written a business plan that includes low hourly rates, free memberships and cars in the city’s most popular neighborhoods.


The new nonprofit will be modeled on a car share in Philadelphia started in 2002 by five volunteers with what co-founder Clayton Lane called “pocket change.” Now with 40,000 members — and growing by 3,000 each month— the program is the world’s largest regional car share, he said.

And Ithaca:

ITHACA — Ithaca is about to get car sharing, a program that allows short-term use of cars and trucks, potentially saving residents and businesses the high cost of owning a vehicle.

After about three years of planning, Ithaca CarShare is set to launch June 1 with six Nissan Versa hatchbacks and a Ford Ranger pickup. The organization expects to add more vehicles in August.

Even Fresher Thread

Fresh Thread


Because You Cannot Be Denied

Eurovision! Live!


Ultimately, for mass transit succeed you need a sufficient number of neighborhoods which are walkable. It isn't enough to go from A to B, you need to get around once you've arrived.

Yglesias sends us to Walkscore. It seems my move is taking me from a 95 location to an 89 location.

Stop Sticking Finger In Brain

Like Scott, I think the Bobby Kennedy gaffe was less of a big deal than some are making, but it has finally gotten some people to point out that the various historical comparisons the Clinton campaign is making are in the "isn't it great that people are so stupid that they'll swallow this horseshit" category. It did not take her husband until June to effectively have the nomination, and the 1968 primary season started much later than this one.

We've had little but dumb arguments like this from the Clinton campaign for some time. I'm not entirely sure if they're stupid enough to believe them, or if they just assume we're stupid enough to believe them. Either way I'm tired of having my intelligence insulted.


What's it all about again?

KABUL -- Five nights a week, millions of Afghans put aside their dinner dishes, shush their children and turn on the TV to gape at Indian soap operas acted out in impossibly lavish settings by stars in sequined gowns and wedding jewelry.


This spring, the off-screen plot has taken a contentious turn. The Ministry of Information and Culture banned the evening dramas last month, and government prosecutors have now charged one resisting TV station with offending public morals and endangering national security.

"These are serious charges that carry prison terms," said Saad Mohseni, co-owner of Tolo TV, which still airs the two most popular Indian soaps. "They are trying to go after us from every possible direction. The things they object to in the serials are happening every day in our own society, but we bury our heads in the sand."

Not Just A to B

When I discuss mass transit with people who don't have a lot of experience with it, I realize they tend to simply see it as an alternative way to go from A to B. As in, if there were a commuter rail system built parallel with the highway, then I could either take the train along that path or take my automobile. And commuter rail systems are frequently a lot like that.

But a comprehensive mass transit system isn't simply about establishing parallel competing transit nodes, it's about having a transit system that allows for a completely different kind of urban space and a completely different way of life.

The extreme example which might help highlight this idea is Manhattan. It's pretty easy to see how Manhattan simply couldn't exist in anything like its present form without a comprehensive subway, bus, and commuter system. The island couldn't support anything like that kind of population and employment density without it. Picture it as it is with one car per person and all of the parking lots to go with it. Doesn't work.

But that's true at density levels much lower than Manhattan, which also can't be supported, at least with decent quality of life, without a comprehensive mass transit system. I was just in Barcelona, which has an absolutely crazy ever expanding amount of public transit. The city's roughly at the scale of central Washington D.C., covered mostly in 6-8 story buildings, generally apartments or offices on top of street level retail. Tall office towers and apartment blocks, to the extent that they exist, are on the outskirts. City population is about 1.5 million, and roughly double that for the whole region.

Expanding the transit system there is less about giving people a better way to get from A to B, it's about making it fast and easy to get around everywhere, reducing the number of cars and the need to make space for cars, and overall creating a nice urban space which can only exist if you have fewer cars.

Obligatory disclaimer: not everyone wants to live in the city! I know! But the problem with a lot of US development is that it combines the worst of both worlds. You have cities which don't have enough transit and have too much car-friendliness which reduces the quality of urban life. And you have suburbs which are dense enough to have some of the negative aspects of urban life, but which aren't built to take advantage of any of density's benefits.

Jews: Mostly Dems

I hit this before, but here are some more numbers relating to the "JEWS ARE ALL REPUBLICAN VOTING CONSERVATIVES NOW" idea that has penetrated our media for the last few years, most recently here, even though it isn't, you know, true.

If I were a star reporter working for that elite paper of record known as the "New York Times" and I sat down to write a story based on the idea that "in recent presidential elections, Jews have drifted somewhat to the right," it might occur to me to first whip out Teh Google and see if this premise was actually true.

But that's why I'm just a simple blogger with no ethics, credibility, or standards.

A Bit More Service

This is good.

Among the planned service enhancements are after-midnight regional rail service on Fridays and Saturdays on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale, R6 Norristown and R7 Trenton lines, which would run an hour to two hours later than current weekend service.

Additional late night service probably doesn't bring in much revenue for transit authorities so I understand why they're pretty resistant to such things, but from a broader perspective it's good policy. It'll help reduce the number of cars in center city, help cut down a bit on drunk driving, allow younger people without cars or those too inexperienced to drive to the city to attend all ages shows in town and still be able get back home (or close enough to home that mom&dad will pick them up), etc..


I wonder where my cell phone is.

...found it. Should have known it was under the socks.

They Run The World

I admit to being a bit more sensitive in those rather dark post-9/11 to election of 2006 days to the political content of various things than I should have been. I was a dirty fucking hippie after all, booted out of the party by Peter Beinart (excuse link to freeperville, only place I could find it), called a crazed, ignorant ideological cannibal by Jon Chait, and witnessed how our mainstream media though it cute and funny that French Fries were renamed "Freedom Fries" in the House cafeteria and giggled as people destroyed their Dixie Chicks CDs. So, yes, I can imagine that I was a bit sensitive about such things at times.

But, you see, their side ran the fucking world then. And, mostly, they still do. It's why I gaze with fascination at their continuing attempts to maintain cultural purity. How about taking responsibility for the mess you created, instead?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Late Night

Eurovision is so awesome.


I'm already asleep!

More Medical

To be clear, I think that some medical stuff should be told to the public. If a candidate has a condition suggesting they have a nontrivial chance of not surviving or otherwise being unable to finish out a term that should be made public. But, you know, we don't need to know their resting heart rates or cholesterol levels or whether they have various problems that might require the services of a urologist. Most of it is irrelevant.

Perhaps He Should Have Mentioned It

I'm not one who really agrees with this idea that presidential candidates need to release all of their medical information to the world, but since that does seem to be the prevailing standard it probably would've been appropriate for McCain to let Republican primary voters that he had some cancer scooped out of him in February.


A couple of weeks later and apparently the primary stupid is still going on.

It's weird partially disconnecting myself from this blog for awhile. At first it feels like I've killed one of my senses or something. My life, practically 16/7 of it anyway, normally involves digesting this steady stream of information from the internets and the teevee, and it's strange cutting it off.

Anyway, things should go back to being their normally sucky ways. Thanks to all who helped keep this thing humming while I was away.

More Sensitive Than I Thought

It seems people may be cutting back their driving significantly.

Deep Thought

I get a lot of junk mail.


They just put shrinkwrapped stacks of Benjamins onto airplanes, and then handed it around.

A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.

The audit also found a sometimes stunning lack of accountability in the way the United States military spent some $1.8 billion in seized or frozen Iraqi assets, which in the early phases of the conflict were often doled out in stacks or pallets of cash. The audit was released Thursday in tandem with a Congressional hearing on the payments.

In one case, according to documents displayed by Pentagon auditors at the hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a cash payment of $320.8 million in Iraqi money was authorized on the basis of a single signature and the words “Iraqi Salary Payment” on an invoice. In another, $11.1 million of taxpayer money was paid to IAP, an American contractor, on the basis of a voucher with no indication of what was delivered.


 When the results were compiled, they revealed a lack of accountability notable even by the shaky standards detailed in earlier examinations of contracting in Iraq. The report said that about $1.4 billion in payments lacked even minimal documentation “such as certified vouchers, proper receiving reports and invoices,” to explain what had been purchased and why.

Another $6.3 billion in payments did contain information explaining the expenditures but lacked other information required by federal regulations governing the use of taxpayer money — things like payment terms, proper identification numbers and contact information for the agents involved in the transaction. Taken together, those results meant that almost 95 percent of the payments had not been properly documented.


Via Democracy Arsenal


Residential inventories are up and growing.

The months of supply has risen to 11.2 months, and will probably be over 12 months sometime this summer. I don't have monthly data back to the early '80s, but the months of supply will probably be close to an all time record by July.


At last.

Michael Berubé speaks for the Village.


Yesterday, atrios noted that a world with eight dollar per gallon gas would be "different."

This led to spirited discussion in comments, essentially about how much "difference" Americans would tolerate before they moved, or started a war over oil.

Stirling Newberry posted a longer term look at this question a little while ago. The post looks at things in a time frame a little longer than the AC everywhere timeframe that has made Houston livable for five million people.

And it argues that the reactionary period we've been living through is unsustainable.

No Concern

Conservative media figures have long operated in a fact free zone, in which they're entitled to make up their own reality and foist it on the rest of us. That's fine to the extend that they're paddling around in their own little goldfish ponds, but the rest of the media who are supposed to have these high standards and ideals I keep hearing about let them swim in their pool, too.


The Inqy has yet another article about how high gas prices are impacting some people.

Imagine if President Gore had spent all that money we spent to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on mass transit instead.

Oh well.

What Digby Said

This has been another edition of what Digby said.

The Majesty of the Internets

According to reputable and highly placed Internets sources, Barack Obama will name Hillary Clinton as his running mate. Also, he will not name her as his running mate.

This is excellent news.

Thursday, May 22, 2008




Not Gore?

Late thread

I'm up too late. You might want to go play at one of my favorite blogs that has a little something for everyone (especially if you like squid and other critters), Biomes Blog.

Not Atrios

Vegan potluck threat

Your anti-terrorism experts at work:
What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant - someone to show up at "vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."
Not Atrios


I'm getting ready to talk to Anthony Romero of the ACLU at Virtually Speaking. They have a conference coming up on June 8 in DC which includes Glenzilla, so has to be good.

So I don't have time to fail at being witty. It looks like, wonder of wonders, Dad is actually taking an evening off.

You'll have to entertain yourselves.


I get to take a ride in a big jet plane tomorrow.

lucky me.


The St Paul Saints have come up with a great promotion. Larry Craig BobbleFoot night.

At Sunday's game, they'll give 2,500 fans a miniature bathroom stall with a pair of lower legs and feet - one of which is springloaded so that it taps. A Saints press release notes that, "It doesn't matter if your tapping style is done with a 'wide stance.'

I was talking to Jesus' General in Second Life shortly after this broke. And he pointed out that Craig probably wasn't lying when he said he wasn't gay. He was just into kinky sex in airports.

Fitzmas Comes Late

Conyers has subpoenaed Rove to appear before House Judiciary.

But they subpoenaed people before, and even Harriet Meiers asserted some kind of weird personal executive privilege and just didn't show. With a DOJ not permitted to serve subpoenas, they become toothless.

But David Kurtz over at TPM points out a little wrinkle:

The committee is especially interested in Rove's involvement in the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. In conjunction with issuing the subpoena to Rove, the committee released a letter from the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility confirming that it has launched an investigation of "allegations of selective prosecution relating to the prosecutions of Don Siegelman, Georgia Thompson, and Oliver Diaz and Paul Minor."

Now that's a horse of a different color.

Obama on Iran

At some point in time, Obama's going to have to point out that McCain's position of never talking to adversaries is one of those Bush administration foreign policy innovations that has filled Holden's garage with ponies, and turned Bush into a person to be avoided by our erstwhile allies.

Especially if they stick with teh stupid, pretending that because Ahmedinejad says inflammatory things for domestic propaganda purposes, Iran is a looming, unreasoning threat.

He's lost Joe Klein. Now that's not Walter Cronkite, but this is nonetheless a sign of shifting narrative:

The fact is that McCain--or, at least, his top aides--seem to have adopted a simple attitude toward the press: Either you come to the barbecue or you're cast into the outer darkness.

BBQ? Heh.


GI Bill Passes

Gratifying headline (AP):

Bush dealt defeat on Iraq bill

Senate Republicans have broken with President Bush to help Democrats add help for veterans and the unemployed to a bill paying for another year of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The 75-22 vote also adds billions of dollars in other domestic funds such as heating subsidies for the poor and money for fighting wildfires to the $165 billion for the military operations overseas.

The vote is a rebuke to Bush, who has promised to veto the measure if it contains the domestic measures. However, the president still has enough GOP support to sustain a veto.

Update: McCain did not vote

Update 2: Tally

There is said to have been a lot of vote switching once it became clear there were 60 yeas.

Shameful Behavior

Some things really do defy parody.

Wanker of the Day

Ben Wittes.


$135 today. And this:

The world's premier energy monitor is preparing a sharp downward revision of its oil-supply forecast, a shift that reflects deepening pessimism over whether oil companies can keep abreast of booming demand.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency is in the middle of its first attempt to comprehensively assess the condition of the world's top 400 oil fields. Its findings won't be released until November, but the bottom line is already clear: Future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought.

$4 gas is annoying. $8 gas, if it happens, will be... different.


I know that 8 years later it isn't the most important thing in the world, but is it too much to ask our elite press to stop pretending Bush can speak Spanish. I know for most of us in the US the idea that anyone can actually learn a second language is so mindboggling that we're impressed if anyone can mumble a couple of words of another language, but the fact is that Bush cannot carry on any sort of conversation in Spanish.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

+365K lucky duckies this week. Still high.

Letting It All Hang Out

Editors and producers of our fine high quality mainstream media products sure are going to demonstrate what a high quality product they provide us during this election season.


I went to see Rick Perlstein talk about Nixonland at a book signing last night.

At one point he noted that in private communication in 1966, Nixon said the Vietnam War couldn't be won. And yet he spent the next 7 years Red-baiting anybody who said so, and, once in office, let literally millions of people be killed rather than lose the wedge it made between Democratic voters.

Lying the entire time.

There are obvious parallels today.

Last paragraph in the book:

How did Nixonland end? It has not ended yet.

Updated to correct date, and to add link, via email from Perlstein.

Email and Flag Pins

In this edition of stalking the racist Appalachian voter, Jay Newton-Small finds one of the guys that George Packer found when he went on safari:

“I ain’t gonna vote for that colored guy, he ain’t pretty,” said Willie Jessie Littleton, 70, a retired sawmill worker and lifelong Democrat who said he’d vote for McCain if Obama’s the nominee. “I don’t like the way he talks.”

Two others had obviously read scurrilous e-mails about Obama, saying they weren’t convinced Obama was a Christian and were afraid to vote for a Muslim.

Email is a big cog in the attack machine this time 'round. I saw it for myself in Maine on caucus weekend when an old family friend resisted entreaties to caucus for Obama, saying he couldn't support someone who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance. The email had come from a trusted source, and was firmly set in his mind.

Real process coverage would be exploring this--where does the mail come from, how much is out there, what false things does it say--and debunking it. But I doubt we'll ever see the phrase "scurrilous email" in the dentist office TIME.

What we get instead is Obama's patriotism questioned over lapel pins. This isn't just Stephy being silly. Raising it validates the much nastier calumnies being spread by email.

Facts Are Stupid Things

Entry #6,543 of 12 million in the series of "Jews don't like the shvartze."

Jews, of course, are just one of the many constituencies Mr. Obama must persuade: Latinos, women, working-class whites and independents are vital as well. Thanks in part to enthusiasm from younger Jews, he won 45 percent of the Jewish vote in the primaries (not counting the disputed ones in Florida and Michigan), a respectable showing against a New York senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But in recent presidential elections, Jews have drifted somewhat to the right.


WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The much-vaunted Jewish vote in 2004 remained overwhelmingly Democratic, defying recent GOP claims and dramatically exceeding the average Jewish Democratic vote in recent years.

The Washington Post this morning, quoting figures from the National Election Pool, reports that American Jews voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush by a 78-22 margin -- a margin with no statistically significant difference from George W. Bush's historically small Jewish vote in 2000. CNN reports that American Jews favored John Kerry over George W. Bush by a 76-24 margin.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Late Night Thread

Meeting McCain


Hey, look, a real newspaper wrote about the real religious lunatic in politics.

(Eurovision...I can't believe it.)

Not Atrios

Because I'm Going To Bed Soon

Last night I watched most of the first night of the Eurovision semifinal. I had no idea that there was an actual semifinal until last night. It made the Spanish entry look pretty awesome by comparison.

What's with Finland and metal?

Drinking Liberally

Drinking Liberally now has a chapter in all 50 states, and has also started a new and exciting event, Shooting Liberally, involving guns and targets, not tequila.

And they're introducing a credit card, so you too can be a card-carrying liberal. The first two cards went to Congressman Jerry Nadler and Credo's Becky Bonds. Credo is a long distance and mobile telephone provider who vows not to let the NSA listen in, supports progressive issues, and gives a monthly Ben & Jerry's pint to customers.

Dear Media,

Thanks for takin' the high road.

Lou's World

Nobody would've guessed that the most trusted name in news regularly traffics in false and misleading claims about immigrants.


I have no knowledge of the specifics, so I have no opinion, but the general problem of states and local authorities having to cut services in the face of recession is a frustrating one.

It's painful to contemplate any cutbacks in transit at a time when rising fuel prices are helping RTD cure the "one car, one rider" malady that threatens both the economy and the environment of metro Denver.

However, the Regional Transportation District's plan to trim off-peak service on some under-performing routes to maintain the robust growth in its commuter service is necessary.

The proposed service cuts will be discussed in public hearings next month. If approved, they'll go into effect in August.

The same soaring fuel costs that are prompting many residents to take the light rail or bus to work are also sending RTD's own fuel bills soaring while depressing the sales tax collections that subsidize RTD service.

In very general terms I'm in favor of, as much as possible, beefing up high performing routes and demonstrating a commitment to maintaining service on them so as to encourage people, over the longer run, to locate themselves near those routes. Half-ass bus service isn't enough to impact location decisions all that much, but a commitment to rail or high frequency bus service might be.

Sweet Sweet Crude



Broder's boy bounces all the way to 23% in latest Zogby poll.

Bush's approval rating fell 4 percentage points to 23 percent, a record low for pollster John Zogby, and positive marks for the U.S. Congress fell 5 points to tie an all-time low at 11 percent.

The number of Americans who believe the country is on the right track fell from 23 percent to an abysmal 16 percent, another record for pessimism, as uncertainty about the economy and rising gas prices fuelled growing doubts about the future.

Not As Much Debt As Reported

LA Times made a booboo about the Clinton campaign.

Noise Pollution

Conservatives just get more absurd every day.

Deep Thought

I told you my tower was taller than your tower.


The most trusted name in news should be so proud.


As Matt says, bus systems are made bearable if you increase the frequency. A lot. Though you can also reduce the uncertainty-related negativity by providing more information. GPS linked signs telling you when the next bus will arrive. Alternatively, though less user-friendly and less worse for low income riders, one can have some sort of text message system you can access with your cell phone.

Obviously not all bus lines can have an awesome level of service, but if I were the benevolent dictator of the local transit system, I'd create and highlight a system of backbone bus lines, ones which had sub-every 8 minute or better service throughout much of the day. High frequency lines already exist, of course, but I'd promote them to make it more clear to people.

Making Us Stupider

As Scott says, it isn't trivial and it's destroying the respect I once had for a group of people.

It's weird, really, having in some sense started my political life defending the Clintons and now being rather fed up with them.

I'm not important, but I'm not alone.

Wanker of the Day

Michael O'Hanlon.


I admit I am starting to wonder what it's all about.

Now comes the morning after, pay-up time. Clinton's campaign debt has now soared to nearly $31 million, according to numbers crunched early this morning by The Times' campaign finance guru, Dan Morain.

She added another $9.5 million in unpaid bills to venders this past month alone, pushing her total debt to venders and herself to the new astronomical figure, about a 50% debt increase in one month.

Merde Touch

Not exactly coffee and cakes stuff this AM, but the tasseled cap notes that authoritarian governments hang together.

Buried in a Department of Justice report released Tuesday are new allegations about a 2002 arrangement between the United States and China, which allowed Chinese intelligence to visit Guantanamo and interrogate Chinese Uighurs held there.

Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare rides upon sleep.

Commie Shit

The secret of Obama's success. Very subversive, very frightening. Osama Bin Laden fucks to this.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tristero Prays

Tristero is a busy fellow. He doesn't have time to suffer fools gladly, and he doesn't.

The culture says you’re free to sleep with as many people as you want to,” said Khrystian Wilson, 20, one of the Wilsons’ seven children, including five girls. “What does that get you but complete chaos?”

Well, for one thing, it gets you laid.

Dear God aka, The Unnameable,Allah,Zeus,Krishna,Flying Spaghetti Monster,You Know Who,You Know What, and Ineffable Oceanic Feeling Of Connectedness,

Please protect my daughter from the kind of sick mentalities which insist fucking between adults must be sanctioned by a priest or bureaucrat.

The reason I love Barney Frank is when they proposed, and passed, the first round of the MA constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage he said (power paraphrasing) "It takes two legislatures, and then a referendum to pass an amendment. That's at least six years. By that time, it will be very clear that it makes no difference whatsoever to anybody, except those who have chosen to make a commitment."


At YKos, some guy in a non-com uniform tried to disrupt a panel about Iraq. Jon Soltz of VoteVets literally leapt from the stage, saying that he wanted the name of his sergeant and his company commander, because, of course, he's not permitted to make political statements in uniform.

Soltz was moderating the discussion, and warned the guy, twice, before he started speaking about the regs.

The guy ran, and Soltz ran him down. is the response to the 82nd Keyboard Commandos' courage under fire.


Influence is hard. You have to pick your spots.

Glennzilla et alia gave us a list to choose from.

Carney "won."

The ads are running.

People Vote Too Often

Kentucky edition.


The governor of Mississippi appointed a sitting Congressman, Roger Wicker, from MS-01 to Trent Lott's seat. Democrat Travis Childers won the special election to fill that seat by 8 points, a big swing from a 20 point loss last time.

Now a DSCC poll has Wicker behind the Democratic candidate for Lott's seat, ex-governor Ronnie Musgrove by 8 points, 48-40.

In North Carolina, Liddy Dole is in a dead heat (down 48-47) with nominee Kay Hagan.

Nobody expected the South to be in play this dramatically, this early.

60 seats?

Not impossible. And then whoever replaces Harry Reid can send Joe Lieberman a strongly worded letter of concern.

Continuous Eulogy


I'm very sorry that Senator Kennedy is facing the challenge of brain cancer and I hope he will have a full recovery. My mother died of the same thing many years ago and it's a tough road.

But may I just point out how distasteful it is that the gasbags are giving a continuous eulogy for someone who's still alive? If I were him, I don't think I'd appreciate it.

No American teevee in front of me right now, but I remember how they'd basically buried Tim Johnson after his brain-related health problems were announced. It was creepy.

Security Theater

Do you remember when, in the first couple of weeks after the WTC attacks, the airports were filled with National Guard bearing automatic rifles?

They weren't issued ammunition.

It would have been dangerous and pointless to do so.

This is an example of "security theater," the use of an apparent, but ineffective security measure. It's an example of good security theater, because it reassured people without endangering or inconveniencing them.

Aside from securing the cockpit doors, all the air travel security nonsense we're subjected to is bad security theater. It's inconvenient, expensive and creates petty authoritarians, while doing nothing to make us safer from a very low probability threat.

In fact, much of it seems to be perverse, to make us feel less secure, more conscious of a very minor threat than we need to be, to enable an authoritarianism that is decidedly not petty.

Late update: Last week, I put up a post linking to an article by Bruce Schneier (most recent blog post serendipitously relevant) about border searches of laptop hard drives. Commenters expressed doubt about one part of the article, that British border security was looking for porn.

I sent Bruce a note asking for backup. He, eventually, sent a link to his NYT source, which included:

'The question of textual pornographic material is more difficult. "By and large you can probably get away with a lot more with text than you can with pictures," Thompson acknowledged. "But if we thought that any material was obscene, we would seek a legal opinion on it if it was a borderline case."'

There is an argument to be made that consumers of child pornography should, like consumers of elephant ivory, be prosecuted because the production process is repugnant.

Text? WTF?

Update update:

Bruce wants you to read this one.

--Major Major

All About George


We've observed George Bush for seven years, four months now...88 long months. There are many things I have learned to expect from him. All bad, and all about feeding the massive George Bush ego. John McCain will not be allowed to separate himself from Bush, even if the former had the inclination to do so. If McCain runs for President, he'll do it on the Decider's terms.

I predict, the 2008 GOP Convention is going to be George Bush's love note to himself. It's possible we will see John McCain read badly from a teleprompter at some point...and yelling at a cloud.

This is probably what will happen. Unlike in 2000 (Gore and Clinton), the media won't spend the next several months obsessing about whether McCain will distance himself from Bush despite the fact that everybody hates him. Normally this would bother me, but I think at this point the disconnect between the media narrative and what the rest of us think is actually helpful. The RNC convention will be broadcast from another planet and be directed at the 28 percenters, as the rest of us look on in horror.

Sad News

According to everyone on the internet, the AP is reporting that Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor.

...article here.

Deep Thought

Is it possible those in the Clinton campaign actually believe some of the stupid arguments they make?

Married to the Mob

Nobody could have predicted that if you gave people power and guns and limited accountability...

Residents credit cooperation between the American soldiers and the dancing gunmen, members of a U.S.-funded Sunni neighborhood guard force, for a turnaround in security in Adhamiya, a Sunni Arab enclave in Shiite-dominated east Baghdad that until recently was on the front line of the Iraqi capital's sectarian war.

But doing business with the gunmen, whom the U.S. military has dubbed Sons of Iraq, is like striking a deal with Tony Soprano, according to the soldiers who walk the battle-blighted streets, where sewage collects in malodorous pools.

"Most of them kind of operate like dons in their areas," said 2nd Lt. Forrest Pierce, a platoon leader with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. They shake down local businessmen for protection money, seize rivals for links to the insurgency and are always angling for more men, more territory and more power.

For U.S. soldiers on the beat, it means navigating a complex world of shifting allegiances, half-truths and betrayals.


Time Travel

Rooting around in the archives for a link in a post now in the Time Machine, for no good reason I took a look at the first week of Eschaton.

Atrios' second post:

Now I'm annoyed. People will not stop talking about McCain running as a Democrat in '04. So, let me give my prediction. If McCain runs for president in '04, he runs not as an Independent, not as Democrat, but as.... (no Marshall, not as Bull Moose party candidate)... as... as... as.. as..



well, duhh.


Dad'll have something new up in a few minutes. Couldn't resist this, though.


David Brooks is very uncivil.

Cash For Key

These types of stories are a bit annoying, as you know there's truth to them but there's no real way to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem. The fact that it's happening at all doesn't mean it's happening enough to really be newsworthy.

BROCKTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - They enter through a broken first-floor window each night to sleep on a moldy bed in the abandoned four-family house at 827 Main Street, part of a new generation of squatters emboldened by America's housing foreclosure crisis.

"For squatters, foreclosed homes like this are like a camp-ground with free camping," says real-estate broker Marc Charney, a foreclosure specialist, as he enters the home in Brockton, Massachusetts, and shines a flash-light at a mattress where homeless people have been sleeping each night.


In some regions, squatting is taking on new twists to include real-estate scams in which thieves "rent out" abandoned homes they don't own. Others involve "professional squatters" who move from one abandoned home to another posing as tenants who seek cash from banks as a condition to leave the premises -- a process known by real-estate brokers as "cash for key."

Someone Finally Noticed

Usually the press is too busy gushing over McCain's unwillingness to talk about his time as a POW to notice that he regularly uses it as a shield.

May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Whether he's deflecting criticism over his health-care plan or mocking a tribute to the Woodstock music festival, Senator John McCain has a trump card: the Hanoi Hilton.

That's the nickname for the site where he spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, a past that McCain regularly recalls on the campaign trail to fend off policy attacks, score political points and give voters a glimpse of his sentimental side. He campaigns with squadrons of POWs and made a video to mark the 35th anniversary of his release from prison.

Nothing wrong with McCain talking about or using that horrible time in his life any way he wants, but the press keeps pretending he doesn't.


My world isn't exactly typical, and so my anecdotal knowledge of such things isn't necessarily reliable, but I do get the sense that the degree to which cars are key conspicuous consumption status symbols has started to decline somewhat. It seemed like for awhile the "get a new car every 3 years" plan was pretty common for people, and the more expensive the better. Obviously the degree to which something is an important status symbol isn't the only determinant of sales, but it's part of it.

Through most of the 1990s, auto makers sold a little over 15 million cars and light trucks a year in the U.S. market. That changed in the late 1990s: With gasoline prices low and many U.S. consumers feeling flush from the tech-stock boom, auto sales surged. Sales peaked at 17.4 million in 2000 and remained near 17 million for another five years. Heads of General Motors Corp. and Toyota said the U.S. was entering a golden age of the automobile. In 2003, Toyota's head of North American sales predicted the industry would soon be selling 20 million vehicles a year.

They were wrong. Sales started falling in 2006 and this year are expected to be right back where they were in the 1990s, at just over 15 million. Last week, market researcher Global Insight Inc. lowered its 2008 forecast for U.S. vehicle sales to below 15 million. Global Insight now believes sales won't reach previous highs again until 2012, a year later than it had previously thought.

Repo Man's Got All Night, Every Night

Expanding job opportunities.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — So many people have so many things they can no longer afford. This is an excellent time to be a repo man.

When a boat owner defaults on his loan, the bank hires Jeff Henderson to seize its property. The former Army detective tracks the boat down in a backyard or a marina or a garage and hauls it to his storage area and later auctions it off. After nearly 20 years in the repossession business, Mr. Henderson has never been busier.

“I used to take the weak ones,” he said. “Now I’m taking the whole herd.

Holden Hears a Gaggle

Holden at First Draft hears the tower of men's dress shoes fall as Bush refuses to dim his glory showing up on the campaign trail with that loser, what's 'is name:

The President, when he gets out and talks on the campaign trail, regardless of what candidate he is supporting, will talk about the fact that he believes that Republicans going into this fall have the message that can be supported by voters, and that is one that keeps us strong, keeps us safe as a nation, one that uses -- makes wise use of the taxpayers' money and keeps taxes low, to make sure that the economy continues to grow.

So the President believes very strongly that if we get out and take our message to voters, that we can be successful.

Q Are we going to see a lot of them together?

MR. STANZEL: I think you'll see the President out on the campaign quite -- campaign trail quite a bit. We'll keep you posted on their events that they may have together.

cross posted at IIRTZ

Are There Any Republicans Left?

Vito finally makes it official.

In a bombshell announcement that brings the curtain down on one of the most storied careers in Staten Island political history, fifth-term Republican Rep. Vito Fossella will not seek re-election this fall.


If 70,o00 plus showed up for a McCain rally, there'd be a month's worth of glowing paeans to his super-popular Maverickiness.

Obama, not so much.

Only the dirty fucking hippies were paying attention.

Update: McCain blasts Obama. Iran totally would p3wn the Soviet Union.

Teh Funny


And America!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Late Night

For aguatigre.


"Blo and Glo"...?

(And here)

UPDATE: Beloved Atriot and proud member of the Zombie-American community William Rehnquist observes the photo in question may be found here. (Warning: not safe for work, especially if you work as a welder, where you shouldn't really be browsing the Internet anyway, for important safety reasons.)

Purity Balls

An unfortunate name for these father-daughter dances which are all about the daughters remaining virginal until daddy passes them to a husband. The motivations of these balls may be many and varied, but I found this comment of special interest, because it reminded me of the reasons Wahhabi preachers give to explain the necessity of gender segregation:

"The culture says you're free to sleep with as many people as you want to," said Khrystian Wilson, 20, one of the Wilsons' seven children, including five girls. "What does that get you but complete chaos?"

The fear of sexuality, anyone?

One thing the purity balls are NOT about is greater independence for the daughters.
Hat tip to res ipsa loquitur

Jesus McCain

I'm not Christian so it doesn't really matter much to me who is casually compared to Their Lord And Savior, but still.

I Thought Conservatives Were Ethically Opposed to Recycling?

A)Save the Males, B) Save the Males, C) Save the Males, D) Save the Males, E) Save the Males, F) Save the Males

OK, I'll spare you the click through.
A) A woman who had five mothers and a seductive but incompetent father and three sons explains how terrible women are.**
B) A guy self publishes a book, in five editions, that urges the readers to "get mad as haell (sic)" and to use his guide in divorce proceedings against terrible women.
C) Another guy so obscure that Amazon can't even be bothered with a description of a book no one seems to have read on the topic of how terrible women are.
D) A guy who developed a "unique approach" to therapy for men due to an anxiety that anxiety is killing men faster than women because of how terrible women are.
E) A guy with a website that explains how terrible women are and how terrible women are linked up with the new world order. Bonus essay on how the illuminati murdered two presidents.
F) An article about a guy who ustabee a feminist in the seventies before discovering how terrible women were who was then not invited back on Phil Donahue to explain how terrible women are.

cross posted at IIRTZ

**Kathleen "blood equity" Parker, for your information. The apotheosis of Its Okay if You Are a Republican since her own family life must be a doozy of a culture war disaster for her to have been "raised by her father" while having "five mothers." Still, those who can't do, teach must apply equally to moralistic scolds, sexual prudes, and racist hatemongers.

Body Count

But they can't kill the comps! Comp killers are bad.

The Internets In Spain Stay Mainly In The Plain

Thank to everyone with the keys who has been chipping in. For some reason the internets don't penetrate the Tower of Eschaton quite as well as they should. Perhaps it's lined with lead. In any case it's made it a bit hard to keep up and I greatly appreciate the help.

This blog should return to its normal sucky self on Friday or Saturday.

Once More...

Bill Kristol wrong? Unpossible!

Weekend Update

Democrats pick up some ground.

poblano does interesting stuff, and he's got a great sense for graphical design of electoral projections. Tufte would be proud.

He estimates a regression model using polling data, and then runs a Monte Carlo simulation using that model to get a distribution of electoral results.

Better method of analyzing the head-to-heads than deciding the answer you want, and looking for data points to support it.

Colonel Tigh Speaks

First time Republican, second time Maverick. Or do I mean first time Human, second time Cylon?
h/t Kagro X over at Kos


Best to pretend it isn't really there.

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Banks and securities firms, reeling from record losses resulting from the collapse of the mortgage securities market, are failing to acknowledge in their income statements at least $35 billion of additional writedowns included in their balance sheets, regulatory filings show.


The balance-sheet adjustments are in addition to $344 billion of writedowns and credit losses already reported on the income statements of more than 100 banks. These companies have raised $263 billion from sovereign wealth funds, their own governments and public investors to shore up capital. The balance-sheet writedowns also reduce equity, which needs to be replenished. Adding the $35 billion leaves the banks with a $116 billion mountain of losses to climb.



Infrastructure is another problem. Public transit, in particular, faces a chicken-and-egg problem: it’s hard to justify transit systems unless there’s sufficient population density, yet it’s hard to persuade people to live in denser neighborhoods unless they come with the advantage of transit access.

This is true, but only because of how we're used to thinking about things. We think little of building highways or major access roads to "nowhere" in anticipation of, or to spur, future development. Inevitably the future development is then automobile-centric, and even when mass transit of sort sounds like a nice idea, it doesn't really fit the existing development patterns.

It doesn't have to be that way, of course. Obviously it makes sense to focus spare mass transit dollars on population centers, but it also makes sense to change the way we think about mass transit and not have those dollars be so sparse. Development corridors could incorporate mass transit from the beginning, at the very least with right of ways preserved and zoning around planned station locations in anticipation of what is to come.

Wake Up Calls

It's perhaps true that the people of Manhattan are quite dense, and that a mere 3000 or so dead and a giant hole in the ground where once two tall towers sat, along with an aftermath of respiratory illness for many who tried to clean it all up, is just not quite enough to convince them of The Truth Of A Grand Existential Islamo Nazi threat.

Though there are other theories which are probably more compelling, both about New Yorkers and those who dream of wake up calls.

And as for the suspension of disbelief it would take to imagine an amassed army of said Islamo Nazis actually occupying and controlling the island of Manhattan, and the people who could imagine such a thing...

Underpants Gnome

But will the voters need that many underpants?

cross posted at IIRTZ


Based on the highly scientific method of "blogger perception and anecdote," I'd be surprise if the commercial real estate market wasn't in deep trouble pretty much across the board. Whenever I drive out of the city I see multiplying "FOR LEASE" signs in front of all kinds of real estate.

Some links

Because I'm getting a little bored with silly music videos:

Not superheroes.

The psychosexual panic and obsession of the media and the GOP.

More unAmerican rhetoric from the melting pot. Or maybe we should call it the "melt-down pot".

Not Atrios

Kids these days

So I was at a graduation today. And what with all the "tone-deaf" and "out of touch" complaints, I decided to poll the current generation for an overnight vid. So, no gypsy shit, no brooklyn goth, no commie guitars.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Deeper Thought

The farmer and the cowman should make out.

Lobbying Related Departures?

Is this a new term of political art? I'd prefer "lobbying related deaths" but I'll take what I can get. From Politico via the indespensible Obsidian Wings
Former Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler, a Texan who is among the McCain campaign’s most important advisers and fundraisers, has resigned as a national co-chair over lobbying entanglements, a Republican source told Politico on Sunday.

It’s at least the fifth lobbying-related departure from the campaign in a week. (...)

Deep Thought

My tower is taller than your tower.


Silly Senator Webb. "Supporting the the troops" means sending them off to a pointless and catastrophic war, not actually doing anything which would reward them for their service if they survive.

Hard Hitting News You Can Use?

Sadly, No!? Sadly, Yes, its the only place you'll find it.

Afternoon Thread

Busy day for me. Go outside and play!

What War

As Yglesias says, the lack of any mention of Iraq in the Clinton campaign post-mortem is a bit odd. More than that, I think the general dismissive tone of the campaign regarding Obama simply "giving speeches" against the war suggests a tremendous misreading of the Democratic primary population. One power politicians have is to persuade, and it would have been nice if more of them had been giving speeches opposing the Iraq war back in the day instead of voting to give the president the authority to go destroy a country.

2002-03 was a very bad time for this country. It was a nation gone mad, and politicians directed that madness towards Iraq. For the most part our elites completely failed us. Dismissing those who in some small ways opposed this war while you, in a position of power, enabled it to happen is a slap in the face to a group of people who have been slapped quite a bit lately.

The dirty fucking hippies were, you might remember, the reason Dems didn't take Congress in 2002 or 2006, were why John Kerry lost the presidency, why Democrats were doomed to be the minority party for generations, etc... We're a wee bit tired of being mocked for the failures of people who really screwed the pooch.


Over there.

* BAQUBA - A female suicide bomber wounded 15 people at a checkpoint run by a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol in Baquba, 65 km (42 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. A car bomb exploded at the scene soon after, wounding one policeman, police said.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" - Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla.; Republican strategist Ed Rollins; former Govs. Mario Cuomo, D-N.Y., and Roy Romer, D-Colo.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.; former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; Republican strategist Mike Murphy; Democratic strategist Bob Shrum.

CNN's "Late Edition" - Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.

"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; Rick Dutrow Jr., trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.

An extra special female free Sunday.

Early Morning

Off to, of all places, Philadelphia, for the day.