Thursday, September 26, 2013

They'll be rocking in the projects

Panelists on this week's Virtually Speaking Sundays were Digby and Susie Madrak, with a call-in from Stephanie Kelton, reminding people that the entire debt limit argument is a scam.
Homework for this show:
Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union speech
Yves Smith on another round of budget brinkmanship (but DCBlogger has some nasty thoughts.)
Nicole Bell's Open Letter to Deborah Turness, President of NBC News, in response to Chuck Todd's statement that it's not his job to "sell" Obamacare, it's Obama's job. (Follow-ups: "Why We Fight: Holding Journalists' Feet to the Fire", "Jonathan Alter Corrects Media's Constant Harping on ACA Polls.")

Sam Seder interviewed David Dayen about banks ripping people off and courts letting them do it on The Majority Report. I think that's the show where I pulled the quote out, "You do not know how bad your health insurance is until you really need it."

Lambert in Naked Capitalism on the ObamaCare rollout and how Democrats and Republicans are conspiring to prevent us from having good health care.

Salon interview with Dean Baker:
"Salon: So what has this process shown about the Obama approach to economic policy?
Baker: If nothing else, I think this is kind of a confirmation of what I'm reluctant to believe: I think he thinks things are good. I mean, even if he doesn't want to blame Larry Summers for where we are, I would think he would want to say it's not a good situation, Larry Summers was really important in getting us here, and why go back? I understand [Obama's] got all kinds of opposition in congress. But that you would act as though things are good now, that's to my view close to crazy. But I actually think he and his people might believe that.

Alex Pareene notes that the NYT has uncovered Bill de Blasio's scandalous past as someone who cares what happens to people, suggesting that he might do the same in the office of the mayor!

Paul Krugman recommends an article about how proponents of austerity are lying about their motives. And they apparently assume the other side is doing the same.
Krugman on The Rage of the Privileged

No surprises here: "Close ties between White House, NSA spying review: Stung by public unease about new details of spying by the National Security Agency, President Barack Obama selected a panel of advisers he described as independent experts to scrutinize the NSA's surveillance programs to be sure they weren't violating civil liberties and to restore Americans' trust. But with just weeks remaining before its first deadline to report back to the White House, the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts."

"Former Gov. Don Siegelman Brings the Hammer Down on Tom DeLay from Prison: Alabama's former Democratic governor issues statement to The BRAD BLOG, slamming the former GOP House Majority Leader for his part in a $20 million 'money laundering' conspiracy to defeat him..." You remember that Siegelman is in jail for the sole crime of being a Democrat, right? The idea that Tom DeLay doesn't belong in jail is almost as outrageous as the fact that Siegelman is still there.

"This Job Can Kill You. Literally." Because being an adjunct professor is no walk in the park.

When Democrats vote with Republicans... "There's something profoundly hypocritical about the DCCC asking grassroots donors to send them money to fight against Republicans who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, just so they can funnel that money into the reelection campaigns of Mike McIntyre and Jim Matheson" - the two Democrats who voted with the Republicans to repeal the PPACA or shut down the government. I don't know why Howie used the word "hypocritical" when, more importantly, it is fraudulent.

It's good to see people protesting the TPP - and maybe making people more aware of it.

The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish

Daniel Webster's speech in the Senate on The Constitution and the Union, 7 March 1850.

Trolling the Veep: "Biden Recruited To Hand Out Free Joints"

Commenter ksix checks out Wikipedia and decides that, using Marxist analysis, Stuart and I are both right! Those New Democrats are two mints in one.

"An Even Dozen Signs We're All Nuts" - most of these are good, but the Justin Bieber crack is just wasted space that could have been used to talk about, say, how we're being ripped off by the medical industry. I don't think pre-teenage girls getting crushes on some boy they think is cute is a sign of anything other than, you know, heterosexuality.

Alan Grayson's Email, "Peace, and Eric Clapton"

What literary character are you? (I think I've come to hate these things, but I'm posting it out of nostalgia.)

What would it be like to be raised by BatDad?

Thanks to the anonymous commenter (oh, it's Matilda) who recommended these gorgeous landscape photographs by Maciej Duczynski.

"When Johnny Strikes Up The Band," live.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

All I've got is a photograph

Tim Noah was the guest on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd this week. Tim's recent book, The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It, "provides evidence of two inequality trends: between the college educated and those who are not, and between the 1% and everyone else." What I found most interesting was the fact that this is Tim Noah, who hasn't been all that far outside of the CW (and still clearly believes a lot of it), a former senior editor at The New Republic, and he seems to be morphing into...well, liberalism. The clear suggestion here is that more and more members of the press corps are starting to realize that they aren't part of the elite, and that their ox really is getting gored.
And something else is going on, too - that people on the Republican right and on the libertarian right are starting to make common cause with liberals on issues that were once simply partisan and can now be seen differently - in things like David Vitter working with the most liberal Democrats in Congress to try to clean up the financial industry, and things like Rand Paul signing on to the once unspeakably liberal cause of getting rid of mandatory minimum sentences. Since this sort of issue is far more important to what's happening to the black community than almost anything (other than the general economy) over the last few decades, it will be interesting to see how this shakes out the partisan divide. But it's also reassuring that, at long last, we are seeing some Democrats actually talk like liberals and make the liberal case on these issues.

David Dayen on how the courts are preventing homeowners from filing class action suits against the banks: "Those defrauded by Bank of America aren't allowed to file a collective complaint thanks to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling."

Five Charts You Need to See of our non-recovery recovery.

Adam Weinstein doesn't feel special or entitled, just poor. How dumb do you have to be not to notice that things are too tight for most people today, regardless of which generation they're in? Yeah, a lot of boomers are better off than their kids and grandkids, but the truth is that even a substantial proportion of boomers are losing or have lost everything, and can see for themselves that their kids can't find jobs because there aren't any and the costs of higher education are simply unsupportable. People who get paid good money to write about how this or that generation "feels entitled" and deserves to be cut loose from what few supports our system has left should never be listened to. And none of this has to happen. This is all a decision made by a few powerful creeps, and their answer is to pay some privileged journalists to write about how the poor got too much already, the olds got too much, the young got too much, and everybody wants more than they deserve - except for the very rich, who deserve more more more until there is nothing left for everyone else. If your kids aren't angry, they should be. If your parents and siblings aren't angry, they should be. It should surprise no one that the "generation" that is writing all this crap about "entitled" young people has names like "Megan McArdle", of course, but no one should be fooled by this crap. If you still think it's generational warfare, you are way behind the curve. Ah, I see via Atrios that Roy Edroso went after this one, too.

"One Disturbing Reason For Our Exploding Prison Population" - because the prison contracts guarantee the state will pay the prison company for unused beds at a high price if quotas aren't filled.

"The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities."

Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, and others participated in a 90-minute discussion of The war on whistleblowers and journalism, and you can watch the video at the Guardian site, where Glenn posted it with some interesting background and links on his page.

"NSA Sends Letter to Its ‘Extended' Family to Reassure Them That They Will ‘Weather' This ‘Storm': The National Security Agency sent out a letter to all of its employees and affiliates, including contractors, that could be printed and shared with family, friends and colleagues. It was intended to reassure them that the NSA is not really the abusive and unchecked spying agency engaged in illegal activity that someone reading former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures might think it happens to be."

You might be an Obot if you attack Jeremy Scahill: "Jeremy Scahill, an investigative foreign correspondent whose first documentary, Dirty Wars, opens Friday, writes for The Nation and achieved his biggest success with Blackwater, a best-selling book critiquing security contractors hired by the George W. Bush administration. Neither of which keeps him from being labeled a right-wing stooge by detractors. "Most of my hate mail nowadays comes from liberals, not conservatives," he said. This is because Mr. Scahill has also been an outspoken critic of President Obama. Specifically, he disapproves of what he describes as the administration's efforts to "normalize and legitimize" targeted assassinations - drone-executed and otherwise - Special Operations raids and other covert military practices that blur the battle lines of the war on terrorism."

Syrian President: 'In 2003 we proposed UN to get rid of WMD in the entire Middle East but U.S. was against the proposal'

Credit where it's due: Obama did something that slightly makes things better by extending minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. Yes, it's a situation that was intentionally racist, but that is less the case now and the fact is that even people who already, theoretically, have these protections mostly don't have them in practice these days, and by the way, the minimum wage is still much, much lower than it should be. And this is good, too, but let's remember that benefits only accrue to people who have jobs, and in the current economy, equality means an equal right to no jobs. But it's something.

Alan Grayson asks the questions that clear up Benghazi.

In comments, ksix asks: "Remember this profile in presidential courage from the Clinton years? He certainly did set the tone for New Democrats." He's referencing "Is the CIA above the law?" which says, "PARIS -- On the day that Alger Hiss' death was made known, the New York Times reported that Richard Nuccio, a senior State Department officer, has been threatened with criminal charges and faces the ruin of his government career because last year he made it known to a member of the House Intelligence Committee that the CIA had repeatedly lied to it, in defiance of the law, about its responsibility in the murders of an American citizen and the husband of another American in Guatemala. The CIA argues that it is a crime (the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation of Mr. Nuccio) for an official of the government to privately inform an appropriate member of Congress -- properly cleared to receive classified information -- that the CIA had lied to Congress about illegal actions that included complicity in murder."

If you haven't been asked to sign A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism yet, you can still add your name in support.

The New York Times 1924: "Hitler Tamed By Prison. [...] He looked a much sadder and wiser man today..."

RIP Ray Dolby, 80: "Dolby left behind a legacy that is etched in the annals of the audio and film industry, changing the face of studio recording, and blazing a path for high fidelity and surround sound in both movie theaters and the home that is still being followed today."

"ReThink Review: Good Ol' Freda - The Beatles' Longtime Secretary Speaks [...] Freda Kelly, who ran the Beatles' fan club and was the secretary for their manager Brian Epstein, has refused to speak about or profit from her account of the eleven years she spent working for the Beatles. But with a desire for her grandson to know her story and her place in rock history, Freda is now ready to talk about her time at the epicenter of Beatlemania, even if she isn't ready to spill all of the beans just yet -- or ever."

"Firefly Premiered 11 Years Ago Today, It's About Time We Recapped It"

Arlo's Flickr stream - some lovely stuff here.

"Maxime Qavtaradze is literally close to the heavens." Photo essay with some great pictures, and a movie trailer for The Stylite.

A Year of Incredible Space Photos: Royal Observatory's Winning Images


Ringo Starr and some friends, live

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where angels fear to tread

Panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays this week were Avedon Carol and (rock star!) Stuart Zechman, who discussed the day's big headline about Larry Summers, the horrible Unaffordable Care Act, and the horror of the morning talk show pundits that Obama may have let the popular will influence his decision to do the right thing about Syria. Stuart is the star of this one, I could barely hear anything I said anyway - but, really, you should always pay attention when Stuart talks, 'cause even when I disagree with him, he's still packed with insights and information.

We were all, of course, delighted to hear that Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration as Fed Chair, although the WaPo story hints that Obama is still looking hither and yon over Yellen's shoulder to find some other (probably male) world-wrecker to give the job to.
Just the other day, Prez HopeyChangey looked so certain to nominate Summers that Alex Pareene, with his usual scathing accuracy, was celebrating the irony this way: "Let's honor Larry Summers' disastrous record: Name him Fed chair today! [...] Laws and policies he championed directly led to the financial crisis, and the same laws and policies caused that crisis to kick off a global recession that we still have not crawled out of. He is more responsible than almost anyone else alive - it's him, Robert Rubin, Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, basically - for the severity of the crisis. I can't think of a better time to inexplicably reward Summers for his disastrous record than today, as news outlets everywhere revisit those miserable days of five years ago and sort through the aftermath. The ascension should happen as soon as possible. Think of it as a sort of birthday president for the crisis. That sorry anniversary isn't even the only reason an immediate Summers announcement would be apt. You may have noticed that Vladimir Putin has been in the news lately, using the Syrian civil war to raise his stature as an international statesman and undermine the foreign policy of the United States. Putin is basically Larry Summers' fault, too."
But let's not underestimate just how vital Summers was to global meltdown policy: "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis [...] But what was the use of turning US banks into derivatives casinos if money would flee to nations with safer banking laws? The answer conceived by the Big Bank Five: eliminate controls on banks in every nation on the planet -- in one single move. It was as brilliant as it was insanely dangerous. [...] Why in the world would any nation agree to let its banking system be boarded and seized by financial pirates like JP Morgan? The answer, in the case of Ecuador, was bananas. Ecuador was truly a banana republic. The yellow fruit was that nation's life-and-death source of hard currency. If it refused to sign the new FSA, Ecuador could feed its bananas to the monkeys and go back into bankruptcy. Ecuador signed. And so on - with every single nation bullied into signing. Every nation but one, I should say. Brazil's new President, Inacio Lula da Silva, refused. In retaliation, Brazil was threatened with a virtual embargo of its products by the European Union's Trade Commissioner, one Peter Mandelson, according to another confidential memo I got my hands on. But Lula's refusenik stance paid off for Brazil which, alone among Western nations, survived and thrived during the 2007-9 bank crisis. China signed - but got its pound of flesh in return. It opened its banking sector a crack in return for access and control of the US auto parts and other markets. (Swiftly, two million US jobs shifted to China.)"

Atrios has a New Rule: "Any pundit who advocates war for supposed humanitarian reasons must be able to point to 5 recent occasions when they advocated for achieving humanitarian goals using non-killing methods. Otherwise, STFU."

"Trayvon Martin's Medical Examiner: Prosecution Threw the Case [...] According to the former assistant coroner, the results of Martin's autopsy clearly showed that, despite Zimmerman's statements regarding their altercation, there was no feasible way for Martin to have been on top of Zimmerman when the gun was fired, because the bullet entered Martin's back." He's the former assistant coroner because they fired him - he believes because he questioned the way the case was handled.

Susie says: "I try to explain this to people. Tax cuts are only high-cost loans against deferred maintenance."
Isn't it curious how convenient some fires are?

"The Real Reason the Poor Go Without Bank Accounts [...] The depersonalization of banking is widespread. But there are an increasing number of Americans who frequent alternative financial service providers where the personal relationships between the teller and the customer still matter tremendously."

"How Dems view this fall's fiscal fights: Several liberal bloggers have raised an interesting question: Are Senate Democrats set to cave in this fall's fiscal fights? Here's the case, as laid out by Jonathan Bernstein, Kevin Drum and Jonathan Cohn. House Republicans want to pass a temporary measure funding the government through December 15 at sequestration levels, give or take. But we don't know if deeply divided House Republicans can even do that. So leverage lies with Dems. Why should they agree to fund the government at austerity levels? Shouldn't they hold out for higher funding levels and force the GOP leadership to pass it with a lot of Dem support? The official position of Senate Dems is they've made no decisions and are waiting to see what House Republicans can pass. But aides have said Senate Dems would probably pass a temporary funding measure at current levels - if House Republicans do. And let's face it: President Obama has not signaled he wants a fight over temporary funding, so there probably won't be one. Progressive groups are wary of Dems accepting GOP austerity spending levels. So would it be a cave?"

EFF's Cheat Sheet to Congress' NSA Spying Bills

Banned book week is coming soon, so what can't you read this year?

The Omni Reboot site is up and Norman Spinrad says you can read the interview with him here.

Pretty flowers. I'm still not sure they're paintings.
Pretty sure these aren't snapshots, though.

Extreme Staircases - They missed out the one across from the Wellington Tavern into Waterloo Station.

Rick Nelson and Marilyn McCoo

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A house is not a home

"This man owed $134 in property taxes. The District sold the lien to an investor who foreclosed on his $197,000 house and sold it. He and many homeowners like him were Left with nothing."
Pierce: "For several decades now, we have celebrated sharp practices and gunslinger business-school schemes by which ordinary people get robbed of their jobs, their pensions, their homes, and their livelihoods, or just generally get ground up in schemes concocted by people they don't even know. We based our entire national economy on the law of the jungle, and then we rigged the jungle. This country is now thick with victims who don't know what happened to them, and how, and it is also thick with clever dicks who have made their fortunes in the grinding up of people whom they do not know. The only thing the country is not thick with is conscience. This is another one of the casual cruelties we are training ourselves to overlook. [...] Ultimately, it is cruelty that is the real New Normal. We accept it every time we accept that cops can stop teenagers for "furtive movements," or when they respond to every unusual situation as though it were taking place atop Mount Suribachi. We accept it every time we accept that "the economy" is some faceless force over which we have no control, and that the plight of its victims are somehow the natural result of immutable natural laws, instead of the natural result of thousands of individual decisions, many of which were made down the marble halls not 10 feet from this keyboard, where the Congress is back to discuss, seriously, how a distant government could do such horrible things to its own citizens."

David Dayen , "The jerks got away with it! 5 years after economic collapse, they're still smiling: In summary, the financial industry collectively decided that you could fund economic growth despite stagnant wages through piling on mountains of debt. But when it all went bad, the solution wasn't to rebalance the economy, to get money into the hands of ordinary workers and preference wages over assets. The solution was to point a fire hose of money at the people who caused the problem, and inflate their assets to preserve the status quo. The Federal Reserve's emergency lending and then quantitative easing rescued bank balance sheets. The five biggest U.S. banks are now 30 percent bigger than they were at the height of the crisis, nursed back to health by the government. Anyone who tells you TARP worked is looking at a tiny fraction of multi-trillion-dollar government support. And TARP didn't translate support for the banks into the regular economy. Banks used the TARP program for foreclosure mitigation as a predatory lending system to trap borrowers. Lending for businesses did not increase. Worst of all, despite a crisis built on fraud, nobody who perpetrated that fraud saw the inside of a jail cell, removing any meaningful deterrent for financial crimes. Most of those criminals walked away with enough money to fund their lavish lifestyles forever. The Justice Department recently had to admit that they inflated their own statistics on financial fraud prosecutions, and they disgracefully tried to re-insert the revised stats into old speeches to cover their tracks. I guess fraud is contagious." Via Susie Madrak, who has video to go with it.

"Fighting Back Against Predatory Lenders Is a Struggle for Justice "

David Dayen again, "These Three Democrats Could Torpedo Larry Summers's Nomination" - three members of the Senate Banking Committee named Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and Elizabeth Warren. It would be nice if they've got the bottle to do it. And if the Republicans on the committee stick to their anti-Obama intransigence, too.

I hope seeing what Michael Bloomberg has to say about the people in our country disabuses those few remaining liberals who thought Bloomberg had any interest in improving New York or anywhere else. Unless he was actually trying to guarantee de Blasio's election, which would make him a secret hero.

Chris Floyd's "Requiem for a Whistleblower" is an unsurprising tale of government vengeance, but this victim went to his grave without all the fanfare we've come to expect.

From Cyber Security Law and Policy, "NSA Roundup: Rep. Holt Proposes Repeal Act, NSA Surveillance Methods, and the Assembly of a Surveillance Review Panel on the Hill."
Schneier: "The Real, Terrifying Reason Why British Authorities Detained David Miranda: "The scariest explanation of all? That the NSA and GCHQ are just showing they don't want to be messed with."
"Our Decreasing Tolerance To Risk" and "Excess Automobile Deaths as a Result of 9/11" (Well, not really as a result of 9/11 - it's a result of the policies that didn't have to happen after 9/11.)

"Documents: NSA violated phone-number rules: NSA presented false information to surveillance court, documents say."

"Replica Enterprise bridge used to sell surveillance to Congress [...] 'Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,' says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits."

Labor digest: Sick leave in Seattle, Indiana anti-union law's day in court, and TFA

Oh, yeah, Obama made another speech.

Strange that you still can't watch Chris Hayes' The Politics of Power....

Never forget $9.11.
(Really? I mean, really?)

"Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in Boise, laments 'alarming degree of public ignorance'" - Too bad Ronald Reagan destroyed the country's civics curriculum, huh?

Do you know there's a computer game of "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream"? Complete with Harlan's voice.

World's Largest Cave, Son Doong, Prepping For First Public Tours - some great photos.

There is this folk art I totally didn't know about until now, called Hobo nickels. Some of them are really amazing.

Etta James, "Stop the Wedding"

Dionne Warwick, live

Saturday, September 7, 2013

They say that all good things must end someday

On one of the first nice days we had this year, the local baby hurricane ran outside and got down on the ground and kicked up her heels.

This week, Gaius Publius, Stuart Zechman, and Dave Johnson had a very useful discussion of the importance of brainstorming language, and how to promote democracy, and who the enemy is, on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. I highly recommend this - pass it around. Our commenter CMike says: "Wow, finally it's like someone is ready to write the essential omeM llewoP. For me, this one is the most useful Virtually Speaking --or make that hour of liberal chat-- I've ever listened to. And a special shout out to Dave Johnson, you can't play the straight man any better than that."
Homework for this one is Stuart's earlier post on The Difference Between Us and Them.

Bruce Schneier has been writing up a storm about the disaster the NSA spying program is, and these first two links are from earlier in the week, before the emergence of the latest Snowden leaks, which he calls "explosive".
in The Atlantic, "The Only Way to Restore Trust in the NSA: The public has no faith left in the intelligence community or what the president says about it. A strong, independent special prosecutor needs to clean up the mess. "
in Wired, "How Advanced Is the NSA's Cryptanalysis - And Can We Resist It?"
But now he's sent me these links:
James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian: "Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security"
Nicole Perlroth in the NYT: "N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web"
Bruce in the Guardian: "The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back" and
"NSA surveillance: A guide to staying secure"

Here's a nice story about some local activism that's turning energy back into a local (and more sustainable) utility, despite massive disinformation campaigns from a big energy company. It's great to see people getting out there and doing the business - and even having some victories.

"Here Are All The People Who Have Died From A Marijuana Overdose [...] Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government wouldn't intervene as Colorado and Washington state implement plans for a system of legalized marijuana for adults. The decision opened the floodgates for other states to pursue similar legalization efforts and outraged police groups apparently not excited to see a shift away from the failed war on drugs." But the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs kills more people than it saves, and Holder certainly didn't say he would be de-prioritizing it in any other way.

Dean Baker: "Scary Thought on Labor Day Weekend: Obama's Economic Team Think They Are Doing a Good Job."

Texas? "Saddam Was More Compliant With Inspectors [...] Yeah, you read that right. Nearly a half dozen Texas fertilizer plants housing ammonium nitrate, the extremely combustible substance that blew up a West, Texas fertilizer plant that claimed 15 human lives and injured over 200 others have refused to be inspected and, under Texas law, or the lack of them, they have that right. The article goes on to state that lawmakers were "intrigued" by the total lack of cooperation that saw the State Fire Marshall literally turned away at the front door by five fertilizer plant owners."

Harold Meyerson's "A Labor Day proposal for labor: Extend the Civil Rights Act's Title VII protections to workers seeking to unionize."

Dean Baker in AlJazeera, "Leisure or unemployment? It's a political question: The US is the only wealthy country in the world where workers are not guaranteed paid leave."

Digby, "They don't call it wage slavery for nothing."

There's just no excuse for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"What's wrong with the media" - Libby Spencer likes Jake Tapper more than I do, but his own words condemn his attitude to journalism.

"This Drug Could Save Thousands Of Lives A Year, So Why Aren't We Using It? [...] Despite the effectiveness of naloxone, many states have yet to adopt measures that would remove obstacles to distributing the drug to addicts, family members and first responders. The Fix, a website that covers addiction and recovery, explained opposition to naloxone as a "moral discomfort among drug warriors who apparently feel that the wages of drug use should be death." Many of the drug's critics claim that increasing access to naloxone will only encourage increasingly dangerous drug use, though studies have not been able to confirm this hypothesis. Proponents are quick to point out that any risks associated with naloxone would be minimal compared with the alternative -- death."

"Anatomy of an Al Qaeda 'Conference Call': Dubious sources feed national-security reporter Eli Lake a fraudulent story for political purposes - once again."

"A Pastor Asks A Politician Why He Supports Gay Marriage. It Seems He Wasn't Prepared For His Reply. What do you do when you're a politician live on television and a pastor who is against marriage equality asks you why you support marriage rights for all? You take note from Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, a devout Christian, and do exactly what he does in these amazing four minutes."

Matt Drudge finally works it out.

Russell Brand on Syria

The Library of Congress is Saving Pulp Fiction. (Thanks to Bob Michaelson.)

RIP: Fred Pohl, 93 - Aside from massive contributions to science fiction and fandom, he also made me learn to play bridge.

"Rochus Misch, Bodyguard of Hitler, Dies at 96 ...'I ask you,' he said in the Salon interview, 'if Hitler really did all the terrible things people now say he did, how could he have been our Führer? How is it possible?'"

This is too late for this year, but save it in case you need it in the future: How to interact with author Robert Jackson Bennett at Worldcon

London's Death Ray Building
22 Surefire Ways To Spot A London Newbie

16 Unfortunate Misuses of Punctuation

Hot Wheels wall track

Solar-powered hummingbird

Baby Elephant discovers ocean

Now, this looks like a Hollywood movie I wanna see: The Fifth Estate, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange. (Nice title, that should stick in some craws.) "If you want the truth, you should seek it out for yourself. That's what they're afraid of: You."

Chad & Jeremy, "A Summer Song"