Saturday, December 26, 2015

Timing is everything

The traditional Christmas links:
* Mark Evanier's wonderful Mel Tormé story, and here's the man himself in duet with Judy Garland.
* Joshua Held's Christmas card, with a little help from the Platters.
* Brian Brink's virtuoso performance of "The Carol of the Bells"
* "Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime."
* Ron Tiner's one-page cartoon version of A Christmas Carol

FULL Democratic Debate - December 19, 2015 - ABC. The Guardian says, "Sanders outshone Clinton on foreign policy at the debate. But who watched?"
* But for those who listened, people who know better than to believe lies about single-payer were frustrated when Sanders did not say immediately that it's false to claim that the program would cost more rather than saving money both in taxes and out of pocket. "Hillary Clinton spreading the idea that a single-payer health care system would bankrupt America is keeping U.S. citizens sick, injured, and broke. Right now, we have a failing health care system, and a single-payer system that would be both cheaper and provide care to every single woman, man, and child, is desperately needed." Even The Washington Post has admitted this. America's residents already spend more in taxes alone on health care than taxpayers in almost any other country do (exceptions are Sweden and Luxembourg), and that's before they even start looking for a health insurance plan. There is no country in the world where the full bite of medical care is higher than in the United States - the real difference being that although everyone pays for medical care, the people in those other countries not only pay much less, but can afford to use their medical system when they need it. Sooner or later, someone needs to ask Madame Secretary why she keeps lying about this.

So, the Friday night right before the debate, there was a stream of constantly updating stories on how some geek in the Sanders campaign saw a breach in the security that was supposed to exist between some Clinton campaign data and their own and naturally checked it out to see what their own exposure must be from the other side - which is a mistake to do without witnesses if you're part of a political campaign, but pretty much what most geeks would do in other circumstances. Anyway, the net was abuzz with accusations and recriminations and conflicting charges from each side. (And, yes, the DNC went a little nuts if you ask me, and I'm not surprised that some people were pissed.)
* Charlie Pierce wants to know, "Why Did the DNC Let the Bernie-Hillary Tech Story Leak?: A better question: Would it have leaked if the roles were reversed?"
* Rachel Maddow figured the DNC had no reason to release this story unless it was intended as a smear. And even Slate says, "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Is Acting Just Like the Villain Bernie Sanders Says She Is."
* David Dayen, "The real scandal in the Bernie/DNC feud is the one nobody is talking about [...] But there's a crater-sized hole in this reporting. The reason this controversy sprung up in the first place is that the DNC has been facilitating a monopoly, with all the usual results from that decision. In fact, it's a case study in why policymakers should aggressively protect against monopolies. NGP VAN, the private company that provides database software for voter information, has a sole-source contract with the DNC. And the DNC exploits this to force state parties and candidates that want their voter data, which has been refined and sharpened by campaigns for years, to use NGP VAN. This gives the DNC incredible power to dictate who gets to see the voting history and contact information for every registered voter in America. It also creates enormous potential risk."

No matter how you look at it, though, someone should really primary Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

"Edward Snowden: Clinton's Call for a 'Manhattan-Like Project' Is Terrifying."

The Week: "Hillary Clinton and the awful risk of winning ugly"

Pierce: "Hillary Clinton Will Need to Face Facts: Her Husband Allowed Wall Street to Run Wild."

International Business Times:
* "Hillary Clinton Says She Is Unaware Of Big Money That Oil And Gas Companies Have Given Her And Family Foundation."
* Hillary Clinton Denounces Corporate Crime While Accepting Cash From Blackstone, Firm Sanctioned By SEC

"Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary"

"Conservative Democrats Use Politics To Make Sure Their Policy Goals Aren't Threatened By Progressives."

John Scalzi with Eight Things About Donald Trump

"Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana."

Two New Bernie Sanders campaign ads:
"Consistent, Principled, Effective Leader" and "Bernie is a Rock."

"The General Election Electoral Vote Map: Hillary vs. Bernie" - I'm not at all convinced that Clinton would lose against whatever the GOP runs, but I've always been sure that Sanders would win bigger and have much longer coat-tails. I think he could even win the white vote, which would leave the GOP True Believers without their favorite argument. The ex-conservative who wrote this article says that Bernie can win handily but Clinton's negatives put her "into Mondale or Dukakis territory." So it's time to ask Clinton's supporters, "What are you going to do if a Republican beats Hillary?"

"Walker Signs Bills Scrapping State Elections Board, Overhauling Campaign Finance Rules."

"Don't Silence Michigan Librarians: The Michigan House and Senate pulled a fast one last week and Governor Snyder needs to do the right thing for libraries, schools, and parks by Vetoing SB 571. If SB 571 becomes law, librarians would be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards would be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. We need honest and transparent elections. SB 571 is ridiculous. It is both anti- free speech and anti- good government. Don't let the politicians in Lansing force librarians to hide information about what is on your ballot! Join thousands of citizens from around Michigan and tell Governor Snyder to Veto SB 571 because information needs to be free by signing the petition today. "
* "CIRCLE OF LIES: Dodging Blame for the Flint River Disaster" - but the blame goes right up to the governor's office.

"IETF approves HTTP error code 451 for Internet censorship: The 451 HTTP error code, first proposed in 2012 as a tribute to Ray Bradbury's classic novel is now an IETF standard and is the preferred error message for a server to send to a browser when content is blocked for legal reasons.".

Bill Black: A "Jihadist" Against the Banks? [...] But this is how far the Justice Department has fallen. Not only will they not prosecute the elite bank frauds that drove the crisis, but anyone that wants them to do their job they're treating as a terrorist."

"Military to Military: Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war: Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office - and that there are ‘moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him - has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped."

Frank Luntz pretends to offer American Muslims an unedited voice, and CBS helps.

First of its Kind Study Finds Virtually No Driving Impairment Under the Influence of Marijuana.

Gawker calls them "The Least Inspiring Group of Class Warriors Ever Assembled in Human History."

Bill Moyers: The End Game for Democracy

Nine Numbers That Cry Out: "Bring On Socialism!"

In her closing remarks at the 2015 Internet Governance Forum, APC's Nadine Maowad said, "Keep fighting for a free and open internet - if not, we are going to lose it."

Last October Matt Yglesias made this important point: "Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble. [...] But the much more significant question facing the party isn't about the White House - it's about all the other offices in the land. The problem is that control of the presidency seems to have blinded progressive activists to the possibility of even having an argument about what to do about all of them. That will change if and when the GOP seizes the White House, too, and Democrats bottom out. But the truly striking thing is how close to bottom the party is already and how blind it seems to be to that fact." There have been many times when I wanted to smack Matt for being such a damned "centrist", but he's not wrong about this, although I wonder if he's aware of just how much the "centrist" types have been responsible for this dire situation. You expect people who are young and naive to think it's enough to elect a presidential candidate, but why did Rahm Emanuel want to ditch Howard Dean and his 50-state strategy? Why did the Democratic leadership allow small-d and big-D democratic groups to be corralled into a cult of personality whose sole "policy" goal seemed to be simply to promote, support, and defend Barack Obama? Why does the leadership deliberately undermine democratic legislators who are popular and maybe even charismatic, in favor of candidates no one likes? Why is it so important to them to get people to be quiet instead of loudly promoting the policies and values of both the Democratic platform and, really, most of the people in the country? Why do they actively discourage challenges to hard-right Republican incumbents who could easily be unseated with just a little bit of support from the Democratic Party?

"Power-pop justice is served as Cheap Trick enters the Rock ‘N' Roll Hall Of Fame."
* "Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Can Blue Men Sing the Whites? Edition: From approximately 2011, and the praise Jeebus just renewed for another season cable music show Live at Daryl's House, please enjoy Daryl Hall and the incomparable Smokey Robinson and a mind-blowing live version of Smokey's classic 'Tears of a Clown.'"

Swedish crime novelist Sara Lovestam took a break from making a gingerbread house this year and instead made a gingerbread typewriter.

I have vague memories of linking to this video a few years ago, but let's see that Rube Goldberg stuff again.

The Beethoven's birthday Google Doodle was fun.

An entire year later, no one at The Washington Post has proofread Daniel W. Drezner's "The War on Jewish Christmas must be stopped."

"The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas"

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In restless dreams I walked alone

"Bernie Sanders urges carbon tax and deeper emissions cuts in climate plan."
* "Sanders on Trump: 'That kind of crap is not going to work' in US."
* "Poll: Sanders More Electable than Clinton Against GOP Frontrunners: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would win the 2016 U.S. presidential election against all top Republican candidates, with scores that make him more electable in the general than even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his main rival for the Democratic nomination, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. In a match-up against the leading Republican candidates, Sanders leads Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) by 10 points, Donald Trump by eight points, and Ben Carson by six points - while Clinton only leads Cruz by five points and Trump by six. "
* The Hulk endorses Bernie Sanders for president
* "Sanders 'Talks Shop' and Socialism with Renowned Rapper"
* "Ohio Democrat Nina Turner Is Trying To Convince Black Voters To Take A Chance On Sanders."
* "Fear not: More Americans support Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump - no matter what TV says."
* "Sanders: Paris climate pact 'goes nowhere near far enough'"
* Hm, looks like CBS has learned a little trick from Fox News.

Oy, even The National review is on this: "Why Democrats Buried Their Debates at Times No One Will Watch"
* "ABC, CBS, And NBC News Made An Intentional Decision To Ignore Bernie Sanders"
* Eric Boehlert: "Report: ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes To Trump, One Minute To Sanders."
* CNN: "Sanders ratchets up anti-media rhetoric in Iowa."
* "Sanders rips Trump, but Dems say problems run deeper."

"Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is A Test For That."
* "Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton & America's Endless War"

William Greider, "Hillary Clinton Is Whitewashing the Financial Catastrophe: She has a plan that she claims will reform Wall Street - but she's deflecting responsibility from old friends and donors in the industry.
* "Hillary Clinton: Wall Street Tool [...] She represents what peace activists deplore, an unabashed over-the-top hawk, supporting endless wars of aggression, as well as monied interests exclusively at the expense of popular ones. [...] She favors the illusion of stimulating economic growth by corporate tax cuts and other business friendly measures - with no program to address Depression-level unemployment (opposite phony Labor Department numbers), underemployment or reduce poverty. Nothing to stop continued offshoring of US jobs to low-wage countries. Nothing to help growing millions of ordinary Americans most in need."

"The Hillary Clinton Emails and the Honduras Coup [...] The released emails provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes view of how Clinton pursued a contradictory policy of appearing to back the restoration of democracy in Honduras while actually undermining efforts to get Zelaya back into power."

"Hillary Clinton Says Raising Social Security Cap Will Hurt Seniors & Middle Class," which is an interesting way of saying she thinks it's okay to hurt people whose income is below the capped level but not those who are over it. Not that she's right anyway, but who does she think she's fooling?

"Who Do The Millionaires Want For President? Surprise!!! According to the CNBC Millionaire Survey, Hillary is the runaway favorite for president among millionaires (and billionaires) at 34%. Not many millionaires are pumpin' for Bernie, though, just 7%, same as the number who want Kasich. And if you just ask millionaires who are Democrats... well, that's Hillary's wheelhouse. She gets 76% and Bernie a mere 13%. Oddly, 2% of Democratic millionaires are for Trumpf. And among GOP millionaires, that percentage for the bigoted real estate agent goes up to 15%. 3% of Republican millionaires are for Hillary. None want Bernie."

Dept. of Banging Your Head Against A Wall - and this from The Nation, for godssakes - "Why This Socialist Feminist Is for Hillary: The stalled revolution for gender equity won't be won simply by installing a woman in the White House - but it can't hurt." Yes, it can. We've spent every minute of Obama's presidency being told that we can't criticize him because we have to support The First Black President. Every minute being told Obama can't say or do anything that might be construed as being helpful to black people (even if it is even more helpful to white people), because, well, he's black and they'll say he's doing it for blacks or they'll call him an angry black man and all that. Every criticism, no matter how legitimate, deflected as racism rather than addressed squarely. Just as we've been told that Hillary had to vote for the AUMF and the PATRIOT Act to show she had the same stones as any man and wasn't just some bleeding-heart liberal woman. And worst of all, it would be even more years of having the "liberal" party led by a neocon Wall Street-hugger - a disaster for the country, for the discourse, and for anything remotely liberal. Seriously, how can you call yourself a feminist and advocate such blatant tokenism?
* Only one woman in the Senate has not endorsed Hillary Clinton: Elizabeth Warren.

I love seeing someone unpack bad polls: "First Ban All Muslims? Donald Trump, Polls and Echidne Researches"
* Matt Taibbi, "It's Too Late to Turn Off Trump."
* Mark Bowden's article about interviewing Trump 20 years ago is not terribly surprising, but there is an amusing history of Trump's hair at the end that entertained me.

Anonymous Just Declared War Against Donald Trump

David Dayen: "This is what good government looks like: Why Elizabeth Warren is the senator America needs. [...] Warren criticized the Education Department last week for the hurdles and delays to cancelling loan debt for defrauded students. But her behind-the-scenes work with the IRS cleared the way for blanket debt relief, by ensuring that students wouldn't face a tax nightmare and further administrative headaches in the process. And here's the thing: Dozens of these types of interventions happen every day. The power of members of Congress extends well beyond voting up or down on legislation. They can identify potential concerns, work with the executive branch, and aid in the smooth functioning of government. Few people ever see this at work, but it's a key part of the job."

Marcy Wheeler, "Paul Ryan Is Trying To Deputize Comcast To Narc You Out To The Feds."

Marco Rubio Pushes to Block Low-Cost, High-Speed Broadband

"Obama Signs Bill Overthrowing George W. Bush's Disastrous No Child Left Behind."
* "Is Obama proposal the end of taxpayer-subsidized sports stadiums?"

"A Victory for Privacy and Transparency: HRW v. DEA: In a victory for millions of people in the U.S. who have placed telephone calls to locations overseas, EFF and Human Rights Watch have confirmed that the Drug Enforcement Administration's practice of collecting those records in bulk has stopped and that the only bulk database of those records has been destroyed. From the 1990s to 2013, the DEA secretly and illegally collected billions of records of Americans' international calls to hundreds of countries around the world. In April 2015, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client, Human Rights Watch, challenging the constitutionality of the program and seeking to have the records purged from the government's possession. Today, HRW has agreed to voluntarily dismiss that suit after receiving assurances from the government, provided under penalty of perjury, that the bulk collection has ceased and that the only database containing the billions of Americans' call records collected by the DEA has been purged from the government's possession." Hm, assurances from the government don't mean much. They don't care if they perjure themselves.

"Groups Cry Foul as Congress Readies 'Super Bill of Pure Terribleness': Digital rights organizations publish letter slamming cybersecurity bill cobbled together from three different proposals and 'gutted' of privacy safeguards"

Ari Berman: "The New Attack on 'One Person, One Vote': 's been settled law for five decades - but now the Supreme Court might shoot it down."

Wisconsin: "'Unprecedented': Supreme Court 'Fires' Investigator Probing Walker"

"19 civil liberties organizations oppose final version of dangerous cyber bill [...] 'The final version of this bill is an insult to the public and puts all of us in greater danger of cyber attacks and government surveillance,' said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who organized the letter, 'This was already a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation, and now even the meager privacy protections it provided have been gutted, exposing it for what it really is: a bill to dramatically expand abusive government spying.'"
* "Lawmakers 'Fail the Internet,' Sneak Cyber Bill Into Must-Pass Omnibus: It's clear now that this bill was never intended to prevent cyber attacks, it's a disingenuous attempt to quietly expand the U.S. government's surveillance programs.""

Froomkin: "Obama Hints at Renewed Pressure on Encryption, Clinton Waves Off First Amendment [...] "'And this is complicated. You're going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, et cetera.'"

"Chicago's 'Black Site' Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode Again"
* "New Poll Shows Majority of Chicagoans Want Rahm Gone."

9/11 responders bill defeated by Senate GOP filibuster.

Court Rules Bush Administration Can Be Sued for Its "War on Terror" Conduct: For almost a decade and a half, the people behind the Bush administration's shameful treatment of terrorism suspects have avoided punishment for their crimes, but that may be about to change. The courts have had their say and have ruled that former Bush administration officials can, in fact, be sued for how they conducted the "war on terror." The Second Circuit Court of Appeals made that pretty much official on Friday when it refused to hear a challenge to its earlier ruling in the case of Turkmen v. Ashcroft. That case involves hundreds of Arab, Muslim or South Asian men who were detained and then abused by our government in the weeks following 9/11.

"New Report Shines A Light Into The Charter School Black Box [...] As the authors state, a 'substantial share of public expenditure intended for the delivery of direct educational services to children is being extracted inadvertently or intentionally for personal or business financial gain, creating substantial inefficiencies.'"
* "Charter schools are a ‘gravy train,' say researchers."

Every time I see one of these stories about cops busting into people's houses and causing mayhem, possibly shooting someone or even killing someone, it makes me grim. It doesn't matter what color the victims are, it's just a fury that such arrogant, incompetent, trigger-happy idiots are out there with badges causing chaos in people's lives. So as I read the first words of this headline I was feeling all that anger coming back, and then I got to the last words and I burst out laughing. I couldn't help myself. Sorry about the dog and the other inhabitant who got shot, but still, "Cops Break Into Wrong Home, Shoot Innocent Homeowner, Kill His Dog, Then Shoot Each Other." My god, it's like a cartoon. It's a pity more of these stories don't end up with the cops shooting each other, maybe someone would stop giving badges and guns to people who shouldn't be allowed out.

The Huffington Post: "It's Time for Washington to Get Out of Bed With the Wahhabists Saudis: How is it possible that the United States is an "ally" with a regime as brutal as Assad that refuses to stop spreading its hateful, misogynistic anti-secular Wahhabists ideology all over the world (hereandhere)? And, how is it that We the People of the United States, a beacon of democracy throughout the world are tolerating a Congress who have been shamefully silent on this medieval self-anointed "royal family" of Islamic extremist bankrollers and terrorist enablers? The problem lies in this administration's insistence on telling Americans that Saudi Arabia is an ally of ours. This is pure fiction and very dangerous. They are the power behind the Wahhabist ideology machine who fund radical mosques all over the world, spreading their hatred of us shared by all of the Islamic terrorist groups. They are the primary cause of Wahhabist-inspired terrorism, including the attacks of 9/11 with the murder of almost 3,000 Americans as well as the death cult of ISIS. Yes - Saudi Arabia and ISIS share the same hateful extremist ideology, not just with al Qaeda."

"The Unbearable Lightness of America's War Against the Islamic State: If Washington were really serious about defeating terrorism, it would have an entirely different playbook. [...] As numerous scholarly studies have shown, the actual risk of terrorism to the average American is remarkably low. In their new book Chasing Ghosts, John Mueller and Mark Stewart estimate the odds that an American will be killed by a terrorist are about one in 4 million each year. Compared with more prosaic dangers that we accept on a daily basis, this level of risk is absurdly small." More Americans have been shot by toddlers than have been killed by Muslim terrorists this year, but either way you look at it, too many people profit by encouraging fear and madness.

Mary Wheeler reckons Obama caved in to the forces of evil in his speech: "Obama's Terrorism Cancer Speech, Carter's Malaise Speech"

"A Colorblind Constitution: What Abigail Fisher's Affirmative Action Case Is Really About [...] Even among those students, Fisher did not particularly stand out. Court records show her grade point average (3.59) and SAT scores (1180 out of 1600) were good but not great for the highly selective flagship university. The school's rejection rate that year for the remaining 841 openings was higher than the turn-down rate for students trying to get into Harvard. As a result, university officials claim in court filings that even if Fisher received points for her race and every other personal achievement factor, the letter she received in the mail still would have said no."

"Uber: On the Road to Nowhere: Uber drivers are getting creative in their fight for basic workplace rights." Uber gets all the power of employers without the responsibilities, and the drivers get all the hassles of having bosses with none of the benefits.

Amnesty report: ISIS armed with U.S. weapons

"Who Bought This Influential Newspaper? Its Own Journalists Don't Even Know: Secrecy behind Las Vegas Review-Journal sale even more troubling because of the role Nevada holds in the upcoming 2016 presidential election."

PZ Myers: "Everyone is talking about that stupid town that voted against solar energy because it would suck up the energy of the sun. So I read the story from the local paper, and hey, it wasn't as stupid as it was made out to be, and there are actually valid arguments against solar farms."

David Dayen: "The Next Financial Crisis Will Start Here [...] Many would argue that low-grade corporate debt markets aren't big enough to trigger a systemic crisis. Leveraged loans rose to about $605 billion in 2013; by contrast, the U.S. housing market is $10 trillion. But in the financial system, it actually doesn't take much to cause a panic, especially since financial alchemy can magnify a small loss into a big problem. For example, JPMorgan Chase's 'London Whale' trade was a derivative bet on investment-grade corporate debt, and that ended up costing the bank almost $7 billion to unwind. We simply don't know how many other bets have been placed on low-grade corporate debt, given the opacity of the system."

Longtime readers will remember the case of how the Karl Rove machine kept the governor from returning to office after his re-election. The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman looks like it could be a great film.

Rick PerlStein, two years ago: "Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy: The forty-two-minute recording, acquired by James Carter IV, confirms Atwater's incendiary remarks and places them in context."

Chip Berlet, "Into the Mainstream: An array of right-wing foundations and think tanks support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable."

So, who is this Syrian Observatory For Human Rights everyone is citing?

Proof that Concealed Carry permit holders live in a dream world, Part One

Keiser Report: Following Don Corleone... or Jamie Dimon.

Where disgusted Guardian readers run to

Nicole Sandler put together a list of real Liberal Media.

RIP: Dave Brubeck, Whose Distinctive Sound Gave Jazz New Pop, Dies at 91

Juan Cole, "Top 10 Signs the U.S. Is the Most Corrupt Country in the World"

"When Porn Complicates The Relationships Of Straight White Christian Hipsters, It's Not Our Problem."

I missed this one last year, but it it's Cenk on a comment from Michael Moore on Obama's legacy.

Violins of Hope - Some of the instruments came from the camps, where they were "playing for time." And now they are playing again.

150 years since ratification of the 13th Amendment. "The end of chattel slavery in American history"

TED Talk: The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar.

And now a word from Steven Brust

I keep seeing stories like this about the shootings in San Bernadino and I have no way to make sense of them. Here's another. It has that grassy knoll quality...

10,000 zines and counting: a library's quest to save the history of fandom: The University of Iowa's fanzine collection is going digital before it falls apart. The University of Iowa is home to almost a century of fandom history. Its library's special collections house everything from 1920s 'dime novel' reviews to T-shirts that were auctioned off in protest of the 2002 Farscape cancellation. In 2012, though, it acquired one of the most valuable resources yet: the library of James 'Rusty' Hevelin, a lifelong science fiction superfan and prolific collector of books and fanzines dating back to the 1930s. Last year, the Hevelin Collection was chosen as the first target of the university's Fan Culture Preservation Project, a massive effort to digitize some of the most vulnerable and ephemeral pieces of science fiction history. Now, that effort is starting to take shape."

Ah, but what about Donald Trump's birth certificate?

A fine example of good scansion: "Old Man Zombie"

Dave Barry's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Trailer: Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next. It's not about foreign policy.

Wonderful photographs of water

Street art

120 Subway Stations Speed by in Less Than 2 Minutes

Non-Kosher Menorah

Carrie Fisher's interview promotingStar Wars: The Force Awakens
* The Force Awakens Cast Singing Star Wars Music A Capella

Woman Up! (Audio is probably not work-safe.)

A very Cthulhu Christmas

Video Premiere for Disturbed's powerful cover of "Sound of Silence"

Monday, December 7, 2015

Make It Easy On Yourself

Sarah Robinson (a gun-owner who also tracks right-wing hate groups and violence) and David Waldman (KagroX, #gunfail) discuss domestic terrorism: perception, framing and responses to gun violence in the wake of two different domestic terrorism events in the past week, on Virtually Speaking Sundays

Bernie Sanders And Killer Mike Campaign Rally Speech In Atlanta, Georgia 11.23.15
* Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins on Ring of Fire: Bernie Sanders: Finally A Candidate With Common Sense Foreign Policy

"Sen. Bernie Sanders Meets With Picketing WMUR Workers, Helps Broker A Deal To Reopen Negotiations" - But, uh oh, "There is still the looming issue of whether or not Sanders and Hillary Clinton - who has previously voiced her support of the WMUR union members - will boycott the WMUR debate or if the DNC will pull WMUR's debate completely if the contract dispute is not resolved by the December 19th debates."

Hm, Hillary Clinton blew off MoveOn, that won't go down well. (Er, no puns intended.)

You won't believe why N.H.'s top paper endorsed Christie

Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME's Person of the Year?

Cover-Up in Chicago - Gosh, it sure does look like Rahm interfered with this investigation in order to protect his re-election chances. But it might just be enough to finally get rid of him in the end.
* Chicago Top Cop Fired, But Demand Grows for Mayor Emanuel To Be Next
* Rahm takes heat from black lawmakers
* Pierce: "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Is Throwing Anyone Within Arm's Reach Under the Bus"
* Rahm Emanuel's Next Scandal? Chicago's Public Housing
* Department of not knowing when to keep your mouth shut: "Clinton still confident in Rahm Emanuel"

Pfizer Buying Allergan So It Can Pretend To Be Irish In Tax Scam

Another Shooting Death at Another Women's Center: This One is In Texas

T. R. Ramachandran's family lives in a city in India that is flooding out under the worst recorded rainfall in history. So he started to wonder how it's going elsewhere, and learned that 19 US cities have had record-breaking rains this year. And that's not all.

Five Ways Sanders Could Democratize the Financial Sector That Clinton Won't Touch

More like Reagan than FDR: I'm a millennial and I'll never vote for Hillary Clinton

David Dayen in The American Prospect, "Bring Back Antitrust: Despite low inflation and some bargain prices, economic concentration and novel abuses of market power are pervasive in today's economy - harming consumers, workers, and innovators. We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era." You can thank Robert Bork for all this, by the way. Dday talked to Sam Seder about this on The Majority Report.

Pierce: "Scott Walker Bankrupts Wisconsin Food Banks - Just in Time for Christmas!: "It is becoming increasingly likely that, come Christmas Eve, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, will be visited by three very angry spirits - the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost Of Christmas Present, and the Ghost Of Let Me Hit You With This Croquet Mallet."

David Dayen in The New Republic: "The Real Roots of the Rising Right: Financial crises always result in a far-right political bump, a new study finds. But Democrats made this one worse."

Why a German billionaire says that pledges like Mark Zuckerberg's are really bad
* Wealthy philanthropists shouldn't impose their idea of common good on us
* "How Mark Zuckerberg's Altruism Helps Himself: Zuckerberg set up a limited liability company, which has reaped enormous benefits as public relations coup and will help minimize his tax bill. Mark Zuckerberg did not donate $45 billion to charity. You may have heard that, but that was wrong. Here's what happened instead: Zuckerberg created an investment vehicle."

The Dangerously Limited Foreign Policy Discourse of the Democratic Candidates

"Fox News, liberal-baiting and the politics of populist fear: Here's where it all began: The roots of our modern nightmarish politics can be found in Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon's early campaigns "

Chris Hedges and Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?

UK porn laws a year on: A porn actress and a dominatrix on destroyed businesses and censorship

The debates about military action in Syria remind me a lot of the "debate" over the invasion of Iraq, which had a lot of people raising legitimate reasons why it would do more harm than good (which turned out to be right) and the other side adamantly refusing to answer with anything of substance. Same again. The Onion, naturally, got it right: "This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won't."

Syria's climate-fueled conflict, in one stunning comic strip
* But that may be oversimplifying.

"I'm a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing"

Macy's Imprisons Minority Customers and Extorts Them for Bogus Fines: Suit

Muslim Woman on a Train: Mr. Sideshow was struck by two stories he saw on the same day with contrasting outcomes, one in Boston, the other in Newcastle.

G-String lawyer cleared after bedroom break-in

xkcd interviews Canadian astronaut.

I missed this last summer but just stumbled across Dennis Waterman's eulogy for George Cole. Brought a tear to my eye, it did.

Peter Jackson Filmed a Mini-Episode of Doctor Who to Announce He's Directing a Full Episode of Doctor Who

Doctor Who Adventure Calendar, 2015 - "A seasonal selection of videos, galleries and much more. One unlocked every day!"

Robert Silverberg, pre-beard

Billy Joel - Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song 2014, full concert and award presentation with an all-star cast - and Kevin Spacey on harmonica.

The Walker Brothers

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Advent

It's time for this.

Dave Johnson and Isaiah Poole discussed Sanders on Democratic Socialism; Trump on Muslim Americans, and Warren on corporate tax reform on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Bernie Sanders releases two new television ads, "A Rigged Economy" and "Works for All of Us." (Story here.)
* Bernie Sanders' speech on democratic socialism at Georgetown University
*WaPo's Wonkblog: "Bernie Sanders is right: The top 0.1 percent have as much as the bottom 90 percent."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at The National Press Club
* Elizabeth Warren Takes On 'Insider Washington' At CAF Awards Gala
* By the way, did you see the ad the financiers came up with to smear the CPFB? It's rather amazing.

For contrast, CMike supplies a few moments of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I've got my problems with Martin O'Malley (boy, do I!), but he is right about debates. It's just bizarre, after all these years of trying to do something about the lopsided coverage on television that is really all-Republicans all the time, to hear Democrats defending the idea of reducing one of the few chances they have to get air time.

"Democratic Race Heats Up As Bernie Sanders Gains 10 Points On Hillary Clinton: According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, Hillary Clinton has gone from leading Bernie Sanders 56%-22% in October to 59%-35% in November. Support for Sen. Sanders is up thirteen percent, and support for former Sec. of State Clinton has gone up by three percent in the past month. Voters said that the three most important issues in the election are the economy (33%), healthcare (13%), and immigration (10%)."

This is worrying: Van Hollen is way ahead of Edwards in the polls. Someone needs to get the lead out to raise Donna Edwards' standing, Maryland shouldn't be represented in the US Senate by a faux "progressive" like Chris van Hollen.

I can't help being glad to be rid of him, but is this a victory? "John Bel Edwards, Democrat, Defeats David Vitter in Louisiana Governor's Race:[...] A more promising red state Democrat could hardly have been found than Mr. Edwards, a Catholic social conservative from a family of rural law enforcement officers who graduated from West Point and served eight years of active duty in the Army."

"Is Clinton Still a Carbon Candidate? The Data to Date [...] I think the answer to the above question, in all fairness, has to be "Yes" until she proves otherwise. I'm open to being shown otherwise - as are we all who care about our children's and grandchildren's future. But the weight of evidence so far is this - under a President Clinton, no halt to carbon emissions, and no commitment to one, will be forthcoming. Does that mean she doesn't care about climate change. No, but it does mean she won't act effectively to prevent it."
* "Clinton, Finally Forced to Confront a Single Payer Advocate in Debate, Can't Win on Policy, Falls Back on Demagoguery and Distortion" - This is a good unpacking both of Clinton's "nuanced" language in the debate and Sanders' failure to call her out on it.
* "Believe It: Trump Can Defeat Hillary
* "Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' Dick Cheney" - There is a lot wrong with this article but one thing is true: "No, what makes Hillary Clinton the Dick Cheney of the Democrats is Libya. You heard that right - Clinton is to Obama in Libya what Cheney was to President Bush in Iraq. Against other voices urging caution, they both strongly advocated the invasion of a country that, lacking a follow-up plan to restore stability, fell into complete chaos."

Possibly the most amazing news of the week: "Mike Huckabee Calls Planned Parenthood Shooting 'Domestic Terrorism'." I don't think most of us predicted that, since the media had already agreed not to call it terrorism.

Ohio's Vote Against Pot Legalization Was 'Statistically Impossible': "The conclusion that the vote was stolen is almost inescapable. [...] The Columbus Free Press asked Baiman to calculate the odds of the official vote count of Ohio's Issue 3, to legalize marijuana, being correct - compared to the tracking polls charting voter preference leading up to this year's November election. The Free Press supplied Baiman with poll results taken prior to the election by noted pollster Jon Zogby. The polls leading into the November 3 vote showed the referendum passing. But the official results claim it lost by 2:1."

"GOP senators press Obama on prescription drug imports: Two top Republicans are urging the Obama administration to open up access to imported prescription drugs to prevent steep hikes in drug prices. Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and John McCain (Ariz.) sent a letter on Monday asking Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to use her power under existing federal regulations to allow patients to directly purchase certain drugs, particularly those that have been subject to sharp price increases." But not a word about negotiating drug prices, of course.

"Wall Street: Democrats Work To Block New Regulations After Flood Of Campaign Cash."

Marcy Wheeler: "Obama Administration Changed the Rationale for Why Assassinations Don't Violate the Assassination Prohibition." I like the way they keep stressing domestic law, as if they are entitled to violate the law (and the Constitution!) as long as they do it somewhere else. They're not.

3 Men Charged In Plot to Bomb Black Churches

"Judge Gives Man 60 Years In Prison For Driving With Suspended License." This story is unclear about whether the sentence is the result of a mandatory minimum or the judge handed down a maximum that makes no sense.

After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS

The US makes more unbelievable excuses for the airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital.

Former Drone Pilots to Obama: Civilian Killings Driving 'Terrorism, Instability'

"Dems call for ouster of Obama's drug chief: Several House Democrats are calling for the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to step aside after he referred to medical marijuana as a 'joke.'"

Scott Walker calls 'em in to see how to save money on health care. Doubt he'd do what they said, but if he did, he'd probably find some way to screw it up: "State could save $42 million a year through self-insurance, consultant says."

"Kentucky Restores Voting Rights for Thousands of Ex-Felons: Governor Steve Beshear, Democrat of Kentucky, only has two weeks left in office, but he's determined to go out with a bang. Beshear announced today that he is issuing an executive order restoring voting rights for nonviolent ex-felons who have completed their sentences. This will give 170,000 ex-offenders the opportunity to register to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice." This is great news, we need more states to restore felon voting rights - or not take them away at all. "In 1792, Kentucky became the first state to adopt a constitution preventing those with criminal convictions from being able to vote. Many states adopted felon voting bans after the Civil War, when African-Americans were granted the right to vote with the passage of the 15th Amendment. 'Felon voting restrictions were the first widespread set of legal disenfranchisement measures that would be imposed on African-Americans,' found a 2003 study from sociologists at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern."

David Neiwert, "The Fear: As Groundless Then As It Is Now" - It should be astonishing that anyone in government would use the internment of the Japanese in World War II as a justification for

"New Hampshire SEIU branch backs Sanders: The New Hampshire branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president, bucking the powerful labor group's international leadership. The endorsement from SEIU Local 1984 comes just two days after the international union backed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for president. "

Borowitz nails this one: "G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: 'We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live'".

Rick Perry Loses, Ordered To Stand Trial For Felony Abuse Of Power

Public Citizen: "TPP Financial Stability Threats Unveiled: It's Worse than We Thought: Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch has carefully analyzed the Financial Services Chapter of the recently released Trans-Pacific Partnership. One story that has not been told about the TPP is how this first U.S. trade agreement negotiated since the global financial crisis would impose the same model of financial deregulation that is widely understood to have fueled the crisis. For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the TPP empowers some of the world's largest financial firms to challenge U.S. financial regulatory policies in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals using the broadest 'minimum standard of treatment' claim."

Sanders Says Pfizer-Allergan Merger 'Disaster' for Americans
* Pfizer-Allergan Merger: How Much Will U.S. Treasury Lose Out On In Taxes?

Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year

One year after: "Texas dad left paralyzed when cops beat him 'like a bunch of thugs' after mistaking him for drug suspect."

"The National Security State's Incestuous Relationship With Islamic State"

Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

What is most remarkable about "In defence of Jeremy Corbyn" is not so much its content but the fact that it appears in the Spectator: "What strange people we Brits are. We spend years moaning that our politicians are cynical opportunists who don't stand for anything. Then along comes an opposition leader who has principles - and appears to stick by them even when it makes him unpopular - and he is dismissed as a joke. Jeremy Corbyn has been ridiculed in recent days for the feebleness of his foreign policy. It is widely agreed that his positions on terrorism and Isis show how unelectable and useless he is. At the same time, we say he is a grave threat to national security. But what has Corbyn said that is so stupid or dangerous? In the wake of the attacks in Paris, he declared that Britain 'must not be drawn into responses that feed the cycle of violence and hate'. He has urged his country not to 'keep making the same mistakes' in the Middle East, something he has been saying for decades. 'Enthusiasm for interventions has only multiplied the threats to us,' he says, not unreasonably. He has said he will not support airstrikes in Syria unless it is clear that military action will help us achieve our strategic objective of defeating Isis." It sure would be nice to see more of that in the Guardian.
* Similarly, Matthew Parris in The Times, unfortunately behind the paywall with "The bombs-away brigade are on autopilot." The teaser: Amazingly, Corbyn is right. The hawks just want to join a scrap with their mates and haven't a clue what happens afterwards 'If not now, when?' asked the prime minister this week: a question that has surely preceded some of the silliest decisions in history. It could have been asked before Iraq. It could have been asked before Afghanistan or Libya, or Suez. It was probably asked before the Charge of the Light Brigade. There is no right time for an unwise decision." Of course, if you want to read the whole thing, you could enlarge this tweet. It's actually pretty good, and a nice piece of writing.

Cannabis is a wonder drug, again. "The National Cancer Institute recently released its report on medical marijuana. The overview of their conclusion is, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) caused a 45 percent reduction in bladder cancer, remission in breast and liver cancer and more."

Juan Cole: "Why did Turkey dare shoot down a Russian Plane? The Proxy War in Syria"

"Tangled Threads of US False Narratives: Official Washington's many false narratives about Russia and Syria have gotten so tangled that they have become a danger to the struggle against Sunni jihadist terrorism and conceivably a threat to the future of the planet, a risk that Robert Parry explores."

The Difference Between Middlemen and A Real New Economy

At The New Yorker, the solution to our problems is Printing Money: "

Adolph Reed, "Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism [...] Sure, those earlier struggles relied on a discourse of racial justice, but their targets were concrete and strategic. It is only in a period of political demobilization that the historical specificities of those struggles have become smoothed out of sight in a romantic idealism that homogenizes them into timeless abstractions like 'the black liberation movement' - an entity that, like Brigadoon, sporadically appears and returns impelled by its own logic." This is a bit less accessible than most of the pieces I've seen by Reed on the subject, but there it is.

Somehow I missed the news that Dilbert's creator is like a parody of a male supremacist. Are you sure this isn't a comedy bit?

"The Incredible Tale of World War II's Single Deadliest Homefront Disaster: Chances are you've never heard of the Port Chicago disaster. Yet it was the worst catastrophe on the US home front during World War II. It was the single deadliest incident on the mainland during the war, and remains one of the worst calamities to ever hit the San Francisco Bay Area. Yet today, it largely lives on only in the memories of long-time locals who actually heard the blast, and, as we'll see, civil rights historians."

The UK government asked the public to comment on whether they want to make a complete mess of the NHS. Well, they sort of asked.

Pussy Riot releases video for 'Refugees In' filmed at Banksy's Dismaland.

It's just a tiny west African country, not central Africa where the problem has such deep roots (even in Christian countries), but it's a tiny, tiny start: "Gambia bans female genital mutilation."

I'm always hesitant about articles like this that try to divide people up into different red and blue psychologies, but ultimately, the conclusion is right: Bring them economic security and they will vote for it.

In 1941 Dr. Seuss sent a message that, sadly, hasn't lost its meaning.

Mack McCormick, Student of Texas Blues, Dies at 85: Mack McCormick, a folklorist who spent a lifetime searching out forgotten or unrecorded blues singers all over Texas, helped revive the career of Lightning Hopkins and unearthed a trove of historical material on hundreds of blues singers, including Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lead Belly, died on Nov. 18 at his home in Houston.

A 1950s Superman Poster Says What We All Need To Hear About American Values Right Now

This is an animal? It looks like canvas and plastic to me....

If girls were boys for a day...

This is sorta cute - Rumor joined by P.F. Sloan to back her up on "P.F. Sloan."

Antsy McClain & Tommy Smothers, "Prozac Made Me Stay" - Yep, that Tommy Smothers.

"Peace On Earth" - an oldie but a goodie.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It looks like Heaven's lost an eye

Marcy Wheeler and Avedon Carol talked about the Paris attacks and the Democratic debates on Virtually Speaking Sundays. Marcy points out that Clinton's answer that the AUMF covers anything they might want to do (which it doesn't) is mission creep. Homework includes Marcy's article about Jihadi John and the strange mission creep of the CIA. (Sam Seder did a better job of unpacking the debate than I was able to on Mondays's MR show.) I also said that horrible people will use the tragedy in Paris to do horrible things - for example, "Cameron shamelessly exploits Paris tragedy to increase spying on all of us."

Everybody else is doing fundraisers, but much as I may need any funds I can get my hands on, I am just too tired to deal with PayPal's limit right now, so if you were planning to send my account anything, please wait until January.

Just go read Charlie Pierce, who isn't afraid to point the finger at Saudi Arabia - and Hillary Clinton: "The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of war. They were a brilliantly coordinated act of pure terrorism, beyond rhyme but not beyond reason. They struck at the most cosmopolitan parts of the most cosmopolitan city in the world. They struck out at assorted sectors of western popular culture. They struck out at sports, at pop music, and at simple casual dining. They struck out at an ordinary Friday night's entertainment. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated statement of political and social purpose, its intent clear and unmistakable. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of fanatical ideological and theological Puritanism, brewed up in the dark precincts of another of mankind's monotheisms. They were not the first of these. (The closest parallel to what happened in Paris is what happened in Mumbai in 2008. In fact, Mumbai went on alert almost immediately after the news broke.) They, alas, are likely not going to be the last. [...] Abandoning the Enlightenment values that produced democracy will not plumb the depths of the vestigial authoritarian impulse that resides in us all, the wish for kings, the desire for order, to be governed, and not to govern. Flexing and posturing and empty venting will not cure the deep sickness in the human spirit that leads people to slaughter the innocent in the middle of a weekend's laughter. The expression of bigotry and hatred will not solve the deep desperation in the human heart that leads people to kill their fellow human beings and then blow themselves up as a final act of murderous vengeance against those they perceive to be their enemies, seen and unseen, real and imagined. Tough talk in the context of what happened in Paris is as empty as a bell rung at the bottom of a well."
* Glenn Greenwald: "Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS" - Oddly, he didn't mention that Hatch had been telling the press we'd been tracking terrorists cellphones, way back in the '90s.
* Hezbollah chief denounces Paris attacks
* Muslims Around the World Are Condemning the Paris Attacks: Outpouring of grief shared by people of all faiths and no faith.
* Just in case you haven't seen it, Jean Jullien's graphic.
* What's really happened: Political author Gearoid O Colmain discusses the Paris attacks with RT International.
* Yes, I know about Beirut, but this is the one that captured the imagination of the media and the pols.
* Oliver Willis won the internet with this tweet: "if only we had a seasonally appropriate story about middle eastern people seeking refuge being turned away by the heartless."

Democratic Debate FULL Democratic Debate CBS 11/14/15 Democratic presidential Debate
* Not sure what kind of a "point" it is when Hillary says there's no international comparison so she supports $12 an hour instead of $15. What does that even mean?
* The 9/11 response about Wall Street set off my slap response. It's okay to be in Wall Street's pocket because of 9/11 and women? Seriously?
* No, actually, I don't think Obama deserves more credit for what he's got done despite Republican obstruction. The Republicans did not stop him from using the TARP money he still hasn't used for home-owner relief. They didn't force him to interfere with prosecutions of bankster fraud. They didn't make him declare that a president has the power to murder Americans without trial and they didn't make him go out and murder them. They didn't make him keep bringing up cutting "entitlements" over and over, push for it, and promote stupid ideas like chained CPI.
* McClatchy, "Clinton on the defensive as debate turns to terrorism."
* Bernie Highlight: "I'm Not That Much Of A Socialist Compared To Eisenhower."
* Contra Clinton, Top Economists Are Backing Sen. Bernie Sanders on Establishing a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage.

There are a number of articles like "Democratic Party Hopes No One Watches Democratic Debates" and "Did You Know There's a Dem Debate Tonight? No, Because Debbie Doesn't Want You To" floating around, but what's really strange is the Hillary partisans leaping up to defend the idea of fewer debates, as if Democrats should be happy about having fewer opportunities to make their case on national television. Look, if all you want to hear about is what Republicans have to say, we do that all year long.
* "Former Democratic Chairs Deny Consulting on Debate Schedule."

Charlie Pierce says, "The Best Speech in Iowa Didn't Come From Hillary or Bernie: It came from Dr. Cornel West."

In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush: "In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads Republican candidate Donald Trump by a landslide margin of 12 percentage points, 53 to 41. In the McClatchy poll, Sanders also leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by a landslide margin of 10 points, 51 to 41."
* "Why Sanders defeats Trump, but Trump defeats Clinton"
* Bernie Sanders exceeds Obama's historic 2008 run in crowds, donors and polling
* Bernie Sanders Won the Debate. Hillary Clinton Evoked 9/11 and Sounded Like A Republican.

"'Fifteen Bucks and a Union': Bernie Sanders Marches With Striking Workers."
* "Not For What He 'Says' But For What He Has 'Done,' Postal Workers Endorse Sanders: Declaring that 'politics as usual has not worked' and 'enough is enough,' the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) announced its endorsement of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Thursday morning, saying the longest-serving independent in the U.S. Congress is the best candidate of the entire 2016 field. 'We should judge candidates not by their political party, not by what they say, not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. "Applying that criteria, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.'"

"Nina Turner changes her mind on Hillary Clinton, endorses Bernie Sanders for president: CLEVELAND, Ohio - Nina Turner, the former state senator from Cleveland and a top Ohio Democratic Party official, is ditching Hillary Clinton in favor of Bernie Sanders."

Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from a Young Palestinian Feminist

Rand Paul Challenges Bernie Sanders To Hour-Long Debate On Socialism vs. Capitalism.

Kentucky demands a public hand count of every ballot that was cast for Governor on November 3rd

AFSCME union endorses Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate - This makes no sense, Murphy is terrible and votes like a Republican. And he's running against Grayson.
* Of course, Florida Democrats are on that page, too, attacking Grayson for opposing Murphy. Make it stop.

Bloomberg: "GOP Says Big Banks Are Bad (But Don't Touch Them). It came through loud and clear in Tuesday's presidential debate: Republicans don't like Wall Street. They don't like its behavior before the 2008 financial meltdown. They don't like the bailouts that followed. And they don't like the financial power the biggest banks still wield. Here's the snag: Their contempt for Wall Street is exceeded only by their contempt for regulating Wall Street."

The Young Turks on the best line of the GOP debate.

"Obama Administration Approves Pipeline Expansion Set to Feed First Ever Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal."

We Just Sold Another Billion Dollars Worth of Weapons to Our Frenemies in Saudi Arabia.

The Supreme Court Just Agreed to Hear a Case that Could Destroy Roe v. Wade.

The video that might rip Chicago apart - and why you need to see it

10 Shocking Realities of the TPP; Join The Revolt
* "'A Very Big Mistake': Joseph Stiglitz Slams Obama for Pushing the TPP: 'This is about who makes the rules of trade - the American people or the corporations.' [...] Yeah, so, in a sense, what you see both in the Republican and Democratic Party is a sense that something is wrong. You know, America was the first middle-class society. We're about to become the first society that ceases to be a middle-class society."
* Release of TPP Full Text Shows Victory for Corporate Rights

Supreme Court gives broader immunity to police using deadly force in chases.

Dissent Breaks Out at the Center for American Progress Over Netanyahu's Visit
* 10 Falsehoods That Netanyahu Told During His Appearance At CAP

"To Break Big Pharma's Stranglehold, Doctors Vote for Ban on Drug Ads: Prescription drug prices have already become a presidential campaign issue, with healthcare costs a top concern for American voters. In an attempt to combat the soaring cost of prescription drugs and Big Pharma's stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system, the American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy to 'support a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.' 'Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,' said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., in a press statement on Tuesday. The vote took place at the AMA's 2015 Interim Meeting in Atlanta."

"Thousands To Leave LDS Church In Mass Resignation: As one of the sponsors of Proposition 8 during the 2004 election cycle, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never exactly stood at the vanguard of human rights for LGBTQ Americans. But a new policy to ban christenings for the children of same-sex couples, and excommunicate Mormons who are married to the 'wrong' gender, seems to be the final straw for thousands of people."
* Thousands Quit Mormon Church in Mass Resignation

Mile High Comics Sells A Warehouse Thanks To Marijuana Laws

"Europe Drops Charges Against Edward Snowden, Offers Asylum And Protection: The European Parliament voted to offer Edward Snowden asylum and protection and drop all criminal charges against him. When at one time most of the world was bullied by the US government into pressing charges against Snowden and forcing him into exile, the entire European continent has now officially given him a pass."

Just in case I haven't ragged on the ACA enough lately, The New York Times is doing it for me: "Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless" That's right, you pay thousands of dollars for our medical system in taxes, then you pay more for your insurance premiums, and then when you need it, you find you can't afford to use it. Like Ian says, it's a feature, not a bug.

At this point, I really wouldn't blame anyone for concluding that Doctors Without Boarders' hospital was deliberately attacked by the US.

"Daily Life in the Islamic State: The Caliphate runs theme parks, collects taxes and picks up the garbage. Many in the West think of the Islamic State as a loose collection of fighters - rabble who kill, loot and burn. But the truth is more complex though no less terrifying."

What Is Democratic Socialism?

"Demographics and Productivity: News reports continue to obsess over the idea that China and other countries might run out of people if they don't increase their birth rates. The implication is that countries won't have enough people to do the necessary work to support a larger population of retirees. (It's worth noting that many of these same people worry about robots taking all the jobs. If it's not obvious that these concerns are 180 degrees opposite then think about it until it is.)"

Why Don't We Know Much About Right-Wing Terrorists? Conservatives Fired The Guy Studying Them

Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments' About Muslim Violence
* Reza Aslan on The Jesus of History versus the Christ of Faith - This is really fascinating historical stuff you didn't know, highly recommended.

Tom Tomorrow on the Republican debates.

* P.F. Sloan, 1945-2015, legendary singer-songwriter who Dylan and others credited with helping make their own careers possible at a time when recording companies were hostile to letting songwriters perform their own work. His was the original voice on the Grass Roots hit "Where Were You When I Needed You" before the record company withdrew the record and had it re-recorded without Phil's voice. (Simels also reminds us that The Bangles did a good cover of this song.) He wrote numerous hit songs starting when he was just 14, recorded by numerous artists, most notably Barry MacGuire, who made a major hit of his "Eve of Destruction" - the first protest song to hit number 1. When Sloan played that song for the record company, they told him if he played it for anyone, they'd suspend his royalties. They did. Sloan has a credit (with a little tiny picture) on the back cover of the first Mothers album, and told Brian Wilson about suspension chords. He played the famous intro to "California Dreaming" that everyone thinks Papa John played. When the British television show Danger Man came to American TV as Secret Agent, Sloan wrote the new title song, performed by Johnny Rivers. A surprisingly wide range of acts covered his music, from Jan & Dean ("The Little Old Lady From Pasadena", "Here They Come (From All Over The World) The Theme to the T.A.M.I Show", "I Found A Girl"), The Turtles ("Let Me Be", "You Baby"), The Searchers' - and the title song to the Herman's Hermits movie Hold On, as well as a couple of other covers, appearing on the movie's soundtrack. There was a period where songs written by P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri filled the airwaves. And of course, Jimmy Web wrote "P.F. Sloan". Longtime readers of The Sideshow will recall that I've loved this guy for a long time, and when I finally met him in London a few years ago, he was very sweet to me. So this is one that hurts. You might also remember that "From a Distance" was one of my favorites. And another victim of pancreatic cancer.
* Warren Mitchell, 89, the actor who played Alf Garnett in the BBC's Till Death Us Do Part - the show that inspired Norman Lear's All in the Family - and the follow-on In Sickness and in Health. Garnett was nowhere near as loveably-drawn as Archie Bunker was, but there were still plenty of viewers who identified with him. "Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "Alf Garnett was one of the most influential and important characters and performances in comedy history. RIP Warren Mitchell." Theatre director Rupert Goold wrote: "RIP Warren Mitchell. A deeply soulful and erudite man who genuinely loved the theatre.""

The 'middle class' myth: Here's why wages are really so low today: Want to understand the failures of the "free market" and the key to getting a decent wage? Here's the real story" - Short version, it's about unions. Organize. "Slaughterhouses insist they hire immigrants because the work is so unpleasant Americans won't do it. They hired European immigrants when Upton Sinclair wrote 'The Jungle,' and they hire Latin American immigrants today. But it's a canard that Americans won't slaughter pigs, sheep and cows. How do we know this? Because immigration to the United States was more or less banned from 1925 to 1965, and millions of pigs, sheep and cows were slaughtered during those years. But they were slaughtered by American-born workers, earning middle-class wages."

Wait, so the real first black president was... Dwight D. Eisenhower? Or were there some even earlier?

6 Ways Albert Einstein Fought for Civil Rights

New London Tube Map Shows How Long It Takes to Walk, Not Ride a Train. Hmph. Still doesn't show you how close Bayswater is to Queensway.

16th-Century Gothic Chapel Turned Into Starry Night Sky

Watch Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman In Manhattan Beach, In December: In 2005, Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct a live action Wonder Woman movie. It didn't happen. So he left the project and wrote and directed The Avengers instead. And everyone at Warners performed the world's biggest simultaneous facepalm. Well, Manhattan Beach comic book store The Comic Bug got a copy of the screenplay. And, with Jennifer Wenger, Curtis Fortier, Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan and more, they will be performing the whole screenplay for the audience who attend. It's free to turn up, with popcorn and drinks, and is a sequel event to last year's Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods performance."