26 December 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"

16 December 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"

07 December 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