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"


  1. thanks for R2D2 tannenbaum.
    and yes, Rubio wants to end all that communication that keeps us a community, and the RWNJ out there in factfree fantasia.

  2. "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...Seriously, how can you call yourself a feminist and advocate such blatant tokenism?

    Exactly. Obama's race has been very useful to rich and powerful people and the same will be true of Clinton's gender if she's elected.

    I stopped reading The Nation a couple of years ago after too much of this kind of nonsense.

    1. Obama has done more to advance Wall Street's interests than any Republican could have gotten away with.

      And the Democratic party is badly damaged as a direct result.

      I hope we don't make the same mistake again in 2016.

    2. My thoughts exactly. Wait, didn't I post that story when it first appeared? Oh, yeah, I did, back in September.

    3. Here's a variation on that Greenfield article that I don't think got linked to here. [LINK]

  3. I was near the front of the auditorium when Brubeck and his combo played in Northampton, somewhere around 2007. He gratified my unspoken wish by playing "Over the Rainbow." Not the same solo that he recorded — I don't think he would allow himself to play it twice the same way — but it was still so good. Like the recording, it was a long solo from Brubeck, with the alto voice coming in to wrap it up. The magic of putting one note before another note.

  4. We're in desperate need of a Xmas miracle to help stave off eviction after the holidays. Even if you can't help, please spread the word.