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"


  1. Happy Boxing Day!

    I suspect the Democratic Death Tropism (couldn't resist) has been going on to some extent since the '80s, and if I were conspiracy-minded, I would suspect conspiracy or at least collusion with the "right" wing. I remain somewhat disturbed by the speed with which Howard Dean was disappeared. The emails I get from the party are mostly single-issue promotions (I gave money once back in 2008) with the occasional "Support Democrats!" mixed in. And something about their dynamic with Republicanism smells off. It's as though many of the party's leadership actually believe that crap spewing from "conservative" pundits and try to appease that bunch.

    If I were a funnymentalist, I would suspect involvement with the devil, but I can't see what the party gets out of it.

  2. And then I opened Down With Tyranny...

    Nobody wants to judge, but we seem to be dysfunctional.

  3. Happy Day After the big commercial holiday of the year, and hope all survived with sanity and good will intact.
    the U.S. health system is third world, and we need to upgrade it, preferably by eliminating for-profit direction it takes. The public good needs to come to the fore, in health and in fields of education, safety, and the economy in general. We won't return to prosperity until theft is eliminated from the government's actual viable functioning.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. The Kindle version of my newest historical thriller, Gods of Our Fathers, just launched on Christmas Eve and you can find it here for just $4.99. I’m not publicizing this on my blog so my stalker from Utah doesn’t buy a copy (then immediately get a refund) just to pre-emptively write a one star hit piece and tell his fanboy trolls to do the same. As he has with every single one of my other titles.

  6. If the depth of denial were measured by the stunning degree of viscous, mean-spirited churlish attacks by Clinton supporters these past few weeks upon those who are not, I'd venture that like the Y2K nuts Matt is right, but he hasn't quite got his fingers wrapped around it. It was bad eight years ago, today it is downright republican. It certainly isn't encouraging me to hold my nose and vote the status quo, vote the lesser evil.

    It's long been my contention the Retards threw the elections to Obama, as they are now throwing it to Clinton. I used to ask why? Now I ask how it is the seemingly otherwise relatively well adjusted, well educated people cannot see that they are being quite professionally herded to vote a decision that has already been made and all of this is naught but a charade to leave the rubes feeling as if they were participant. After what the weasels did to the most popular Governor in the history of Oregon, relected only months earlier to an unprecedented fourth term, I am already as disgusted with Democrats as I am repelled by Republicans, attacking me, attacking those who disagree with Retard skill and tactic isn't going to change any minds. It certainly isn't going change mine.

    Never am I so much reminded of Dr. Zhivago (the book, not the shitty movie) as when I read the comments at the so-called "liberal" blogs: fat, not necessarily white middle class bourgeoisie sitting around drinking wine and smoking weed pontificating on what they would do if they could change the world, yet when the opportunity to change the world presents itself the vast majority toe the mark, or are quite rapidly, a presumably gratefully, dead.

    Like the world my grandchildren are growing up in, if we don't seize the opportunity to change.

    1. If you're looking for a bully boy phrase or term for Republicans take a cue from a J.C. Hayworth who served six terms as a congressman having been first elected in the Gingrich Revolution wave in 1994. After losing a re-election bid in 2006, Hayworth honed his skills at being obnoxious by hosting a right-wing talk radio show for a few years before taking on John McCain in a primary race in 2010.

      For a while there, Hayworth looked to be a real threat to the sitting senator. McCain eventually dug up a video of his challenger doing some infomercial for a scam product and when asked about it, Hayworth's defense was "Let the buyer beware," a response which the Maverick looped endlessly on radio and television campaign commercials and which, for some reason, turned out to be a phrase free-market conservative primary voters didn't find at all palatable.

      Anyway, early in the campaign when it looked like he might have a shot, Hayworth took on the McCain friendly Arizona Republic. He constantly referred to the state's biggest newspaper as the Arizona Repugnant, and got a boost from doing so among the knee-jerk media haters, his party's base voters. My advice, if you want a play on words to get in their face with, re-purpose Hayworth's wise-cracking and go with the Repugnant Party, hereafter referring to its office holders as Repugnants. (In any event do give up on using a derogatory term for the intellectually disabled to express your anger and contempt towards Republicans if you're at all interested and persuading a wider audience to see things your way. If you don't understand why that is, ask a family member of an intellectually disabled person to explain it to you.)

      [A lot of movie versions of acclaimed and deemed important novels are disappointing. However, as for Dr. Zhivago specifically, I thought the movie version measured up well against the book- with maybe a few inches to spare. Of course, the film was working with two huge assets; its music and Julie Christie in fullest bloom.]

    2. 1) I have an autistic grandson. Full blown rainmaker autistic.

      2) Look it up: Retard, verb: to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); to impede or hinder.

      3) You didn't read it.

    3. 1) Hardly a surprise to find out that's the case with you, a lot of people are slow on the uptake.

      2) You used it as a noun ("...the Retards threw the elections to Obama...") and continued to capitalize it when you used as an adjective (or was that as a possessive noun "...Retard skill and tactic..."). But then again, it is the year of the Trump so we'll just chalk it up to the zeitgeist.

      3) You are wrong, however it is true that that's one I never reread.

    4. This: "if you're at all interested and persuading a wider audience to see things your way"

    5. Should have taken my own advice, less is more sometimes.

  7. Not that I expect anyone to give a fuck but this is why I just deleted my blog & resurrected another because of my stalker.

  8. Seems like a site Avedon would include in her rounds [LINK]. (Click on the upper left widget to get to the caption that will confirm your conjecture.)

    via [LINK]

    1. Nice, thanks. And Happy New Year.

    2. Happy New Year ksix, D., Ruth, jurassicpork, Ten Bears, jcapan, Avedon, and to you lurkers, too.