Jul 11

WTF?

Shorter NARAL: our mission statement is only kinda, sorta important to our organization.

Someone needs to ask NARAL why they’re endorsing a candidate who thinks it perfectly acceptable for hospitals to refuse emergency contraceptive treatment for rape victims. After all, another hospital is only a short ride away.

Planned Parenthood has also failed in their advocacy for women’s choice with their refusal to fight scAlito and their support of senators who support anti-choice justices.

Just a sorry state of affairs in the pro-choice advocacy groups.

Update: Matt Stoller has more

Jul 10

Why the NSA’s warrantless surveillance doesn’t work

It’s a statistical impossibility.

To know if mass surveillance will work, Bayes’ theorem requires three estimations:

1. The base-rate for terrorists, i.e. what proportion of the population are terrorists;
2. The accuracy rate, i.e., the probability that real terrorists will be identified by NSA;
3. The misidentification rate, i.e., the probability that innocent citizens will be misidentified by NSA as terrorists.

No matter how sophisticated and super-duper are NSA’s methods for identifying terrorists, no matter how big and fast are NSA’s computers, NSA’s accuracy rate will never be 100% and their misidentification rate will never be 0%. That fact, plus the extremely low base-rate for terrorists, means it is logically impossible for mass surveillance to be an effective way to find terrorists.

But finding a few terrorists by mass surveillance of the phone calls and email messages of 300 million Americans is mathematically impossible, and NSA certainly knows that.

It’s my favorite kind of government program – both illegal and futile. That this also happens to be the only kind of action the Bush administration ever takes makes it even more fun. Data mining isn’t useless… it’s just useless when applied to this particular goal.

The math people at the NSA are smart enough to know this basic formulation, which naturally begs the question of why we the operation is ongoing anyway. The answer, of course, is that it was never really about terrorists or fighting a war, but about expanding the Executive’s control over the country. This is what happens when authoritarians take over all branches of the government.

Jul 06

Joenomentum flops

Ever wondered what a Whiny Ass Titty Baby sounded like? Ever seen the personification of “churlish arrogance”? Ever thought that the entitlement mentality was just a figure of speech? Ever experienced the displeasure of having to listen to a sanctimonious prick point the finger at everyone else? Ever wonder if a politician could break the sound barrier going from zero to weasel in under 1 second as he tries to avoid the question of “if you’re a Democrat, why are you collecting signatures for an independent run?” Ever wanted to see the expression “you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas” in action?

Well now you can! Watch this excerpt from the Lamont-Lieberman debate and tell me that Joe doesn’t come off horribly. He’s like the cranky Brachman neighbor who would call Animal Control on you when you didn’t have any animals. The housebound cat lady that would scowl over her gnarled hands as she watered her petunias in her window garden.

Lieberman’s so weak that he spent the entire debate going negative on Lamont. He even quoted the St. Ronald of Raygun with the “there you go again” bit. Rape Gurney Joe can’t run on his anti-Social Security, pro-Bush, pro-Iraq war, anti-woman, anti-First Amendment voting record, and incumbency isn’t helping him so all he’s got is Atwaterian/Rovian sleaze. He even finger wags!

I’m less clear on how Lamont came off; he’s kind of bugeyed so people will flip at the Q factor, but he’s intelligent and well spoken so I dig him. I’m serious about this. If you think Lieberman came out of this with a shred of positive value, let me know in the comments.

He has so lost this primary.

Other places to go: FDL , Digby.

Jul 03

Lieberman leaves the Democratic party

What a cowardly, weak, self-serving, vile little cretin he is.

Today, Joe Lieberman cut-and-ran from the Democratic party on the slowest news day of the summer.

In announcing he would run as a petitioning candidate in November if he loses on August 8th, he has clearly stated he is no longer a member of the Democratic party. The only thing he is concerned about right now is his own desperate attempt to hold on to power.

Members of a party abide by primary results. There is no such thing as an “petitioning Democrat.” If there was, Joe could accept the Republican endorsement and run as a “Republican Democrat.”

Joe has also clearly stated he thinks he will lose the primary on August 8th. His internal polls must look even worse than I thought.

Just like when Joe ran for Vice President and Senate at the same time in 2000 – meaning that if he and Gore had won, Democrats would have lost a senate seat to a Republican appointment – he is again putting his own career and self-interest ahead of his constitutents and his party (or now ex-party).

In addition, Joe has just created a world of shit for his supposed friends Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney, and Chris Murphy. I wonder what they all think of this.

This is how he treats his friends. This is how he treats his party. On the slowest news day of the summer.

These are the actions of a very weak candidate, and a selfish and cowardly man.

What a sorry sight to see an 18-year incumbent senator running scared from a little primary challenge like this. No backbone. No courage. No integrity.

And not a Democrat anymore, either.

Quite reminiscent of when Holy Joe ran for VP and Senator at the same time (if they lost the presidential election, the CT seat would have gone to a GOP).

Nothing like devotion to oneself, eh, Joe?

Jun 28

Another nail in the Obama presidential coffin

Look, dude, if you think the Dems don’t court evangelicals enough … then court them.

If, on the other hand, you want to buy into the false rightwing spin that Democrats disparage religion and promote said falsehood to somehow “distance” yourself from it at the expense of your fellow Dems, then you need to reassess your goals and statements. You’re not doing yourself any good and you’re certainly not doing the party any good. There is an active and vibrant religious left and this Clintonian ditch-the-progressives gets you where, precisely? Another failed campaign? An even weaker party?

It’s a shame to see what used to be considered such a great potential national politician devolve into this typical beltway empty suit.

Dems are not anti-religion any more than Republicans are anti-big government. Quit carrying water for the GOP, Obama.

As for your presidential ambitions… if you are not going to stand with the progressives – otherwise known as “the whiteys who will vote for you”[fn1] and whom you need in order to have a shot at the big chair with the red phone[fn2] – then why should they stand with you?

[fn1] Known alternatively, as the people who do not use the social construct known as race to determine who they will and will not vote for. Many “progressives” are nonwhite, and this statement should not be construed as any sort of representation that social groups divided by racial classification vote as a singular entity.

[fn2] The progressives are a necessary but insufficient condition for an Obama presidency

Jun 28

Now there’s a man of integrity

NASA engineer quits over needless mission… but the domestic policy-driven Busheviks say the show must go on!

A 30-year NASA veteran and one of the agency’s top shuttle engineers has reportedly angrily resigned only five days before Saturday’s Discovery launch.

Charlie Camarda had been director of engineering at the Johnson Space Center and played a major role on NASA’s Mission Management Team that is preparing for this weekend’s launch.

Unidentified sources at NASA told ABC News Camarda has been feuding with Wayne Hale, the manager of NASA’s space shuttle program, and NASA Administrator Mike Griffin about treatment Camarda’s engineers received when they raised concerns about the upcoming Discovery launch. Some engineers believe more substantial changes need to be made.

In a Tuesday email to his colleagues at Johnson, ABC News said Camarda reaffirmed his disappointment with NASA officials.

“I cannot accept the methods I believe are being used by this Center to select future leaders,” he wrote. “I have always based my decisions on facts, data and good solid analysis. I cannot be a party to rumor, innuendo, gossip and-or manipulation to make or break someone’s career and-or good name.”

I know this has been discussed before, but this is infuriating. The shuttle crew, the best and the brightest, are sacrificial lambs on the alter of domestic policy choices made by the Busheviks. As every arm of our government is further politicized and turned into partisan arms of the GOP, people are dying, We, the People, are being harmed, and our country is lessened. And it’s entirely the fault of this administration.

The FCC, the FDA, the SEC, FEMA, and now NASA.

You thought Katrina was a failure of leadership? Just wait until we have 7 dead astronauts because some Bushie decided that we needed a glorious rocket launch, and damn the science or those querrulous technicians! These people are sickening.

That said, it takes integrity to quit your job over something like this. My hat is off to Mr. Carmada.

Jun 28

One more reason to support Ned Lamont

Also, thoughts on the Kos-Armstrong mirage kerfluffle

Lieberman’s endorsements now include Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Racist Ragegasm Sockpuppet Michelle Malkin. And that should tell you all you need to know about Lieberman.

I won’t post the Bloglines-destroying YouTube content here (follow the link), but the video is both dull and senseless. Apparently, when you’re a self-hating bigot ventriloquist doll, stealing the Mentos theme to put over a Lamont political add == teh fun-nee. Note the selective violation of The Rule of Law by this copyright infringement on the part of the righties. I have no problem with this usage, of course, but the righties should.

It’s interesting to watch the full-on character assassination of Markos too. The wingnuts just don’t get it: Markos isn’t important. You can vilify him all you want, you Swiftboat wannabes, but he is neither in control of nor important to the movement. Using Lieberman’s words while showing a picture of Bush is super effective, because those words, uttered by Lieberman, would fit perfectly in duhbya’s mouth. Billmon has already posted more (and better) on this subject than I.

Also, for those ridiculing Armstrong for his astrology beliefs, especially the righties, I’ve got two words for you: Nancy Reagan.

Using Kos’ words while Lamont is moving his mouth is not. Because no one cares about Kos, except you guys who also still can’t seem to grasp that the most serious threat to our country comes not from heads of state but stateless rogues.

Lieberman’s toast. I’d like to take this moment to thank Hannity, Coulter, and Malkin for helping to actually get a moderate progressive Democrat elected to the Senate. Thanks, dudes. And I mean “dudes” literally.

I encourage you to check out Ned Lamont for yourselves and see if you like him. Donate if you feel like it. Give time if you are able. If anti-Joe isn’t enough, maybe pro-Ned will be.

Jun 27

Today is Net Neutrality day

Have you called your Senator yet?

Here’s the long and short of it: if you want to return to the walled garden days of Compuserve and AOL, if you want your cable company or existing telecom to dictate to you what you can read, see, and use on the internet, then you should be against net neutrality.

If, however, you think that the freedom of the internet is a good thing, that competition and low barriers to entry are worthwhile goods, that the internet has benefitted us, then you should be in favor of Net Neutrality.

Or, even more telling, look who supports either side:

Against net neutrality (AKA the bad guys): cable companies, telecoms, big ISPs like AOL

For net neutrality (AKA the good guys): Google, Tim Berners-Lee (the father of the internet), ACLU, Microsoft, Working Assets, the SEIU, Craig Newmark (craigslist), … and so on.

Discussion in the Commerce Committee began a bunch of hours ago. I can’t find the results anywhere. This is a critical issue for the growth of America, the growth of our economy, and our democracy. I’m not being hyperbolic here, I’m dead serious.

If S.2917 is not added to the telecomm bill, then all is not lost; we’ll still have to fight on the Senate floor. If we can stop the forces of evil here, it will be huge, and an amazing blow to the big corporate welfare babies who have pumped millions of dollars into the anti-neutrality campaign. We can do this!

S.2917 protects net neutrality via:

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act would ensure that all content, applications and services are treated equally and fairly on the Internet by prohibiting broadband network operators from blocking, degrading, or prioritizing service on their networks.

Seriously, how could any non-cable/telecom/megaISP be against this provision? This is a no brainer!

Jun 27

The line-item veto

I’m sorry, I must have been asleep. Our the reporters at our nation’s major media outlets really this stupid?

President Bush, urging the Senate to pass the line-item veto, on Tuesday criticized House Democrats who didn’t back the measure even though they’ve called for federal spending restraint.

The line-item veto? You mean, the line-item veto that the Supreme Court has already ruled is unconstitutional line-item veto? That one? The one that has been definitely unconstitutional since 1998?

The Busheviks believe that the current setup of the bill will pass constitutional muster. The article would have you believe that this is because any line item veto can be overruled by a simple majority in the House.

Not so much.

In short: a line-item veto is an unconstitutional grant of power to the Executive at the cost of the Legislature (and we, the People), and is a threat to our Liberty. The “new” bill is no different from the old, even down to the Congressional override. While a line-item veto may be considered a good idea, unless and until the Constitution is amended, it is not a legal one.

This is a long post, so I’ll save the analysis for after the jump. Continue reading

Jun 27

Mark me down for August 18

in the pool for when Karzai gets ousted replaced.

Instead, Rice said she has heard from European governments “time and time again we are really lucky to have President Karzai.”

The United States “is going back him and back him fully,” Rice said. “And when he has problems, we are going to sit with him and we are going to find ways to resolve those problems.”

Afghanistan is a leaderless vacuum. The Taliban is resurgent, warlords control everywhere except for Kabul. Karzai’s entire sphere of power is Kabul. For that matter, the entire US sphere of power is Kabul.

In any event, reports have come out that Karzai has lost support among Afghans and other nations. The US, of course, is as unwavering in their support for him as we are in our unwavering support for Chalabi Allawi Maliki in Iraq.

The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who we support, since non-Kabul Afghanistan is lost to us and getting deadlier by the day for our troops. Saying we support Karzai is about as meaningful as Victor Ushenko recognizing my claim as supreme ruler of the Grumpistanis.

Bonus humor points for this little bit in the article:

“What does that mean? Who are they? For whom do they speak? And what level do they speak?” Rice asked. “I have not heard this from my counterparts. Steve Hadley doesn’t hear this from his counterparts,” she said, referring to President Bush’s national security adviser. “The president doesn’t hear this from his counterparts.

Heh. Of course he doesn’t hear this from his counterparts, because Charlie McCarthy has been retired for years and Berlusconi’s busy down at the beach picking up some of those fine, fine Italian honeys. He also doesn’t hear anything similar to this from the sycophantic bubble surrounding Our Dear Leader. He’s in an echo chamber of his own mind, and all he hears there is “I dun kot me a gud fish in mah lahyk! Lookee! I made a doody! Mmm… beer!”

I’m paraphrasing of course. Those thoughts come between his work on n-dimensional Planck timespace theorems and finishing his latest symphony.

Jun 27

The Idiots in the Senate

I’m glad in this time of war, with over 2,500 dead in Iraq, a resurgent Taliban, an approaching tipping point in the environment, an economy headed for disaster, and an executive who believes he is above the law, the geniuses in the Senate are taking the time to be one vote away from approving a diminution of your First Amendment rights.

Because that’s what matters, right? Not crushing poverty. Not the Sudan. Not rising inflation. Not New Orleans. Not millions without health care.

No, it’s saving the flag from the flames of desire hatred. It is defending marriage from those marauding fags. And dykes. Can’t forget the dykes, especially when they get all dolled up in high heels and lipstick and their roommate comes over and they fall down together after having a pillowfight and oops! how did my finger get in your vagina? So, don’t forget the dykes. They’re important too. Important to stop, that is. Because we must stop the creation of a world where people who love each other get to enjoy all of the legal benefits from that love and devotion.

Pay no attention to those clicks on your phone or those mystery “SupahSekr3t Agency” charges on your bank statement. We really need to outlaw this:

Flag burning

Interesting that the existing (unconstitutional) law

18 USC 700(a)(1) Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

wasn’t used to punish this guy:

Bush desecrates flag

Update: Amendment fails to pass Senate … by one vote. There are 66 senators who need to punch themselves in the face right about now. Jackasses.

I think the failure-by-one-vote thing is an obvious ploy by the GOoPers for the next time they need to whip up the base. Like 2008. After all, once you’ve passed the Really Stupid Amendment, how are you going to get the spittle flecking once again?

Jun 25

Feingold for preznit!

I watched Press the Meat Meet the Press today and was greatly impressed, once again, by Russ Feingold. You can watch the video at C&L.

The worst thing we could possible do is what Vice President Cheney and President Bush did which was take us into an unnecessary war — that had nothing to do with 9/11 — on false pretenses. They have done the worst thing that has ever been done in this regard.

Feingold was articulate, thoughtful, reasonable, intelligent, and in all other ways exactly what I would like to see in a preznit.

Which, of course, means that he doesn’t have a chance in hell.

Feingold’s way too easy of a target for the right wing slime machine. First, there’s the… how do you say? … Jewy jew jew jew surname. Apparently, Lieberman can get away with it because he’s tongue kissed Our Dear Leader, but Feingold? Not so much. Not to be overly elitist libruhl or anything, but I can’t imagine a successful candidacy so long as identity politics dominate in the south (read: the southern whites are taught to hate Jews, Blacks, and Queers. Yeeeeehaw! At the very least, the identity politics, which have their strongest hold among whites in America in the former confederate states).

Feingold also is the only senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq war resolution. While this is a good thing in my book, we’re talking about attacks from the guys who were able to turn Max Cleland, a Vietnam veteran who left three limbs in a foreign land fighting for his country, into bin Laden’s best friend. Jesus, thinking about that campaign makes me hope for the dino killer to land on the fucking idiots in Georgia. Then again, I don’t want to starve, I want to go out in the first blast, so land on me, meteor! Land on me! Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, Feingold’s awesomeness.

This probably is nothing, but Feingold’s tan’s kind of weird too, in that country club/yahct/orange-y way. I mean, he’s no Boehner of course (no one is), but he’s still kind of… orangey. He’ll have to turn that down for election season. No more yachting for you!

Still, he’s the best major party progressive currently out there, he’s got a hell of a track record, and he doesn’t back down. I respect him. He and Wesley Clark are my top-tier choices (since Gore is not going to run, and Obama has proven to be a paper tiger so far), and I would welcome with open arms a Feingold presidency.

So, uh, kudos to Feingold. You rock, dude. Why don’t you move on over to my state and kick Grumpy Blood Enemy Cantwell from office? I’ll back ya, buddy.

Update: hellooooo Canossa readers. Welcome and… hey! Take off your shoes before you grind mud all into my carpets! Jeez!

Jun 22

InstaAsshole

Passhole aggresshole, much? Instacracker sez:

And as an aside, I see some blog-commenters are speculating that Kos is gay. Why that should matter, I don’t know, but I remember — back when the blogosphere was younger and people were nicer — commiserating with Kos over his wife’s miscarriage (my wife and I had several) and assuring him that it didn’t preclude successful pregnancies later on, which I believe his wife has since had. So try to keep things at something better than a seventh-grade level.

Nice job, mentioning that which does not matter while also perpetuating the “attack” on kos while also bringing up the painful and largely private miscarriage story (that he reveals his own family’s miscarriages is his own business). This is the coward’s formulation of reaching for “gentleman” status while also furthering the smear and being as low as the mouthbreathers who think that calling someone gay is an attack. It should come as no surprise, really; Professor Unworthy’s methodology is closely akin to Bush’s constant “some say…” straw man formulations.

Reynolds, who is indeedy one of the stupidest fucking people on the planet (somewhere in the third orbital behind Feith, Goldstein, and the Nuge) must be a crossdresser wannabe of the Rococco period since he’s doing his damndest to be Marie Antoinette. Someone check for a fake beauty mark.

(link to Tristram Shandy, since InstaFucktard gets no linkage love)

Jun 22

Net Neutrality: the time is now

Crunch Time

It’s time to hit the phones, everyone. I am told that the Senate Commerce Committee will be doing bill mark-up today, and that the net neutrality vote will be pushed off until probably Tuesday.

And that we are one vote short at the moment for killing the Stevens bill in the Committee.

Yep, that’s right: one vote.

Call your senators. I even called Mortal Enemy Cantwell[fn1] to tell her to support Senate bill S.2917.

That’s what you say when you call, btw. Say “I am for S. 2917, WITHOUT AMENDMENT.” That is the Snowe/Dorgan net neutrality bill. Go internet!

[fn1] for her cloture vote on scAlito. Grr.