Archive for April 1, 2010

“Real American Stories” Wasn’t Broadcast Live — Wonder Why

Did you notice that Fox’s new “Real American Stories,” hosted by Sarah Palin, wasn’t broadcast live?

Almost all of their other stuff is.

Gosh.  Wonder what’s going on.

Fox is protecting Palin’s incoherence and incompetence, that’s what.

April 1, 2010 at 9:24 PM Leave a comment

Tweet of the Day

From mtvitamin:

I don’t either.

April 1, 2010 at 9:12 PM Leave a comment

Wear “Skineez” And You’ll Be Skinny

The Home Shopping Network is advertising a product called “Skineez — SkinCareWear.”  The hype is that “Skineez” underwear, together with its “slimming spray,” will make you, well, skinny.

Raise your hand if you think this will work.  I mean, seriously.

April 1, 2010 at 6:59 PM Leave a comment

The EPA Sharply Limits Mountaintop Mining — Good News

Have you ever done a Google images search of “mountaintop mining?”  What mountaintop mining does to Mother Earth, all in the name of corporate profits, is grotesque.  It’s a crime against the planet.  Look at this.  This was once a tree-covered, wooded mountain (think tranquility, shade, birds and small critters living their lives and beautiful fall colors):

(Source.)

So, I’m thrilled to hear that the EPA reigned that in a bit today (though it needs to go farther):

The White House on Thursday took a giant leap toward eliminating new mountaintop coal mining projects in the Appalachian states, issuing strict new guidelines designed to protect headwater streams by curbing the practice of dumping waste in neighboring valleys.

Announcing the changes, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said the guidelines are intended to make the standards governing new mountaintop projects “clear and consistent,” following a series of EPA decisions over the past year that stakeholders on all sides of the debate found contradictory.

[...]

The move drew immediate criticism from the coal mining industry, which views the new environmental protections as a threat to profits and jobs. But it received high praise from one of the most powerful lawmakers in Appalachia, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a one-time defender of mountaintop mining who more recently has turned a critical eye toward the practice.

April 1, 2010 at 6:26 PM Leave a comment

FAUX OUTRAGE ALERT: What? Obama Has an Opinion About the Media?

This is a FAUX OUTRAGE ALERT:  This is what the right will be frothing at the mouth about on Friday and over the weekend:  Obama Addresses Harsh Criticism:

CBS News spent the day at the White House, interviewing and playing basketball with President Barack Obama for segments on Friday’s Early Show and Saturday’s NCAA pre-game show. POLITICO obtained a partial transcript of the broadcasts, and one of the more provocative questions posed by CBS’s Harry Smith involved some of the harsh criticism Obama has endured from the edges of the political spectrum.

“I’ve been listening to talk radio, the kindest of terms is a socialist, worst of which I’ve heard is you called a Nazi, are you aware of the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves about you?” asked Smith.

“Well I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it’s pretty apparent, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out,” said Obama. “It happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious, but that’s not the vast majority of Americans. I think vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard. I want what’s best for the country. They may disagree on certain policy issues but I didn’t buy all the hype right after inauguration where everybody was only saying nice things about me and I don’t get too worried when things aren’t going as well because I know that, over time, these things turn.

“I do think that everybody has a responsibility — Democrats or Republicans — to tone down some of this rhetoric, some of these comments. …It used to be that someone who said something crazy, they might be saying it to their next door neighbor or it might be on some late night AM station at the very end of the radio dial and now with the blogs, it ends up getting a lot more attention and you guys end up covering it a lot more. It’s not as if there haven’t been a lot of crazy things said out and about over the years, it’s just that it gets much more magnified much more quickly.”

April 1, 2010 at 5:38 PM Leave a comment

You Know Things Aren’t Going Well for Republicans…

When the big story on FoxNews.com is about stage parents:

Seems to me the big story is flip-flopping Republicans (that would be the big story if Democrats were flip-flopping), but you’ll NEVER see that on Fox.

April 1, 2010 at 5:12 PM Leave a comment

Republicans Doing the Moon Walk

Let’s see, if memory serves, this coming Sunday will mark two weeks since the House and Senate passed the health care bill.  Two weeks since Republicans said it would be the end of life as we know it. Two weeks!

Today?  Those big, bad, macho Republicans are walkin’ backward: GOP Lawmaker Assures Constituents There are No Death Panels, Highlights Benefits of Law:

Just days ago, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) was condemning the “government takeover” of health care, cheering on Tea Party protesters, and denouncing the law’s “special deals” on the floor of the House and on news shows across the country. Kingston joined the Republican effort to repeal the law in Congress and co-sponsored two separate bills to “repeal and replace” the bill.

But yesterday, during a town hall at College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswik, Kingston did what’s quickly becoming a popular trend for Republicans. He walked back from his repeal rhetoric and highlighted some of the benefits of the new law:

Instead Kingston, who had joined all other Republicans in the House in voting against the overhaul, focused on changes he thinks should be made to make it better. He said lawmakers have “unfinished business” and both parties should work together to improve the nation’s health care system….At one point, he assured the crowd there are no “death panels,” a charge made by some conservatives over the course of the year-long debate and echoed by at least one citizen in attendance Wednesday. He also said it is too early to tell if the new law violates the U.S. Constitution.

(Emphasis in original.)

The Tea Partiers are still pissed but “regular” folks are kinda likin’ the notion of a health care bill. So what’s a Republican to do?  They know they can’t win by appealing to 28% of the population.  They’ve gotten themselves into a real fix.

April 1, 2010 at 4:47 PM Leave a comment

Break Time — a Penis Exerciser?

OMG.  Here’s a post about “10 Crazy Medical Inventions That (Thankfully) Never Caught On,” and that’s an understatement if there ever was one.  Take this “penis exerciser” for example:

And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke.

April 1, 2010 at 4:29 PM 1 comment

Thank You Readers!

I opened this blog in March of last year.  My stats were dismal of course and I was pretty discouraged.  But lo and behold, at the end of the day yesterday, my stats had risen 2,000% over last March.

So thank you, thank you, thank you!

April 1, 2010 at 4:10 PM Leave a comment

2010 Census Participation Rates

Here’s a nifty interactive map showing census participation rates across the country.  You can even drill down and go to the country level if you want.

Take it or leave it.

April 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM Leave a comment

Has Fox News Been Cooking the Books on its Ratings?

Have Rupert Murdoch and Nielsen Media Research been in cahoots for the last decade, cooking the books and inflating Fox News’ ratings?  This article makes a very plausible argument that the answer is yes. And after working on Outfoxed, and “knowing” Rupert Murdoch as I do –  one of the sleaziest, slimmest, most ruthless men on Earth, this sounds like something he’d do.

Here’s the gist of it:

While most industry insiders accept the routine pronouncements from the sole ratings provider, Nielsen Media Research, without question, some observers could not help but notice a certain incongruity in the results. How is it, they wonder, that Fox News can be so consistently in the lead despite their obvious niche programming focus on a narrow segment of the viewing audience. The decidedly right-of-center bias of Fox News corresponds to a rather small portion of the national electorate. Republican favorability has been hovering in the mid-twenties for years. So how does this negligible slice of the market translate into such a disproportionate ratings advantage?

The answer may be evident in new disclosures of business relationships that call into question the integrity of Nielsen’s data. With the rollout of its People Meter methodology in the early 2000’s, Nielsen entered the high-tech era of TV market research. It was heralded as a major advancement of data collection that would vastly improve the ability of producers, programmers and advertisers to evaluate the marketplace. But as with any upheaval in the status quo, there were skeptics and dissenters. Chief amongst them was Fox Broadcasting, who argued that the new system significantly under-counted African-Americans, a key component of their audience at the time. There was also a question as to the security of the new set-top boxes that would be recording viewer choices. With the introduction of technology comes the risk of miscalculations and tampering. But eventually the complaints receded or were resolved and the new service took its place as the signature survey product for television marketing.

It was during this time, subsequent to the implementation of People Meters, that Fox News began its rapid ascent to ratings dominance. A prudent observer might wonder how this new system came to report so much more favorably for a network that had fiercely opposed its adoption. What transpired that caused Fox News to withdraw their objections and become the biggest beneficiary of the change?

It has recently been discovered that the Wegener Corporation, the manufacturer of the set-top devices that Nielsen uses, has a long association with Rupert Murdoch and the News Corporation, the parent of Fox News. Wegener was founded by the former management of Scientific-Atlanta, a producer of set-top boxes for cable access and other purposes. One of the other products in Scientific-Atlanta’s line was a device used by Gemstar to provide television program listings to cable operators and their subscribers. Gemstar was an affiliate of TV Guide, which in turn was owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. So the executives who were responsible for developing and manufacturing Murdoch’s equipment for Gemstar became the principles of the company providing Nielsen with their ratings collection devices. And around that same time Fox News dropped their objections to the new People Meter service.

It would not be difficult to encode an electronic device so that it would purposefully miscalculate survey data.

April 1, 2010 at 3:52 PM Leave a comment

Parents Protest Promotion of Democracy

Utah County Parents Protest Schools’ Promotion of “Democracy:

Some Utah County parents are calling on the Alpine School District to stop spreading “false educational ideas.” First and foremost, the parents say, the district needs to clamp down on its use of the D-word: “democracy.”

This week, a spokeswoman for Utah’s Republic, a group that advocates for a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, asked the Alpine Board of Education to scrap its democracy-centered mission statement. The issue has sparked a dust-up over the past month, garnering petition signatures from hundreds of Alpine parents and a rebuke of the school board by the Provo Daily Herald’s editorial board.

Alpine’s mission statement is “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy.”

But this nation is a republic, not a democracy, said Oak Norton, a Highland father of five and the founder of Utah’s Republic. The Constitution guarantees every state a “republican form of government.” “Karl Marx said, ‘Democracy is the road to socialism,’ ” Norton said. A true democracy, he said, relies solely on majority rule and inevitably devolves into anarchy, which then sprouts socialist dictators.

Some things leave me not knowing what to say.

April 1, 2010 at 3:35 PM Leave a comment

Oops — RNC Mailer Includes Phone Sex Number

Man, the Republican party has sex on the brain.  They sent out a fundraising letter early last month with,

a return number that leads to a phone sex line offering “live, one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who will do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute.”

At the bottom of a piece designed to resemble a census form, a toll-free number is listed next to the national party’s address.

A voter in Minnesota received the mailer and called the number intending to complain about the attempt to raise money with a form that looks like a government document.

But the Minnesotan was instead directed to a second toll-free number that greets callers as “sexy guy” before offering them the chance to talk with “real local students, housewives and working girls from all over the country.”

April 1, 2010 at 12:47 PM Leave a comment

BMW Pulls All Ads From the Glenn Beck Show

Bravo BMW!

April 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM Leave a comment

How Did Rep. Hank Johnson Ever Make it to Congress?

How Hank Johnson (D-GA) ever made it to the House of Representatives is beyond me.  Or, another way of putting it is, is our school system really this bad?

Watch this video.  Johnson is questioning Admiral Robert Willard, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, at a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week regarding Willard’s FY 2011 budget.  Part of the hearing centered on plans to shift thousands of US troops from Okinawa to Guam, which will undoubtedly put a serious strain on tiny Guam. To that end, Johnson, again, a member of the United States House of Representatives, literally says, and I’m not making this up, that he’s afraid the island might “tip over and capsize.”  It’s unbelievable.

Johnson denies he meant the island would literally tip over, but you don’t get that impression at all — he is dead serious — from the video.

April 1, 2010 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

Republicans Now Begging Conservatives to Fill Out the Census

As you probably know, today is the day by which your census form should be filled out and mailed in.  To that end, reports began filtering in last week about how some conservative areas of the country were seeing almost no movement in that direction thanks to the likes of winger representatives like Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina.  As long ago as last summer they were claiming that the census was a Nazi-like “big brother” tactic that would result in people being rounded up and thrown into concentration camps, or some such insanity.

Anyway, that faux hysteria is now potentially backfiring on them because conservatives are returning the census form at a lower rate than independents and progressives which conceivably could lead to a loss of congressional seats.  So now they’re freaking out and literally begging their constituents to send them in.

I think this is hilarious.  It’s karma in its most perfect form.  You reap what you sow.

April 1, 2010 at 11:05 AM Leave a comment

Bad Sign

Sorry but I don’t get the sense that the economy’s improving.  The stock market might be doing well but I once read that “Wall Street is not the economy,” which the CNBC-types seem to forget.

Anyway, given this post from Tuesday about how half of all commercial real estate mortgages will be underwater by the end of the year, the news out today that non-residential construction spending is at its lowest level since 2006 makes me even more skeptical.

Private residential construction spending has turned down again over the last few months. I expect some growth in residential spending in 2010, but the increases will probably be sluggish until the large overhang of existing inventory is reduced.

Private non-residential spending decreased in February, and is now at the lowest level since July 2006. The collapse in non-residential construction spending continues

April 1, 2010 at 9:44 AM Leave a comment

Afghanistan Surges Ahead in Rebuilding Process

Man-o-man, the Afghani people are putting the peddle to the metal in rebuilding their economy.  Not only are they #1 in the world in opium production, they recently passed Morocco to become #1 in the world in the production of hashish.

Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of opium, has also become a major source for cannabis, overtaking Morocco as the top producer of hashish, the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime said Wednesday.

“While other countries have even larger cannabis cultivation, the astonishing yield of the Afghan cannabis crop makes Afghanistan the world’s biggest producer of hashish,” UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in a statement.

An UNODC survey estimated Afghanistan farmers produce 145 kilograms per hectare of hashish, the resin produced from cannabis, as compared to around 40 kg/ha in Morocco, for an overall amount of 1,500 to 3,500 tonnes a year.

It estimated that 10,000 to 24,000 hectares of cannabis are grown in Afghanistan every year worth 39 to 94 million dollars, which is still only 10 to 20 percent of the value of opium production to farmers.

Afghanistan’s illicit drugs industry is worth up to three billion dollars a year, controlled by militants and gangs who use cross-border routes to smuggle drugs to Pakistan and Iran, and bring arms and fighters back in.

What a mess.

April 1, 2010 at 9:27 AM Leave a comment

The Illustrated Tea Party Dictionary

Behold the Illustrated Tea Party Dictionary.  My fave:

April 1, 2010 at 9:01 AM Leave a comment


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