You’re watching an ad. You hear the voice of President Obama. You hear the phrases “the White House” and “the Administration.” You see a reference to “Obamacare,” a derogatory phrase coined by conservatives opposed to the president’s legislative centerpiece, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
What might you conclude? It’s a political ad, and it’s critical of the president. If you knew the regulations of the Federal Election Commission, you might conclude that the ad represents “electioneering communications.” And if the ad is indeed an electioneering communication, then the ad is subject to campaign finance disclosure laws requiring the sponsoring group to reveal its funders.
It’s the job of the six FEC commissioners (three from each party) to determine if an ad is an electioneering communication. This week (on Flag Day, no less), the commissioners were unable to agree on whether that ad and four others proposed by the 501(c)(4) group American Future Fund (AFF) constituted electioneering communications requiring disclosure of funders. Say what?
by Chip Ainsworth
Early one morning in Rutland, Vermont, I walked into the chamber of commerce and asked for the best breakfast place in town. We’d driven 75 miles on caffeine and Graham crackers, and now the coffee was kicking back like an oil rig ready to explode.
They seemed confused by this stranger who would ask such a question. Gimme a name was all I wanted, someplace good. But all they could do was look at each other and hem and haw. Finally a staffer pointed to an eatery across the street on Merchants Row, near the Asa Bloomer state office building where Susan was taking a three-hour exam. That place? I’d already checked it out and it was empty, not a good sign at mealtime and not worth the risk.
Finally one of the staffers mentioned the Midway Diner. Continue reading
There is the old adage about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Well, one such canard is making the rounds this morning courtesy of Bloomberg. The buzz is all about the chart on the right, which purports to show how the Obama administration has destroyed all the wealth built up in the last forty years by the middle class. Of course, that’s the not what it shows at all.
When he gets to hell, Bill Gates will have to answer for the fact that he put the software tools to create official looking charts in the hands of cretins.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Western governments claim that satellite images show Iran is trying to scrub a site at its Parchin military complex clean of evidence of nuclear weapons experiments. In response, Gareth Porter wrote at IPS on June 8:
The nature of the [alleged evidence of activities] depicted in the images and the circumstances surrounding them suggest, however, that Iran made them to gain leverage in its negotiations with the IAEA rather than to hide past nuclear experiments. … the activities shown in those satellite images … appear to be aimed at prompting the IAEA, the United States and Israel to give greater urgency and importance to a request for an IAEA inspection visit to Parchin.
For example water shown in a satellite image and ostensibly used for cleaning “appears to collect in a ditch a short distance away from the building. … soil that was moved from two areas [but appears] to have been carried only a few hundred feet further north of the former area where it is shown to have been dumped, offering another inviting target for environmental sampling.” Continue reading
“Live forever!” Mr. Electro told him. Ray Bradbury was twelve years old and had just seen Mr. Electro get strapped to the electric chair at the traveling carnival. Someone threw the switch. Mr. Electro got electrocuted. It was Labor Day weekend, 1932.
After the show, after his recovery, Mr. Electro took the young Bradbury aside. “We’ve met before,” Mr. Electro told him. “You were my best friend in France in 1918, and you died in my arms in the battle of the Ardennes forest that year. And here you are, born again, in a new body, with a new name. Welcome back!”
“When he came to me,” Bradbury later wrote, “he tapped me on both shoulders and then the tip of my nose. The lightning jumped into me.” And that’s when he told Bradbury, “Live forever!”
“I decided it was the greatest idea I had ever heard,” Bradbury said. Continue reading