Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Exclusive: Ideology trumps experience in Federal Election Commissioner’s rise

Part II in Raw Story series:

Caroline Hunter’s confirmation to the Election Assistance Commission in February 2007 came near the end of the agency’s controversial handling of two internally contentious commissioned studies — one on voter fraud and the other on voter identification laws. Pressure to fill the four-member bipartisan commission was high: the election season was heating up.

Emails released to Congress about the two studies, reviewed by Raw Story, reveal that Hunter’s selection was not only well-timed but also succeeded in installing an ideologically partisan insider on the commission.

Hunter’s confirmation by unanimous consent in the Senate occurred without a hearing or even a roll call vote. Her lack of election administration experience escaped scrutiny, as did her activities at the Republican National Committee and her subsequent stints at the Department of Homeland Security and in a Bush White House staff position as deputy director at the Office of Public Liaison. The latter office reported directly to Karl Rove.

Read the rest…

Boomers, part 1: how does it feel?

Not Mr. Jones….

Everything starts somewhere.

This series of posts starts from a thoughtful post by Sara Robinson over at Campaign for America’s Future that our colleague Russ Wellen alerted us to. This sparked some discussion among the writers for this blog and led to a passing comment by our esteemed Dr. Slammy that made me see red – and write an email that I never sent:

It’s a great piece and fundamentally right on so many points. The odd irony, of course, is that the upstart educated middle class rampaging through the streets in the ’60s turned out to be the most able cohort of would-be aristocrats in US history.

If there’s one meme that pervades A LOT of blogosphere chatter (both here at S&R and elsewhere), it’s one that goes something like this:

Boomers have fucked everything up and now we’re all going to hell in a hand basket and it’s the Boomer generation’s fault over under sideways down… Continue reading

Federal judge injects some sanity into human gene patents by rejecting two

According to the NYTimes, a federal judge has invalidated two patents on human genes, claiming that

the patents were “improperly granted” because they involved a “law of nature.”

While this decision is certain to be appealed by patent owner Myriad Genetics, it has the potential to drive widespread changes throughout the biotech industry.

Patent law doesn’t presently allow laws of nature to be patented. No-one could patent green photons, for example, or the quantum mechanical property of particle tunneling. What can be patented are devices that measure or creates green photons in a new and novel way, or that use tunneling as a means to create a new semiconductor device for electronics. Continue reading

Exclusive: FEC commissioner helped RNC conceal role in 2004 vote suppression

My latest investigative article for Raw Story:

Judge found sworn testimony ‘belied’ the facts

Caroline Hunter, a Bush-appointed Federal Election Commissioner who remains in office, provided misleading statements under oath in an effort to conceal Republican National Committee involvement in vote suppression activities during the 2004 presidential election, a Raw Story investigation has found.

Legal experts say Hunter’s submission of misleading statements under oath is a serious ethical and professional breach which could warrant a bar review and potential disbarment. At the time, Hunter was serving as deputy counsel to the Republican National Committee.

Read the rest…

Unsolicited movie review: Capitalism…

…A love story. Which is what the film is, an unsolicited review of Capitalism. If you’re expecting standard, Michael Moore agit-prop you’ll be mildly disappointed. If you’re expecting a full deconstruction of Capitalism, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re expecting a call to Socialism and all power to the proletariat, you’ll just be mildly confused. It’s a pretty good flick, partly because Moore doesn’t pull many silly stunts and spends less time than usual getting in your face. In fact, he’s downright nostalgic through the better part of the first half. It’s UAW, middle class autobiographical complete with old home movies. Now maybe it’s just that i was raised amidst the UAW middle class at the tail end of its existence, but this focus did a good job of setting me up. I know the way the story ends. His shots of abandoned neighborhood’s are depictions of my own mental imagery rather than cinematic. I’ve already got the sadness, confusion and anger that he’s hoping to build.

I’m curious if the set up works for others from a different background.

Continue reading

Gaming the system

In light of Dr. Slammy’s post earlier, and previous posts on the “giver” and “taker” status of individual states within the Union, George Kenney has a post up at Electric Politics that’s worth adding to the discussion.

Since we no longer add new districts/Members to the House (we should, but that’s another story), with each census in the modern era we reshuffle the existing 435 districts among states. If you think about it, then, those states with the greatest population of illegal immigrants gain a disproportionate advantage in representation in Congress. States with large numbers of illegal immigrants have more representatives per American citizen than states with few or no illegal immigrants.


(And read the rest at EP. I’d also highly recommend adding Kenney’s podcasts to your to-do list.)

There's nothing special about being special

A while back we commented on the potential fracturing of the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States. It’s been a one way street for some time now, as writers such as john Le Carre constantly remind us. And it took Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq to actually bring it to the forefront. And you know what? It seems Britain is deciding it might not be worth it.

On Sunday The Times reported that a special committee of MPS finally released a report determining that, as the Times succinctly puts it,

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.
Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

Continue reading

Secession: a rough beast whose hour has come round at last?

I’d like to begin by showing you a picture and asking you what you see.

Good. With that in mind, have a look at this one and tell me what you see. Continue reading

The advantages of unfaithfulness (don't try this at home!)

Ideally, if you’re a married man strongly attracted to a woman other than your wife, before acting on that impulse, you should extricate yourself from your marriage. Among the reasons, obvious and un:

  • To keep from inflicting a grievous emotional wound on your wife.
  • Out of respect for the person to whom you’re attracted. Otherwise, she might feel insulted by your presumption that she’d be complicit in cheating.

In the real world, though. . . Continue reading

Free the people by freeing their bank accounts

Till death us do partIt didn’t happen and it wouldn’t have worked anyway. UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, was expected to legislate that every bank in the UK provide a free bank account to every adult. No money, just the account.

Which is why it was silly. Just about anyone can walk into a UK bank and open a savings account. And legislating that banks provide the account leads to the question: how is this to be coordinated so that I don’t end up with 50 bank accounts, one from each bank?

Yet this idea has plenty of merit. Consider the phone industry. Service providers have a tremendous lock on their customers and can exercise a monopoly where customers have to sacrifice their telephone numbers in order to change providers. Continue reading

Someone's going to end up dead

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about anger.  Not just recently, but for a long time.  One of the joys of studying history, I suppose.  The current waves of anger and vitriol have me worried that we’re not going to see an end to it until someone–maybe a number of people–are dead.  I’m not wishing it on anyone, but it seems to be where we are heading.

Late Tuesday, before the health care reform vote, there was a protest outside of Congresswoman Mary Jo Killroy’s office in Columbus.  I’ll let the video below speak for itself (it’s a shorter version of the original posted on the Columbus Dispatch website). Continue reading

Bush league? Ann Coulter embarrasses her alma mater … again

I know she just says these things to get attention like any other spoiled brat, but like every other spoiled brat, Ann Coulter occasionally needs a good spanking. I’m sure she enjoys a good spanking more than your average spoiled brat, but that’s a subject for another day.

Anyhoo, Ann was set to give a speech at the University of Ottawa. And the protests were so harsh that they cancelled the whole gig. Ann was predictably annoyed:

“The University of Ottawa is really easy to get into, isn’t it?” she said in an interview after the cancelled event. “I never get any trouble at the Ivy League schools. It’s always the bush league schools.”

Now, I’m sure I’d be mad, too, if I were her. (Or would I? She still got paid, I’m certain, and did so without having to do any actual work at all. Isn’t that pretty much the definition of a good day for an arch-conservative?) But “bush league”? Really? The U of Ottawa? Continue reading

Teabagger Jedi Ex Cathedra Journalism: now being practiced in Lynchburg, VA

It started innocently enough:

A tea party organizer angry over Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) vote in favor of health care reform published what he thought was the freshman member’s home address on a blog, in case any readers “want to drop by” and provide a “personal touch” to their views.

Unfortunately, mistakes were made: Continue reading

Anti-nuke U.

THE DEPROLIFERATOR — Last week we discussed how to communicate the subject of disarmament to the public, or at least the “persuadable middle” (a.k.a. independents). Research organizations have devised promising approaches to “framing” and “messaging” in order to divert members of the public from viewing deterrence as the ultimate defense against an enemy. Instead they’re shown that, because of their risk, it’s actually nuclear weapons themselves that are the enemy.

We also proposed that widespread enlightened childrearing would likely produce a generation of citizens who would find national-security policies that leave the lives of tens of millions hanging in the balance unacceptable. The introduction of courses on, if not arms control, national-security options, into schools at all levels would follow suit. Continue reading

Nota Bene #109: You Can't Tuna Fish

“It’s absolutely stunning to me, the contempt in which the network holds the audience. The idea that these people have standards is laughable.” Who said it? Continue reading

At this point it's all we've got

A funny thing happened to me the other day. I walked into a conversation at work about the health care reform bill, and without any provocation from me i got to hear an interesting view on the matter from a thoughtful, intelligent man who’s every bit a capitalist. He attends church regularly and describes himself as a right-leaning libertarian. He’s from a staunchly Republican family. He likes Rush Limbaugh. In other words, he’s a far cry from a bleeding heart, dirty-fucking-hippie liberal as you’re likely to find. You know what this man said? He said that he’s in favor of universal coverage, but that the bill being voted on looks like hell and that he can’t see how it will fix any of our health care problems.

Now tell me that this bill is the best we can hope for, and do it without blaming what we’re getting on evil conservatives. This bill is not the best we can get, but it is exactly what Obama and the DLC types wanted…because they’re not on your side.
Continue reading