Category Archives: Blogsphere

Merry Christmas

Thanks Arb, for this and for your perfect Christmas post, here.

New quote

From Albert Einstein – hat tip to blogfriend jonolan:

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.

We see them come and we see them go

I just visited blogfriend desertscope (who’s been mostly absent for a few months because the inanities and insanities of our public discourse, as he put it, “leave me empty”. I know what he means.) where, from a recent post of his I learned that a one-time favorite of mine, Tbogg, has stopped publishing. He stepped away from his long time blog home at Firedoglake and is off to smell the roses and see what’s next.  For nearly ten years, I read him most days and he always made me laugh.

Here’s his final post, written with his exquisite economy of language:

. . . and that’s a wrap.

That was it. (Well, there was a video, but still . . . )

A few days earlier he said proper goodbyes, bestowing these words of wisdom to guide his soon-to-be bereft readers through the days to come:

  • If Ross Douthat offers some vague promise of respect if you’ll just hand over the keys to your vagina… don’t do it. It’s a trap and he’ll only end up calling you a whore and fat in his next book: Fat Whores I Wouldn’t Fuck With Your Dick No Matter How Much They Look Like A Celebrity: A Journey Of Faith
  • McMegan will write something about public policy that will be completely wrong because she will be “unconvinced” due to the fact that the numbers fail to translate into cups, tablespoons, pinches, pounds, and liters … and also because she is paid to be wrong. But even if she weren’t paid to be wrong she’d still get it wrong.
  • Someone will continue to fund Breitbart.com because it is better than having their staff wandering the streets screaming “STOP RAPING PEOPLE!” at symbols of government over-reach like, for example, mailboxes.
  • Andrew Breitbart will remain dead.
  • Always apply the 24-Hour Rule to every overly-hyped story whether it is revelations about the NSA or the IRS, or news about a spontaneously combusting baby …  although that one seems for real
  • Lastly, we call them ‘libertarians” because ‘sociopath’ is such an ugly word.

A funny man. I wish him well. (And there will always be 13 years of archives of the infamous and always delightful series, “Friday Night Basset Blogging”.)

Ah, Bill, that’s gotta hurt!

Townhall.com, an enormously influential righty website, has posted its list of the 25 most influential conservatives. AND 32 runners-up.  The runners-up are:

townhall

At number 41, not only doesn’t Bill O’Reilly make their top 25, but he ranks behind trickster James O’Keefe. Methinks this will rouse Papa Bear (as Steven Colbert calls him) to new heights of retribution – an O’Reilly staple. He is, like Rush Limbaugh,, remarkably thin-skinned for someone who’s been in the public eye for so long.

George Takei gets all the good stuff

Like this:

shatner

Since I was at Krugman’s blog

Ahem, look what the Professor has introduced:

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pino asks “Are we born tribal?”

It’s a fascinating question. So far only he and I are talking, but I’d be interested, as I’m sure would he, in your thinking on the subject. Go on over.

East Coast storms and Oklahoma storms: totally not the same thing

coburninhofeFederal assistance to Oklahoma? Duane notes that its two Senators (Inhofe and Coburn) aren’t too sure about that Federal funding stuff in theory. They didn’t want to step in after Sandy and they’re always trying to defund FEMA. But here’s what Inhofe had to say this morning on the teevee:

JANSING: You know there were a number of people along the East Coast who weren’t happy about your vote on Hurricane Sandy . . . you said the request for funding was a “slush fund.” . . .  is there money to help the people here in your home state rebuild?

INHOFE: Well, let’s look at that. That was totally different . . .

Yup. Totally different. I get that.

What Inhofe and Coburn don’t seem to grasp – well,  here, Duane says it best:

Yet despite the efforts of Inhofe and Coburn, the FEMA trucks will show up in Oklahoma throughout today and beyond. Those trucks are representatives of the American people, most of whom live far, far away from Moore.

Let me repeat that: Those trucks are representatives of the American people.

We can, however, take some comfort that both of the esteemed Senators, while not crazy about that food and rescue equipment part, did ask for prayers.

You may know that Duane lives in Joplin MO and two years ago a tornado devastated Joplin; 161 people died. His post a few days later is one I’ve never forgotten and it still touches me. Read it. That’s probably pretty close to what they’re feeling in Moore OK about now. It begins:

Sunday evening, before the onset of the cruel aftershocks that continue to pummel our devastated city with remorseless storms and rescue-impeding rains, my youngest son and I undertook a journey to a destination he—a high school student and baseball player—seemed desperate to see.

He wanted to go to his school.

Read the rest.

William “Bill” Louis Tchakirides, May 24, 1946 – April 27, 2013

Blog friend Bill Tchakirides of Under The Lobster Scope fought the good fight. His wife posted this on Sunday. Go in peace, friend, go in peace.

Under The LobsterScope

Bill Tchakirides age 66, retired, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia died peacefullySaturday, April 27. Bill was born May 24, 1946 in Waterbury, CT, the son of the late William Tchakirides and Doris (Barsale) Tchakirides, formerly of Bristol and Farmington, CT, now residing in Manassas, VA. Bill is survived by his wife Ellen Louise Smith of Shepherdstown, WV and by his children Cassandra Corrigan and husband Matthew Corrigan of Manchester, CT; Penelope Cantor of Williamsport, MD; William “Buddy” Tchakirides and wife Rachel Neal-Tchakirides of Milwaukee, WI; five grandchildren, John, Milo, Jason, Aden and Jacob; his sister Ellen Forbes Gerhard and husband Jeff Lychwick of Gainesville, VA and several nieces and nephews.

Bill was proud of being a father, a grandfather and a liberal.  He was an artist and a patron of the arts.  Of the baby boom generation, he worked as a Stage Director, Network Manager, College and Prep School Teacher…

View original post 167 more words

An elegant and kind man with a poet’s touch

roger_ebertRoger Ebert, who died yesterday, began blogging in earnest some years back after cancer robbed him of speech. He racked up millions of hits and every post generated hundreds of comments.  I’ve written about him a few times. From March of 2010:

I discovered his blog a few months ago and was enchanted – a fine writer, a profoundly human man and very very brave. He’s wasting away from cancer – can no longer speak or eat. He doesn’t even have a jaw anymore. And yet he blogs. And he cares. And he has his finger on the pulse of the humanity that is us. I wish I knew him.

Roger Ebert’s Journal was much more than movies; while he chronicled the challenges of his illness he also wrote – always elegantly – of so many other things – of politics, music, art, children and cooking.

He and I were born in the same year, so when he wrote of his own youth, which he often did – as often happens with those battling terminal illnesses – I went back in time with him. Like in this passage from a very recent post titled “How I am a Roman Catholic”:

The nuns at St. Mary’s were Dominicans. They lived in a small square convent behind the school, holding six nuns (some taught two grades) and a cook and their housekeeping nun, who kept a sharp eye trained on us through her screen door. We had humble playground equipment, a swing set and two basketball hoops. Our principal sport was playing King of the World. This involved two boys standing on a log, each trying to push the other off. The housekeeper would open the screen door and shout, “If you break your necks, you have only yourselves to blame.”

It was from these nuns, especially Sister Nathan and Sister Rosanne, that I learned my core moral and political principles. I assumed they were Roman Catholic dogma. Many of them involved a Social Contract between God and man, which represented classical liberalism based on empathy and economic fairness. We heard much of Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum”–“On Capital and Labor.”

I’ll miss him and his writing but I’ll go back now and again to the archives. There is wisdom there.

Twitter’s April Fool . . . right?

Starting today, we are shifting to a two-tiered service: Everyone can use our basic service, Twttr, but you only get consonants. For five dollars a month, you can use our premium “Twitter” service which also includes vowels.

Still funny.

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I think we’re losing a blogfriend

If you’ve been around here for a while you may have had some dialogue with Bill Tchakirides of Under the LobsterScope. He hasn’t been around lately so I just went over to say hi and found a post from his wife. Bill has brain cancer and is now in the hospice program. He’s still alert and looks forward to visits and comments. So if you know this nice man, stop over and let Ellen know we’re thinking of him.

I’m going with sexy in a boy/girl kind of way

Over at Buzzfeed, responding to the urgent yet eternal need to fill space with any and all arcana the little webloggers can think up . . . they’ve morphed everyone’s favorite cable talking heads so we have an O’Reilly/Maddow, an S.E. Cupp/Toure (one of the better ones) and on . . . missing from the fun are Matthews, Hannity, a few others. Here’s my favorite – it really works!

cabeTVmorph

Breathless headlines – threat alert off the charts!

Drudge makes his editorial contribution again to the important issues of our day. Well played, Matt. That ought to get the page views up nicely .. . .

drudge well done matt

Okay, I’d like Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick too

From Crooked Timber: Eric Loomis, a blogger at Lawyers, Guns and Money is in the crosshairs – he has landed on an intertubes hit list, where Glenn Reynolds, the genuinely frightening Michelle Malkin, Town Hall, The Daily Caller and only Elvis knows who else have not only climbed aboard the tired outrage train, but are actually charging him with ‘eliminationist’ rhetoric. First, here’s what he said on Twitter:

“I was heartbroken in the first 20 mass murders. Now I want Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.”

Pretty threatening, eh? But metaphors be damned, these folk know a genuine threat of violence when they see one.

Back to Crooked Timber:

[the first shot came from] right-wing blogger Glenn Reynolds [who] earlier voiced his anger over the State Department’s lax provision of security in Benghazi by demanding, “Can we see some heads roll?” . . . other conservative voices have joined in. The Daily Caller says Loomis “. . .  tweets demanding death for National Rifle Association executive Wayne LaPierre.” . . .  And just this morning, Michelle Malkin wrote at National Review Online: “So, it’s come to this: Advocating beheadings, beatings . . . Blood-lusting hate speech must not get a pass . . .”

By the way:

Loomis has already been questioned by the Rhode Island State Police, who told him that someone had informed the FBI that Loomis had threatened LaPierre’s life. . . .

Give it a rest girls.

The year in review?

In a comment thread below, reader Jim Wheeler – a thoughtful and sassy man with whom I share certain generational allegiances – offers some new bumper stickers for 2012. Roll the presses . . .

“Guns don’t kill people, they make it easier to kill a lot more people.”

“I can’t fathom that I live in a society that considers gun ownership to be a right, but health care to be a privilege.”

Got any more?

This is what citizenship looks like

For many years now, Red State dot com has been the online launching pad for a  good deal of the looniness that’s worked its way into our national conversation. Red State is not WND or NewsMax; it’s far too literate for that kind of comparison. It’s not quite Glenn Beck world either,  but no doubt they share a readership.

Today, founder and editor  Eric Erickson wrote this:

Barack Obama won the election.

He did not win by stealing the election. Voter irregularities always happen. It is one reason we support voter ID rules. But even in the worse scenario of reports out there, there were not enough tales of voter irregularities to matter nationwide. This is another benefit and built in safeguard of the electoral college.

Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign. In other words, he won fair and square.

We here at RedState are American citizens. We have no plans to secede from the union. If you do, good luck with that, but this is not the place for you.

We have a place for you here if you wish to continue the fight against Republicans in Washington like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who’d be happy to sell us down the river to keep their power, no matter how devoid of principle or sound policy. You have a place here if you’d like to keep fighting the Democrats who are intent on further stifling economic growth, pushing forward with Obamacare, bankrupting the nation, and siding with teachers unions against kids who deserve better.

Too many people have spent the past four years obsessed with birth certificates. Now they are obsessed with voter fraud conspiracies, talk of secession, and supposed election changing news stories if only we had known.

So let’s add dabblers in this latest nuttiness to birthers as a category of people we do not welcome at RedState. Our aim is to beat the Democrats, not beat a retreat to a Confederacy that Generals Grant and Sherman rent asunder well over a hundred years ago.

Even here at RedState, while we may not much care for him, President Obama is still our President and we are still quite happily citizens of the United States. If we must drain this fever swamp that’s taken hold of a few people on the right over this past week before we can drain the swamp in Washington, so be it.

All others need not apply.

Good for him.

Image

From Glenn Beck’s ‘Blaze’: whuddaya think?

I wonder if it’s true?

If so, this could be the biggest thing this campaign season since Newt Gingrich’s head.  Per Mashable, a techy sorta social network sorta site:

Mitt Romney’s tax returns are reportedly in the hands of a team of hackers who plan on releasing them publicly at the end of the month unless a ransom is paid.

The group allegedly obtained the files from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Tennessee office on Aug. 25, in what was described on PasteBin as a Mission Impossible-like caper:

Romney’s 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney’s tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.

The files are to be released to the public on Sept. 28, according to the PasteBin document.

It’s a wondeful day in the neighborhood

A few snapshots from Memorandum at 11:21pm.

and one more, just for fun

Yeah,, but did you know . . .

Upworthy is a new shared site. I really don’t know how it works, but I like it a lot. The stuff that pops up there takes a bit of a sideways look at “content that is as fun to share as a FAIL video of some idiot surfing off his roof.”

But, they add:

. . . we believe the things that matter in the world don’t have to be boring and guilt-inducing. And the addictive stuff we love doesn’t have to be completely without substance.

Here’s something important from over there that’s rarely  mentioned outside the usual wonky sites. Nice to see it somewhere younger people might visit:

We already know that 90 percent of the media is controlled by six companies, 37 banks have been consolidated into four, 307 types of corn have been reduced to 12, and these 10 companies own practically everything else. What’s next?

Subscribe. It’s fun.

There, that’s better.

Promoted from the comments – thanks AFrankAngle. Here’s how it would look  with CNN scrubbed out.

A new resource for political bloggers – thanks Josh!

The season is almost upon us and Talking Points Memo has very thoughtfully launched a new site, PollTracker, that features – are you ready bloggers? – a Presidential Dashboard! Great stuff – all the polls, all the breakdowns, the latest in the swing states.

I was surprised to Obama leading (sometimes only by a nose) in all 12 swing states. Today, anyway. I expect to visit often. And so should you.

 

Reasons must be found, must be found!

Matt Drudge provides a glimpse of a  possible script. Because excuses must be made, excuses must be made!!

They stay on the A-list no matter what they say or do. It’s a rule.

I’m just catching up with Moonshinepatriot’s Bobblespeak Translations, which goes up weekly – most weeks amyway – after the Sunday gasbags finish with their weekly full frontal assault on reason – and the poor beleaguered English language.

Here’s’ a delicious little bit of  ‘translation’ from May 27, Meet the Press.

Nothing blog-whore-ey here. Absolutely not!

This is the image I used in my own ‘tanning lady’ post – back when she was still a story. It turned out to be quite popular on teh google and lo, thus did those seekers-of-wisdom-and-truth come right here, right to Whatever Works. And lo, they left their delicious digital signatures, and lo, they did cause my May site stats to soar and climb to a great big number. (It was an outlier. I know. I know. But still . . . )

So now, as an experiment – only an experiment of course, there is nothing blog-whore-ey about it – I’m re-posting that very picture (or ‘gooble-bait’ as I call it) to see what happens.

I myself see this as important research that must be done, so yup, I am so doing it.

“Fridays at the Pentagon”

Here is a story for Memorial Day – a wonderful and tender story (it’s still linkable here). I came to be familiar with the author, Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, in the early days of the Iraq war via Eric Alterman’s blog  Altercation, then housed at Media Matters, where Bateman was a frequent contributor and where this story first appeared around 2005.

So for Memorial Day 2012, as Eric used to say: “here’s Bateman”:

“It is 110 yards from the ‘E’ ring to the ‘A’ ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

“This hallway, more than any other, is the ‘Army’ hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

“10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

“A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

“Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden … yet.

“Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

“Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

“11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. ‘My hands hurt.’ Christ. Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway — 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

“They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

“There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

“These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.”

I never forgot his post from Joplin, a year ago

Blogfriend Duane at The Erstwhile Conservative was in Joplin last year when that 100-year tornado hit. He lives there with his family. His post from the day after began . . .

Sunday evening, before the onset of the cruel aftershocks that continue to pummel our devastated city with remorseless storms and rescue-impeding rains, my youngest son and I undertook a journey to a destination he—a high school student and baseball player—seemed desperate to see.

He wanted to go to his school

It’s a gorgeous bit of writing and so deeply felt. Read it all and bear witness.

You want some adverbs with that?

The Sunlight Foundation has published a (seriously wonky) report that measures the grade levels at which our congress critters speak. Their study covers 1996 to this 112th Congress, in both the House and Senate. It’s getting a bit of notice around the buhlogospheric-system and deservedly so. Fascinating stuff.

They say that congressional speech has dropped a full grade level in that period, with Tea Party freshman accounting for much of the most recent decline. (Which Senator speaks at the lowest grade level? Can you guess? Rand Paul bitches!)

The whole thing is here and there are a few interesting sidebars on their blog as well. I don’t think it’s at all clear from the study (I did say it’s wonky) if the change has any significant effect on clarity or successful communication, which after all, is the point of language. But even if utility is unaffected . . .

This grabbed my attention.

Today’s Congress speaks at about a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level, the Federalist Papers at a 17.1 grade level, and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. . . .