Saturday, November 21, 2009

Numbers Game

After debate on whether to allow a vote on whether to start debate there comes a vote... Looking for 60 votes from the herd of cats within the Senate, Harry Reid walks the tightrope, or the plank.

Update: By a tally of 60 to 39, debate may begin... After vacation.
It will take another 60 votes to stop it, at a later date...
More private dealing and public drama to come.

Balls to the Hall

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Windowless News Van for Kids - The Ball 11/16/09
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Palin Punchlines of the Week

Picky Picky

Unchain My Heart
Would you believe some people make a sport of picking locks?

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Meghna Chakrabarti.
Reporter: Andrea Shea.


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Joe Perry 11/16/09
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Commercial Decoder

Geneva Carr is willing to roll over... At least for a few AT&T minutes.
Brenda Julian says women look better with Juvederm...
Beer googles also do the trick.

Leslie Ann Machado is bilingual & wants my tongue around a rolling R.

Erica Schaffer gives me mixed messages... She's on so many spots.
Anne Marie Howard wants me to buy a new house... Or at least some wrinkle cream.
Tamara Hope usually has a Palm Pre in hand... But she never calls.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eye In The Sky

Take A Bow

And twist it into something unrecognizable...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Submission Accomplished 11/17/09
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


Photo: John Bazemore / AP, August 11, 2009Rage Nation 2.0
by Charles Cooper,
CBS News

In 1964, the Columbia University historian, Richard Hofstadter, described in a magazine piece the "paranoid style in American politics" (a theme he later expanded in a book on the same topic).

Talk about political prescience.

The American lexicon is suddenly chockablock with a collection of colorful descriptions forged in the cauldron of an increasingly heated political debate - terms like tea parties, three percenters, birthers, town hall disrupters, and oath keepers. As language reflects the times we live in, this is the new nomenclature used to define an eruption of anti-government rage that increasingly has marked the Obama administration's first ten months in office.

Though other administrations have gotten an earful from critics, both from the left as well as the right, the Anti Defamation League has a new report out which makes the case that this is more than the usual political carping between political parties. The study should be required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary U.S. politics. Not that the ADL's narrative is going to settle anything - how long before Michelle Malkin, Alex Jones and the rest of the rage boys (and girls) work up a purple fury at the organization's chutzpah for daring to single out rightwing overkill? - but the report offers a disturbing examination into why our political debate has turned rancid. What separates this period from other epochs, the ADL suggests, is a widespread belief within anti-government circles that the Obama administration presents a danger to the future of this country.

"Some accuse Obama of plotting to bring socialism to the United States, while others claim he will bring about Nazism or fascism. All believe that Obama and his administration will trample on individual freedoms and civil liberties, due to some sinister agenda, and they see his economic and social policies as manifestations of this agenda. In particular anti-government activists used the issue of health care reform as a rallying point, accusing Obama and his administration of dark designs ranging from "socialized medicine" to "death panels," even when the Obama administration had not come out with a specific health care reform plan. Some even compared the Obama administration's intentions to Nazi eugenics programs."

It's too easy to chalk this up entirely to old fashioned racism - though the race factor can't be ignored - but the ADL report makes clear that paranoia and belief in conspiracies now informs many mainstream and grass-roots anti-government movements, which left unchecked, could spill over into violence. The ADL says the first warning signs flashed during the summer when people with extremist backgrounds showed up at public events ostentatiously packing heat. From the report:

"But some groups have gone much further, implicitly or explicitly suggesting armed resistance to the government of some sort. Open calls to violent action are rare; what is more common is rhetoric that speaks of resisting the government, “restoring” the government, or using weapons to defend one’s rights from the “tyrannical” Obama administration."

"Significantly, many of these groups have appropriated an idealized version of Revolutionary War history for their own purposes, stressing the armed resistance of the American colonists to British “tyranny” and suggesting, in varying degrees of openness, that Americans today should act as their revolutionary forebears did and throw off the perceived shackles of the allegedly tyrannical government."

Too much? We'll only know for sure in retrospect. This much is clear: the fringe has found a way to insinuate its way into the national conversation. Let me know what you think in the talkback section below.

Coop's Corner blog appears on the CBS News site.

Reckless Rhetoric

The Anti-Defamation League labels Beck "Fear Monger In Chief."

Looking Beyond Copenhagen

President Obama and other world leaders have agreed to postpone negotiations on a final climate treaty until next year. The move acknowledges the looming reality that major parties to the global talks scheduled for next month in Copenhagen are not ready to deliver the commitments they’d promised. The World’s Jeb Sharp reports on where the climate talks go from here.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World, Host: Marco Werman.

Flowcharting The Beatles

Click for Full Size
From Love All This blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dream Team 2012?

NewsMax floated the trial balloon... Palin didn't shoot it down.

Backwoods Barbie, currently Bookpeddler BarbieTrial Balloon Boy, Fear Monger In Chief

The Anti-Defamation League labels Beck "Fear Monger In Chief."

Scary. Maybe the Mayans were onto something and 2012 IS the end!

The New Number 2

Countdown host Keith Olbermann smiles and takes a victory lap over the Oxford Dictionary's announcement of newly added words for '09.

It pays to increase your word power.

Tanking Tuna

Bluefin tuna are in rapid decline. Scientists estimate that populations have decreased by over 90 percent over the last 50 years, and they warn that if overfishing continues, the iconic Bluefin will be a distant memory.

Audio: PRI's Living On Earth, Host: Jeff Young.

Russki Rap

Big Enough to Fail

Last week, Comcast moved one step closer to acquiring NBC-Universal when the two companies reportedly agreed on a valuation of NBC-Universal at around $30 billion.

The idea of combining distribution and content has always seemed like a good idea to media moguls, but Craig Moffett, analyst at Bernstein Research, says it never really works out.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

Note: The $30 billion price for NBC/Universal was set before the previous report on MC Vlad.

Comparison Shopping

Moe hairMohair

Two distinctive fashion statements.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Decade In

The 21st Century (so far)...

Newsweek Video: Sarah Frank, Andrew Bast, Jon Groat.

One Week AD

After Dobbs...

Delayed Start

I know of several women who were diagnosed before they might have first been tested under the revised guigelines. The lucky ones are still here to tell you they'd disagree.
Ellen S. from Arizona: "My cancer was caught in stage 1 because a very thorough (and perhaps somewhat sadistic) tech gave me an excellent mammogram.

While I was in treatment a young woman (where we lived) was diagnosed while pregnant. A few weeks later I was told about another young pregnant woman (nearby) who was diagnosed.

One might say these cases are anecdotal, but they are also real people with real lives.

And that's empirical.

Over the course of our adult lives the denominator shrank. I seem to remember 1/11 as the breast cancer ratio in the early 70s. Ellen told me it's 1/7 now. The trend is definitely headed the wrong way.

My family had no history of breast cancer within the previous three generations before my sister Jean found her own tumor at age 47, through her regular monthly self-examination (which the new panel also discredited), so she knew it was aggressive.

Her surgeon confirmed lymph node involvement, so she learned it was invasive. Stage 2 metastatic meant she'd have battles to fight beyond her immediate chemo/radiation regime and a 5 year survival chance well under 50%... Jean succumbed after 3 1/2, at age 51, November 18, 2004, five years ago today.

From the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007

Medical News: DOA

Blue M&M's may cure paralysis! That’s just one claim made recently in a health segment on network TV.

For more than three years, editor Gary Schwitzer has been methodically reviewing TV health news claims for accuracy and responsibility. But no more; he’s found the vast majority of TV consumer health reports sickening.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

A Place for Space

As NASA's shuttle program winds down, the state of New Mexico is funding a new generation of commercial space exploration.

Martian Landscape

Since 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting Mars, currently circling approximately 300 km (187 mi) above the Martian surface. On board the MRO is HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, which has been photographing the planet for several years now at resolutions as fine as mere inches per pixel.

The Boston Globe's Alan Taylor has assembled 35 hi-res landscapes from the MRO.
For Mars in sci-fi, visit the Martian Chronicles.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Snow Job, Print Job

Today's the day you can finally get a copy of "Going Rogue" over the counter... Although advance sales to bulk buyers, and premiums to paid subscribers of various right wing publications and political action committees have already made it a wholesale bestseller.

But what if you want something old, rare and out of print? The Espresso Book Machine, as British publisher Blackwell has called it, will be able to access a digital archive of more than 400,000 publications... Readers will be able to print out bound versions of books, or their own manuscripts, from the copier sized machine.

Read about it in the Telegraph (UK).

Meanwhile, back in the States...
Parties to the events Palin recounts are screaming "Pants on fire!"

SNL: Party Planning

For when a whole herd of Republican Party Animals are coming over.

Fat City

The Heart of America

Poster by Designer/illustrator Amy Martin

As part of an hour-long editorial endorsement of health care reform, Keith Olbermann proposed staging a series of free clinics in the states of recalcitrant Democratic Senators. The first happened Saturday in New Orleans...

Universal Health Care

Photo: 'Browntown (VA)' by Robert S. HardingIn a very small universe...

The 2,500 person town of Tamworth, New Hampshire, is nestled into the White Mountains, about equidistant NE of Lake Winnepesaukee and W of the Maine border.

Since 1921, nurses have provided free health care to all with a walk-in clinic and regular housecalls.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition, November 13.
Reporter: Elaine Grant, New Hampshire Public Radio.

Some quick math puts the annual per capita budget at only $60, and if the taxpayers pay only a third, their per capita annual cost of $20 is less than many insurance companies' deductible for a single "doc in the box" clinic visit.

The Organization Myth

Unhappy with the clutter in your life? You don’t need to get organizized; you just need to ditch your extraneous stuff.

The Happiness Project’s Gretchen Rubin punctures eleven myths of would-be clutter slayers. Clutter, she argues, isn’t a problem of deficient organization; it’s excess attachment.

NY Times Freakonomics blog, November 13.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Mobilized

Keeping up with the apps can be a full time job... There are currently 100,000 available at Apple's App Store and iPhone users have downloaded more than 2 billion copies since July 2008.

No Meeping Way

The Roadrunner and Beaker's sole means of expression is now banned in suburban Boston's Danvers High School, as students used the word alone or as a convenient expletive replacement... Much to the consternation of faculty and administration.

Mike Spiewak, a senior at the school, helped to popularize the word, and remains defiant of principal Thomas Murray's gag order.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered, November 14. Host: Guy Raz.

As of first airing on Saturday afternoon, "meep" had 78 different definitions at Urban Dictionary.

Warner Bros cartoon Roadrunner was created by Chuck Jones in 1949.It’s been a long time since New York lawyer Theodora Michaels was in high school, but she still remembers what it was like to be young, and chafing under what seemed like arbitrary and capricious rules set down by school authorities.

So in solidarity with the students of Danvers High, and on her own initiative, she took about five seconds and sent an email to the principal, two assistant principals and Danvers' Superintendent of Schools. All of these addresses were publicly available on the Danvers High School website.

Her subject line said (in full), “meep.” The body said (in full), “Meep.”

She received a reply email from Assistant Principal Mark Strout, which said (in full) “Your E-mail has been forwarded to the Danvers Police Department.”

Read more at Anorak (UK) or ABC News.

Muddy (Jury) Pool

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks are to be transferred from Guantanamo Bay to New York for prosecution. The city may be prepared to tackle the security and logistics of the trial, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are superb, but the public's emotions will present a challenge... Can New Yorkers, sitting in a court building that endured a rain of twin towers debris, be impartial and provide a fair trial in this terrorism case?

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. Host: Scott Simon.

Automatic CO's?

Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Malik HasanThe suspect in the Fort Hood shootings - that left 13 dead and wounded 42 others - had reportedly asked the military to let Muslims claim conscientious objector status when it comes to going to war against other Muslims.

That came from the Washington Post, which first reported a slide presentation Army Major Nidal Hasan, who is Muslim, made as a psychiatric resident at Walter Reed back in 2007 was supposed to be about a medical topic, but instead Hasan lectured about Islam, suicide bombers and threats the military could face from Muslims conflicted about fighting Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan:

"It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims."

Hasan was set to leave soon for Afghanistan, and a relative says he had asked not to be deployed. But Army officials say Hasan never formally requested to leave the military as a conscientious objector or for any other reason.

Jack's question: "Should Muslim members of the U.S. military be forced to fight against other Muslims?"

Sample viewer reaction at CNN's Cafferty File, November 11.

Obama's Muslim Problem
Has he been too conciliatory?

When it comes to any issue that involves Islam, President Obama starts with an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that he's seen as sympathetic to Muslims. The disadvantage is also that he's seen as sympathetic to Muslims.

Explore Jacob Weisberg's perspective at

Princess Laid Out

Carrie Fisher, in her metal bikini, suntanning between takes on the deck of Jabba's Sail Barge, alongside Tracy Eddon, her stunt double in Return of the Jedi.

There are no stunt doubles in a one woman show. No time to tan.

Broadway's "Wishful Drinking" stars Carrie Fisher as Carrie Fisher. Like her memoir of the same name, the one-woman show blurs the line between person and performer for the star, as she draws comic material from the most painful periods of a life that was very public even before "Star Wars."

Audio: PRI & WNYC's program Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

More Money = More Syphilis

Over the last decade, the number of syphilis cases in China increased tenfold, according to this Associated Press report, because more migrant workers have been able to afford to hire prostitutes.

The A.P. further reports that the “stigma and perceived high cost of visiting sexual health clinics” hampers prevention and treatment.

In the U.S., meanwhile, police pay informants to become johns.

NY Times Freakonomics blog, November 13.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adiós Muchachos

TV Veteran bailed out on Veteran's Day.

That's Lou's story and he's sticking to it.

Word from inside the organization is that CNN's president, Jonathan Klein, asked Lou to return to straight journalism, rather than pursue on-air axe grinding more typical of talk radio... Which Dobbs does earlier each day, and Klein had railed against in a summertime memo instructing network guest bookers to keep the predictably doctorinaire talkers off the air as guests.

The change made great material for NPR as well.

Audio: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.
Host: Peter Sagal
Judge & Scorekeeper: Carl Kasell
Panelists: Paul Provenza, Kyrie O'Connor and Tom Bodett

Moon River

Remember then: October 9, 2009...

It didn't make the world's most interesting live TV, but the impact gave scientists a lot to look at...

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Turns out with both people and planetary bodies you have to explore more than just the surface.

Road Warrior

There's a popular stereotype that Asians are bad drivers.

On one hand it's absurd to believe that ethnicity could hinder one’s ability to operate motor vehicles.

On the other hand... After four years of trying, 68-year-old Cha Sa-soon finally managed to secure the 60 out of 100 points needed to pass her written driver's test. The Korean grandmother has spent more than 5 million won ($4,200, £2,600) on application fees for the test, and had been trying to pass it since April 13, 2005.

Any guesses on whether she'll ever pass the road test?

Via: BBC Asia-Pacific service.

Which Sex is Smarter?

Take the quiz at

What Is KXT?

It's a new public radio station from KERA (North Texas Public Broadcasting), found at 91.7 FM in Dallas, and at worldwide.

Within the industry it's called a Triple A (Adult Album Alternative), which may be part of why that indecipherable jargon isn't used by listeners. But if a "selection of acoustic, alt-country, indie/alternative rock and world music, hand-picked just for you - the real music fan" appeals to you, try a sample here. And if you like, bookmark it there.

Additional music services are a possibility for public stations as they consolidate control of conventional frequencies, or add HD channels to existing stations... Ones that appeal to an "elite" audience work best in terms of fundraising.

Banana Nut

Another gorilla marketing campaign...