Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why does Bush hate science?

NASA apparently tried to silence a climate expert.
The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Good for him.

The NYTimes grow some balls.

Holy shit! Well done, Gail. Spies, Lies and Wiretaps:
A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.

It's almost enough to make me become a subscriber again.

Chiming in

Atrios links to Matt Stoller's post at MYDD, Some Real Questions. I have some questions of my own, after reading this quote:
"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

Does he have any idea just how insulting that is? He wants our money. He wants our grassroots energy. But he doesn't give a fuck what is important to us.

Pay attention Mr. Elmendorf- perhaps if you spent more time supporting the core values of the "activist, progressive left," you might actually win a few elections.

We're not lunatics. We're not "fringe" wackadoos. Most of us are intelligent, educated professionals who are a lot more moderate than you give us credit for. You've bought into republican spin that we're some kind of deranged rabble that must be shoved into a corner and hidden from decent folks. That's not only wrong, it's not smart.

We've found our voice and we will not be silenced.

And we will not compromise on our core values. Civil rights. Justice. Equal opportunity. Reproductive freedom for women. An equal playing field for all americans. Educational excellence for all american children. The American Constitution. A sane foreign policy that doesn't make the entire world hate us.

Tell me, what is so crazy about that?

You want my money and my energy? Then step up to the plate, motherfucker. Support the things that are important to me. As Molly Ivins says, if you, the democratic establishment, won't do it, then goddamnit, we'll find someone who will.

Ignore us at your peril.

Lion Kitty relents...

and gives us some plushyporn. Well, some G rated plushyporn at least.


This is Maxx's good buddy Arthur. Maxx is prone to bending space-time to dash off to visit Arthur in the desert, where they often get into trouble by stealing the keys to GWPDA's jeep and running off on madcap adventures together. (Said adventures generally involve high speed driving, margaritas and chicken fajitas.)

Daily wanker

Atrios correctly nominates the WAPO's Jim Vandahei as his wanker of the day. If you click through to the MYDD link, and further click through to the "wingnut finery" link by DailyLife on Kos, one discovers than Mr. VandeHei's wife was a Delay staffer and that said reporter's study is adorned with wingnut memorabilia.

And this guy is supposed to be neutral?

And the Washington Post wonders why we're suspicious of them. My questions is, which other beltway reporters are in the wingnut camp? (By that I mean ideologically, and not just in a whorelicious way.) However are we going to get a fair hearing?

Friday, January 27, 2006

I don't think Maxx....

has much interest in civility.

The Mad Ones...

I like this post from Hecate so much that I'm copying it:
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars . . . . "

- Jack Kerouac

Wilder Plush

Okay, so this is cool- researchers are tracking cougar populations by using a virus as a tracking device. Virus Used to Track Elusive Cougars
To follow the movements of cougars in remote areas of western North America, a team of biologists has found a different kind of tracking device: a virus.

Borrowing a method used to study human demographics, biologist Roman Biek and his colleagues took samples from 352 cougars in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States and Canada.

The researchers analyzed the samples for strains of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is common in big cats and does not appear to affect them.


Results of the team's research appear in the current issue of the journal Science.

"This is a tool to determine over what spatial scales [the cougars] have moved recently," said Biek, a professor of biology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

That kitty looks kinda mad, doesn't he? He must be thinking of frist.

Friday pissed off cat blogging

Mr. Plushy is fucking pissed off. He wants a filibuster now. He says it's "time to fight motherfuckers. Quit being pussies."

Who could argue with that?

Like this wasn't predictable

Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Thousands of Fatah Members Protest in Gaza

What a mess.

What Digby said

I don't have much to add to this: Learning to lose well
I hope some of the comments I'm reading around the blogosphere aren't reflections of of a knee jerk cynicism on the part of Democrats who have fallen in love with their assessment that they are superior to their elected leaders. This is a very dangerous state of mind.

John Kerry stepped up today. Apparently, that isn't enough for some. He is still a "loser" in their eyes and is to be shunned. He didn't do it soon enough. Or he didn't do it right. Or he is nothing but a political opportunist. I'm beginning to think that some Democrats have gotten attached to their vision of Democrats as losers so they won't be emotionally shattered anymore. That's understandable. It's painful to get beaten. But, the rank and file need to step up too and be willing to lose and not hate ourselves or our leaders for it. How we lose on issues like this makes the difference for the future.

Kerry stepped up, and he did it because it was the right thing to do. Maybe if our leaders concentrated on doing the right thing, we wouldn't lose all the time.

Do the right thing. Do it because it's right- fuck politics, fuck strategery. Just do the right thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Plushy blogging for Jenny

Mr. Plushy is so sad at the state of the world. Won't someone think of the kitties?

teh cute and plushy

Siberian tiger cubs. Just because they're plushy.

More payola

Via firedoglake (from the Huffington Post), we learn that fauxnew's science reporter is on the Phillip Morris payroll, and has been since the day he walked into Fox.

Junk Science
On March 9, 2001, he wrote a column for the website headlined "secondhand smokescreen." The piece attacked a study by researcher Stephen Hecht, who found that women living with smokers had higher levels of chemicals associated with risk of lung cancer. "If spin were science, Hecht would win a Nobel Prize," Milloy wrote. For good measure, he heaped scorn on a 1993 Environmental Protection Agency report that also linked health risks and secondhand smoke. Later that spring, he authored another smoking-related piece for In that one, he cast aside two decades of research on the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke and concluded, "Secondhand smoke is annoying to many nonsmokers. That is the essence of the controversy and where the debate should lie--the rights of smokers to smoke in public places versus the rights of nonsmokers to be free of tobacco smoke." You might chalk it up to Milloy's contrarian nature. Or to his libertarian tendencies. Except, all the while, he was on the payroll of big tobacco.

Are any of them not on the take?

The Rich get richer...

A new study shows that no other state has a wider income gap than Texas. Texas leads U.S. in income gap between wealthy, middle-class
"Texas has arguably the most extreme separation between the well off and everyday people in the United States," said Don Baylor, a policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin think tank that advocates for lower-income families.

"In many states, the income gap is like a gully," he added. "In Texas the income gap is like a deep canyon."

From 2001 to 2003, the average income of the top 20 percent of Texas families — $118,971 — was nearly three times the average income of the middle 20 percent, which made $41,015, the study shows.

The average income of Texas' richest families was more than eight times greater than the $14,724 average of poorest one-fifth.

Ah, the Texas miracle.

Maxx speaks, senators listen

Sometimes democracy isn't tidy

Reuters/Loay Abu Haykel
AP/Muhammed Muheisen

Let's not forget that chimpy poured over a million dollars into Fatah's election coffers. Let's see, what's Bush's record in "helping" with mid-east elections.... Iraq? elected a shi'ite majority. Iran? our interference helped squash a moderate movement and put a hardliner in office. Now Palestine.... Bush is the anti-midas.

At least the pictures are pretty.

Go Kerry Go!!

Kerry is going for the fillibuster. Thank god someone still has some balls. Too bad my senators are "turtleboy" Cornyn and the world's dumbest cheerleader. Feh.

Your preznit speaks...

"I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country," Bush said.

I guess irony is dead. And just how much did chimpy putting his money behind Al Fatah have to do with Hamas' landslide victory?

He is the anti-Midas. Everything he touches he destroys.

No Doubt?

AP/Charles Dharapak

The UT Law reject wants to lecture us on constitutional law. What there's no doubt about is that the preznit is an asshat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Peeance and Freeance

So this is what our trillion dollars bought us? Kurd's Writings Land Him in Jail
ERBIL, Iraq, Jan. 25 — Kamal Sayid Qadir had just returned here from Austria in late October when two trusted former students invited him for coffee at the Hotel Avista.


From Austria he had written articles accusing Mr. Barzani's all-powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party of corruption while calling members of its intelligence service, the Parastin, criminals and its chief — Mr. Barzani's son — a "pimp."

But Mr. Qadir said he never made it home from the hotel that night. Betrayed by his former students, who unknown to him had joined the Parastin, he says he was abducted after he left the hotel. He is now imprisoned here, sentenced last month to 30 years for defaming the Parastin and Kurdish political leaders after a trial that he said had lasted 15 minutes.

Go read the rest. I think I'm going to be ill. This is what chimpy calls freedom?

Mr. Plush ain't feeling civil...

I'll let him speak for himself.

Wild Plush

AFP/Giuseppe Carace
Some wild plush to tide us all over.

Oh, for god's sake

Via Atrios, the American Journalism Review has this column up: Howl, which is maybe the silliest thing I've seen all week.
Used to be that press bashing was a specialty of the right. For years conservatives have railed regularly against the dreaded "liberal media," claiming that the newspapers and the networks never gave them a fair shot.

Now it's a bipartisan sport.

I never thought I'd see anything to match the right's visceral disdain for Bill Clinton, but I was wrong. Spurred by contempt for President Bush and the media's stumbling performance after 9/11 (symbolized by the WMD fiasco), the left has the MSM squarely in its sights.

Ummm, no. Not spurred by "contempt for Bush." Not at all. How about, "spurred by fury at inaccurate reporting and contempt for their readers"?

Ah, but they continue:
Now there's no doubt Howell made a mistake. She said both Republicans and Democrats had received "Abramoff campaign money."

Technically that isn't correct. Abramoff didn't make any personal donations to Democrats. But he did direct his Indian tribe clients to give money to both parties, albeit far more to the Republicans. It's a distinction without a difference.

No, it is NOT a distinction without a difference.

A little advice to the journalism community- if you want respect, you might try treating your readers with respect. And quit being such a bunch of fucking whiny ass titty-babies.

Space News- New Planet Found

Small Rocky Planet Found Orbiting Normal Star
Astronomers announced today the discovery of what is possibly the smallest planet known outside our solar system orbiting a normal star.

Its orbit is farther from its host star than Earth is from the Sun. Most known extrasolar planets reside inside the equivalent of Mercury’s orbit.

The planet is estimated to be about 5.5 times as massive as Earth and thought to be rocky. It orbits a red dwarf star about 28,000 light-years away. Red dwarfs are about one-fifth as massive as the Sun and up to 50 times fainter. But they are among the most common stars in the universe.

What's most interesting about this is tha it was discovered "using a technique called “gravitational microlensing,” whereby light from a distant star is bent and magnified by the gravitational field of a foreground star. The presence of a planet around the foreground star causes light from the distant star to become momentarily brighter."

Sadly, this new planet is too cold to live on, so we can't ship our supply of wingers there.

Holy Cow! Delay strikes again?

Via Josh at Talking Points Memo, it appears that it's Scanlon who dug up the dirt on Livingston to derail his bid to become speaker.
Jack Abramoff's partner Mike Scanlon admitted to digging up former Congressman Robert Livingston's private life. Set to become speaker, Livingston then got sidelined for Tom DeLay's man Denis Hastert. Prosecutors now checking if Abramoff and Scanlon took Livingston down at DeLay's behest.

Original item ran in the New York Post's column by Cindy Adams. File this under "when Republicans eat their own."

Whattaya mean you don't know me?

Think Progress has the video of Isikoff saying that Abramoff himself is shopping those pesky photos of himself with chimpy.
ISIKOFF: As a general rule, if you’re the president … you don’t like pictures out there of you with convicted felons. It sounds like … there’s at least one picture of him with at least one convicted felon and another indicted, so it’s probably not a picture the White House is eager to have out there. The other interesting aspect of this is, while the White House hasn’t put these out, Jack Abramoff has clearly shown them to people. I don’t know anything about Time sources, but I do know that he showed them to Washingtonian magazine, which suggests he may be playing a little bit of a game here. He has, of course, pled guilty already to the Justice Department. But it does raise a question in my mind at least as to whether Abramoff is maybe sort of sending some sort of signal out here: “Hey, I’ve got this stuff.” Maybe he wants something from somebody at the White House, or he wants someone at the White House not to do something, and just sort of subtly playing with people here.

I have another take- maybe Abramoff is just sick of hearing Rove, little Scottie and chimpy talk about how he's evil incarnate. And paybacks are a bitch.

Reconstruction Blues

The NYTimes is reporting that Iraqi reconstruction funds were misused. Audit Describes Misuse of Funds in Iraq Projects
A new audit of American financial practices in Iraq has uncovered irregularities including millions of reconstruction dollars stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines who gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis who plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

The audit, released yesterday by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, expands on its previous findings of fraud, incompetence and confusion as the American occupation poured money into training and rebuilding programs in 2003 and 2004. The audit uncovers problems in an area that includes half the land mass in Iraq, with new findings in the southern and central provinces of Anbar, Karbala, Najaf, Wasit, Babil, and Qadisiya. The special inspector reports to the secretary of defense and the secretary of state.

Disgusting. And from the republicans in congress we'll get...


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Never mind bio-fuels....

Via BBC World News, britain is proposing to generate up to one fifth of their energy needs from ocean power. Sea energy 'could help power UK' I don't know anything about the economics but it does sound interesting.
The Carbon Trust, which helps firms develop low-emission technologies, urges the government to increase support for wave and tidal concepts.

They are currently costly ways of generating electricity but the Trust's report says prices will come down.

Investment now could help Britain establish a global lead in these technologies, it says.

In its 18-month research programme the Trust has looked at wave and tidal stream generation, leaving out other approaches to tidal power such as barrages which it describes as "mature".

Of course fundy Blair's government hasn't bitten yet- I guess he's waiting for the rapture to solve britain's energy problems. Just think, if Kerry were our president, we too might be exploring alternative energy technologies.

A teensy little late night plushy...'s a plush world, and we just live in it.

Gee, Joe, ya think?

Joementum is shocked! shocked! that the White House might lie to him. Lieberman: White House hindering Katrina probe"
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House is dodging questions about Hurricane Katrina response and has instructed other agencies to join it in fending off investigators, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on Tuesday. The White House denies the allegations.

Lieberman went so far as to suggest that the Department of Homeland Security is trying to kill the investigation.

"My staff believes that DHS has engaged in a conscious strategy of slow-walking our investigation in the hope that we would run out of time to follow the investigation's natural progression to where it leads," Lieberman said. "At this point, I cannot disagree."

I guess Joe never noticed all the other times chimpy and his minions have pulled this stunt.

Hope for the future

Via Watertiger, we see that at least some students are learning. Gonzales Dissed by Georgetown Students
At a Georgetown Law School Forum, Gonzales said the nation needs "to remember that ... it's imperative for national security reasons that we can detect reliably, immediately and without delay" any al-Qaida related communication entering or leaving the United States.

As he spoke, more than a dozen students stood silently with their backs turned to the attorney general. Outside the classroom where Gonzales was to speak, a pair of protesters held up a sheet that said, "Don't torture the Constitution."

Good for them. Now, if we can get the congressional dems to show some balls we'll really have something.

The Chair, the Chair

Go Harry, Go!! Hit 'em with the big chair! The Raw Story has the transcript, Reid Fires Back

Mr. Plushy is NOT amused

by the the vote in the judiciary committee.

Froomkin is back

Froomkin is back from his break. Huzzah! Bush Unplugged but unrevealing

He asks, "How can a president of the United States talk for almost two hours, unscripted, and be so fundamentally unrevealing?"

Well, that's easy. He's fundamentally incapable of saying anything meaningful. I'm not sure what disease the man's got, but it sure has fucked up his higher brain functions.

Rove's Early Warning

E.J. Dionne has some excellent advice for dems in his column today. Rove's Early Warning

What Democrats should have learned is that they cannot evade the security debate. They must challenge the terms under which Rove and Bush would conduct it. Imagine, for example, directly taking on that line about Sept. 11. Does having a "post-9/11 worldview" mean allowing Bush to do absolutely anything he wants, any time he wants, without having to answer to the courts, Congress or the public? Most Americans -- including a lot of libertarian-leaning Republicans -- reject such an anti-constitutional view of presidential power. If Democrats aren't willing to take on this issue, what's the point of being an opposition party?

Amen. Don't let them choose the venue of the fight. And don't cede an inch of ground to the bastards.

This day in Space- Scorpius Returns


Black Hole Puts Dent in Space-Time, via our friends at

A spinning black hole in the constellation Scorpius has created a stable dent in the fabric of spacetime, scientists say.

The dent is the sort of thing predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It affects the movement of matter falling into the black hole.

The spacetime-dent is invisible, but scientists deduced its existence after detecting two X-ray frequencies from the black hole that were identical to emissions noted nine years ago. The finding will allow scientists to calculate the black hole’s spin, a crucial measurement necessary for describing the object’s behavior.

Go read the whole thing. It's fascinating. And it solves the mystery of what happened to Scorpius after Farscape was canceled.

With Sympathy

Reuters/Andy Clark

My canadian friends have my sympathy this morning. I hope your country comes to its senses before the contagion spreads.

Open Letter to the Washington Post

Jane Hamsher and friends have started an Open Letter to the Washington Post blog, where they will chronicle stenography, chimpy worshipping and other nonsense.

Kind of an ombudsman to the ombudsman. Stop by and say hello.

Watertiger in the Caribbean!!

A preview of Watertiger on her caribbean vacation with her family.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sleepy, sleepy Maxx

Living the plush life.

Space Mystery Monday

Via, galactic cannibalism or dark matter may be to blame for galaxies in Andromeda lining up on a single plane:

Strange Setup: Andromeda's Satellite Galaxies All Lined Up
An unusually high number of galaxies are aligned along a single plane running through the center of the giant Andromeda galaxy. Scientists don’t have a theory to explain why.

Galactic cannibalism or dark matter may be responsible, researchers say.

The Andromeda galaxy is located at a distance of 2.5 million light-years away and is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. Like our own galaxy, Andromeda is surrounded by numerous dwarf galaxy satellites. Many of these satellites are within 1.3 million light-years or less of the galaxy’s main disk.

Galactic cannibalism!! I feel a movie plot coming on.

Catapult Time!

Heh heh. Catapulting propaganda is hard work!

What 4th Amendment?

The White House rolled of General Michael V. Hayden to defend the warrantless wiretaps. White House Begins New Effort to Defend Surveillance Program which might not have been such a great idea:
The standard laid out by General Hayden - a "reasonable basis to believe" - is lower than "probable cause," the standard used by the special court created by Congress to handle surveillance involving foreign intelligence.


When asked what level of certainty was needed in determining that someone was connected to Al Qaeda before a warrantless wiretap was conducted, General Hayden acknowledged that the decision involved "both art and science." But he compared it to intelligence given to the military for battlefield decisions.

In case you were wondering, here's both the art and the science involved.

They Write Letters

From today's Daily Texan (the student newspaper at the University of Texas):

There is little or no comparison between the wiretapping of the Bush administration and the Nixon administration. Nixon acted in his own political interest under complete secrecy. Bush's actions, right or wrong, have been in the interest of national security.

So I guess if he's doing it "for our own good that makes it okay.

There has been no real evidence that the wiretaps involved anything other than calls placed internationally including at least on party suspected of terrorism.

So why didn't they get a warrent? And since it's classified, how would we know?

Maybe we should follow the actions of the great hereo of the left, Franklin Roosevelt. He pushed a law making it illegal for the press to divulge information that the enemy would like to know. I'd be quite happy not having this discussion.

Tony Mc#########
Young Conservatives of Texas.

Named redacted to protect the stupid. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Stupid Wingers, The Next Generation.


Reuters/Ali Jareki

I certainly hope Watertiger will be in a better mood when she gets back from vacation, don't you?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Atrios posts about the media's practice of quoting accurately republican spin that they know to be untrue. Link: Journamalism Atrios says:
When a reporter puts the byline on something they own it. I understand that it is actually news when a senior administration official says something, no matter what it is, but it's even bigger news if they're, you know, lying.

Just once, I'd like to see a story where one of chimpy's minions is quoted saying one of their bullshit spin stories and the copy following it notes:

"The source is lying out of their ass. Again."

Humanity would rejoice.

Give me liberty

Molly Ivins has an excellent column up with a simple message. "Get a spine, you wimpy ass democrats!"
The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long time unlearning, so now I have to relearn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times.

We are at a dangerous crossroads that is every bit as perilous as the one our nation faced during the revolution. This is not the time for think-tanks, or focus groups, or for wimpy ass strategizing by useless democratic consultants. This is a time for leadership.

When our forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they didn't monkey around. They didn't say, "excuse me your highness... would you please, pretty please, maybe consider our grievances? we don't wanna make you mad or anything but can you quit being mean to us?" No, they said, "you are a tyrant and we're cutting your ass off, and if you don't like it, bring it."

Okay, I paraphrase. But you get the point. In the face of overwhelming and terrifying odds, they stood up. They stood up because it was the right thing to do.

Pay attention democratic pols. Quit worrying about the republican machine, the media or what Karl thinks. Start speaking plainly and forcefully about policies that you know are right for america. Molly is right. The vast percentage of people are with us on these things. We are the center. But that's not what's important to me.

What's important is doing what's right. It's the right thing to do to support civil liberties, women's reproductive rights, universal healthcare, and peace. Who gives a fuck whether it's popular or not? It's right. Do it because it's right.

When Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death," he wasn't fucking around. We shoudn't be either. There is too much at stake. We are not going to get a do-over on this. If America slides into religious despotism, there isn't going to be any way back.

It's time for you guys to stand up. Do that, and people will follow.

Kerry Rocks!!

So says Maxx. Congrats to Kerry for getting under the RNC's skin. What a bunch of whiny ass titty babies.

Update: I'm referring to this quote from Kerry on this morning's This Week.
KERRY: You know, Osama bin Laden is going to die of kidney failure before he’s killed by Karl Rove and his crowd. And all he does is divide America over this issue and exploit it. And what he’s trying to pretend is somehow Democrats don’t want to eavesdrop appropriately to protect the country. That’s a lie.

That's the kick ass type of language I want to hear. Everyday.


From The site has a series of stunning images that you can download as wall paper. Gorgeous. This is the Trifid Nebula.