30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

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30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Too Stupid for Words

In wingnut land.

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R2TooDumb.

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30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still well over 600,000 new unemployed workers:

First-time filing for state unemployment benefits fell in the latest week, a possible sign that the worst of the recession may be over.

For the week ended April 25, initial claims fell 14,000 to 631,000.

It marked the lowest level for first time claims in two weeks.

MarketWatch theorizes that this is good news, because it’s not as bad as the numbers from the last two weeks.

Like losing a foot is not as bad as losing a leg, I guess.

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30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: It Is To Laugh

Will Bunch turns one well: “wanker-banker.”

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30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Here.

It takes a few seconds to load.

H/T Susan for the link.

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30 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Republican Economic Theory reductio ad absurdum: Victimize the Victim Dept. Darryl Pease on the proposal in Florida that applicants for unemployment pee in a cup and pay for the bathroom privileges:

Q. But we’re in the worst recession in decades! Is it really a wise time to force people who’ve been laid off, through no fault of their own, to prove they’re not drug addicts?

A. Wise is such a relative term. Remember, many states – like Florida – are running low on unemployment funds. That’s why the bill’s sponsor proposed that jobless folks pay the $30 cost of the mandatory drug tests. That way, it’s not an unfunded mandate.

Q. You’re making this up, right? Are these lawmakers smoking crack?

A. Oh, no. As counterintuitive as their plans sound, these legislators are really the only ones who are facing up to the fact that we have a serious unemployment problem.

Q. C’mon. Who doesn’t know that?

A. I don’t mean the jobless rate. I’m referring to the unemployed themselves. They’re always caterwauling for unemployment checks, job training and – well – jobs. It’s time we take a stand.

Morans.

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Republican Hypocrisy

Andrew Sullivan:

For the GOP to have remained mute under the massive increases in spending and borrowing under Bush but to make resistance to the Obama stimulus package a litmus test for conservatism reveals that the deepest principle of the Republican base is partisanship.

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

The Virginia State Police attempt to justify their existence by painting the Hampton Roads area (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake–historically centers of slightly to the right of center moderation, making them “liberal” by Virginia standards) as a hotbed for potential terrorist recruitment because (gasp!) it has colleges and military. (Including two “historically black” colleges and Regents University, which hasn’t been around long enough to be historically anything, but was created by Pat Robertson.)

Yeah. Right. Paranoia based on prejudice does not make for security.

Details below the Fold

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

In a small Swiss village, there was a conceited and overbearing banker. The villagers loathed and detested him for his dogmatic egotism, but they kowtowed to him because, well, he ran the only bank in the village and they all depended on his good will.

One day, a farmer came to the banker accompanied by his son, a bespectacled, furtive-looking little boy of about twelve.

“How may I help you,” boomed the banker.

“Well, sir, it’s my son. I don’t know what direction he will take in his life.”

“Easy,” said the banker. “Have him wait in the outer room.”

The farmer complied.

“Now,” said the banker, “here’s what we’ll do. We’ll put this loaf of bread, this Bible, and this bottle of wine on the desk. Then we shall hide in the closet. No doubt your son will get impatient and come into the office. We’ll observe what he does: if he picks up the loaf of bread, he will enter the trades; if he picks up the Bible, he will become a man of the cloth. If he picks up the wine–well, there’s trouble ahead . . . .”

The farmer nodded and the two of them hid in the closet and peered through the crack of the slightly-opened door.

After a short time, the office door opened slowly. The child looked stealthily around the room, then darted to the desk, where he stuck the loaf of bread under one arm, the Bible under the other one, then grabbed the bottle of wine and fled.

Before the banker could speak, these words escaped the farmer’s mouth:

More »

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: It Is To Laugh

Pass the mayonnaise jar:

A judge has overturned the money laundering convictions of two people accused of running a moonshine operation in Pittsylvania County.

Citiing a U.S. Supreme Court decision, U.S. District Judge James Turk ruled Monday that revenue from an illegal operation that’s used to support the activity can’t be considered proceeds for the purpose of money laundering.

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Information and advice from the Mayo Clnic in the April 28, 2009, issue.

H/T Susan for the link.

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29 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

The Republican Party used to have room for moderates. They were right-of-center, sure, but, they could reason, be reasoned with, and, when appropriate, compromise for the good of the nation.

Not any more.

The Wayward Episcopalian on the Specter party switch. The whole post is worth reading, but this is the clincher:

When I say I’m a fan of balanced government, I assume that both the parties in question are rational, respectable entities. That’s just not the case right now, given the state of the current Republican Party. Go ahead, smash them. Hopefully the phoenix that arises from the ashes would be something with moderates like David Brooks and the moderate Maine duo on its left and respectful conservatives like Chuck Hagel, Lindsay Graham, and Mike Huckabee on its right, with the authoritarian fundamentalist right-wing stuck in a third-party lurch. This is unlikely, but there’s no way I’m going to settle for giving Eric Cantor and Sarah Palin a dominant voice. Until the GOP gets its act together, bring on the Arlen Specters.

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28 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

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28 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

DougJ at Balloon Juice inspects the sty.

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28 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Poliblog summarizes the reasons for Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party. Follow the link for the details:

1) Being in the majority beats being in the minority. . . .

2) Even better: losing in the primary really stinks (especially for an incumbent) . . . .

3) PA is a solidly Democratic state . . . .

It’s all about Arlen.

I remember listening to KYW on the skip when I was a kid, shortly after it moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia. Arlen was the crusading young Philadelphia district attorney.

A lot of time has passed since then. He’s not a district attorney, he gave up crusading long ago, and he certainly isn’t young.

He’s spent the last eight years talking moderate and voting right(wing, that is). The best that one can expect is that, as a Democrat, he might talk moderate and vote moderate. But he’s smart enough to realize that even a lukewarmed over moderate doesn’t have a prayer of winning a primary among the kooks and wierdos who are what’s left of the Republican Party, long may it wither.

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28 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: It Is To Laugh

Scientific Blogging runs down the techniques. Follow the link for a full description, with examples:

Cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists, magicians, “psychics”, and “mediums” to create the appearance that they know more about their subjects than they could through natural means. Bertoldi (a medium who appeared on CBS’s The Early Show–ed.) demonstrated a simple set of the classic techniques in a rather ham-handed fashion.

Shotgunning: The reader throws out general guesses in the hopes of getting an initial hit and additionalinformation from a compliant subject.

Barnum Statement: Also known as the Forer effect and named after showman PT Barnum, the reader makes statements that appear to be specific to the subject, but that are actually applicable to large proportions of the population. The technique of warm reading involves using additional information to make the statements appear more specific.

Rainbow Ruse: The reader follows a specific sounding attribution about a personality trait or emotion with an attribution of the opposite trait or emotion.

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28 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Mencken.

It might be a good time to buy Smithfield stock:

Swine flu doesn’t come from eating pork.

But that didn’t stop fearful investors from selling off Smithfield Foods’ shares Monday, driving the price down 12 percent, or $1.28, to $9.04.

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The primary purpose of computers is to train persons to talk to themselves.

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27 April 2009 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

John Cole:

And now, after bitching about the most bloatedest budget proposal evah, after months of masturbatory tea parties and chants of porkulus, when asked what cuts the Republicans would like to make, the answer, as always, is “We’ll get back to you.”

This is government by frat boy smooth talk- there is no situation you can’t just bullshit your way through. Wreck dad’s BMW after doing 17 shots of Patron at the strip club? No problem, just call dad and the lawyers will get back to you.

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