08/03/2010 archive

Yes, They Are Deranged: UP Date

Glen Greenwald

Kudos to Eva Rodriguez for explaining what a deranged extremist Marc Thiessen is – and doing it in the WashPost

Eva Rodriguez Drone strike for the WikiLeaks founder?

Did my colleague, Marc Thiessen, just call for a drone strike in Iceland? Thiessen is obviously incensed by WikiLeaks’s dissemination of tens of thousands of pages of government documents relating to the Afghan war. And he wants WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to pay. Here’s how Thiessen put it.


Assange is a non-U.S. person operating outside the territory of the United States. This means the government has a wide range of options for dealing with him. It can employ not only law enforcement, but also intelligence and military assets, to bring Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business.

“Military assests”? Does Thiessen think we’re going to send in Special Ops to pluck Assange from Iceland, Belgium or Sweden, where he’s known to hang out? Or is he thinking that a drone strike might be more effective or efficient?

(emphasis mine)

If all else fails to stop him, wipe out a city or two. What’s a few innocent people getting killed if the goal is achieved.

Up Date: Theissen is Keith’s Runner Up

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Announcing a crucial breakthrough

in the effort to create machines that accurately simulate human behavior, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said Monday they had built the first robot with the capacity to suppress its emotions. “This is the holy grail of artificial intelligence,” said project director Kate Tillman […] “We felt we were on the right track when we brought up a personal shortcoming and it paced around the lab muttering, but when it started breaking eye contact and changing the subject, we knew we had accomplished something revolutionary.”

Any bets that it will clap, cheer, vote for the lesser of two evils in a hearbeat, and believe that democrats have emptied the swamp of congressional corruption, without using any cpu cycles at all?

Punting the Pundits:

Punting the Pundits is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.


Eugene Robinson: Momentum becomes substitute for logic in Afghan war

In Afghanistan, momentum has become a substitute for logic. We’re not fighting because we have a clear set of achievable goals. We’re at war, apparently, because we’re at war.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the circular, contradictory, confusing statements that the war’s commanders and supporters keep making. President Obama, in an interview with CBS taped last Friday,  said it is “important for our national security to finish the job in Afghanistan.” But as the war’s deadliest month for U.S. troops came to an end, Obama was far from definitive about just what this job might be.

It is very apparent, the US military is not leaving.

Laurence Lewis: Gates: “We are not leaving Afghanistan in July of 2011”

But the U.S. will be staying in Afghanistan. For a long time. With no end date in sight, and even the long-suspect timeline for the beginning of a withdrawal looking more and more like the beginning of nothing much at all.

To be continued.

On This Day in History: August 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On August 3, 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus accomplishes the first undersea voyage to the geographic North Pole. The world’s first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus  dived at Point Barrow, Alaska, and traveled nearly 1,000 miles under the Arctic ice cap to reach the top of the world. It then steamed on to Iceland, pioneering a new and shorter route from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Europe.

The USS Nautilus was constructed under the direction of U.S. Navy Captain Hyman G. Rickover, a brilliant Russian-born engineer who joined the U.S. atomic program in 1946. In 1947, he was put in charge of the navy’s nuclear-propulsion program and began work on an atomic submarine. Regarded as a fanatic by his detractors, Rickover succeeded in developing and delivering the world’s first nuclear submarine years ahead of schedule. In 1952, the Nautilus’ keel was laid by President Harry S. Truman, and on January 21, 1954, first lady Mamie Eisenhower broke a bottle of champagne across its bow as it was launched into the Thames River at Groton, Connecticut. Commissioned on September 30, 1954, it first ran under nuclear power on the morning of January 17, 1955.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was also the first vessel to complete a submerged transit across the North Pole.

Named for the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged for far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation and was able to travel to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction; this information was used to improve subsequent submarines.

The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. She has been preserved as a museum of submarine history in New London, Connecticut, where she receives some 250,000 visitors a year.

Economic Lies

Why We Really Shouldn’t Keep the Bush Tax Cut for the Wealthy

Robert Reich

Monday, August 2, 2010

The economy is slouching backward because consumers can’t and won’t spend enough to revive it. Congress is about to recess for the summer without doing anything to fill the gap. And it looks like the only issue it will be debating when it returns is who, if anyone, should pay more taxes next year – just the very rich, everyone, or no one? The cuts enacted by George W. Bush will expire in January, and with midterm election pending in November we’re about to be treated to months of tax demagoguery.

Unfortunately for supply-siders, history has proven them wrong again and again. During almost three decades spanning 1951 to 1980, when America’s top marginal tax rate was between 70 and 92 percent, the nation’s average annual growth was 3.7 percent. But between 1983 and start of the Great Recession, when the top rate was far lower – ranging between 35 and 39 percent – the economy grew an average of just 3 percent per year. Supply-siders are fond of claiming that Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cuts caused the 1980s economic boom. In fact, that boom followed Reagan’s 1982 tax increase. The 1990s boom likewise was not the result of a tax cut; it came in the wake of Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

Racism- Part 1

“The thing a bigot most desires is the ability to express their bigotry in public and be applauded.”—  ek hornbeck

I’ve confessed elsewhere that I’m about the whitest person you can possibly know.  I can’t recall a single instance of hostility to me based on my appearance, sex, religion (or lack thereof).  I’m a Freemason, past master of my lodge, and I know how to golf and sail and wear a tux and all kinds on gentlemanly skills that befit my class and status and have been schooled, tooled, and polished.

Anyone who can’t recognize the benefit of that in contemporary American society is a moron or a liar or both.

Never had a cop pull a gun on me or been cuffed or tased.  Never worried about it.

Did worry about this-

I walked a lot in Syracuse because it was a pain in the ass to keep my car running and one day I was being overtaken by this guy.  I picked up the pace a little bit, but since I was smoking Kools at the time there was a limit to that.

Of course it also made our conversation easier when he bummed a smoke off me.

So I’m a racist.  And if you can’t look around you and see the million, jillion incidents of prejudice and bigotry in favor of white folks like me, you’re a racist too and you ought to have one of those repentance moments Glenn Beck keeps talking about.

If I were rich, I’d be a Republican.

Prime Time

Keith is back!  Also Rachel (probably).  The Boys are in town.  You’d almost think things were normal and this wasn’t the Shark Week of August.

Not that my life is governed by TV or anything.


Dave has Will Ferrell, Damian Marley, and Nas.  Jon has Mary Roach, Stephen Jimmy Cliff.  Alton is doing edible oils again.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills (introduction of Dr. Henry Killinger).

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