The people of Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding communities have grieving and rebuilding to go through after suffering an F4 tornado today, estimated to have winds up to 200 miles per hour. Over 50 people, including children, are known dead.
The rest of us have an opportunity to help where we can, and think about this event for a minute, because for any real understanding of climate change to take place in America, many people are going to need an Inhofe Moment. An Inhofe Moment is named after Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who is the leading climate change denier in the Senate. You have an Inhofe Moment when you realize that Senator Inhofe is absolutely full of shit, to put it politely. At a day last week when a report was issued identifying that 97% of climatologists believe climate change is a man-made phenomenon, Sen. Inhofe was claiming otherwise, and pointed to several hundred scientists he has brought before Congress who believe the science of climate change is a hoax. They assert that whatever is happening to the climate now is well within the bounds of climate change seen in the geological record, and that such changes have nothing to do with man’s activities. Sen. Inhofe has claimed if there is any global warming taking place, it is because God wills it so, and that is very clearly stated in the Bible. Continue reading Is It Time Yet for an Inhofe Moment?
“There’s no question we could make more money if we packed up and went to China like our competitors,” says Chad Braverman, 30, Doc Johnson’s COO, as we walk by the vein station, where workers with small, precise brushes apply spidery red and blue lines to the rubber shafts. Doc Johnson is not immune from the benefit of cheap outsourced labor: It contracts with a Chinese manufacturer to produce 25% of the rubber products and motors for Doc Johnson items. I ask Braverman if, as time goes on, he would consider increasing that percentage. “No,” he says. “I remain committed to our current ratio. We think it’s important to stay loyal to the country and values that allow this kind of product and manufacturing to take place.” While Doc Johnson’s products are not luxury items, its American workforce does result in a hike in retail prices; Braverman says that price increase reflects “quality.”
Yeah, I know; this is supposed to be a family show and SFW. Every now and again, though,I like to go off the rails, especially when I run across a good story, something that makes one proud to be an American. And what could be more American than a dildo factory? For some reason, I found myself thinking, “Hmm…I wonder where those things come from?” Turns out that dildos are one of the few things that we still make in this country. Yes, there’s a market for oversized rubber penises…and in true capitalistic fashion there’s an American company willing, ready, and able to meet the demand.
This is an update on the spambot attack on the Agonist today and the broader issue of site upgrades.
Today, The Agonist was subject to an attack by spammers with thousands of registrations in a short period of time. This is part of a much broader effort by spammers to build an army of users that can be activated and used for a variety of reasons, including denial of service attacks. The problem is outlined in an article here in Ars Techinca. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the site didn’t tip over. The problems are being addressed in a comprehensive way. Some changes made about a month ago by the Proaxis Media folks prevented an even worse outcome. Special thanks to Tina, steeleweed, and Raja for their efforts throughout the day to identify this and contain the problems.
The other good news comes from Proaxis in response to a request made to provide site upgrades requested by subscribers and the Agonist Team. Since the transition from the old site, only a fraction of the subscriber base (me included) has a fully functional member mailbox with other features. This is at the top of the agenda, as is user diaries. There are other features that will enhance our visibility on Google, Bing, and Yahoo and a foundation for improvements in “look and feel” – the presentation of the site to users.
(Religion News Service) – Pope Francis is warning Catholics not to demonize those who are not members of the church, and he specifically defended atheists, saying that building walls against non-Catholics leads to “killing in the name of God.”
“(T)his ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God,” Francis said Wednesday (May 22) in remarks at the informal morning Mass that he celebrates in the chapel at the Vatican guesthouse where he lives.
“And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
(I promise, that’s the only dick joke in the post)
Anthony Weiner has officially announced his candidacy for mayor of the city of New York, to replace three term gadabout-with-nothing-better-to-do-than-trash-my-city Michael Bloomberg.
I’ll probably end up voting for him in the primary.
That speaks less of Weiner, who has always come off in my book as a bit of a dick (ok, sorry, my bad), than it does about the other candidates running in the Democratic primary, which is essentially the coronation of the next mayor. Weiner polls second currently at 15%, and that poll was taken before he formally announced. Christine Quinn, the “frontrunner” polls at 25%, which speaks volumes about a woman who has been Council Speaker for twelve years.
Quinn should be the presumptive nominee, but at 25% she’s polling very weakly for someone with as much visibility as she’s forced upon New Yorkers, and with good reason: she’s really pretty shitty, unless you live in the West Village or happen to be gay. For those constituents, she’s about as progressive as they come.
For working and middle class New Yorkers, not so much.
If Hitler had never been born, or if he’d been killed in World War I or in an accident in 1925, would the Holocaust never have happened? Or would someone else have taken the lead in history’s inevitable direction? Do important events in history depend on the life of one person, or do they become inevitable regardless of the presence or absence of that one person, once conditions are right?
Human-caused climate change threatens us with flooding, drought, and famine. Some say it’s human nature to underestimate – grossly, even fatally – the risk from a cause so hard to see, so theoretical, as climate change. We evolved, doncha know, to be able to keep ourselves safe from such obvious things as predators and lightning; we’re not made to recognize human-caused global dangers. Is that true, or is denial driven by just a few powerful people, the way the Holocaust was driven by Hitler?
“I want to shoot her right in the vagina and I don’t want her to die right away; I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say, on behalf of all Americans that you’ve killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS, the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama, Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario, because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all. On behalf of all of those people, I’m supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina.”
Long-time readers of my blog and friends of Team Actor212 know I’m in the tank for Apple products. By my count, I’ve either purchased for myself or as gifts about two dozen Apple products over the years. Without getting into a Windows v. Mac debate here, I find Apple’s technology and ease of use, combined with its sophistication to be far superior to anything MicroSoft has had a hand in. I use a PC at work, so it’s not like I’m a Luddite.
The U.S. Senate investigation report, published on Monday by the Senate’s Permanent Committee on Investigations, said that in Ireland, Apple “has negotiated a special corporate tax rate of less than 2%.”
Ireland’s Prime Minster Enda Kenny told lawmakers Tuesday that: “Ireland does not do, let me repeat, does not do special tax [relief] for companies, ” but that companies do exploit loopholes that arise from the interaction of different national tax systems.
To be clear, the issue isn’t confined to Apple. Last week Google was in front of the U.K. Parliament’s Public Affairs Committee to discuss its tax arrangements in the U.K.
A review of Carter Malkasian, War Comes to Garmser: Thirty Years of Conflict on the Afghan Frontier. (London: C Hurst & Co Publishers; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
A government that is losing to an insurgency isn’t being out-fought, it’s being out-governed.
– Bernard Fall
In 1972, late in the Vietnam War, Jeffrey Race published War Comes to Long An – a remarkable study of a single province’s experience as the Viet Cong insurgency grew there from the late 50s to the mid-60s. This book by former State Department officer Carter Malkasian takes its title from that study and seeks to present as penetrating an analysis of a district in southern Afghanistan as Race’s work did for a province west of Saigon. Fortunately for followers of counterinsurgency thinking and the Afghan war, Malkasian has been highly successful. Continue reading The Afghan War at the district level
This past week has been an especially target-rich environment for Far Right, hyper-religious,uber-Jesus-y RWNJs, Rather than try to whittle down the list, I thought I’d let y’all sort it out. This is no run of the mill, garden variety wingnuttery, nosiree. This is the sort of thing that makes you blink and think, “You’re a very special kind of stoopid, aren’t you, son?? Somethin’s not quite right with you….”
A legal deadline looms for prosecutors to bring a criminal case against Mr. Cohen related to charges against Mathew Martoma, a former SAC portfolio manager accused of illegally trading in the shares of two drug companies, Elan and Wyeth. The Martoma case is the first time that Mr. Cohen was linked to questionable trades, which occurred in late July 2008. Under the five-year statute of limitations for insider trading crimes, the government must charge Mr. Cohen by July.
Yet the eliciting of Mr. Cohen’s grand jury testimony is not entirely bad news for the hedge fund manager, at least as it relates to his criminal exposure, legal experts say. A grand jury subpoena seeking Mr. Cohen’s testimony suggests that the government is pursuing a case against SAC, but not Mr. Cohen himself. It is highly unusual for prosecutors to issue a grand jury subpoena to the target of an investigation, indicating that they want to interview Mr. Cohen broadly about his fund’s activities.
But bringing criminal charges against SAC would also be an unusual move by the government. Over the last decade, the Justice Department has moved away from indicting companies after the 2002 indictment of Arthur Andersen was widely seen as having put the accounting giant out of business.