Post RNC-Mid DNC Desktop Clearing Link Dump

Let’s get this stuff out of here…another backlog of articles that were interesting but didn’t find the time…

First up, we start in conservative media fantasy-land.

THR: Does the media tie mistakes made by Democrats to President Obama as readily as they tie Republican mistakes to Romney?

Wallace: Yes, the mainstream media is terribly unfair to Obama, and they have to stop their bias in favor of Romney.

[Note: the funny part…Wallace was joking…and doesn’t consider the network that got the highest ratings for the RNC to be part of the mainstream media.]

Next up we see what is driving ratings for Fox News.

From : Fear of a Black President

Obama is not simply America’s first black president—he is the first president who could credibly teach a black-studies class. He is fully versed in the works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X. Obama’s two autobiographies are deeply concerned with race, and in front of black audiences he is apt to cite important but obscure political figures such as George Henry White, who served from 1897 to 1901 and was the last African American congressman to be elected from the South until 1970. But with just a few notable exceptions, the president had, for the first three years of his presidency, strenuously avoided talk of race.

Next we move onto folks in black-face being using as political props…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.

The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

We need to develop a “canary in the convention” that falls over dead when the b.s. gets too deep.

Speaking of b.s. at the convention, here’s the Rolling Stone piece that looks a bit deeper into how Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital made its start, and how it was saved in the early years by a taxpayer bailout.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz25c4gDbu1

In the background, quietly crying, you’ll find our environment.

Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.

It also appears that Paul Ryan is quickly creating lots of jobs in various fact-checking departments…

•Accused President Obama‘s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.

•Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

•Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.

•Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.

•Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.

And there’s more….

The next statement Ryan made was that in 1980 “330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy. Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses field for bankruptcy.”

This is not true. According to American Bankruptcy Institute, under Carter 331,264 businesses and non-businesses filed for bankruptcy. That number includes not just businesses, but personal bankruptcies as well. In 1980, there were 43,694 business bankruptcies and 287, 570 non-business bankruptcies.

Ryan also got it wrong with regard to the number of business bankruptcies last year. In 2011, there were 1, 410, 653 total bankruptcies. Of that number 47,806 were business bankruptcies and 1,362,847 were non-business bankruptcies.

and just to keep it in perspective, Paul Ryan is being sold as the gold standard in Republican honesty and integrity when it comes to numbers.  Really.

Here’s a bit of the “liberal” media conspiracy…in that we have an actual liberal calling out the media for keeping certain things from the eyes of the public.

When Mitt Romney walked down the aisle toward the stage Thursday night, among the people whose hands he shook was the conservative billionaire and major political donor David Koch. But it was a moment missed by the tens of millions of viewers at home. While Democracy Now! was there on the floor and captured the handshake on video, the networks cut away just before the handshake to show footage of two enthusiastic young women supporters and then an overhead shot of the convention center.

You can even see Mitt’s face light up when he sees the Koch.

Heading back to that Rolling Stone story about how firms like Bain avoid paying taxes on their income…the NY State Attorney General (the one after the whore-monger) is now looking into the practice of treating wealthy and connected people’s labor as if it were capital (and thus getting a 20% tax break, from 35% down to 15%).

The New York attorney general is investigating whether some of the nation’s biggest private equity firms have abused a tax strategy in order to slice hundreds of millions of dollars from their tax bills, according to executives with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has in recent weeks subpoenaed more than a dozen firms seeking documents that would reveal whether they converted certain management fees collected from their investors into fund investments, which are taxed at a far lower rate than ordinary income.

According to financial statements, Bain partners saved more than $200 million in federal income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.

[full story]

Thus goes the “secret to his success”.

And finally we see a Business Insider story that hits the nail on the head.

Lots of things are wrong with the economy, but the main problem can be summed up with two simple facts:

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

The following charts clearly illustrate that problem.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-ford-salary-increase-2012-8#ixzz25cGRYdou

I repeat…

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

This is the natural results of 30+ years of supply-side economics.

History of Supply Side Experiment

Here we see the real world effect of “supply side” economics.

And there you have it.  Links dumped.

Oh…one final note…it appears that some of the rich, if eaten, might actually sustain us for a while.  Just a thought…

Just in case you were beginning to think rich people were deeply misunderstood and that they feel the pain of those who are less fortunate, here’s the world’s wealthiest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, with some helpful advice.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Yeah, let them eat cake.

Rinehart made her money the old-fashioned way: She inherited it. Her family iron ore prospecting fortune of $30.1 billion makes her Australia’s wealthiest person and the richest woman on the planet.

 

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I’d love to see this kind of spending stopped immediately

Where have all the protesters gone?
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/02/politics/rnc-protest-vermin-supreme/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

“This RNC has been so over-militarized, even attendees were complaining about the level of security,” said sociology professor Sarah Sobieraj. “They were ready with everything — unscalable fences, bomb-sniffing dogs, even long-range acoustic devices, which are nasty.”

The unmistakable message to the protesters: Don’t mess with Tampa.

“It is clear that these extreme measures were not intended to prevent a terrorist attack, they were for protesters,” Sobieraj added. “There has been a shift toward a criminalization of dissent that is a real problem.”

Looks like they spent about $50,000,000 between the city and the Feds.  Up to and including those freaky-ass acoustic deterrents.  I guess it really is the 21st century.  Hrmmm..

If you believe in Net Neutrality, you must stands against the GOP

Patexia.com | GOP opposes net neutrality, internet piracy | Patexia.com

Receiving considerably less attention was the downright Orwellian naming of the “Internet freedom plank,” which opposes net neutrality. Unsurprisingly, the Republicans are looking to remove regulations in the telecommunications industry. Specific regulations are not mentioned.

Perhaps more surprisingly, particularly from the party of the USA PATRIOT Act, is a promise to protect your private data from the prying eyes of Big Brother. The Obama Adminsitration’s stance in favor of net neutrality is derided as “frozen in the past.”

The party that brought us the “series of tubes” we call the “internets” now plans to turn the tubes over completely to corporate America. This is not a good thing.

For those that don’t know or have been misinformed, “Net Neutrality” is the concept that all traffic on the Internet gets treated the same.  What many Telecoms and ISP’s want to do is filter traffic to allow those that pay more to have their content delivered faster and more reliably.  This has the obvious effect of slowing down and degrading the content of those who don’t pay the piper…or “tuber”.

It is the founding principle of the Net, and now Republicans are officially dead-set against it.

This Week in the Police State…

First up…the Comitatas Posse is back in town, militarizing the homeland.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

“Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment — which has not yet gotten a vote — that she said would correct the problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

Backers of military detention of Americans — a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — came out swinging against Udall’s amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

“The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

“They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer,” Graham said. “They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us.”

[full story]

The White House has promised a veto, so we’ll see if that happens or not.

When it comes to partisan divide…this is a pretty bright line in the sand.

“It’s one of those things where … it’s bipartisan on both sides. Levin’s not on the same page as the White House. We’ve got our own internal differences; Paul and Kirk don’t agree with Graham,” said a senior GOP aide just before the vote. “Everybody’s trying to do the right thing. There’s just a difference of opinion.”

Even though Paul was joined only by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on his side of the aisle, the issue was contentious at the Republicans’ weekly caucus lunch.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) emerged from the meeting — where former Vice President Dick Cheney was in attendance — saying his colleagues had “a spirited discussion” about Udall’s amendment, and predicted nearly all Republicans would oppose the amendment, as they did.

Nothing like having a war criminal tip the balance of debate.

On the corporate side of things, there is another strong push to give Corporate America control of the Internet (via DNS-blacklisting, a la China).   Sadly, some judges already think they have this authority.

As a whole bunch of folks have sent in a District Court judge in Nevada issued some rather stunning orders lately concerning websites that luxury brands company Chanel has argued “advertise, promote, offer for sale or sell” possibly counterfeit Chanel goods. The order is basically a more expansive private version of SOPA, in which the judge has let Chanel directly “seize” about 600 domains, as well as issued restraining orders and injunctions, including orders to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to “de-index and/or remove [the domain names] from any search results pages.”

[full story]

There has been a steady and consistent drumbeat from copyright holders to expand their protections in a more competitive environment.   Their history of hyperbole is legion, and all statements coming from their trade groups should be taken with several tons of salt.

 

Kansas Governor (one of those “small government Republicans) pays someone to monitor Twitter for bad things about him…picking up from there….(UPDATED: Governor Apologizes…for his staff…)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback is rejecting her high school principal’s demand that she apologize.

Emma Sullivan told The Associated Press on Sunday that she’s not sorry and an apology letter wouldn’t be sincere.

via Teen whose tweet about Kan. gov. got her in trouble at school refuses to write apology letter – The Washington Post.

If you don’t know this backstory…here’s the deal.

This is a silly little story.  Hopefully it will get bigger, as folks realize how disturbing this whole turn of events actually is.

UPDATE: This ended well.

“My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize,” Brownback said in a statement Monday. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.”

The reaction exemplifies what Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C.-area social media attorney, called an example of the nationwide chasm between government officials and rapidly evolving technology.

“This reflects poorly on the governor’s office,” Shear said. “It demonstrates their P.R. department and whoever is dealing with these issues need to get a better understanding of social media in the social media age. The biggest problem is government disconnect and a lack of understanding of how people use the technology.”

Brownback’s office declined to discuss its social media monitoring in detail, but politicians and governmental offices across the county are increasingly keeping an eye on the Internet for mentions of their campaigns or policies, not unlike the way newspapers and television broadcasts have been watched for decades.

[full story]

I hate it when “personal responsibility” folks blame things on their staff…which ostensibly are following their orders and protocols.

There was a curious statement later in the follow-up, I’d like to highlight…

The Shawnee Mission School District said Monday it was no long seeking a letter from Sullivan.

“Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved,” the statement said. “The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media. The district does not intend to take any further action on this matter.”

And the most important one here is that government is watching you.   But the lesson now is not one of fear, but one of action: Don’t watch what you say, watch what they say, and then what they do…and if you think they #blowalot, let the world know.

Big Brother loses one, ‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones legal, not felony

Apple loses bid to criminalize iPhone jailbreaking – Computerworld

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179694/Apple_loses_bid_to_criminalize_iPhone_jailbreaking

“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, wrote in the ruling approved by Billington (download PDF).

UPDATE: Here’s an excellent link of the updates, a bit of history, and a list of the other exemptions. (thanks, Derek).  This is probably the biggest news for most.

You can rip your own DVDs, and nobody will stop you.

First, and arguably most importantly, is an exemption for DVDs you legally own, giving everyone (not just film and media studies majors!) the right to break DRM for the purposes of “short” use in both “documentary filmmaking” and original “noncommercial videos.” The first is rather specific, of course, but the broadness of the latter is impressive—although for now you can’t appropriate the entire film. But as long as you aren’t charging money for it or profiting off it, it’s noncommercial. So go ahead, rip and remix a scene from Inception so that it actually makes sense.

Now, to be sure, most of the informed tech folk already were doing this (and committing a felony each time), but it looks like they are in the clear now.  I don’t know of anybody who was prosecuted for this, but as far as common-sense exemptions go, this was at the top of the list.

Bringing an Asteroid back to Earth

Here’s the sciency goodness…

Just in case you thought the re-entry of the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft couldn’t get any better, NASA has just released an aerial video of the speeding sample return capsule followed by the break-up of the rest of the probe as the whole lot tumbled through the Earth’s atmosphere.

And, of course, the YouTube moment…

And just to be thorough…the sciency badness.  When your experiment has to deal with the Sun exploding in ways it never has before, right before trying to catch up to an asteroid and land on it (using ion engines no less), to get *any* results is a feat of super-human intelligence and ingenuity.  Oh, and if space-zombies start showing up in your neighborhood, this is a likely culprit.

In 2003, Hayabusa was launched from Uchinoura Launch Center, Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan. Hayabusa means “peregrine falcon” in Japanese.

Using its ion engines, the space probe gave chase to Itokawa, an asteroid measuring 500 meters in length.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the first problem struck the probe; it was hit by one of those annoying solar flares. But this wasn’t an average solar flare, it was the biggest solar flare in recorded history! If you ever wanted a space mission to get off to a bad start, this would be it.

The probe sustained damage to its solar panels, which reduced the spacecraft’s power-producing efficiency. As Hayabusa’s means of getting around space was by using ion engines, the reduction in power delivered by the solar array meant the thrust of the engines suffered, causing a delay in Hayabusa reaching Itokawa.

Despite this early set-back, the probe reached Itokawa in 2005 and took some stunning imagery of the space rock. It was obvious from the photographs that the asteroid was formed of smaller chunks of rock held together by a mutual gravity (known as a “rubble pile”). These observations revealed that Itokawa has a surprisingly low density.

This is when things started to go even worse for the solar flare-battered probe. There was an attempt to get a closer look at the asteroid, but in doing so, the spacecraft overheated and switched into “safe mode” when accidentally making contact with the sun-baked side of Itokawa.

After regaining control, JAXA scientists made an attempt to grab samples of the asteroid to bring back to Earth. Unfortunately, that didn’t go smoothly either. The sampling device intended to kick pieces of asteroid from the surface into a collector didn’t work as it was supposed to. However, there is hope that some disturbed particles of asteroid dust made it on board during these maneuvers.

After a delayed limp back to Earth (the mission was supposed to return in 2007), Hayabusa is finally on its final straight, aimed right at the Australian outback.

Shortly before Sunday’s re-entry, the return capsule — hopefully containing the invaluable particles of asteroid dust — will separate from the main spacecraft, leaving the majority of the probe to burn up high in the atmosphere.

And that’s what we saw there, the spaceprobe burning up (and killing the zeno-bacteria zombie pod, hopefully) and the capsule heading down.  I’ve heard the chute deployed, and they should have the results in hand before too long.  Good stuff, chaps.  Err,…senseis?

UPDATE:  This post has a lot more info regarding some of the difficulties with the science.

Glenn Beck’s war on the FCC (and Satan worshippers)

Glenn Beck’s War on the FCC  (and Satan Worshippers)

By handling these issues the way he does, Beck unfortunately makes real debate more difficult—though at least millions of Americans now knowsomething about diversity, localism, and net neutrality. Unfortunately, they also “know” that Obama worships Satan, that the Internet is about to become a “public utility,” and that the FCC will shut down conservatives with network neutrality.

Nicely done piece re: the useful idiots I mentioned a couple days ago. Bonus: it even includes some of their comments to the FCC.

UPDATE: It’s quite sad to see Fox start to make this an “us vs the marxists/communists/terrorists/socialists/nazis” thing.   Especially when the way they are going about it is to just play word association with their geriatric audience.  Those folks don’t understand the Internets as it is, much less a discussion about the technical underpinnings.  Beck using this ignorance to tell them the opposite of the truth (in the name of God, no less).

Beck also seems to think that the Republican led FCC was also actually run by marxists/communists/terrorists/socialists/nazis as they are the ones that started to notice that despite “Liberals” being voted into nearly two thirds of both houses of Congress (and then later the Presidency), 91% of political-talk radio was “Conservative”.  And it was also controlled by a small group of huge corporations that used economies of scale to crush any competition.  This is the result of the 1996 Telecom Act, not the result of the end of the fairness doctrine.   I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, deregulation leads to consolidation, not competition.

One of the most consistent ways to get a monopoly out of a market is to remove the rules that govern it.  Eventually someone “wins”.  Which means everyone else loses (in the context of the “market”).   We’ve watched the banks do the same thing (deregulate, consolidate, “win”) in much the same time frame.

Now the pendulum is swinging back to rational land, and Beck is there to try and rewind the clock back to crazy-time.   I wonder here if he knows he’s lying or has just kept himself ignorant of what the words he uses actually mean.

Actually, to be honest, I don’t really wonder all that much about what actors *really* thinks of politicis, and Beck is an actor extraordinairre.  One of the highest paid enteratainers on the planets, thank to media consolidation, Rupert Murdoch, and the FCC rolling back media ownership rules under Bush (they also got a special exemption for News Corp to buy (and destroy) the WSJ).

In other words, when you are chowing down at the trough, you certainly don’t mind lying to your viewers to keep the gravy rolling. *chomp* *chomp* Net Neutrality *chomp* is *gulp* *chow* *chew* *chomp* marxists/communists/terrorists/socialists/nazis *!BUUUURRRRPP!!

Jokes About Miami Airport Worker’s Body Scan Lead To Beating, Arrest

Jokes about wee wee-wee lead to beating

Rolando Negrin, 44, was charged with aggravated battery after he used a police baton to beat Hugh Osorno on Tuesday. According to a police complaint, Negrin was upset following a training with whole body scanners with other co-workers.

“The x-ray revealed [he] has a small penis and co-workers made fun of him on a daily basis,” the complaint read.

This body-scanning crap needs to stop. The Khan story makes it clear it’s a total lie to say these things get deleted (not to mention that makes the process useless for investigating terrorism).

Please, folks, quit being so scared, I’m losing too many rights and freedoms when you keep panicing.

[more coverage here]

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).