Monday, November 30, 2009

How are you adjusting?

Click image for full Stephanie McMillan cartoon.

Walked unmolested

On or around December 16, two days after writing his will, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area. Most analysts say he is still there today.
Complete Bushist incompetence, excused and covered by lies from Dick Cheney... Anyone surprised by that?

The horse is gone, and we're still trying to close the damn barn door.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Memories of ancient civilizations

Print's not dead, but at this point blogging is ordinary.

Shopping Amazon the past two days, I noticed even more variety of its wares. Sex toys? Yep, though I bet they don't ship to Alabama. They're fulfilling orders now that they once left to partners. Why? Servers fulfill Kindle downloads automatically, and Amazon is really good at filling orders.

Click image for full Doonesbury by G.B. Trudeau.

Catching Roadrunner

Followers ... follow.

Click image for full Chan Lowe/Sun-Sentinel cartoon.

Isaac Newton, if you ask me

Believers see what they want to see, unconstrained by skepticism or reasonableness. God works in mysterious ... spray starch.

Photo credit for small clip: Grant Morris/AP Photo/The Eagle-Tribune


This is appalling example of unfair, regressive taxation:

[A] generous tax break for hedge fund managers, private-equity specialists, and venture capitalists ... has long been a target of tax equity advocates, who say it unfairly enriches high-earning financiers. Partners in those sectors of the investment industry enjoy a 15 percent tax rate on much of their profits, which are treated as capital gains, instead of the 35 percent rate they would pay if their earnings were taxed under normal income rules.
This vast and ugly loophole could only exist in a system bought and paid for by the interests of wealth. Haven't we bought the financial system back many times over by now?

It's time for pitchforks, metaphorical ones at least.

Why is this?

There could be lots of maps like this one from the New York Times on food stamp nutritional support:

The now solidly Republican and always conservative South is anti-tax as an article of faith, but it suckles lustily at the teat of the federal government. The liberal states, which not coincidentally are the states with strong educated upper middle classes, subsidize the states whose political heroes so often call us un-American.

So what's the problem? Is it that we're willing to feed your black people?

(This graphic, by the way, is great, an example of how informative Internet journalism could actually be. Click on the thumbnail and play around with the app; there's a lot there to learn.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

God is great

Tonight, I heard again the commonplace expression, "God is great." In Arabic, it would be "Allahu akbar."

I didn't think it was a marker of terrorism. I didn't mistake it for anything but a culture-specific assertion of faith, an attempt to bring religion into the public sphere.

I heard it - in English - from Tim Tebow after Florida smacked down Florida State. It was a Christian statement of faith - one of many he makes in the opportunity of his celebrity, including a Bible verse on his eye black.

Of course, of course, Islamic terrorists use this expression. The cause of this effect is that they're Islamic, not that they're terrorists.

Maj. Nidal Hasan may well have been a terrorist. Or possibly he just went postal because he was a frustrated failure who couldn't stand his deployment orders. Nonetheless, the fact that he reportedly shouted "Allahu akbar" is not proof of anything other than his religion.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lessons of Nam

Slow-learning wingnuts want to draft Cheney. At least they've learned that he won't volunteer.

Hey, you think I could get a story on CNN by the mere act of building a web site about a prominent Democrat? Would it have to be as cheesy and ridiculously thin and incompetent as this? No, not even then?

What if I just sell T-shirts?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Outrage, fine

... but no censorship. Google shouldn't be picking and choosing what we can see, and they already allow each of us to choose to exclude offensive images.

"The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results," it says.
The American answer to offensive speech is more speech.
"I am absolutely disgusted by this picture, but the Internet has thousands and thousands of offensive images. Should Google get rid of all of them? Where do you draw the line?" [Jerry Wright of Hoboken, New Jersey,] ... said by phone.
Other countries have different answers.
"There is no way to defend this heinous incident," Alheli Picazo of Calgary, Canada, told CNN by phone. "People often claim their right to free speech to mask blatant racism and insulting bigotry, and always seem to get away with it. When it comes to issues of discrimination, hiding behind free speech just doesn't cut it."
I greatly prefer our ironclad First Amendment guarantees.

Update (11/26): Clarity in the first paragraph.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slandering Teilhard

I've been following the Juxtacomm v. Ascential et al patent saga for years, especially for the past year on Vincent McBurney's now-silenced blog. Some pretty harsh things have been said on all sides, especially by the self-appointed defenders of management but also by various factions of shareholders. I've said some pretty harsh things, too, mostly to those same shills, though little if any of it related to their alleged very tiny penises.

I back down from nothing!

This suit was bullshit from the beginning. Its standing resulted from a commonplace failure of the US Patent and Trademark Office to know its ass from a hole in the ground where it comes to software. Patent 6195662 should never have been granted due to plain prior art. In nearly all its claims, it wasn't novel. Where it was novel (data bags and separate handling of some aspects), it was obvious. Anyone who ever coded an extract, transform, and load (ETL) tool - and I worked on more than one - would know that.

Now Teilhard management has apparently announced to their shareholders that they will pursue slander lawsuits against people who have hurt their widdle feewings in the blogosphere. I say "apparently" because, as is the case with everything Teilhard does, they try to keep it as closely held as possible, and I don't have access to their shareholder announcements.

Wow! The people you begged to invest in your lawsuit, now you're suing?! Because they've been impatient for you to fulfill their perception of your pitch promises... Because they've gone years expecting, rationally or not, a dividend just around the corner and they've yet to see even a thin dime. Go read a Yahoo stock chat board for comparison. You think you've been slandered? Get a grip. Criticism comes with this gig.

My advice to Teilhard management: Take off the pull-ups, put on your big boy underwear, and try to sleep through the night without wetting the bed or suing your mommy for your night terrors.

Of course, Teilhard management is mainly threatening to sue the company's own private shareholders, which certainly suggests a different agenda. Unless otherwise convincingly explained, I'd say their agenda is not the recovery of their so-called reputations but instead the suppression by fear of debate, dissent, and organization by concerned shareholders.

In the U.S., we'd call this a SLAPP suit, and it would be grounds for rapid pre-discovery dismissal in some jurisdictions. Canada has a similar law, maybe better than the typical American patchwork. Anyone who would use lawyers as bullies deserves to be slapped down.

You can have my First Amendment when you pry it from my cold dead mouth.

Previous Teilhard posting.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The lone Republican answer

Tax cuts! Economy's great? Cut taxes. Economy sucks? Cut taxes. And devil take the hindmost. If that's the hindmost half or more, so be it. That's Scott Brown's predictable panacea.

Typically, Brown ignored a key inconvenient fact: In fact, Massachusetts unemployment dropped by a record amount last month, and he still claims it's going up. Is he ignorant of this or just too committed to the wrong claim to give it up?

I've met Brown. He was out collecting nominating signatures, and he went off on an argumentative tangent when I told him I couldn't give him mine. Hey, I'm a registered Democrat, and the Town Clerk - a friend of mine - would have to strike my name from a Republican's petition.

I wasn't impressed with Brown's demeanor.

Making a difference

Click image for full Doonesbury by G.B. Trudeau.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Faith and proof

The Shroud of Turin is a proven fake. Proven. It's not a coincidence that the face looks like a 14th century painting. That's exactly what it is.

Faithful believers simply cannot be dissuaded from a story they like. No amount of scientific evidence is adequate.

Witness what a thin tissue of bullshit suffices to overturn definitive radiocarbon dating:

[Barbara Frale, a researcher at the Vatican archives,] asserts that the words include the name “(J)esu(s) Nazarene’’ - or Jesus of Nazareth - in Greek. That, she said, proves the text could not be of medieval origin because no Christian at the time, even a forger, would have mentioned Jesus without referring to his divinity. Failing to do so would risk being branded a heretic.
This fails on level after level. Frale's opinion of what a forger would do in no way answers to the word proof. A "Princess Bride" rejoinder is tempting.

But even Frale's rationale - fear of heresy - is utterly unconvincing. The forger was concocting a holy relic for, no doubt, profit. He was already a heretic. He was already a mortal sinner. He would have been at great pains to make a convincing forgery. The people he was trying to fool weren't such naifs as Frale; they would have noticed the contemporary usage that she claims a forger would have been too afraid to avoid, and that very usage would have clued them to the forgery.

The press, of course, is ever pleased to purvey more bullshit to the credulous in its audience. They're happy to push Frale as a researcher and only in passing to note that she's a historian, that she has no qualifications to dispute the science.

Click image for details on public domain image.

Update (5/8/2010): Here's a story in much greater detail that shows how obvious the so-called shroud is actually a painting. (h/t Pharyngula)

Too little, too late

Nearly a year ago, Paul Krugman said that the $800 billion stimulus wouldn't fill the gap in aggregate demand. His colleagues are catching up.

Optimistic assumptions in turn contributed to producing a package that if anything is too small, analysts say. “The economy was weaker than we thought at the time, so maybe in retrospect we could have used a little bit more and little bit more front-loaded,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, another financial analysis group, in St. Louis.
Now, finally, there's an expert consensus that we ought to reup for more. Yeah, experts and another half a trillion dollars would buy us the stimulus we needed in the first place. Unfortunately, the Republicans and the Senate Blue Dog Democrats are immune to experts and would rather have Hoovervilles than fix the problem.

Actually, the Republicans gain as America loses, and they're o.k. with that. The Blue Dog Dems? What do they get? Do they put keeping their own jobs ahead of keeping millions of their constituents employed? Or are they just not very smart? Only if the stimulus succeeds wildly are they likely to retain their seats, yet they dither like a bunch of pullets headed for the plucker.

Friday, November 20, 2009


They call themselves pro-life, but their votes against stem cell research are pro-death. We should call them out on that.

The bait not taken

A couple of days ago, I received an odd email about Juxtacomm v. Ascential. Unless my correspondent (who, again, could be totally innocent) spoofed his email header, his ISP is in Calgary.

The redacted text is:

My name is __________ and I am a medium investor in Teilhard. I have noticed that you have posted quite a bit in the blogs, past and present and seem to be quite knowledgeable in the industry. I seem to recall that you work(ed) for one of the defendants in the original group. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions?

Let me know if you have the time. I would really like to call you rather than email, so if it is possible, let me know how to get in touch and the best time to call.

Thanks in advance.
Innocent enough on first blush, but after all that Teilhard management has done to suppress open communication about their company, I don't think I was clinically paranoid to think twice. Colloquially paranoid? Sure.

This could still be innocent. I just don't know what questions I'd be willing to answer I haven't already posted about. At this point, the suit's over, and it's hard to see what I might have to offer privately.

I'll tell you this: No way I'm going to have a phone conversation that might expose me to caller ID. But I'm also not going to email back. There's just too much information in a mail header, especially if I were foolish enough to email while inside the corporate firewall (yes, the corporate address is visible even if you're mailing from the web interface of a personal account).

Has anyone else received an email like this?

Previous Teilhard posting.

Duhbya in an up-do

With all the media foofaraw over Sarah Palin's expensive new ghost-written book, the liberal blogosphere has been all over the map trying to read the tea leaves about her future. The consensus is that, if she has a future, America as a success doesn't.

It's that if that divides our opinions. The cockeyed optimists (still!) among us imagine that there's no way we could actually elect such a simmering crock pot of vanity, resentment, undeserved and unearned self-esteem, and sheer blunt uneducability.

But I remember that this country was stupid enough to re-elect Duhbya (even if we weren't actually stupid enough to elect him in the first place). And she's a lot better looking than Duhbya.

Palin-Cheney 2012. Ouch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Connecting the dot

Singular. The FBI looked into Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan correspondence with a radical Islamic cleric. Good. They should have. It was certainly alarming on its face.

Many Republicans, including Joe Lieberman, already have a diagnosis for why the FBI didn't make waves about it, and they don't even know what the FBI found:

[Fran Townsend] expressed concern that “political correctness,” and fear of intruding on Major Hasan’s free speech rights, may have interfered with the sharing of information earlier this year, when an F.B.I.-led counterterrorism team examined his e-mail exchanges with Anwar al-Awlaki, a well-known radical cleric, but found nothing amiss.
By political correctness, Bushists like Townsend mean observance of legal and Constitutional rights. Free speech? Who needs it!

I know they object to having to abide by the law of the land, but that email correspondence is the single dot they have to connect to a conspiracy that coddles soldiering while Muslim. It doesn't seem like a web of failure.

The Walter Reed fitrep (or unfitrep!) might look like another dot, but it's a garden variety personnel matter. In addition to being undeniably Muslim, Hasan was a really bad psychiatrist, and there's no denying that that is another possible motive for his crimes.

The magic lie

The Velvet Revolution began with a lie, so the New York Times says:

On Tuesday, thousands of Czechs marched through the streets here, to the sound of wailing sirens and the growls of police dogs, eerily replicating a nonviolent student march on Nov. 17, 1989, in which the police rounded on demonstrators and rumors spread that a 19-year-old university student named Martin Smid had been brutally killed. Scores had indeed been violently beaten. But no one, in fact, had died.


“Until that day, there had been a deal between the Communist regime and the people: ‘You shut up and we will take care of you,’ ” [Jan Urban] said. “But the moment people had the impression that their kids were being killed, the deal was off. As a journalist, I am ashamed of the lie because it was a professional blunder. But I have no regrets because it helped bring four decades of Communism to an end.”
Wingnuts are looking everywhere for the lie that will bring liberalism down. They send around emails that Snopes refutes but could never kill off in the fevered fear-driven conservative imagination. None of the lies they allege that Barack Obama has told are cited. They are all bullshit intended to appeal to people who will eagerly believe them without proof.

Wingnuts see themselves as heroic. They see themselves as guardians of the values that made the past so much better than the present. But it's fear that drives them.

The Times gets the interpretation of the story wrong. A single lie, no matter how motivating, won't have a butterfly effect on a political system. The Czechs and Slovaks - like all people in the Soviet Bloc - had already known for decades that communism was a system of lies. Their countervailing lie may well have broken the camel's back, but history had already prepared them to change. The police brutality alone might well have been enough.

Wingnuts who hope their lies will bring a reactionary sea change in America make four characteristic mistakes:
  • The U.S. is badly polarized (thanks to them), but it is not prepared for a mass movement to their side. Maybe they want another civil war, some in order to "correct" the results of the first.
  • Wingnuts are targeting their lies at their base, even though they think they're targeting people they might persuade.
  • The sheer volume of wingnut lies and deceits is so large that they have no credibility left. They "know" that they're righteous - God tells 'em, I guess - but we perceive them as habitual liars who are unconcerned with truth and only care about attaining the power that the Bushists so thoroughly abused.
  • The Velvet Revolution was a liberal revolution, not a conservative one. The fact that wingnuts can't tell the difference between liberalism and the political views farther left doesn't mean there's no difference.
Update (11/25): Digby smacks Rush on this.


Newly elected Republican governors Christie and McDonnell just couldn't fit Sarah Palin into their schedules. They would have, honest, but they wrote their schedules in cuneiform on stone tablets four months in advance.

They are counting on Palin's supporters to believe such obvious bullshit. I guess if anyone would, her fans would.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Can't alienate the asylum

Even though Republican Bob McDonnell ran to the center to win the governorship of Virginia, he is a bona fide fundie social conservative, a wolf in sheep's clothing. So it's not surprising that Pat Robertson and he are political associates.

Of course, Robertson only has a short half-life before he says something truly, smarmily insane. I'm not sure this was it:

“Islam is a violent, I was going to say religion, but it's not a religion. It's a political system,” Robertson said. “It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination. That is the ultimate aim.”
He's just jealous!

It is pretty silly for a man who exploits his own religion for profit and who aspires to Christian theocracy in the United States to criticize Islam for its theocratic scripture and its many theocratic institutions. Or has he suddenly become an advocate for the separation of church and state? As if.

However, the CNN item belies its own headline. In fact, McDonnell did disavow Robertson's remarks:
When asked if he believes Islam is “a violent political system,” McDonnell said no, but he did not condemn Robertson.
He just didn't disavow the man, although he tried to pretend Robertson was just another obscure supporter, one of fifteen thousand donors. Giggle.

Even though CNN's headline helps McDonnell with his fundie supporters, Robertson could be the gift that keeps on giving. At some point, he'll give that insincere smile of his and say something really nasty. Will the press notice? I wouldn't hold my breath.

No liberal could get this coverage

Rudy Giuliani, who holds no position of importance in any organization, said something critical of Barack Obama. O.K., fine, he once executive officer over New York City on 9/11, and it's much bigger than many states whose Republican governors get attention waaay out of proportion with the population they represent. So maybe Giuliani's opinion is news.

Now, though, he's going to repeat his criticism on an RNC teleconference. Maybe there's some slow news day on which that would be news.

But there is no day when news is so slow that the mere announcement that Rudy's going to disagree again with Obama in the future is news. Only a Twitter twit would think otherwise.

Mark Preston mush think that his job is the regurgitate every damn press release he gets - as long as it's from a Republican. No Democrat (well, maybe a pretend Dem) could ever get coverage like this. Ever. From anyone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wiener dawgs unite!

Click image for full Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader cartoon.

A dose of Mao with your morning smack

Not funny at all, but right on point...

Click image for full Rex Babin/Sacramento Bee cartoon.

(Mao? And then the Great Leap Forward...)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Our media at work

Personality and, hopefully, whiffs of scandal trump everything.

All that stuff about beliefs and records? They'll mention it in passing:

Capuano has compiled one of the more liberal voting records on Capitol Hill. He voted against the authorization to invade Iraq, opposed the Patriot Act, and is opposed to the death penalty. He has also been a consistent supporter of abortion rights, gay marriage, and tenants rights. [--Michael Rezendes]
But it's not important to the rest of the infotainment.

Lawyers in Juxtacomm v. Ascential

Had a few spare minutes at lunch six or seven weeks ago to Google up a few links related to this case and found that lawyers are beginning to tout their participation. At the time, I decided not to help the plaintiff by posting this, but that's moot now.

Here are a few of the items I found:

Akin Gump for the plaintiff you all know about.

The most interesting item is from CA's lawyer:

While this matter remains ongoing, CA was able to settle during discovery for an amount that was very beneficial to CA.
Hmm. CA owns InfoPump, which IBM was arguing as prior art. I guess the Teilhard management shills have to believe this guy's lying when he says "very beneficial."


I'm sure there will be more to follow now that this case has concluded.

Lest you think only Vincent McBurney and I believe the prior art arguments, here's yet another technical source who's mystified by Teilhard's patent trolling success so far.

Previous Teilhard thread.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maybe we can

Click image for full Joel Pett/USAToday cartoon.

Going Vogue

Strike a pose...

When I snark about the wingnut Madonna, I don't mean that she's like the (alleged) virgin, although both Sarah and Mary were preggers when they eloped. Maybe that's the source of her inflated sense of self-worth!

Click image for full Joel Pett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.

No no no

Click image for full Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader cartoon.

Ironclad rule

While it's not news that the Bushists lied morning, noon, and night, it's always useful to have the details. The professional media have little to no interest in uncovering them.

By now, no one who covers politics for a living should ever take at face value what a Republican says. They lie, smear, bullshit, and distort. It's what they do.

Lots of smart people work in media, yet it's obvious after many years of failure that the media is institutionally incapable of learning the simple ironclad rule that no Republican talking point is trustworthy.

Hell, the media shouldn't trust the Democrats either, even though Democrats are significantly better about telling the truth. The media's useful job - though not what publishers and editors actually hire staff for - is to question and verify or falsify the assertions of all people in power.

Yeah, I know. I'm living in the past. The media hasn't done that in at least thirty years.

The sense in which the media once had a liberal bias: Conservatives oppose change, and learning from a truthful source what has actually happened often provokes demand for change. A media that is anything other than the defender and handmaiden of power looks liberally bias to conservatives.

(h/t Atrios here and here)


It's clear that I need to be reading Dan Wasserman's cartoons a lot more often:

So, I've added Wasserman to one of my blogrolls.

Update: If you still haven't had enough Sunday comics, editorial cartoonists were on fire this week. The Boston Globe's Ink Tank feature is filled to the brim with wry hilarity.

The young apprentice

Click image for full Jack Ohman/Portland Oregonian cartoon.

Lessons lost in history

Republicans and their propagandists think you deserve your unemployment. Democrats, including President Obama, aren't making the political case for adequate stimulus.

Click image for full Bruce Plante/Tulsa World cartoon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More non-new Republican press release journalism

A Republican says no to a Democratic proposal.

Tory tea party

An American Teabagger named Nigel is going to burn Nancy Pelosi and his own Congressman in effigy. Wasn't it his English tea that Sam Adams and friends tossed into Boston Harbor? Nigel's going to all this effort for what he estimates will be a hundred people, so he was probably going to get 40 before CNN picked up the story. Now, every screw-loose malcontent in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina will show up.

Maybe these angry people can now understand that burning something is in fact the expression of a political opinion. Offensive yes, they're trying to be offensive. Reminds me of flag-burning. Offensive yes, but Constitutionally protected and ought to remain that way.

At least Nigel Coleman is not wearing a hood and burning a cross out in the forest, I'll give him that.

Teilhard to shareholders: Drop dead

Since I'm not a shareholder (blissfully), I haven't seen yesterday's long-awaited release from the Teilhard gang, but it must've been a doozy. After holding every tiny piece of information tighter than the Kremlin for two years or more, they chose glasnost and opened their books to their shareholders. As if.

Instead, more stonewalling. They are not disbursing any of the vast sums they still want the world to think they squeezed out of the defendants with whom they settled. They are not revealing whether those sums are indeed vast or paltry or somewhere in between. They are basically only saying no comment, go away, we don't have to care in the least what you think.

They could easily have said this two weeks ago. What they finally burped up puts the lie to the management shill claim, made on Vincent McBurney's blog, that they had to be careful to get their release right.

Teilhard management and the friendly board on which management occupies fully half the seats have decided that they hold all the cards, and they're playing those cards close to the vest. Three guesses whose interests they're looking out for first!

I can think of three scenarios that would explain this behavior, and both are bad for shareholders:

  1. They're going to cream as much of the settlement money off the top as they can for the simple purpose of enriching themselves to the greatest degree possible under law.
  2. It's really essential to extracting money from the remaining 200 (ha!) defendants that they keep secret how little their patent settlements were actually worth from the big guys.
  3. They plan to leverage their winnings from the Eastern District of Texas casino to purchase more "undervalued" patents to troll in court.
Anyway, it looks like crumbs and bread ends for the people who financed this whole patent-phishing expedition.

Previous post on Juxtacomm v. Ascential et al here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Teilhard v. Teilhard

Here's another open thread for the furious controversy related to JuxtaComm v. Ascential, et al, over whether Teilhard management is screwing its shareholders or not. The previous unsuccessful thread is here.

Vincent McBurney has closed his latest blog post to comments, and the concerned shareholders don't have their shit together enough to have much of anything to show at their domain.

Meanwhile, I've been having some fun on Vincent's site:

Pete, everyone can judge from what we write respectively which one of us is an {orifice that emits farts}.

For your own benefit, you might reread what I wrote. I didn't make a claim about the correct result of patent review. I only made objective statements about what the USPTO has done and on what grounds.

InfoPump, among other products, is prior art. It's undeniably prior, and it's undeniably relevant. If JuxtaComm was aware of it, JuxtaComm acted in bad faith in omitting it. (The past defendants dropped that contention; another defendant may nonetheless press it.) InfoPump is undeniably not mentioned in '662. Undeniable if, that is, you've actually read '662...

Now, the PTO has to judge whether the newly discovered prior art invalidates '662 (discovered in the legal sense). Of course I think it does, but I didn't say that in my answer to RMB. You just can't read well enough to have understood that without detailed explanation.

And then you laughed at your own juvenile joke! Great. Why not patent fart jokes and sue Howard Stern?
This was in answer to CuriousPete's (though IncuriousPete would be more accurate handle) response to this objective content.

I also gave comfort to the management shills, though I wish I hadn't had to:
If TH management is going to take 35% and AG is going to take 10% of a total settlement of US$200 million (plus or minus $50 million), yeah, it looks as though outside shareholders are getting screwed. If.

It looks as though they're getting a pat on the head and thanks for the use of your money; we don't need it anymore 'cause we're RICH!

But there's not much evidence for any of that yet. That, of course, is the problem. The plausible reason for there not being much evidence - the ongoing legal maneuvering - is over. In fairness, I'm sure TH needs some time to get their announcement right even if it's totally above-board. The end of this week is really not too late.

I'll freely admit I don't know Canadian law on business organization, but from general principles, it looks to me as if the outside shareholders are just waking up to the possibility (not yet a known fact) that they were screwed from the get-go.

Here's the even worse problem they have: From the sketch that's available, it looks as though TH management and their friendly board crossed the Ts and dotted the Is. Their grab (alleged grab) looks blessed by the formalities. Where investors went wrong (if they did) was investing in a company with such a management-heavy board, which they then counted on to protect them from management's sense of its own entitlement!

That could mean they have to prove securities fraud in the sale, based on remembered statements about all the bobbies that would come rolling in from the big dumb suckers in charge of the world's largest software companies. But I'd bet all investors had to sign a disclaimer that the text of the purchase agreement was all the buyer could rely on, that anything else was forward-looking statements blah blah blah.

Which means that I think the outside investors are going to be out of luck, and this blog's management shills, despite being obviously some of the nastiest people in Alberta, are going to win this controversy.

(By the way, I doubt TH management sent the shills. If TH did that, their shills would be trying to foster calm discussions, instead of roiling the waters with stridency, bile, and demands that everyone not stoned on Kool-Aid STFU. In short, they would have been more like Steelhard the First. But no...)
Last, I have comment moderation turned on for reasons that have nothing to do with this case.

Update: Made this easier to Google by including the name of the case.

Taint so

ACORN was a scalp for Fox and the wingnuts. Did ACORN get stung? Sure. To a degree, they even deserved it, but their main sin in conservatopia is that they register po' folks to vote and to voice their concerns.

Congress, led by consistently pusillanimous Democrats, fell all over itself to condemn and punish ACORN with a bill of attainder. It's always a pleasant shock on those rare occasions when Washington Dems actually stand up for what they profess to believe in.

Can we - those with normal discernment - can we agree, however, that no matter how awful the sins of ACORN, they don't hold a candle to the murder and bribery of Blackwater (now Xe Services)?

This is news?

Republican are hypocrites.

The Republican National Committee has instructed its insurance company to remove a provision from the committee's health insurance policy that covered elective abortion for employees.
Talk about a dog-bites-man story...

Nuke up some popcorn

When Sarah Palin snipes and John McCain and McCain's people fight back, don't pick sides. Just enjoy the show.

Side note: You can always count on the media having the back of fellow big media outlets. Remember the hysterical defense of propaganda outlet Fox? Here's another case of lipstick on a pig:

The AP revised its story to clarify that the bill Palin claimed to receive was $50,000, not $500,000.
Normal people would call that a correction, but what's an order of magnitude among drinking buddies?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Win elections instead

Republicans always want term limits when they're out of power.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


CNN correspondents such as Dana Bash do not make up for themselves characterizations of any politician as a "regular guy". They take in the bullshit from their "GOP sources", masticate it just slightly, and regurgitate it for our little-bird consumption.

Oh we're not still confined to the nest?

Coakley takes a chance

Martha Coakley is a very careful politician. For years, it has been tough to get her to make definitive statements about most issues of the day (and that's why I support Mike Capuano - no such difficulty there).

So I find it odd that she has stuck her neck out to choose that public funding of abortion is more important than all of health care reform. She's not choosing not abortion rights. She's opting for funding or no public option, no forcing of insurance companies to do right, no attempt at universal coverage. The House bill is far from perfect, but it has a lot of value.

I really would have expected her to waffle on this, since it's definitely an issue that Democratic primary voters will vote on, and she's already the frontrunner - in perception, at least. Instead, she has put herself in a position with little wiggle room for later.

This reminds me a little of Shannon O'Brien's ill-fated campaign for governor in 2002. At the time, Mitt Romney supported abortion rights (such a short time ago!), and O'Brien apparently thought that should be her issue. She tried to open up some space between their positions by advocating the rational position that the age of consent for abortion should be the same as the age of consent for sex, and it backfired very badly on her. I think it cost her a very close election.

Now Coakley seems to be trying the same thing. I not only disagree with it. I think it's bad politics.

The right moment

Click image for full Robert Unell/Kansas City Star cartoon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How you know the recession is still going strong

Low-production-value local ads are running on Monday Night Football. Roni Deutch. Standard def!? Bob's Furniture. Even major college NCAA football runs cheap and cheesy ads.

Newspapers aren't the only medium with business model problems.


Ill winds blow through America. Extremists, for whom freedom means the enforcement of their beliefs on everyone else and for whom the idea of America is not constitutional democracy but rather the triumph of their tribe, are untethered to reality or restraint:

Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren’t interested in actually governing, they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone.
Republicans are now more than willing to huff like schoolchildren. It's not even that they'll take their ball and go home. They would prefer to ruin the game rather than allow it to go on without them.

The more worrying parallel is not Krugman's to California. It's Weimar Germany, where a fetid sepsis of resentment and poverty boiled over into evil that an ineffectual democratic government could not contain.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not about the deficit

Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who object to the House health care bill care about something other than deficit reduction:

The plan will cost more over the next decade than the $900 billion limit Obama had set, but a combination of spending reductions and tax increases will more than offset those costs, so the plan would ultimately reduce the deficit by $104 billion by 2019, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The proposal would impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $500,000 and families earning more than $1 million.
Hmm. Wonder what that might be...

It was twenty years ago...

... tomorrow.

Be sure to see the New York Times's swarm journalist remembrance of the sudden and long-awaited fall of the Berlin Wall. The photos and simple narratives make me wish I had dropped everything in 1989 and travelled to Berlin to see for myself the crumbling of the Soviet bloc.

Broken looking glass

Click image for full Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't bother trying

These guys can't be satisfied or mollified or putrefied (any further).

Click image for full Chan Lowe/ Sun-Sentinel cartoon.

Mud in your eye

There goes the shut-out.

Click image for full John Cole/ Scranton Times-Tribune cartoon.

Rally 'round the wingnuts

The amazing thing is that the teabagger movement keeps emailing me, as if they could possibly win me over. Today, I received two emails, one from Arkansas, the other threatening a lawsuit based on the Tenth Amendment if health reform passes. Guess they'll hire Orly Taitz...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Up is down

Conservatives backed Doug Hoffman in NY-23 because the hand-picked Republican wasn't extreme. They and Hoffman lost a seat that no Democrat had held in a hundred years. But it's a glorious victory for the revolution!

"(T)he GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives," wrote RedState's Erick Erickson.
Only if by "win with conservatives," Erickson means, well, lose. Looks to those of us with dictionary-based vocabularies as though the GOP will lose with or without the wingnuts, which is some of the best news of yesterday.

There's even hope for tomorrow:
"For all intents and purposes, NY-23 is a trial run for Florida."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lying for a living

In the aftermath of the White House calling Fox out for arrant propaganda, the so-called Fox ratings spike turns out to be bullshit.

What happened when you included October 24 and October 25 in the tabulation to make a true two-week-vs.-two-week comparison? Suddenly, that 9 percent gain in overall viewers evaporated into a barely-there 2 percent blip...
Is anyone surprised? This is known as down in the noise, which is somehow appropriate.

Think about this too: Fox's viewership is paltry - 1.2 million viewers a day. If only one of every 200 Americans watched Fox, that would be a true spike, a 25% gain.

But even that many viewers would be the wingnut fringe.

(h/t Atrios)


Click image for full Matt Davies/Journal News cartoon.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Commit to your puns

Get Fuzzy

Get Fuzzy, by Darby Conley, embedded from here.

Sweat equity

Click image for full G.B. Trudeau "Doonesbury".

Trickle down

Click image for full Nate Beeler/Washington Examiner cartoon.