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    • Of Course Ted Cruz Should Be Publicly Ostracized
      So, Ted Cruz and his family were surrounded in a Washington, DC restaurant and left. Much hand wringing ensues about civility. It’s bullshit. If you could have only one rule for creating a good society it would be the following: Elites must experience the consequences of their behaviour. The simplest reason the US is a […]
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The Confluence Demographics Survey

It has come to our attention that some of the A-list lefty bloggers think we are as dumb as a box of rocks.  Yes, we’re talking about YOU, Big Tent Democrat and Jane Hamsher.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that this is because we were right about Obama and that can’t be possible if we’re really just a bunch of bitter, old, uneducated, working class, sino-peruvian lesbians.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that but it must drive the rest of the lefty blogosphere crazy that we still are allowed to vote while we drool all over our ballots.  Come to think of it, Jane Hamsher is probably in that demographic although she’s trying desperately to pretend she isn’t.  For example, here is a description of Firedoglake that we found yesterday on her advertise page:

“Firedoglake and its associated publications attract a large, affluent, educated audience of opinion makers and engaged community leaders. It also attracts a select audience of legislative decision makers and policy makers in Washington, D. C.”

Um, that can’t be right.  After all, some of US have accounts at Firedoglake and that means that Jane has some poor, uneducated and disengaged couch potatoes leaving their opinions at her site.  Either that or we’re much smarter than Jane thinks so we blend in.  (Ooo, can’t you see Jane’s skin crawl at the very thought that we’ve been getting our dirty fingers on her slick graphics?)

Come on, Jane, no one can stop time.  You didn’t lose your intelligence when you turned 50, although there’s a pretty good chance you lost your keys.  And anyway, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  We aren’t just going to shrivel up and die because the rest of the world finds us inconvenient.  We have a right to be here and to be heard.

Nevertheless, we are only speculating about how old, stupid and bitter we are.  There’s only one way to find out for sure.  We’re going to do a survey.  This is just basic demographics.  No personal information will be collected or shared with any third parties.  We may use the information to analyze for trends or to help us organize or *maybe* to attract advertisers.  We’re not really into advertising because it tends to make us compromise our principles if our livelihoods are dependent on it.  What’s that saying about being paid to not understand something?  Someone go ask Josh Marshall.  If we decide to attract advertisers we would have to be very choosy.  But I digress.

If you want to help us understand our readership, take the survey and help us out.  We’ll share the results with you in a couple of days.

Click here to take survey

Thanks for your help!

BTW, we see you when you’re freeping.  So, don’t bother.

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The Sunday Selection, New Year Edition

It’s still a holiday weekend and the Confluence Bed & Breakfast is currently closed; but we wouldn’t want to leave you stranded in the cold.  So, there’s an extra large urn in the corner filled with steaming hot coffee (I think Rico may have added a few drops of something “special”) and here are a few  escapism links to give you a respite from the dreary state of affairs.  Enjoy!

*CNN Money has an interesting overview of some of the new decade’s promised technology, such as wireless electricity and invisible speakers. The Next Little Things

* Project Censored has compiled a list of the 25 most under-reported stories of 2009, and what to look for in 2010:

*End of the year wrap ups always included “Best of Lists,” but for the end of the decade…here is the “Ultimate End of the Decade ‘Best of’ Compilation.” Literally, every possible list you can think of is here.

and finally,

*Boston.com has an excellent photo retrospective of 2009.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

*****************************

Science, Technology & Health

As we age, our ability to learn and retain information is hindered. The NY Times discusses : How to Train the Aging Brain

*****************************

You’ve heard of wait staff techniques for improving tips, but did you know the restaurant may be using psychological tools of subconscious persuasion on you to empty your wallet a bit faster? Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners

*****************************

Incredible strides in brain science are being made every day. They have now developed a machine that can translate thoughts into speech in real time. Simply amazing.

*****************************

Oddz n Endz

Alright, that’s enough of the mind-numbing garbage passing for news.  What else is going on that might make you smile, chuckle, or just say WTH?

*****************************

First up, a “true crime” story to beat all: Police hunt for bizarre supermarket butt-sniffing shopper. No, … really. If you’re brave enough, there’s even a security video as evidence.

Still intrigued? There’s more about this story HERE.

*****************************

This one’s for myiq2xu and his “plants are living things too” rebuttal to veganism: Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too.  I confess. I’m a brussel sprouts hunter. I hunt them; I cut them down; I eat them. Well, not really, but I do buy them at Wegmans and steam them.

*****************************

Now here’s a really odd twist on the “A man walks into a bar…” theme: Michigan Man Walks Into Diner With 5-Inch Knife in Chest, Orders Coffee

****************************

Everyone could use more useless facts, here is a slideshow with several more to add to your collection: World’s Most Useless Facts

*****************************

Wow. Just wow. 5th Grade Boy Steals $10,000 From Grandparents.  But that’s not the worst of it.  This little thief was handing it out to his friends!

*****************************

File this under interesting yet random facts that you may just say “no way” about: 20 Things that happen every minute.

*****************************

If you’re finding current events to be overwhelmingly depressing, here are a few pounds of cute to help mitigate the blues: The 13 Cutest animals of 2009; and then there’s this: 70 cute baby animals to improve your mood.

*****************************

Forget Sparkle Ponies, these ponies kick ass!  My Little Pony fans can now enjoy superhero versions of their favorite frilly fillies: Superhero modifications for My Little Pony.

*****************************

One need look no further than this site to see why obesity is a problem in our country: Proof that Anything can be deep fried.

*****************************

Over in the UK, “Whack a Banker” is threatening to eclipse “Whack a Mole” as a favorite arcade game. Not to worry, there’s an internet version for you to play at home too.

*****************************

A whole hot mess of WTH can be found here at: Oh yeah, this is totally normal.

*****************************

The Final Word

I’ve saved this week’s super time-waster site as the Final Word: it’s the Bad Gift Emporium where you’ll find a seemingly unending collection of bad gifts people have received – and some of them are for sale. Who wouldn’t love to receive the “Potty Putter” or the “Santa & Mrs. Claus in the tub?” Just click on the thumbnail for more information about the item. And take note of the creepy yet addictive music box playing in the background. Don’t worry about it running out, a rewind is scheduled every minute or so.

*****************************

yet, I’m still not through…and now for the big finale!  Guess who made the list of Marvelous Moobs?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  And don’t forget to add the links to news you’ve come across this fine day.

SoD

New Deal 2.0, explores the socio-economic impacts on the reproductive health of women

http://www.newdeal20.org/?p=7146

The United States has the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the developed world, and it is highest for the poorest segments of the population. Over time, this class-based disparity has only gotten worse. The Guttmacher Institute reports that while between 1994 and 2001 unintended pregnancies fell 20% for higher socioeconomic women, they rose 29% among women living below the poverty level. Since 2002, contraceptive use has declined, with low-income women of color leading the way. In 2006, teen pregnancies rose for the first time since 1991, and the racial group with the largest increase was African-American teens. The economic downturn is propelling a further switch away from more effective (and expensive) contraceptives. The only thing preventing a larger increase in unwanted births is abortion.

CNN Money has an interesting overview of some of the new decades promised technology, such as wireless electricity and invisible speakers.  The Next Little Things

http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/108344/next-little-thing-2010?mod=career-leadership

White House Adviser Briefed in October on Underwear Bomb Technique

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/01/02/white-house-advisor-briefed-in-october-on-underwear-bomb-technique.aspx

Newsweek

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was briefed in October on an assassination attempt by Al Qaeda that investigators now believe used the same underwear bombing technique as the Nigerian suspect who tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, U.S. intelligence and administration officials tell NEWSWEEK.

The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in. The operative had tried to kill the Saudi prince by detonating a bomb on his body, but stumbled on his way into the prince’s palace and blew himself up.

Ben Nelson to Henry McMaster: ‘Call off the dogs’


http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31100.html

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) reached out Thursday evening to South Carolina GOP Attorney General Henry McMaster, the leader of a group of 13 Republican state attorneys general who are threatening to file suit against the Senate health care bill, and urged him to forgo any legal action, POLITICO has learned.

According to a copy of a memo sent by McMaster’s chief of staff to other GOP state attorneys general detailing the call, Nelson asked McMaster to “call off the dogs,” a reference to recent threats by the state AGs to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Medicaid provision in the bill that benefits Nebraska at the expense of other states.

More and more Americans are finding themselves with no source of income other than food stamps:

Living on Nothing but Food Stamps

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After an improbable rise from the Bronx projects to a job selling Gulf Coast homes, Isabel Bermudez lost it all to an epic housing bust — the six-figure income, the house with the pool and the investment property.

Living on Nothing but Food Stamps

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/us/03foodstamps.html?hp

With millions of jobs lost and major industries on the ropes, America’s array of government aid — including unemployment insurance, food stamps and cash welfare — is being tested as never before. This series examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in  decades.

Now, as she papers the county with résumés and girds herself for rejection, she is supporting two daughters on an income that inspires a double take: zero dollars in monthly cash and a few hundred dollars in food stamps.

With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.

As we age, our ability to learn and retain information is hindered.  The NY Times discusses : How to Train the Aging Brain

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/education/edlife/03adult-t.html?em

“The brain is plastic and continues to change, not in getting bigger but allowing for greater complexity and deeper understanding,” says Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, who has studied ways to teach adults effectively. “As adults we may not always learn quite as fast, but we are set up for this next developmental step.”

Educators say that, for adults, one way to nudge neurons in the right direction is to challenge the very assumptions they have worked so hard to accumulate while young. With a brain already full of well-connected pathways, adult learners should “jiggle their synapses a bit” by confronting thoughts that are contrary to their own, says Dr. Taylor, who is 66.

Will more pols flip to the other side of the aisle? Carl Hulse of the NYT looks at the: Risks of Switching Parties

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/us/politics/03cong.html?hpw

If they are able to bag another Democrat or two, Republicans could claim a sense of momentum as they enter 2010, a welcome shift for them after losing the last two special House elections. And they have made some interesting overtures, with Senator John McCain of Arizona reaching out to Representative Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania, a Democrat and fellow naval officer, to ask him to consider a change.

But party-switching is a delicate and typically secretive process, and the first move usually has to come from the switcher. Republicans risk losing potential conquests if they get too aggressive and public. And despite obvious unrest among more-conservative Democrats about the difficult environment lying ahead in the midterm elections, only the most optimistic Republicans anticipate a wave of defections.

Healthcare news

Opponents of a health insurance mandate mobilize

Both healthcare proposals approved by Congress require that all Americans get health insurance. That’s now under fire from liberals, Republicans and even some in the insurance industry.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-health-mandate2-2010jan02,0,5314304.story

Government insurance for long-term care likely to slip into final healthcare bill

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-health-longterm31-2009dec31,0,4138098.story

The plan would let any employee pay into the program and later receive benefits for in-home assistance to the elderly and disabled. The proposal has drawn majority opposition but little attention.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/01/AR2010010101837.html

Senate health-care bill would still leave millions uninsured

Even as Democrats seek the biggest expansion of health coverage in decades, as many as 23 million people could still be without insurance by 2018, illustrating the complexity of achieving the long-held Democratic goal of universal health care.

Ron Paul’s ideas, once considered fringe, are gaining in popularity amidst increasing sentiment about distaste for the current political environment.  Ron Paul’s ideas no longer fringe

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ron-paul2-2010jan02,0,6923745.story

With the economy still struggling, the lawmaker’s libertarian views are getting serious attention.

Oddz n Endz

Police hunt for bizarre supermarket butt-sniffing shopper.  No, … really.  If you’re brave enough, there’s even a security video as evidence.

http://www.asylum.com/2009/12/22/police-hunt-bizarre-supermarket-butt-sniffing-shopper/

Plymouth, England, police are searching for the bespectacled pervert, aged about 40, who smelled the co-op worker’s bum at least 20 times on consecutive weekends.

Still intrigued?  There’s more about this story HERE. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2779253/Hunt-for-shop-nut-who-smelled-staff-members-bum.html

This one’s for myiq2xu and his “plants are living things too” rebuttal to veganism: Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/science/22angi.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

I admit it; I’m a brussel sprouts hunter.  I hunt them; I cut them down; I eat them.  Well, not really, but I do buy them at Wegmans and steam them.

Project Censored has compiled a list of the 25 most under-reported stories of 2009, and what to look for in 2010: http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/category/two-thousand-and-ten-book/

Now here’s a serious twist on the “A man walks into a bar…” theme: Michigan Man Walks Into Diner With 5-Inch Knife in Chest, Orders Coffee

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580964,00.html?test=latestnews

WARREN, Mich.  —  A man who walked into a Michigan diner with a 5-inch knife stuck in his chest ordered a coffee and complained only about the cold weather.

The 52-year-old man, who has not been identified, called a 911 operatorhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2_bing.gif in Warren on Sunday night to ask that an ambulance be sent to Bray’s, an eatery in neighboring Hazel Park.

He said he had been stabbed during an attempted robbery half a mile away, then walked to the restaurant and called 911 from a pay phonehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2_bing.gif.

Everyone could use more useless facts, here is a slideshow with several more to add to your collection: World’s Most Useless Facts

http://wcbstv.com/slideshows/bizarre.facts.20.1164266.html

Wow.  Just wow.  5th Grade Boy Steals $10,000 From Grandparents

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580961,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g2:r1:c0.312240:b29496790:z10

SELMA, Ind. —  Police say a fifth-grader handed out about $300 to others on the bus ride to his eastern Indiana school. Problem is, they say, the cash was among some $10,000 he took from his grandparents’ safe.

Delaware County Sheriff George Sheridan says the boy was riding the bus to Selma Elementary School when he handed out the money on Friday, the last school day before Christmashttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2_bing.gif vacation began.

File this under interesting yet random facts that you may just say “no way” about: 20 Things that happen every minute.

http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=45981

You’ve heard of wait staff techniques for improving tips, but did you know the restaurant may be using psychological tools of subconscious persuasion on you to empty your wallet a bit faster?  Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/dining/23menus.html?_r=1

The use of menu engineers and consultants is exploding in the casual dining arena and among national chains, a sector of the business that has been especially pinched by the economy. In response, they are tapping into a growing body of research into the science of menu pricing and writing, hoping the way to a diner’s heart is not only through the stomach, but through the unconscious.

If you’re finding current events to be overwhelmingly depressing, here are a few pounds of cute to help mitigate the blues:

The 13 cutest animals of 2009  http://videogum.com/archives/the_ultimate_argument_settler/the_13_cutest_animals_of_2009_106701.html

and 70 cute baby animals to improve your mood  http://thedesigninspiration.com/articles/70-cutie-baby-animals-bring-your-a-good-mood/

For all of our moob-lovers, I present you with : Marvelous Moobs.  Guess who made the list?  http://www.marvelousmanboobs.com/

My Little Pony fans can now enjoy superhero versions of their favorite frilly fillies: Superhero modifications for My Little Pony.

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2009/09/14/the-21-awesomest-superhero-mods-for-my-little-pony/

Over in the UK, “Whack a Banker”  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/suffolk/8410453.stm

is quickly eclipsing “Whack a Mole” as a favorite arcade game.  Not to worry, there’s an internet version for you to play at home too. http://www.funnygames.co.uk/whack-a-banker.htm

A whole hot mess of WTF can be found here at:  Oh yeah, this is totally normal. http://shechive.com/2009/11/17/oh-yeah-this-is-totally-normal/

End of the year wrap ups always included “Best of Lists,” but for the end of the decade…here is the “Ultimate End of the Decade ‘Best of’ Compilation.”  Literally, every possible list you can think of is here.

http://www.brobible.com/Story/79924

Boston.com has an excellent photo retrospective of 2009.  Part 1  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/12/2009_in_photos_part_1_of_3.html

Part 2

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/12/2009_in_photos_part_2_of_3.html

Part 3

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/12/2009_in_photos_part_3_of_3.html

One need look no further than this site to see why obesity is a problem in our country: Proof that Anything can be deep fried.  http://topcultured.com/proof-that-anything-can-be-deep-fried/

Incredible strides in brain science are being made every day.  They have now developed a machine that can translate thoughts into speech in real time.  Simply amazing.  http://www.physorg.com/news180620740.html

Super time-waster site of the week.  Bad Gift Emporium.  A seemingly unending collection of bad gifts people have received – and some of them are for sale.  Who wouldn’t love to receive the “Potty Putter” or the “Santa & Mrs. Claus in the tub?”  Just click on the thumbnail for more information about the item.  And take note of the creepy yet addictive music box playing in the background.  Don’t worry about it running out, a rewind is scheduled every minute or so.

http://www.badgiftemporium.com/