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Wednesday News

Good Day Conflucians!!

I’m definitely getting a late start today. Let’s grab a few headlines to get the ball rolling.

In some good news, the Senate unanimously passed the Leahy-Sessions bill that protects US citizens from foreign libel suits:

The US Senate on Monday passed a bill to shield US journalists, authors, and publishers from “libel tourists” who file suit in countries where they expect to get the most favorable ruling.

The popular legislation headed to the House of Representatives, which was expected to approve it and send the measure to US President Barack Obama to sign into law despite misgivings from key US allies.

Backers of the bill have cited England, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore as places where weak libel safeguards attract lawsuits that unfairly harm US journalists, writers and publishers.

The Senate approved the measure in a “unanimous consent” voice vote.

The bill’s supporters have said that “libel tourism” undermines free speech rights under the US Constitution’s cherished first amendment, and so erode accountability of powerful figures in a healthy democracy.

The measure would prevent US federal courts from recognizing or enforcing a foreign judgment for defamation that is inconsistent with the first amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

It would bar foreign parties in such cases from targeting the US assets of an American author, journalist, or publisher as part of any damages.

Astronomers have discovered a star that shatters all previous records for size:

Astronomers have discovered the most massive stars known, including one at more than 300 times the mass of our sun – double the size that scientists thought heavyweight stars could reach.

These colossal stars are millions of times brighter than the sun and shed mass through very powerful winds.

The stellar discovery, which represents the first time that these hulking stars were individually identified, could help astronomers understand the behavior of massive stars, and how large they can be at birth.

In a fascinating article over at the Oil Drum, our favorite go to place for analysis of the oil gusher in the gulf, one of the guest writers dives into the topic of a new direction for nuclear power plants, namely going smaller:

Pick up almost any book about nuclear energy and you will find that the prevailing wisdom is that nuclear plants must be very large in order to be competitive. This assumption is widely accepted, but, if its roots are understood, it can be effectively challenged.

Recently, however, a growing body of plant designers, utility companies, government agencies and financial players are recognizing that smaller plants can take advantage of greater opportunities to apply lessons learned, take advantage of the engineering and tooling savings possible with higher numbers of units and better meet customer needs in terms of capacity additions and financing. The resulting systems are a welcome addition to the nuclear power plant menu, which has previously been limited to one size – extra large.

It is possible for engineers to make incredibly complex calculations without a single math error that still come up with a wrong answer if they use a model based on incorrect assumptions. That appears to be the case with the “bigger is better” model used by nuclear plant designers and marketers.

Though the “economy of scale” did not work for the first nuclear age, there is some evidence that a different economic rule did apply. That rule is what is often referred to as the experience curve. According to several detailed studies, it appears that when similar plants were built by the same organization, the follow-on plants cost less to build. According to a RAND Corporation study, “a doubling in the number of reactors [built by an architect-engineer] results in a 5 percent reduction in both construction time and capital cost.”

This idea is significant. It tells us that nuclear power is no different conceptually than hundreds of other new technologies.

Read more for a fascinating analysis and very good arguments for this new approach.

In the world of publishing, a major milestone has been reached. Amazon now sells more e-books than hardback books:

Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months.

But publishers said it is still too early to gauge for the entire industry whether the growth of e-books is cannibalizing sales of paperback books, a huge and crucial market.

In a statement Monday, Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, also countered the perception that sales of the company’s Kindle e-reading device had suffered due to competition from other devices, such as Apple Inc.’s iPad.

He said the growth rate of Kindle device sales had “reached a tipping point,” having tripled since the company lowered its price to $189 from $259 last month, following a similar move by competitor Barnes & Noble Inc. to cut the price on its Nook e-reader.

Just like with digital downloads of music vs. CD’s, I supposed the same is inevitable with books and movies. I for one still like to have the real thing in hand for the things I want to keep long term. But I love having those things on my iPad and iPhone for reading, watching, or listening at a moments notice. One place where they still aren’t competing is paperbacks. I love going through cheap paperbacks that I then sell or trade at the book swap. That 1 or 2 or 3 dollar book is hard to beat. Both in terms of price and usability. But I’m sure they’re working on that.

Obama signs the financial overhaul bill:

Declaring that “the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” President Obama on Wednesday signed landmark legislation providing the most sweeping overhaul of financial rules since the Great Depression.

The new law reverses decades of deregulation, aiming to provide greater government protection for consumers and reduce risky practices at financial institutions to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.

Its controversial centerpiece is a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have broad authority to write new rules for mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and other consumer products and make sure firms are adhering to them.

The White House is now asking for a review of yesterday’s firing:

The White House intervened late Tuesday night in a racially-tinged dispute that prompted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to fire a black civil servant, and Mr. Vilsack is now reconsidering his decision.

“I am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,” Mr. Vilsack said in an e-mail statement sent at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

A White House official confirmed that advisers to President Obama spoke to officials at the Department of Agriculture “and we agreed that the issue should be reviewed.” The official, speaking anonymously to reveal internal discussions, said Mr. Vilsack was amenable.

“There was a convergence there, but we did initiate the conversation,” the official said.

Apparently there is drama with Obama.

SoS Clinton announces sanctions for North Korea:

Top US policy-makers did a diplomatic dance with their South Korean counterparts on Wednesday in a display of solidarity intended to calm South Korean concerns about the American commitment.

In the highlight of highly publicized visit to Seoul by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary Clinton announced what she said were new US North Korea sanctions. The sanctions, she said would “increase our ability” to halt North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction along with other “illicit activities that helped fund their weapons programs.”

Oakland, CA OK’s pot factories:

Reporting from Oakland — Oakland’s City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that could make it the first city in the state to permit industrial marijuana production, a path-breaking decision that could spur the commercialization of a crop largely grown in hidden gardens.

The plan would authorize four potentially enormous pot factories, but makes no provision for the hundreds of growers who now supply Oakland’s four dispensaries, which sold $28 million in marijuana last year. The council, however, promised it would develop a plan for these growers before permits are awarded next year for the four large-scale marijuana operations.

“This is a monumental step forward,” said Dale Gieringer, an Oakland resident and the longtime head of California NORML, which backs the legalization of marijuana. “It really means moving into the era of industrial-scale operations and Oakland means to do it big.”

And just when you thought it was safe to be poor and unemployed again, Repubs delay the jobless benefits:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday delayed action to restore U.S. unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work the longest, prolonging a partisan standoff even though the measure is certain to pass.

Some 2.5 million jobless Americans have seen their benefits lapse since the end of May as the Senate has deadlocked over how to cover the $34 billion cost of extending them through November.

Congress is all but certain to restore those benefits by the end of the week after Democrats broke a Republican procedural hurdle on Tuesday afternoon. But Republicans appeared to be running out the legislative clock, delaying a final vote until as late as 9 p.m. on Wednesday (0100 GMT Thursday).

“Perhaps the overwhelming majority of Republicans think that since they’ve turned their backs on the unemployed for so many months, what’s another few days?” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said. “Perhaps they think that when unemployment goes up, their poll numbers do too.”

And finally, a plurality of Americans now say that McCain would have been better than Obama. Warning, this is from John Fund, but it’s based on a Quinnipiac poll:

Democrats will be gulping this morning at the Quinnipiac Poll’s latest results. For the first time in the survey’s history, Americans believe by a 48% to 40% margin that President Obama doesn’t deserve re-election. Almost as stinging, a plurality believe the country would have been better off if John McCain had beaten Mr. Obama in 2008.

The Quinnipiac Poll is pored over by political observers because it has a good predictive record and because its large sample size of nearly 2200 people implies a much smaller margin of error than most surveys — around 2 percentage points.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating continues to slide, and is dragging his party down. While last July Mr. Obama had a 57% positive rating, Quinnipiac now pegs him at just 44% approval — a number below President Bill Clinton’s approval rating just before his party lost control of Congress in 1994. When asked which party they plan to vote for this November, likely voters in the Quinnipiac survey picked Republicans by 43% to 38%. This was despite an expressed lack of confidence in the ability of Republican leaders in Congress to tackle the nation’s problems.

That’s a bit of what’s out there. Chime in with updates and new things you’re finding.

137 Responses

  1. Why is Tucker Carlson exposing JournoList? He too knew about Jeremiah Wright but said nothing. What is going on?

    • Controlling the release is also controlling the reaction. In my opinion it has to do with the pre-election races and the intended outcome someone wants for a particular purpose.

      • Either way, the whole mess is reprehensible.

        • My take?
          This White House and the current czars are being toyed with.
          Like my cat Saturn plays with something he knows he controls and can eliminate immediately.
          The “other side” smells weakness and knows exactly where to inflict.

          In fact, I think they enjoy seeing Obama shoot himself in the foot. They are getting gleeful.
          Is it one year to the day that we had the beer summit foot shooting?
          This Admin. has no plan…They just react to the moment. This, my fellow Conflucians, is very scary.

          Dog have mercy.

    • could someone explain please, I have not been online forever and I can not watch this video at the library.

  2. Tucker was still employed by msnbc at the time. IIRC?

    They surely had a “company line” that could not be crossed.

    *checks google*

    Yes, he was hired by FOX in May 2009.

  3. A plurality now see McCain as the better choice? I voted for McCain in protest [and actually I did think the man had leadership skills].

    But come on. Dracula would have been a better choice. At least, everyone would have known what they were getting, blood-sucking fangs and all. I read an interesting essay this morning by Rob Kall over at Op-Ed News, “Memo to Congressional Democrats–Obama Screwed You, too.”

    Incredible. And only two years late.

    Btw, The Oil Drum is a good site to keep up with the ever-changing Gulf Kill details and a variety of energy discussions, not the least of which is peak oil and its implications for the future. Can’t say I understand all the technical info but it’s still a good site to stay abreast of energy issues, something that’s not going to go away in our lifetimes.

    I unfortantely caught a piece of the POTUS’s cheering on the FinReg bill that doesn’t go nearly far enough. Personally, I waiting for the tap dance on Elizabeth Warren and all the reasons he’ll name a second-rate candidate to head the Consumer Agency. Should be enlightening.

  4. I thought the deal was that Tucker wanted to join Journolist but they turned him down, so he got all upset and started leaking everything he could get his hands on?

    • I think that story is claptrap.

      • Speaking of claptrap, according to the National Enquirer, police have investigated two more sexual abuse complaints against Al Gore

        • oh vomit

          Al was so sanctimonious about Bill’s penis problems I should have known he had his own.

          • Ha, ha, his own golden penis.

          • There was a sketch comedy show on TBS called “Frank TV.” One episode had Oliver Stone making a movie about the Clinton administration. The premise was that Al Gore was the guy with Lewinsky and other woman and Bill took the hit because Al was so important to the environmental movement.

            Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

          • nah, he really is a boy scout. These charges are never going to come to anything except extortion. Her discription of how Gore behaved is ridiculous and cartoonish.
            Gore was not being sanctimonious, he was being reserved. That’s him.

      • Yeah, I don’t know why he’d think progressives would let him on their list (well, except for the degree to which it’s a cultural thing, which he fits, and the fact that they’d already let on people with extremely light progressive cred, like Joe Klein).

        • “progressives” like Joe Klein because of his Clinton hate.

          • Adding:

            It’s the exact same reason they also lovingly link to Sullivan and Huffington.

            Type II CDS.

          • True, but all the more reason for TC to feel victimized. 😉 Where’s the love for his Clinton hate?

          • poor tucker, he ditched the bowtie but he’s still not cool enough to sit at the Clinton Haters Table

          • Dave Weigel would not be caught dead dancing the fandango in sequined pants, nuff said. Everyone remembers the first day of prep school, if Tucker wants to reinvent himself he needs a new identity and I don’t mean a new D&D translator.

      • Well, I believe the reporting of that story about Tucker (more accurately F..ker) is true. Tucker is as bad as those Dem blogger boyz many now part of Journilist. He’s no different. He’s a loud mouth right wing jackass misogynist just like his loud mouth left wing jackass brothers who savaged then-Senator Clinton. One example being his castration fixation re/Hillary. Tucker was different in one important way from those blogger boyz. His savaging/demonizing of both Clinton’s started much earlier than 2007/8.

        He has a history prior to those primaries of being a part of the loathsome GOP hit squad that went after Bill & Hillary non-stop during & after the Clinton Administration. Just like most of the rest of the Dem blogger boyz, all he wants is to belong to the VILLAGE, a incestuous, Clinton-hating club with conveniently short memories of the nefarious role they all have played in pimping anybody but a Clinton from the ’90’s through 2007/8, Bradley over Gore and then Bush-asshat over Gore.

        Tucker & the rest of these nasty, opportunistic weasels deserve every condemnation heaped upon them & much, much more. So, yeah, I believe that report on Tucker is true just as true as what was reported in TheDaily Caller as annotated above.

  5. Obama wins! And Journolisters rejoice

    These people were and still are positively f*cking sick.

    • It almost makes you want to email these tools and ask them how Bush 3 is working out for them?

      How could they not understand the hundreds of caveats Obama placed in his speeches negated every hopey changey thing he previously stated?

  6. The Obama Boys’ Club — Does the White House Economic Team Have a Woman Problem? Not sure if this link has already been posted…

    “The two men leading our country’s economic policy, Geithner and Larry Summers, seem unwilling and perhaps incapable of working with women.

    That is why President Obama should not only nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, but also proactively seek to add gender balance to his economic inner circle.”


    • Didn’t Elizabeth Warren come up with the Consumer Protection ideals? Yet, they don’t support her being at the Consumer Protection Agency??? Strange…

      • Yep, that’s what I read, that the whole idea of doing that was hers. What a bunch of losers if they can’t put her in charge of that.

      • ye gads…can’t actually have consumers protected! Where will the campaign millions come from in 2010 if not from the “we got rich screwing American consumers” crowd.

    • I don’t know what has been going on with Amy Siskind, but this post is rather silly. I just had to read the following to throw up my hands:

      The two men leading our country’s economic policy, Geithner and Larry Summers, seem unwilling and perhaps incapable of working with women.

      The top position in Obama’s economic team is occupied by Dr Christina Romer. She is the CEA Chair.
      If we went by the hierarchie, Larry Summers actually has a staffer position, although Director of NEC sounds great. Those who follow this stuff know that Larry Summers “lost” the power play against Geithner.

      We just have a matter of egos here. Larry Summers is very hard to work with, just ask Joe Stiglitz.

      This has nothing to do with evil men conspiring against women. It’s always good to know what you’re talking about before throwing charges, something that Amy Siskind didn’t do.

      • I wouldn’t be keen on working with Larry “women aren’t good at math” Summers either.

        It’s pretty apparent from that kind of statement that he has preconceptions about the female gender.

      • I don’t know that Amy backed up her argument as well as she could have, but I don’t think that her conclusion was wrong.

    • The whole entire amazing thing about this is that tinitially following the meltdown there were tons of discussion about how if more women were involved in the process from the get go we likely wouldn’t have had the meltdown from the get go. Testosterone causes the male half of the species to take risks according to what was studied. Women tend to temper that response.

      At least that was initially what was some of the determinations of many studies. Meanwhile the male appointed putzes seem determined to have their boyz only club despite studies showing that having women on board would temper men taking risks.

    • Haven’t read it yet, but I think Warren’s integrity and work ethic are the real probelms they have with appointing her.

      • “I think Warren’s integrity and work ethic are the real problems . . .”

        I agree. I believe Warren is the real deal–knows her stuff, can’t be bought and won’t go with the spin.

        The boys don’t want their games ruined by a straight-shooter, a natural whistle-blower.

        And, of course, she’s precisely what we need right now, which is why I’m not optimistic about her appointment. Hope I’m wrong.

  7. I started a reference list of members of jurnolist. Will update with the new article linked here by Rapph B

  8. It was not easy voting for McCain when I wanted Hillary — but I knew that too! — signed, a Democrat in Exile. Who no longer believes in my old political party. And is now going to change over to Independent, soon. You lost millions of us in 2008 after that Brazile deal, no?
    You did. RD has that vid around here somewhere.

    • I see most republicans as steaming piles of excrement that would steal the pennies off their dead grandmother’s eyes in a heart beat. They can’t win an argument without resorting to personal attacks, lies and distortion.
      Yes, like in any group there are a few less unsavory members, but that is like spotting a corn kernel in that steaming pile and about as pleasant.
      Despite all that I voted for John McCain over Barack Obama such was my disgust with this current crop of Democrats.

      I feel that the United States is at a tipping point, we are about to slide back into the time of the Robber Barons where we all work in company towns. The Democrats are failing to put the brakes on this juggernaut and the republicans, voters included, are gleefully greasing the rails.

      Sorry if this is over the top but …

  9. While watching a bit of Cambell Brown’s reporting on Sherrod. She had Martin and Mary Matalin basically giving her a warm goodbye and best wishes at the end of the show.

    I couldn’t help but think if she would’ve had some courage and actually reported the reality of the widespread primary fraud against Hillary and other dirty trick smears. Such as the faux racism charges or rampant misogyny against both Hillary and Palin. Who were sitting public servants at the time and deserved better from reporters. That she could have built a strong following of voters/viewers looking for truthful reporting.

    She shot herself in the foot being just another spineless reporter playing gotcha for Obama.

  10. I think there’s a certain advantage to smaller nuclear reactors. small radioactive devices have been used as power sources for space-faring probes and satellites for years.

    The technology seems to be heading toward home-sized natural gas powered fuel cells to run the electicity for a household. The advantage is avoiding power line loss as gas tends to stay in the pipeline. It would also make it nearly 100% reliable, since the lines are already underground.

    • I agree. And I would much rather have depleted uranium powering homes than used in bombs.

    • The technology seems to be heading toward home-sized natural gas powered fuel cells
      There’s a new documentary out about natural gas extraction and processing. Apparently it’s one of the worst and most detrimental to the environment things going. It’s destroying the water supply where ever it’s extracted. I only saw some stuff on it, so I’m going to look into that more.

      • I think Grist has articles on “fracking” — I read a little about it during the spill. That’s the term for that kind of drilling and the stories are something. Water supply. And what gets into it,.

        • Yea, that’s a big issue I saw too. Perhaps like oil drilling, it doesn’t have to be done in a way that destroys the earth, but that’s how they like to do it.

          • You can mine for coal or blow off the top off a mountain for it. It just depends on methodology.

            Where I live, natural gas is used to generate electricity. Then that electricity runs through lossy power lines until a smaller percentage of it gets into a home. If you’re using it anyway, I’d go for the more efficient method.

          • Yep, methodology is a lot. Also fixing that pathetic grid, or bypassing it as would be the case with fuel cells.

          • Or bypassing the grid with small nuke plants. Maybe we’ll all finally have that “Mr. Fusion” machine from the back to the future machine. And finally the damn flying cars. I’m still pissed about that one.

          • Flying cars?
            They already are because they blow by me on my commute to work on Rt 30 every day. At least when they crash and burn it’s on the concrete sluice of the interstate. I can only imagine the destruction of crashed flying cars raining down from above.

  11. Arthur Silber, with dagger in hand, has some words for “progressives”.


    • Read that yesterday. He minces no words and gets straight to the heart of it. The dagger is sharp.

    • Pretty potent. I liked this quote, though pulled from a previous post of his:

      The historical record is compelling in its clarity, and overpowering in its length and volume. A corporatist, authoritarian state is what the ruling elites want, and it is precisely what serves their interests, Republican and Democrat alike. They know it; they count on your inability or refusal to see it.

    • It’s ttoo bad we can’t print it, put it in a pretty frame and send it to select members of Journ-o-list.

    • Wow. He eviscerates Digby and her “optics.”

      He nailed it.

    • Caught that yesterday too. Whatta write up!

      Almost send it to some Obots who couldn’t understand why I didn’t support the Dems/Obama. But at our last meeting, before the health care bill was passed, they were so upset at him they didn’t want to talk politics at all. When previously we were all political junkies who chatted for hours about Bush and his latest adventure.

      Long story short….didn’t want to rub it in.

  12. Zooming in on the young cluster RMC 136a

    Using a combination of instruments on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, some weighing at birth more than 300 times the mass of the Sun, or twice as much as the currently accepted limit of 150 solar masses. The most extreme of these stars was found in the cluster RMC 136a (more often nicknamed R136). Named R136a1, it is found to have a current mass of 265 times that of the Sun. Being a little over a million years old, R136a1 is already “middle-aged” and has undergone an intense weight-loss programme, shedding a fifth of its initial mass over that time, or more than fifty solar masses. It also has the highest luminosity, close to ten million times greater than the Sun.

    R136 is a cluster of young, massive and hot stars located inside the Tarantula Nebula, in one of the Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud, 165 000 light-years away. This video zooms in on the R136 cluster as seen with the MAD adaptive optics instrument on the Very Large Telescope, starting from a wider view obtained with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope.

    Credit:: ESO/P. Crowther/C.J. Evans

  13. The congressional black caucus NOW wants to have a “discussion about race”.


    Wooooooooooo. This oughta be good.

    • What’s to discuss? As Shirley Sherrod rightfully pointd out the discussion ought to be about the haves and the have nots.

      Black, white, hispanic it’s all the same if you don’t have the means or access to someone who gives to bits.

      Shirley can bunk under my bus anytime.

      • That is why she is very dangerous to Obama and what appears to be a race card campaign strategy in ’10 and ’12. Her speech made it obsolete in some very real ways. I would not be surprised to learn that’s what caused the drastic reaction from the administration.

        • Yep.

          CNN reporting that White House aides say the President will not call Shirley Sherrod. “No more beer summits here,” they said.

          Notice that BB was right: Vilsack took the fall, with Gibbs et al making sure The One was completely protected from any fall out.

          Who on earth actually believes that Vilsack made that decision without any input from the White House?


          • “CNN reporting that White House aides say the President will not call Shirley Sherrod. “No more beer summits here,” they said.

            If that’s true, it really makes me sick.

          • WTV,

            I didn’t think there would be a “beer summit” and I don’t even think there will be another one. Obama got his fingers burned badly last time and he learned his lesson (at least here).

            He cannot dare to call her although he could try to reach her privately. The same people who want to beat up on Obama for even breathing would all show up and it would turn into another circus.

            You think the Skip Gates story went well?

            Btw, did you notice that the people on Fox “News” were still beating up on Shirley Sherrod yesterday? O’Reilly even said she had no business working in a public function.

          • but I don’t even want any beer summits … I just wish he would call her. I feel like people want him to just lead in the middle of the oil kill and he says, “I can’t suck it up with a straw.” We know that! That’s not what we’re asking. Somebody just wants him to show some gesture to Sherrod, and the admin apparently says, “there will be no beer summits.” sigh. it’s all about the Obama permanent campaign.

          • I just talked to someone who did watch O’Reilly yesterday, and it sounds like O’Reilly was harping on the “one of his kind” remark . So he’s another one of those asshats who refuses to get the point, not that that’s any kind of surprise.

            Sherrod said the “one of his kind” remark relating a story about getting over thinking in those terms and realizing it was about the poor. She was telling us where her thinking was *before* she had the epiphany. The jerks cutting her down for that keep seizing on that one comment and acting like that was her present-day attitude, which either means they lack comprehension skills or they are just that mean-spirited.

    • How about a discussion about managing events properly and competently?

      I shudder at the thought that B0 and co. are in charge of this country. If they can’t handle things like the Sherrod case, what the h&ll are they doing with everything else?

      If Hillary was not the SOS, I honestly don’t think I could sleep at night for fear of the morning news.

      • This is from a Larry Johnson post at NoQuarter, but it sums up pretty well.

        Obama is in way over his head. He is not competent. He has never had to manage personnel or a large organization. Confronted with this new challenge he is drowning. And like a drowning man desperately thrashing in the water, he’s taking us, the American people, under with him.

        Damn the fools who voted for this clown and gave him the Presidency. He is not worthy and certainly, with each passing day, not competent to do the job.

  14. update on that Oakland 580 shooter I commented about on Monday:

    he was planning a terrorist (yes, I said it!! “terrorist”) attack on the ACLU and The Tides (which I’d never heard of) because he was angry at liberals. He wanted to start a “revolution” by killing “important people” who he thought of as liberals.

    Now it comes out that he heard of “The Tides” – (a social justice non-profit organization) – from the Glen Beck Show, who targets them repeatedly as an instrument of evil.

    We can be thankful for the CHiPs for catching him before his planned mass murders.

    So scary, you guys! I definitely think this is a big deal, and am concerned it’s not getting national news. Makes me wonder how often white guys with guns who attempt mass murder with politcal reasons (egged on by Fox) get buried under the news of fricking Lindsey Lohan???

    I was really surprised everyone here pooh-poohed it on Monday. Yes, it amounted to nothing, but that was just luck. This guy was planning mass murders: he admitted it. After watching Fox News, for political reasons, to start a revolultion?

    White guys can be terrorists too! Scary sh*t.

    • Sure white guys can be terrorists. What was Timothy McVeigh?

      • What about that guy who bombed the Olympics? What about the guy who murdered George Tiller and all the other doctors killed by supposedly pro-life people. All white as far as I know. That guy who shot up the Holocaust museum too.

    • Who said they couldn’t be?

      If I remember correctly the Unibomber was a white male too!

      However, in reality had “mom” been paying attention to this guy’s weapons cache and his mental well being the guy wouldn’t have been a threat to begin with.

      If people are going to cower everytime some mentally unhinged person plots something better plan for lots of time in your bedroom under the comfy covers. When hard times hit and people feel desperate they do desperate things.

    • I-580 Gunman Byron Williams allegedly wanted a Revolution

      Convicted felon Byron Williams loaded up his mother’s Toyota Tundra with guns, strapped on his body armor and headed to San Francisco late Saturday night with one thing in mind: to kill workers at the American Civil Liberties Union and an environmental foundation, prosecutors say.

      Williams, an anti-government zealot on parole for bank robbery, had hoped to “start a revolution” with the bloodshed at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, authorities said.

      But before he made it to the city, Williams was stopped at early Sunday by California Highway Patrol officers for speeding and driving erratically on westbound Interstate 580 west of Grand Avenue in Oakland.

      Police say he then initiated a chaotic, 12-minute gunbattle with officers, firing a 9mm handgun, a .308-caliber rifle and a shotgun. He reloaded his weapons when he ran out of ammunition and stopped only after officers shot him in areas of his body not covered by his bullet-resistant vest, authorities said.

      • He was a convicted felon. I hope his mother lost her permits for her arsenal for giving him access to the guns to begin with.

        Sometimes the stupid truly hurtsd.

        I guess I’m not that floored by the story because my own father engaged in a “shootout” with Titusville police in the 1980’s. He got upset at a bar when someone from Fla called him a “yankee” and pulled a gun on the guy. He fled after the police were called. The police pursued.Police officer got shot.(minimum 3 year sentence for that)

        People on the edge of despration+ access to weapons= horrible consequences.

        I wish I knew the answer to keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unwell without infringing the rights of responsible gun owners. I don’t though. Very very sad.

        • It does bother me that this man was targeting Advocacy groups and others that are working to support non-profits which work to help those in need.

          The communist meme is getting a little out of hand in my humble opinion and Andrew Breitbard isn’t remorseful about all the huhaa he started.

          The Shirley Sherrod Slander: Breitbard Still Defends It

          • The guy was an ex con who had little to no job prospects. It is not surprising in the least that someone with lots of time on his hands would hatch up a plot to get the people his mama’s TV was railing about.

            I guess I’m blase’ about it because I lived with someone like this guy for the first decade of my life. Literally the last words out of my father’s mouth to my brother were to “get his enemies”

            There’s a reason we don’t want felons to have access to weapons.

            The guy is a three striker so he’ll ikely end up behind bars for life.

    • It probably isn’t getting national news because it was thankfully unsuccessful and they don’t want copycat crimes.

      Besides it’s Oakland. Crazy stuff happens there all the time even if the crazy has to drive a couple of hours to get there.

      • Byron Williams is from Tuolumne County, which is by Yosemite National Park and about two hours away from Oakland. I think myiq2x might know how big or small the county is, but this guy was traveling to kill people and start some conflict and hoped others would join his cause.

        There is another video that gives a clear view of the fire power this man had (it is too disturbing) and how lucky the officers were to stop him the night before his planned mass murder spree. Many thanks the the CHP and the Oakland Police for stopping him for swerving on the road, as the unarmed workers of the ACLU and the Foundation wouldn’t have had a chance with this armed man.

        • Variations of this happen far too often. Other than his targets, this guy is no different than any other whacko who shoots up the place he works, or used to work, or anyone else who “goes postal”.

          Obsessing over these individual guys is not a worthwhile pursuit. If we want to do something worthwhile, perhaps we could think of ways to pressure the political class into policies which might reduce the tremendous stress of our modern life.

          • I already do volunteer work and try to help, but it is still disturbing to find someone with a felony record (multiple) given access to armor, piercing bullets/gun, and multiple weapons and a collection of material about what he planned on doing.

            Worth looking at to see if there were warning signs in my view.

          • I’m sure there were warning signs. There almost always are but people don’t pay attention to each other anymore.

            I think he got the weaponry from his Mother. Now that’s sick.

          • Color me shocked……not

            The swerving he was doing was because the guy was drunk and driving on a suspended liscence due to a DUI.


        • The ACLU was very blase’ about it. Apparently they are used to this and their comment was “it goes with the territory” when asked to comment on being a target.

          It’s good that they caught the guy but I think people need to understand that this guy was the same type of threat as the mentally unhinged dude who shot up VT. Stuff like this has happened before now and will continue to happen because as far as I can see there isn’t a way to completely keep weaponry out of people not mentally well’s hands. As it was he got his weapons cache from his mom who was stockpiling for the “revolution.”

          • Weapons should be kept out of the hands of felons, but the mentally ill have no higher an arrest rate for violent crime than the general population. Disallowing mentally ill people with no violent history from owning handguns is discrimination.

        • Apparently, we should add not very bright to his list too. As far as I was aware the ACLU and the other group listed as his targets weren’t bgovernment organizations -so I’m not quite sure how this fits into his “anti government” wanting to start a revolution thing.

          It gets more ironic though. The “anti government” guy will have a public defender representing him. Oh the irony. I wonder if he recognizes that his lawyer is appointed to him and paid for by the very government his mom’s tv set rails about.

          • I think it is the Ole the ACLU is the communist blah, blah, blah meme…not realizing all the good that they do for Constitutional Rights and Freedom. Truly sad, but yes, Advocate groups do recognize that they will be a target but it doesn’t make it less, it only proves that they are willing to go the extra mile and know that many Advocates have paid too great a prize, but still they tread on.

        • Yup Myiq is my neighbor in old ‘Condit Country’ and my previous rep was Pete Stark in the SF bay area.

          It is definitely a road trip from where he started and he was probably getting antsy from all that driving.

          That part of 580 has these nice big curves down a slight grade which helps gain speed compared to the straight highways which he drove on for most of the trip. So it is a fast part of the highway and a huge speed trap.

          Also that is where you start getting the feeling of being in a large city and close to the bridge to cross over into SF. Otherwise that part of the freeway feels tucked up into the foothills and is kinda dark in places.

          Who knows maybe he chickened out on his ambush plans against innocent people and decided that a shoot out with the CHP is a better prison story?

          Or like I said he got antsy and caught up in the curves as this was one of the last legs of his journey.

          Either way, he was trying to start trouble and volunteering for the death penalty.

          • He will get life, as I don’t think he will get the death penalty as no one died, but he did confess to the mass murder plot.

          • Sorry poorly written, his original plan was the death penality. Either by cops at the site of his ambush or later at San Quentin after the trial.

            But I agree he will get life now thanks to the CHP. And strange enough more freedom as a result of being sentenced to life in prison instead of on death row.

  15. Welcome to the city of Bell. Average income: $24,800, $8,000 less than the national average. Public debt per capita: $1,972, up from $599 six years ago. Average wage for the city’s leaders?

    Well, that’s where things get messy.

    An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. Residents left standing outside the chamber banged on the doors and shouted “fuera,” or “get out” in Spanish.

    It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 — with annual 12 percent raises — and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work…

    Reading this story almost set my hair on fire. This is the sort of jawdropping freak-show case of government at the trough that concentrates the mind on spending. A hundred posts from the right wing about the myriad ways in which the public sector is fleecing the private sector aren’t as effective as one news story about a poor little city struggling to keep its municipal overlords rolling in dough.

    • Yep

      People call the tea partiers “stupid” and then along comes some example to give credence to the idea that somehow or another people are around toserve the government rather than the other way around.

  16. Gallup:

    Former President Bill Clinton is currently more well-liked by Americans than both of his successors. Sixty-one percent view him favorably, compared with 52% for President Barack Obama and 45% for former President George W. Bush.

    Eat shit, Obots!

  17. Fox News On Sherrod & Dem Cowards (Cenk is upset over the cave-in because the White House thought Glenn Beck was going to go after Shirley as did, Presidential hopeful Newt Gringrich, O’Reilly and the others on FOX )

    • The WH needs to get away from the Village and take a poll on how many Americans have heard of Glen Beck. When they find out it’s 42 and none of them are voting for Obama anyway, maybe they’ll settle down and stop letting him dictate their every move.

    • blood in the water is like crack cocaine to these people. You don’t get them off your back by caving to them! …that’s just encourages them! LORD almighty! This WH has the melting point of a creamsicle…they have taken the art of Dem caving to a sacrament. A huge part of the problem for all involved is no one is home, no one is actually working…they delegate to underlings and party 24/7. This is the result…

  18. Who’s Having the Most Sex?

    Smokers are 10 percent more sexually active than nonsmokers.

    According to the study that produced this finding, drinkers are 20 percent more sexually active than nondrinkers, and those who both smoke and drink are almost 200 percent more sexually active than those who do neither.

    G’night. I’ve got to go buy a pack of cigarettes and a case of tequila now.

    • Fun article. After reading through those I figured if you find the right combination of attributes in a partner, you can be around 1000 times more likely to have sex. I believe this requires further study.

    • lol, I do not smoke or drink, but I currently take lots of Narc pain killlers. I wonder if that counts?

  19. Keeping the Jurnoist updated is a full time job. Few tabloid covers out today

  20. Gah. I’ve been avoiding too much politics lately, just popping in off and on the keep informed. I see that the hypocrisy and accusations on both sides are just as twisted as ever.

    Take the unemployment benefits extension. It’s not quite true that the R’s have categorically refused to extend benefits. What they’ve said is that they will gladly vote for an extension, IF the money comes out of unused stimulus funds (which there is plenty of) rather than new spending.

    One can reasonably argue for or against that position, but it’s so much easier to just screech “Republicans hate the poor!” Just as it’s easier to cry “The Dems are all Marxists!” rather than argue the pros and cons (for there are both) of their govt power grabs and burgeoning budgets.

    The public debate is ever and always a mighty clash of STRAWMEN, a wild flailing against a caricature of the other side’s supposed positions, while our country goes down the tubes.

    I’ll vote for the first party whose platform consists of GROW THE FUCK UP and THINK instead of manipulating emotions.

    • WMCB,

      I would take issue with your argument another time. I’m just glad to see you around because you have been missed here.

      Btw, which money are Republicans proposing to use for to make the Bush tax cut for the rich (that what they are) permanent?

      • mablue2, I’m not arguing that the R’s are not hypocrites. What I’m arguing is that BOTH sides deliberately misrepresent the others true positions, rather than have an honest debate about the pros and cons of their ideas. Guess what? There are pros and cons to almost everything. Almost nothing in this world is cut and dried, good and evil, all gain with zero downside. EVERYTHING is a trade-off.

        I am old enough to remember when we actually had honest political debate in this country. Where one argued against positions that one’s opponent actually took, and we decided whether the gains of policy A were worth and outweighed the bad effects of policy A.

        Now we argue that all the evils of hell will attend the opponents plan, with no upside. And we argue that the reverse is true for our policies, that we can have benefit with NO negative effects whatsoever. Both sides do it, and its laughable. Everything in life is a trade off, with pros and cons. But that kind of discussion no longer exists in our public political debate.

        • Good morning WMCB! Glad to see you.

        • Of course there’s a trade-off to every political issue, that doesn’t mean both are equally bad.

          Even if you buy that $30B argument: That amount doesn’t add a dent to our long term fiscal debt, which is $20T for starters. Moreover, it would go a long way to help people who need oxygene now.

          Republicans have always shown less willingness to help those who are worse off than those who are well off (trickle down anybody?). That’s just a historical fact, the fact that politicians will play politics notwithstanding.

          • since the democrats are in charge did we stop having trickle down economics? I must have missed it.
            what the democrats say and what they do are two different things. Yes the only party worse is the republicans but ONLY because of what they say compared to what the democrats say. What they both do seems to be exactly the same thing.

      • They could be using the same money as democrats Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, and Evan Bayh. They want to keep the Bush tax cuts for all earners.

      • Heh, it never fails.


        With U.S. employment still weak, some centrist Democrats are agreeing, prompted to change their stance by the still-ugly economic picture.

        In addition to Messrs. Conrad, Nelson and Bayh, at least half a dozen House Democrats also have come out publicly in favor of postponing tax increases for higher earners.

        “We’re not creating jobs, and raising taxes now would not be a great idea,” Rep. Michael McMahon, a New York Democrat, said this week.

    • I think the GOP leadership uses concern over spending as a strawman itself, a tactic to deny people help. Where was all their concern before we got to this point? I’m just not convinced by the GOP (and I do mean the GOP as opposed to the conservative grassroots). That doesn’t excuse the Democrats for their duplicity in this scheme either, though. The Democrats only point out how much the GOP sucks at the 11th hour so that the rest of the time they can avoid actually being good themselves and doing what they were elected to do. There are no heroes in this story. Washington is doing well while the rest of the country is struggling. DC is playing politics with people’s lives.

      • I agree with WMCB.

        Ask yourself: why wouldn’t the Dem Party be willing to use stimulus funds, rather than leave the unemployed uncared for?

        Could it be that the Mayberry Machiavellis needed something to demagogue?

        Welcome back, WMCB. Missed you lots. Voice of facts and rationality, willing to look at both sides’ games. 🙂

        • I look at both sides and I don’t have any sympathy for either. I don’t think there’s anything to defend the GOP here. Ask yourself why is the GOP so obsessed with this when they don’t care about spending when it comes to their states and their pet projects and their Bushie tax cuts?

          • You didn’t answer the question.

            Why wouldn’t the Dems be willing to use available stimulus funds to help the unemployed?

          • Why should I answer the question? I never defended the Democrats.

          • I specifically said this in fact:

            The Democrats only point out how much the GOP sucks at the 11th hour so that the rest of the time they can avoid actually being good themselves and doing what they were elected to do.

    • WMCB!!! Great to see you! Hope all is well.

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