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Dishonest Intellectuals


I was so busy ranting and raving yesterday that I missed a good one. Glenzilla wrote a good piece on the pervasiveness of Democratic dissatisfaction, and linked to this post by Michael Kinsley at Politico on the topic of intellectual dishonesty:

The blight of intellectual dishonesty is everybody’s problem. What is intellectual honesty? Yglesias seems to think it’s the same thing as accuracy or honesty, plain and simple. But it’s not. Accuracy means getting your facts straight. Honesty means not telling conscious or purposeful lies on questions of hard fact. Intellectual honesty is more demanding: It means being truthful about what’s going on inside your own head.

To start, you shouldn’t say anything that you don’t believe is true. But that’s just to start. Intellectual honesty means that you have a basis for your belief, that you have tested your belief against other beliefs on the same subject, that you have no blinding bias or, at least, have put bias aside as best you can. “Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”: Your views on, say, the constitutional limits of presidential war powers should not turn on which party controls the presidency. Your views on one subject should be consistent with your views on all other subjects. And if you’re going to base your reelection campaign on your opponent’s 20-year-old arrest for drunken driving, or on how his visits to Washington as a teenager (you visited once; he visited three times and even sent his mom a postcard saying he was having fun) make him too “inside the Beltway,” you need to have handy an explanation of why you believe that this is one of the most pressing issues facing voters.

Glenn had this to say:

It’s fine if someone wants to be a cheerleader, clapping loudly in order to rally the troops. Every Party has and needs those types of people (though it’s strange (though not unusual) that a person who wants to do that would call himself a “journalist”; generally one finds that trait in political operatives and spokespeople).

[…]

The claim that dissatisfaction among Democrats is confined to a “couple of blogs” might advance Schmitt’s political objectives. Given the human craving to make perceptions correspond with desires, it likely makes him feel good to believe that it’s true. But it’s so plainly false that it’s hard to believe that anyone could say it with a straight face, let alone believe that it will help anything — their Party or themselves — to claim it. As a general proposition, papering over serious problems — pretending they do not exist — is never constructive, and that’s certainly true when it comes to a Party’s political failures. Worst of all, making this claim obscures a very important truth that ought to be promoted and amplified, one which the establishment media (“move to the Right!”) will do its best to deny after November: Democrats do themselves no favors when they ignore the wishes, values and agenda of their “base”: i.e., those who are most responsible for their being in power. Quite the opposite is true.


You may have noticed that my most spittle-flecked rants are the ones directed at the A-list progressive bloggers rather than Republicans or right-wing bloggers. The reason for that is best encapsulated by this comment from WMCB:

I do not get freaked out and angry when my elderly dog with a bladder problem keeps peeing on the corner of my couch. I don’t LIKE it, but I sort of expect it.

I do, however, get pissed off as hell if my husband is doing it.


Once upon a time Left Blogistan was a meritocracy. This was back in the days when the Mainly Stupid Media was discussing the distinguishing characteristics of the Clenis and swooning over Commander Codpiece. More and more people started using the internet and some of them started web logs which were basically diaries or journals where people posted their thoughts and ideas.

Some of these “blogs” focused on news and politics. The authors usually didn’t have special sources of information, they just did analysis that was very different from that being done by the chattering classes. A few of these bloggers gained fame not because somebody handed them a megaphone but because of the quality of their writing.

Other writers linked to them, blogrolls were started, and an online community formed. These bloggers eschewed groupthink, were irreverent and took pride in being members of the “reality based community.” Oh, and they said “fuck” a lot and used lots of other profanity too.

Those were heady days, heady days indeed.

I’m not talking about latecomers like Ezra and Matty Y. who went straight from potty-training to professional (paid) blogging. I’m talking about people like Digby, who built her reputation without ever revealing her true identity. In fact, many people were surprised to learn that Digby was a “she,” not a “he.”

Then came the wunderkind (almost all male) who looked at blogging as a financial opportunity and talked about business models. These were guys like Markos and Josh. They were followed by Arianna and other well-funded entrepreneurs who simply bought their way in. Last of all came the Gen X’ers like Matt and Ezra who were just hired and given the online equivalent of megaphones.

Somewhere during the time the blogosphere was becoming”professional” it also became corrupted. Most of us didn’t realize it until about 2008 when we were shocked and dismayed to learn the true natures of many people we had come to respect.

I don’t know if they changed or it was bullshit from day one. Some of both I’d guess.

For years they told us about the moral and ethical failings of the Republicans and Movement Conservatives. We were told we should aspire to more than just winning elections. We were supposed reform our political system by replacing the faux-morality of the right with a true morality based on truth, respect for the law and principles of democracy.

We opposed the war, racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry. We despised the “Village” and government secrecy. We tried to use the internet to organize grassroots activism and counter the influence of the malefactors of great wealth.

So what happened? Obamanation happened.

VastLeft:

This year’s running of the quadrennial horse race exposed — to those who would notice — many flaws in the progressive blogosphere, some as surprising as they were disappointing: bullying groupthink, classism, misogyny, and disturbing appetites for stale rightwing baloney and newly minted Drudgian smears.

Overarching the whole experience was a cloud of truthiness, believing whatever it felt good to believe, facts-be-damned.

The Obama skeptic found her/himself in the Ron Suskind role, the nose-against-the-glass reality-based wonk who “just didn’t get it,” being read the latest edition of the Arthur Jensen speech.


Eric Boehlert:

One of the most interesting things bloggers have told me (often off the record) about the primary season was how clear it became that their readers really did dictate what the bloggers wrote. For years, bloggers and their readers had been in heated agreement about Bush, about Iraq, about the MSM. But in lots of cases they were not in agreement about who should be the Democratic nominee and bloggers mentioned to me how strange and uncomfortable that schism was, and how in the end many of them did just punt. Meaning, they got tired of fighting with their readers and simply didn’t write certain things because they knew it would create a pie fight within the site. They’re not especially proud of it, but they have conceded that they did alter what they wrote. And that for them it was a real eye-opener because they had spent years educating their readers about politics and the press and creating certain narratives together. And then during the primary season, some bloggers felt like their readers just completely ignored those shared lessons (and of course, the readers would say it was the blogger who ignored those shared lessons) that left the bloggers with the uncomfortable choice of essentially rejecting their readers or editing what they wrote. Today, some will admit they opted for the second choice.


How about Digby?:

“I thought it was character assassination,” Digby told me a couple weeks after the RFK controversy had passed. She was exhausted by the toll the campaign had already taken on the blogosphere. She was also aware of the kind of pie fights that would erupt on her site if she posted a condemnation of those who unfairly attacked Clinton for her RFK comments. So Digby, who never endorsed either candidate, simply passed on the story. “I’m a chicken shit,” she said with a shake of her head.


Whether corrupt or chickenshit, the things we saw were more than just disappointing, they were an infuriating betrayal of everything we believe in. Worst of all, things haven’t changed.

These “leaders” of Left Blogistan sold us out on health care reform. They traded away any discussion of single payer in exchange for Obama’s promises on the ambiguous “public option.” Corrente has done a good job of documenting the way all the big blogs acted in unison in squishing any mention of single payer.

So instead of being advocates for us they became cheerleaders for ObamaCare. But Obama fucked ’em, and we got fucked too.

Maybe they thought they were really doing the right thing, but what they did violated basic principles of democracy. We’re supposed to be all about openness and grassroots “bottom-up” action.

What the A-list bloggers did was to conspire in secret (through the Journolist, other listservs, private emails and/or White House conference calls) to suppress open discussion and impose a “top-down” outcome. If wasn’t the first time or the last.

Now they’re trying to use the Jedi mind-trick on us and convince us we’re living in a progressive paradise. Sorry guys, but that only works on weak minds so don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

Of course they don’t care what we think because we were prematurely correct and carry the PUMA taint.

Well they can all kiss my taint.


Just say No!

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Where else are they gonna go?

Merced's tent city


The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” – Anatoly France

From the Merced Sun-Stroke:

The students were among more than 30 people, including homeless advocates and Mercedians, who stood outside protesting at the civic center Monday.

Some carried signs that read “Where am I going to live now?” or wore tags that said “Where am I supposed to live?” Others sat in chairs on the sidewalk and one man even stood outside a tent with a sign that read “This is my condo.”

All were protesting against the Oct. 13 closure date of the homeless encampments, which had been previously pushed back because of a county holiday.


So my town has poor people with no place to live. They used to be called tramps, hobos and vagrants, but now we call them homeless. Many of them are parolees, drug addicts and/or mentally ill. They beg, scavenge and steal to survive.

Some of them started living along Black Rascal Creek, forming a “Hooverville” next to the railroad tracks in an industrial area on the edge of town. The lucky ones have tents, the rest make shelters out of whatever they can find.

Now the city is gonna make them leave, but they have no place else to go. They’ll still be poor and homeless, they’ll just have to do it somewhere else. “Out of sight, out of mind” meets NIMBY.

Some conservatives have this weird idea that if we make being poor unpleasant enough people will choose to not be poor. But if Welfare causes poverty, why was there poverty before there was Welfare?

The irony is that the City of Merced has hundreds of vacant houses due to the mortgage crisis. There are half a dozen within two blocks of my house, including one right across the street. People are simply walking away from places that are worth far less than they owe.

This isn’t a unique problem. I don’t have the answers, but we gotta do something. This is ridiculous, because even with our economy in the toilet we’re still the richest nation in the history of humankind.


“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

ZOMG! She’s gonna run! (maybe)


WTF Week continues as Left Blogistan gets it’s collective panties in a twist over a couple leaked emails:

It has long been speculated that former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin would mount a bid for the White House in 2012. So far, Palin has avoided directly answering questions about her intent. However, internal emails obtained by The Mudflats provide the most conclusive evidence to date that Palin will be running for president, and also indicate a behind-the-scenes rift between the Palins and an Alaskan candidate that they have both publicly endorsed.

An irate email written by Todd Palin seems to confirm his wife’s presidential ambition, and revealed his anger at Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller. The email demands that the treasurer of SarahPAC, Tim Crawford, “hold off on any letter of support for Joe,” and came on the heels of an interview Miller gave to Neil Cavuto on Fox News Sunday.

Wow. Sarah Palin has presidential ambitions and her husband Todd is her most zealous supporter. In other news, scientists have discovered that water is wet.

Actually, the big story here (in a relative sense because it’s not exactly earth-shattering) is that the emails may have been intentionally leaked by supporters of Mike pHuckabee who are working for Joe Miller. From the Other McCain:

“This is the worst sort of betrayal I’ve ever seen,” one source close to Sarah Palin said in describing the leak of an e-mail that Todd Palin sent to Joe Miller, the Alaska GOP Senate candidate.

The source noted that some of Miller’s campaign staff have connections to 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and suggested that these staffers have been advising Miller to distance himself from Palin.

As I’ve said before, the GOP establishment ain’t too keen on Mama Grizzley and there’s a slew of wannabes who want her out of the way. Sarah’s kinda in the same position as Hillary was in 2006 – out in front of the pack but with more enemies than she knows.

It’s gonna be interesting to watch things unfold over the next couple years, but barring a miracle (Hillary 2012) we’re looking at lose-lose come November 2012.


BTW – Just so you know what kind of guy old Robert Stacy McCain is, here’s a couple quotes:

I have said that the best thing for Huckabee to do would be to spend two weeks in an intensive cram course on Austrian economics at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, disabusing himself of any inclination toward “social justice” concepts. The U.S. government is not the First Baptist Church soup kitchen, OK?

Yep, The Other McCain is a randy Randian who thinks we’re on the Road to Serfdom.

Here’s what he had to say about our friend Susie from Philly:

She’s obviously got anger issues of the sort that raise the question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and there are no Republicans around to blame, who does Susie Madrak cuss at?”

Singling me out among the bloggers laughing at her absurd rage, Madrak writes, “Imagine, this guy thinks I’m ugly!”

Did I ever say any such thing? I merely remarked on “the demonstrably greater pulchritude of [conservative] lady-bloggers” — a neutral, objective fact – and certainly I did not offer myself as anyone’s aesthetic beau ideal.

{…]

Maybe it’s not your fault you’re ugly, but it’s nobody else’s fault, either. Yet how often have we seen this phenomenon of unattractive women who spend their lives angry at the world, as if their ugliness were somebody else’s fault? Indeed, this phenomenon has a name: Feminism.


RSM


Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!!

It has been the strangest week or two of propaganda campaign efforts from the zombie obot armies including: 1) You Dems are lazy, good for nothing, ungrateful for all the wonderful things, bums, get your enthusiasm going again, idiots, 2) What, you don’t think Hillary would have been as horrible as Obama has turned out to be, of course she would. And you know she’s an evil Republican anyway, 3) Look over there, it’s a witch, and 4) Did we mention Hillary is evil. There have been a few other fun memes but you get the idea. They’re losing, they’re desperate, and frankly they’re pathetic. I’d feel sorry for them if they hadn’t destroyed the Democratic party, if not more. But that’s neither here nor there, because there’s some news.

Let’s start on a good note, Steven Chu announces the WH installs some solar panels. Sure a bit gimmicky and symbolic, but it’s a good thing:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley announced Tuesday morning that the administration will install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House residence as part of a broader DOE solar demonstration project.

“This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” Chu said at the GreenGov symposium. “Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

The move comes in the wake of a grassroots campaign led by 350.org founder Bill McKibben to get Obama to reinstall solar panels then-President Jimmy Carter put on the White House in 1979. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan removed the panels and let federal renewable energy subsidies expire; several of the panels were donated to Unity College in the 1990s. McKibben brought some of the old panels down to the District last month as part of his group’s “10/10/10 Global Work Party” on climate change, but at the time, the White House remained noncommittal on the matter.

Of course the effort wasn’t perfect. They stumbled even on such a no brainer move (emphasis mine):

In September, the writer and climate change crusader Bill McKibben sent a jolt of dismay through the environmental community after recounting a distressing trip to the White House. McKibben and some young activists had come up with what they thought was a great idea. They had located one of the solar panels that President Jimmy Carter had installed on the roof of the White House (later removed by Ronald Reagan) and they decided to bring it back to Washington for a triumphant reinstallation.

They made it into the White House, but then got stonewalled. When the college-age activists accompanying McKibben asked why the administration wouldn’t do the “obvious thing” and put solar panels on the White House, they couldn’t get a straight answer.

The Obama administration’s reluctance to put a Carter-era solar panel on the White House roof was understandable, even if repulsively pusillanimous. The last thing the White House wanted to do was to give the right another talking point comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter. You can see the wheels turning — Carter put solar panels on the White House, and ended up a one-term president mocked for decades by Republicans…. run away!!!

But now, a few weeks later, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announces that the White House will install solar panels on the roof and a solar water heater. Bill McKibben applauds, but would be well within his rights to ask, what took you so long?

When McKibben and his cohorts arrived at the White House, the “bureaucrats” could have politely told them that, while it didn’t make sense to install some 30-year-old technology on the premises, they did nonetheless intend to make a big solar push. There would still be a hit from the right-wing news cycle, but, more important, Obama would have given his own supporters a reason to feel good.

Instead, the White House managed to bum environmentalists out, and then, a few weeks later, go ahead and invite the Carter-Obama comparison anyway. That’s just bungled political management.

Well, I still like it. But as usual, they’re kind of incompetent about it all. Who’s running things at the WH anyway?

This will make you feel better. Some on the right are having troubles. Meg Whitman running against my fav, moonbeam, has had a rather bad week(emphasis mine):

Like a lot of California Democrats, I’ve been waiting for Jerry Brown to start his campaign for governor. Sure, he began running ads last month — terrible ads, in my opinion, featuring Brown as a talking head, that mostly serve to remind people he was already governor, a long, long time ago, whatever his accomplishments.

I’ve always assumed Brown would win anyway, though, because he’s got one key asset: He’s not Meg Whitman. And during Saturday’s Univision debate, I spotted another Brown asset: He knows how to make a moral and emotional appeal to our sense of justice, that California used to be a better place, and can be one again.

Whoever is behind the sudden emergence of Whitman’s former maid, Nicky Diaz — the woman the former eBay CEO says deceived her about having legal immigration status, going so far as to steal a letter from the federal government notifying Whitman about her illegal status (that turned out not to be true), but whom Whitman fired immediately upon “learning” the truth — it’s a defining story for Whitman, and not in a good way. I am sensitive to all the ways women are held to a different and higher standard than men in politics, and I search for descriptors that capture Whitman that are not somehow stereotypical.

Yes, I’m quoting Joan Walsh. I held my nose, so it’s OK. Notice the bold bit. Yea, me too. We’ll resume after we all stop laughing. OK, stop laughing now. Well, anyway, Meg has some troubles, fair or not, and Jerry’s benefiting.

A new poll about the Tea Party members shows half of them to be religious conservatives. Well duh:

A new poll shows that half of those who consider themselves part of the tea party movement also identify as part of the religious right, reflecting the complex – and sometimes contradictory – blend of bedfellows in the American conservative movement.

The poll released Tuesday, by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute, comes as the tea party’s composition and potential impact is still under hot debate. Experts disagreed about what the poll meant, with some saying it reveals serious fissures between social and fiscal conservatives and others saying the two movements can find common ground on subjects such as limiting public funding for abortion.

The Tea Party are not our friends. But then again, neither are the new Democrats. All we can do is have popcorn and watch the fireworks. And maybe cry a bit too.

And speaking of the insanity coming from the alleged left, here’s a sad one:

The Christine O’Donnell witch doll hits the market — and gives all the people who dressed like Sarah Palin in recent years some easy Halloween costume inspiration.

Clearly they’re trying their hardest to get O’Donnell elected. Either that or they’re complete idiots. Could it be both?

Some of us have been brave enough to watch the first couple of episodes of Parker red light Spitzer’s show on CNN. It’s bad. Really bad. Apparently we’re not the only ones who think so:

CNN’s primetime talk show anchored by disgraced ex-New York governor Eliot Spitzer and journalist Kathleen Parker debuted to low viewership and scathing reviews, with comments on Tuesday ranging from “unbearable” to “icky” and “obnoxious”.

Spitzer, a Democrat who was forced to resign in 2008 for hiring high-priced prostitutes, and Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative Washington Post columnist, were hired by CNN in a bid to add some fireworks to its struggling evening line-up.

But barely a good word could be found on Tuesday for the new “Parker Spitzer” show, which debuted one night earlier as a daily discussion about politics and other hot button issues.

Monday’s debut also drew disappointing ratings, attracting an audience of 454,000, the Nielsen company said. The figure put CNN in fourth place in the time-slot, well below “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News (3.1 million), and “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” on MSNBC (1.1 million).

The New York Times said the Spitzer scandal “cast an awkward shadow” over the pair’s chemistry and gave the show an “ickiness factor” that was hard to watch.

ime magazine’s James Poniewozik also felt uncomfortable, saying the show struggled to find its tone, and he called the closing “round-table” section “just vapid”.

The New York Post headlined its review “Freak show unbearable to watch”, while the Baltimore Sun summed up the first show as “a load of obnoxious, self-important noise.”

I had to double check because at first I thought they were talking about Obama and the new Democratic coalition. But no, just that crappy show. These creeps apparently spend most of their time saying how bad, or stupid, or witchy people like Palin are. If people like that don’t like you, isn’t that a complement?

Speaking of the enthusiasm gap, Obama is going to MTV:

In a final push to excite his party’s base before the Nov. 2 elections, President Obama is reaching out (and reaching out and reaching out) to young voters, a group that helped elect him two years ago. Democrats fear that many of them will sit out the midterms – part of the “enthusiasm gap” identified in surveys – so Obama has taken on the role of campaign scold to urge them to the polls.

MTV announced Tuesday morning in a news release, which was tweeted immediately by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, that Obama will host a “youth town hall” on Oct. 14.

“A Conversation With President Obama,” as the hour-long afternoon event is being called, will air on MTV, MTVu, BET, Centric, TR3s and CMT at 4 p.m. It will also stream live on MTV.com, BET.com and CMT.com.

Yawn.

But not to worry, Latino’s still support Democrats. They just won’t be voting for them this time around:

There is good news and bad news for Democrats in a new poll ahead of the 2010 elections – Latinos support the party, but about half of those questioned say they might not show up at the polls on Nov. 2.

The gap between support and motivation provides an opening for Republicans, who have had an up-and-down relationship with Latinos over the last few years: George W. Bush made inroads, but John McCain then lost ground to Barack Obama. Recently, the GOP has done little to court these voters on issues such as education, immigration and health-care legislation.

But Republicans hold one big advantage over Democrats in key races this cycle that could matter more than any one issue – they have more high-profile Latino candidates running for statewide offices.

Where else are you going to go? How about the couch with some popcorn? How about a third party candidate? Et cetera.

Out on the campaign trail, Obama is also talking about some other issues, including how the evil Republicans will cut education funding. What?, cut it even more than Democrats? I think that might be another 2% less evil argument they’re so fond of:

Obama framed the fate of community colleges as a matter of global economic competition. Speaking weeks before crucial midterm elections, Obama said the signature Republican Pledge to America would cut education funding by one-fifth to fund tax relief for the wealthy, at a time when other nations are padding their investments.

“Think about it: China is not slashing education by 20 percent right now,” he said. He likened the GOP proposal to “unilaterally disarming our troops right as they head to the front lines.”

Republican leaders responded that their pledge rolls back nonsecurity discretionary spending to 2008 levels but does not require cuts to any particular program. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), chairman of the pledge, said in a statement his party seeks to undo a “reckless spending spree” by the Obama administration.

Community colleges represent the largest and most affordable sector of higher education. Obama said he expects them to take a lead role in his American Graduation Initiative. America has fallen from first to ninth in a single decade, he said, in its share of young people holding college degrees.

“As far as I’m concerned, America doesn’t play for second place,” he said, “and it certainly doesn’t play for ninth.”

So apparently the movie “Dumb and Dumber” wasn’t just a movie, it was a picture of our future political landscape.

There have been some banking policy changes in Japan lately:

Japanese stocks rose for a second day after U.S. service companies expanded faster than forecast and speculation grew that the Federal Reserve will join the Bank of Japan’s efforts to spur economic growth.

Fanuc Ltd., Japan’s largest maker of industrial robots, rose 1.2 percent. Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest commodities trader, increased 2.1 percent after crude and metals prices gained yesterday. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., the country’s largest lender, advanced 1.8 percent. Mitsubishi Estate Co., Japan’s second-biggest developer, gained 1.9 percent. Japan’s central bank pledged yesterday to keep its benchmark interest rate at “virtually zero” and to purchase more assets including real estate investment trusts.

“The Bank of Japan’s action may accelerate movements towards monetary easing globally,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “Confidence grew that the global economy is on a recovery track, and investors will likely put money back into risk assets.”

The Supremes, yea, I called them that, will be hearing a case about those creepy people that protest military funerals tomorrow:

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a legal battle that pits the privacy rights of grieving families and the free speech rights of demonstrators.

In 2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested 300 feet from a funeral for Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Maryland, carrying signs reading “God hates you” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Among the teachings of the Topeka, Kansas-based fundamentalist church founded by pastor Fred Phelps is the belief that the deaths of U.S. soldiers is God’s punishment for “the sin of homosexuality.”

Albert Snyder, Matthew’s father, said his son was not gay and the protesters should not have been at the funeral.

Of course we want free speech. But what if protestors are nuts and make no sense?

I hope Nancy is serious and up to something reasonable here. She wants to have an inquiry on mortgage lenders. Ha, what am I thinking, they were part of all this. Most likely smoke and mirrors. What, me cynical (emphasis mine):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the Justice Department on Tuesday to investigate the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, and Maryland joined a growing list of states seeking to halt foreclosures while they probe claims of fraudulent filings.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Pelosi (Calif.) and dozens of other Democrats accused the nation’s biggest banks of making it difficult for struggling borrowers to get foreclosure relief while the firms routinely evicted them with flawed court papers.

The group said that recent reports of lenders initiating hundreds of thousands of questionable foreclosures “amplify our concerns that systemic problems exist.”

The request from Democrats puts pressure on the Obama administration to get more involved in a matter that it so far has said little about publicly. The move is also likely to stoke cries for a broad moratorium on foreclosures across the country.

Yea, the bold part is another laugh out loud moment. And people say government isn’t funny.

And finally, I’ll leave you with this gem. Are test tube babies the work of God or some human error:

Do you think a baby conceived in test tube is still a child in the eyes — or mind or hands, depending on your theology/philosophy — of God? Does the science behind this merit the Nobel Prize for Medicine or condemnation in the realm of faith and ethics?

I’m starting out with the questions today because the impact of the Nobel Prize for Medicine going to the doctor who developed in vitro fertilization is still rumbling around the world.

The Vatican has already denounced the prize going to British scientist Robert Edwards, for work that led to the birth of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, 32 years ago.

Bad science, bad. Yea, snark. So there’s a bit of what’s happening. Chime in with what you’re finding.