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When you're a mustache-twirling villain

By fnord12 | January 19, 2018, 4:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Mothman on the move

Why shouldn't he visit Chicago?

By fnord12 | January 16, 2018, 6:58 PM | Cryptozoology | Link


Matt Bors.

By fnord12 | January 16, 2018, 4:20 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage | Link

Another comic murdered

Today i learned that Boo-Yaa TRIBE had their own comic book, and they were pretty Kirby:

I saw an item in a 1994 Marvel Bullpen that Chuck D was visiting the Marvel offices because Public Enemy was going to be a part of Marvel's "Marvel Music" line. I had never heard of that line, so i looked it up. It turns out i did sort-of know about it, or at least the Neil Gaiman / Alice Cooper issue (i have it; don't think i've ever read it). The Public Enemy issue never happened but as part of the line Marvel did test runs for Boo-Yaa TRIBE and Cheap Trick (quite a combo).

By fnord12 | January 16, 2018, 1:37 PM | Comics & Music | Link

Show's over, Synergy

I know it's Jem and no one cares but me and Min, but you can not use this kind of art for this type of comic.

Especially when most of the art in the series looks like this.

My favorite panel:

By fnord12 | January 14, 2018, 9:46 PM | Comics | Link

Welcome to the Resistance

The Same Democrats Who Denounce Donald Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers.

By fnord12 | January 12, 2018, 1:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Stock markets vs. wages

Not a surprise, but good to see it quantified.

Funny how on every measure like this, the point of deviation is circa the Reagan Revolution.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 2:14 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Moon deviates from the script

And the US press doesn't know what to do.

But while the bilateral talks were widely praised in South Korea's media, the US media seemed like a deer caught in the headlights from the first announcement of the breakthrough. Unclear how to respond to a possible outbreak of peace, the press immediately zeroed in on the section of Kim's New Year's speech where he declared that his "nuclear forces are capable of thwarting and countering" anything from the United States. Kim also reminded Washington that the "nuclear button" is on his office desk "all the time."

Although the Supreme Leader left out some of the harsh anti-US language he's used in previous declarations, the implied threat became the story for nearly every US media outlet covering his New Year's speech.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:09 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

I could have told you that

Everything you know about depression is wrong:

There is strong evidence that human beings need to feel their lives are meaningful - that they are doing something with purpose that makes a difference. It's a natural psychological need. But between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing - our paid work. They found that 13% of people say they are "engaged" in their work - they find it meaningful and look forward to it. Some 63% say they are "not engaged", which is defined as "sleepwalking through their workday". And 24% are "actively disengaged": they hate it.

Most of the depressed and anxious people I know, I realised, are in the 87% who don't like their work. I started to dig around to see if there is any evidence that this might be related to depression. It turned out that a breakthrough had been made in answering this question in the 1970s, by an Australian scientist called Michael Marmot. He wanted to investigate what causes stress in the workplace and believed he'd found the perfect lab in which to discover the answer: the British civil service, based in Whitehall. This small army of bureaucrats was divided into 19 different layers, from the permanent secretary at the top, down to the typists. What he wanted to know, at first, was: who's more likely to have a stress-related heart attack - the big boss at the top, or somebody below him?

Everybody told him: you're wasting your time. Obviously, the boss is going to be more stressed because he's got more responsibility. But when Marmot published his results, he revealed the truth to be the exact opposite. The lower an employee ranked in the hierarchy, the higher their stress levels and likelihood of having a heart attack. Now he wanted to know: why?

And that's when, after two more years studying civil servants, he discovered the biggest factor. It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed - and, crucially, depressed. Humans have an innate need to feel that what we are doing, day-to-day, is meaningful. When you are controlled, you can't create meaning out of your work.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:07 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

We have to "do something" in Iran

FAIR has a rundown of how an organization devoted to attacking Iran got to publish OpEds in like every major paper.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Automated copyright claims out of control

You stole my white noise.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy

It's apparently the worst state, but based on the criteria i don't think many states are doing very well.

Link is a year old, but still true. It came up because of this ruling, which will hopefully help a bit.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:03 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Liberal New York Times

A really incredible account from a former New York Times reporter on how much of his reporting was squashed by Times Editorial at the behalf of the Bush administration.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 1:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Sea change

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has come to the realization that Federal deficits are not a problem.

...as a non-economist staring at Congressional Budget Office projections and at examples of fiscal crisis from Greece to California, it seemed reasonable to make deficit cutting a near-term priority from 2010 onward, to offset the surge of Great Recession spending with a period of belt-tightening.

But now I think this reasonable view was wrong... I was wrong in the priority that I gave the deficit relative to other issues, wrong to discern a looming "fiscal precipice," wrong in some of the criticism I leveled at both George W. Bush and Barack Obama for failing to care enough about balancing the nation's books.

The best time to make deficit reduction a priority is when the inflation rate and the bond market give you some indication that you are headed for a dangerous inflationary spiral. Such indicators were conspicuously absent eight years ago, but many people I talked to (including people in the Obama White House) argued that it was important to reduce deficits pre-emptively, because the spiraling could happen too quickly for policymakers to effectively respond. At that point I believed them; now I think they had overlearned lessons from the 1970s that did not apply in 2010.

We'll see if it'll last through the next Democratic administration, but it's still a major shift.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 12:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Good on Jersey

New Jersey's minimum wage is too low (as is the case with all minimum wages) but at least it's adjusted for inflation.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 12:55 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Don't feed the deer

We see signs for "deer corn" advertised by farms in our area and we've always wondered about it. We're not allowed to feed the deer in our neighborhood but some people do anyway, and there's a small part of me that feels bad about all the displaced deer (due to new development). Also, i've wondered if paying them tribute might dissuade them from eating our bushes. However, upon looking it up, it seems pretty clear that you should not feed the deer.

During winter, deer lose 20 percent or more of their body weight by burning fat reserves. They are well adapted to survive the many stresses that winter presents.

Crum understands that people mean well, but, "I see too many deer on my necropsy table with bellies full of corn."...

The problem is that deer digestion is a finely tuned physiological process. Just the right combination of microorganisms, enzymes, and pH enable deer to digest a normal winter diet of woody vegetation. When offered a sudden supply of corn, a deer's digestive system doesn't have time to adjust to a high carbohydrate diet. The result can be acute acidosis followed by death within 72 hours.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2018, 12:51 PM | Science | Link

Chumley III

Putting some new songs up just in time to say i "released" an "album" in 2017.

Chumley III

By fnord12 | December 28, 2017, 7:34 PM | Music | Link

An Important Lesson

In the middle of Hulk #422 (Oct 94), there was an insert which had kids going around to football players asking what made for the best football cards. The kids were really concerned about collectability, and the players would tell them that what really mattered was getting cards that you liked.

This goes on for several pages until the kids get to Steve Young, who disabuses them of all that hippy dippy stuff.

Keep your cards in plastic slabs, kids, or they aren't worth shit.

By fnord12 | December 28, 2017, 7:11 PM | Comics | Link

Merry Christmas

By min | December 20, 2017, 3:09 PM | My stupid life | Link

Loud Fish Sex


"At first, we thought our equipment was broken," says study co-author Brad Erisman, a fisheries ecologist at the University of Texas at Austin. "No one anticipated fish would be this loud."
At 179 to 190 decibels, the corvinas' aggregate mating call is louder than the equivalent of standing next to the stage at a rock concert. The noise is so loud, in fact, that it may harm the hearing of other marine animals caught up in the action, the researchers write.

By min | December 20, 2017, 1:52 PM | Science | Link

Everybody's Mad at Donna Brazile

Thomas Frank on the mainstream libs (when can we take back the word "liberal" from these guys?) are pissed about Brazile's book confirming the primary process was rigged for Clinton.

Members of the punditburo blasted Sanders last year for suggesting such a thing; now they are blasting Brazile for confirming it. They vituperate even though what she and Sanders have said is, well, true.

Which is to say that the fury swirling around Donna Brazile is somehow symptomatic of our times. Since she had a front-row seat to everything that happened last year, her analysis and recollections of that volcanic election are valuable by definition. But what she has to tell us doesn't fit easily into the simple moral framework that now guides all our thinkings on politics.

For example. Donna Brazile wanted Hillary Clinton to be president and worked hard to achieve that result, but she also thinks Clinton and her team blundered repeatedly. This feels like common sense to me, but in the Republic of the Righteous it is a brain-stopping contradiction; it may not be uttered.
Hacks review: Donna Brazile lifts lid on Hillary and the Democrats' disaster

The former DNC chair's memoir of election defeat has it all: Russian hackers, campaign drama and a reigniting of bitter internal feuds
Read more

Brazile regards Donald Trump as an obvious scoundrel, yet she can also understand how he appealed to ordinary Americans in the deindustrialized states. Again, not a startling insight, really - but try saying it in the pages of any American prestige publication.

The reaction to her book, Brazile said when I phoned her this month, is as though she "had broken the holy grail of politics".

By min | December 20, 2017, 11:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Speaking of Marvel...

...i haven't been keeping up, but i recently caught wind of "Marvel Legacy" and had a paranoid fear that they were reverting back to their old continuity and i'd have to decide what i was going to do about that. But a quick investigation instead shows that the Avengers are all cavemen now, so i guess i'm good.

By fnord12 | December 18, 2017, 8:48 PM | Comics | Link

Back up the drain

A 2005 Urban Legends by Brian Cronin (from CBR's semi-defunct website so i'm reposting the whole thing):

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Akira Yoshida is a pseudonym.


Whenever a new creator comes out of seemingly nowhere, people are bound to be curious about them, especially when, in the case of writer Akira Yoshida, the new writer gets such "plum" assignment as the X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover and the 10th Anniversary of the Age of Apocalypse. Inquiring minds begin to come up with their OWN theories as to why such a new writer that noone knows much about got the assignment - he was NOT a new writer, but rather an older writer, using a pseudonym, perhaps to sound more exotic.

When I heard this one, I thought it would be easy enough to check out. However, when I found out that some of the editors that he had worked with had never spoken with Akira, I will admit, the absurd suddenly did not seem SO absurd.

Luckily, the other day, editor Mike Marts was able to allay any suspicions. Says Marts,

You bet--I've had lunch with the guy--very nice guy. He's a very cool guy. When we had lunch he showed me pictures of his immense Godzilla memorabilia collection--I was jealous!

Well, there's ONE conspiracy theory down the drains!!!

Now: Marvel's New Editor-in-Chief Admits Writing Under Japanese Pseudonym 'Akira Yoshida'. It seems the often-despised Bleeding Clool has been on this for a while.

Noticed by the Atlantic, and not in a good way:

Marvel Comics has had a rough few years, full of dropping sales, public controversies, and departures by high-profile creators. After the exit of the previous editor Axel Alonso, Cebulski's stewardship was supposed to be a fresh start, an opportunity to regain audiences' trust. Instead, the company is having to deal with the fact that its new editor in chief was part of a larger pattern of white men posing as Asian for personal gain. Marvel's apparently muted response has prompted frustration from some comics creators, critics, and readers--many of whom recognize how Cebulski was enabled by an industry that has long relied on pulp Asian stereotypes and struggled with hiring people of color.

I have a vague idea that i like C.B. Cebulski (from his Loners series, maybe?), so this is extra weird to me.

By fnord12 | December 18, 2017, 8:24 PM | Comics | Link

Off to a good start

After Doug Jones' win last week, there were a lot of calls to "thank" black voters - especially women - for "saving" the election. A lot of it seemed sanctimonious to me when it wasn't coupled with calls to address issues of importance to those voters, but the general sentiment is correct. Jones owes his victory in large part to black voters. So it's pretty alarming that in his first post-election interview he's focused on telling people how willing he is to vote with Republicans. I'm sure that's exactly what the people who voted for him were hoping for.

Jones also won in a large part thanks to the fact that he was running against a man with serious sexual misconduct issues, but he's now saying he's ready to dismiss the sexual harassment charges against Trump, saying we need to "move on" and focus on "real issues".

Meanwhile, Ralph Northam won the governorship in Virginia in a large part thanks to people being angry over Republican refusal to accept the ACA's Medicaid expansion, but instead of claiming a mandate on that issue, Northam is backing away and is instead dribbling out some Neoliberal mush about cost control (despite the Federal government being responsible for the vast majority of the cost, even in later years) and work training programs. He's also blaming sick people for being sick (they need "skin in the game").

Similarly, Northam said he has no plans to try to force Republicans to accept a broad expansion of Medicaid. Instead, he has begun talks with lawmakers in both parties about overhauling the state's Medicaid system to expand access to health care while better defining eligibility to control costs.

Outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tried every year to push the legislature to accept millions in federal money to expand the health program to hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. Northam campaigned heavily on the promise of getting more Virginians access to health care.

He said Friday that he remains committed to that pledge, but that he must be careful about obligating the state to escalating costs. Under the program, the federal government pays the lion's share in the early years but the state contribution gradually increases [not quite - the Fed contribution goes from 100% to 90% in 2020]. "Medicaid is growing in Virginia by 5 to 7 percent, in that ballpark, every year," he said.

"So I look forward to . . . seeing how we can provide better service and at the same time cut costs" through "managed-care Medicaid," he said.

A managed system would involve rewarding "healthy choices," he said. "I want people to have skin in the game. I want to incentivize people to really have good health."

And although some people who need Medicaid cannot work -- children, some pregnant women, people with certain disabilities -- others can, he said. "I want to help them get back on the workforce [through] training," he said.

Republicans can win elections by the thinnest of margins and claim sweeping mandates to re-write our entire society, but when Democrats win they immediately start compromising.

By fnord12 | December 17, 2017, 1:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Second Time As Farce

Colin Powell holding up a fake vial of anthrax. vs.Nikki Haley standing in front of a stagecraft Iranian rocket
Colin Powell holding up a fake vial of anthrax. Nikki Haley standing in front of a stagecraft Iranian rocket

By fnord12 | December 14, 2017, 12:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Henry Ford Square Dancing Conspiracy

Do Si Do To Fight the Jews' Attempt To Bring Jazz To The Masses (wait, what?).

By fnord12 | December 13, 2017, 4:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Recap 80

When the Day Goes to Sleep

By min | December 13, 2017, 12:51 PM | D&D | Link

No, dummies. It balances it out.


As congressional Republicans' disastrous tax plan inches closer to reality, New Jersey's legislative leaders are getting cold feet about the Garden State's own tax plans that would boost working families, clean up the tax code and allow policymakers to invest in the assets critical to the state's future. But the GOP tax plan is no reason for lawmakers to shelve these plans -- it actually gives them more reason than ever to move forward.

In particular, these policymakers are suggesting that New Jersey might need to press "pause" on long-held efforts to make New Jersey's income tax fairer by asking the wealthiest residents to pay a little more so our state can build a brighter and stronger economic future. The reason: Fears about a "double whammy" if the Republicans' federal tax proposal raises taxes by eliminating state and local tax deductions used heavily by New Jerseyans. Those fears, however, are unfounded.

In fact, the Republican tax proposals in D.C. all favor the wealthy -- even if these deductions disappear.

I don't know why this is even in question.

By fnord12 | December 12, 2017, 9:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Too Much Democracy

Reacting to the modest reforms that the DNC Unity Commission made over the weekend (e.g. reducing - not eliminating - superdelegates), a pair of political scientists say, "Whoah, hold on there. Is the Democratic Party Becoming Too Democratic?". Here's their core argument:

Casting doubts about a party's legitimacy -- in particular picking a presidential nominee -- can have real electoral consequences. In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders highlighted Hillary Clinton's contributions from well-heeled donors, and particularly her strong support among the party's superdelegates, as signals that the nomination contest had been fixed for her and that the only way for the Democratic Party to be a truly democratic party would be to nominate Mr. Sanders.

By the spring of 2016, democratic legitimacy was the overwhelming rationale of his campaign. In the general election, roughly one Sanders supporter in 10 ended up voting for Donald Trump, and many young voters defected for third-party candidates, possibly costing Mrs. Clinton the election in several key states.

Never mind that less Bernie voters voted for Trump than Clinton voters voted for Obama. Imagine thinking that those voters would have been more likely to vote for Clinton if they weren't given a voice at all. Don't appeal to voters, just tell them to get in line.

Just to spell it out a little better: the article acknowledges that the primary process isn't very democratic. It then says that the problem is that candidates might complain that the process isn't democratic, which will influence voters. And so the authors' proposed solution isn't to make the process more democratic, it's to eliminate the pretense of being democratic all together. Smokey Back Rooms 2020!

By fnord12 | December 11, 2017, 12:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

For Those Chilly Nights While You're Out on Your Scooter

This just made my day.


It's winter and it's cold especially if you're riding around in a scooter exposed to the freezing temperatures, wind, rain, and snow. Luckily, there's a body jacket out of China specifically designed to keep scooter riders warm.

It even comes with reflective bands so other drivers don't mistake you for a discarded mattress on the road and run over you.


And hey, this is big enough to cover both you and your young child because there's nothing that's safer than riding around in a scooter with your kid while covered with a huge mattress blanket that looks like it could limit your ability to properly handle the scooter and no helmet.

By min | December 8, 2017, 6:10 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link

Obama's smart grid didn't kill coal & nuclear

I know facts and logic and words have no meaning anymore and i've basically stopped bothering trying to rebut right wing stuff, but this is still worth a read.

By fnord12 | December 6, 2017, 9:53 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The failure of incrementalism

Carl Beijer:

What Trump is showing us, however, is that even if you win a short-term incremental victory, you can still end up with nothing in the end. You can engage in years of modest pragmatic compromise climate change diplomacy and find yourself right back where you started a decade later; you can pass "achievable" business-friendly health care legislation on the assumption that this will engineer some kind of universal coverage down the road, and then have it gutted as soon as the opposition takes power.

By fnord12 | December 2, 2017, 11:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Today in good ideas

Turn ISPs into public utilities and create a social wealth fund (holy shit is that Matt Bruenig in the Times?).

By fnord12 | November 30, 2017, 11:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Today in horrors

The Republican "tax" bill is an amazingly bold piece of social engineering. Just try to remember that whatever happens, President Bernie Sanders should be able to reverse it (and beyond) in three years. Of less reversible consequences is the fact that Trump is pushing Tillerson out of State so that he can go to war with Iran and North Korea.

By fnord12 | November 30, 2017, 11:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Take their money away

Ryan Cooper on how our tax rates have allowed the concentration of wealth that makes it possible for the wealthy to propagandize the public. Cooper cites the schemes of the discredited hack James O'Keefe. Relatedly, Federal prosecutors are using videos by James O'Keefe in the J20 trial.

By fnord12 | November 29, 2017, 8:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Giving presidents unlimited power was a bad idea

Both Marcy Wheeler and Matt Taibbi have similar articles.

By fnord12 | November 28, 2017, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Korean poverty

For all the talk about how we need to invade North Korea because its people are starving, there is this about how South Korean's elderly population is in poverty (requires free account). The article weirdly talks about this as if it's an inevitable consequence of an aging population. Maybe the economic system is the problem.

By fnord12 | November 28, 2017, 10:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Happy Thanksgiving

vegan chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling
Vegan chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling

By min | November 22, 2017, 5:22 PM | Vegan Vittles | Link

China's search for life in space

A long, kind of meandering article, but worth a read. The main point is that China is leap-frogging the US on space tech. In addition to the headline point about China building a Mega-SETI, the article also mentions China's plans to build a station on the dark side of the moon and to send a manned flight to Mars.

But beyond that, there's a nudge to get me to get around to reading The Three-Body Problem. And an interesting summation of China's history, although it weirdly skips China's communist period, jumping from WWI directly to the 1980s (it does briefly go back only to gloss over Mao). The article also raises the cool (!?) possibility that a civilization that we encounter in space might already have reached its singularity and been taken over by AI. And most importantly there's a nod to my brilliant idea to bombard Venus with seeds:

They have looked into the feasibility of "Genesis probes," spacecraft that can seed a planet with microbes, or accelerate evolution on its surface, by sparking a Cambrian explosion, like the one that juiced biological creativity on Earth.

By fnord12 | November 19, 2017, 12:04 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

Archive for 2020

Ryan Cooper on the differences between Obama & Trump's approaches to nominating judges.

By fnord12 | November 15, 2017, 8:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.