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Big Hero 6 Marvel "cameos"

We watched Big Hero 6 over the weekend, and there's a scene where they go to the home of one of the characters, Fred, who has a big geek den.

Among probably a ton of other Easter Eggs, there are statues of a bunch of Marvel characters. I tried to find a site online that listed them all, but people seem more interested in finding appearances of Wreck It Ralph and other Pixar/Disney stuff. So i'll do my best.

The one in the center here looks like Torpedo:

To the side of Torpedo are two female characters. I can't get a good shot of the one on the right. The one on left is sort of a generic Dave Cockrum template, with the sash and domino mask (e.g. Ms. Marvel):

Here we have Orka and Black Talon, which you can see the best and many other sites have noticed. Pretty crazy to see them in a movie, even like this:

The one on the right below looks like Sleepwalker. I saw one site say that the one on the left looks like Manphibian. Looks more like Godzilla Jr.. Not sure about the robot in the middle.

The next one is probably the most obscure of all. It's Crimebuster, a minor Nova character. Don't know about the characters on either side.

One more group below. Chris in the comments notes that it's the Squadron Sinister/Supreme on the left. I don't recognize the other two.


By fnord12 | May 4, 2015, 9:37 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (3) | Link




Or to put it another way

A different take on the Wonder Woman movie.

Hey, regardless of all the inside politics grousing we're doing over it, maybe they'll eventually actually make it a good film.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2015, 6:16 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Maybe Sanders needs to close some bridges

I mentioned in a post below that i "know" Bernie Sanders won't win. But Atrios makes a good point about the press coverage:

Basically anyone with a pulse is taken seriously by our media if they run for president as a Republican... If you're a Democrat, however, and you're slightly to the left of Jeb Bush, you aren't "serious."

I ain't gonna bet on Bernie Sanders winning the nomination, but I wouldn't bet on Jindal, Perry, Christie, etc... either.

Chris Christie especially, at the moment.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2015, 3:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




Guardrails

Someone should surround David Brooks with them.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2015, 3:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




Marvel Sales

March.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2015, 10:34 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Wonder Woman and the Bechdel Test

Heidi MacDonald at the Beat has a (semi-)satirical take on why it's apparently so hard to make a Wonder Woman movie.

Also, in the comments (which, as always, read at your own peril) someone links to this (from 2008) which suggests that the fact that movies constantly fail the Bechdel Test is no accident.


By fnord12 | May 1, 2015, 10:31 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Why Are We Still Debating Capital Punishment?

What the hell is wrong with us? We're monsters.

By the time the blinds were raised at 6:23pm on April 29, 2014, to show Clayton Lockett strapped to the gurney and positioned to die, there was a lot that witnesses in Oklahoma's death house had not seen.

They did not see how, for nearly an hour, a paramedic and physician tried and failed to insert an IV line into various parts of Lockett's body, including his neck and feet.

They did not see how, after he was punctured some 14 to 16 times, Lockett's pants and underwear were cut off so that the doctor could clumsily inject the IV into his femoral vein, near his groin, using a needle too small for the task. Nor did witnesses see the IV, which the warden chose to cover with a blanket to protect his genitals from view, but also in the name of "dignity."

They did not see the makeshift rope that had been found earlier that day inside Lockett's holding cell, or the lacerations on Lockett's arms where he had slashed himself with a razor. Or the prison task force that came for Lockett early that morning, forcing their way into his blood-stained cell after he tried to block the door and subduing him with a TASER.

That's right. It would be wrong for a prisoner to kill themselves and take that privilege away from the State.

But what witnesses would see once Lockett was finally displayed before them was a human experiment -- the first execution in the state using 100 milligrams of a new drug, midazolam, to kick off its three-part cocktail. It would go terribly wrong. As the drugs started flowing, and after he had already been deemed unconscious, Lockett jerked his head, and began to writhe and moan. "Oh my God," Warden Anita Trammel later recalled thinking. "He's coming out of this. It's not working." In the overflow room where others watched on a TV monitor, "It was like a horror movie," one official told The Guardian. "He kept trying to talk." Witnesses heard Lockett say things like, "something is wrong," and "the drugs aren't working" and "this shit is fucking with my mind." After nine minutes, the blinds were hastily closed. The blanket was lifted to reveal that the drugs were seeping into the tissue of his inner thigh instead of his veins, causing his skin to swell.

Officials debated whether they should keep trying to kill Lockett or else try to save his life. They called the governor's office. They decided to halt the proceeding. But then, just after 7 o'clock, Clayton Lockett finally died.

On his death certificate: "Judicially Ordered Execution."

And i feel so much better that this is the Supreme Court deciding the case.

That the Court again found itself discussing lethal injection at all seemed to irritate the judges. Justice Samuel Alito blamed "a guerrilla war against the death penalty." Activists have made it "impossible for the States to obtain drugs that could be used to carry out capital punishment with little, if any, pain," he complained. "And so the States are reduced to using drugs like this one." Justice Scalia, too, inveighed against abolitionists for making it "impossible to get the 100 percent sure drugs," referring to sodium thiopental and pentobarbital. "I guess I would be more inclined to find that [midolazam] was intolerable if there was even some doubt about this drug when there was a perfectly safe other drug available," he said. In other words, the lack of good alternatives might just make midolazom good enough in his book.

Damn those "activist" drug companies and their anti-barbaric execution stance.

Wyrick tried to explain away the holes in his case by reiterating that it is up to the prisoners, not the state, to prove the only "constitutionally relevant" question: whether midazolam has "a ceiling effect that kicks in before we get to a level where [prisoners are] unconscious and unaware of the pain." No one seems to know exactly where that ceiling lies. So while the state concedes that there is a possibility that midazolam will wear off mid-execution, it argues that this does not mean it definitely will. This level of uncertainty over midazolam is apparently not too high for Oklahoma to stop killing people with it.

Justice Elena Kagan found the logic galling. If it's true that experiencing the effects of potassium chloride is "like being burned alive," she said, then this is like telling someone, "We're going to burn you at the stake, but before we do, we're going to use an anesthetic of completely unknown properties and unknown effects. Maybe you won't feel it, maybe you will. We just can't tell."

Link

Human life is only precious if it's still in the womb. Once you're out, you can go fuck yourself.


By min | May 1, 2015, 9:42 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link




Yeah, but wouldn't it be awesome if he won anyway?

Chris Cillizza explains the point of the Bernie Sanders primary run. Not that i'm not rooting for Sanders to win regardless.


By fnord12 | April 30, 2015, 1:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




Right message, wrong time?

Kevin Drum discusses the implications of the lead hypothesis in the case of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore police. I've been very interested in the lead theory and (while acknowledging my personal lack of scientific expertise), i agree with it. But i'm not sure leading off the post by talking about Gray's lead levels was the right choice. From what i've read (and again, i should be cautious and say of course i don't know what happened), it doesn't seem like Gray's behavior - lead influenced or not - merited what happened to him. Drum does later say that "even if you're a hard-ass law-and-order type" you'll want to look at the lead hypothesis, but it just struck me the wrong way to frame the subject.

For a different take, here's Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest.


By fnord12 | April 30, 2015, 1:46 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link




And Let Them Eat Cake, Too

I was going to end today's spate of postings on a high note with that brontosaurus thing, but then my RSS feed had to tell me this:

Maryland State legislator Patrick McDonough, the guest host of a drive-time radio program on Wednesday morning, discussed the possibility of revoking food stamps from the parents of protesting Baltimore youth.

Later during the same broadcast, McDonough called for a "scientific study" of what he called the "thug nation" in the black community. McDounough is a Republican member of the state's House of Delegates who represents a suburban area northeast of the city.

McDonough's food stamps comment came in response to a caller who asked, if protesters are "too young, why can't they take away benefits from families, from like the parents who are collecting welfare."

"That's an idea and that could be legislation," replied McDonough. "I think that you could make the case that there is a failure to do proper parenting and allowing this stuff to happen, is there an opportunity for a month to take away your food stamps?"

During much of the three hour program, McDonough discussed the "thug community" of Baltimore.

At one point, discussing the possibility of a "scientific study" on "police relationships with the black community," he said such an effort is necessary because there has never been research by "brilliant, honest, objective people" on "this community, this culture, this thug nation."

"These young people, they're violent, they're brutal, their mindset is dysfunctional to a point of being dangerous," he said, noting that he does not want to "put them in a test tube or cage." But, McDonough added, "We have got to study, investigate, and really look at what this is all about," calling it a problem "that prevails the nation from Los Angeles to Baltimore to Baltimore County."

McDonough repeated several times during his broadcast that his use of the term "thug" was not a "dog whistle" because President Obama had used the term to describe Baltimore protesters. He also added that he has supported scholarships, which have benefited people of color.

In fact, some of his closest friends are black. He might even know a few Asians.

McDonough also benefits from campaign support from major donors across the state. Campaign finance records show donations to McDonough's campaign account from the Harford County Deputy Sheriffs PAC, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PAC, and StateFarm Agents PAC, among other established interests in Maryland.

By min | April 30, 2015, 8:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




I Could Never Remember Apatosaurus

So, it's fantastic that they brought the Brontosaurus back.

It turns out the original Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils appear different enough to belong to separate groups after all. "Generally, Brontosaurus can be distinguished from Apatosaurus most easily by its neck, which is higher and less wide," says lead study author Emanuel Tschopp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal. "So although both are very massive and robust animals, Apatosaurus is even more extreme than Brontosaurus."

Whatever, apatosaurus. Brontosaurus 4EVR!!!!


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:50 AM | Science | Comments (2) | Link




You Don't Own Anything Anymore

Not your digital books that you paid dollars for. And not your car. Fucking DMCA.

EFF is fighting for vehicle owners' rights to inspect the code that runs their vehicles and to repair and modify their vehicles, or have a mechanic of their choice do the work. At the moment, the anti-circumvention prohibition in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act arguably restricts vehicle inspection, repair, and modification. If EFF is successful then vehicle owners will be free to inspect and tinker, as long as they don't run afoul of other regulations, such as those governing vehicle emissions, safety, or copyright law.

You can support EFF's exemption requests by adding your name to the petition we'll submit in the rulemaking.

Most of the automakers operating in the US filed opposition comments through trade associations, along with a couple of other vehicle manufacturers. They warn that owners with the freedom to inspect and modify code will be capable of violating a wide range of laws and harming themselves and others. They say you shouldn't be allowed to repair your own car because you might not do it right. They say you shouldn't be allowed to modify the code in your car because you might defraud a used car purchaser by changing the mileage. They say no one should be allowed to even look at the code without the manufacturer's permission because letting the public learn how cars work could help malicious hackers, "third-party software developers" (the horror!), and competitors.

John Deere even argued that letting people modify car computer systems will result in them pirating music through the on-board entertainment system, which would be one of the more convoluted ways to copy media (and the exemption process doesn't authorize copyright infringement, anyway).

Yep. I'm building up my music collection through my car radio. It's slow going, but so totally worth it. And when i'm done with that, i'm going to ask my car's computer to tell me where the last Golden Ticket is hidden.

Here's how you can help. The opponents of the vehicle exemptions say that no one really cares about the restrictions they place on access to vehicle code, so the Copyright Office should deny the exemptions. Now, we cited a number of projects, and thousands of people wrote to the office to support the exemptions, but we are confident there are even more projects, businesses, and individuals out there who need these exemptions and it would be a shame if the Copyright Office didn't know it.

If you have had problems with vehicle repair or tinkering because you were locked out of your vehicle's computers, if you would have engaged in a vehicle-related project but didn't because of the legal risk posed by the DMCA, or if you or your mechanic had to deal with obstacles in getting access to diagnostic information, then we want to hear from you--and the Copyright Office should hear from you, too.

Email us at 1201cars@eff.org to let us know. It will help strengthen our case for the Copyright Office. We can also incorporate your comments anonymously, if you'd prefer.


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




More Gender Pay Gap in the Corporate World

When companies do well, male executives reap the rewards at a far greater rate than their female counterparts. But when business turns bad, it's women who suffer the greatest financial consequences.

That's the conclusion of new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Three economists looked at more than a decade's worth of data to figure out why women in business -- even those able to break into the executive suite -- still earn far less than men on average. The key factor, according to their analysis: performance pay, a theoretically meritocratic system that, in practice, ends up rewarding those already in charge.

...

In an interview with Bloomberg, author Stefania Albanesi said that means companies need to start tackling pay disparities early, before they have the chance to start adding up.

"The accumulation is going to be there even when women get promoted, and also possibly if you move to another firm, because usually your past compensation is used in some degree," Albanesi said. "These differences can be very, very persistent."

Albanesi and her co-authors looked at compensation data for more than 40,000 executives at publicly traded companies in the U.S. between 1992 and 2005. Of those, just 1,312 -- 3.2 percent -- were women. And the typical woman in the group earned 14 percent less than the typical male executive. (The gap is even wider when looking at average rather than median pay.)

The vast majority of that gap is explained by so-called incentive pay, compensation linked to a company's performance, such as bonuses and stock options. The disparity adds up over time: Since men get granted more stock than women, they benefit more when a company performs well. The authors refer to these accumulated gains as an executive's "firm-specific wealth"; a $1 million increase in a company's value adds $17,150 to a male executive's wealth, but just $1,670 to a woman's.

But while male executives benefit more when their companies do well, it's women who suffer more when their companies do badly. If a firm loses 1 percent of its value, women's firm-specific wealth falls 63 percent, while men's falls just 33 percent.

That may seem paradoxical: If men's pay is more closely linked to their companies' success, then they should be more exposed to bad news as well as good. But the authors argue that logic misunderstands how executive pay works. Incentive pay is often billed as "pay for performance," but in practice, executives have lots of ways to game the system. For example, chief executives often play a major role in choosing members of the board of directors, who in turn set the CEO's pay.

...

One common criticism of gender-gap analyses is that they fail to account for differences between male and female workers that have nothing to do with sex. Female executives are, on average, younger and less senior; they are also more common in certain industries or types of companies, which might tend to pay less. But in this paper, the authors control for age, title and the company where the executives work.

The other possibility, of course, is that women earn less incentive pay because they don't perform as well. But the researchers looked at that too: "There is no link between standard measures of firm performance and female representation in the team of top executives," they write.

Link


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:36 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




We Outsource Everything

It really keeps costs down and helps with avoiding pesky laws that get in the way of your goals.

In rare remarks about a sensitive issue, the director of the CIA confirmed today that the U.S. government works with foreign intelligence agencies to capture and jointly interrogate suspected terrorists.

"There are places throughout the world where CIA has worked with other intelligence services and has been able to bring people into custody and engage in the debriefings of these individuals ... through our liaison partners, and sometimes there are joint debriefings that take place as well," said John Brennan, the CIA director, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Brennan's remarks confirm what journalists have long reported: that the Obama administration sometimes helps other countries do the dirty work of snatching and interrogating terror suspects -- keeping the U.S. at arm's length from operations that are ethically and legally dubious..

...

The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill and others have detailed cases during the Obama administration in which terror suspects were held in foreign custody at the behest of the U.S. In 2011, Scahill reported for The Nation on a secret prison in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. Though officially run by the Somali government, Scahill wrote, "US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners" at the facility.

Brennan's comments today are a rare confirmation that the CIA remains actively involved in the arrest and interrogation of terrorist suspects overseas.

Link


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:28 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




Bulk Collection Could Expire

Link

There's some good news coming from the White House today that deserves repeating. Reuters is reporting that Ned Price, a spokesman from the President's National Security Council, has unequivocally stated:
If Section 215 sunsets, we will not continue the bulk telephony metadata program.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the authority that the NSA, with the FBI's help, has interpreted to allow the U.S. government to vacuum up the call records of millions of innocent people. It expires on June 1.

...

With the clock ticking, Congress is running out of time to pass legislation that will reform bulk surveillance.

In fact, despite the Administration's push for reform legislation, it looks increasingly likely that the next vote Congress will face on NSA spying is the June 1 sunset. That's why contacting Congress about the vote is so important--lawmakers should understand that their vote is a statement about where they stand on the Constitution.

...

If you agree that it's time to end mass surveillance, contact Congress and tell them what you expect to see: a no vote on reauthorization of Section 215 on June 1, along with some real comprehensive reform to NSA spying.

Although, there could be a loophole.

Some journalists and privacy advocates have speculated that, even if Section 215 were to expire in the absence of other legislation, bulk collection could continue under Section 102(b) of Public Law 109-177, which some have said would allow investigations that began before the expiration of Section 215 to continue. In November, Charlie Savage at the New York Times reported that the provision could mean that:
as long as there was an older counterterrorism investigation still open, the court could keep issuing Section 215 orders to phone companies indefinitely for that investigation.

Since they can claim everything is a matter of national security and don't ever need to reveal anything, they could pretty much claim everything is part of an older investigation. But even taking a tiny bit of authority for bulk collection of data from the NSA is a good thing.


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:12 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




At Least We'll Have Beans

Fnord will be happy.

Link

Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and pink beans--varieties of what is called the common bean--provide essential protein and vitamins the world over, especially in Latin America and Africa. But according to a recent climate model, increasing temperatures could take those beans off the table for up to 50 percent of their growing areas by 2050, making temperature rise a greater threat to this staple food than even drought or disease.

In response, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) dug into its seed repository and struck gold. After testing more than 1,000 bean varieties they had developed during other projects, investigators identified around 30 that revealed some ability to produce seeds in spite of toasty night temperatures. Those beans have the potential not only to survive increasing temperatures, but to thrive. In fact, they might even expand the area where beans can be grown.


By min | April 30, 2015, 8:05 AM | Science | Comments (0) | Link




Woot

Bernie Sanders running as a Democrat in the primary against Hillary.


By fnord12 | April 28, 2015, 7:36 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link




Explains my Timeline grading scale

C+


By fnord12 | April 28, 2015, 3:38 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




The resistance will turn out to be futile


By fnord12 | April 28, 2015, 12:50 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




The only gun toting vigilante action hero you need to know

Jarvis the Butler.


By fnord12 | April 28, 2015, 11:48 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




The Punisher is pro-gun control

Tim O'Neil at The Hurting has an interesting post on the Punisher. It's a contrast between the era that i'm currently in the middle of reviewing for my Timeline project and a contemporary run that i know nothing about. So it's half very relevant and half lost on me (although O'Neil provides context). What's interesting is that O'Neil says of the Punisher, "He's a right-wing revenge fantasy as it might have been designed by left-wingers who understood the precise limitations of the type." And then he goes on to describe his favorite run, which is Mike Baron's. And i've always understood Baron to be a conservative; certainly his afterward for the 1988 trade paperback collecting the 1986 Punisher mini-series (bottom of the entry) complains about 'liberals'. But his Punisher run is actually much more free of the negative tropes that one associates with the Punisher than you'd think. It's actually Carl Potts, who sounds much more liberal than Baron in that same trade paperback, and who who says some of the same things that O'Neil quotes Eliot Brown saying, that has the Punisher massacring minority gang bangers. Meanwhile Baron has him fighting corrupt South Vietnamese generals, white supremacist groups, and even Wall Street execs. To O'Neil's point, though, both Baron and Potts definitely present the Punisher as a kind of crazy person whose "stories took place in a universe that acknowledged that the Punisher was on the wrong side of the law and existed primarily in dialogue with - and as a foil, not a corrective - to more traditional superheroes like Spider-Man".


By fnord12 | April 27, 2015, 6:29 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link




Nonsense and the nonsencial nonsensers who nonsense them

Come with me, deep into the weeds of the Harry Reed injury conspiracy theory.


By fnord12 | April 27, 2015, 5:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




Finnish populist speeding tickets

Four words that may seem like they may not make a lot of sense when put together, but they do.


By fnord12 | April 27, 2015, 12:33 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




They Must Smell the Vegan on Us

Cause it's starting to feel like we're living in a Snow White house.

Last spring, we discovered robins had made a nest in one of the bushes on our back patio. This didn't bother us so much, but whenever we spent time on our back patio, the adult robins would freak out, sometimes nearly falling out of the nest. They also attempted a complex series of "stealth" approaches to get into the nest with food for their babies. We tried to explain to them it wasn't necessary because we could see them, but they never got the message.

We, ofc, couldn't contain our curiousity, so would periodically peer into the bush to see how the babies were developing. In case you were wondering, they're pretty hideous when they first hatch. Worse than human babies. When they finally get some feathers, they look less horrible. For the first week or so, they're just gaping mouths.

At some point, they turn into real birds. That's about when you should stop peering in on them because now they can see and when a big hairy head pops into their nest, it causes them to jump out in terror. Yeah...i got a panicked IM from fnord about how he thought he just killed the birds. It's ok! They're fine! In fact, i think the parents were grateful for fnord's help in getting their teens out of the nest for them.

Now, these stupid birds - despite the heart attack they nearly suffered every 10 minutes when they re-remembered the hairless apes that shared their territory, they not only stayed to hatch a second brood later in the summer, but came back this spring.

Fnord and i found this to be incredible enough. But now...

A week ago, we came back from a walk and as we approached our front door, a rabbit ran out of the front flower bed - a flower bed with no flowers or anything of interest for a rabbit to eat. But it didn't run away. It just ran a couple of feet and sat there, looking at us. WTF? That is not normal wild animal behavior. It should have kept running to get away from us. A few days later, the same thing happened again. Today, we discovered why it was hanging around.

It's living under my lenten roses.

That bush is 2 ft from my front door. Why the hell is it living so close to my front door??? That's not a safe, away from humans, place to put your stupid rabbit house!

And it has babies!

Here's my size 6.5 foot for a size comparison.


Babies that hide in the grass. Babies we thought were dead cause the one was too scared to move even when Fnord tapped it with his foot. Babies i nearly stepped on cause i am completely unaware of my surroundings and don't expect to have things in the grass that i need to be worried about stepping on. This is unacceptable.

What's going to happen next year? Am i going to come home to find the deer sitting on my couch watching Netflix?


By min | April 26, 2015, 2:58 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link




Attorney General Shouldn't Be an Elected Position

Eric Lipton from the New York Times just won a Pulizter for his three-party story on how lobbyists are buying attorney generals and shaping policies.

Here's the Intercept's summary of it:

The Times series explains that the current corporate onslaught is a response to successful collaborations by state attorneys general over the past several decades, including settlements in which 46 states extracted $206 billion from the tobacco industry, and 49 states forced the top five mortgage servicers to cough up $25 billion.

Public officials acting in the public interest was clearly a glitch in the matrix, and corporate America set out to eliminate it. In 2000 the GOP created the Republican Attorneys General Association, telling corporate lawyers to "round up your clients and come see what RAGA is all about" and then contribute because policy was being set "via the courthouse rather than the statehouse." RAGA raked in at least $11.7 million in 2014, including $2.2 million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and $500,000 from Sheldon Adelson.

The Democrats founded DAGA in 2002, and it now siphons up big chunks of money from many of the same donors as RAGA, including Citigroup, Comcast, Coca-Cola and Pfizer.

RAGA and DAGA provide one-stop shops for influencing state attorneys general. Corporations donate; RAGA and DAGA distribute much of their cash to the campaigns of individual attorneys general; and some of the rest of the money pays for "conferences" that include fundraisers at which corporate executives and their lawyers can donate more to officials in attendance. Then after the attorneys general leave office, they can use the contacts they've developed to go work directly for the corporations.

The end result has been a kind of outsourcing of what citizens would expect their legal representatives to do themselves. For instance, The Times found:

  • Oklahoma's Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency accusing them of "very significantly overestimating" the pollution caused by fracking; the letter was actually written by lawyers for an Oklahoma oil and gas company (which was a big supporter of RAGA).
  • Missouri's Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster instituted restrictive new rules for investigations by his consumer affairs division, rules that had been suggested by a senior executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • Plaintiffs' lawyers have encouraged many attorneys general, mostly Democrats, to file hundreds of lawsuits against businesses; the attorneys general then hire the outside lawyers to do most of the work in return for contingency fees, usually 20 percent of any settlement.
...
But here's the funny part: all the attorneys general questioned by The Times maintain that the money and lobbying have no influence on their decisions whatsoever. This means that the corporations doing the lobbying are engaged in a massive waste of shareholder resources. In other words, if the attorneys general truly believe what they say, they should consider filing a huge, multi-state lawsuit against their donors.

Ofc it has absolutely no influence on your decisions when someone just gave you a ton of money that helped get you elected. Why would anyone feel obligated to do some favor in return?

Plus, instead of shmoozing and politicking and spending time asking for campaign donations so they can hold on to their jobs for another term, mebbe it would be nice if the AGs could spend some time actually being the "people's lawyers".


By min | April 23, 2015, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




Why is fnord cranky today?

When i'm on hold, stop breaking in every 30 seconds to tell me that your representatives are still busy helping other customers. I know that; it's why i'm still on hold. Your insipid on-hold music is enough to let me know that i haven't been disconnected (which has already happened twice). When you turn that off to give me your dumb message, i think that someone is ready to finally talk to me, and i have to stop what i'm doing. If you'd just shut up i could sit here and work on something else until you're ready and i wouldn't be so cranky.

Also, why hasn't everyone adopted the "put in your phone number and we'll call you when we're ready" method? Getting disconnected sucks, but getting disconnected and therefore losing your place in line after waiting for 30 minutes really sucks.


By fnord12 | April 22, 2015, 12:31 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link




Thoughts on the Daredevil Netflix Series So Far

Fnord and i have watched the first 8 episodes. We'll prolly do some sort of sum up once we finish watching all the episodes. But, i needed to say two things.

1) I know you own a razor, Matt. I saw it in your bathroom. How are you going into court looking like you've got dirt on your face? Use the fucking razor! And it's not even electric, so how are you maintaining just the right amount of scruff every single day? Ugh. Scruff is not cute if it's your every day look. It just makes you look like you won't ever finish growing out that beard.

2) Vanessa is crazy in her crazy head. What the hell is wrong with her brain? Fnord says she hangs out with a lot of artists so she can't hear the crazy when the Kingpin talks, but c'mon. There might as well have been a flashing neon sign over his head in episode 8. When he asked if he was a monster, the answer she should have been shouting in her head was "YES!!!" and the verbal one should have been "Oh, I gotta go save my friend from this fake emergency that I asked her to text me about so that I'd have an excuse to leave buh-bye."

And these are the things i think when i'm enjoying the show i'm watching.


By min | April 22, 2015, 9:38 AM | Comics & TeeVee | Comments (6) | Link




SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Ms. Marvel #14 - Takeshi Miyazawa is still on art and i continue to prefer it over Adrian Alphona's. Such a great range of expressions. Really perfect especially for the downtime romance stuff. Storywise i guess i'm just a tad disappointed. I mentioned a few issues back that the one thing that this book is lacking is subplots. There's really just the main story and that's it. That's not quite true since we do have Bruno not-so-secretly pining for Kamala, and there was a little movement on that front in this issue. But there's not much there, really (although it was handled well this issue). I took heart in the fact that the lettercol a few issues back said that the book was going to start focusing more on Kamala's Inhuman side as well as a romantic interest. But i assumed that meant those things in addition to the villain/adventure of the month. Instead those things have become the villain/adventure of the month. I still enjoy this book, as evidenced by the fact that it and Daredevil are the only two Marvel books i'm still reading. But i feel like it could use a little more depth to bring it from a good monthly story to a truly classic ongoing series. I guess it's all moot anyway, with the Secret Wars stuff coming up.

Now where's my banana? Ook ook ook!


By fnord12 | April 21, 2015, 4:10 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Ook ook

Tom Brevoort:

And don't get me started on comic book criticism. These days, the level of critical discourse in terms of reviewers is that of a chimpanzee most of the time. Critical acclaim is only worthwhile when the opinions of the critic are informed and applied with critical acumen. By and large, we don't have critics anymore, we have bloggers.

By fnord12 | April 20, 2015, 8:28 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Recap 66

It Looks Good On You, Though, Flerm


By min | April 17, 2015, 10:55 AM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link




It's like my conscience is talking to me

Recognizing that Movable Type is a dead platform, i've been doing a lot of hacking of the code lately. The good news is that no one will ever look at mine.

At least i can do it myself and i don't have to call this guy.


By fnord12 | April 17, 2015, 10:50 AM | Comics & My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link




Tentacles...

...can sometimes be a problem.


By fnord12 | April 16, 2015, 3:22 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Gender Pay Gap in 2014

From FiveThirtyEight:

Tuesday, April 14, is the 19th annual Equal Pay Day. The day is a symbolic representation of the gender pay gap: The average woman would have had to work all last year and into April this year to earn as much as the average man did in 2014 alone. But speaking in averages isn't always the best way to understand the wage gap. Factors such as race, education and workweek hours can drastically widen (and narrow) the difference between men's and women's pay.

For example, the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit think tank, looked at the hourly wages for men and women across income percentiles and found that at every decile, men outearned women in 2014. The gap is largest at the 95th percentile, with women earning only 79 percent of what men earn in the same income level.1 The narrowing of the wage gap for low-income earners is largely due to the minimum wage, which is the same for men and women. But the lowest-wage occupations remain disproportionately female.

Happy Unequal Pay Day, ladies.

The post has several links you can click through plus a graphic. One of them goes to the Economic Policy Institute.

Though the gap between men and women's wages is smaller for lower-wage earners, there is still a significant gender wage gap at all levels of the wage distribution, particularly at the middle and the top. To close this gender wage gap, women need to see wage growth faster than their male counterparts. Although women have seen modest wage gains in the last several decades, the main reason the gender wage gap has slowly narrowed is that the vast majority of men's wages have stagnated or declined. The best way to close the gender wage gap is for both men and women to see real wage increases, with women at a faster rate than men.

Yay minimum wage, i guess.

In a society where there are still more single mothers than fathers, women are still not getting equal pay. At least in Chile, employers can claim it's because they're providing childcare.


By min | April 16, 2015, 8:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




On the other hand, you really can't go wrong with a pet tiger

No one seems to know what to do with Wonder Woman. It's really not that hard. She's a super hero. Give her things to punch.


By fnord12 | April 15, 2015, 4:46 PM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link




This guy lives down the street

Click it for the full cartoon by Brian McFadden, but something about that particular portion struck me.


By fnord12 | April 11, 2015, 6:43 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




Preserving Old Video Games Will Apparently Bring On the Apocalypse

Or the destruction of the video game industry, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

EFF, along with law student Kendra Albert, is asking the Copyright Office to give some legal protection to game enthusiasts, museums, and academics who preserve older video games and keep them playable. We're asking for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provisions (Section 1201) for those who modify games to keep them working after the servers they need are shut down. Many player communities, along with museums, archives, and researchers, want to keep the games they own playable after publishers shut down the servers the games depend on. Section 1201 creates legal difficulty for these communities, which is why we've asked the Copyright Office to give them an exemption.

Section 1201 is often used by the entertainment industries not to prevent copyright infringement but to control markets and lock out competition. So it's not surprising that ESA (the trade association for the largest game producers), along with MPAA and RIAA, have written to the Copyright Office to oppose this exemption. They say that modifying games to connect to a new server (or to avoid contacting a server at all) after publisher support ends--letting people continue to play the games they paid for--will destroy the video game industry. They say it would "undermine the fundamental copyright principles on which our copyright laws are based."

If they aren't going to maintain the servers and no longer want to make money off the games, why shouldn't people who already own it have a way to keep playing that game? How many times have you gone back to play Super Nintendo Zelda? Yeah, mebbe some people would make some money selling it to people who didn't originally own the game, but how does that compare to how much video game companies already made on the old, unmaintained game and will continue to make on newer games? Having the ability to play an older game isn't going to make people suddenly decide they are done buying new games. Exactly how will it destroy the industry?


By min | April 9, 2015, 8:53 AM | Liberal Outrage & Video Games | Comments (4) | Link




Marvel Sales

February.


By fnord12 | April 3, 2015, 2:03 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Elektra #11 - Well, goodbye! This was an interesting series. I can't say i'm too broken up to see it gone. But it definitely had it's moments. Mike del Mundo's art was the main selling point. He says in his goodbye blurb at the end of this issue that he was strongly influenced by Frank Miller & Bill Sienkiewicz's Elektra: Assassin, and that's what i liked about it too. Plotwise, i felt like things were too decompressed and meandering, and it's interesting to see that in his end blurb, writer Harden Blackman admits that he had no idea what he was going to do with the character when he started and that the editors had to get him back on track when he "lost the plot". In a sense that really makes this feel like a wasted opportunity. Even if the book was really intended as a vehicle for del Mundo, Marvel ought to have had a stronger strategy for the book. I feel the same way about Black Widow (which is still being published, but we dropped) and She-Hulk (cancelled). All books have a hard time staying afloat nowadays, and a book with indie style art and a female lead character especially could use all the help it could get. Marvel (admirably) decided to launch a number of books with female leads following the success/enthusiasm from Captain and Ms. Marvel, but "show up and throw up" was not a good strategy for keeping them on the market. I also have the more fanboy complaint of the casual use of villains, and that continues with the very end of this issue where a bunch of moderately powerful villains, most of whom in my opinion should be not members of an assassin's guild (but that may not be Blackman's fault), show up to get menaced by Elektra. I honestly would have liked this series more if Elektra got to actually fight those villains, preferably one on one, but actual super-villain fights were mostly shunted to the sidelines in this book. Still, there were some interesting moments, so i'm glad to have read the series even though at the same time i'm not too sorry to see it go.

Daredevil #14 - Based on the cover i wondered if maybe Darkhawk was in this issue. But it's really a daughter of the Owl. She's introduced pretty well. Seems more powerful than her father and starts off in an interesting situation with Daredevil that is handled well, as is the Owl/Shroud story which moves from subplot to main plot with this issue. This continues to be a really nice book. The ad on the cover informing us that the Netflix Daredevil sereis is starting soon makes me regret even more that Waid and Samnee are leaving, since that might have resulted in an influx of readers for a series that gets a lot of critical praise but only moderate commercial success.

Thanos vs. Hulk #4 - I've seen people complain that this series was a bait & switch, since Thanos turns out to barely figure into the story, with Annihilus being the main threat. And that is definitely true, especially since we know that this book was originally intended to be a story in Hulk Smash but was deliberately moved into its own mini-series with Thanos' name put first. But the truth is i would have gotten this no matter what, so i don't personally have anything to complain about. Well, i mean, i do, but not about that. I've enjoyed the series so far, but with this final issues some of the minor things that have been bugging me came to the forefront. The first is the scripting of the Hulk, which seems off. I've read a lot of dumb Hulk over the years, and he's never called people "dummies" or complained that the villain "flaps jaws too much". I get that that the Hulk has now had so many personalities that you can't officially write him "wrong", but a) this one is close enough to classic dumb Hulk that it feels wrong in an uncanny valley sort of way and b)for a story like this, you really want classic dumb Hulk anyway. The other thing is the big panels resulting in low content, which was especially noticeable in this issue which was mostly a fight. I liked the basic idea here, but it was probably worth 4 pages of story, not 20. I should start scoring comics with a panels-to-pages ratio and see what i think the sweet spot is. Anyway, this is over. Actually between this and Elektra ending, our pull list is i think down to just Daredevil and Ms. Marvel.


By fnord12 | April 3, 2015, 10:16 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link




Well then fuck the Board of Trustees

Fidelity Board of Trustees love genocide

By fnord12 | April 3, 2015, 10:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




Nuts!

Diet by the Most Emailed list is probably not wise, but Krugman's post is still funny.

Here's the fish oil article. Except for the nuts, it's all irrelevant to us vegans but it's nice to hear we might not be killing ourselves even though we can't take fish oil supplements.


By fnord12 | April 1, 2015, 2:32 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link



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