Finally, Something Good on Twitter

This is genius:

Getting into a climate change debate on Twitter could be even more exhausting than it sounds now that a software developer named Nigel Leck has automated the process. Tired of arguing with climate change deniers in 140 character quips, the programmer wrote a script to do it for him. Chatbot @AI_AGW scans Twitter every five minutes searching for hundreds of phrases that fit the usual denier argument paradigm. Then it serves them up some science.

Those responses are pulled from a database of hundreds of responses that the software matches up to the argument made by the original tweeter. Those who claim the entire solar system is warming are met with something like: “Sun’s output has barely changed since 1970 & is irrelevant to recent global warming” followed by a link to corresponding scientific research.

(via)






92 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    NPR had a blurb on this this morning but also pointed out that it was auto-responding to some people just tweeting about weather. Still, it’s a good start.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Perfect. No one should have to waste time and effort responding to the regurgitated talking points of Foxbots.

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    I see our way clear now… we automate the process!

  4. 4
    homerhk says:

    In the midst of doom, two links that tickled me today:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/.....011033216/ (Daily Mash is the UK equivalent of The Onion, I guess).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....rack-obama – this is what I feel – I don’t care if it’s not cool or that I am a member of some cult (that appears now to only have about 10 people!) but this is what I feel. Note I’m not saying that he’s perfect – my wife ain’t perfect but I still love her.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    From the comments

    BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING???………………… .HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!……………………………….
    Thats not the question. It IS most definitely getting warmer since the Ice age. The question is if humans are causing it to accelerate in warming or not………………………………………..
    The fact that the globalists want to tax carbon is an out right call for paying to breathe. Slavery……………………………………
    Open your eyes and focus on the right parts of the picture here.

  6. 6
    homerhk says:

    Can I also say that Cenk can go F himself. http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....ut-For-You

  7. 7
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Hoo boy – I like the anti-denial bot, but I’m sure the fRighties are going to run with this method to even more tirelessly spew their ignorance. Now that a liberal has figured out the technique, that is.

  8. 8
    JAHILL10 says:

    Sweeeet! If only we could do this for all the stupid right-wing zombie lies. Let’s put our best people on it!

  9. 9

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    I’m sure the fRighties are going to run with this method to even more tirelessly spew their ignorance.

    I thought the right had already perfected the mindless response with talking points method ages ago.

  10. 10
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Except they won’t have science to link to…makes a difference.

  11. 11
    4tehlulz says:

    This is probably the first step to Twitter becoming self-aware.

  12. 12

    A lot of good things happen on Twitter.

    And if you weren’t older than I am and grumpier than I am, you would know that.

    [1944. Gotcha. :-)]

  13. 13
    Keith says:

    Not mentioned in the article is that with a few simple tweaks, it can run Sarah Palin’s PR office.

  14. 14
    Frank Chow says:

    I was wondering about that. I received a tweet from this bot the other day when I sarcastically linked to the GOP’s plan to investigate Climate Science with “IT’S BEGUN!”

    Hilarious and the link was informative, too bad facts don’t matter to climate deniers…

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    On one hand the whackos want a better world for their children but on the other hand they want their tax cuts and global warming a hoax. It’s pretty impressive that someone could write a program to challenge hypocrites.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    @homerhk: Sure you can tell him to go to hell. He was probably the happiest man in the country Tuesday night. We need to upgrade the quality of the so-called activist left in this country. The ones we have now are not activists and they are not truly leftists.

  17. 17
    BR says:

    Here’s a talk from William Rees, the Canadian professor who came up with the now well-known concept of ecological footprint:

    http://vimeo.com/16398444

    We’re at the limits to growth. I really wonder what it’ll take for us to get through to elected officials about that. (Though I should say, I think Jerry Brown knew about that in the 1970s and was fond of mentioning that we were in the era of limits, etc.)

  18. 18
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    An auto-inane response?

    This is brilliant. Hand over fighting idiots to the robots, mainly because robots don’t have the urge to throw up unless it’s been intentionally built in.

    Speaking of inane, so is everyone reminding all of the legions of pundits on both sides that the entire, whole, complete, narrative that we need to explain “why Obama and the other Democrats were rejected” is based on a myth that Republicans won a popularity contest, when in fact what happened was that Democrats didn’t turn out, Republicans did, and polls show that Republicans are less popular than Democrats on the whole?

    Anyone?

    Talk about an auto-response needed.

    I mean, I have things to repudiate about Obama’s Presidency but they’re the opposite of what the pundits are on about, and the fact that Blue Dogs were demolished shows you that trying to adopt Republican “conservative values” was even less successful than just acting like an actual Democrat, on the whole.

    I have the feeling it’s going to be a long couple of years as everyone outdoes each other trying to explain something based on a complete myth. Oy.

  19. 19
    homerhk says:

    Beltane, I also noticed this gem from Digby “I think when you run against your own party in this age of polarization you are begging the electorate to vote for your opponent.” talking about blue dogs.

    In fairness, she has a point there but there does seem to be a blindspot when it comes to the so-called liberal activist left doing the same thing. When they continually accuse people who, despite imperfections, are trying day by day to do the right thing by everyone in the country, of corruption, corporate whore-dom etc. they’re just begging for people to vote for someone else.

  20. 20
    Lee from NC says:

    @beltane:

    So hippie bashing is fun? Seriously, at this point it’s pretty obvious that something is not going right in the presidency. All the “analysis” I see from some people here is “the lefties are crazy and it’s their fault” or “there’s nothing Obama can do” followed by some sarcastic reference to the “bully pulpit”.

    Congressional Democrats are weak douchebags, yes. But the leadership from Obama has not been exactly stirring either.

  21. 21
    homerhk says:

    Lee, seriously if I read the phrase “hippie bashing” once more…

    First, those guys aren’t “hippies”. They’re mainly interested in filthy lucre, getting their very own teevee show where they can spout pseudo leftwing diatribes at the President.

    Second, no-one is “bashing” them. No-one is saying they lost the election – I blame the voters for that – but what I am saying is that the President needs some fucking support; he needs people that have his back. All the approve – disapprove figures show that at the very least 40% of people approve of Obama, why do we never hear from that sizeable number of people?

    if you’re going to continue to use the word “hippie bashing” I’m going to characterise every criticism you make of President Obama as “black bashing” – how does that sound?

  22. 22

    @Lee from NC:

    So hippie bashing is fun? Seriously, at this point it’s pretty obvious that something is not going right in the presidency.

    presidential approval ratings are still in the 40s. We’re doomed!

  23. 23
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @homerhk:

    they’re just begging for people to vote for someone else.

    Yes but that’s based on another myth, that anyone who voted for a Republican was somehow swayed by what Digby wrote. Which is virtually impossible.

    Or, that someone read Digby, agreed, and stayed home. Also highly unlikely. Bloggers vote, people interested enough to read blogs also vote. I know one or two people who really were saying that they were not voting, I mean Democrats, and it was entirely about the economy. They’d never heard of any of the blogs I mentioned, not one, just really pissed and disheartened about unemployment, housing, and the rest of the economy. Not saying they were right not to vote, not at all, it’s moronic, but it had nothing to do with bloggers or activists.

  24. 24
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @homerhk: After reading the post, I’m not really sure what the complaint you have with Cenk is. Perhaps a bit too much of the blame for the losses is being placed on Obama (who definitely wasn’t on my ballot) but the main point of the piece, that Republicans decided compromise meant their starting and ending position were the same, take it or leave it, seems pretty spot on. That they did it for political reasons during our current financial crisis is cynically evil, but it worked. In fact, I watched some GOP strategist complain to Harry Smith on CBS this morning that Obama never tried to work with them over the last two years. The fact that Harry allowed that completely transparent lie go without a challenge while he nodded sagely along to the idea that Obama must do more to work with Republicans had me yelling at the TV a bit more than usual (much to my kids’ amusement.)

  25. 25
    ChrisS says:

    Nice NY Times article describing the GOP’s game plan for this fall. The democratic leadership, predictably, enabled it perfectly.

    And it looks like Dan Maffei will probably lose NY-25. Awesome news!

    Heckuva job, Brownie!

  26. 26
    homerhk says:

    Bill E – take your point but it just isn’t as simple as that. I’m not talking about people who read blogs directly, but what happens is that the blogosphere gets into a certain meme and that then filters through to the MSM, news channels, news papers etc and then it just becomes conventional wisdom. Case in point, my brother was over to the UK from Holland, where he lives. He is a pretty liberal guy – probably more so than me – (he’s a human rights lawyer, whereas I am a corporate sell-out!) but he doesn’t follow US politics as much as I do. He knows I rate Obama so he likes to provoke me saying “obama’s done nothing, he’s worse than Bush, he’s a sell out” etc. He doesn’t read blogs but he knows this because it’s conventional wisdom (on the left, that is – on the right, the cw is that he overreached). I talked about all the things that Obama has actually achieved, both things known and things not widely publicised. Ultimately, he was persuaded but his first impression was that Obama was just another crappy US president just interested in making wealthy people wealthier.

  27. 27
    BR says:

    @homerhk:

    Lee, seriously if I read the phrase “hippie bashing” once more…

    Seriously. This. I get tired of “hippies” whomever they might be claiming exclusive right to the left. First of all, being of a younger generation, I’m tired of ascribing things that I feel are correct to that of a now gone older generation (as in “the DFHs were right”). And add to that that my views are probably further to the “left” (whatever that means any more) of that of Cenk, Jane/FDL, etc. I get tired of them being the true leftists being punches because they’re “hippies”.

  28. 28
    gnomedad says:

    Those who claim the entire solar system is warming are met with something like: “Sun’s output has barely changed since 1970 & is irrelevant to recent global warming” followed by a link to corresponding scientific research.

    But it won’t matter because scientists are all America-hatin’ soshulists who just make shit up.

  29. 29
    BR says:

    @gnomedad:

    Yup. And there’s a new climate denier “documentary” which bills itself as the antidote to An Inconvenient Truth coming out soon. I’m sure Fox News will say that *those* scientists are telling the truth…

  30. 30
    matoko_chan says:

    meh.
    it is demographics.
    25% of the conservative base is 65 or over…in 2020 they will mostly be dead.
    In 2008 non-hispanic cauc became a minority in American children under five for the first time. In 2021 those children start turning 18.
    Republicans have let WINNING turn them into a old white christian party.
    a losing strat in the long game.

  31. 31
    gnomedad says:

    From yesterday’s thread:

    The problem is that one side plays by its own rules in a universe of its own devising, with its own physical laws, its unique economics, and its own history and theology, and that universe is now devouring the real one.

  32. 32
    BR says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Which is why they’re going to make Marco Rubio their VP pick in 2012.

  33. 33
    El Cid says:

    There is no human-caused global warming: it is all caused by increased output from the Sun.

    We know this because none of the scientists studying global warming have ever thought of the Sun. We conservative intellectuals, however, have theorized that it is caused by the Sun and this seems very likely that the Sun is Hot.

    If scientists cared about what they did, they would, like, look at the Sun, and maybe measured it or something, maybe even have stuff up in space to see what it’s doing.

    Until then, we have to keep reminding people that global warming is caused by the Sun because it could be that way and also the Sun is Hot.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @homerhk:

    Ultimately, he was persuaded but his first impression was that Obama was just another crappy US president just interested in making wealthy people wealthier.

    The argument could be made that wealthy people are wealthier. In fact, they are the only group who is doing better.

  35. 35
    gnomedad says:

    @El Cid:
    Made my day! You win the intertubez.

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    @Keith:

    Hell,it can run Sarah Palin.

    aimai

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    that Republicans decided compromise meant their starting and ending position were the same, take it or leave it, seems pretty spot on. That they did it for political reasons during our current financial crisis is cynically evil, but it worked.

    And this fact was so completely self evident that everyone knew it. The only path back to power, the only, only, only, way the R’s were going to increase their elected number was by complete obstruction. Deny the President any good policy victories that would help people, and demagog the absolute hell out of anything that was passed or even proposed to pass.
    And somehow this is exactly what they did and now we are where we are.

  38. 38
    Guster says:

    @homerhk:

    … the blogosphere gets into a certain meme and that then filters through to the MSM, news channels, news papers etc and then it just becomes conventional wisdom.

    So you’re saying that memes from the leftblogs are filtering into the big corporate media and driving the national narrative?

  39. 39
    valdivia says:

    @homerhk:

    no, there is more than 10 people believe me. I worked with tons of them on GOTV phonebanks both in DC and NYC in these past two weeks.

    In any event, I totally agree with that link too. Thanks for sharing it.

  40. 40
    dmsilev says:

    @El Cid: Sadly, I once saw an argument like yours advanced in utter seriousness, by a creationist. They were using the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics means that life never could have arisen on its own” argument, claiming that “unless there was some huge source of energy continuously raining down on the Earth that the scientists aren’t telling us about, this would be impossible.”

    It takes a very special sort of mind to assume that the existence of the Sun is a Liberal Secular Conspiracy.

    dms

  41. 41
    El Cid says:

    @gnomedad: I would like to pretend that I have not encountered this type of argument several times before — albeit without openly adding the notion that scientists have not studied and monitored and are not studying and monitoring today the solar output and its absorption in the Earth’s atmosphere. The argument really goes that it’s the Sun because we’ve seen solar fluctuations before so it’s likely that this is what it is; the notion that either no one done thunk of this, or that you actually have to prove this hypothesis more than other hypotheses have been proven and tested just doesn’t occur. And it’s all because of the big scientist conspiracy.

  42. 42
    El Cid says:

    @dmsilev: They always forget or ignore that part about ‘a closed system’. Or maybe they think the Sun is inside the Urf.

  43. 43
    aimai says:

    @BR:

    Well, some portion of “them” is going to try to put Rubio up. But its going to be like herding cats to keep some of their base in play while reaching out to the hispanic vote. However, I’m not as sanguine as everyone else about the dying out of the confederate party. To the extent that its the party of power/money that uses racism to get into power and stay there I don’t really see that dying out. The white/racist component will die, but if the Dems don’t do a ton of voter outreach as soon as this country is majority minority we are simply going to be dealing with the same struggle of the haves against the have nots in a different complexion. Money really doesn’t have any color but green and our coporate leaders will be able to dupe the latino and african american population as easily as they have duped the white population. We just don’t know yet how they will shape their message.

    aimai

  44. 44
    Punchy says:

    OT:

    Do these people have any idea how our gov’t works? That owing 1/2 of Congress does not allow for their insane pet projects to be passed? Can they be that misinformed, or do they just expect to be able to bypass the Senate becuase, shut up, that’s why?

    Serious question. How do they get elected not understanding this?

  45. 45
    Khârn the Betrayer says:

    I eagerly await the day when Twitter is literal robots auto-arguing with each other instead of morons trying to sound witty and or relevant.

    BFTBG/SFTST

  46. 46
    BR says:

    @aimai:

    True. I’m surprised that Angle didn’t try the Catholic vs. Mormon wedge against Reid to try to win back some Latino votes in Nevada. (Or maybe she did?) I’m sure Huckabee will be happy to do it again against Romney.

  47. 47
    Joshua says:

    How depressing is our political debate nowadays when one can write a computer program that simply mines for easily defeatable talking points? This is what a post-fact culture gets us. I bet you could do the same for every Republican policy (tax cuts, healthcare, regulation, etc.).

  48. 48
    Guster says:

    @Punchy: You’re joking, right? These people don’t understand that a banana isn’t ironclad proof of God. They think a slam dunk argument against evolution is ‘where are the monkeymen?’

    Give ’em credit for this, though: ‘activists are looking beyond the next Congress and have come up with a 40-year plan.’

    A 40-year plan. That way Conservatism can’t conceivably fail for an entire generation!

    Meanwhile, we’re fucked because we didn’t fix things in 18 months.

  49. 49
    BR says:

    @Guster:

    A 40-year plan. That way Conservatism can’t conceivably fail for an entire generation!

    Look at it another way. That 40-year plan isn’t being devised by the local Wasilla chapter of waddling teatards. It’s being devised by big money thinktanks that were devious enough to have done the same thing 40 years ago, and we’re looking at the result today – take over the media with their constant message, make an unholy alliance with religious conservatives, etc.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    According to Ambinder:

    The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged “scientific fraud” behind global warming, a sleeper issue in this election that motivated the base quite a bit.

    That sounds fun! I wonder if the Twitter script can be sworn in for a Congressional hearing?

  51. 51
    ChrisS says:

    @aimai:
    The white/racist component will die

    I doubt it. There will always be a tribe to hate.

    I’ve long since given up on climate change, we can’t even convince people that progressive taxation is in their best interest.

  52. 52
    gnomedad says:

    @Punchy:

    Do these people have any idea how our gov’t works? That owing 1/2 of Congress does not allow for their insane pet projects to be passed? Can they be that misinformed, or do they just expect to be able to bypass the Senate becuase, shut up, that’s why?

    Winning the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2008 and passing legislation is tyrrany! And not letting the Rethug majority in the House do whatever the hell they want will be tyrrany, too! Also!

    Edit: triple ballbats get deleted for some reason. FYWP.

  53. 53
    ChrisS says:

    @Violet:

    And when we elected democrats to congress, the most exciting people they could investigate were Roger Clemens and Bud Selig.

  54. 54
    Guster says:

    @BR: Oh, I don’t think there’s really a 40 Year Plan, other than ‘Be patient, radical freakshow voters, we’re working extremely hard on your concerns while dismantling the death tax and the class warfare infrastructure. Just another few years, and we’ll be done!’

  55. 55
    BR says:

    @ChrisS:

    I’ve long since given up on climate change

    This is what I’m most afraid of, frankly. In the long run – the next decade or two, if more folks on the side of truth give up in the face of what I’ll admit is a horrible media and political environment, we’re fucked – we, humanity.

    Bruce Schneier likes to say “if it’s in the news, don’t worry about it – by definition news is things that happen rarely”. He points out that, for example, car crashes and domestic violence are the things to worry about and they are never in the news. Same is now true for climate change and ecological overshoot.

  56. 56
    homerhk says:

    Corner Stone, are you making that argument? An argument could also be made (and by the way, I’m making that argument) that the Obama administration has presided over the largest distribution of wealth to the poor and middle class over the past 20 months than has been seen in the US for a generation. Has he stopped wealthy people get wealthier? No. But, has he initiated programmes that disproportionately benefit the poor and middle class? Yes. So, when people say he is only interested in making wealthy people wealthier, I take issue with that both on substance and on framing.

    Guster, I like the way you snip my comment leaving out the remainder. What I was saying that the left blogosphere drives the conventional wisdom narrative on the left that Obama is a corporate sell-out, worse than Bush etc. And by the way, it seems to me that the self-titled liberals who make up about 20% of the population (give or take) are by their nature more likely to get their news/comment from the blogospher rather than the MSM so it doesn’t necessarily have to filter through to the MSM (although I think it does, to with EJ Dionne and Krugman who both write for the MSM, Olbermann and Ed Schultz – both part of the MSM).

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    @ChrisS:
    At least Roger Clemmens was somewhat entertaining in his stubbornness.

    I think the GOP holding high profile hearings into “scientific fraud” behind global warming would be a good thing. For Democrats. Red meat to the GOP base, who will be clamoring for more. Classic overreach to everyone else.

  58. 58
    Guster says:

    @ChrisS: Maybe if they’d fed Iraqi steroids instead of chained them naked to walls and abusing them, we’d have seen some action.

    At least we didn’t look backward.

  59. 59
    Guster says:

    @homerhk:

    take your point but it just isn’t as simple as that. I’m not talking about people who read blogs directly, but what happens is that the blogosphere gets into a certain meme and that then filters through to the MSM, news channels, news papers etc and then it just becomes conventional wisdom. Case in point, my brother was over to the UK from Holland, where he lives. He is a pretty liberal guy – probably more so than me – (he’s a human rights lawyer, whereas I am a corporate sell-out!) but he doesn’t follow US politics as much as I do. He knows I rate Obama so he likes to provoke me saying “obama’s done nothing, he’s worse than Bush, he’s a sell out” etc. He doesn’t read blogs but he knows this because it’s conventional wisdom (on the left, that is – on the right, the cw is that he overreached). I talked about all the things that Obama has actually achieved, both things known and things not widely publicised. Ultimately, he was persuaded but his first impression was that Obama was just another crappy US president just interested in making wealthy people wealthier.

    Guster, I like the way you snip my comment leaving out the remainder. What I was saying that the left blogosphere drives the conventional wisdom narrative on the left that Obama is a corporate sell-out, worse than Bush etc. And by the way, it seems to me that the self-titled liberals who make up about 20% of the population (give or take) are by their nature more likely to get their news/comment from the blogospher rather than the MSM so it doesn’t necessarily have to filter through to the MSM (although I think it does, to with EJ Dionne and Krugman who both write for the MSM, Olbermann and Ed Schultz – both part of the MSM).

    Really? I’ve gotta quote everything, not just the bit I disagree with? Okay. I’ll try again:

    So you’re saying that memes from the leftblogs are filtering into the big corporate media and driving the national narrative that the left thinks Obama is a corporate sell-out, worse than Bush, etc.?

    A loud fringe on the left is heartily disappointed in Obama–for good reason, I think. Maybe you disagree. But no, that’s not the national narrative. Not among the mainstream, that the left hates Obama. And not among lefties, either.

    One, because it’s not conventional leftie wisdom that Obama is a corporate sell-out and worse than Bush. You’re aware that the vast majority of Democrats heartily approve of Obama, right? (And even among those who don’t, I bet the vast majority would say:corporate sell-out, yes, but worse than Bush, no.) And two, even if it were the conventional wisdom, I see no reason to assume that it was driving the narrative any more than reflecting it.

    They leftblogs aren’t some alien outside force. They’re not witches. They’re us.

  60. 60
    Lee says:

    Do the deniers realize they are now being mocked and trolled?

    This is brilliant.

  61. 61
    homerhk says:

    Guster, all I ask is that you don’t snip the comment to make it look like I didn’t address what you said. I made a distinction between the left conventional wisdom and the right conventional wisdom. Admit it or not but a lot of liberal view points are driven by the blogosphere – I point you to any comment thread under any one of GG’s columns, or to the comments under the misleading headlines put on HuffPo’s website. I’m not saying that this is the national conventional wisdom but if you don’t think that the conventional wisdom on the liberal side of the spectrum is that Obama is a corporate sell out then maybe we’re reading different things. It’s not necessarily that those people won’t vote but it’s a knock-on effect. Obama was elected in part because the amazing enthusiasm he generated spread from the blogosphere to the general public and in particular to the youth vote. When those same people keep hearing over and over again that there is no difference between the parties, that no matter what we’re still fucked, that Obama is a pussy, afraid to stand up, not bold enough or doesn’t have an overarching narrative or some other bullshit, that enthusiasm just dies. It is NOT just for Obama to generate enthusiasm (and frankly delivering 80% of the signature policy should generate enthusiasm) – he just can’t do it alone.

  62. 62

    WANTwantWANTwantWANTwantWANT!!!

    I want one for arguments about tax cuts creating jobs, Sharia Law, Capitalist Jesus, Christian Nation, Obama birtherism, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Please God where can I get my hands on one?

  63. 63
    mac says:

    This really sounds like a step in the wrong direction. The downfall is that something like this works both ways.

  64. 64
    ChrisS says:

    @mac:
    Yep, this could effectively kill twitter, which means that it’ll get screened out.

  65. 65
    Redshift says:

    @El Cid: It reminds me of a conversation with a friend when I was, I dunno, eight or so. He proudly explained that he had figured out how (mechanical) watches work. Since a stopped watch would run for a little bit if you shake it, what the winding knob did was to shake it up a whole lot. Not bad for an eight-year-old. (I actually knew how watches work and was able to explain it.)

    The “explanations” from anti-science types are exactly in that vein, only with more arrogance:

    1. Assume that science is just common sense and good guessing.
    2. Know for certain that you have just as much common sense, and your guess is just as good as theirs.
    3. Never imagine that you could possibly look stuff up instead (but without the excuse of being eight.)

    The “science is just another opinion” boggles me. Would these guys get surgery done by some random guy on the street because knowledge and expertise doesn’t matter?

  66. 66
    Shinobi says:

    Is there anyway I could get like, a hand held version of this, so it can argue with my Father when I go for a visit?

    Maybe even a similar one on Economics so he will stop telling me to take an economics class (of which I have taken more than him) and asking me “Are you a SOCIALIST? DO YOU KNOW WHAT SOCiALISM ISSSSS?”

  67. 67
    Rhoda says:

    @Guster: I don’t know what you’re disagreeing with but for the liberals I know: Obama could have done more, could have gotten the public option, could have gotten the stimulus Krugman wanted etc etc is an artical of faith. For those who were backing Edwards or Hillary; it’s a shrug your shoulders there you go thing. Drives me and the other Obots of our circle insane too.

    Frankly, Obama never had the support of the blogsphere in the primaries until he beat HRC in Iowa and even then until the nomination everyone wasn’t locked up. Hell, Mydd was predicting his demise from jump street. And that anger, that conviction that he isn’t up to the job, makes these bloggers IMO put him up to a higher standard. Just as the MSM fought to hoist him on his own petard for daring to say Washington needs to change. From the transition onward it’s been a cut here and a cut there and now the administration is bloody and bruised and dealing with a fight in the liberal tent and an assault from the MSM that wants Obama humbled and Republicans moving in for the kill.

    It’d be nice if at some point people started yelling at the Republicans instead of Obama for faking being nice. Then, maybe tools like Harry Smith wouldn’t let the GOP say Obama never tried to work with them. If the blogosphere would focus on a sustained critique of Republicans instead of the White House 24/7 it would get us far more progressive legislation.

  68. 68
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @BR: They’d still have to stop demonizing Hispanics and do something about immigration reform. Just adding Rubio to the ticket wouldn’t cut it. Minority voters are a little more savvy than many seem to think. When Michael Steele ran against Ben Cardin for senate in Maryland, he got just 25% of the black vote. 75% of that vote went to Cardin because he’s a Dem and most Maryland black voters are Dems. That said, the Democrats need to also push on immigration reform. Nominating Sotomayor to the Supreme Court won’t earn the Dems eternal gratitude.

  69. 69
    General Stuck says:

    I don’t blame the so called “hippies” for losing this election, but you would have to be pretty much braindead to not see left wing memes filtering into the msm. Time after time we have heard of great rifts in the dem party make it to the msm, either thru someone like Schultz speaking for internet progressives, or Jane or GG doing repeated performances of same on cable news, then picked up by the likes of Politico, and before you know it the msm reports on internal warring within the dem party, when in reality, it’s a tiny number of liberal ideologues disappointed because ideologues do not by nature like compromise, and they get disappointed and lash out.

    That is their right, and also the right for others to call them on it. Dems lost this election due to long term apathy for voting by democrats, betraying their also long term party ID registration advantage over the goopers, that may include some liberals, though they are the smallest faction of dems, but across the board for registered democrats. We lost the election because Obama passed comprehensive HC reform and the right wing ideologues hated it worse than death, and others on the right talked themselves into it being a soshulist plot by a mysterious black man not of their tribe, and scared enough seniors with heinous lies about tampering with medicare, by the Kenyan usurper, scary negro, that they turned out in droves to vote GOP.

    But my conclusion is, that the so called DFH”s pretty much own the blogs, and will own Balloon Juice little Fort Obot as well. Let em have it, I say. You can’t fight city hall, nor turn back a tide of true believers from either side of the isle. No matter how self possessed and wrong they are about how politics and governing works. The other 99 percent of democrats will just have to ignore them as best as best can.

  70. 70
    homerhk says:

    I’m in moderation limbo so re-posting without the nasty words:

    Guster, all I ask is that you don’t snip the comment to make it look like I didn’t address what you said. I made a distinction between the left conventional wisdom and the right conventional wisdom. Admit it or not but a lot of liberal view points are driven by the blogosphere – I point you to any comment thread under any one of GG’s columns, or to the comments under the misleading headlines put on HuffPo’s website. I’m not saying that this is the national conventional wisdom but if you don’t think that the conventional wisdom on the liberal side of the spectrum is that Obama is a corporate sell out then maybe we’re reading different things. It’s not necessarily that those people won’t vote but it’s a knock-on effect. Obama was elected in part because the amazing enthusiasm he generated spread from the blogosphere to the general public and in particular to the youth vote. When those same people keep hearing over and over again that there is no difference between the parties, that no matter what we’re still fucked, that Obama is a p**sy, afraid to stand up, not bold enough or doesn’t have an overarching narrative or some other bullsh*t, that enthusiasm just dies. It is NOT just for Obama to generate enthusiasm (and frankly delivering 80% of the signature policy should generate enthusiasm) – he just can’t do it alone.

  71. 71
    Moonbatman says:

    Does not responCRU’s Phil Jones

    We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. There is IPR to consider.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    The people who didn’t vote were either the usual apathetic, apolitical individuals or people who consciously chose not to vote.
    I would wager those who chose not to vote may be about 99.9999% unaware FDL, MYDD or Balloon-Juice exists. The GOS is a little more of a phenom, and may be at least superficially recognizable by a small portion. I seriously doubt they could name another prominent front pager besides Markos.
    And the idea that blog memes are driving the MSM coverage is so silly it’s hard to fathom. The MSM has been doing their “Democrats in disarray” and variations for two or more generations.
    If the intertubes were around when Ted Kennedy ran against Carter some of you would blame a lot of the narrative at the time on it.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @homerhk:

    and in particular to the youth vote. When those same people keep hearing over and over again

    They don’t have a job, have a ton of school debt, are living with their parents if lucky, and have zero confidence in the future prospects.
    They do not need OpenLeft or BJ to tell them they are in a hole.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @homerhk:

    An argument could also be made (and by the way, I’m making that argument) that the Obama administration has presided over the largest distribution of wealth to the poor and middle class over the past 20 months than has been seen in the US for a generation.

    I’m sorry. What?
    We just witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth from the public to the private in history. And it hasn’t stopped yet.

  75. 75
    Ross Hershberger says:

    Pardon me for going all on-topic, but I think this is a TERRIBLE Twitter innovation. I’m a programmer and a tech geek. I hate the idea of automatically finding strangers to argue with and spamming out responses. Sorry, but while I admire the guy’s ambition in finding a lazy way to argue, this is just really stupid.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ross Hershberger: I think anything that helps drive the demise of our 140 character, sound byte media is a good thing.
    In a way it’s exactly like what conservatives do in real life discussions.

  77. 77
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    @beltane: “The ones we have now are not activists and they are not truly leftists.”

    Link? Maybe that just sounds like mindless blather.

    Of course everything not Right surely MUST be ‘left’ … absolutely Thomas Jefferson and Mao are on the same spectrum.

    Liberals are not leftists anyhow. That is the Rightwing meme to trap us into the box with the bullies. Just sayin’

    The term Progressive came out of the old Rightwing insistence on making everything two-dimensional to control the field: it’s having-money winners against the not-having-money losers. Sure it is. And guess who wins that Calvinball contest?

  78. 78
    homerhk says:

    Corner Stone, no need to be sorry. These are the facts.

    The Stimulus bill contained $260 bn of tax cuts to middle class families, billions invested in pell grants and headstart, billions for COBRA, billions for medicaid. The healthcare bill contains massive subsidies for the poor and those who cannot afford insurance. All of this, alone, means a substantial distribution of wealth to the lesser off in society.

  79. 79
    Lee from NC says:

    @homerhk:

    Ur, did you read Beltane’s comment, which I was replying to? He most certainly was bashing the lefties. And you can quibble with the choice of words, but “hippie-bashing” gets my point across quickly and concisely. You knew immediately what I was talking about.

    And yes, I do support Obama. I went out and voted a straight Democratic ticket and did my best to get others to vote. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see the problems.

    Seriously, when the administration is bashing it’s own base (the far leftists), deporting more hispanics than ever before without making any effort to reform immigration, saying one thing and doing another with DADT, etc etc. there is a problem.

  80. 80
    Corner Stone says:

    @homerhk: The health care bill doesn’t largely kick in until 2014. So that does not count as “last 20 months”. I’m not sure how much of HCR we’ll ever actually see at this rate.
    And you talk about billions spread across a population? I’m talking about trillions filtered to a relatively small few.

    ETA – this should be “trillions controlled by a relatively small few”.

  81. 81
    homerhk says:

    Lee – he was bashing so-called leftist acvitists. I knew what you were talking about because that phrase has become shorthand for reacting to any criticism that one might make about these so-called leftist activist and it has become such a shorthand that the users of that phrase don’t feel any need substantively to refute the criticism because it is taken as read somehow that “hippie bashing” is a BAD thing and inevitably wrong. I disagree with that.

    I like that you try to make a substantive critique in your last paragraph but:

    – Obama’s base was not the “far leftists” and I don’t think he has been “bashing” them. This is yet another instance of the use of this word to innoculate you against any criticism whatsoever. I happen to think that Obama is right to get frustrated at those who say they want change who pretend to be knowledgable about policy etc who just can’t concede that what has been passed is actually a big fucking deal, just because they didn’t get everything they asked for.

    On the deportation issue, I have little problem with the President enforcing the law, I do think that he’ll get to immigration issues but y’know he has only been there 18 fucking months.

    On DADT, I’m not sure what you mean by saying one thing and doing another. He has consistently said he wants DADT repealed, he said in his SOTU and they tried to get the repeal through a month or so ago but were thwarted by idiot republicans. Are you saying that if they had got that through, he wouldn’t have signed it because in his heart he doesn’t want to repeal it? Just because he doesn’t favour – at the moment – doing some sort of executive order (and whether or not that would be possible is up for debate) doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to repeal it. But, unlike you, he is also in charge of the military and he wants it done in a manner that includes every relevant stakeholder – I don’t begrudge him that. If you are a progressive you should be considering the progress made as a good thing, not constantly seeing conspiracies in every act or omission.

  82. 82
    homerhk says:

    Corner Stone, the 2014 thing is just a cop out. the law was passed in 2010 – in the past 18 months. It provides for the redistribution as I’ve described.

    And when you talk about the trillions in the control of the few, that is something that has been built up over the past 3 or 4 decades. To expect all of that to be turned around in 18 months is just silly. What I am saying is that Obama is trying to and actually has reversed the trend. It is a long term project. Doesn’t play well on the nightly news but it is there nonetheless.

  83. 83
    MattR says:

    @homerhk: So if the GOP votes for a plan to begin reducing carbon emmissions in 2020, do they get to claim that they are solving the global warming issue?

  84. 84
    homerhk says:

    MattR, completely different and you know it. 2014 implementation is needed as time is required to set up the exchanges etc. what could kick in earlier did kick in earlier.

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:

    @homerhk: It’s not a cop out at all. I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Mark to market accounting. Let’s see what actually is implemented before we say wealth has been redistributed regarding HCR.
    I don’t expect the turnaround in 18 months. That’s a silly reading of my argument. All stats and facts in evidence indicate the wealthy have continued to accrue wealth while all other groups have stagnated or suffered.

    “Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.”

    “The average wage in this top category increased from $91.2 million in 2008 to an astonishing $518.8 million in 2009. That’s nearly $10 million in weekly pay!
    You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008. And even though their numbers shrank by 43 percent, this group’s total compensation was 3.2 times larger in 2009 than in 2008, accounting for 0.6 percent of all pay. These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers.”
    Class Warfare

    “During the last period of economic expansion, 2002 to 2007, the top 1 percent enjoyed 10.1 percent annual income growth, adjusted for inflation. For the other 99 percent, the growth rate was just 1.3 percent, Saez found. That meant the top 1 percent received 65 cents of every dollar in income growth.”

    “His research with co-author Thomas Piketty shows the top 1 percentile of households took home 23.5 percent of income in 2007, the largest share since 1928”
    They are winning

  86. 86
    MattR says:

    @homerhk: To me that is a distinction without a difference. Obama deserves credit for passing a law that will lead to wealth redistribution to the lower classes in the future. But that wealth has not yet been redistributed and it is dishonest to try and claim that it already has.

  87. 87
    Chris G. says:

    @BR: Is it too early to start calling Rubio the GOP’s very own John Edwards?

  88. 88
    ChrisS says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That $518.8 million figure is a mistake and has been corrected. Top earners saw their wages decrease by 7.7% – which is neither here nor there because salary income is a fucking shitty way to track wealth in this plutocrarcy.

    http://tax.com/taxcom/taxblog......enDocument

    My column, and coverage of it by others, prompted internal questions about the reasons the average pay of the highest paid workers quintupled, said Mark Lassiter, a Social Security spokesman. He said the inquiry established that two individuals filed multiple W-2 forms reporting $32.3 billion of pay for work, forms the agency determined after examination were phony. The revised numbers were first reported by Ryan J. Donmoyer of Bloomberg.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChrisS: Thanks for the correction.
    And I agree income isn’t the best metric. But it’s hard to discuss “wealth” distribution when no one outside a small percentage has any ‘wealth” to measure.

  90. 90
    Pongo says:

    Admirable effort, but it’s flawed–as are all such efforts that assume facts and science will sway the true believers. They don’t care whether or not climate change is real because their faith tells them 1.) God’s in control of it all, and 2.) Science is a liberal plot to destroy America. The inevitable conclusion to be drawn from these two ‘facts’ is that it is okay to treat your home like a shithole and expect there to be no consequences. Read somewhere that one of the first things on the incoming House agenda is to have ‘hearings’ on fraudulent science related to global climate change. Yes, already the righties are demonstrating how effectively they plan to use their time on the taxpayer’s dime.

  91. 91
    Batocchio says:

    Cool! I still need to finish up something similar for rebutting torture apologists (I made the chart long ago, but never finished all the capsule rebuttals). That’s still a far cry from the automated twitter thing, which is pretty slick.

  92. 92
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Admirable effort, but it’s flawed”

    Because the Heartland Institute will be taking their code from the iPhone app they released a few weeks back (putting science denier BS into a handy handheld package), and doing the same thing this guy has done.

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