Open Thread: Everything Is Interconnected!

(Scott Meyer’s website)
The Blogmaster will yell at me for using too many precious front-page pixels — assuming some pismire is already racing to complain — but sometimes a thumbnail just won’t cut it.

What’s on the agenda for the rest of this hump day?

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57 replies
  1. 1
    burnspbesq says:

    Jeez, this is so fucking priceless, it’s worth linking to Politico.

  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    Given how often the Blogmaster shows up around here these days, I’d say you could live-stream the entire Star Wars movie series and he’d be none the wiser.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    Congressional Republicans continue to try to pretend that there is no Obama presidency.

    Businesses and Senate Republicans forced a courtroom showdown with President Barack Obama’s administration on Wednesday, asking a U.S. appeals court to invalidate his surprise appointments to a labor board 11 months ago.
    Lawyers with the groups and for Obama’s Justice Department argued for more than an hour over whether the president exceeded his authority by filling the vacancies while the Senate was out of town but potentially available to act on them.
    The case is a test of the president’s ability to make appointments during a Senate recess, a power that bypasses the Senate’s usual ability to block nominees and that dates to the U.S. Constitution of 1787. Unlike nominees confirmed by the Senate, recess appointments are only for up to two years.
    Obama on January 4 appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board and named Richard Cordray to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
    At the time, the Senate was not officially in recess, meeting every few days for minutes at a time but accomplishing no work and with few senators present. Meanwhile, Obama’s nominees remained on the Senate’s calendar, blocked by Republicans from up or down votes on their confirmation….
    From January 3 to January 23, the Senate passed no legislation, took no votes, accepted no official messages from the president and held no debates. Junior senators gaveled the Senate to order for a few minutes about every three days.

    There are banana republics with more effective and responsive governments.

    What’s on the agenda for the rest of this hump day?

    I’m going to try to watch Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter tonight. I’m told it is an incisive political biography of the 16th president, and the acting performances are all Oscar caliber.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    This is pretty much par for the course in Idaho. I love the idea that there’ll be 3500–5000 families (read: ~9000 — 12000 drivers) with only one gate/road in and out of the castle. The Mother of All Traffic Jams in complete BFE Idaho backcountry. That’s funny, yo.

  5. 5
    Ash Can says:

    @burnspbesq: I figured it was a squabble related to money, but I figured it was a matter of Armey wanting a bigger cut than the rest of the outfit was willing to give him. I didn’t think that any actual principles entered into it.

  6. 6
    shortstop says:

    The Blogmaster will yell at me for using too many precious front-page pixels—assuming some pismire is already racing to complain

    Waiting for an actual reason to be constantly resentful has never been your style.

  7. 7
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yeah. I assume that the irony of Dick Armey standing up for adherence to principle and strict compliance with IRS regulations is not lost on anyone.

  8. 8
    Scott S. says:

    Too many front-page pixels? No, seriously, make the pictures big enough to read. Makes it easier on the reader, makes the post more likely to be read.

  9. 9
    kay says:


    I couldn’t be happier that they’re all grifting and bleeding the donors. Really. Good news. More books and more buy-outs, please. Just keep the donor money circulating among a small group of crooks.

  10. 10
    shortstop says:

    @Punchy: I dunno. It’s weird and all, but their HOA rules and regs seem attractively simple and succinct. Ours include such pips as a ban on the wearing of pajamas in common areas and potential fines for not picking up your Tribunes on a timely basis, as if anyone actually paid money for that rag. I’m living in a nanny condo! Let me fire a gun and be done with it!

  11. 11
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    There are banana republics with more effective and responsive governments

    That’s because if all the bananas are left just sitting out on the dock rotting in the hot tropical sun while the Senate plays a sad song on tiny violins, nobody gets paid.

    It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
    Daylight come and me wanna go home

  12. 12
    steve says:

    what’s up for me is reposting what i posted in another thread because it’s too awesome:

    Did anyone see Adam Gopnick, in a New Yoker last year, thoroughly destroy Tom Friedman? Here’s an excerpt. No linky available, though if you want, you can all probly find it by going through your public library website. It’s from the Sept 12, 2011 issue. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

    While British historians savor big-wheel explanations of why everybody is going to hell in a handbasket, American historians and journalists tend to work within a smaller historical compass. A case in point is “That Used to Be Us” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $28)—the title comes from a remark of Barack Obama’s about the disappearance of American innovation—which promises to be the small-scale Spenglerian volume of the season. A joint effort by the Times columnist Thomas Friedman and the Johns Hopkins professor Michael Mandelbaum, and written in a cozy, confidential style (there are frequent references to what “Michael” has written elsewhere and what “Tom” has seen in India and China), it accepts that the post-9/11 obsession with the Islamic threat and the War on Terror was a catastrophic national distraction. “Twenty-five years from now the war we undertook against al-Qaeda won’t seem nearly as important as the wars we waged against physics and math,” the authors declare, and then they catalogue all the ways in which America has, in the interim, slipped behind the rest of the rich world. There’s our creaking infrastructure (compare the Shanghai and New York airports, or the rail connections that get you there); our paralyzed education system, where that war against science was fought; and our generally inverted values, which leave us with too many bankers betting on each other’s bets and too many lawyers deposing other lawyers.
    Who can argue with all this? Yet Friedman and Mandelbaum’s book is marked by a kind of tactical disingenuousness. Not only do they propose, as a way to arrest the decline, a third party, with no clear policies, programs, popular constituency, or potential leaders; they also present every problem as one confronted by a uniform “we.” The idea is that we all, left and right, wrinkle our brows and wring our hands and share the same goals, and are just so frustrated about our inability to achieve them. (“Senator Lindsey Graham leaned back in his chair in his Senate office, trying to imagine for us what would have happened if America’s current media had been around to cover the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.”) Now, there may be states and circumstances in which everyone wants something and the system prevents anyone from getting it. Perhaps all Italians want to save Venice from sinking, yet the dysfunction of Italian politics prevents them from doing so. But that’s not the case here. Friedman and Mandelbaum want their countrymen to face the future without first facing the facts about their countrymen: this is the country that a lot of “us” want.
    Despite their title, the authors seem, for instance, determined to avoid the obvious point that one American who shares their outlook and ambitions in almost every detail—who hates partisan wrangling, doubts the wisdom of big foreign wars, proposes a faith in a brisk mixture of private enterprise and public guarantees, accepts the priority of rebuilding our infrastructure—is the President of the United States. If he’s been frustrated, it’s not because of some vague “systemic” political paralysis. It’s because, as he has been startled to discover—and as Friedman and Mandelbaum will also be startled to discover, if they ever get that third party up and running—there is another side, inexorably opposed to these apparently good things. The reason we don’t have beautiful new airports and efficient bullet trains is not that we have inadvertently stumbled upon stumbling blocks; it’s that there are considerable numbers of Americans for whom these things are simply symbols of a feared central government, and who would, when they travel, rather sweat in squalor than surrender the money to build a better terminal. They hate fast trains and efficient airports for the same reason that seventeenth-century Protestants hated the beautiful Baroque churches of Rome when they saw them: they were luxurious symbols of an earthly power they despised. Friedman and Mandelbaum wring their hands at “our” unwillingness to sacrifice our comforts on behalf of our principles, but Americans are perfectly willing to sacrifice their comforts for their ideological convictions. We don’t have a better infrastructure or decent elementary education exactly because many people are willing to sacrifice faster movement between our great cities, or better-informed children, in support of their belief that the government should always be given as little money as possible.
    The reasons for these feelings are, of course, complex, with a noble reason descending from the Revolutionary War, and its insistence on liberty at all costs, and an ignoble one descending from the Civil War and its creation of a permanent class of white men convinced that they are besieged by an underclass they regard as the subsidized wards of the federal government. (Thus the curious belief that a worldwide real-estate crisis that hit the north of Spain and the east of Ireland as hard as the coast of Florida was the fault of money loaned by Washington to black people.) But the crucial point is that this is the result of active choice, not passive indifference: people who don’t want high-speed rail are not just indifferent to fast trains. They are offended by fast trains, as the New York Post is offended by bike lanes and open-air plazas: these things give too much pleasure to those they hate. They would rather have exhaust and noise and traffic jams, if such things sufficiently annoy liberals. Annoying liberals is a pleasure well worth paying for. As a recent study in the social sciences shows, if energy use in a household is monitored so that you can watch yourself saving money every month by using less, self-identified conservatives will actually use and spend more, apparently as a way of showing their scorn for liberal pieties. (Presumably, you could construct a similar experiment running toward the left, with the goods at play carbon footprints or local produce or the like.) The kind of outlook that Friedman and Mandelbaum assume is somehow natural to mankind and has been thwarted here recently—a broad-minded view of maximizing future utility—has, from a historical perspective, a constituency so small as to be essentially nonexistent. In the long story of civilization, the moments when improving your lot beats out annoying your neighbor are vanishingly rare.

  13. 13
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Toles latest made me laugh

  14. 14
    JGabriel says:

    Anne Laurie @ Top:

    The Blogmaster will yell at me for using too many precious front-page pixels …

    Why? Is there a bandwidth issue? I thought Balloon Juice was getting enough ad revenue at this point that it could cover its own expenses.


  15. 15
    Brachiator says:

    Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it — an arrangement he and others at the group believed could jeopardize its tax-exempt status.

    Kibbe sounds like a high-class moocher. Republicans sure are funny when they are being hypocrites.

  16. 16
    Sly says:


    Armey received an $8 million buyout to step down as chairman of FreedomWorks at the end of last month, but the dispute between him and the group’s president, Matt Kibbe, is still straining the organization.

    Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it — an arrangement he and others at the group believed could jeopardize its tax-exempt status. (In 2010, Kibbe and Armey co-authored a book through HarperCollins, “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” that was written with significant help from FreedomWorks staff and all proceeds had gone to the organization.)

    To quote Atrios, “Grifter Mad At Other Grifter Grifting His Grift”

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:


    In other news, the Seattle Mariners are doomed. They have reached agreement on a contract with the biggest albatross in the history of major league baseball.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Felonius Monk says:

    assuming some pismire

    So that’s what you think of your loyal fanbase — just a bunch of “pissmires”. How very Republican. :)

  20. 20
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    They would rather have exhaust and noise and traffic jams, if such things sufficiently annoy liberals. Annoying liberals is a pleasure well worth paying for.

    Milton put it best: they would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    @Brachiator: Enjoyed it, actually.

    Smarter than it has a right to be for, you know, a historical vampire movie.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    gene108 says:


    It’s a one year deal. That’s not really dooming yourself in any major sport.

  24. 24
    SatanicPanic says:

    @gene108: No more doomed than they probably already were anyway

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    @Southern Beale: I was hoping it would be Mitt. Not because I have anything against Nashville, but because capturing the terrified expressions on his face every time he’s offered a Southern dish would become the photography Olympics.

  26. 26
    fleeting expletive says:

    I don’t know if this has been discussed in these parts, but I’m sure you read in the last few days about an Oklahoma judge who sentenced a teen driver whose passenger was killed when thrown from his truck–sentenced him to go to church for ten years. The alternative was 4 years to life in prison.

    I know the judge, practiced in the 80’s in that community, well before he was a judge. He’s not a nut at all, in fact is a nice guy. I didn’t even know he was a Baptist. I think what it was was that he just didn’t want to have to hand down that draconian sentence; i.e., brain fart on the First Amendment issues.

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:

    I saw an awesomely good movie today, Searching for Sugar Man, which I recommend to all, especially music hounds. It’s a documentary about a musician named Rodriguez who recorded two albums in the early ’70s that sank like a stone but inexplicably became hugely influential hits in apartheid South Africa. Years later some fans decided to track him down.

    The movie is really well done, works on a lot of levels and has a damn good soundtrack. It had me close to tears about half the time. Trailer here.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    This months picture on the BJ calendar makes me. Beth really did a good job and I can’t wait until the 2013 version.

  29. 29
    The Golux says:

    @Felonius Monk: I’m actually digging the appearance of “pismire”, a word my father used to use, and I had forgotten. “Pissant” gets thrown around a lot these days, and I never knew it was the same thing.

  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @steve: 1,000 words of year old copypasta has to go in every thread?

  31. 31
    jl says:

    @burnspbesq: Thanks interesting article. I read Armey got an $8 million severance package, or almost 25% of the groups total take this year (not sure I understand the numbers). But at any rate the package is big, showing why Armey is down on new folks horning in and turning this corporate teabagger astroturf outfit into a personal cash cow. (less for Armey)

    This passage surprised me from some bigshot at the front group:

    ‘ Brandon said. “We work hard to be process-oriented so the system can deal with changes. We read Deming. We’re close to 50 employees so someone is always coming and going.” ‘

    Deming was kind of commie pinko. Demings ideas on worker relations from his key principles of management:

    “Drive out fear”
    “Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor ”
    “Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. ”
    “Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement”

    Maybe if they take Deming more seriously, this astroturf bunch can make some good policy recommendations… maybe…

    W. Edwards Deming

  32. 32
    Felonius Monk says:

    @The Golux: It sounded very familiar to me also. Can’t remember who used to use the term but it is kind of a refreshing change from pissant.

  33. 33
    Redshift says:

    @burnspbesq: It wasn’t hard to guess that for Dick Armey, the definition of “principles” was “money.”

    And since you made me click on a Politico link, I got to see their wonderful pop-up ad with pictures of teachers and firefighters, asserting that “whether you answer a school bell or a fire bell, everyone agrees that we have to fix our debt!” I wonder if there’s a word in German that means “a lie about a lie.”

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:


    Smarter than it has a right to be for, you know, a historical vampire movie.

    Oh, I’m not complaining. Not yet. It’s a playful bet with my sister, who still likes all kinds of horror movies. I told her I would rent this movie if she went to see Lincoln (which she was probably going to do, anyway).

    I’ve seen most of the major films still playing in theaters that I am most interested in, so I figured this would be a good time to check the Vampire Hunter out.

  35. 35
    JCT says:

    @burnspbesq: As a Met fan, my condolences. One of our worst free agent signings ever and that’s for a team that is still paying off Bobby Bonilla.

  36. 36
    lacp says:

    @Steeplejack: Yes, but the fact that it’s considered award-worthy when there’s another movie out there that’s all kinds of awesome has given somebody a major sad.

  37. 37
    steve says:

    Well, MikeJ, I was going to leave it at two threads, but now that you mention it….

  38. 38
    lamh35 says:

    Hey guys, just wanted to thank everyone for their advice on my big move next month. I talked to my apartment management office and I do have an early termination policy in my lease. It’s basically 1 month’s rent (with no discounts) plus a pro-rated amount for Jan (I’ll be moving out on the 11th, so 11 days pro-rated), plus any discounted amount on rent that I was given for the time I stayed on lease (7months). That still is a good chunk of change, but still basically 1 full paycheck (luckily I have like 3 more coming).

    Still that’s good news. I still had like 7 months left on my lease and 7X my rent is way more than 1 paycheck. So I came out of this good. No need for sublet and no bad things on my rental history/credit report (at least nothing new…smh I’ve kept it clean for awhile now waiting for things to drop off if at all possible).

    I also scheduled services cancellations for the major 3 things I had to: cable, electricity and appliance rentals (I didn’t want to buy a washer and dryer and lug it around, so I opted for renting those 2 appliances.

    So other than getting off my duff and start packing, oh and turning in my resignation (which I’m doing tomorrow), I’m good to go. Unfortunately I start my 7 off tomorrow and so I only really have less than a few hours a day to do shit, but I’ll make it work.

  39. 39
    PurpleGirl says:

    @lacp: D’Souza seems to equate excellence of content with box office totals. I’d also like to know what the charge per patron was, so as to get an idea of how many idiots saw the thing.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:


    As the yoots would say: eww.

  41. 41
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JCT: I always thought it was probably resentment at that Bonilla contract that got Barry Bonds to turn to the juice.

  42. 42
    kindness says:

    Where is the 2013 calendar anyhow? It is the gift giving season and all.

  43. 43
    Raven says:


    Well, I thought I’d go out to Tulsa
    And ride in a rodeo
    Red beans and rice sure would be nice
    Back where the Mississippi River flows

    And it’s a long way back to Vicksburg
    Mississippi River is muddy and wide
    But it don’t seem like much
    When sweet Louisiana’s waitin’ on the other side

    ‘Cause it don’t seem like much
    When sweet Louisiana’s waitin’ on the other side

  44. 44
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @JGabriel: You forgot Tunch and his needs, John Cole is not made of munnies. Sushi grade tuna is not cheap, especially in WV.

  45. 45


    Ha! I can’t imagine Ann allowing Mitt to move to someplace as corn pone and undignified as Tennessee.

    Speaking of, does anyone find this recent spate of “Mitt’s just like you!” photo opping a bit odd? Mitt pumping his own gas? Mitt at CostCo with a shopping cart? I mean, this all strikes me as completely ginned up.

    Methinks we are not done with Mitt yet. Someone decided to “humanize” the Mitt-bot in advance of … something. Perhaps another run for the presidency, who knows. I just smell bullshit wafting over Mitt’s CostCo shopping cart.

  46. 46
    Baud says:

    The Blogmaster will yell at me for using too many precious front-page pixels

    He would have to read his blog to find out, so you’re safe.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    Dude, you gotta see this movie!

  48. 48
    lamh35 says:

    @lamh35: I scheduled a short 15min meeting with my Lab Director, Lab Manager, and Section Supervisor for tomorrow. They have been very understanding of my situation and I think I owe them for how easy they made it for me to be able to go home or in this case it’s them allowing me to work 7 on and 7 off that made it easy to go back and forth to NOLA and Cincy when my mom had her heart attack. The reason for the 7 on/off schedule was to make it easier to go back and forth to home. It was a blessing and a gift from the Lord cause no less than 1month after I started that schedule, my mom had her heart attack and I’m be back and forth every other week since. So even though my resignation letter is just a simple form letter, in this meeting, I will talk to them and explain what’s going on. I don’t think I’m going to tell ’em about the job (cause I”m paranoid/superstitious about most things and I just don’t want to jinx the new job), but I will update them on my mom and tell them all in person that I appreciate how easy they made everything. Plus, I’m giving them a 6 weeks notice instead of 2 (actually 3 weeks, because due to my on/off schedule, I only really work 2 weeks a month) and I’m working through the holidays so they don’t have to worry about scheduling when so many people are off for the holiday.

  49. 49
    les says:

    There’s a typically hilarious and informative thread on this clusterfuck at Edros’s place.

  50. 50
    WereBear says:

    @lamh35: I am so happy for you to be able to go home… and have your mom there.

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:


    Maybe if they take Deming more seriously, this astroturf bunch can make some good policy recommendations… maybe…

    Not sure I’d wanna hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  52. 52
    Jay in Oregon says:


    This is pretty much par for the course in Idaho.

    Someone needs to wait until they’re all safely ensconced in their shiny new compound, then put up signs saying “FEMA Re-education Camp Idaho-01” and watch peoples’ heads explode.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:


    Had you not heard? Ain’t gonna need a 2013 calendar, world ends 2 weeks from this Friday

  54. 54
    Schlemizel says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Senator from Utah ?

  55. 55
    Maude says:

    You were smart to rent the washer and dryer. It will go smoothly. You are ahead of things and planning.

  56. 56
    lamh35 says:

    @Maude: yeah, I did that cause I remember when my sister moved from apt to apt and finally back to NOLA, she had the damndest time with her washer and dryer unhooking everything and moving it all. I didn’t want that hassle, since I was always planning to move if not back to NOLA, then elsewhere. My mom’s illness made it easier for me to chose to move back to NOLA rather elsewhere.

  57. 57
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Um, at midnight TONIGHT marriage equality becomes law in WA state and to celebrate you can legally toke up.

    How’s THAT for progress!

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