The center can not hold

The Rural Blog: Judge tells Wisconsin family it doesn't have 'fundamental right' to drink milk from its own cow

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that a family with a cow does not have "a fundamental right" to drink its milk. Circuit Judge Patrick Fielder in August ruled that Mark and Petra Zinniker could not sell raw milk through their private farm store. 

In his decision, Fielder wrote: "Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd; Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow; Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer. . . . Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice." 

So, take that.

The wages of no wages

Go Ahead and Beat Your Wife, and Other Dumb Budget Cuts - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

The City of Topeka has floated the idea of legalizing domestic violence, not because beating up women is no big deal, but because the city doesn't want to pay to prosecute i

A must-read piece from Robert Reich

Robert Reich (The Wall Street Occupiers and the Democratic Party)

Will the Wall Street Occupiers morph into a movement that has as much impact on the Democratic Party as the Tea Party has had on the GOP? Maybe. But there are reasons for doubting it.

And pay attention to the concluding line: Follow the money.


The Hungry Muppet: Our National Shame | Mike the Mad Biologist

Great nations do not let one of five children want for food. Just peoples do not either.

Or not.

Read at ProPublica

Our Guide to Obama’s Floundering Foreclosure Programs - ProPublica

More than 6 million Americans are behind on their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure [1]. Housing prices have continued to drop [2], and many neighborhoods across the U.S. are filled with foreclosed homes [3].

What exactly has the administration done in the face of such historic need? We've put together a guide to the administration's major efforts to help homeowners, laying out the promise of each and how they've actually performed.

From the nice people at the Science and Technology Directorate (no fooling)

DHS | Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Projects

Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) Project
Project Manager: Robert Middleton

Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) project is an initiative to develop a prototype screening facility containing a suite of real-time, non-invasive sensor technologies to detect cues indicative of mal-intent (the intent or desire to cause harm) rapidly, reliably, and remotely. The system will measure both physiological and behavioral signals to make probabilistic assessments of mal-intent based on sensor outputs and advanced fusion algorithms and measure indicators using culturally neutral and non-invasive sensors.

Emphasis mine.

Random warfare

War drones keep flying despite computer virus | Reuters

(Reuters) - The U.S. government's unmanned Predator and Reaper drones are continuing to fly remote missions overseas despite a computer virus that has infected the plane's U.S.-based cockpits, according to one source familiar with the infection.



Gotta love it

Shivering Twerp Eric Cantor Afraid of Polite Unemployed ‘Mobs’ (But Not Gun-Waving Teabaggers!)

Mincing little twit Eric Cantor was all for a bunch of heavily-armed old white sociopaths showing up at Obama speeches and Town Hall meetings about, uh, denying health care to children and working people. But if a crowd of polite unemployed people camps out in a park to politely blog about income inequality, then watch out, it’s MOBS.

A lot of physics in this

Undernews: Is Kansas really as flat as a pancake?

...after many hours of programming work, we were able to estimate that Kansas's flatness is approximately 0.9997. That degree of flatness might be described, mathematically, as "damn flat.". . .

Conclusion: Simply put, our results show that Kansas is considerably flatter than a pancake.

Wants cake, eats it too

Obama to Issue So-Called 'WikiLeaks' Executive Order - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

By executive order, President Obama will instruct federal agencies today to better safeguard their classified secrets, to set up internal audit systems, and to make sure that reluctance to share critical intelligence in the aftermath of the WikiLeaks exposure does not hamper collaboration across agencies.

More power to the Sicherheitsapparat.

Bring back the jobs, says Florida Republican

Florida lawmaker hopes to repeal ‘dwarf-tossing’ prohibition | The Raw Story

A Florida lawmaker has made headlines around the nation for his proposal to repeal a job destroying regulation in his state, namely the 1989 ban on “dwarf-tossing.”...

It would allow bars and taverns in the state to hire people with dwarfism, wrap them in velcro or protective padding, and throw them around for the amusement of their customers.


Some serious points for this

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Loopholes are where you find them

Obama on Bank Prosecutions: They Did Nothing Illegal, Only Found Loopholes That We Worked to Close | FDL News Desk

For perhaps the first time, President Barack Obama was forced to explain why there have been no prosecutions of Wall Street executives for their fraudulent actions during the run-up to the financial crisis. Asked by Jake Tapper to explain this behavior, Obama basically suggested that most of the actions on Wall Street weren’t illegal but just immoral, and that his Administration worked to re-regulate the financial sector with the Dodd-Frank reform legislation.

“Banks are in the business of making money, and they find loopholes,” the President said. Apparently forging and fabricating documents to prove ownership of homes that are subsequently stolen from borrowers is now a loophole.

Emphasis mine.

Mittens? What mittens?

Chart: Some People Have Forgotten Who Mitt Romney Is - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Only 27 percent of respondents in Pew's latest survey on the GOP presidential field could name the former governor of Massachusetts as a contender for the nation's highest office. Rick Perry slightly edged Romney as the most recognized Republican candidate, with 28 percent able to name him, which really is not that high, either.

Romney's name awareness, according to Pew, has actually dropped three points since 2007.

A special reading recommendation for Republicans

Vote for Quimby -- And Quick

And no, this is not just another Tom Cruise movie

Secret panel can put Americans on kill list' | Reuters

(Reuters) - American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

 There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

Vote fraud, Bunky, is not caused by some poor mope in a booth

96-year-old Chattanooga resident denied voting ID | timesfreepress.com

Dorothy Cooper is 96 but she can remember only one election when she's been eligible to vote but hasn't....

So when she learned last month at a community meeting that under a new state law she'd need a photo ID to vote next year, she talked with a volunteer about how to get to a state Driver Service Center to get her free ID. But when she got there Monday with an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request.

That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.

"But I didn't have my marriage certificate," Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.


Stood up again

Man in the Mirror - NYTimes.com

Christie said he spent the weekend trying to “see whether I could look in the mirror and make that call.” Now that he has opted out, he says he’s going to “tear off the rearview mirror.”

The same can’t be said for jilted, lovesick Republicans, scraping the bottom of the barrel and turning their lonely eyes to Eric Cantor.

Great idea! Let's try licking the other boot!

Excite News - APNewsBreak: Obama seeks debt collector proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) - To the dismay of consumer groups and the discomfort of Democrats, President Barack Obama wants Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other billions owed the federal government.

The change "is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cellphones," the administration wrote recently....


But you already knew these guys were evil, didn't you?

"sorry gift" citation from Double-Tongued Dictionary

Catchword: sorry gift
Filed under: ,
Part of speechn.
Quotation: Because guilt over spending is playing a big role in the sales downturn, he teaches salespeople to suggest a “sorry gift”—of another timepiece—for a wife who might be disappointed that her husband just dropped a sizable sum on his own wrist.


The Salome conumdrum

When you drop that seventh veil you gotta have it there.

To be fair, all the hype about any new Apple product is the result of swarming rumormongers, not Apple itself; Apple makes a fetish of never giving up a peek. And the new iPhone does have some nice features, including a faster microprocessor (not much good here, here data packets are still hauled in by oxen, but still), a redesigned antenna array, and a much better camera, it seems. But if you're gonna play that game…

Live by the buzz, die by the buzz.

I'm not planning on buying this model anyway, so ho hum.
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And then taking you with them, Bunky - again

Robert Reich (Follow the Money: Behind Europe's Debt Crisis Lurks Another Giant Bailout of Wall Street)

Make no mistake. The United States wants Europe to bail out its deeply indebted nations so they can repay what they owe big European banks. Otherwise, those banks could implode — taking Wall Street with them. 

It's the actions, dude, not the words

Public Citizen Press Room

By asking Congress to approve three NAFTA-style trade deals signed by former President George Bush, President Barack Obama has completely flip-flopped on his campaign promises to fix America’s failed trade policy and has cast his lot against the majority of the American people who oppose more of these job-killing deals.

Where is Batman when you need him?

The dangerous allure of Washington hero worship - Salon.com

We live in a largely hero-less age. Presidents have launched war on false evidence or engaged in adultery. Popes have covered up child abuse. Baseball players have cheated with steroids. Bankers have grabbed huge bonuses after wrecking the economy. We have gone from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush, from David Sarnoff to Rupert Murdoch, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Al Sharpton....


This is either the stupidest or the scariest - or both - thing I plan to read all day

From that "David Brooks" person at the paywalled NY Times:

In Defense of Romney - NYTimes.com?

The central problem is that Mitt Romney doesn’t fit the mold of what many Republicans want in a presidential candidate. They don’t want a technocratic manager. They want a bold, blunt radical outsider who will take on the establishment, speak truth to power and offend the liberal news media.

They don’t want Organization Man. They want Braveheart.

So, Republicans want Mel Gibson with his face painted blue? For president? (Sorry, were you eating lunch?)

But the stupid part is - really? - the Republicans want a president who can speak truth to power? So how does that happen, exactly? He stands in front of a mirror all day? OK, somehow I can imagine our most recent Republican president doing exactly that. But that's hardly a reassuring image, is it?

So no more "global warming" then?

U.S.-Born Scientists Win Nobel for Terrifying View of the Universe - Technology - The Atlantic Wire

Did you know the universe is constantly expanding and accelerating at a pace that will leave the cosmos frozen, dark and lonely?

Oh. Wait. Billions of years.

Pass the lemonade.

Running short of rodents? In Switzerland, you can rent.

Hope for Lonely Rodents: Rent-A-Guinea Pig Service Takes Off in Switzerland - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Swiss animal lover Priska Küng runs a kind of matchmaking agency -- for lonely guinea pigs that have lost their partners. She lives with around 80 of the furry, squeaky little creatures, in addition to six cats, a number of rabbits, hamsters and mice in the village of Hadlikon, some 30 kilometers from Zürich.

Obama not getting enough glory for offing U.S. citizens without trial, says nitwit

For Obama, Success Battling Terrorists Seems to Mean Little - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The killing of an American-born Al Qaeda leader in Yemen on Friday will probably bolster the high marks Americans give President Obama for dealing with terrorism and foreign policy. Yet his overall approval ratings are likely to remain depressed, underscoring the economy’s drag on his prospects for re-election.

You would think, with all its paywalls and fees, the NYTimes could at least afford a copy of the Bill of Rights.


Spaghetti and cute bread

No kidding. I'm invited downstairs for supper tonight and that's the menu. Spaghetti and cute bread. And then...

Prohibition: Home | PBS

PROHIBITION is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed.

Tonight is Part II (the fun part), but you can still see Part I on the PBS site, above. The show pretty closely follows Daniel Okrent's book, Last Call (and Okrent is interviewed in Burns's production), so it's pretty easy to see the structure: The first installment (last night) is about the history and the lobbying that lead up to the 18th amendment; the second installment (tonight) will be about the prohibition years (1920-1933); and the third installment (Wednesday) will be about repeal. It's not as detailed as Okrent's book (which has been on our book list, ahem) but, like all Burns's documentaries, it's very much worth watching.

Time and time

The Secret Memo That Explains Why Obama Can Kill Americans - Conor Friedersdorf - Politics - The Atlantic

Months ago, the Obama Administration revealed that it would target al-Awlaki. It even managed to wriggle out of a lawsuit filed by his father to prevent the assassination. But the actual legal reasoning the Department of Justice used to authorize the strike? It's secret. Classified. Information that the public isn't permitted to read, mull over, or challenge....

Obama hasn't just set a new precedent about killing Americans without due process. He has done so in a way that deliberately shields from public view the precise nature of the important precedent he has set. It's time for the president who promised to create "a White House that's more transparent and accountable than anything we've seen before" to release the DOJ memo.

And now they want to own your ass

Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales - Bloomberg

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch
Industries -- in addition to being involved in improper payments
to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East -- has sold
millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a
country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.


Or Vermont

Jon Stewart Brings Hilarious Sanity to Milwaukee Performance | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Seeing Stewart outside the confines of their TV boxes allowed fans to witness some other sides to the 48-year-old comedian, particularly his family-man and sensitive-spiritual-thinker guises. "My wife's Catholic and I'm Jewish, so we're raising our kids to be sad," Stewart mused. For the most part, though, he talked about the need to keep personal religious beliefs separate from the public arena. The common assertion that the United States is God's favored nation was dissected by Stewart with typical surgical precision: "Why did [God] bury all the oil under countries that hate us? He could've put it in New Hampshire."


Credit where due


I'll let Kevin Drum spell it out. He points out the obvious, which is that the state would have many options other than sending in a drone plane if Al-Awlaki were living in the United States. Indeed, it would be required to use those other methods since we don't generally believe that the they've "declared war" on their government. If they did, we'd be looking at a whole lot of dead militia members and Tea Partiers who use those words all the time.

Digby sort of backs into a discussion of the Awlaki affair and at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum takes it on.

Obama gets Cheney endorsement

Cheney Likes Obama's Drone Strikes, But Wants Some Credit, Too - Global - The Atlantic Wire

 Cheney, with his daughter, Liz, took to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday to praise Obama's drone-strike assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Yemeni cleric believed linked to numerous terrorist plots.

(Cheney, however, wants a big kiss back. With tongue.)

OK then, wow!

Illini rally from 18-point deficit to beat Northwestern in thriller - Chicago Sun-Times

‘‘Wow!’’ pretty much sums it up...

Thanks for the crumbs, says USA Today

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How is it that the smirky troll is the only one that gets it right?

Ron Paul criticizes Obama for U.S. role in killing of Awlaki - chicagotribune.com

Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, on Friday criticized the Obama administration’s action in killing Anwar Awlaki, the American-born cleric who advocated jihad against the United States.

Paul was the strongest critic on the Republican side in condemning the attack, which was praised by other candidates including Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a libertarian like Paul, also questioned the tactic of killing a U.S. citizen without due process.

This is truely depressing.

A twofer!

Anwar al-Awlaki: Is killing US-born terror suspects legal? - CSMonitor.com

The American-born radical cleric Awlaki – a recruiter for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said to have inspired alleged Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan and other homegrown Islamic terrorists – was killed in a US drone strike Friday. Also killed in the attack was American-born Samir Khan, editor of Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine “Inspire.”


Speaking of which, I notice the lefty bloggers, all busy chittering about Occupy Wall Street, have barely taken notice of this affair. I guess if you have a D after your name (instead of NYPD) and your victims are hairy brown guys instead of cuddly kids, well that's OK then. 

I'll be looking for a third-party candidate next year myself.