Saturday, April 5, 2008

Astronomy Pic Of The Day

Explanation: The famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion is not alone. A deep exposure shows that the dark familiar shaped indentation, visible just below center, is part of a vast complex of absorbing dust and glowing gas. To bring out details of the Horsehead's pasture, amateur astronomers at the Star Shadow Remote Observatory in New Mexico, USA fixed a small telescope on the region for over seven hours filtering out all but a very specific color of red light emitted by hydrogen. They then added the image to a full color frame taken over three hours. The resulting spectacular picture details an intricate tapestry of gaseous wisps and dust-laden filaments that were created and sculpted over eons by stellar winds and ancient supernovas. The Horsehead Nebula lies 1,500 light years distant towards the constellation of Orion. Two stars from the Orion's Belt can be found in the above image.

I Dare You To Click This Link

Check out this cool new movie trailer.

Consider yourself Rickrolled.

You're welcome.


I do my best to not indulge the impulse to gain enjoyment from others' misfortunes. But some people make it difficult for me. Mark Penn is one of them.
Colombia fires Penn
Mark Penn yesterday called his meeting with Colombia, a client of the firm he heads, an "error," and the Colombian government, in a statement from its embassy, calls the notion that its hired gun won't meet with it "unacceptable," and fires the firm.
Here's the statement:
The Colombian Government announces its decision to terminate the contract with Burson-Marsteller. This firm conducts public relations and communications consulting services on behalf of Colombia in the United States for the approval of the Free Trade Agreement and the continuation of Plan Colombia.

Mr. Mark Penn, President and CEO of Burson Marsteller, reponded to claims by Union representatives who questioned his relationship with the Colombian Government by declaring that it was an "error in judgment" to meet with his client the Colombian Ambassador on March 31. The Colombian government considers this a lack of respect to Colombians, and finds this response unacceptable.

"Having This Baby Doesn't Make Me Any Less Of A Man."

How could I not post this when it offers such a juicy title? It's a short article on the Bend, Oregon, man who went and got himself knocked up. My nipples are nearly lactating at the possibility.
Beatie legally became a man after undergoing a sex change operation - but kept her female reproductive organs. … He told People magazine he decided to get pregnant after wife of five years Nancy had a hysterectomy.
"When she's old enough, we'll sit her down and tell her everything," Beatie said. "We will tell her how her parents love each other and love her very much.
"Our daughter is beating these incredible odds to get here - physical obstacles, social obstacles, everything. "And in my dreams I dream the world will see her the way we do, as this amazing gift to us. As a miracle."
More power to them.

Links That Stink

Grumbling About the Misuse of Hyperlinks on News Sites. I'm glad I'm not the only who's notices and hates this.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Penn Again

Regular readers might remember earlier posts detailing my reasons for judging Mark Penn, Hillary's chief political strategist, as a corrupt, craven, arrogant bastard.

In addition to crafting her fantastically stupid "inevitability strategy," Penn is responsible for niche-oriented micro-targeting of voters (smell the Rove?), attempting to smear Obama with decades-old cocaine charges, creating the gazillion different campaign messages Clinton has tried to make work, taking spin to mind-bending levels of absurdity, and heading a firm that counsels or represents union busting companies. That last point is particularly rich since Hillary has suddenly become Miss Working Class Hero in need of deflated rust belt voters.

Well, nothing has changed, of course, except that now he seems even more intent harming his candidate (hmmm...maybe he's an Obama mole, that would explain a lot). The Wall Street Journal has the story:
Clinton Aide Met on Trade Deal
Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes. […]
Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn't there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm. The firm has a contract with the South American nation to promote congressional approval of the trade deal, among other things, according to filings with the Justice Department. […]
Mr. Penn has been scrutinized over the dual roles he holds with his firm and the Clinton campaign. Burson-Marsteller's contract advising the Colombian government is one of several examples of the firm advising clients on causes Sen. Clinton has opposed.
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder chimes in:
News that Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, took a meeting with Columbian officials to talk about ways to advance a free trade deal is at once not surprising, given Penn's refusal to step down from his position as CEO of Burson-Marsteller. I've asked several Clinton aides and advisers for their reaction. Some declined to comment. Others responded with pejoratives, but since I don't print anonymous pejoratives as a policy, I will refrain from sharing them. […]
One of the toughest tasks for a political journalist these days is to try and find someone in Clinton world who is willing to defend Mr. Penn or his sense of political optics.
And The Field's Al Giordano:
I can’t remember a presidential campaign in my lifetime in which the top strategist moonlighted for corporate accounts during the heat of the primaries (if that’s really what he was doing with the Colombian ambassador, as claimed: note that the Embassy told the Journal that it didn’t know which hat Penn was wearing). The conflict of interest is staggering. Add to that press reports about how former campaign manager Patty Solis Doyle went to Senator Clinton and begged her to fire Penn, but it was Solis Doyle, not the man in charge, that was cut loose as scapegoat for the campaign’s ailments.
Somewhere in Pennsylvania there is a factory that employs Americans at union wages. Somewhere in North Carolina and Indiana, too… The “free trade” agreement that Penn was paid $300,000 to shepherd to passage would open the door for the company that owns the factory to move it to a country where if a worker tries to start a union, chances are he or she will be assassinated. The company will be able to get the same work done, in that case, for slave wages, and without any of those pesky environmental, safety and health regulations that protect the worker in Pennsylvania.
Clinton’s March 3 challenge to the press corps - “”I would ask you to look at this story and substitute my name for Sen. Obama’s name and see what you would do with this story” - is eerily reminiscent of when a certain Colorado senator running for president in 1988 denied reports about his private life and urged reporters: “”Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’ll be very bored.
The Jed Report, as usual, has a great video compilation of Hillary virtually oozing hypocrisy:

As an Obama supporter, I say, keep this guy coming. The more press this skeeve gets, the better for Obama. I just can't for the life of me understand why Clinton hasn't sent him packing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Seas Of Cheese*

Former Democratic presidential candidate and current Libertarian candidate Mike Gravel does his best Shatner impression.

* The Seas of Cheese posts are devoted to all that's cheesy in our pop culture. The title is borrowed from a 1991 Primus album Sailing the Seas of Cheese—a brilliant album, by the way. I have no idea what actually inspired the album's title, but I've always figured that it was a reference to the inescapable cheesiness of the lion's share of American pop culture. For the purposes of this blog The Seas of Cheese is a largely affectionate title—though some of the videos will just be irredeemable crap (see above), many will be ones that I love despite their cheesiness (see here). 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Chips In My Cookies Are Far More Delicious Than Yours

Chicago based ad firm, Coudal Partners, has created a series of video shorts explaining Hillary's campaign tactics in funny, easy to understand parables. Enjoy.

View the rest here.

Relentlessly Restless

For the better part of two decades, Bjork has been pushing boundaries, musically and otherwise. She's a fucking Icelandic pixie genius. Here's her latest video for the song Wanderlust:

Here's a link to a short video of her and her directing team, Encyclopedia Pictura, discussing the making of the video.

Sample lyric:

"lust for comfort
suffocates the soul
this relentless
liberates me
sets me free"

h/t: Annie

Drip, Drip, Drip

More happy news from Taegan Goddards' Political Wire:
Obama Picks Up Another Superdelegate
Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) said he will support Sen. Barack Obama for president at the Democratic convention in August, the AP reports.

Freudenthal was appointed U.S. Attorney for Wyoming by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

He said "he was impressed by the large, enthusiastic crowds that turned out when Obama visited Wyoming ahead of the state's caucuses last month. Freudenthal also said Obama struck him as 'incredibly smart' and someone who gave honest answers instead of scripted responses."

First Read: Since March 4, Obama has picked up 11 superdelegates to Clinton's one.

ObamaLlama Ding Dongs

Another glimpse into what's become Hillary's base. 
Obama's Lama Problem
Of Obama, Duser said: "I'm not crazy about voting for a colored guy, but that's not why I don't support Obama. I'm not prejudiced. I just like Hillary."
A couple tables over, Jean Fetterman, a foster grandparent, said of Clinton: "Oh, I love her. She's a very intelligent person, and she has her husband who went through this."

She scoffs at the idea of voting for Obama: "I don't want to be a Muslim!" She looks dubious when told Obama is Christian. "Then why did he go see what's-his-name over in Iraq, that Lama?"
Sigh. But there you have it– this is now Clinton’s base. This is why the Clinton campaign has been making such strange and credibility-destroying arguments in the past couple of weeks: because those arguments are "credibility-destroying" only among high-information voters. Here, by contrast, are the firewall voters; these are the people the campaign is talking to and depending on. People who might be convinced that Barack Arrogant Obama wasn’t really a real law professor like he says he was. People who can be convinced that Obama thugs are trying to prevent them from voting and participating in our great American democracy. People who think Hussein Obama X is Muslim and that Jeremiah Wright will burn this mother to the ground. And, not least, people who fear that Obama will turn them into a llama.
These people scare me. Shouldn't they be voting for the Republican? (Oh yeah, they are kinda. Right?)

The Finger Is Back!

In which the purple-faced former finger wagger in chief lets fly another volley of venom.
Bill Clinton's tirade stunned some delegates
It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.
"Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that," a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.
The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media's unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama. It ended with him asking delegates to imagine what the reaction would be if Obama was trailing by just 1 percent and people were telling him to drop out.
"It was very, very intense," said one attendee. "Not at all like the Bill of earlier campaigns."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hillary Drops Out

Wow! She finally saw the writing on the wall and decided to drop out. Now we can get on to the real fight. (Though, in a bizarre, twisted way, I'll kind of miss the death march now that's it's ended.)

Oh, by the way: April Fool's Day!