Coming to Kindle and Smashwords

Coming to Kindle and Smashwords
November 2013

Aug 31, 2012

A Documentary About The Rise and Fall of The Clash

The Rise and Fall of The Clash
The Rise and Fall of The Clash is an upcoming documentary about the influential and short-lived British punk rock band, The Clash (trailer). The film includes previously unseen footage as well as interviews with band members and associates. It is directed by Danny Garcia.

fear of numbers,,,,,,,,,,,

Aug 30, 2012

eye chair

Scopophilia eyeball chair by Fiona Roberts
“Scopophilia” (“love of looking”) by artist Fiona Roberts is a red velvet chair that is embedded with hundreds of realistic plastic eyeballs. The chair sculpture was part of Robert’s graduate show at the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition 2012 in Adelaide, Australia

Montage of One-Point Perspective Shots from Stanley Kubrick Films

August 30, 2012

Missing Ozu created this montage of the many, many instances of one-point perspective in Stanley Kubrick films.

yikes 3

DDT ad by Killing Salt Chemicals

yikes 2

Dutch Boy's Lead Party
The Dutch Boy’s Lead Party,


Du Pont Cellophane, 1950's.
Du Pont cellophane

Aug 29, 2012

not surprising

Here is a meme by Chris Morris of God of the week, created from a Psychology Today article written by AHA President David Niose in 2011:

Coal miners lost pay when Mitt Romney visited their mine to promote coal jobs

coal.jpgHundreds of coal miners and their families wait in line to attend a rally Aug. 14 at the Century Mine near Beallsville, Ohio.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.

The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

A group of employees who feared they'd be fired if they didn't attend the campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, complained about it to WWVA radio station talk show host David Blomquist. Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air Monday with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.

Moore told Blomquist that managers "communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend." He said the company did not penalize no-shows.

Because the company's mine had to be shut down for "safety and security" reasons during Romney's visit, Moore confirmed workers were not paid that day. He said miners also lose pay when weather or power outages shut down the mine, and noted that federal election law doesn't let companies pay workers to attend political events.

Moore said he didn't see anything negative in attending Romney's campaign appearance with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

"We are talking about an event that was in the best interest of anyone that's related to the coal industry in this area or the entire country," Moore said in the radio interview.

When contacted about the interview on Monday afternoon, Murray Energy spokesman Gary Broadbent emailed this statement: "Rob Moore made it abundantly clear that no employees were forced to attend the Romney event. All participation was, and always has been, completely voluntary."

Blomquist said that he got multiple emails and phone calls from Murray Energy workers who felt that they were intimidated into attending Romney's appearance. He said employees were told they'd have to forfeit the day's pay unless they could make up their missed hours on overtime or weekends.

"My whole point is that nobody should be pressured into attending anyone's political event," Blomquist told The Plain Dealer. "If they shut the mine down, why should they lose a day's pay? There are some guys that just want to go to work, feed their family and go home."

Romney used his appearance at the coal mine to blast what he called a "war on coal" by the Obama administration that he said was costing jobs in the coal industry.

"We have 250 years of coal," Romney said. "Why in the heck wouldn't we use it? And so, I want to take advantage of those energy resources."

A Romney campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from The Plain Dealer Monday afternoon.

the erosion of progress by religon.......

Inside Author Ray Bradbury’s FBI File: Was He a Communist Sympathizer?

Was Ray Bradbury a communist sympathizer? A threat to the American way of life? Clark Merrefield digs into the newly obtained FBI files on the celebrated science-fiction writer.

Ray Bradbury, the science-fiction writer who died at age 91 in early June, was the target of FBI investigations over a period spanning more than a decade, according to 40 pages of government documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Beast.
Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Ill., and enjoyed a literary career spanning eight decades. He is best known for his short stories and the novel Fahrenheit 451, which chronicles Guy Montag, a conflicted protagonist tasked with setting books on fire, and the detached society punctuated by a paranoid government in which Montag lives.
The government in Montag’s world, it turns out, was not so different from the government in Bradbury’s.
The FBI’s investigation of Bradbury in the late 1950s centers on alleged communist activity, and it reveals more about the author’s talent for holding up a dystopian mirror to reflect society’s flaws than actual communist tendencies. These government documents were first obtained by Bradbury biographer Sam Weller and described in his 2005 book The Bradbury Chronicles.
“I remember distinctly his response when I visited him and presented him with the files,” Weller told The Daily Beast. “He beamed ear to ear and dismissed it with a wave of his hand and laughed and he said, ‘I’ll be damned, I’ve had nothing to hide over the years—what are they going to investigate? What a bore.’”
Still, Bradbury was amused. He held the pages to his chest and asked Weller for a copy.
Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury. (AP Photo)
Bradbury did not dissuade the government when, in 1952, he took out an advertisement in the trade publication Daily Variety and wrote, according to the documents:
“I have seen too much fear in a country that has no right to be afraid. I have seen too many campaigns in California, as well as in other states won on the issue of fear itself, and not on the facts. I do not want to hear any more of this claptrap and nonsense from you. I will not welcome it from McCARTHY or McCARRAN, from Mr. NIXON, DONALD JACKSON, or a man named SPARKMAN. I do not want any more lies, any more prejudice, any more smears. I do not want intimations, hearsay or rumor. I do not want unsigned letters or nameless telephone calls from either side, or from anyone.”
Bradbury got exactly what he didn’t want. The FBI investigation of Bradbury spans April 2 through June 3, 1959, and included surveillance from special agents.
“There’s some case notes to indicate they were parked outside the street of his house, watching his house. There were definitely agents stationed, watching his family and the goings on at the Bradbury home,” Weller says.
According to Martin A. Berkeley, a former member of the Communist Party and one of few named sources in the files, Bradbury, “was probably sympathetic with certain pro-Communist elements in the WGAw [Writers Guild of America, West].” He told the FBI that during a meeting of the Writers Guild, formerly the Screen Writers Guild, the union was considering whether to keep Communist Party members from joining, and Bradbury rose up and shouted, “Cowards and McCarthyites.”
At times the files venture into a sort of detached literary criticism, likely aimed at elucidating Bradbury’s worldview. Of Bradbury’s short-story collection The Martian Chronicles, which according to the documents sold over 200,000 copies in its second edition, special agent John S. Temple writes, “The stories were connected by the repeated theme that earthmen are despoilers and not developers.”
Bradbury may have been an inconvenient public figure to some, but the FBI ultimately concluded, “No evidences have been developed which indicate he was ever a member of the CP.”
Roughly 10 years after its initial investigation, the FBI again trained its sights on Bradbury regarding a suspected trip to Cuba to attend the Cultural Congress of Havana, a conference meant to “obtain unity of action in the anti-imperialist fight and in defense of the cultural nucleus of each country.”
Bradbury’s suspected interest in the Cultural Congress appears to stem from a confusion over a tip about a “Roy Bradbury.” Bradbury’s passport file was ultimately investigated. The FBI connected with two unnamed informants during the third and fourth weeks of July 1968, and another informant during the second week of August 1968, to attempt to nail down a link between Bradbury and Cuba.
One informant editorialized that “Bradbury would be a type person [sic] who might be invited to attend the Cultural Congress of Havana because of his liberal view,” but none of the sources could provide the FBI with any usable information.
“The files were so sloppy they called him Raymond at points in there—that’s not even his legal name,” Weller says.
The FBI decided it would be imprudent to continue their investigation and speak with him directly: “Due to Bradbury’s background as a known liberal writer, vocal in anti-United States war policies, an interview with Bradbury would be deemed unadvisable.”
Bradbury ultimately found resigned humor in the time and resources wasted on investigating his normal American life.
“The files were so sloppy they called him Raymond at points in there—that’s not even his legal name,” Weller says

Aug 27, 2012

noodle slicing robot

Mitt Romney Campaign Denies Paying Journey $500,000 To Play At Event

Don't stop believing.......
Mitt Romney Journey
Mitt Romney's campaign has paid rock band Journey $500,000 to play at a private campaign event, TMZ reports.
A source tells the entertainment website that the campaign hired the group to play a 90-minute set at a Tampa, Fla. fundraising event on Thursday night. The Republican National Convention comes to a close that evening.
Romney's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
As the Tampa Bay Times reported, Journey is slated to perform at Liberty Plaza, a tented concert space. Kid Rock and Trace Adkins are also scheduled to perform at private events during the convention.

bible in the classroom

degrasse just so good.....

Aug 24, 2012

Mitt Romney Tax Returns May Have Employed Legally Dubious Maneuvers, Tax Experts Say

Bill Nye on creationism: "Your world view just becomes crazy"

Bill Nye makes a plea for teaching our children science and preparing them to make good choices for the future.

When Did the GOP Get So White: The Republicans’ Loss of Diversity

The one-time Party of Lincoln boasted the first African-American, Asian-American, Native-American, Hispanic, and popularly-elected woman senators. Now polls show Romney-Ryan will get virtually no black votes. John Avlon looks at the party’s inclusivity retreat.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that no African-Americans will vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, just that it will be within the margin of error and along the lines last time, when McCain-Palin somehow managed to score 4 percent of the black vote.
But ’twas not always thus for the GOP. Dust off your history books and you will see Republicans once had a virtual lock on the minority vote—and minority elected officials. The legacy of Lincoln was alive and well until not so long ago. Which makes the retreat of recent decades both unfortunate and ill-timed.
Consider that the first popularly-elected African-American senator was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts, in 1966. Likewise the first Asian-American senator, Hawaii’s Hiram Fong, who was first elected in the Eisenhower era. The first Native-American senator, Charles Curtis—who went on to be Herbert Hoover’s vice president. The first Hispanic senator, Octaviano Larrazolo, also was a Republican. Ditto the first woman popularly elected to the Senate, Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith.
“The Republican Party was the party that gave hope and inspiration to minorities—and there was a coalition at first,” says Ed Brooke, now 92 and living with his wife, Anne, in Miami. “My father was a Republican. My mother was a Republican. They wouldn't dare be a Democrat. The Democrats were a party opposed to civil rights. The South was all Democratic conservatives. And the African-American community considered them the enemy.”
That’s why every single one of the 23 African-American members of Congress before 1900 was a Republican. They wouldn’t have dreamed of being anything other than members of the Party of Lincoln—Democrats were the party of the Confederate South.  Frederick Douglass summed up the sentiment when he said, “I am a Republican, a black, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom.” This legacy echoed for generations.
“When I first went to the Senate there was one woman there, Margaret Chase Smith, who was a Republican,” remembers Brooke. “Of course, I was the only African-American. But there were a couple of Jewish senators—Jacob Javits [a Republican from New York] and Abe Ribicoff [a Democrat] from Connecticut. We had some diversity—racial diversity and [gender] diversity—but it was very small, of course. But we also had a degree of diversity as far as political ideology. We had a group of moderate senators who met for lunch once a week and we had a block of eight that usually voted together on these issues.”
Clockwise, from top left: Frederick Douglass, the first popularly-elected African-American Senator Republican Edward Brooke, the first Asian-American Senator, Hawaii’s Hiram Fong, and Senator Hayakawa.
The decline of centrist Republicans was one important reason for the decline in the GOP’s diversity over recent decades, according to Brooke. The shift of the party’s political base to the states of the former Confederacy coincided with the rise of social conservatism and states’ rights in what had been the progressive party in the era of Lincoln. The historic irony of a Southern Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, signing civil rights and voting rights bills into law (which his 1964 opponent Barry Goldwater opposed) solidified the shift of African-Americans into the Democrats’ camp, capped by the election of the first African-American president a half-century later.
Demographics are destiny, and looking like the party of old white men is not a recipe for Republican success in the future.        
“When you say Republican Party to the average citizen now, what comes up in their minds?” asks Brooke. “Not that it was the first party to elect an African-American to the United States Senate or the first woman. And then Hiram Fong and [S.I] Hayakawa, representing Hawaii and California. There were all these instances where Republicans were first. But they never really were able to capitalize on that. They always looked like they wanted to keep that hidden. If the Democrats had done that, we would have never stopped hearing about it.”
Demographics are destiny, and looking like the party of old white men is not a recipe for Republican success in the future. That’s why this forgotten legacy of diversity should be respected and celebrated, even as the Party of Lincoln has turned into the Party of Reagan. Because these forgotten figures deserve to be remembered by Republicans and all Americans as the pioneers they were.

variations on a theme.......

Adan Jodorowsky seeks funding for surrealist short featuring a gold-yielding vagina (and a pretty cool story)

Oh, my lovelies, wait until you hear about this so you can throw all your money at it like fairy dust: Adan Jodorowsky, son of avant garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (who almost made Dune with Salvador Dali and Orson Welles), and Asia Argento, daughter of Dario Argento (Suspiria, Inferno), are both filmmakers in their own right, and are currently collaborating on a short, surrealist film called The Voice Thief. With the help of some interested parties, they hope to raise funds for the movie on Kickstarter. Here are some details about the film:
"[A] mad husband attempts to steal voices for his opera singing wife, who's since lost hers... Adan describes the journey as involving 'a prostitute dwarf who still lives as a child in the shadow of her mother’s corpse,' and 'a cult that worships a giant transvestite who drips gold from her vagina.'"
I'm sorry, but if that doesn't sound like something we all can't get behind in these divided times, I don't know what is. But seriously, this sounds like an ambitious and deliciously weird project being made by people with wonderful imaginations. And if Jodorowsky can find a way to bypass the studios and make this the way he wants, then that's excellent!
Jodorowsky will be directing Argento, who will be playing the mute opera singer, and his brother Cristobal, who is playing the voice-stealing husband. Their deadline is September 14, so visit their Kickstarter page to read more about the production and what you'll get if you donate.


Devon Steampunk Watch: all springs and belts and such and oh my

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you a brief moment during which I will fantasize in public about having an extra $25,000 lying around so I could pre-order one of these Devon Steampunk watches

Aug 23, 2012


Paul Ryan's Budget Would Lower Taxes For Wealthy, Raise Them For Everyone Else: Report

Paul Ryan’s ‘legitimate problem’

By , Published: August 22
When Todd Akin sneezes, Paul Ryan catches a cold.
The Republicans’ soon-to-be nominee for vice president is supposed to be delivering a message about jobs and the economy, but he’s finding he cannot escape his longtime House colleague, now a national pariah for his exotic views on rape.
“His statements were outrageous, over the pale. I don’t know anybody who would agree with that. Rape is rape, period, end of story,” Ryan told Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV in the first in a series of local TV interviews.
Except it wasn’t the end of the story. The questions were just beginning.
“Rape is rape. Rape is rape, period. End of story,” Ryan replied to another query.
“Rape is rape, and there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” he answered yet again.
Ryan is surely aching to talk about something other than Akin. But the outrage set off by the Republicans’ Senate nominee in Missouri has consumed the political world. It has been particularly harmful to Ryan, who has served for more than a decade with Akin, recently hailing him as “a great asset” on Ryan’s budget committee and an example of “exactly the kind of leadership America needs.”
More problematic in this situation: Ryan has the same antiabortion position as Akin — no exceptions — and some of the nearly 40 abortion bills he has co-sponsored have provided no exemption for rape victims.
This is more random bad luck for Mitt Romney, who has had more than his share in recent days. His running mate, chosen for his green-eyeshade savvy, has unexpectedly become a lightning rod in the culture wars, in an area where Republicans are at a decided disadvantage. Only 20 percent of Americans agree with Ryan and Akin that abortion should be illegal in all cases, according to a Gallup poll in May.
Akin, in an interview Wednesday morning with NBC’s Matt Lauer, confirmed that Ryan had called to try to push him from the race after his “legitimate rape” remark and his fanciful claim that women’s bodies could reject the sperm of rapists. “He felt that I had to make a decision, but he advised me that it would be good for me to step down,” said Akin, who rebuffed Ryan.
“It’s as you would imagine,” Ryan said when asked aboard his campaign plane later for his version of the call. “And I’ll keep it between us.” Ryan repeated his view that Akin “should’ve dropped out of the race, but he’s not. He’s going to run his campaign. We’re going to run ours.”
Would he call Akin again?
“I have no plans to,” the candidate said.
Surely Ryan would like to call Akin all kinds of colorful things for throwing Republicans badly off message on the eve of their convention. Romney, party officials and even Rush Limbaugh have called for him to quit. Akin’s dwindling list of supporters is down to a motley assortment of abortion hard-liners who applaud his no-exceptions stance.
Ryan has already surrendered that position. “Look, I’m proud of my record,” he told reporters on his plane, but “Mitt Romney is going to be president, and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”
Does he now regret his sponsorship of legislation that made a distinction between “forcible rape” and other kinds — a position eerily similar to Akin’s “legitimate rape”?
“That bill passed, I think, by 251 votes,” Ryan replied. “It was bipartisan.” He neglected to mention that it passed after removal of the “forcible” language.
The candidate tried to guide the reporters back to friendlier topics. “This is fantastic,” he said of his brief time on the trail. “The encouragement from the crowds is just amazing. It’s an infectious enthusiasm.”
Perhaps, but that’s not the dominant strain infecting Ryan’s candidacy at the moment.

Adam Savage's toolbox

 Design Wp-Content Uploads 2012 08 Ts Savage F BB pal Adam Savage of MythBusters liked using antique leather doctor's bags to hold his tools. But the bags couldn't handle the 50+ pounds of tools that he needed while working at Industrial Light and Magic. So he remade the bags out of aluminum and added scissor lifts for easy reach. "The finished boxes housed everything I needed, but I repeatedly rebuilt the insides until finally no tool had to be moved out of the way to get to another," Adam wrote in Wired. "That’s first-order retrievability

Little face Mitt


Aug 12, 2012

Mitt Romney's tax bill under Paul Ryan's budget? 0.82% (Your taxes will probably go up, though)

  Paul Ryan wants to kill all tax on capital gains, interest, and dividends -- income you get from owning things, rather than doing a job. Under this plan, Mitt Romney's $21,000,000 in 2010 income would be largely tax-exempt. Only his speaking and author fees -- $593,996 -- would be taxed, and only at 25%, for a net tax of $177,650 on $21,661,344 -- that is, 0.82%.

Undead Disney Princesses: Snow White, Ariel & Cinderella as Zombies

Snow White Zombie
Thai artist Witit Karpkraikaew has imagined Disney princesses as undead brain-eaters in this series that shows Snow White, Ariel and Cinderella as gruesome zombies.
Ariel Zombie
Cinderella Zombie

A strident atheist/feminist/meth addict who collected both medicare and medicade under a alias...perfect.....

Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand Fan, Brings Writer's Philosophy To Presidential stage....

WASHINGTON -- When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate, he wasn't just picking a self-proclaimed nerd and policy wonk, he was picking Ayn Rand's latest and best literary agent.
Rand's windy, melodramatic prose has been a conservative and libertarian inspiration for decades. Her novels "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" are deemed essential philosophical tracts in defense of capitalism and the will of the individual over a society based on shared sacrifice. Rand titled one of her books "The Virtue of Selfishness."
In a recent New Yorker profile, Ryan called her a key inspiration in his life. His coming-of-age moment featured Rand.
"I grew up on Ayn Rand," Ryan told the Atlas Society, a group of Rand devotees, in a 2005 speech. "That's what I tell people ... you know, everybody does their soul-searching, and trying to find out who they are and what they believe, and you learn about yourself ... I grew up reading Ayn Rand, and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are."
Ryan went on to say that Rand's works are required reading for his staff. "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," he went on to say. "And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."
Rand's works featured prominently in a 2009 Ryan video critique of President Barack Obama. The congressman said that he was not surprised that Rand's novels have spiked in popularity since Obama took office. "It's that kind of thinking, that kind of writing that is sorely needed right now," Ryan said. "And I think a lot of people would observe that we are right now living in an Ayn Rand novel, metaphorically speaking."
In April, Ryan attempted to distance himself from his prior infatuation with the novelist, telling the National Review in an interview, "If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don't give me Ayn Rand." (A spokesman later suggested that Ryan was not repudiating Rand's philosophy, but that Ryan did not make staffers read "Atlas Shrugged.")
Rand followers are apparently overjoyed at Romney's choice of Ryan as his vice presidential pick.
"I think the announcement is great news," Aaron Day, CEO of the Atlas Society, told Politico. "[T]he influence of Rand on Ryan as it relates to the role and nature of government is a huge step forward for the liberty movement."

that didn't take long..........

Aug 10, 2012

Clear-bottomed swimming pool atop skyscraper

Swimmmmmm This cantilevered clear-bottomed swimming pool is on the 24th floor of the Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao

Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here

Eagle Rock Entertainment recently released the Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here on Blu-ray, a documentary that tells the story behind Pink Floyd‘s creation of their iconic 1975 studio album Wish You Were Here, the follow up to the highly successful album The Dark Side Of The Moon.
Short summary of the film:
This program tells the story of the making of this landmark release through new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archive interviews with the late Richard Wright. Also featured are sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover burning man Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. Original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs construction.
Bonus Features: The Blu-ray contains additional bonus material not featured in the TV broadcast version, including further interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason plus Roger Waters and David Gilmour performing excerpts from the Wish You Were Here album.

Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here

ah yeah 2.............

ah yeah.............


Aug 9, 2012

Ye Animated Git, An Animated GIF Illustration Project by Zach Cohen

Ye Animated Git by Zach Cohen
Ye Animated Git is an animated GIF illustration project on Tumblr by Israel based illustrator and animator Zach Cohen. The project mixes Zach’s unique black and white hand illustrated art style with an appropriate touch of poetry.
Ye Animated Git by Zach Cohen
Ye Animated Git by Zach Cohen
Ye Animated Git by Zach Cohen
Ye Animated Git by Zach Cohen
artwork created by Zach Cohen

The Ghostly Remains of “Borscht Belt” Hotels and Resorts

Andrea Saul, Romney Spox, Gets Pilloried For Mentioning Candidate's Most Important Achievement

Mitt Romney
So, it's come to this. Today, a spokeswoman for Mitt Romney responded to an attack ad disseminated by a super PAC supporting President Barack Obama. The ad was a controversial broadside, worthy of a response. The spokeswoman spoke against the ad with conviction. She offered a counter argument that was precise and logical and fair. The spokeswoman cleanly invoked her candidate's greatest legislative achievement, in an eminently reasonable way, in her candidate's defense.
And that spokeswoman's response is being hailed as one of the 2012 campaign season's most colossal cock-ups.
Sigh. Here's what happened. This week, Priorities USA Action, a super PAC run by former Obama adviser Bill Burton (who is surely not "coordinating" his efforts with the Obama campaign, because that would be tsk-tsk illegal!) put out a brutal attack ad. It tied the activities of Bain Capital to the death of a woman who lost her health care coverage as a result of her husband losing his job at GST Steel, one of the celebrated casualties of Bain's business practices. As Alex Burns reported:
The commercial casts Mitt Romney’s business background in a severely negative light, but it's not a typical slash-and-burn attack ad. Instead, it features former GST Steel employee Joe Soptic speaking to the camera about what happened when the plant where he worked shut down. "I don't think Mitt Romney understands what he's done to people's lives by closing the plant. I don't think he realizes that people's lives completely changed," Soptic said. “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that my wife became ill.”

In 2006, Soptic's wife passed away, and a future attack ad was born.
In the immediate aftermath of the ad's deployment, the Romney camp issued a relatively standard response, referring to the ad as dishonest and accusing the president and his allies of using such attacks to distract from economic issues. And nothing more might have come of this had Romney's team stuck to that story.
But on Fox News this morning, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul went "off-script," and amid a larger declaration about the ad being despicable and some pushback on the facts of the ad, she offered this statement in Romney's defense: "To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care."
After that came the deluge of conservatives savaging Saul for getting lost on the road to Damascus, essentially accusing her of giving away the election.
The thing is, though, Saul's logic in citing Romney's creation and implementation of CommonwealthCare in Massachusetts is impeccable. Her baseline argument: If you are going to hit Romney with the Bain practices that allegedly led to this woman losing her health insurance, you surely must credit him for his legislative accomplishments, which enabled thousands of uninsured people to obtain life-saving care. That is, for the most part, pristine reasoning.
The only problem, of course, is that this wasn't offered in 2008, when it would have been hailed as a brilliant defense. We've once again come face to face with the perplexing weirdness at the center of Romney's entire presidential effort: in 2012, Romney is not allowed to run on the singular achievement of his career -- Massachusetts health care -- that earned him a spot in the world of GOP presidential contenders in the first place.
I've said this before: for all of the grief that Romney has taken for his multitude of flip-flops over the years, those are not, collectively, as damaging to Romney's ambition as the way the Republican Party has flopped on him. In 2008, RomneyCare was held to be an accomplishment with edge -- he'd neatly co-opted a key Democratic Party plank, universal health care, and delivered it to his constituents, using the individual mandate concept dreamed up by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Coupled with his time spent rescuing the Salt Lake City Olympics, Romney had reason to brag about his managerial acumen and problem-solving ability.
But after Romney's idea got re-co-opted by the Obama administration, Romney became another victim of the vagaries of tribal politics, which dictated that anything that even vaguely resembled ObamaCare was now anathema. Romney has tried to manage this mess by explaining away his own accomplishment as something that he never envisioned being imposed by the federal government. That argument hasn't gained much traction, probably because people essentially remember that his health care accomplishment was front-and-center during his 2008 run.
And if the reaction to Saul's statement proves anything, it's that the tribe has only become less inclined toward Romney's health care law. The fury, in this instance, was led by Red State founder Erick Erickson, who earnestly tweeted: "OMG. This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow." Ever since then, he's been blogging about Saul's statement as if it were a massive disaster, assuring his readers that "Mitt Romney’s ardent supporters are fit to be tied today." Rush Limbaugh has since piled on, telling his listeners that "Andrea Saul's appearance on Fox was a potential gold mine for Obama."
The sentiments being expressed by Erickson and Limbaugh, it should be noted, are not universal. Erickson himself has written about some of the negative reaction to his remarks, and while no one he cites defends Saul, there are apparently some who are giving Erickson grief about his outsized reaction. Erickson, however, haughtily dismisses these concerns:
Andrea Saul cited Romneycare approvingly, conservatives rightly piled on, and Romney supporters are defending the guy. “You’re hurting him,” cried one.
“Thanks for making this the big story of the day, Jackass,” cried another.
Andrea Saul made this the big story of the day. She is hurting Romney. She is an official voice of the campaign. This was an unforced error of monumental idiocy and the blowback is deserved, appropriate, and -- most importantly -- absolutely necessary.

He goes on to approvingly cite the remarks tweeted by fellow RedStater Dan McLaughlin:
What conservatives are doing re Andrea Saul's comment is the same as how you housebreak your dog. Romney needs to know not to go there.
Tie Andrea Saul to the roof of a car and drive her to Canada, I guess!
At any rate, Saul's comment is now bound, inevitably, for the Kinsley Gaffe Hall Of Fame -- the "Kinsley Gaffe" being, let's recall, when "a politician tells the truth -- some obvious truth he [or she] isn't supposed to say." But I'm not sure people understand that this particular Kinsley Gaffe deserves an asterisk -- it's only a gaffe by dint of the fact that so much has changed between 2008 and 2012. And for that reason, I'm not sure people fully understand just how outrageous it would be for Saul to be subjected to "housebreaking" over this flap.


Animals Acting Like Sharks Week, A Funny Video by Revision3

As a play on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week (and because they don’t have a big budget), internet TV network Revision3 created Animals Acting Like Sharks Week, a funny low budget video full of cute critters acting like and dressed up like sharks.

Mexican-US illegal migration has been largely static since the 1950s

Princeton's alumni magazine has an excellent profile of Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and director of Princeton’s Office of Population Research. Massey studies patterns of US migration, particularly illegal immigration from Mexico. His research is the only rigorous census of Mexican-American illegal immigration flows, and its conclusions are that the US perception of Mexican migration is completely backwards, and that the major immigration problems are the result of bad policy, not changes in volume:
The MMP’s reports are freely available to anyone through its website, But statistics can be sterile things. Get Massey going, and one gets an earful about the true state of affairs along the border. To wit: * We are not being flooded with illegal Mexican migrants. The total number of migrants from Mexico has varied very little since the 1950s. The massive influx many have written about never happened. * Net illegal migration has stopped almost ­completely. * Illegal migration has not stopped because of stricter border enforcement, which Massey characterizes as a waste of money at best and counterproductive at worst. * There are indeed more undocumented Mexicans living in the United States than there were 20 years ago, but that is because fewer migrants are returning home — not because more are sneaking into the country. * And the reason that fewer Mexican citizens are returning home is because we have stepped up border enforcement so dramatically. Mull over that last point for a minute. If Congress had done nothing to secure the border over the last two decades — if it had just left the border alone — there might be as many as 2 million fewer Mexicans living in the United States today, Massey believes.


Unboxing the astoundingly cool, dirt-filled ParaNorman press-box

Cory Doctorow

Aug 17-20, St Petersburg SF&F Assembly
Rapture of the Nerds tour with Charlie Stross

Lexington, Brooklyn, Brookline, RochesterContext (essays)
With a Little Help (short stories)
For the Win (YA novel)
Makers (adult novel)
I've just come back from a four-week working vacation with my family in LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Mountain View. As is customary on the morning after a long-distance family trip, I dragged my jet-lagged butt into my PO Box, where there was the usual mountain of stuff waiting for me -- bills, books for review, and a heap of junk mail as tall as me. But today, there was also a bubble-wrapped crate, quite heavy. Groaning a little at the thought of dragging this to the office, I peeled back the bubble-wrap...and then hastily jammed it back again, as the crate disintegrated and began to dump green potting soil on the carpet of my mailbox company. We taped the whole thing back up again and I got it to the office in the back of a taxi. Once here, I grabbed a knife and set the crate down on a revolting, sodden sofa some miscreant dumped in the parking lot, thinking that whatever the box spilled out onto that wreck could only improve it. As I sliced away the bubble-wrap again, the crate completely fell to pieces, revealing an upside-down wooden coffin. I'd opened it from the bottom! Digging through the greenish soil (which was odorless, though it did leave powdery smears on my clothes), I discovered that the top of the box sported some live sod, and under that, a piece of semi-rotted burlap that semi-protected the coffin's lid, which was intricately laser-cut with an 18th-century date and a monstrous icon. Dusting off the coffin, I brought it back into the office, scraping as much of the crate's remnants as I could into the dumpster.
Prising the lid off the coffin, I discovered an absolutely gorgeous soft poseable maquette of a zombie from ParaNorman, the forthcoming Laika film. ParaNorman was clutching a rolled up scroll with a hand-written note telling me about the movie and making some shrewd guesses about how I'd relate to it. I generally find elaborate PR stuff to be kind of tedious -- like getting torrents of the cheeziest SkyMall tchotchkes in the mail. But the ParaNorman folks really know what they're about. It was pretty gutsy to send me a giant box of dirt with a doll in it, and the doll needed to be extremely cool to overcome the automatic inward groan at the thought of having to deal with a massive MOOP spill when I opened the crate. There are a million ways that this could have misfired, but it didn't. Bravo, seriously. As for the movie? Hell, I don't know. I was a big fan of Laika's treatment of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, so I would have gone to see this even without the weird-ass, amazing press kit. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have hyped the movie beforehand, so they're doing something right. I don't know what I would do if every PR pitch came with a package this elaborate -- I'd end up drowning in potting soil, for one thing. But this is the most creative and awesome thing I've ever gotten in the mail, and they've earned this post. Here's the trailer:

Four comics panels that never work

Cory Doctorow

Aug 17-20, St Petersburg SF&F Assembly
Rapture of the Nerds tour with Charlie Stross
Lexington, Brooklyn, Brookline, RochesterContext (essays)
With a Little Help (short stories)
For the Win (YA novel)
Makers (adult novel)
Here's Mark Waid's fitting tribute to Wally Wood's "Twenty-Two Panels That Always Work" -- four panels that don't. Also available as a handsome print, suitable for framing and display near to one's drafting table. Mark Waid's Four Panels That Never Work (via Making Light)

Vintage train fan excited about rare vintage train is the new "Double Rainbow" (video)

xeni jardin

Boing Boing partner, Boing Boing Video host and executive producer., Twitter, Google+. Email:
[Video Link] Double rainbow, all the way. Oh my god. (via Newley Purnell)

Back yard DIY PVC rollercoaster with a 12-foot drop (video)

xeni jardin

Boing Boing partner, Boing Boing Video host and executive producer., Twitter, Google+. Email:
[Video Link] About this video, which is a few months old but new to me, I can put it no more eloquently than Eric Meyerson of Youtube: "There's a fine line between 'world's best dad' and 'Darwin Awards.'"