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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Saturday morning linkdump 2: politics edition.

* The Vonnegut-flavored image at right is graffiti fresh from the streets of Burlington, Vermont.

* Vegetarianism, as every school child knows, is evil. I had an upstairs neighbor once who really believed this—he used to tell me all the time how vegetarians were on the fast track to full-on Nazism. Weird guy.

* Birther update: even OpinionJournal's odious "Best of the Web" column says the birthers are nuts. In the L.A. Times, Bill Maher says birtherism is no joke. But you and I know birtherism exists only in the feverish lies of Chris Matthews and Markos Moulitsas.

* Glenn Greenwald has a must-read post on corporate interference at MSNBC and Fox News.

In essence, the chairman of General Electric (which owns MSNBC), Jeffrey Immelt, and the chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), Rupert Murdoch, were brought into a room at a "summit meeting" for CEOs in May, where Charlie Rose tried to engineer an end to the "feud" between MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox's Bill O'Reilly. According to the NYT, both CEO's agreed that the dispute was bad for the interests of the corporate parents, and thus agreed to order their news employees to cease attacking each other's news organizations and employees.

Most notably, the deal wasn't engineered because of a perception that it was hurting either Olbermann or O'Reilly's show, or even that it was hurting MSNBC. To the contrary, as Olbermann himself has acknowledged, his battles with O'Reilly have substantially boosted his ratings. The agreement of the corporate CEOs to cease criticizing each other was motivated by the belief that such criticism was hurting the unrelated corporate interests of GE and News Corp...
* Democrats facing big off-year electoral losses in New Jersey and Virginia?

* In the days leading up to Obama's decision to run, Axelrod prepared a private strategy memo -- dated Nov. 28, 2006 -- that has never been published before. He wrote that an outgoing president nearly always defines the next election and argued that people almost never seek a replica -- certainly not after the presidency of George W. Bush. In 2008, people were going to be looking for a replacement, someone who represented different qualities. In Axelrod's opinion, Obama's profile fit this historical moment far better than did Hillary Rodham Clinton's. If he was right, Obama could spark a political movement and prevail against sizable odds. He also counseled Obama against waiting for a future opportunity to run for president. "History is replete with potential candidates for the presidency who waited too long rather than examples of people who ran too soon. . . . You will never be hotter than you are right now."

* A new study demonstrating that organic food is no healthier than regularly produced food seems to entirely miss the point of organics.