Short notes

I’ll examine the full debt ceiling deal next week, but early reports from people I trust (Paul KrugmanSalon’s Andrew Leonard) are calling it a “surrender” by President Obama. Hunter on Daily Kos doesn’t use that word, but basically agrees.

Prior to the deal announcement, Matt Yglesias wrote:

[A]t this point the biggest damage is to the overall system of government. Obama has successfully transformed massive debt ceiling hostage taking from an act of breathtakingly irresponsible brinksmanship into a proven effective negotiating tactic. … Every time the president’s party has fewer than 60 votes in the Senate, we may face a recurrence of this crisis.


The debt ceiling is just a distraction from the really serious economic news: The Tooth Fairy is cutting back.


Who says conspicuous consumption can’t be environmentally correct? Check out the solar-powered bikini, which can get wet and still charge an iPhone.


A mother videos what happens when she takes her son to the DMV to get one of the Voter ID cards that Wisconsin now requires if you don’t have a driver’s license. If you know your rights, you don’t have to pay the $28. But it’s still a hassle. And what problem is being solved — other than the non-drivers’ tendency to vote for Democrats?


The University of Southampton just snapped together a pilotless aircraft from pieces “printed” on a 3D printer.


A few years ago I heard Daniel Ellsberg describe how he came to leak the Pentagon Papers: “I asked myself: What can I do to end this war if I’m willing to go to prison for it?”

Tim DeChristopher recently asked the same question about global warming. His two-year prison term just started, but he says “I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

DeChristopher’s crime? Disrupting a Bureau of Land Management oil-and-gas-lease auction by making false bids. But Grist’s Shawn Regan asks an important question: Why can’t environmentalists bid for real, with the idea of leaving the land undisturbed? Currently, winning bidders are required to develop their parcels.


Nate Silver charts it: Democratic governors are more liberal or conservative depending on the politics of their states. Republican governors have the same agenda everywhere.


Cenk Uygur’s account of how he lost his MSNBC show says a lot about mainstream media: It would be bad enough if network decisions were all about ratings. But even good ratings won’t save you if you annoy the Powers That Be.


Remember when Apple was the good corporation that was going to save us from domination by the evil IBM?

Well, now that Apple owns the app market, it is acting the same way IBM did when it owned the business-computing market and Microsoft did when it owned the desktop. Kindle and Nook can have iPad apps, but not if they’re going compete with iBooks for sales.


More evidence that terrorism is a meaningless term: Tuesday night, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas was firebombed. Nobody covered it.


As of this morning, the Intrade prediction market rated Rick Perry as the favorite to win the GOP nomination, with a 32% chance compared to Mitt Romney’s 28%. Michele Bachmann is back to 7%, about where she was when I recommended buying her shares. I stand by the recommendation.


Jon Stewart’s GOP: Special Victims Unit looks at right-wing fantasies of their own victimization.

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  • By Not Going Home « The Weekly Sift on August 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

    […] Short Notes. Obama surrenders to the Tea Party. Even the Tooth Fairy is cutting benefits. Solar-powered bikinis. Apple is the new boss, same as the old boss. How much of a nuisance is it to get a voter ID? Southampton University prints an airplane. Why not let environmentalists bid on oil rights? Good ratings didn’t save Cenk Uygur. If the victim is Planned Parenthood, it’s not terrorism. Perry is the new Republican favorite. And Jon Stewart takes on conservative delusions of victimization. […]

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