September 28th, 2012


Holy Hyperbole, Batman! Mitt Romney to Give Greatest Debate of the Century!!

Have no Fear for Mitt Romney and his allies friends supporters comrades pundits are here!

The Debate Expectations Game
How Romney botched it and Obama played it perfectly. By Michelle Cottle.

Is there anyone left out there who hasn’t yet offered Mitt Romney advice on his upcoming debates? Anyone at all? You there, back in the corner Tweeting about Honey Boo Boo: Any words of wisdom for Mitt? If so, speak right on up, because the political world has ruled (perhaps a wee bit hyperbolically) that, unless Romney kicks some serious Obama ass next week in Denver, his White House dreams are deader than disco.

The panic is understandable. Despite Paul Ryan’s awesome Power Point slides and P90X-honed abs, Romney’s poll numbers have been sliding in exactly the wrong direction postconventions. A crisp, clear, resounding debate victory is the governor’s best shot at turning this baby around.

Why then does Team Romney seem dead set on making such a breakthrough performance nearly impossible?
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ED: How Bad are Romney's poll numbers? Very:

Sept. 26: Could 2012 Be Like 2008?

There’s no point in putting it gently: Mitt Romney had one of his worst polling days of the year on Wednesday.

It began with a series of polls from The New York Times, CBS News and Quinnipiac University, released early Wednesday morning, which gave President Obama leads of between 9 and 11 points in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Later in the day, Mr. Romney got polls showing unfavorable numbers for him in Colorado and Iowa.

Unlike many recent days, when Mr. Obama’s national polls were slightly less euphoric than his swing state surveys, Wednesday’s national polls seemed to support the notion that Mr. Obama has a clear lead in the race. The Gallup national tracking poll gave Mr. Obama a six-point lead among registered voters, close to his high mark on the year in that survey. The online tracking poll conducted by Ipsos gave him a six-point lead among likely voters. Another online tracking poll, from the RAND Corporation, put Mr. Obama’s lead at roughly seven and a half percentage points, his largest of the year in that poll. And a national poll for Bloomberg produced by the pollster J. Ann Selzer, who has a strong track record, put Mr. Obama six points ahead.

The exception was the Rasmussen Reports tracking poll, which gave Mitt Romney a two-point lead among likely voters. (This was in the version of the poll that included voters who leaned toward a candidate, which is the one that FiveThirtyEight uses for all surveys.)

What to think of the Rasmussen poll? Their surveys usually have a Republican lean, but it seems to have gotten stronger in the last few weeks. It has also been stronger in some years than others. Rasmussen got reasonably good results in years like 2006 and 2008 when their polls were close to the consensus. However, their polls were the least accurate of the major polling firms in 2010, when they had an especially strong Republican house-effect. The same was true in 2000, when they had a three- or four-point statistical bias toward Republican candidates.

This feature is not unique to Rasmussen Reports: a poll that substantially differs from the consensus, whether in a Democratic or Republican direction, is usually not one that you’ll want to bet on. And there is even less reason to do so when a poll is taking a number of methodological shortcuts, while others are being more thorough. But there have been years when the whole polling average has been off in one direction or another, and the “outlier” polls turn out to look good. It’s also the case that a broken clock is right twice a day.

Accounting for all of the data, including the Rasmussen Reports poll, the FiveThirtyEight forecast showed Mr. Obama making gains. His probability of winning the Electoral College is now listed at 81.9 percent, his highest figure of the year and up from 79.7 percent on Tuesday.

We’re at a point in the race, however, when it’s important to contrast what we think might happen on Nov. 6 with what we’re seeing in the polls at the moment. Right now, there is a gap between these two things.

Although Mr. Obama is now the clear favorite in the Nov. 6 forecast, his advantage is larger in the FiveThirtyEight “now-cast,” which projects what would happen in an election held today.

The “now-cast” estimates that Mr. Obama would have a 97.8 percent chance of winning an election held today. Further, it pegs his advantage at five and a half percentage points in the national popular vote.

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ED: No time to celebrate just yet, this is not over until after the election.
Stock - Pink Sakura

Todd Akin Says McCaskill Is Not ‘Ladylike’

Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO), who is still trying to make it up to women since he suggested that victims of “legitimate rape” cannot become pregnant, blew another hole in his pro-woman persona on Thursday when he said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is not as “ladylike” as she was in 2006.

In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Akin implied that a woman taking an aggressive stance in a competitive election is somehow unpalatable, expressing apparent displeasure not with McCaskill’s politics, but with her personality:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

Akin’s been trying to get back on track with his female constituency and Republicans alike since he blew past the September 25 deadline to drop out of the election. He just launched a “Women for Akin” group last week.


flames on the side of my face
gen || friends

Romney's advisor: Be cool guys, Romey doesn't have a chance in hell.

Romney Camp Downplays Debate Expectations

In a memo sent to surrogates today, Romney senior adviser Beth Myers sets the expectations for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney low - very low - compared to the "ample rhetorical gifts" of his opponent. The memo says President Obama has a "significant advantage" heading into the first debate.

"President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history," Myers writes, calling Obama a "universally acclaimed public speaker."

Myers' memo is the latest in pre-debate jockeying by both campaigns to set their candidate's expectations low, while raising expectations for their opponent.

Beyond his "natural gifts" for oratory, Meyers argues that Obama has "substantial debate experience under his belt."

"This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first," she says. Obama, in her words, has had "extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage."

Myers predicts that President Obama will use these advantages to go negative and attack Romney on the debate stage.

"Since he won't - and can't - talk about his record, he'll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent."

Myers concludes that the election will not be decided by the debates.

The first of three presidential debates is Oct. 3, next Wednesday, at the University of Denver.

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Yahoo News source, sorry

LOL, I like this delusion that Obama won't use his own record in the debates. What was that little accomplishments card I got in the mail from the Obama campaign? What is in those multiple emails I get every day asking for just five dollars, please have dinner with me, love, Obama. So, nice try, Beth Myers, attempting to put a positive spin on the memo, but I can just hear your fatigue from here. Lemme buy you a drink, girl, we may not agree on politics but I imagine you need on after dealing with Romney all this time.
No Enbridge
  • romp

This is your squid on Cypress Hill, or: 'Insane in the Chromatophores'

Almost four years ago to the day, Sarah Palin, while on the campaign trail, denounced funding for scientific "pet projects" such as using fruit flies for genetic research. There was, of course, a fecal storm of biblical proportions.

Now, with the U.S. once again in an election frenzy, we can only wonder what will happen once the Romney/Ryan camp gets wind of the fact that scientists are playing Cypress Hill to squids.

Biologists working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., hooked up a squid's dorsal fin to a special iPod playing Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain." The video below captures the results, viewed through an 8x microscope on the squid's chromatophores, pigmented cells that contract to reveal colours.

Science without any immediately obvious link to "the public good," coupled with hip-hop, can't possibly result in anything resembling intelligent, reasonable dialogue, can it? The squid was unavailable for comment as to how it felt about the experience.

Gundam Chibi Char

Man Who Was 'Tortured' by the Prospect of Obama's Re-Election Kills Family, Self

Albert, Kathleen, Mathew and Christopher Peterson were found dead Tuesday in their Herndon, Virginia home
Police say Albert shot dead his family before turning the weapon on himself
A friend of the family says that Albert suffered from debilitating paranoia, exacerbated by the upcoming election
'He just did not want his kids inheriting this mess,' the friend said
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Lots of pictures at source.

Re-submitting for tags and edit for tags and trigger warning.

Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English.

By Cordelia Hebblethwaite
BBC News, Washington DC

There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.

"Spot on - it's just ludicrous!" snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley.

"You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on."

"Will do - I hear that from Americans. That should be put into quarantine," he adds.

And don't get him started on the chattering classes - its overtones of a distinctly British class system make him quiver.

But not everyone shares his revulsion at the drip, drip, drip of Britishisms - to use an American term - crossing the Atlantic.

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OP: Reading this I am completely confused as to what the difference between Americanisms and Britishisms are, I seem to have used a mix of both forever.
Pride & Prejudice

What is SlutWalk London doing lining up behind Julian Assange?

Oh dear, SlutWalk London. On Saturday you're marshalling crowds of women in fishnets and bras to chant "my dress is not a yes" and promoting petitions insisting that the Home Office should prosecute rapists. Come Tuesday, you're taking to Twitter to issue statements objecting to the extradition of Julian Assange to face rape charges in Sweden. Rapists should be prosecuted, but according to SlutWalk London, the fact that many who are accused of rape ultimately aren't convicted means that this particular accused rapist shouldn't be subject to due process. It's an awkward position to adopt, and the most awkward thing of all is the way it conscripts those who joined the march to a cause that was never part of the prospectus.

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Source (and you should all totally go to SlutWalk London's blog and tell them what you think about this bullshit)
  • yeats

With ‘Dreams From My Real Father,’ Have Obama Haters Hit Rock Bottom?

So this is what it’s come to.

After four years of invective, four years during which the right has called President Obama a traitor, a communist, a fraud, an affirmative-action case, a terrorist-sympathizer, and a tyrant, its shrillest voices have been reduced to the most primal insult of all. They are calling Obama’s mother a whore.

For a while now, pictures purporting to show Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, modeling in 1950s bondage and fetish porn have been floating around the darker corners of the Internet. Now, though, they’ve made their way into a pseudo-documentary, Joel Gilbert’s Dreams from my Real Father, which is being mailed to voters in swing states, promoted by several Tea Party groups and by at least one high-level Republican. At the same time, Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book, Obama’s America—the first of all his works to hit the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list—has a chapter essentially calling Dunham a fat slut. If Obama is reelected, it’s hard to imagine where the right goes from here.

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two people that i know in columbus, OH have already gotten this vile slime mailed to them.
  • suwiel

Slavery Still Exists

SEP 26 2012, 1:10 PM ET
Lisa Kristine

Photographs of human trafficking and enslavement around the world

It was 130 degrees when I was first introduced to the brick kilns of Nepal. In these severe temperatures, men, women, and children -- whole families, in fact -- were surrounded by a dense cloud of dust while mechanically stacking bricks on their heads, carrying them, 18 at a time, from the scorching kilns to trucks hundreds of yards away.

These are slaves. Deadened by monotony and exhaustion, they worked without speaking, repeating the same task 16 hours a day. They took no rest for food or water, no bathroom breaks -- although their dehydration suppressed their need to urinate.

Around the world human traffickers trick many people into slavery by false promises of good jobs or good education, only to find themselves forced to work without pay, under the threat of violence. Trapped by phony debt, these slaves are hunted by local police and private security guards if they try to escape. Sometimes slaves don't even understand that they're enslaved, despite people working 16 or 17 hours a day with no pay. They're simply used to it as something they've been doing their whole lives. Their bodies grow weak and vulnerable to disease, but they have nothing to compare their experience to.

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The Atlantic
Lisa Kristine is a California-based photographer. Her personal website is

Obama Outsmarts Netanyahu, Avoids Crisis. Romney Takes Full Credit, "That Was My Idea!"

Mitt Romney Outsources His Brain, Just Like His Heart.

Obama Plays Netanyahu Like a Fiddle, Romney Follows Behind

Obama and Netanyahu talked today, and agreed that Iran shouldn’t have nuclear weapons. Romney raised his hand to announce that he also talked to Netanyahu, but can’t tell us what was said and then reiterated Obama’s Iran policy as his own. This comes as no surprise, since Romney has repeatedly proven himself to be a foreign policy novice — to put it kindly — and Obama’s foreign policy approach is more popular, both at home and abroad.

The media has been all atwitter with right wing talking points, why won’t Obama talk to Netanyahu? Somehow they missed that by schooling Netanyahu with the diplomatic but clear cold shoulder, Obama got everything he wanted.

On Tuesday at the UN, Netanyahu suddenly announced after relentless sabre-rattling that Israel would not attack Iran before the spring, taking off the table the pre-election strike that loomed behind his earlier words, when he falsely equated violence in Libya with the “regime” in Iran in an attempt to stoke the fires of war. Netanyahu also agreed with Obama that a diplomatic approach might work. This was a long walk from where he had been just days before.

Whether Netanyahu started showing respect for Obama because, unlike most conservatives, he can read polls or whether Obama’s cold shoulder finally sank in as Bibi’s only option given Romney’s plunge, or some combination of the two — the end result is Obama got what he wanted and what was best for the United States.

Obama got Netanyahu to back off his threats to attack Iran and he got Netanyahu to stop meddling in US elections. Netanyahu gave Obama credit for leading the effort to impose sanctions on Iran.
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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

It's Not Easy Being a Yakuza Boss

It's Not Easy Being a Yakuza Boss

These days the price of a standard civilian hit-job can run as high as $2 million. That’s not the price to get the job done―that’s the price if one of your underlings gets caught. The whole inflationary spiral started with one dumb yakuza stiffing McDonald’s on the price of a cheeseburger in Kyoto a few years ago.

The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest organized crime group with 39,000 members and their notorious former underboss Tadamasa Goto are expected make a settlement this month to the family of a civilian killed in 2006. The surviving family members, represented by a group of 25 lawyers, filed the lawsuit last month, asking for ¥187 million in damages, or $2.4 million.

A potential key witness to the murder was extradited from Thailand on Thursday and arrested on the plane back to Japan―on charges of driving without a license―by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department detectives, who were waiting on the plane. The police also plan to question him about the killing and, of course, his lack of respect for Japan’s rules of the roads.

The arrest has made all parties involved with the murder anxious to sweep the case under the table. Goto, former head of the disbanded Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi, who was never criminally convicted for ordering the hit, is desperate to avoid being tried in civil court, and willing to cut a deal. However, it's the current “CEO” of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Shinobu Tsukasa shown at right, who has the most to lose. At the time of the murder, he was in jail on gun possession charges, had no knowledge of it planning, and did not approve it, is not very happy to be cleaning up the mess. He doesn’t want to pay for a crime he didn’t commit or condone. Naturally. The whole thing is bad for business and terrible PR. It really damages the Yamaguchi-gumi corporate brand. And if the lawsuit actually goes to court, it could be a very bad legal precedent for “Yakuza Inc.”

According to those involved with the case and police sources, in 2006, Kazuo Nozaki, a real estate agent, was in a legal dispute with a Goto-gumi front company over the property rights to a building worth ¥2 billion ($26,000,000) in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo. On March 5 of that year, three members of the Goto-gumi waited for Nozaki to walk down a street in Tokyo’s upscale Kita-Aoyama area, and then one allegedly stabbed him to death with a kitchen knife. Of the three assailants, only two have been caught; criminal charges of ordering the hit were never filed against Goto.

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