Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘idiots


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At some point you’ve really got to wonder whether the federal government isn’t creating as much crime as it’s stopping. Today (via MetaFilter) comes a report that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has been allowing thousands of automatic weapons to be smuggled into Mexico so they could “track” their distribution by drug cartels.

Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets… the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.

One e-mail noted, “958 killed in March 2010 … most violent month since 2005.” The same e-mail notes: “Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,” including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.”

Dodson feels that ATF was partly to blame for the escalating violence in Mexico and on the border. “I even asked them if they could see the correlation between the two,” he said. “The more our guys buy, the more violence we’re having down there.”

Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over.

Their answer, according to Dodson, was, “If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.”

There was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an ATF supervisor issued an e-mail noting a “schism” among the agents. “Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case…we are doing what they envisioned…. If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work… Maybe the Maricopa County jail is hiring detention officers and you can get $30,000 … to serve lunch to inmates…”

“We just knew it wasn’t going to end well. There’s just no way it could,” Dodson said.

On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down. Dodson got the bad news from a colleague.

According to Dodson, “They said, ‘Did you hear about the border patrol agent?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And they said ‘Well it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.’ There’s not really much you can say after that.”

It’s not clear to me that Operation Fast and Furious lead to even a single arrest; the CBS report makes clear it certainly didn’t “bring down” any cartels.

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March 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm


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January 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

You People Are Idiots

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November 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Chris Christie, Supergenius

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made a final decision to cancel a planned $8.7 billion rail tunnel, local media reported on Tuesday.

The tunnel, in the works for 20 years, is designed to supplement a century-old two-track tunnel and would double train capacity between New York and its populous New Jersey suburbs. Officials estimate it would provide 6,000 construction jobs immediately and as many as 40,000 jobs after its completion in 2018. Construction began last year.

My beloved home state gets another lesson in why you should never vote Republican.

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October 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Last Night in London Links

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* Once again xkcd shows off its uncanny knack for reading my mind: “There are two or three songs out there with beeps in the chorus that sound exactly like the clock radio alarm I had in high school, and hearing it makes me think my life since junior year has been a dream I’m about to wake up from.”

* Zissou, Simpsonized.

* So that settles it, we’re never leaving: Oilfield With Estimated 1.8 Billion Barrels Of Oil Identified In Afghanistan.

* Wheat beats white for the first time ever.

* Also in food news: I guess I’m the last to know they’ve been cloning meat and milk for sale in the U.S. Gross.

* More on the future of renewable energy in North Carolina, in Independent Weekly.

* I think this study comes as close to proving that men are scum as any could: Men are more likely to cheat if they earn less money than their female partner, but they’re also more likely to cheat if their partners are financially dependent on them…

* If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even. Instead, for the period from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2009, the continental United States set 291,237 record highs and 142,420 record lows, as the country experienced unusually mild winter weather and intense summer heat waves.

* France urged to repay $23 billion in compensation to Haiti. Sounds like a good start.

* Your moral coward of the night: Harry Reid.

* Your morally odious moron of the night: Ross Douthat, who apparently believes violence, intolerance, and discrimination are essential and praiseworthy components of America’s liberal tradition.

* And I really can’t believe I’m getting sucked into this nonsense, but all right: Photos of Stuff the Same Distance from the World Trade Center as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope

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Plouffe returns. Related: Steve Benen writes a health care strategy memo in a desperate bid to save the Democrats from themselves.

Links from the Weekend

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* Slate devotes a column to criticizing the U.S. military-based approach to Haitian emergency relief. There’s some attempts at push-back, with varying success, in the MetaFilter thread, particularly about the specifically helpful capacities of the ships that have been sent there, but what can you say about facts like these:

Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a “scuffle” with a U.S. commander in the airport’s control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries.

Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city. On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. “We can look at the supplies sitting there,” Alphonse Edward told Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. “It is calm at this time,” Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. “Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels.” He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

* Some good news: the IMF claims it is “pursuing” the total elimination of Haiti’s foreign debt. And some terrible news: by one estimate (highlighted by Marginal Revolution) a full 8% of Haiti’s population may be orphaned children.

* 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History.

* From the comments: The Five Dials tribute to David Foster Wallace.

* David’s Cross’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret has been picked up by the BBC. My friend Bill posted a clip from the pilot not long ago, which he played at his recent show at Raleigh.

* Fan art gone terribly wrong/terribly right: Seinfeld Star Wars.

* Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: a case report. (Thanks Neil!)

* Via Ezra Klein, I see Tom Toles has somehow gotten hold of the Democratic playbook.

* Glenn Greenwald has a balanced piece largely in favor of the Citizens United v. FEC. Others are saying this decision may give foreign multinational corporations the right to participate in the American political process. Citizens United is by all appearances the first major domestic political crisis of the ’10s, and it came early; if I had sway in the progressive blogosphere I would suggest we devote ourselves to demanding the introduction of a constitutional amendment that reverses this decision by modifying or eliminating corporate personhood. That fight would not be easy—as Matt points out the total spending on Senate campaigns in 2004, $400 million, was just 17% of the marketing budget of a single American bank, which means our already corporatist ruling class would have every possible incentive to ignore such a campaign—but I don’t see much choice; it’s hard to imagine any sort of functional democracy existing in America while Citizens United remains in full effect.

* Republicans believe that Obama’s problem is that he’s pushing so much government intervention in the economy. That’s undoubtedly part of the story. But Obama’s larger difficulty is that he’s pushing so much change at a time when filibuster threats are so common that it requires 60 Senate votes to pass almost everything — and the minority party won’t provide the president votes on almost anything. We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility. Steve Benen has a post on the filibuster reform recently proposed by Tom Harkin here.

* Are Republicans “irrationally exuberant” about November? God, I hope so.

* For what it’s worth Obama’s poll numbers continue to match Reagan’s, and he beats nearly all comers in 2012. The one possible exception is the affable, if politically odious, Mike Huckabee, who beats Obama 45-44 in a PPP poll. And it was Huckabee himself who predicted just this week Obama will win again in 2012.

* NASA says 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record. Good thing climate change is a myth.

* The immortal Neil Gaiman is profiled in the New Yorker.

* The last days of Philip K. Dick.

* And if my estimates are correct, we could hit Peak Crayola as soon as 2018.

Pass. The. Bill. You. Idiots.

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Krugman to House Democrats: Do the right thing. Bonus points to Matt Yglesias, who writes of the equally terrible Senate:

I was in the Russell Building yesterday and kind of wanted to run around the halls grabbing Democratic staffers and yelling at them, like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, “You’re already dead! Everybody dies!”

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January 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

The Day America Ran Out of Gas

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Between the Supreme Court’s throwing open the corpocracy barn and the gutless Democratic Party proving itself totally incapable of governing, with Air America’s collapse thrown on the fire for good measure, today was an epically bad day for American democracy, on par with November 2, 2004, or December 12, 2000. In some ways this is actually the worst of the three, as Democrats have had great electoral successes in recent years and it still somehow adds up to less than nothing. At least before we had hope that things might someday be different; now we know it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, because even when we elect a massively popular progressive president and huge Congressional majorities we still get screwed. It’s really hard to say how things get better from here; both Congressional Dems and the White House seemed bound and determined to sabotage the only possible legislative achievement Democrats could hope to show for themselves by November. If you want to turn the ship around, you:

* pass the Senate health care bill through the House;

* pass fixes and popular improvements to the health care bill that can be passed through the Senate via reconciliation;

* move the hell on to something less toxic, like (say) a jobs bill, or massive tax cuts for middle-class workers and senior citizens. Whatever works.

If health care dies on the vine this administration is crippled and 2010 will be a bloodbath. Health care reform has to come first and it has to come quickly; it could happen tomorrow if the House Democrats had any brains.

What a mess.

The Day After

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* Hoping that lemming-like Congressional Democrats have worked through their little collective freakout over the course of the day and can get back to work with their historic majorities in both houses tomorrow. Seems like maybe they have. Just this once, you idiots, do what the GOP would do. Just shut up and pass the bill.

* Of course, it’s easier to blame the Left, which, having given up everything and gotten nothing all year, is obviously to blame for everything. It’s not like the Democrats ever wanted to actually do anything with their power anyway.

* Dow drops 200 on Brown’s win. Eagerly awaiting Fox’s mea culpa.

* The bill that the Senate Democrats passed did not substantially restructure the system of private insurance, nor the health care delivery system. It did not include a public option. It did, rather, about the minimum that you could do if you want to prevent people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health care. You can’t require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions unless you’re willing to put a mandate into place (otherwise, everyone’s premiums would rise substantially). And you can’t put a mandate into place without having some reasonably generous subsidies (otherwise, a lot of folks would go broke.) The Senate’s bill was about the least radical way to achieve something approaching universal coverage that can be imagined. It was nevertheless a bill that I think would do a tremendous amount of good for tremendous number of people, and so I’ve advocated for its passage. But with the possible exception of Wyden-Bennett (which not identifiably left or right although much more radical than what the Congress is considering), virtually any attempt to achieve universal coverage would be further to the left of this bill. Post-Partisanship Epic Fail.

* BREAKING: The Senate is still broken.

* If I’m understanding Steve King right, God crashed the economy, killed Ted Kennedy, nominated a weak Democrat who couldn’t campaign as his replacement, and finally put Scott Brown in the Senate all in order to stop health care reform at the last second. Sort of a roundabout way to use your omnipotence, but then again He’s always worked in mysterious ways.

* Or maybe God, knowing the House could pass tomorrow health care tomorrow if it wanted, actually doesn’t want climate change legislation. Because he’s sick and tired of our screw-ups and wants us gone, I guess.

* At least Glenn Beck’s having a bad day too. More: He’s paranoid about Palin pulling a Leno.

‘Get Over It’

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It looks like Antonin Scalia just figured out there’s only one thing he’ll be remembered for:

“I say nonsense,” Scalia responds to Stahl’s observation that people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. “Get over it. It’s so old by now.

Sure, whatever, my illegal coup completely trashed American democracy—that’s so 2000. Via MeFi.

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April 26, 2008 at 4:01 pm

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Fresh from Leland, North Carolina’s premier 4th of July parade (see right*), my travels have returned me to Durham just in time for my summer to get extremely busy. I’ve actually received an unexpected deathbed reprieve tonight—contrary to expectations it turns out the [Undisclosed Location] training doesn’t really start until Friday. Which means Friday is the day that I’ll be blogging at a much less friendly pace, usually before I leave for work or else after I get home.

I should mention that driving back from Wilmington tonight we saw what was probably the single dumbest communal action I’ve ever see any group of humans take—literally thousands of people parked haphazardly all along the highway staring upwards at the fireworks, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were meandering about randomly at the side of a 70-mile-per-hour road.

The idiot behind me who didn’t want to slow down despite the obvious stupidity of nearly every human being in the area takes top honors in the individual category.

Second prize in the “dumb individual action” contest goes to me, for forgetting to put suntan lotion on my shoulders or back. I’m so very burnt. Things will only get worse.

* Photo does not reflect the views of management.

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July 5, 2007 at 4:09 am

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