The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.
Its title is the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it’s time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. “TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial,” he said.
Everyone in the Senate finally comes together. For this.
Goldline might be a bust (sorry, Glenn), but you’re not gonna let that stop you from preparing for the imminent collapse of society. Or maybe you just want to hang with your friends at the Ayn Rand Book Club (The Fountainhead again?) and they prefer Krugerrands to the fiat currency of the USA. Any way you slice it, Americans (including our friend Scott) have “gold fever.”
Luckily, it turns out that the Gold To Go vending machines we saw early this year are on their way to the states. Stocked with up to ten different gold bars or coins, these bad boys accept cash or plastic and use a VPN to phone home to Germany for updates on the cost of precious metals every 10 minutes. They also feature an ID scanner / camera combo for preventing (or at least slowing down) potential money launderers.
The devices can be found currently in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Bankshop in Reutlingen, Germany, The Westin Palace in Madrid, and the Orio al Serio International Airport, and they’ll be hitting Las Vegas and Florida sometime this year.
Murder is not antisocial. If you want a demonstration that we are governed by society even when breaking its rules, homicide is one of the best and grimmest examples. Studies show that victim and offender tend to resemble each other to a striking degree – the young murder the young and the old murder the old, rich and poor rarely kill each other, gang bangers prey on other gang members, and you are likely to be personally acquainted with the person who later ends your life. Socially conservative it may be, but homicide remains a deeply social act.
“Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we’ll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice.”—Rally to Restore Sanity
And when he was asked about his Christian beliefs, he basically admitted Jesus of Nazareth does not show up in the White House for one-on-one chats. If you had any doubt Obama IS NOT THE REAL PRESIDENT, you don’t now.
President Obama expounded Tuesday on the reasons he became a Christian as an adult, telling a group of residents here that he was a “Christian by choice” and that “the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brother and sister’s keeper.”
First of all, you do not choose Jesus, Obama; he chooses you (because you are white and middle-aged and live in a rural area). And second of all, Jesus does not speak to you in any of these gay “precepts.” He speaks to you PERSONALLY, in your HEART, because you are special and he believes in you and both of you are native English speakers.
Mr. Obama, who has been criticized by conservative pundits who have questioned his Christian faith, gave a lengthy discourse on it in response to a woman who said she had three “hot topic questions” for him. The first was: “Why are you a Christian?” The second was on abortion — the president said it should be “safe, legal and rare” — and her third was whether Mr. Obama would accept her husband’s chili pepper. He said he would.
“Accept her husband’s chili pepper”? This is not how marriages work, lady. Your gay husband is supposed to keep thoughts of people touching his chili pepper IN HIS HEAD, where Jesus can battle those thoughts and kill their gayness with his huge, sweaty sword.
Americans rank pretty high worldwide in terms of religious activity, with 89% describing themselves as “religious” and 62% considering themselves “highly religious”. America is one of the most religious developed countries; six in ten adults say religion is very important in their lives and four in ten attend religious services weekly. Anyone running for office is best advised to have some kind of religious profile, no matter how general.
So the Pew poll released this morning, which shows a high level of public ignorance about basic religious precepts, is a bit of a shocker. The study of 3,400 Americans, conducted this spring by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, featured 32 “religious knowledge” questions ranging from “What is the first book in the Bible?” to “Is Ramadan the Islamic holy month, the Hindu festival of lights or a Jewish day of atonement?” The highest-scoring groups were not, as one would suppose, evangelical Christians but religious minorities in America: Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons.
"When I talk to Democrats around the country, I tell them, "Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable." I came in and had to prevent a Great Depression, restore the financial system so that it functions, and manage two wars. In the midst of all that, I ended one of those wars, at least in terms of combat operations. We passed historic health care legislation, historic financial regulatory reform and a huge number of legislative victories that people don’t even notice. We wrestled away billions of dollars of profit that were going to the banks and middlemen through the student-loan program, and now we have tens of billions of dollars that are going directly to students to help them pay for college. We expanded national service more than we ever have before.
The Recovery Act alone represented the largest investment in research and development in our history, the largest investment in infrastructure since Dwight Eisenhower, the largest investment in education — and that was combined, by the way, with the kind of education reform that we hadn’t seen in this country in 30 years — and the largest investment in clean energy in our history.
You look at all this, and you say, “Folks, that’s what you elected me to do.” I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I’ve got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we’ve accomplished.
All that has taken place against a backdrop in which, because of the financial crisis, we’ve seen an increase in poverty, and an increase in unemployment, and people’s wages and incomes have stagnated. So it’s not surprising that a lot of folks out there don’t feel like these victories have had an impact. What is also true is our two biggest pieces of legislation, health care and financial regulatory reform, won’t take effect right away, so ordinary folks won’t see the impact of a lot of these things for another couple of years. It is very important for progressives to understand that just on the domestic side, we’ve accomplished a huge amount.
When you look at what we’ve been able to do internationally — resetting our relations with Russia and potentially having a new START treaty by the end of the year, reinvigorating the Middle East peace talks, ending the combat mission in Iraq, promoting a G-20 structure that has drained away a lot of the sense of north versus south, east versus west, so that now the whole world looks to America for leadership, and changing world opinion in terms of how we operate on issues like human rights and torture around the world — all those things have had an impact as well.
What is true, and this is part of what can frustrate folks, is that over the past 20 months, we made a series of decisions that were focused on governance, and sometimes there was a conflict between governance and politics. So there were some areas where we could have picked a fight with Republicans that might have gotten our base feeling good, but would have resulted in us not getting legislation done.
I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now. I could have taken certain positions on aspects of the financial regulatory bill, where we got 90 percent of what we set out to get, and I could have held out for that last 10 percent, and we wouldn’t have a bill. You’ve got to make a set of decisions in terms of “What are we trying to do here? Are we trying to just keep everybody ginned up for the next election, or at some point do you try to win elections because you’re actually trying to govern?” I made a decision early on in my presidency that if I had an opportunity to do things that would make a difference for years to come, I’m going to go ahead and take it.”
On Thursday, House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.” The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s tax proposals.
True, the document talks about the need to cut spending. But as far as I can see, there’s only one specific cut proposed — canceling the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Republicans claim (implausibly) would save $16 billion. That’s less than half of 1 percent of the budget cost of those tax cuts. As for the rest, everything must be cut, in ways not specified — “except for common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and the defense budget are off-limits.
So what’s left? Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”
At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.
The United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.
Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.
She will set out the details of her proposed new role at a Royal Society conference in Buckinghamshire next week.
“Jefferson and Adams led many of our early negotiations with the Islamic powers as the United States lurched into existence. A favorable treaty was signed with Morocco, simply because the Moroccans considered the Americans ahl-al-kitab, or “people of the book,” similar to Muslims, who likewise eschewed the idolatry of Europe’s ornate state religions. When Adams was president, a treaty with Tripoli (Libya) insisted that the United States was “not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion” and therefore has “no character of enmity against the laws, religion and tranquility of Mussulmen.”—The true history of the Koran in America
“Some of the pro-execution revelers, mostly college students, carried placards; KILL ‘EM IN VEIN, said one. “Most of the people I know are for capital punishment,” declared Paula Huffman, 21, a Sam Houston State University senior at the deathwatch. “And so am I. Definitely.” Nevertheless, when the moment arrived, just after midnight, she and the rest of her shivering, smiling chums suddenly turned quiet and grave.”—The Death Penalty: An Eye for an Eye
“FBI agents raided six homes in Minneapolis and two in Chicago today, apparently looking for links to terrorist activity. The Minneapolis raids targeted peace activists who were active in protesting the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul — among them Jessica Sundin and Mick Kelly, organizers of the massive march on the first day of the RNC.”—FBI Raids Peace Activists’ Homes, Issues Subpoenas For Grand Jury | The UpTake
A 30-year-old Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate died late Monday night, less than two days after she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle in the Largo area, authorities said.
Pettigrew was hit by a sport-utility vehicle traveling near the intersection of Campus Way. State police said the driver apparently thought she had hit a deer or another animal and realized what had happened only when she arrived home and found Pettigrew’s bicycle trapped under her car.
"You can’t go a day without hearing how Obama’s a radical cactus sympathizer who wants to sap America of all its drinking water, or how he was actually born in the Kalahari Desert," said media critic Lynn Pelmont, referring to cable news outlets that suggest the president has prickly spines he uses to protect himself from thirsty animals. "For a man who prides himself on delivering a coherent message, there’s an awful lot of confusion out there about whether he’s a Harvard Law graduate or a leafless flowering shrub."
“Conservatives accepted collateral damage more easily if the dead were Iraqis than if they were Americans, while liberals accepted civilian deaths more readily if the dead were Americans rather than Iraqis.”—Kill Whitey. It’s the Right Thing to Do.
“Americans spend most of their non-work and non-sleep time in sedentary activities such as eating and drinking, followed by watching TV or movies, according to an analysis of time use.”—How Americans spend day: Eating, TV
“But let me state a more radical thesis: The threat of terrorism cannot become the singular focus of the United States. Let me push it further: The United States cannot subordinate its grand strategy to simply fighting terrorism even if there will be occasional terrorist attacks on the United States. Three thousand people died in the 9/11 attack. That is a tragedy, but in a nation of over 300 million, 3,000 deaths cannot be permitted to define the totality of national strategy. Certainly, resources must be devoted to combating the threat and, to the extent possible, disrupting it. But it must also be recognized that terrorism cannot always be blocked, that terrorist attacks will occur and that the world’s only global power cannot be captive to this single threat.”—9/11 and the 9-Year War
“Republicans have a two-in-three chance of claiming a majority of House seats in November, the FiveThirtyEight forecasting model estimates. And their gains could potentially rival or exceed those made in 1994, when they took a net of 54 seats from the Democrats.”—G.O.P. Has 2-in-3 Chance of Taking House, Model Forecasts