Spam Time Warp

SpamBotReading spam comments is like going back in time. There is an underlying theme to them: blogs are new and lucky me that I found a good one. “This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the net. Shame on Google for now not positioning this submit higher!” You use Good too?! I thought it was my little secret. Now that I know others are using it, I will try to get it to treat my submits higher.

But it’s more than just that. The internet is really a lively place today. “There are such a lot of businesses over the internet these days, yet so much personal information, it actually is demanding to understand what’s actual, and then what women and men solely conjure.” It is amazing, isn’t it? Businesses on the internet! Who would have thought? And so much personal information! And then it lapses into random acts of spamness.

And RSS?! Wow. What will they think of next? “The clearness to your post is simply spectacular and i can suppose you are a professional in this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with coming near near post.” With all due humility, however: I am known for my spectacular clearness.

Most of all, I’m really impressed at how community organizers are not just using the internet, but also my site. Is that exciting or what? The next Obama could be reading this article right now! “We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to paintings on. You’ve done an impressive task and our whole neighborhood can be grateful to you.” I’m proud to do impressive tasks for people!


Spam has gone through the roof the last couple of weeks. It makes it hard to gauge readership. Even though I know my readership is up substantially because of direct links and search results, Alexa downgrades me almost every day. But I do know that at least half of the 1000+ visitors per day are spammers.

Fred Barnes’ Conservative Wisdom

Fred BarnesFred Barnes used to be a centrist on The McLaughlin Group. That’s what made that show so vile: Barnes is a conservative extremist. The McLaughlin Group was the first time I noticed that the news could distort without lying. Barnes works for that bastion of moderation The Weekly Standard. And today he is proclaiming that Obama’s performance last night in the debate was Not a Game Changer.

I suppose this is enough to conclude that Obama did really well. If the executive editor of The Weekly Standard says that Obama did as well as Romney, you know Obama must have been really good. But there is more to the column than that. And it is despicable.

Barnes admits that Obama had his moments, but apparently, he was watching a different debate. Every time Obama made a good point, Barnes claims, Romney was able to counter it. I will allow that this occasionally happened, but it was the exception, not the rule. What’s more, according to Barnes, Romney had his own moments. Example? After Obama listed his accomplishments, Romney listed Obama’s failures. And what were those? Obama said he would get unemployment below 5.4%—before the economic crash. He said he would reform Medicare—which he has done. He said he would do immigration reform—which Republicans blocked. Only in the right wing media echo chamber are these standard campaign canards considered brilliant. I’m sure among the Fox News faithful, these lines kill. But those people already hate the President.

The bulk of Barnes’ column is a kind of “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” argument about the President’s Benghazi attack statement. Barnes—and just about every other conservative commentator—is trying to make the argument that Obama, “spoke about a generic terrorist attack but didn’t specifically attach that label to what had occurred in Benghazi.” Except that he said that in relation to the Benghazi attack. This is madness.

Barnes finishes up by noting that the debate was very agressive and that it didn’t hurt either candidate. Perhaps. I thought that Romney came off as small and unserious. But I know that I’m biased, although surely not as much so as Barnes. Time will tell. My guess is that Obama helped himself by a small but significant amount—perhaps one percentage point. I’m looking forward to the next couple of days.


Barnes also claims, “Vice President Joe Biden made a boorish spectacle of himself.” And, “That didn’t change the campaign equation.” Except, you know, it did:

Popular Vote - 16 Oct 2012

Ezra Klein backs me up on Romney’s rebuttal to Obama’s accomplishments:

This was, on first viewing, a devastating indictment of Obama. On rereading, it’s still harsh and effective. But it’s also telling. Most of what’s in here either wasn’t under Obama’s control or flatly isn’t true. Unemployment isn’t 5.4 percent because the recession, which predated Obama’s presidency, was vastly worse than anyone knew when that December 2008 estimate was made. That basically covers the food stamp and unemployment and median income charges, too. Obama could have done a bit better around the margins. But the bulk of the blame here goes to the recession — and, for the record, our economic performance, given the kind of recession we had, is a lot better than most people realize.

Obama hasn’t put forward a plan on Social Security, but between the Affordable Care Act and his 2013 budget, he’s put forward a much more ambitious and detailed Medicare plan than Romney has. The promise to cut health insurance premiums by $2,500, while audacious and probably unlikely, is tied to the Affordable Care Act, which doesn’t begin until 2014 — so that’s best understood as in progress.

Arizona to Spanish Speakers: Vote Two Days Late!

Maricopa County BallotThis is the ballot in Maricopa County, Arizona. (Click on the image to see it full size.) In English, it gives the correct date of the election: 6 November. In Spanish, it gives an incorrect date of the election: 8 November.

The ballot has been fixed and elections officials claim that it was an honest mistake. I don’t exactly believe this. Certainly, this was not some grand conspiracy. But I think it very likely that some conservative in the office introduced the error on purpose. Especially given that there have been organized attempts on the right to do exactly this. It is the best kind of vote fraud because it has plausible deniability.

Elections officials also claim that less than 50 people were given the incorrect ballot. Hopefully that’s true.

The Thomas Friedman Game

Tom Friedman - Artist's ConceptionThomas Friedman has written another column calling for a Sensible Centrist who will tell America the truth. He notes that if we don’t shape up, “We could go the way of Greece or Japan.” This is an odd pairing. He means to say that our economy could go all haywire. The problem is that while the Greece economy is very bad (25% unemployment), Japan’s is rather good (4% unemployment).

The always brilliant and occasionally hilarious Dean Baker notes, “That was really neat, go the way of Greece or Japan? That’s kind of like going the way of Bernie Madoff or Warren Buffet.”

What a fun game! Now we can all help out Thomas Friedman with useful examples for his column. It’s fun! It’s easy! Here are a couple off the top of my head:

  • We could go the way of Jeffrey Dahmer or Mother Teresa.
  • We could go the way of grizzly bears or kittens.
  • We could go the way of Vic-20 or Mac.
  • We could go the way of Yugo or Lamborghini.
  • We could go the way of poison or food.

Try this game at home. Thomas Friedman can use all the help we can provide.