Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June 16th, 2009

Scotty, beam me up here

Posted by Charles II on June 16, 2009

Says DVice:

The Miniatur Wunderland model railroad in Hamburg, Germany is the largest in the world, covering 16,146 square feet of space with more than 10,000 train cars running around its 6.8 miles of HO scale track. Now, the makers of this huge layout have created a video that gives you a jaw-dropping look at the vast scope of this intricate work of art.

Posted in Just for fun | Comments Off on Scotty, beam me up here

Republican Family Values, Yet Again

Posted by MEC on June 16, 2009

Republican Senator John Ensign has confessed to having an extramarital affair with a married campaign staffer.

Is he going to be driven out of politics, like John Edwards? Or is it only unacceptable for Democrats to commit adultery?

[Update, by Charles] It seems that Ensign got out in front of the adultery charge because there were much more serious issues that were going to come out behind those. Josh Marshall:

But it’s Ensign’s ties to Cynthia’s husband Doug that may be more interesting. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ensign and Hampton are old friends. When the senator gave Hampton a top staff position in 2006, “it was as if Ensign had put his brother on staff,” ….

Then, after both Hamptons abruptly stopped working for Ensign in May 2008, reports the Review-Journal, Doug Hampton went to work for Allegiant Air, a Las Vegas-based travel company, and for November Inc., the political consulting firm that runs Ensign’s campaigns and employs several former Ensign staffers. According to FEC records examined by TPMmuckraker, Allegiant Air’s CEO, Maurice Gallagher, contributed over $46,000 to the Ensign-affiliated Senate Majority Committee between 2005 and 2007, as well as smaller amounts to Ensign’s Senate campaign and the Battle Born PAC. And Gallagher’s wife Marcia gave another $20,000 to Senate Majority Committee during the same period, as well as $6200 to the Ensign campaign. Ensign touted Allegiant in an interview earlier this year.

Even the Hamptons’ son has gotten into the act. Politico reports that 19-year old Brandon was paid by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008 — when Ensign was NRSC chairman — to do “research policy consulting.” ….

There are indications that Ensign decided to announce the affair because Doug Hampton was trying to blackmail him for a “substantial” amount of money.

So, while everyone is talking about the nookie, it sounds like they should be talking about the cookies… as in what was being extracted from the cookie jar. What favors did Allegiant get, for example?

Posted in IOKIYAR, Republicans acting badly | 10 Comments »


Posted by Charles II on June 16, 2009

Susie Madrak via Avedon Carol links to an interesting piece by Steve Clemons on what is going on in Iran. One of Clemons’s contacts says that this is a right-wing coup which will end up in the murder of the leaders of the opposition, unless Mousavi can leverage the doubts about the election into a cease-fire.

BTW, while it’s my impression the election was stolen, we should be aware that there is contrary opinion coming from what seems to me to be moderate political territory (see here and here for background on the authors). While we may deeply resent unelected, repressive, autocratic regimes (like, say, Bushco) and feel empathy for people who seek freedom, it’s important to keep in mind that Iranian politics is more opaque than we are used to dealing with.

Avedon also has a link to the teaser on Michael Moore’s new movie and other interesting stuff.

Posted in Iran | 7 Comments »

Twitter Comes Into Its Own

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 16, 2009

In an effort to control the news coming out of Iran in the wake of the hotly-contested presidential election, the members of the Guardian Council have apparently been throttling back internet bandwidth as much as they can, when they can.

However, since Twitter messages are only 140 characters long, even 27k speeds suffice to transmit them — which is why Twitter is the tool of choice for activists and journalists seeking to get the word out.

If you’re technically savvy, and interested in helping set up your computer as a proxy server for Iranian Twitter activists, blogger Austin Heap seems to have the tools you need:

Windows instructions

Mac instructions (not yet verified)

Virtual Machine Disk Format instructions

Red Hat Linux

Note: You probably shouldn’t do this unless you’re working on your own machine and you are comfy with hex code. (And Twitterers beware: Iranian security personnel are now posing as activists on Twitter!) But if both conditions apply, it may be the most effective way you can help the good people of Iran. Much better than bombing them, that’s for sure!

Posted in blogs and blogging, Internet, Iran | Comments Off on Twitter Comes Into Its Own

Piggybacking On MEC’s Post

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 16, 2009

Guess what, Senator McConnell? Government-run health care systems are more efficient and get better ratings overall, as the examples of the Veterans Administration (as reformed by Bill Clinton) and various overseas systems show.

Of course, you already know that, don’t you?

Posted in health care, health issues, when government is a good thing | Comments Off on Piggybacking On MEC’s Post

Stop Saying That

Posted by MEC on June 16, 2009

Do the Republicans ever listen to themselves? Do they ever think about what they’re saying? Or does somebody pull a string in their back and out come the talking points?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell … “Americans don’t want a government-run system that puts bureaucrats between patients and doctors.”

Senator McConnell, shut up. Just. Shut. Up.

What Americans have now is an corporation-run system that puts bureaucrats between patients and doctors. Too often, those corporate bureaucrats decide patients won’t get the care they need, overriding the doctors’ decisions, because the purpose of the corporations is not enabling medical care but maximizing profit.

I don’t hear you criticizing the insurance corporations for interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, Senator McConnell. So just shut up. I’m sick of your hypocrisy.

Posted in health care, Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

What’s Happening in Iran

Posted by MEC on June 16, 2009

Yesterday’s FlickrBlog post featured photos from the protests in Iran. The links led me to photos here and
here. Be warned that some of the photos are very bloody.

Posted in Iran | Comments Off on What’s Happening in Iran

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