For a dancer

And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know.

Jackson Browne:

Librul media

I suppose I could point out that anyone who took a job with Politico should have realized the unwritten rules, but it’s a tough job market out there and I can’t blame a guy for taking any job he could get. I guess he has a better understanding now:

Suspended Politico reporter Joe Williams on Monday accused conservative publications like the late Andrew Breitbart’s Big Media and Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller of acting like a “schoolyard bully” by deliberately targeting him after he said GOP hopeful Mitt Romney was more comfortable around “white folks.”

Speaking out for the first time since Politico suspended him indefinitely, Williams told Current TV’s Bill Press that Big Media used “selective evidence” from comments about Romney on MSNBC and his Twitter account because they were in the business of “gathering scalps” from the so-called liberal media.

“It became about me and not about what I said,” he explained. “And that was something that was common to a lot of what you talked about earlier: Chris Hayes, David Shuster, the list goes on. And, you know, now my name is on that list. But the problem I see here is it’s not going to stop there.”

“Part of the issue here is the fact that we have an organization — we have a couple of organizations that have very clear agendas,” Williams continued. “They’re funded — we don’t quite exactly know how, but, certainly, they get their money to do what they do. Their agenda is quite clear. Their agenda is to make enough noise, to push back hard enough that organizations — independent organizations, independent news organizations that have foundations, that have credibility to their name — fold.”

“Basically it’s the schoolyard bully concept where if you make enough noise, if you push back hard enough, people are not going to fight back. … They’re in the business of gathering scalps.”

When it comes to the comments about Romney, Williams did not seem eager to apologize.

“If I apologize for that, there are going to be many other people who have to as well because this is not a new sentiment,” he pointed out, noting that the phrase “white folks” had been like waving a red flag in front of a bull. “To me in my personal opinion at this point, those two words were the ones that set people off. You know, ‘white folks,’ ‘Mitt Romney.’ It’s a match to a tender keg to certain segments of people who decided they want to push back on what they believe is the liberal media.”

‘Powerhouse intellect’

You know, while I’m not a lawyer, I’m pretty damned smart (smart enough that they made me take my 6th-grade IQ test over) and I know how to think – as foggy as my brain can be at times. And I have to say, I’ve never once thought Tony Scalia was particularly brilliant.

He reminds me of the drunken judge I used to date, someone who would talk around me in endless circles and I’d finally stop listening. (Which he always took as agreement.) Scalia’s a bully, and thinks might makes right. (In his case, he managed to appoint a president.)

As to the whole “strict constitutionalist” claim to fame – well, even if I believed it (which I don’t), the fact is, no one is capable of interpreting anything without a filter. No one. I’m well known for being maddeningly detached sometimes, but I’d never claim I wasn’t biased. Everyone is.

So we have a right-wing bully at the rhetorical wheel of the Supreme Court. Can’t wait to see what kind of twisted logic he comes up with tomorrow.

Coal is the enemy of the human race

And it’s also a very prickly political and economic issue. But if we really do want to stop massive flooding, fires and storms, we’re going to have to do something. From Grist’s David Roberts:

Yesterday, Jessnoted a new paper in the American Economic Review: “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy.” Brad Johnson has a longer summary here. I want to emphasize the paper’s conclusions and make a few related points. But mostly I want to beg everyone:spread this around. Coal’s net economic effects on the U.S. are poorly understood, to say the least, and this paper’s findings are stunning.

Once you strip away the econ jargon, the paper finds that, on the margin, electricity from coal imposes more damages on the U.S. economy than the electricity is worth. That’s right: The next coal-fired power plant is a net value-subtraction. A parasite, you might say, that will enrich a few executives and shareholders at the public’s expense.

If you’re of a wonky bent, it’s worth digging in. The authors try to establish a framework for integrating air-pollution costs into national accounts — that is, a systematic way of accounting for those “externalities” you’re always hearing about — and come up with something called gross external damages (GED). They calculate GED for several common industries and find that not only coal power, but “solid waste combustion, sewage treatment, stone quarrying, [and] marinas” have air-pollution externalities that exceed their total value added.

But coal power is a parasite in a class by itself, with a GED equal to the combined totals of its three closest competitors. In fact, coal plants “are responsible for more than one-fourth of GED from the entire U.S. economy” — roughly $53 billion in damages a year.

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