30 Rock

Last night was the next-to-last episode ever (“A Goon’s Deed in A Weary World”), and I gotta tell you, for such a funny show, it was unexpectedly touching. I cried like a baby.

I understand why people don’t watch. It’s nerdy, geeky and filled with more in-jokes than a Simpsons episode. But that’s why I love it, and that’s why I will be glued to the TV next Thursday night to watch the finale. Thank God for Netflix, where 30 Rock will never die. Here are some of my favorite bits:

More secret Koch funding for climate deniers

This is one of those weeks, where the right wing is flinging so much poo, and getting their way on so many things (thanks, Harry Reid!) that I just want to pound my head against the wall. They have so much money to buy people off, which is the problem:

A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.


The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funneling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.


However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.


Millions of dollars has been paid to Donors through a third-party organisation, called the Knowledge and Progress Fund, with is operated by the Koch family but does not advertise its Koch connections.


Some commentators believe that such convoluted arrangements are becoming increasingly common to shield the identity and backgrounds of the wealthy supporters of climate scepticism – some of whom have vested interests in the fossil-fuel industry.


The Knowledge and Progress Fund, whose directors include Charles Koch and his wife Liz, gave $1.25m to Donors in 2007, a further $1.25m in 2008 and $2m in 2010. It does not appear to have given money to any other group and there is no mention of the fund on the websites of Koch Industries or the Charles Koch Foundation.


The Donors Trust is a “donor advised fund”, meaning that it has special status under the US tax system. People who give money receive generous tax relief and can retain greater anonymity than if they had used their own charitable foundations because, technically, they do not control how Donors spends the cash.


Anonymous private funding of global warming sceptics, who have criticised climate scientists for their lack of transparency, is becoming increasingly common. The Kochs, for instance, have overtaken the corporate funding of climate denialism by oil companies such as ExxonMobil. One such organisation, Americans for Prosperity, which was established by David Koch, claimed that the “Climategate” emails illegally hacked from the University of East Anglia in 2009 proved that global warming was the “biggest hoax the world has ever seen”.

Republicans lie, cheat, steal

They’re stupid, mean and nobody likes them — so they’re just going to steal the presidential elections! This is their dream solution, because votes from brown and black people in the cities just won’t count. Josh Marshall:

The US electoral college system is based on winner take all delegate allocation in all but two states. If you get just one more vote than the other candidate you get all the electoral votes. One way to change the system is go to proportional allocation. That would still give some advantage to the overall winner. But not much. The key to the Republican plan is to do this but only in Democratic leaning swing states — not in any of the states where Republicans win. That means you take away all the advantage Dems win by winning states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and so forth.

But the Republican plan goes a step further.

Rather than going by the overall vote in a state, they’d allocate by congressional district. And this is where it gets real good, or bad, depending on your point of view. Democrats are now increasingly concentrated in urban areas and Republicans did an extremely successful round of gerrymandering in 2010, enough to enable them to hold on to a substantial House majority even thoughthey got fewer votes in House races than Democrats.

In other words, the new plan is to make the electoral college as wired for Republicans as the House currently is. But only in Dem leaning states. In Republican states just keep it winner take all. So Dems get no electoral votes at all.
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Squatter

This is actually kind of awesome:

The 23-year-old has moved into an empty $2.5 million mansion in a posh Boca Raton neighborhood, using an obscure Florida real estate law to stake his claim on the foreclosed waterside property.


The police can’t move him. No one saw him breaking into the 5-bedroom house, so it’s a civil matter. And representatives for the real owner, Bank of America, said they are aware of the situation and are following a legal process.


But the situation is driving his wealthy neighbors crazy.


“This is a very upsetting thing,” said next door neighbor Lyn Houston. “Last week, I went to the Bank of America and asked to see the person in charge of mortgages. I told them, ‘I am prepared to buy this house.’ They haven’t even called me back.”

Hey, Lyn, welcome to our world! The Bank of America doesn’t call anyone back!

Barbosa, according to records, is a Brazilian national who refers to himself as “Loki Boy,” presumably after the Norse god of mischief. He did not return calls.


Someone with his name has been boasting about his new home on Facebook, even calling it Templo de Kamisamar.


Barbosa also posted a notice in the front window naming him as a “living beneficiary to the Divine Estate being superior of commerce and usury.”


A spokeswoman for Bank of America said her company has sent overnight a complaint and an eviction notice to a clerk in Palm Beach County.


“The bank is taking this situation seriously and we will work diligently to resolve this matter,” said Jumana Bauwens for Bank of America.


Sunrise real estate lawyer Gary Singer said Barbosa is invoking a state law called “adverse possession,” which allows someone to move into a property and claim the title — if they can stay there seven years.


A signed copy of that note is also posted in the home’s front window.

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