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I am a rock

A winter’s day/ In a deep and dark December…

Joe Bageant

A new collection of his essays. Proceeds to go to his favorite charities.

He was a good one.

Comedy stylings

Of Arlen Specter, who’s always been known around town as a funny guy:

The entitlement society

Where does he get the energy? Charlie Pierce, as usual, continues to be The Man:

Willard Romney has never known a day of peril in his life. He grew up with a silver spoon lodged so deeply in his gums that he had his baby teeth until he was 25. He did his Mormon mission in Provence, for the love of god. He moved onto a lucrative career in predatory capital. If, as was said, George W. Bush was born on third base and thought he hit a triple, then Willard Romney was born in the dugout with four runs in, nobody out, and the bases loaded.

Comes now this pure piece of manufactured product, this vacant replicant of American plutocracy, to lecture a country in the middle of a fragile recovery from an economic disaster brought on by the other soulless replicants on the topics of our vanishing work ethic, and the great moral cleansing power of onrushing poverty. And, because he cares less about the country he’s planning to lead than he does about the next nickel he can squeeze out of it, he’s doing so with rhetoric that owes more to George Wallace than it does to George Romney, who was a decent Republican in the days before greasy-beaked vultures like his spalpeen hijacked the party. (Which is pretty much what E.J. Dionne was saying recently.)

Willard is working the old poor-people-are-robbing-you-blind melodeon again while his real targets are anyone who receives any kind of federal government assistance of any kind whatsoever. And don’t fall for the old “states do it better” dodge. Willard knows full good and well that the states can’t carry this kind of load, either, and that the costs will just get passed down to lower and lower levels of government until nobody can pay for anything, and the programs that he’d like to see eliminated because it will help him get elected simply disappear.

He is the real austerity candidate, the guy who will run the ball here for the banksters who are crippling Europe, and a lot of Europeans, with economic strategies that keep themselves afloat while children die of preventable diseases, and guaranteeing that whatever recoveries there will be in places like Ireland and the UK will be the sole property of the people who most deserve them. This is what Willard Romney would like to bring to America. He just has to convince enough people that the pain will be imposed upon the undeserving Them. It is a vicious puppet show of a campaign he’s running.

He is really the only true class warrior in the race. He’s counting on prejudice and ignorance because he is running in the Republican primaries and that’s the coin of the realm. But he’s also counting on the desperate dreams of desperate people who want to believe that there is a big bag of money out there that’s going to the Wrong People, and that, if someone would only re-direct it, their lives would be better. Well, there is a big bag of money out there, and it is indeed going to the Wrong People, and those would be the people in whose company Willard Romney has spent his entire, cosseted, entitled existence. He has embarked on a divisive campaign of misdirection, hoping against hope that nobody notices that he mortgaged himself to his ambition on an adjustable rate, and that he’s underwater on his soul.

Last night

Lots of fun with Digby and Stuart Zechman last night — so much fun, we kept talking for two hours! You can listen here.

Wide load

So I’m guessing this means people were more advanced than they give them credit for? Fascinating:

Some of the volcanic bluestones in the inner ring of Stonehenge officially match an outcrop in Wales that’s 160 miles (257 kilometers) from the world-famous site, geologists announced this week. (See Wales pictures.)

The discovery leaves two big ideas standing about how the massive pieces of the monument arrived at Salisbury Plain: entirely by human hand, or partly by glacier.

As it looks today, 5,000-year-old Stonehenge has an outer ring of 20- to 30-ton sandstone blocks and an inner ring and horseshoe of 3- to 5-ton volcanic bluestone blocks. (See Stonehenge pictures.)

The monument’s larger outer blocks, called the Sarsen stones, were likely quarried some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) away in what’s now England, where sandstone is a common material.

The origin of the bluestones, however, has weighed heavy on the hearts of archaeologists. Rocks resembling the material under a microscope haven’t been found anywhere relatively near Stonehenge—at least until now.

Pinpointing the stones’ origins is crucial to understanding how so many heavy hunks of rock made their way to the open plain where Stonehenge now stands.

“There’s no way of explaining how these stones were transported without knowing where they came from,” said study co-author Robert Ixer of the University of Leicester in the U.K.

Arlen Specter

Does stand-up. No, really.

Liar, liar

Chris Christie.

Uh oh

This is awful news, isn’t it? Not to mention what it means for exposed humans:

SEATTLE — Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals’ fur coats.

Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.

“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Via Think Progress, it’s nice to hear the occasional congress critter who’s still speaking sense. And in this case, Chris Van Hollen couldn’t be more right. The Republicans will throw up any smokescreen they can to obscure the fact that they haven’t done a damn thing about “jobs, jobs, jobs!”:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) rebuked House Republicans yesterday for suggesting the government require drug tests of individuals seeking unemployment insurance, calling such proposals “insulting” and a “red herring” in the unemployment crisis:

VAN HOLLEN: I think the drug testing thing is a red herring. The reality is that people are not out of work because they have substance abuse problems, people are out of work because there are four people looking for every job that’s available in America.

We’re willing to look at reforms, but the Republican rhetoric has been insulting to a whole lot of working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own… I have to say, this Republican effort to kind of blame people who lost jobs through no fault of their own shows a total insensitivity to the stories that we’re hearing from districts around the country. Frankly I think the American people are hearing that tone and they’re not very appreciative, because they know that everybody, but for the grace of God, could also be in that position.

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