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The New York Times published an interesting graphic yesterday, outlining the ideological make-up of the Justices based on their decisions. And they noted:

In spacing the head shots at equal intervals, the graphics suggest a steady procession from left to right. But the reality is a series of clusters, a few loners and several telling gaps. There is no dispute that the court has a four-member liberal wing and a four-member conservative wing, with Justice Anthony Kennedy somewhere in the middle.

But not every liberal is liberal in the same measure. In the term that ended in June 2013, the three women on the court — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — were tightly bunched on the left side of the array. They cast liberal votes around 70 percent of the time. Justice Stephen Breyer was substantially more conservative, casting liberal votes 59 percent of the time. Justice Kennedy is indeed smack-dab in the middle.

More here.

New York Times: Unveiling New Carbon Plan, E.P.A. Focuses on Flexibility

The Obama administration on Monday announced one of the strongest actions ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change, a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plan.

The regulation takes aim at the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, the nation’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants. If it withstands an expected onslaught of legal and legislative attacks, experts say that it could close hundreds of the plants and also lead, over the course of decades, to systemic changes in the American electricity industry, including transformations in how power is generated and used.

From The Politics of Misperception (which is worth a read in and of itself, and not just because it's short and succinct):

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted to talk_politics and liberal_talk

This post is a follow-up to numerous arguments I've had recently in politicartoons. I've been ridiculed for saying that manufacturing sophisticated firearms is easily within the reach of the average garage hacker, and that gun control will only drive criminals to produce even deadlier and less traceable weapons.

Something just hit the news today that proves me right: some guy made a 3D printed lower receiver for an AR-15.

For those who don't know about firearms, the lower receiver is the part that's legally a firearm. It's the part that determines whether the weapon fires on semi-auto or full-auto. And it's one of the two major parts of a firearm that are somewhat tricky to machine, the other being cutting the rifling in the barrel.

Blowback-operated semi-automatic pistols or even submachine guns with unrifled barrels would be trivial to manufacture using this method, and quite deadly at close range. And they'd be so cheap they could be used once and tossed without a second thought.

We are entering an age of 3D printers and CNC mills where people will be able to simply download and print any mechanical object they desire, from silverware to bicycles. Preventing people from printing guns will be about as effective as preventing them from pirating music. Nothing short of Orwellian total surveillance will deter criminals from doing this. What has always been true is now even more true: gun control cannot keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It can only prevent good people from defending themselves.

The Bush Boom: How a Misunderestimated President Fixed a Broken Economy

"This book has a very interesting premise, which is that common sense and experienced reality are both false. ... As a serious study of current political economy, this book is a joke. As an example of the total disconnection of conservatives with basic human reality, however, it is a tour de force." — Robert I. Cruickshank


Bill Maher got around to the weeks-old controversy over the “pink slime” that’s been in our meat for all these years. And Maher observed that in all the backlash to this gross additive, many Republicans have attempted to defend the meat industry and insist there’s nothing wrong with the slimy substance. He opined that this, like so many other contemporary issues, should not be so political, and bashed the GOP for taking a contrarian position on what he said were fairly non-controversial topics. Video here.


A joke from Facebook:

A Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist who was badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state.

The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

"I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved. And he yelled back that Barack Obama is a lying, good-for-nothing, left wing Commie who isn't even an American.

"So I said tha Osama Bin Laden dressed and acted like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian. He retaliated by yelling, 'Oh yeah? Well, how about Nancy Pelosi?'

"And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us."

I like this joke because conservatives are passing it around without thinking about it. The really funny part is that both sides are stupid.
Bringing it home for nerds: Trayvon Martin and the scarcity of black birders.

I'm acutely aware that I can't enjoy the park down the street unless I'm with my girlfriend, lest someone mistake me for some kind of creeper. Blacks must feel that way all the time, everywhere.

Got conspiracies?

Many sources are covering this developing story concerning a leaked Republican plan to recruit conservative blacks who would be willing to incite a race war just to divide Democratic voters on the issue of gay marriage.

But Republicans would never recruit a smooth-talking conservative black man and plant him as a rising star in the Democratic party. Nuh-uh, no way. That's crazy talk, man!


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