Why Did Obama Even Give Robert Kagan the Time of Day?

As opposed to telling that horribly wrong warmonger to go fuck himself? From Robert Parry, who years ago broke much of the Iran-Contra story (boldface mine):

Prominent neocons, including Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century which masterminded the Iraq War, hammered home the domestic theme that Obama had shown himself to be “weak,” thus inviting Putin’s “aggression.”

In May 2014, Kagan published a lengthy essay in The New Republic entitled “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,” in which Kagan castigated Obama for failing to sustain American dominance in the world and demanding a more muscular U.S. posture toward adversaries.

According to a New York Times article about how the essay took shape and its aftermath, writer Jason Horowitz reported that Kagan and Nuland shared a common world view as well as professional ambitions, with Nuland editing Kagan’s articles, including the one tearing down her ostensible boss.

Though [Assistant Secretary of State Victoria] Nuland wouldn’t comment specifically on her husband’s attack on Obama, she indicated that she held similar views. “But suffice to say,” Nuland said, “that nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.”

Horowitz reported that Obama was so concerned about Kagan’s assault that the President revised his commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of the criticism and invited Kagan to lunch at the White House, where one source told me that it was like “a meeting of equals.”

Given Robert Kagan’s considerable role in pushing the Iraq War, he should never be allowed near the corridors of power ever again. If nothing else, why would you take advice from someone who was so catastrophically wrong–and the error was not only predictable, it was predicted.

In a just war, not only wouldn’t Kagan receive invites to the White House, he would be forced to don sackcloth and ashes and travel across the U.S. and Iraq begging for forgiveness from those whom he served so poorly.

Disgusting. And definitely not change.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons, Iraq | Leave a comment

Links 3/29/15

Links for you. Science:

The Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
2 exotic termites find love in Florida, worrying researchers
Report: D.C. Has One Of The Highest STD Rates In The Country (we’re number 1! Actually, it’s a bit apples & oranges)
More Data on Age and the Workforce (you’ll notice that 45 and under get the shit end of the stick)
Evolutionary Psychology Is Neither (excellent)


The Shut-In Economy: In the new world of on-demand everything, you’re either pampered, isolated royalty — or you’re a 21st century servant. (this is how the gentry lives)
Techno Fantasies (excellent)
Regulatory Capture, Captured on Video: SEC official slobbers over private equity titans, suggests his son might want a job in the field
We visited 18 schools in 90 days to play DC’s annual preschool lottery. Here is what we learned. (as I’ve noted before, the real advantage of school lotteries has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with keeping neighborhoods somewhat more affordable)
Suburban sprawl is stifling the US economy
An Epidemic of Americans Behaving Well
Return to Splendor: Sam Gilliam’s art is more relevant than ever, but don’t call it a comeback.
Stop Using College Students as Political Pawns (excellent)
D.C. Politicians’ Worst Parking Jobs, Ranked
Food Snobs Like Mark Bittman Aren’t Even Hiding Their Elitism Anymore
Arizona Wants Doctors to Tell Patients that Abortions Can Be “Reversed”
New Leaked TPP Chapter; Worse Than the Last Leaked Version
Guess Which Ultra Liberal State Is About to Become a Hellish Place for People to Work in?
A New Irish Rebellion, This Time Against Water Fees
The crisis in US-Israel relations is much bigger than Bibi Netanyahu

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

The Governor Pence Scandal No One Is Talking About

It really hasn’t been a great week for the state of Indiana, with the worst hit being the signing of ‘right’ to discriminate (against gays) legislation. But what’s lost in all of that is Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has decided to follow the scientific evidence–only after it’s too late (boldface mine):

An outbreak of H.I.V. in southeastern Indiana prompted the governor on Thursday to declare a public health emergency as officials worked to stop the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.

Officials said that 71 cases of H.I.V. identified since mid-December have been traced to intravenous use of a prescription painkiller in Scott County north of Louisville, Ky. Nine more cases are still under investigation, and state health officials predicted that more would appear in coming weeks. The governor authorized a short-term exchange program that would provide drug users with access to sterile needles so that contaminated needles were less likely to be shared.

Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, has long opposed such programs. But he said that the outbreak, which was first identified in late January, had reached epidemic proportions, justifying the action. “This is all hands on deck,” Mr. Pence said. “This is a very serious situation.”

Mr. Pence’s order, which is in effect for 30 days, would allow for a needle-exchange program within Scott County if one is requested by local officials.

… Mr. Pence said that Scott County typically sees about five new cases of H.I.V. a year…

Allowing clinics and other entities to dispense sterile syringes in exchange for used ones has long been debated. Proponents, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say such programs can impede the spread of infectious diseases like H.I.V. and hepatitis C. Opponents say they may encourage illegal drug use.

United States law prohibits federal funding of needle-exchange programs. About half of states, generally those that are politically conservative, have banned the practice, according to the North American Syringe Exchange Network, which tracks state policies.

Never mind that needle exchange programs lower disease transmission and don’t increase drug use–we’ve known this for a long time, even though conservatives have been lying about needle exchange programs for just as long. What someone needs to ask Pence is how many AIDS infections are ideologically acceptable? One? Five? Ten? Fifty? How long do we wait before we jettison incorrect ideology to prevent HIV infection?

So it’s good Pence finally did something, but it’s 71 infections too late.

Posted in Basic Human Decency, Conservatives, HIV, Public Health | 3 Comments

Links 3/28/15

Links for you. Science:

‘Monster salamanders’ found in fossilised mass grave
When Data Sharing Gets Close to 100%: What Human Paleogenetics Can Teach the Open Science Movement
Multivariate and Phylogenetic Analyses Assessing the Response of Bacterial Mat Communities from an Ancient Oligotrophic Aquatic Ecosystem to Different Scenarios of Long-Term Environmental Disturbance
How a bee sting saved my life: poison as medicine
Variation in rural African gut microbiomes is strongly shaped by parasitism and diet


Epic Fail for the Postal Service: The Wrong Model and the Wrong Board
Charles C. W. Cooke, labor activist
Walsh: Comm. Ave. bike lanes part of broader plan to reduce traffic deaths
Methods That Police Use on the Mentally Ill Are Madness. Why do so many American cops believe that shooting a schizophrenic man dead for failing to drop a screwdriver is an acceptable outcome?
House Budget Committee Plan Cuts Pell Grants Deeply, Reducing Access to Higher Education
How Wall Street Used Swaps to Get Rich at the Expense of Cities
Fauntroy Supporters As Confused As Anyone By His Disappearance
As Chief Ike’s Prepares to Close, Owner Al Jirikowic Bemoans the Death of D.C. Funkiness
Army Spends $100M On Piece of Equipment That Doesn’t Do Anything (I fell over laughing)
AP Investigation: Are slaves catching the fish you buy?
Rescue cat saves family’s Solihull home from flood disaster by waking sleeping owner
Ted Cruz says satellite data show the globe isn’t warming. This satellite scientist feels otherwise
The “decline” of marriage isn’t a problem
I don’t think these are “very good points”
Ted Cruz compares climate change activists to ‘flat-Earthers.’ Where to begin?
Matt Taibbi Takes Up SEC’s Andrew Bowden Regulatory Capture Scandal

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

TPP: A Tea Party Test

With recent revelations of about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (‘TPP’)–it would allow corporations to sue governments through tribunals in order to overturn domestic laws–it’s interesting that most of the coverage of opposition to the TPP has focused on the left side of the aisle.

You would think the Tea Party contingent, the ones who are terrified of the non-existent Agenda 21 (which, as Charles Pierce puts it, is part of our plan to steal all your golfs), would be enraged by these. Secret tribunals unaccountable to the people that can overturn U.S. laws? Oddly enough, they seem to be quiet about this.

It’s a posum, it truly is.

Posted in Conservatives | 1 Comment


One thing about plants that’s easy to forget is that much of the plant–the biomass–is underground. An exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Gardens highlights the importance and size of roots. Here are some grasses, with their root systems intact:


Those root systems are about six to eight feet long. More roots:


The guy in this photo is about 6’3″ to give you some sense of scale:
Continue reading

Posted in Museums etc., Plants | 1 Comment

Links 3/27/15

Links for you. Science:

Hopeful results in antibiotics reduction: The annual report on antibiotic resistance 
and the use of antibiotics in livestock shows encouraging results: resistance is decreasing. But we need to stay alert, says Dik Mevius.
Battle Over Science Funding Gets Fiercer In U.S. Congress
Meet the animal that’s rarer — and cuter — than a panda
In Israel, Will Creationists Reign?
Harvard microbiologist on the case to save artifacts


Common Core tests are failures
Snobbery and standards
Google is helping to fund the group that’s trying to kill Obamacare in the Supreme Court
Maine Teacher Wins $1 Million Prize, Advises Young People Not to Enter Teaching Because of Common Core and Testing
On Moderation
Schools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding
Montana Invents Fun Science Experiments To Do On Ladies Who Want Legal Abortions
Did a Student’s Non-PC Views on Rape Statistics Get Him Banned from Class? Maybe, Maybe Not.
What Does It Mean When ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Doesn’t Hold Up?
Why Can’t One of America’s Most ‘Progressive’ Cities Reform Its Police Force?
I am now a ‘Pro-Pressure’ Jew
View from the left—changing the Social Security conversation
A Christian Nation? Since when? Since always.
David Petraeus Does D.C.
What is wrong with the Secret Service?
Base Appeals
Can God save the children from #PARCC?

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment