Ebola v. Obesity: The Politicized NIH

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, with President Obama

For over a year, the Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington has been documenting research grants provided by the National Institutes of Health to recipients like an obvious conman who said he wanted to bring origami condoms to the world ($2.5 million) and teams studying if obese people could be persuaded to lose weight by having the government text message them ($2.7 million). Last week, with the NIH’s budget in the spotlight—courtesy of the director of the NIH himself, Dr. Francis Collins, who claimed that an Ebola vaccine would likely exist today were it not for a “10-year-slide in research support” for his organization—Harrington wrote a round-up of her work on this issue, observing that the total amount of absurd NIH funding she had chronicled amounted to nearly $40 million, all of which would obviously have been better spent on an Ebola vaccine—or on cancer, or on HIV/AIDS, or on any number of worthy medical causes.

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#GamerGate Makes the Left Uncomfortable Because Gamer Gaters Have Adopted the Left’s Tactics

Via Flickr user joo0ey

Since last we checked in on #GamerGate, there have been a couple of rather silly arguments leveled against the grassroots hashtagtivist campaign.

Let’s deal with the dumber of these first. This argument goes something like: “#GamerGate has been totally discredited because some small number of people have threatened violence against some other small number of people while using the hashtag in their attacks.” This has led luminaries such as Joss Whedon to explicitly compare GamerGaters to the Ku Klux Klan:

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “A Tiny Alaskan Island Halfway To Russia Could Decide Control of The Senate,” in Talking Points Memo.

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Poll: Obama Worse Than Bush

AP

Voters in battleground states think President Obama is worse at “managing the basic functions of the federal government” than his predecessor George W. Bush, according to a POLITICO poll released Monday. In other words, voters think Obama is a less effective manager than the man he stills blames for his failures.

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Frank Gehry: Right for Ike?

Dwight Eisenhower

Good news from Paris. Frank Gehry’s newest completed design, an art museum made for the owner of the luxury brand LVMH and built in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, was opened to the press today, and is soon to be dedicated by the president of France, Françoise Hollande.

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Obama Donor Blocks Access to Hagan Stimulus Records

AP

An incumbent senator voted for a massive taxpayer stimulus that just happened to benefit businesses owned by that senator’s immediate family members. That same senator later recommended someone to lead a government agency that is currently stonewalling journalist requests to obtain documents related to that stimulus funding. Some would call that cronyism. Either way, it looks pretty bad for Senate Kay Hagan (D., N.C.).

Hagan has come under fire in recent weeks amid reports that businesses owned by her husband, son, and son-in-law directly benefited from the federal stimulus package Hagan voted for in 2009. The Carolina Journal has been all over the story, but encountered a roadblock recently while trying to obtain documents related to the stimulus award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

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Kay Hagan Flip-Flops on Ebola Travel Ban

AP

Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) on Friday announced her support for a temporary travel ban on non-U.S. citizens from West African countries affected by the Ebola virus. She claims to have supported such a ban “for weeks,” and while she has said in the past that a travel ban might be “one part” of a solution to the Ebola crisis, Hagan never fully embraced the idea, and just days ago dismissed a travel ban as something that “is not going to help solve this problem.” Now she’s calling it “a prudent step the President can take to protect the American people.” So, which is it?

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Christopher Nolan Films, (Properly) Ranked

My next film will be 300 minutes and you'll love it, sheeple! (AP)

Over at Mother Jones, Ben Dreyfuss unveiled a completely incorrect ranking of Christopher Nolan films. More egregious than the actual ranking, however, was this bit of heresy:

Of those seven films,* one is great, four are good but forgettable, and two are bad bad bad.

“wow wrong,” as the kids might say. Nolan has never made a bad film (let alone a bad-times-three film). On a four-star scale, only Following would drop below three (and that one just barely; it’s a glorified student film, so it’s technically rough) and several would be fours.

Anyway, here’s the correct ranking of Christopher Nolan’s films.

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REMINDER: Sean Eldridge Is the Worst Candidate of 2014

(Facebook)

In a little over two weeks, Sean Eldridge will be forced to concede defeat in the NY-19 congressional race. In an ideal world, Republican incumbent Chris Gibson will win reelection by at least 30 points.

Eldridge is the worst candidate of the 2014 cycle, and represents everything that self-respecting Americans hate about politicians. He is an entitled carpetbagger, whose rich husband has purchased multiple mansions in neighboring districts in an effort to fulfill his political ambitions. (Eldridge is married to New Republic editor-in-chief Chris Hughes, who made millions after he was randomly assigned to be Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard.)

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “Republicans Want You to Be Terrified of Ebola—So You’ll Vote for Them,” by Brian Beutler in the New Republic.

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What Rick Scott Should Have Said At #FanGate Debate

AP

Much has been said about the surreal beginning of Wednesday night’s Florida gubernatorial debate.

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Gawker Media’s Concern for the State of Political Journalism Is Cute, Ironic

Cory Gardner football

I have to admit to being amused by Deadspin completely and utterly crapping the bed with this Cory Gardner story. For those of you not on Twitter last night*, Deadspin “broke” a story about how Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner “lied” about playing football as a youngster. Groundbreaking stuff and clearly relevant to his possible performance as a United States senator! However, it was quickly revealed to be utterly untrue. The Denver Post reported that Deadspin’s main source called the report totally fake. Gardner himself posted photos from his teen years in a football uniform. It was a cluster from start to finish.

And normally I’d just let that go. Shit happens, news outlets make mistakes. Except that Gawker Inc. has been really concerned about the quality of political reporting in recent months, with Gawker’s Adam Weinstein wondering “Is Ratfucking Journalism Dead?” before criticizing several much-discussed Free Beacon pieces.** So I accept the solemn responsibility of answer Weinstein’s question: Yes, ratfucking journalism is dead. And y’all over at Gawker Media killed it.

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DESTROY THE VOTE: John Oliver Viewers Unlikely to Cast Ballots in November, Free Beacon Election Model Finds

(Christopher Michel, flickr)

The Free Beacon’s election model, KATE, continues her meta-analysis of the 2014 midterms. Last week, she predicted that President Obama would probably resign before the end of the year. This week, KATE used her unconventional methods to project Democratic turnout on Election Day. You’ll never guess what she found.

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “If You Like Your Insurance, Can You Keep It This Time Around?” in the Atlantic.

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Poll: Harry Reid’s War on the Koch Brothers Is a Bust

The face of failure. (AP)

Senate Majority Leader (for now) Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has led a rambling crusade against right-leaning philanthropy barons Charles and David Koch. Over the last several months, Reid has called the Koch brothers “un-American” and suggested they were the “main cause” of climate change, among many other incoherent tirades. Democrats running in close races across the country have followed suit, and tried to attack their Republican opponents by linking them to the Kochs.

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