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A Contest of Loons: CPAC Straw Poll Results

All three legs of the conservative stool
Wingnuts • Views: 1,790

Here they are, folks, the straw poll results you’ve been waiting for! (What, you haven’t been waiting for these?)

These are the loons most admired by CPAC attendees this year:

President:
1. Rand Paul
2. Scott Walker
3. Ted Cruz
4. Ben Carson
5. Jeb Bush

UPDATE at 2/28/15 2:28:09 pm by Charles Johnson

Here are the complete results of the clown car vote:

Russian Opposition Leader Nemtsov Shot Dead in Moscow

LGF • Views: 10,503

Russian Liberal politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated across the street from the Kremlin today:

He was shot four times late on Friday night, not far from the Kremlin in the center of Moscow. Police cars blocked the street where he was shot. An ambulance was also nearby.

“Nemtsov B.E. died at 2340 hours as a result of four shots in the back,” an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said by telephone.

Nemstov was a long time Putin critic. He was shot on his way home from conducting a TV interview. He had been scheduled to be part of a major anti-war rally on March 1st
More: Russian Opposition Leader Nemtsov Shot Dead in Moscow
————
More of Nemtsov’s background:

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (Russian: Борис Ефимович Немцóв; 9 October 1959 - 27 February 2015[1]) was a Russian statesman and liberal politician, a co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS political party, one of the leaders of the Solidarnost movement and an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.

Nemtsov was the first governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (1991-97). Later he worked in Government of Russia as Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. In 1998 he founded the Young Russia movement. In 1998, he co-founded the coalition group Right Cause and in 1999, he co-formed Union of Right Forces, electoral bloc and subsequently political party. He was elected several times as Russian parliament member. Nemtsov was a member of Congress of People’s Deputies (1990), Federation Council (1993-1997) and State Duma (1999-2003). He also worked as Vice Speaker of the State Duma and the leader of parliamentary group of Union of Right Forces. After a split in the Union of Right Forces in 2008, he co-founded Solidarnost. In 2010, he co-formed coalition For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption (was refused in registration as party). Since 2012 Nemtsov has been co-chair of Republican Party of Russia - People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.[2][3]

He was a candidate of physico-mathematical sciences, was as an author of several publications criticising the Putin administration, and was an active organizer and participant of Dissenters’ Marches, Strategy-31 and rallies «For Fair Elections»

———

——-
Putin is of course deeply concerned

Putin is already floating his own theory of what happened, according to Dmitry Zaks of AFP:

#BREAKING #Putin thinks #Nemtsov killed by hired assasin, views it as a (political) “provocation”: #Kremlin spokesman Peskov via state TV
- Dmitry Zaks (@dmitryzaksAFP) February 27, 2015

Less than an hour after Nemtsov death was reported, Putin entered into the controvsery around his death in a second way. Putin is “taking personal control of the investigation into Nemtsov’s murder,” according to a Kremlin spokesperson, someting that will not be reassuring to Putin’s opponents.

—-

Obituary from Radio Free Europe

Boris Nemtsov, A Russian Political ‘Golden Boy’ Who Battled Putin, Dead At 55

Once dubbed the “golden boy” of Russian politics in the media, Nemtsov was later named first deputy prime minister by Yeltsin, a move that many interpreted as the Russian leader’s bid to groom his heir to the Kremlin.

After Yeltsin handed over power to Putin, who was elected president in 2000, Nemtsov became a vocal critic of the new Russian leader as the Kremlin moved to stifle critical media outlets and launched a campaign against wealthy Yeltsin-era oligarchs who refused to toe the government’s line.

Nemtsov served as a deputy in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, during Putin’s first term. He lost his seat in 2003 parliamentary elections that saw the pro-Kremlin party United Russia seize an overwhelming majority.

In the ensuing years, he led an array of liberal-minded opposition movements and parties, and authored reports accusing Putin’s government of massive corruption.

In 2013, Nemtsov released a report alleging that officials and businessmen had stolen up to $30 billion in funds earmarked to finance the 2014 Winter Olympics in his hometown, Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“It is obvious that Putin’s friends are running the preparations for the Olympic Games,” Nemtsov told RFE/RL at the time. “It is also obvious that one is reluctant to put his own friends behind bars. However, we cannot look at all this passively because the scale [of their activities] will only grow bigger. The embezzlement they are presiding over is not just some kind of children’s game but a real threat to Russia’s national security.”

Ken Silverstein’s Tell-All Piece on First Look Media: Where Journalism Goes to Die

The ultimate nightmare job?
Media • Views: 9,593

When Ken Silverstein was hired by the Greenwald/Omidyar project First Look Media, he thought it would be his dream job; complete freedom to cover the stories he wanted to cover.

But the dream turned into a nightmare almost immediately, with editorial incompetence, bureaucratic infighting, and an extreme libertarian/left ideological agenda that militated against telling the truth. The title of Silverstein’s article says it all: Where Journalism Goes to Die.

Probably the most damning part of this inside look at First Look is Silverstein’s description of what happened when their coverage of the popular podcast Serial ran afoul of the dogmatic attitudes of Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald:

Given the viral success of the show, our follow-up stories were a huge success—possibly the biggest thing The Intercept has ever published. They were, though, hugely controversial inside our organization. Why wouldn’t a huge editorial success be celebrated inside The Intercept? Because we were siding with The Man.

Now I believe the American justice system is badly flawed and often racist, but in this instance, I firmly believe, the system worked. I believe Adnan Syed murdered Hae Min Lee and was rightly prosecuted for it.

But I came to realize that the system working correctly—and the right people going to jail—isn’t a good narrative to tell at The Intercept.

Publishing the Serial stories was a huge headache: There were constant delays and frustrations getting them out, even after it became clear they were drawing huge traffic. Our internal critics believed that Natasha and I had taken the side of the prosecutors—and hence the state. That support was unacceptable at a publication that claimed it was entirely independent and would be relentlessly adversarial towards The Man. That held true even in this case, when The Man successfully prosecuted a killer and sent him to jail.

Some colleagues, like Jeremy Scahill, were upset by the first installment of Natasha’s interviews with Jay, the state’s flawed-but-convincing key witness, and our co-bylined two-part interview with the lead prosecutor, Kevin Urick, both of whom had refused to speak to Sarah Koenig for her Serial podcast. Jeremy even threatened to quit over the second installment, according to two of my colleagues who witnessed what they described as his “temper tantrum” in the New York office. He told them he couldn’t believe that we’d so uncritically accepted the state’s view of the murder—even though our stories were backed up by our own research, our unique reporting and our reading of court documents. One day at the office, frustrated, Natasha wrote “Team Adnan” on a sign on Jeremy’s office door.

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

So long, Mr. Spock
Arts • Views: 8,713

Today we have to say goodbye to the man who breathed life into Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, one of the most memorable characters in the history of television — the great Leonard Nimoy.

President Obama pays tribute:

“Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed.” Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar.

CPAC, Festival of Lunacy, Day 2

Birther time
• Views: 11,964

[Video moved to newer post]

As I write, Sean Hannity is interviewing birther Donald Trump, and I’m trying really hard to resist making a “Dumb and Dumber” joke.

FCC Classifies Internet Service as a Public Utility

Almost as important as the llama chase
Technology • Views: 15,778
Image via Shutterstock

I know the amazing llama chase was huge news today, but this might be even more important: F.C.C. Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Classifying Broadband Internet Service as a Utility.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.

Tom Wheeler, the commission chairman, said the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.”

The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.

This ruling opens the way for communities to build their own Internet access services and frees them from the tyranny of the huge corporations who have no incentive to make things better. It’s a huge win for the citizens of the US, who have lived too long with substandard Internet connection speeds compared to the rest of the world — which means the Republican Party is going to freak out about it.

Watch Live: The Great Marijuana Debate at CPAC

Wingnuts • Views: 16,480

[Video moved to newer post]

The Ron Paul libertarian crowd is applauding pro-marijuana Gary Johnson, while the REAL CONSERVATIVES are cheering for the woman who wants to lock up all the pot smokers and thinks marijuana is just like LSD.

Sen. Inhofe Competes With CPAC for Dumbest Right Wing Moment of the Day

Snow proves climate change is a hoax
Wingnuts • Views: 17,247

Yes, folks, climate change deniers really are this dense.

Watch Live: CPAC 2015, Festival of Lunacy, Day 1

The annual gathering of the loons
Wingnuts • Views: 17,688

[Video moved to newer post]

This year, once again, CPAC has banned gay conservative group GOProud from attending, while accepting the sponsorship of a white nationalist hate group, so nothing has changed. But then, that’s the whole point of being a conservative, isn’t it?

I went to their website to check the schedule, but here’s what appears when you click the “Agenda” tab:

Ace web programmers!

But here’s the lineup for today (some of these loons have already ranted as I write this):

Thursday (ET)

8:40a - Dr. Ben Carson
9:00a - Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)
1:00p - Gov. Chris Christie (NJ)
1:20p - Carly Fiorina
1:40p - Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)
5:00p - Gov. Scott Walker (Wisconsin)
5:20p - Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana)
5:40p - Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)

UPDATE at 2/26/15 11:48:07 am by Charles Johnson

Some photos:

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 Frank says:

There will never be a nuclear war; there's too much real estate involved. -- Zappa on the Tonight Show, C.A. 1988