Greenpeace's PolluterWatch imagines a match-making service for legislators and lobbyists, mocking the help that Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) received from from dirty-energy lobbyists in her efforts to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

"Lisa's profile really jumped out at me: willing to ravage the environment, desperate for cash, able to justify her actions with ease," says an actor portraying lobbyist and former Bush-administration official Jeff Holmstead. "And I thought to myself, 'Perfect for me.'"

pHarmony: Just in time for Valentine's Day.

So is Sarah Palin really tapping into the id of the American public, ready to ride a wave of anti-Washington populism straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? The Washington Post's David Broder seems to think she might be, but his newspaper's numbers say different. Palin's favorability rating? Down six points since November. Her net favorable/unfavorable rating is now -18%. Is she qualified to be president? A stunning 71% say no. Even among the fabled base of conservative Republicans, only 45% consider her qualified. I guess that tea party speech didn't work out as well as she'd hoped.

Sarah Palin has truly been in our face these past few months: a book, a book tour, television appearances (after signing on as a Fox News commentator), high-profile speeches. And it doesn't seem to have done her much good—in terms of public approval.

In December, Americans who worry about the chance—no matter how slight—of a Palin presidency received some shocking news: the woman who quit as Alaska governor came in second in Gallup's rankings of the most admired women in America. She almost placed first. (Hillary Clinton topped the list with 16 percent, Palin had 15 percent. Oprah Winfrey came in third, Michelle Obama, fourth.) Though the vote was divided up among a number of women—allowing a contender with a dedicated following to fare well—this was a surprisingly strong finish for Palin, suggesting that perhaps her recent blitz was boosting her public image.

Not so, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. It finds that her public approval numbers are getting worse:

Palin's own ratings are weaker, apparently hurt rather than helped by her return to the spotlight. Fifty-five percent of Americans see her unfavorably, the most basic measure of a public figure's popularity, and 71 percent believe she's not qualified to serve as president, a position she said Sunday she'll consider seeking. Both negatives are at new highs.

...More problematic for Palin is that even in her own party 52 percent think she's not qualified for the presidency -- up by 16 points from an ABC/Post poll in November, shortly before the publication of her memoir, in which she criticizes the strategy of the 2008 Republican presidential campaign.

Far more Americans see Palin strongly unfavorably, 38 percent, than strongly favorably, 18 percent. Among independents -- swing voters in national politics -- just 36 percent see her favorably overall, vs. 53 percent unfavorably, and only 29 percent think she's qualified for the presidency.

It's not good sign for a potential candidate when she increases her public activity and the public comes to think worse of her. Palin may be much admired by a devoted band of supporters, but as most Americans see more of her, they believe she's not presidential material. Anyone who doesn't want Palin to become president ought to adopt a simple strategy: urge her to spend more time in the public spotlight.

******

See how Palin's actions as governor may lead to the evisceration of her state's public records laws.

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter.

 

 

Dumbest Spam Yet?

We're all familiar with silly spam email from Nigeria and elsewhere that informs you that hundreds of thousands of dollars are waiting for you—if you just send along your private banking information. Everyone wonders who falls for this and why these emails keep on coming. The spammers don't seem to be getting any more sophisticated. Here's one I received today:

Hi Sir,

R u free for business meeting

Thanks & Regards

Kobra

Kobra? It seems a James Bond villain is trying to con me. And who would jump at the chance to take a meeting with a fellow—I'm assuming it's a fellow—with such a name? 

If anyone wants to investigate Kobra, the email came from this address: safsa.9789@gmail.com. And please tell him or her I'm all booked up.


When Homos Attack

A sociologically interesting and spooky 45-minute video has been making the rounds on gay-interest blogs this week. The footage in question is from a 1967 special called CBS Reports: The Homosexuals. Hosted by Mike Wallace, it’s full of the sort of psychological analysis that was typical of the time. Overbearing mothers and homosexuals forever damned to unhappiness abound, and the following excerpt is pretty representative: 

"This much is certain. Male homosexuals in America number in the millions. And their number is growing. They are attracted mostly to the anonymity that a big city gives them. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco. The permissiveness and the variety of the city draw them. The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested in or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits, and even on the streets of the city."

The Advocate's Dave White posted about the documentary, comparing it to the prevalence of gays on television and in politics today. Watch the video below.

 

Maybe. According to a Canadian Journal of Psychiatry article the Red Bull we're all pounding (with or without vodka) can trigger "pathological mood switches." Yet we all need our fix to make it out there in the competitive world (see caffeine, Ritalin). We need our boob jobs (see: Carrie Prejean), our heel lifts (see: Tom Cruise, Nicolas Sarkozy), our "flaxseed oil" (see: Barry Bonds). And while we often point the performance-enhancing finger at athletes for their doping and steroid abuse, how about Mickey Rourke who walked away with an Oscar nod for his comeback performance in The Wrestler? When Men's Journal asked him whether he roided up for the role he responded, "When I'm a wrestler, I behave like a wrestler."

Today performance uppers are so much more than HGH. They're cosmetic surgery to "stay competitive in the workplace," they're designer babies custom made down to their complexion, they're brain fitness tools that will help you one day upload the contents of your brain to computers (Microsoft holds a patent for a device that would distribute "power and data to devices coupled to the human body," a reverse Bluetooth!). They're There are even defense-industry exoskeletons that make lifting 200 pounds feel like 20.

Do you know how much Viagra, steroids, and baseball have in common? How much more money tall people make than their shorter counterparts? How the military keeps our troops awake night after fighting night? Find out here, plus oodles more sourced stats and tidbits.

Plus: The Vatican, King Charles, and The Rolling Stones all weigh in on performance enhancement through the ages. Also, ever wonder how our heros, athletes winning Olympic gold and shattering records can have no shame? Excuses, excuses...

 

HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan—An Afghan National Army soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade at Taliban insurgents from Marjeh firing on their position Feb. 9 at the “Five Points” intersection. A group of ANA soldiers joined the Marines of Charlie Co. as they conducted a helicopter-borne assault earlier that morning to seize the key intersection of roads linking the northern area of the insurgent stronghold of Marjeh with the rest of Helmand province. (US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brian A. Tuthill.)

Need To Read: February 11, 2010

Today's must-reads:

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Floundering on Terror

Spencer Ackerman describes how badly Republicans have floundered on national security issues ever since the Christmas bombing attempt:

Mirandizing terrorists inhibits intelligence collection? Wrong. Charging a terrorist in criminal court is a danger? Hundreds have been convicted that way. Non-torturous methods of interrogation fail? They work better. Call the Obama team pussies and they’ll back down? They’ll smack the tartar off your teeth. The public will rally around Republicans if they just ignorantly yell OMG TERRORISM loud enough? They’ll go to the other guy.

....The GOP, for the first time in decades, is completely discredited on national security, without any credible spokespeople, after the public remembers the experience of how Republicans started an unnecessary war at the expense of a necessary one. And now it’s all exposed.

They really do seem to have lost a lot of the old magic, haven't they? The problem is that they don't seem to have any other game plan than to reflexively bellow about Democrats being soft on terrorism no matter what the circumstances. Get Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab talking more effectively than Bush got Richard Reid to talk and they're soft for not doing it with torture. Double troop strength in Afghanistan compared to Bush-era levels and they're soft for not increasing it more. Increase drone attacks in Pakistan and they're soft for not capturing terrorists alive. Their complaints have gotten so hysterical and preposterous that it's hard for anyone outside their own base to take them seriously anymore. Increasingly, on national security issues the Republican Party in 2010 is about like Joseph McCarthy circa 1955. The rubes just aren't buying their act anymore.

For the latest in environmental politics, check out Blue Marble:

A Climate Pact in 2010? Eh, Maybe.

US Climate Envoy Todd Stern downplays hopes for a binding legal treaty in 2010. Instead, look for "strong progress be made" and "pragmatic steps" to be taken this year.

Climate Denial, Still Brought to You by ExxonMobil

Despite claims that they've stopped funding climate change deniers, ExxonMobil is still giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support skeptic "think tanks" around the world.

NYT Gives Skeptics Platform to Assault IPCC

The New York Times promises a piece on how "mainstream" climate scientists are raising questions about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But while some legitimate concerns have been raised, the NYT doesn't bother to deal with those.

Controversial Nuclear Nominee Sails Through Senate Hearing

William Magwood, Barack Obama's controversial pick to serve on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was supposed to spend some time in the hot seat during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. But the members of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee barely questioned Magwood about his lengthy resume working for nuclear interests and how that history would affect his ability to regulate the industry.

GOP: Obama Admin is "Anti-Nuclear"

Barack Obama on Tuesday told reporters that his recent embrace of nuclear power is part of an effort to adopt some Republican ideas on energy, noting that he remains an "eternal optimist" about bipartisanship. But his attempt to woo Republicans with nuclear power has met predictably bad reviews from the Party of No.

Pombo Back On Green Hit List

Richard Pombo announced last month that he is back in the political game, and he's already reclaimed his post at the most-hated candidate for environmental groups.

Welcome to Climate.gov

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rolls out Climate.gov to make information on climate change more accessible to the public.

Sanders: Drop Nukes, Go Solar

Bernie Sanders bashes calls for a nuclear revival and rolls out a big solar plan: the 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Hot Water Act.