Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thanks Google!

For those of you who don't post--or don't post as often--on the blog because of the clunky manner in which it must be done, there's a great feature on Google Desktop. Once you've downloaded it, you'll see a little "Send to" dropdown list on the right side of the menu bar along the top. If you're reading an article you like about how Republican activists should be exempt from serving in Iraq, or how polls don't convey any useful information at all, or about some population, somewhere, finally electing a libertarian to higher office (just kidding), simply select all the text you want to post, click on the Blogger option on that dropdown menu , and voila, you've got yourself a post, with a link to the site automatically inserted (that's how I posted the Washington Monthly piece).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Washington Monthly

The Washington Monthly: "THE REPUBLICAN IMPLOSION....John Quiggin, commenting on that Pew poll that I highlighted the other day, offers an explanation for the Republican Party's cratering support:

Republican support is contracting to a base of about 25 per cent of the population whose views are getting more extreme, not merely because moderate conservatives are peeling off to become Independents, but also because of the party's success in constructing a parallel universe of news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist ideology.

....The general liberalisation of thinking on social issues is unlikely to be reversed. Moreover, while American faith in military power bounced back after Vietnam, I doubt that the same will be true after Iraq. If you wanted a textbook lesson in why resort to violence is rarely a sensible choice, Bush's presentation of that lesson could hardly be bettered."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Even if Gore's a Hypocrite, He's Still Right

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Writing on FindLaw, Columbia law professor Michael Dorf comes to Al Gore’s defense — sort of.


Dorf says critics who call the former vice president a hypocrite for living in a massive, energy-gulping mansion while bemoaning global warming may be on to something: “Making a 10,000 square-foot home more energy-efficient is a little like driving oneself to work in a hybrid gas-electric stretch limousine,” he writes.

He also doubts carbon offsets fully exonerate Gore or other gas-guzzlers, comparing them to papal indulgences: “In Catholic theology, sinners could reduce or eliminate their time in purgatory by repenting and earning ‘indulgences’ from the Church. … Forgiving the sins of the contrite is one thing; accepting bribes for a ticket to heaven quite another. If every person on Earth has a moral obligation to reduce his or her contribution to global warming, then Gore’s donations to green technology do not expiate his sins.”

But Dorf commends Gore for supporting the one thing that he thinks really might make a difference in the fight against global warming: a tax on carbon emissions. “When you drive a car, you pay for the cost of producing the gasoline but not for the cost to the health of the planet from the greenhouse gases it emits. You externalize that latter cost to everyone else, and as a result, you pay too little for gasoline and drive too much.” A carbon tax would solve that problem, Dorf writes.

Here's the entire article, worth a read. Regarding the deafening right-wing chorus denouncing Gore's hypocrisy, Dorf says, "If this criticism is meant to somehow discredit the film's central claim that global warming is an extraordinarily serious crisis that demands urgent action, then the skeptics are deliberately confusing the issue." I have not even seen an attempt to explain how the evil of Gore's hypocrisy can be quantified, let alone how the quantity of the evil he thus generates offsets any units of good he is producing.

Is the bar for hypocrisy one of zero-tolerance? Put another way: must Al Gore eat grasshoppers and honey, and travel by foot clothed in sackcloth and ashes in order to maintain credibility?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

John McCain: Total Fucking Moron

How the mighty have fallen:

Q: "What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?"

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) "Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy."

Q: "So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?"

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) "You’ve stumped me."

Q: "I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?"

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) "Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it."

Q: "But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?"

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) "Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before."

This went on for a few more moments until a reporter from the Chicago Tribune broke in and asked Mr. McCain about the weight of a pig that he saw at the Iowa State Fair last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More on Global Warming/Cooling/Not Changing Over Near Hurtleg's House...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lying Us into War

Brigadiers have often come to verbal fisticuffs over the question of whether or not the Bush Administration's manipulation of prewar intelligence constitutes lying, per se. The Washington Monthly's blog has this to say on the matter of one of the main manipulations that was used to persuade the public into supporting an invasion:

CURVEBALL....Brian Ross of ABC News has uncovered a picture (though not the name) of Curveball, the Iraqi emigre who peddled the phony stories of mobile biological labs that ended up in Colin Powell's speech to the UN. Tyler Drumheller, former chief of European operations at the CIA, says the agency knew all along that the information was unreliable:

"We said, 'This is from Curveball. Don't use this,'" Drumheller says. Powell says neither he nor his chief of staff Col. Larry Wilkerson was ever told of any doubts about Curveball.

....Drumheller also says he met personally with the then-deputy director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, to raise questions about the reliability of Curveball, well before the Powell speech.

"And John said, 'Oh my, I hope not. You know this is all we have,' and I said, 'This can't be all we have.' I said, 'There must be another, there must be something else.' And he said, 'No, this is really the only tangible thing we have.'"

McLaughlin adamantly denies any such meeting or warning from Drumheller and also denies knowing that Drumheller had attempted to redact the Curveball portions of Powell's speech.

They knew Saddam didn't have a nuclear program. They knew he didn't have mobile bio labs. They knew he didn't have drones. They knew.

Friday, March 09, 2007


The Conservapedia is a fantastic addition to the ranks of Wikipedia-inspired sites, Wookiepedia and Jedipedia, as all three are compendia of information about worlds that don't really exist. The obvious difference is that most of the contributors to Wookiepedia and Jedipedia are probably aware of this fact.

The best thing about Conservapedia is probably this page, where Andrew Schlafly and his comrades complain about the liberal bias in Wikipedia. Much of the page is dedicated to lamenting the fact that creationism and Christianity are not viewed as appropriate topics of scientific discussion.

Since there is apparently no facet of science, culture, media, the arts, government, or anything else that isn't soaking with liberal bias, we should all look forward to the introduction of "conservametrics," "meteorconservatology," and "meconservatrical engineering," in order to challenge the left-wing bias in weights and measures, weather reporting, and auto component design and manufacture.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The War on Girl Scout Cookies

Finally, FoxNews's resident Lying, Splotchy bully takes on the powerful anti-obesity lobby. Transcript reprinted here in its entirety.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight. A monstrous attack on Girl Scout cookies. And should obese children be scrutinized by the government?

With us now, Meme Roth, president of the National Action Against Obesity organization.

All right. Now, come on, the Girl Scout cookies. I like these cookies.


O'REILLY: Yes, and they raise $700 million a year selling these cookies because people like me like them. Now, do I look fat to you?

ROTH: I don't know, Bill. You don't look fat to me.

'REILLY: I mean, you know...

ROTH: Are you going to put a bathing suit on?

O'REILLY: No, I can't be — Melissa Etheridge, I don't want to offend Melissa. But do I look fat to you?

ROTH: You do not look fat to me.

O'REILLY: I am not fat. All right? Thirty-six-inch waist. I eat these cookies! Come on...


O'REILLY: And I like them!

ROTH: I like them, too. But let me tell you something. America likes them much too much.

This is an era of obesity. Two in three are overweight. And it's not that they can't do a bikini contest. They're sick. And our children, one in three, overweight. We can't — just because Girl Scouts are as American as apple pie, that doesn't make them beyond reproach.

O'REILLY: OK, but what you're talking about, a fascist state that says to people you can't eat cookies, you can't have ice cream, you can't have cake. And I'm telling you that it is the parental authority that should regulate what kids eat, No. 1. And, No. 2, it's over the line.

A couple of Girl Scout cookies, even though they're loaded with sugar, not going to hurt you or anyone else.

ROTH: So you went Mussolini on me. OK. Look, we don't want a civic organization whose mission is to make the world a better place, which is what the mission statement is for the Girl Scouts — we don't want civic organizations — and that's PTAs, that's churches, synagogues, anybody — using junk food as a fundraiser. Not now. Ninety years ago, cute idea. Today, not so much.

O'REILLY: See I think cookies make the world a better place. Because they're sweet. And that's a treat.

Now, if you're going to abuse the cookies and eat the box and get fat, that's on the parent. I agree with you there. But you're trying to intrude, I think, way too much.

I don't mind the calorie count listed in the restaurant. I think they should have it. If you want to eat a Big Mac, you should have right next to it here's how many calories you're going to have and from fat. I like that. I look at the box. I do. I want all of that stuff.

But I don't want somebody telling me the Girl Scouts can't sell cookies. I don't want that. That's not America. That's not freedom of choice. Come on.

ROTH: Well, I think — I think the message is the Keebler elves' mission statement: make money selling junk food. But when you're using young children as the front to sell $700 million, 200 boxes...

O'REILLY: People know what they're buying. People know that cookies are loaded with sugar.

ROTH: Is that the right message? Is that the right message?

O'REILLY: The message is freedom. If I want a cookie, I'm going to get a cookie. I don't want some piece of tofu from the Girl Scouts. I'm not going to buy it from them!

ROTH: All right. Well, you're not alone in your thoughts.

O'REILLY: We disagree.

Now, this overweight kid in England. Let's throw him up on the screen. Now, this is a different situation. He's 218 pounds as an 8-year-old kid. All right? And the mother is obviously a loon. And I don't mind the authorities going in and checking this, because I think there could be some abuse here. Because it's four times what — you have an 8-year-old. Is it a son or a daughter?

ROTH: My son is 8, yes.

O'REILLY: So you know. This is out of control. Now, this kid may have a medical condition. But the authorities — just like if the kid was starving and underweight, the authorities should go in. I have no problem with the authorities going in and looking at this kid.

Now, the English authorities did rule the mother can keep the kid. I guess there's no father in the house. But there's going to be supervision. That's fine. You know, I see that.

ROTH: Yes, it was time for intervention. That intervention should have come at least 100 pounds ago, though. You and I both know that once you gain weight, it's nearly impossible to lose it and keep it off. Ninety-five percent...

O'REILLY: Kids can lose it.

ROTH: No, no. Are you kidding? Are you kidding? The outlook for that child is grim.

O'REILLY: I could get that weight off that kid in six months.

ROTH: Yes, but he won't be able to keep it off.

O'REILLY: Sure he would.

ROTH: No. He's — no. Absolutely. Let's wager a bet. Let's wager a bet. Five bucks...

O'REILLY: If you wanted to — if you wanted to...

ROTH: Twenty — 20 years ago from now, that child will be tremendously overweight. We should have intervened much sooner, because up until the age of 5 or 6 you are adding fat cells. And those are the same fat cells you have your entire life. You get a little bit more at puberty, but that is it. Those fat cells...

O'REILLY: I think it's a psychological thing at that age. I think that this kid, you know, for whatever reason, his mother is feeding him this stuff. And I think you're right, it's hard, but I wouldn't give up on the kid.

ROTH: But physiologically he is altered. He will have that 218 pounds screaming at him for the rest of his life to gain back.

O'REILLY: I am a little more hopeful if they can get him into some kind of program.

ROTH: Yes, absolutely. What we want to do is even if he maintains too high a weight, we want to make sure that he's exercising, moving his body, so he doesn't have as many side effects.

O'REILLY: Right. No cookies for you tonight. Thanks for coming in.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

One Flew into the Cuckoos' Nest

Hey Faggots!

I'd like to take this opportunity to flip-flop on my past refusal to put an Ann Coulter book on the readings list. In the wake of her most recent PR triumph, it's clear to me that she truly is the best that conservatism has to offer in the field of pop-political writing. Not being familiar with her oeuvre, however, I'll leave it up to her fans among the Brigadiers to cherry pick from what is undoubtedly a list of stellar literary accomplishments.

If we're not up for Ann just yet, and in view of the flurry of recent postings and comments on global cooling (I mean, it's pretty cold today anyway), perhaps we could finally read Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist." It's true that Lomborg is not a climate scientist, and that he has noted "I am not myself an expert as regards environmental problems," but let's just grant that the right's bench on this issue is not all that deep, and leave it at that.

Piling On

I guess this is why the global warming crowd has tried to change the debate by calling the 'problem' climate change and not global warming.

Now the hysterical world is ending chicken littles can use any random anecdotal story about severe weather to prove their point. It's a clever strategy. They are never wrong. Any news story about the weather helps them. If its 72 and sunny, there is no story and no one thinks about the weather. Win, Win.

Now give me more grant money so I can continue to scare the hell out of everyone!

The weather has been random, unpredictable, and often violent for thousands of years. I don't think it has gotten any worse in the past 20.

Oscar Worthy?

I wonder if this will get nominated next year? I would not put any money on it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Human Caused Warming ??

Amazing. Humans pollute so much it has spilled over to Mars. We must be stopped!!

Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human- induced—cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory.
Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.
Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.
"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said. Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets.

Stories like this are why I am still skeptical about human caused global warming. The environment has cycled between warm and cool periods for thousands of years.

As I have said before, there are other valid reasons to cut CO2 output (quality of air breathed, less dependence on oil from the middle east, etc), but I have trouble buying into the hysteria that we are all going to die in 20 years.