|August 23, 2008 |
| the dream ticket is here |
Since March, I’ve been hoping Obama would have the good sense to choose Joe Biden as his running mate, and Joe would likewise have the good sense to accept. No one’s better on foreign policy or tells it how it is better than Fightin’ Joe Biden. Despite what Clinton fans may have believed, this is the real dream team. Here’s to watching Joe hand Mitt Romney his ass in the VP debate this October.
August 29th Update: Damn. So there’s no chance for a Biden/Romney debate this fall since McCain has chosen Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. After the initial “Who?” reaction, the next question is whether undecided female voters will actually be swayed by this choice, or if they will see through McCain’s obvious attempt at manipulation—choosing a woman half his age that no one has ever heard of (and whom he had only met once before) for simply being a conservative woman and half his age. At least it should still make for an interesting fall campaign, if not one as entertaining as a McCain/Romney ticket (the GOP’s own Oscar Madison and Felix Unger) would have provided.
August 8, 2008
| gimme an 8! |
Today’s series of posts is brought to you by the number 8, also known as China’s luckiest number. Conveniently, the Beijing Olympics also start today. Or have already started. I’m not keeping track. Does anyone actually make a point to watch the Olympics or just sit through them because nothing else is on? I’d like to see the TiVo numbers on that.
| oh the climate is a’changin’ |
A little while back, I wrote a follow-up to my original bloggish essay on climate change. For reasons still unknown to me, I never posted it. So I’m doing it now. In the sequel, starring the likes of retired Oregon Climate Center Director George Taylor, Richard Feynman, biofuels, and McCarthyism, I try to address the notion that doing “something” is better than doing “nothing.” In fact, I believe the opposite is true. You can read all my nonsense here: “The Missing Debate On Climate Change.”
Penn & Teller also recently aired an episode of Bullshit! that tackled the silly idea of buying “carbon credits” to off-set your carbon footprint. A fad shockingly similar to indulgences (great name) once pettled by the Roman Catholic Church as a way for sinners to save their immortal souls—for a fee. It seems we may need a modern-day Martin Luther to help cease this carbon credit practice soon or we’re all going to wind up paying into these scams in one way or another.
The other big issue I have with global warming activists is how much emotion has overtaken fact at nearly every turn. I mention this in my follow-up piece, but to take one example, it seems we’ve all gone a little biofuel crazy lately—insisting we burn food to save us from burning the planet. But this is exactly the sort of thing that happens when you make arguments based more on emotions rather than facts. You arrive at impractical solutions driven by impulses that simply make you feel better and which don’t have a real impact on solving the energy crisis.
Just today, I read this spot-on passage in an article titled “In Science, Ignorance Is Not Bliss” by retired astronaut Walter Cunningham:
With scientific evidence going out of style, emotional arguments and anecdotal data are ruling the day. The media subjects us to one frightening image of environmental nightmare after another, linking each to global warming. Journalists and activist scientists use hurricanes, wildfires, and starving polar bears to appeal to our emotions, not to our reason. They are far more concerned with anecdotal observations, such as the frozen sea ice inside the Arctic Circle, than they are with understanding why it is happening and how frequently it has occurred in the past.
The entire article is worthwhile reading. And unlike another retired astronaut in the news recently, Cunningham’s arguments certainly make a lot of sense and he has the credentials to back them up. It’s funny, but all the debate between alarmists and those not giving in to emotional arguments reminds me of the recent Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary Clinton supporters (including her husband) went so far as to claim that those who didn’t vote for her were reacting based on some sort of covert/overt sexism. The truth, however, was that those who didn’t support Clinton didn’t necessarily oppose a female president. They simply opposed her being that female president. It’s a similar situation with the environmental debate. Those who don’t buy into all the Chicken Little hysteria over global warming aren’t doing it to side with the oil companies or because they want to drive enormous SUVs guilt-free or because they hate the planet. We’re just after the unholy, unbiased, and unemotional truth—a tricky task given the emotions often charging arguments that are either patently false, misinformed, or grossly exaggerated.
| knott feeling rejected |
Bill Knott has been posting an eclectic mix of rejection letters—some even made into collages—on his website recently. It’s pretty amusing to read what some editors have to say to a poet who has written some of the most unique and challenging poetry in the last 30 years. I even have some of the very same rejection letters hanging on my wall at the moment. I was once told it was a good idea to save them, and I’ve since kept every last one as much as I’ve wanted to burn them. Maybe I’ll make my own collage in 30 years’ time, or wallpaper the bathroom with them as I’ve often threatened.
| and skinny abe was a lousy prez, too |
When I first spotted the headline on this “story” by Amy Chozick at the Wall Street Journal, I naturally avoided wasting my time. It read: “Too Fit To Be President?” and was a 1400-word article on the question of whether or not Barack Obama’s thin frame would be a detriment to winning the presidency. Please take a moment to let this idiotic idea sink it. And yes, that’s one thousand four hundred words. Now, thanks to a post at MetaFilter, we can make fun of it with some real passion. For it seems that Chozick tried to get some of her hard-hitting facts from an Internet message board. What’s more interesting—nay, hilarious—is that all of the responses to her anonymous question, “Is Obama too skinny to be president?” were jokes suggesting anyone asking that question shouldn’t be allowed to vote. But Chozick, being the emblem of good journalists everywhere, actually used one of those joke responses in her article. To quote:
“I won’t vote for any beanpole guy,” another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board.
Now, for the sake of actual journalistic integrity, let’s look at the whole quote from that Yahoo politics message board. Here it is:
Yes I think He is to skinny to be President. Hillary has a potbelly and chuckybutt I’d of Voted for Her. I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.
Chozick then responded to this post by asking the poster to email her so she could ask “a few more questions.” What?! Clearly this wasn’t a genuine response from a Clinton supporter. (At least I hope it wasn’t.) And while sarcasm can sometimes be difficult to pick up on in writing, I think it’s pretty evident here despite the misspellings and no punctuation. So the question then arises, how is Chozick employed by the Wall Street Journal? And just how did she get 1400 words in the paper with this claptrap? Then it hit me. Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper last year.
| what a croc |
Coral pointed out this Newsweek humor piece to me the other day since we both hate crocs. But, personally, if I were to go on a rant about a particular shoe, it’d be the flip-flop. I know you probably love your pair because “they’re so comfortable,” but I fucking hate them. Get your feet away from me, brah. “No shirt, no shoes, no service” should certainly apply to a thong between your toes and a slab of cardboard clip-clopping against your soles that you have the nerve to call a shoe. Humans have spent a millennia developing comfortable footwear and the only thanks you can give is strapping a flip-flop to your foot? Please, show some respect for your ancestory. Even Native Americans, centuries ago, who prided themselves on living simply off the land had the decency to wear moccasins. Why haven’t mocs made a comeback yet?
| antikythera mechanism unlocked |
It seems they’ve finally figured out what the Antikythera Mechanism was used for by Ancient Greeks. I mention this only because Antikythera is one of my favorite words to say and one of my least favorite to spell. So it’s a bittersweet affair that I have so few occasions to use the word. Unless, of course, I move to Antikythera. An idea I will never fully rule out.
| i could get used to brushing my teeth with stoli |
Despite my many disagreements with Comrade Putin (previously), I just may have to move to Russia if the country actually succeeds in banning emo music. A world without emo—oh would that it were true!
| steampunk’d |
I must visit this man’s workshop immediately. Want! Want more! Want the most! More details on all things steampunk available in this article.