Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Shock Doctrine


Continue The Bleed

Here's another example of Interstate Job Transfer.  As states continue to struggle to find the revenue necessary to provide services, company execs see great opportunities to leverage their positions to get somebody else to pay the bills.

From The Agonist this morning:
In the business of “let someone else pay for government services”, corporations are the hands-down winners. Corporations use the same roads as everyone else, fly out of airports, enjoy the services of the water, electric, and gas utilities, clog up the courts, get police and fire protection, and if necessary have their overseas interests secured by the military and the diplomatic corps. They just don’t want to pay for it. Fifty years ago corporate income taxes at the federal level generated about 6% of GDP; today the amount is less than 2% of GDP. The difference has been made up in increased taxes on individuals, and dramatically increased federal government borrowing.
It's a free lunch for Corp Execs and Wealthy Investors, because the workin' slobs always pick up the check.

For 30 years, American companies have been exporting jobs to countries willing to offer major concessions in Labor Regulation, Environmental Law, Tax Abatements, etc.  Now the states have learned how to play that game as well, so we should be able to look forward to a new era of fucked-up-ed-ness as one state raids another in search of a few extra taxpayers.

Companies are always going to push down on their costs, and everything a company has to spend on people adds up to every company's biggest cost.  I get it; I understand; it's normal and expected and the way it has to be in business. I grock the situation.

The thing that really gripes me is that we accept this style of hard-ass management as necessary.  It isn't.  We think they have to be strong leaders and they have to make these difficult choices.  They don't.

A strong and able manager almost never has to pull rank or try to dictate terms to his workers.  In my experience, it's always the weakling (or the workplace politician) who is the most authoritarian.

We're headed back to the 18th century, and it's gonna be a really shitty ride.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Right Radicals

The Repubs are just chock full of silliness.  Unfortunately, the rubes eat it up and keep going back for more.

per Andrew Sullivan, here's Newt Gingrich:
"I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
Because, you know - Islam is known mainly for its atheism(?)  How, exactly, is it that Gingrich has the reputation for being the heavy thinker over there?

One of Sully's readers:
According to the hydra-headed GOP, Obama should have unilaterally attacked Libya weeks ago to help Al Qaeda sympathizers assassinate a terrorist tyrant who was recently courted by the Bush administration. Also he should have concluded the mission by now, sent the bill to China and then done the same thing in Syria, Yemen and Iran.
Repubs have had a strong tendency either to ignore history, or to revise it in order to make it fit whatever they think will get them 40 seconds on DumFux News tonight.  Maybe that's why they hate the public school system.  If we know our history; if we know how our government is supposed to work; if we know something about critical thinking - then we know a load of bullshit when we see it.  If we know enough to call it bullshit, then we know too much.  And the Repubs have decided it's bad for them if we know stuff, so they're always working on ways to keep us stupid.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Fallin'

Sometimes, somebody else has to cover your tune to get me to appreciate it.


About Libya

As usual, Juan Cole makes a lot of sense.
Many are crying hypocrisy, citing other places an intervention could be staged or worrying that Libya sets a precedent. I don’t find those arguments persuasive. Military intervention is always selective, depending on a constellation of political will, military ability, international legitimacy and practical constraints. The humanitarian situation in Libya was fairly unique. You had a set of tank brigades willing to attack dissidents, and responsible for thousands of casualties and with the prospect of more thousands to come, where aerial intervention by the world community could make a quick and effective difference.
It just always seems so stupid that after a coupla or three million years of hominid evolution, we still can't find a better way to settle our differences than bashing each other over the head with sticks and rocks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

VCU Makes The Final Four

And the riot is on in downtown Richmond for the second time in 3 days. The cops were out in force, but there were no arrests on either occasion, even tho' the kids did get a little destructive - mostly inadvertently.

You can see Nick in the bottom right foreground starting at about 0:18, for about 4 seconds. He's the devilishly handsome young cat with the curly brown hair wearing the black VCU hoodie.

Hippies!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clay Bennett Cartoon

I can get next to most of what Bennett has to say.  I'm wondering why this particular toon popped up right now.

Also, I wonder if having the "lying Politicians" sign next to the "lying Fox News" sign is coincidence.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Duly Noted

It's completely slipped by the attention of the Press Poodles, but at least WisconsinWatch and Crooks & Liars are alert enough to catch it for us.
“Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.”
Obviously, it's good that a putz like Carlos Lam is pushed out.  But his 'resignation' was a quiet thing, so I have to suspect his ouster was more a result of his being so open about his suggestion than it was about the dirty trick itself.

When assholes like Mr Lam are brought down loudly and publicly, then maybe we'll start to see a change in the way we do things.  Until then, we can probably expect more of the same.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Costs Of War

Beans, bullets and band-aids is just the beginning. We'll be paying for these wars for a very long time in ways we can scarcely imagine right now.

I Was For It Before I Was Against It

He's Back - Kinda

Muh man, Keith demonstrates again why "the left" is right and "the right" is wrong.

Today's Quote

"Destiny is a tyrant's justification for his crimes, and a fool's excuse for his failures."
--Ambrose Bierce

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Political Science

A longtime personal favorite. I played this in a tourist bar in BVI sometime in 2003 (we were there on vacation), not knowing of course, if the crowd would get it. Most did. Some didn't. Some things never change.

Hat tip to Steve P in Oregon. I had no idea anybody else even knew this tune existed.


The World Is A Battlefield

Wondering why Obama isn't following thru on what we all took as a pledge to change how we approach the "War On Terrorism"?  Simple answer = he can't.

It's possible that a lot of the turmoil and upheaval in Western Asia grew out of The Bush Doctrine (tho' it's more probable it was happening by itself anyway), but the main thing is that something very big and very dangerous is in motion, and is gathering a heavy inertia.

All Obama can do now is try to guide the thing on its path; to minimize the damage, and to position us to take advantage of whatever tiny crumbs of benefit might fall out of it along the way.

So here's the thing:  The massive cluster fuck we call The Arab World gets bigger and more complicated every day.

Jeremy Cahill on Democracy Now.
BTW: you know Cahill is probably onto something because our Corporate Government insists on ignoring what he reports.

God Needs Us



Cain slew Abel, Seth knew not why
For if the children of Israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the Lord
And the Lord said:

"Man means nothing, he means less to me
than the lowiliest cactus flower
or the humblest yucca tree
he chases round this desert
cause he thinks that's where I'll be
that's why I love mankind"

"I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
from the squalor and the filth and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That's why I love mankind"

The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
They picked their four greatest priests
And they began to speak
They said, Lord a plague is on the world
Lord no man is free
The temples that we built to you
Have tumbled into the sea
Lord, if you won't take care of us
Won't you please please let us be?

And the Lord said
And the Lord said

"I burn down your cities--how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
Y'all must be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind
You really need me
That's why I love mankind"


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Super Moon

An old high school buddy has become a right fine picture taker.

Find him at Larry Bollig Photography (www.larrybollig.com)

Monday, March 21, 2011

If It's March, This Must Be War

It's like nobody even notices anymore. Somebody in the White House prints out a few pieces of paper, and people 5000 miles away start dying.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953
I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures? ~Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Upside Down And Backwards

Every time something happens that contradicts the conventional wisdom, we get a whole squad of spokesmodels who swarm to the airwaves trying to countervail the obvious.

The double whammy of earthquake and tsunami is causing a major problem at the Fukushima nuke plant that threatens to become a full-blown catastrophe. People look at what's going on there, and start to have some doubts about nuclear energy here in the US; which threatens the profitability of some very powerful commercial interests - and that simply won't do. The thinking of the citizenry must be brought back under control.

Here's Ann Coulter to argue that doses of radiation which are higher than the gubmint recommends are not only safe, but good for ya! And, of course, Baghdad Bill tries to play the roll of skeptical journalist, but that's just part of the show. He "resists" Coulter's claims just enough to give her lots of chances to make the points she's being paid to make.



One minor problem with the study Coulter cites:
In popular treatments of radiation hormesis, a study of the inhabitants of apartment buildings in Taiwan has received prominent attention. The building materials had been accidentally contaminated with Cobalt-60 but the study found cancer mortality rates 96.4% lower than in the population as a whole. However, this study compared the relatively young irradiated population with the much older general population of Taiwan, which is a major flaw. A subsequent study by Hwang et al. (2006) found a significant exposure-dependent increase in cancer in the irradiated population, particularly leukemia in men and thyroid cancer in women, though this trend is only detected amongst those who were first exposed before the age of 30.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Descent Into Empire

From The Festival of the Book here in Charlottesville yesterday:

PART 1


PART 2


PART 3


PART 4

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pi vs Tau

I'm OK for the first 90 seconds, but then it's just hopeless. But what really chaps my ass is that there's a couple of middle-schoolers living in my house right now who'll have a handle on this in a year or two, while I just get deeper into the fog.

Beyond Wisconsin

Hat Tip: JR in Boulder

I believe there are ways to get what you want in this world without being a complete asshole about it.  Took me a long time to figure that out, and to build the skills I needed to stay within that construct.  Unfortunately, hardly any of that matters anymore.

Case in point:  The guy who runs the joint where my wife works has said on more than one occasion (and out in the open for all to hear), "I have the power here.  If you want any kind of power, you'll have to take it away from me."  That's not quite a direct quote, but very close to it.

That's the dominant thinking in the executive suite now - actually it's been that way for a while.  For the guys who've clawed their way up over the last 12-15 years, it's become a zero sum game.  They believe with all their hearts that the only way they can win is for everybody else to lose - it's a binary universe where everything is either all one way or all the other way, so there are always and ONLY two diametrically opposed choices (which always seem to comprise a set of false alternatives, but that's a different discussion).

I don't like it of course, but my way of thinking has fallen out of favor (and is not bloody likely to make a big comeback soon), so I have to play in the other guy's house now.

Chris Hedges explains.
Slick public relations campaigns, the collapse of public education—nearly a third of the country is illiterate or semiliterate—and the rise of amoral politicians such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who posed as liberals while they sold their souls for corporate money, have left us largely defenseless. The last vestiges of unionized workers in the public sector are reduced to protesting in Wisconsin for collective bargaining—in short, the ability to ask employers for decent working conditions. That shows how far the country has deteriorated. And it looks as though even this basic right to ask, as well as raise money through union dues, has been successfully revoked in Madison.

And this is what I need to know about right now:
The only hope now is more concerted and militant disruptions of the systems of power.

Meanwhile, Back In Madison

With everybody raptly gazing at all the glorious disaster porn from Japan and Libya, it's easy to forget that we still have a few little items here at home to address.

I'm sure this guy has plenty to do, but I hope he'd at least consider running for a local office of some kind.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Schools

"Is our children learning?"

I think they are (most of 'em, anyway).  Which kind of amazes me, because the school systems (and especially the teachers) don't get much help really.  The kids are criticized a lot for being lazy or self-centered or spoiled or distracted or whatever sound bite the politicians need today so they can use it at tonight's fundraiser.   The kids' parents get hammered - mostly for the same reason.  Everybody gets madder (at each other), the problems don't get addressed, and the schools just continue to circle the drain.

I don't know answers and I don't have solutions, but I know we don't "fix the schools" doing the things we've been trying for the last 20-30 years.  And really, guys, we're not gonna get anywhere without putting some serious money into the project.  Which is what a lot of people think we've been doing for a lot of years.  Unfortunately, we've been pouring all the money into just about everything but the schools.

Here's a pretty fair example, from Minneapolis-St Paul about one of the biggest problems - Standardized Testing and Assessment.
Though the efficacy of standardized testing has been hotly debated for decades, one thing has become crystal clear: It's big business.
In 2002, President George Bush signed the infamous No Child Left Behind Act. While testing around the country had been on the rise for decades, NCLB tripled it.
"The amount of testing that was being done mushroomed," says Kathy Mickey, a senior education analyst at Simba Information. "Every state had new contracts. There was a lot of spending."
The companies that create and score tests saw profits skyrocket. In 2009, K-12 testing was estimated to be a $2.7 billion industry.
So, yes - we need reform in our education systems, but we need to be sure we're keeping the ideology separate from the economics.  In short, the starting point is this: Stop trying to force-fit the art of teaching into some bullshit standardized business model that really doesn't even exist in the first place.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Peter King Is The Terrorist

I guess the Repubs thought we were getting to a place where we understood how phony "The Islamist Threat" is.  So, of course, they have to ramp up the fear again.  We won't be distracted enough from the strip mining of the economy, so we need something more to rail against.

I have an idea.  There are a few Dems on that committee, and they should call people to testify who'll say nothing but the this: "Why don't you guys just tell me what you want me to say, and I'll say it?"

BTW: here's a list I cribbed entirely from Crooks and Liars.  It might give us a slightly different perspective.


-- July 2008A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

-- October 2008Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

-- December 2008In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.

-- January 2009A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.

-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.

-- February 2009: A 60-year-old former Republican Party campaign volunteer opens fire on a gathering of Chilena exchange students in an apartment complex in Miramar Beach, Fla., after telling a neighbor he wanted to start a "revolution" against Latino immigrants.

-- April 2009A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.

-- April 2009Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.

-- May 2009A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.

-- February 2010An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.)

-- March 2010Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.

-- March 2010An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.

-- May 2010A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.


-- May 2010Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.

-- July 2010An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.

-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.

-- January 2011: A 22-year-old gunman named Jared Lee Loughner with a long grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a paranoid hatred of the government walks into a public Giffords event and shoots her in the head, then keeps firing, killing six people and wounding 14 more. Gifford miraculously survives.

-- January 2011: A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people is found along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane.

-- January 31, 2011: An Army veteran from California with a previous arrest record for making threats against President Bush is arrested for making terrorist outside a mosque in Michigan inside a car whose trunk was filled with Class C explosives.

Planned Parenthood

Circus America

Lindsay Lohan is in court again, and of course, there's lots of press coverage to make sure we all have a good close look and a great chance to understand the ins and outs of the issues and nuances of Lindsay's difficulties.

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning is stripped naked every night; he's "interrogated" every day; he's allowed one phone call and to send one letter per month; he rarely gets to talk with his lawyer; and the Press Poodles do nothing, see nothing, report nothing.

This is what we call justice?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Late Winter

Gray and rainy-looking. Colder than it oughta be.

Worth Remembering

A basic rule:
Every snarly complicated problem has a solution which is simple and elegant and wrong.

Common Sense Correlative:
It didn't suddenly get fucked up yesterday, and it's not going to get unfucked by tomorrow.

Infrastructure Issues

Small-c conservatives do in fact get it.  We did not build roads because we're a great nation - we became a great nation because we built roads.

From a report out of The New America Foundation:
Under-investing in infrastructure carries costs for households, businesses, and the government by increasing maintenance, wasting time, and allocating resources inefficiently.  These costs reduce efficiency and impede economic growth.
Ya want your government to act more like a business?  Then insist on business-savvy investment in things like Physical Plant and Human Resource Development for starters.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teachers' Pay (updated)

Here's a look at what teachers get paid in various countries.  And, gosh, there seems to be a connection between higher pay and better school performance.  Hoodathunkit.

This chart can be easily (mis)interpreted to mean that we're paying more for teachers and getting less in return.  The problem with that assumption is that Finns have (on average) about $450/month more disposable income than the average here in the US.  And their bennies are better, primarily because their healthcare coverage costs a lot less.  Surprise, surprise.

The oddest thing tho' is that generally, the cost of living is quite a bit higher in FInland vs the US except for some very important items - Mortage Rates & Utilities - but they're eatin' our lunch on education. 

I wonder if we could possibly learn something from Finland.  They seem to be doing something very very right.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nobody Tells Us

I was in a running battle on FaceBook last week with an old high school buddy who insists that Gubmint Workers are greedy and that the real problem is that their retirement bennies are causing the states to go broke.

When I'm talking politics or anything else, my training tells me to listen, process, deconstruct, reconstruct and then rebut.  I'm learning (gradually) that the talking points from Right Radicals need to be dismissed loudly as soon as they fall outa their little pie holes - no matter what it is, I'm trying to retrain myself to demand verification and backup.

Unfortunately, as Mr Churchill said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to gets its pants on."

From McClatchy:

A close look at state and local pension plans across the nation, and a comparison of them to those in the private sector, reveals a more complicated story. However, the short answer is that there's simply no evidence that state pensions are the current burden to public finances that their critics claim.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Beauty Of Ugly Things

From J Henry Fair via Gerald Peters Gallery in NYC

Great photos and some obvious talent at work, but I get the feeling that the net effect is to give us another way to rationalize the destruction of our habitat.


Refrigerant Manufacturing Waste


Hog Fecal Waste Lagoon


BP Oil Spill - Deep Water Horizon


Coal Ash Pond

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stupid Republican Tricks

I just copied and pasted all these in directly from NYT.  The 3rd one down is the one that really chaps my ass.  I was ridiculously lucky in my career, and got to work with a bunch of skilled and committed people who busted their humps night and day to make the world a little safer for humans.  This feels like somebody wants to throw all that away.

I plan on making some calls, to see if there's any kind of bright side to this, and put up an update later.

The Budget Fight Continues
House Republicans’ efforts to slash federal spending could derail the economic recovery and would not address the real sources of budget deficits.
February 27, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL
Slashing Community Service
House Republicans voted to cut programs that encourage Americans to serve their communities and the country. A look at the possible fallout.
March 2, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL
Cutting Poison Control
House Republicans’ request to cut nearly all the money for poison control centers perfectly illustrates the thoughtlessness of their austerity bill.
March 4, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL
On Climate, Who Needs the Facts?
When it comes to preventing and mitigating the effects of global warming, among House Republicans, politics trumps science.
March 5, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL

Government Mule


Louis CK

Takes some getting used to, and ya gotta stay with it to get where he's trying to go.


Wish You Were Here

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Tribe Explained - update

Here's a bit more on Agnotology from Wired Magazine.
"People always assume that if someone doesn't know something, it's because they haven't paid attention or haven't yet figured it out," Proctor says. "But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what's true and what's not."
I get into arguments all the time.  Usually online, but sometimes, I just can't let some random comment by some random acquaintance slide by unchallenged.  I also have a few drinkin' buddies and when we get together, it's time to play "What's Yer Fuckin' Problem?".  It gets pretty heated on occasion, but we're still good friends and at least nobody's ever hit anybody.  I've been trying to work on tempering my more aggressive impulses.  I wouldn't say that I have a short fuse for the most part, but there are definitely some things that'll set me off, and this idea of WIllful Ignorance is at the heart of the matter for me.

I'm always looking for obscure (or just different) and seemingly unrelated concepts; trying to find ways of mixing ideas together to come up with something new or at least something that pushes me forward in my own development in whatever small way is possible.  I guess I tho't everybody did the same, and I should hope that most still do, but it's pretty apparent that an awful lot of folks don't.

Anyway, my new synthesis has to do with putting Agnotology together with the ice cream scene from Thank You For Smoking.  I can argue with somebody who is impervious to the facts all I want, but I'm never going to change his mind.  So the point of the exercise is not to wear myself out on him, but to argue in a way that could influence whoever else might be listening.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Tribe Explained

From David Roberts at Grist:
It's a numbingly familiar pattern in media coverage. The conservative movement that's been attacking climate science for 20 years has a storied history of demonstrable fabrications, distortions, personal attacks, and nothingburger faux-scandals -- not only on climate science, but going back to asbestos, ozone, leaded gasoline, tobacco, you name it. They don't follow the rigorous standards of professional science; they follow no intellectual or ethical standards whatsoever. Yet no matter how long their record of viciousness and farce, every time the skeptic blogosphere coughs up a new "ZOMG!" it's as though we start from zero again, like no one has a memory longer than five minutes.
He starts off talking about how "Climategate" has triggered 5 separate investigations, and all 5 have come back in total agreement that there's nothing there to get excited about.  Then he gets to the good stuff about how it doesn't matter what the facts are because The Tribe has already made its point, the Press Poodles have dutifully reported the bullshit contentions as if they actually mean something, and a few of us are left wondering if there might be something to the charges after all (kinda the point, y'know?).

So what really got me though is that this phenomenon of staying willfully ignorant has a name - Agnotology.
The lesson we've learned from climategate is simple. It's the same lesson taught by death panels, socialist government takeover, Sharia law, and Obama's birth certificate. To understand it we must turn to agnotology, the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt. (Hat tip to an excellent recent post on this by John Quiggen.)
I'm having trouble getting this post wrapped together so it can make the kind of sense to a reader that I think it does to me.  (I get a little too amped up when I learn something new like this)  Read the two pieces.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wisconsin

There's a bunch of polling results coming out now, indicating Gov Walker is losing in the court of public opinion - most of them are running something like 60-40 against his attempt to bust the unions.

So here's what I'm wondering:  how long before his consultants tell him it's OK to claim victimhood at the hands of the big bad, all-powerful unions?  DumFux News has guys calling the protesters thugs, and the union workers freeloadin' losers.  It's gotta be getting close to the time they switch it around and try depicting the unions as the fat cats and the poor little ol' Guvner as besieged on all sides by the evil greedy proletarian commies.

Hey, Colorado

Feeling a little sentimental I guess.  One of the favorites I used to sing to the kids at bedtime.


The Cost Of War

From WaPo
Without once referring to his son's death, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military's sacrifices and its troops' growing sense of isolation from society.
"Their struggle is your struggle," he told the ballroom crowd of former Marines and local business people. "If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight - our country - these people are lying to themselves. . . . More important, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation."
My first reaction is, "blow it out your ass, General."  I don't like that being my first reaction, but there it is.

There are lots of people losing their businesses, their jobs and their homes because when the military goes off to war, it leaves giant holes in local economies.  Do you think the people in towns like Fayetteville aren't aware of the cost?

Some dozens of people have been murdered by veterans returning with PTSD - a condition that is deliberately ignored by the military in many cases, with many service members being discharged and untreated for it;  many dozens of veterans have committed suicide.  Are the families of those dead soldiers and those murder victims somehow unaware of the cost of these wars, General?

And what about those of us who try to keep track of what's going on?  What about people who were against the wars in the first place, but who go right on paying their taxes, and waving their flags, and donating money to veterans' relief funds?  Every fucking day, General.

I can only imagine how lousy it must be for you to have had a son killed in a war you think nobody cares about.  And I pray every minute of every day that I never have to do more than imagine it.  But you're doing what you signed up to do, General Kelly.  So do it.  Or resign your commission and stop doing it.  But either way, stop whining about it.  And stop walking around with your chest all puffed up, trying to act like you're more important than what you claim to be fighting for.