Archive for April, 2011

Fox wins the morning

April 14, 2011

… for their excellent coverage of this political suicide. Just in case the editors at Fox accidentally acquire a sense of shame and this gets pulled or edited, here is a screenshot (click to enlarge):

Stay classy, Fox! Next they’re going to start their own It Gets Better project for young Republicans.

This is my favorite part:

As of this writing, Fox has not been able to obtain reaction from the White House.

Maybe they were not able to obtain a reaction from the White House because they for some reason wouldn’t return their phone call about why the President obviously made this guy kill himself. Or maybe they were not able to obtain a reaction from the White House because nobody at Fox could live with themselves after making that kind of phone call. I’d like to think that’s what it was.

I rarely read news story comments, but in this case… Well, prepare to be dazzled by the mathematical skills of “pieareround:”

How very sad for the family but it sounds like the student himself was making a political statement. Apparently both his present and his future looked bleak. So is it connected to Obama’s visit? Let’s do the math. Based on your proposed budgets your overall party isn’t very good at math so I’ll help you. A Junior in college is about 20 years old or approximately 4360 days old. He picked the one single day that Obama was there. The odds of this not being related are 1/7300. The odds of it being related are 7299/7300. So 0.02% chance it was not related to Obama’s visit. 99.98% that it was. That fact it was within hours (hour?) of Obama’s visit makes the odds it was connected jump to 99.99994%. You Democrat trolls (Drolls?) think it was a coincidence? Why don’t you Donkeys take off your blinders and try using objectivity? Go ahead and look it up, the definition is still the same. Yes, you drolls would be screaming there was a connection if the same thing happened with Bush. Both the family and this country have my condolences.

Those fools think it was a coincidence! Obviously there’s only a 0.02% chance of that! It’s MATH!

UPDATE

What if everyone forgot about the National Day of Prayer, like almost everyone does every year?

April 7, 2011

They don’t really answer that question in this commercial, but the vague response seems to be this: Terrible things would happen, that’s what! OMG OMG WTF Be afraid!

This idea of the Christian God being like an abusive stepdad who threatens to kill his family if they don’t buy him a nice tie for Father’s Day definitely has its biblical basis. Some of the more modern Christians try to frame this as if God’s usually protecting us, and that when horrible things happen that’s just the physical world attacking us for being sinful and it happens as a result of God’s inaction. But then there’s Isaiah 45:7:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

I still don’t get why people who believe in gods never seem to consider the possibility that God’s as petulant and childish as he appears to be in the Bible. If a real person made these kinds of threats, they’d probably be locked away. But when it’s an imaginary deity, suddenly they deserve worship. It makes no sense at all.

That last sentence was brought to you by Captain Obvious.

Egypt v. Mississippi

April 7, 2011

Today is apparently Beating Up On Mississippi Day. I just found these two recent polls, one from Egypt on peace with Israel and another of Mississippi Republicans on whether or not interracial marriage should be legal. The anti-miscegenation law in Mississippi has been repealed since 1967 by the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia).

It’s not a controlled experiment, obviously, but this could be a pretty good test on which region is more modern and progressive and open to embracing people who are different from them.

The good news is that 60% of Egyptians supporting maintaining peace with Israel and 50% support the secular Wafd Party. And the bad news?

Remember that’s only the Republicans in Mississippi, so it’s not necessarily representative of the entire state.

So far I haven’t seen any quotes from someone who votes for “illegal” justify it by saying that people can do what they want as long as it doesn’t go against the Bible, but would you really put it past them?

Wisconsin supreme court election

April 7, 2011

So it looks like that nice union thug lady defeated Scott Walker’s boyfriend David Prosser in the state Supreme Court election this week by only 204 votes. And our friend Governor Walker (@GovWalker on Twitter – send him an uplifting message, please) is throwing a hissy fit over it:

Gov. Scott Walker said this afternoon that the spring election results show there are “two very different worlds in this state.””You’ve got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.

The thing about these elections is that they deal with numbers of votes, and wouldn’t you know it but we actually have access to those numbers. So did “everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state [excepting Madison]” vote for David Prosser? That would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

But we don’t have to speculate. Here’s a map of the election results, county-by-county:

I count only three counties in one tiny corner of the state where the turnout for Kloppenburg was 35% or less. On the other hand, there are four counties with more than 65% for Kloppenburg, divided into two groups at opposite ends of the state.

Walker seems to imagine that the votes of people who happen to live in lightly populated areas are somehow worth more than the votes of those evil city-dwellers. Unfortunately for him, it just doesn’t work that way.

He also seems to want to believe that the population of Wisconsin is rigidly divided along rural/urban lines, and judging from this map that’s also clearly not the case. There are liberals and progressives out in the sticks and there are conservatives in the cities. But that kind of nuance scares politicians like Scott Walker who like to use this “two worlds” rhetoric to rile up their base. In fact, the “vast majority of the rest of the state” is very close to being 50/50.

UPDATE: An early recount result has Prosser up by 40 votes.

UPDATE II: And now Klopp’s up by 70something.

UPDATE III: A Waukesha county clerk named Kathy Nickolaus found votes on her laptop which may or may not have been added to the statewide totals, which would put David Prosser up by around 7500. If that’s the case, then there probably will be no recount and the conservatives will keep their hold on the WI Supreme Court.

Mississippi town bans fortune telling

April 7, 2011

The Meridian, MS town council has for for decades banned fortune telling, no doubt because it was such a popular place for fortune-telling types. But recently someone tried to open a business which would challenge that ban, and the town council decided to stick to their guns. The esteemed stateswoman Mary Perry explains the rationale for her decision:

“I read my Bible, too, and it talks about fortune telling and so forth,”

For those unfamiliar, the Bible is this religious text which is split into two sections. You’ve got the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is mostly about fortune telling and the New Testament covers And So Forth.

Perry continues with her brilliant legal analysis:

“Everyone has their own opinion and can do what they want but I try to follow what is legal and within my heart, and after praying about something. I kind of go with that”

There should be some kind of mechanism which automatically removes people from office when they vote against letting people do what they want and then explain their decision to not let people do what they want by saying that people can do what they want.

Maybe she meant that everyone can do what they want as long as what they want to do is run for office to overturn this weird prohibition. Probably more likely is the possibility that she’s just puking out word salad and has no idea what the actual sentences coming out of her mouth mean.

Look at this fucking Chilean bike race

April 7, 2011

A truly inspiring story of bipartisanship

April 6, 2011

Rachel Maddow on shutting down the state-run press in Libya

April 6, 2011

I’m still trying to get caught up from stuff that happened a week or so ago, so you’ll have to bare with me if you’ve already heard about this.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow usually does a decent job at reporting. She definitely has a perspective, and it’s usually completely in line with the Democratic Party line. Sometimes she criticizes them for giving in too much to Republicans and for being the wimps they are, but more often than not her editorializing crosses over into the same kind of partisan propaganda you get at Fox.

So it’s pretty weird for her to have a guest on where, through her questions, Maddow appears to take a more authoritarian position. But that’s what happened when she had MSNBC military consultant Jack Jacobs on her program. Here’s what she asked him:

One of the things that people have questioned is if the U.S. has this high level of electronic capability, why is Libyan state TV still on the air? Is that not one of the things they would want to shut down?

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting points out that this idea of taking out the state press in a country with which the US is at war is the same kind of thing Fox advocated during the beginning of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, along with several examples. The style in rhetoric is different, but the message is the same: Hey, we’re here to liberate you people, but the first thing we’ve got to do to free you from this dictator is to shut down news organizations we don’t happen to like. Once you only have the press we like, then you’ll really be “free.”

The FAIR report above is in a sense a little unfair to Maddow in comparing her to people advocating bombing journalists. The context of her discussion with Jacobs was the military’s ability to jam communications. The context of the Fox comments was bombing and killing journalists. The former’s called prior restraint; the latter’s a war crime. One means that some people can’t do their jobs, the other means that people end up getting killed. Still, it’s disappointing to see MSNBC cheerlead so enthusiastically for war in the way they have been lately.

What Fox teevee people say when they think they’re off-camera

April 6, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: It turns out that Cal Thomas is a total dick then, too!

Fox was planning on running this segment about how NBC supposedly didn’t cover that story about how General Electic didn’t pay any taxes last year. GE is the parent company of NBC, so on its face it looks like this would be a good example of the business side of NBC interfering with its news side. But the problem is that whoever was planning that segment didn’t bother to check to see if that was actually true or not (as it turns out, it wasn’t).

So it was apparently up to guest Jim Pinkerton to do the fact-checking for the staff of the show, while the cameras were already rolling. The rest of the guests basically ignored him and went on with the segment, almost as if the segment were scripted and Pinkerton had just made a bad impromptu joke. Then someone off camera calls “Cut!” but the cameras are still rolling, so we all get to see how Fox deals with the facts being wrong for their show in the middle of them making their show.

The best part by far is when Pinkerton points out for the second time that NBC Nightly News covered the story the previous night, and Cal Thomas still doesn’t believe it , so he asks Pinkerton if he actually saw it. It turns out he did. I half expected Thomas to start throwing a temper tantrum right there, insisting that he didn’t see what he saw.

Fox for some reason uploaded the full video, including the off-camera parts, and then pulled it. But you can’t delete something from the internet, so here it is:

Shit my co-workers say

April 5, 2011
  1. “I’m going to draw a cock and balls on his car every single day.” A few days later in the parking lot I saw whoever said that was making good on their promise.
  2. “My girl lost her job, then decided to go back to school. But she doesn’t have any health care, so I said, hey, we might as well get married.” I told him that was very romantic and that it sounded like every little girl’s dream. He agreed without realizing that I was being sarcastic.
  3. Two guys talking: “So you got the reserved spot this month?” “What?” “You know, the reserved parking spot.” “What? Oh… Yeah, I did.”
  4. Two other guys talking: “Hey, tell your brother I said hi.” “What for?”
  5. “And then he said, ‘Oh, you thought I meant a real pearl necklace?'”

Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking rap!

April 5, 2011

OK as far as I can tell this is not MC Hawking (whatever happened to that, anyway?), but it’s still awesome.

Stuff

April 5, 2011

  • YouTube: LOL Buffalo St Patrick’s Day
  • Village Voice: Inside the Nitrous Mafia, an East Coast Hippie-Crack Ring
  • NY Times: The Chinese government is cutting off phone calls when someone says “protest.”
  • YouTube: How to Piss in Public (sorry, ladies, this is guys-only)
  • Alex Jones: Crazy rant about “children of death.” He starts crying at around 4 minutes, and the last line he got from True Grit.
  • Drug War Rant: I’ll take your 21 minutes and lower it to 19 seconds
  • TED: Kevin Bales on how to combat (actual) modern slavery

The harm in “traditional healing”

April 5, 2011

A few weeks ago when I wrote about a new age exposition here in Western New York, a few commenters on Facebook were whining about how I could dare to criticize the idiots who attended and the frauds who sold overpriced garbage to them. Here’s what one of them said:

Let whackos be wackos. Nothing wrong with them at all- they’re just wackos. Live and let live….. Whether the vendors are con-artists or not… Wackos need to buy their wacky stuff. It’s good for the economy.

Usually I just direct people who make this kind of argument to whatstheharm.net for lots of examples with what’s wrong with “wackos” selling quack “treatments” to the gullible. But since I don’t have a Facebook account, I’ll have to just write about a recent example in the news here.

Tanzania has outlawed witch doctors and traditional “healers” recently due to a mass killing of albinos for their body parts to use in magic potions. But that doesn’t mean their government will do anything about one of them selling the same crap to desperate sick people when the “miracle pastor” selling it happens to be making a lot of money off of it.

There is a line 16 miles long stretching to Rev Ambilikile “Babu” Mwasapile’s house in a remote area of Tanzania. They’re all waiting to pay the equivalent of 30 cents to get a mixture of water and herbs which, according to the BBC, is “safe to drink.” The problem is that it’s not really safe to buy. The people waiting in line for this have no real shelter besides their automobiles (if they happen to have driven there), and no access to clean water. So far 52 have died just waiting in line to buy this stuff.

Maybe some of them would have died of whatever they were trying to cure anyway. After all, they wouldn’t be going to such extreme measures if they didn’t have some serious medical ailment already.

Fortunately even the guy profiting off of all this insanity is calling for fewer customers, since it’ll probably turn out that he’s caused more suffering in his business venture than he’s alleviated. When this story came out, he was asking for no new arrivals until April 1. Also the tests to see if his concoction had any medical benefit were still ongoing. But even if it turns out it has some measurable positive effect, he should still be subject to the law for selling it without doing any real tests or seeking any approval for it at all.

And we wonder why we have such terrible politicians

April 5, 2011

It’s because stupid people elect them.

So if you’re in a line at the bank or something like that, and if the people with you in line are representative of this poll, then chances are that either the person in front of you or the person behind you doesn’t know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. And if you include the next person in line behind / in front of them in that group, chances are that one of them thinks the Earth has a hollow core, or that it’s frozen or some crazy shit like that.

In fact, usually you do have to wait in line when you go to vote. So think about that:  people who go to vote to elect people to make incredibly important decisions which affect all of us (by that I mean humans and not just Americans) can’t even grasp the very basic reality of our situation here on Earth. 41% think astrology is scientific? That’s just barely more than the percentage of eligible voters who turned out to vote in 2010.

4chan!!11

April 5, 2011

So this is kind of mean, sad, and awesome all at once.

Here is the link to the webcam mentioned.

I’m not sure which is more pathetic: being one of the guys suckered into this, or being one of the guys sitting along at their computer watching the madness they caused. At least I know I definitely won’t be in one of those categories.