Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Time!

It is the Christmas time of the know elves seem to be popping up and furry red hats are in vogue.

So get off the blogs and get with some family or friends,\.

Excuse me, I have to go surf so blogs now, to get away from my family...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Yes, scifi girls are hot, even without the latest plasma rifle.

Aetiology considers if smart girls can be pretty as well. Can a pretty girl be into science fiction and fantasy, or RPG's and comics? Is it possible in this mad world of ours!!! Maybe is scifi just for the boys, and the dolls and Oprah are for girls and their tea parties? And is it just a question of the Boys Only Club, or do most girls just not want to join in?

And what does this say of guys (We had to being it back to us.)? Can handsome strapping men be into and enjoy, ney, love science fiction and fantasy? Is it possible...


What am I saying, is it not obvious?

Yes, yes it is.

ID - Intelligent Design


It surprises me the numbers of people, including those with science degrees, who are all too willing to acquiense to ID supporters. Let us discuss and tech the Controversy (Trademark pending). Let us be open to the possiblity they say.

And that is the trap of it. It is not about openmindedness (Though it is a lovely tool to bludgeon the kindhearted who open the door for you...), it is about validation, about surplanting evidence, research, and REALITY, with a comforting opinion.


Okay? There is no controversy. Unless you want to discuss, seriously, the Holocaust, the Moon landings, and our alien masters. That is what ID is. Another member of that estemed club. Just like all the people sending in their "proofs" that disprove in totality Einstein's work (I need to point to totality as, with all science, portions of his work have been superceded or disproven - some in his lifetime. But the core of his work stands.).

So here, from Pharyngula, so discussions and words on ID nonscence.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on ID
The great astronomer with some great thoughts, like:
Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes "acts of God" are the people who write insurance forms.

Another day, another ignorant pundit

All the creationist fallacies in one easy-to-read pamphlet

A scientific contribution from Intelligent Design

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

From the Union of Concerned Scientists,

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science much as one can enjoy bad news.

Intelligent Design research

is right...hang on a minute it's in one of these piles. REALLY! I had it a minute ago.

From, RichardDawkins.Net, The God Lab

And after all this piffle, amounting to nothing we get this:
Ronald Numbers, a historian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has studied creationism, views it in a different light. The lab's existence will help sustain support within the anti-evolution community, he says. "It will be good for the troops if leaders in the ID movement can claim: 'We're not just talking theory. We have labs, we have real scientists working on this.'"

Oh, great! They can SAY they have this or that. That is what this guy wants to hang his hat on? Really? It is all about morale and rallying the troops? Really?

Well, I;m not surprised. That is all they have in ID, a lot of people in denial on the evidence and want that sense of denial to be granted status as science. ..we...DON'T...humor them. If they want to sit around and talk piffle, be philosophers, be poets, or just be theologians.

The SWIFT raids

At Talking Points Memo.

They are considering the full affects of the raids that grabbed over 1,000 people. The families torn apart, the community rended, and what the cost of it really is for us.

The First Lady is explaining it to us all.

You can see the video on Crooks and Liars.

But it seems the FL is taking a like tack as her like minded pundits on various subjects. For instance, why are things so bad in Iraq and why are people in the US opposed to the war now?

Hmm? What will she say?

Laura: I understand why those polls are like that—because of the coverage that we see every single day in Iraq. It is not encouraging coverage for sure, There's no doubt about it, but I do know that there are a lot of good things happening that aren't covered and I think the drumbeat in the country—from the media—from the only way people know what's happening unless they happen to have a loved one deployed there. It's discouraging…I'd like to see the media get a little bit more balanced in view of it….


Sigh! Yeah, Conservatives LOVE balance! Oh, yeah! Why? Because BALANCE means, when you criticize them, you have to point off you are equally likely to be completely wrong. Balance!

When 1000's and 1000's are fleeing the country, many to dictatorial nations for safety. When thousands are dying every months. When we lose American soldiers every is a new school, a flat tax bill, a US funded paper, a new army unit (who'll be deserting tomorrow), etc...How is that going to undo the death, the suffering, the fear, the instability, and the money pit?

Apparently, they have been working to build an extended bedroom into Bush's Bubble, for Barbs. How sweet.

Of course, the FL is not just sticking to the party notes. She also has come out to point out that Sec. Rice would not run for president. The reason? She doesn't have a family to aid and support her...


Friday, December 15, 2006

Times and Dobson, tsk, tsk.

From AMERICAblog,

Another doctor is annoyed at Dobson's "research." The issue, that he cherry picked his work, and misrepresented his results. Bad move Dobbie. For shame.

And for Time, this means you published a plagiarized gay bashing article. If the one isn't bad enough, it was a stolen work. Bad move Time. For shame.

Maybe you can do another Ann Coulter cover story and "balance" things out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dobson, taken to the woodshed.

At AMERICAblog you can read a response to James Dobson's TIME piece, going after Mary Cheney.

Carol Gilligan, an educational psychologist at NYU, is none too pleased at Dobson quoting her reasearch...I mean misquoting and misusing it.

Give her thoughts on his abuse a read.

Cheap, just cheap.

From, Crooks and Liars,

They have been having quite a time tarring, the up and coming young senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.

As you can see Obama - Bin Laden. They sound similar...WHAT A GREAT TALKING POINT for a serious political interview. CNN should be ashamed to go there.

Then you got Jeff Greenfield make bad, no incredibly dumb, jokes about Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of Iran) having a similar dress sense. It first makes no sense, and second, unlike Kerry, has no basis in a flubbed line. It is just dumb.

What is going on with CNN?

Not that this is all that new a strange insult out of CNN. Your liberal media indeed.

Meet the Idiots

With some help from AMERICAblog:

Meet Roy Moore, he's a former State Chief Supreme Court Justice, he wants the 10 Commandments in every courthouse. And he thinks that Muslims, all Muslims, can never be faithful to America or the Constitution. To him belief in the Quran is incompatible with belief in the Constitution. Now the Christian bible... A Muslim theocracy is bad, a Christian one is a mandate from God. Again, meet Roy Moore. He is an idiot.

Meet James Dobson. He's a major religious leader (until his scandal hits, and then everyone will deny knowing him), and a big media star, with short ethics/morals bits on many local news shows. He IS the epitome of the Religious Right. He dislikes single parent families. He dislikes single sex families. He dislikes a lot. But he "hides" it for the masses, with platitudes. Next up on his list, divorce. He not really care for women. So, yes, he is an idiot.

Tim Johnson of South Dakota in the hospital.

I have been very sad to learn today that Sen. Tim Johnson has been rushed to the hospital in Washington. It may be a stroke, but doctors can't day yet. It is a sad day. While it does have political ramifications, it is also sad to we as I have met the Senator years back, and knew his son ages ago.

I hope he will be able to make a swift recovery and be with his family.

The Dennis Kucinich Effect

Well, one more hat is in the ring for the presidential race of '08.

Dennis Kucinich

He has no chance. But good for him. Sure, he'll be picked on, ridiculed, mocked, but, he has a platform, clear positions, and points to make. He wants to ensure the progressive arguments don't get drowned out too fast by the quest for who is "winnable". Sadly we don't look for the best candidate, just the place holder. Just like tales of old.

So I wish Dennis Kucinich the best of luck, and hope he finds merit in the campaign (Heck, it got him a wife already.).

I hope his message gets out, and has a positive effect on the primaries and, hopefully, keeps the rest honest as they move to a possible final run.

This Year of Deepak Chopra Nuttery

The name Deepak Chopra is well known in many circles. He gets a good deal of credit and respect, interviewed in high level magazines and on big time interview shows, and of course given a forum on major websites and blogs, like Huffington Post.

But the man is a fool. Sure, he's a doctor. Sure, he may some things that make sense, but most of the time he is off in his New Age of Wonder, selling his pseudoscientific quackery to the masses.

Here's a link to some audio on the wonderful Julia Sweeney's thoughts on Deepak.

Pharyngula has done many posts on the topic of Dr. Chopra and his flummery. Here are many from this year in chronological order. Enjoy.

Moonbat anti-evolutionist: Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra does it again
Glutton for punishment
Chopra, go play with Steve Irwin's ghost on the astral plane
Deepak Chopra and his magic love god
Chopra, again
Shhh...don't tell Deepak
Deepak Chopra slides farther into irrelevancy
Chopra gets brainy
Oh, no...not more Chopra!
The Chopra Delusion
Chopra rambles on some more
If there were a god, he'd make Deepak Chopra shut up
It's never going to end

Here is some work from Respectful Insolence.

The Trouble with Deepak Chopra, Part 2
The Trouble with Deepak Chopra, Part 3: More Choprawoo
Wading through more Choprawoo
Yawn. More Choprawoo.
Chopra's baaaaack

I'm taking back some of my sympathy for England...though I still love her.

As Pharyngula points out, BBC has done just an abominable job on a recent story on creationist Ken Ham. Not that they defamed him, but quite the opposite, they lapped up his ridiculous statements with vigor. He has opened up a creation 'science' museum. The very idea should open him up to instant incredulity and distrust.

As PZ Meyer points to even when Ham makes statements like:

Two-thirds of the US population lives within six hours' drive of Cincinnati, but Mr Ham has bigger ambitions for tackling agnostics further afield.

I appreciate they are in England, but please. Cincinnati is the population center of America? No. He is just fluffing himself up, just as he does when talks about "science", or when he opens his mouth. Why does the BBC feel the need to give him such carte blanche?

Well, look at the article they wrote related to an earlier article of mine about Truth in Science sending parcels of Intelligent Design material to schools. The BBC article is less than scathing in its approach this pseudoscience, more repeating points than going after lies and falsehoods. It is disappointing, from such an austere organization.

But over at the Guardian, they write on Intelligent Design, prodding at its flaw riddled corpse. The BBC could learn a lesson there.

I'm calling a Delay of Game, 10 yard penalty...don't make me make it 20!

So here we are now. The election is over. The Iraqi Study Group report is not only in the president's hands, but the public's hands. Time to make your next play, Mr. President. You said before Christmas. Now it is sometime next year.

I'm blowing the whistle, throwing the flag, and balling you out.

Is it not bad enough the Study Group, choose to wait until after the election to release the report, but them you sit on it, and now want more time to talk, plan, and learn. LEARN! Isn't it a little late in your life to pick up an interest in education? (Not that education is a bad choice for people later in life.)

But come on now. You get the ISG to drag its feet, now you do your bit. The report isn't the one you wanted, and you've known since well before the election what it would bring. And, as mentioned in Crooks and Liars, you are off on a "Listening Tour".

So let me get this straight, you say you have been engaged in this war, talking with generals all along, but now after getting this report, where they went and interviewed a lot of these people, you now have to as well? Sigh, I'm winded and drained.

As Jack Cafferty points out in the video on their site, he gets to not make "the change in course", he gets cover, as he has to again study the options. And by study I mean scrounge for everyone he can find who will just back whatever his opinion in at this point.

You know, I think I can be pigheaded at time. But this president is an excellent lesson in getting over yourself, and talking some good advice.

The media is to blithe about this, talking about the president seeking out all sorts to talk and engage with on this subject. His embracing all of this information.

This is a great thing, the thing great presidents do. But it is the thing they do before major decisions, such as the one that got us in this mess to start. This bares mentioning as well. Where was this zeal for good Intel and insight three and four years ago? Where was it indeed.

The Christian Pretzel

It is amazing the twists and turns one can make to bring together to radically different activities and make them stick.

From Pharyngula, we hear about a new discussion of the Left Behind video game. Based on the ridiculous books (I'll have to pull up the link to an evangelical fellow who chapter by chapter dissects and ridicules the books for people to read through) about the mythical end of days of the...well it isn't really from the of some nuts.

In the game you fight to survive and "save" people. Either you gun them down, or convert them. The trouble is that for a pacifistic people this seems incongruous.

But not to worry, the game makers explain it all.

Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.

Doesn't it just make you feel all warm inside. Kill, but pray over it, Gods cool with it. The reasoning of mobsters, pirates, and mass murders for centuries.

A touching thought for Christmas.

Right Wing science at work...for YOU!

Among the nutty fringe of the ring wing and the religious nutters has come a new break through in science.

Soy makes you gay. Spit out that tofu burger you liberal fool!!!

Via Crooks and Liars, we learn World News Daily has sounded the alarm on soy. Though apparently through the magic of science, soy sauce is still manly, so slather it on boys.

From PZ Myers, you can learn the deep flaws in the "research", plus the generalizations and outright lies about soys effects on the body. A good read, from a great researcher.

So thank you, James Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries. You are a credit to science, just like te Discovery Institute and Truth in Science.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Neopolitan Iraq

Three different flavors of national identity, one country. Mmmmm. Tasty.

Not really. Dividing the nation of Iraq (merged into what it was guessed it the lot who have been bollocking up nation construction for over a century now. Who are our flavors...I mean, national identities? For those not in the know (the majority of employees of the US government, almost everyone hired to rebuild Iraq, etc.), we are talking about the Sunni and Shia (the major players/opponents of Islam), and the Kurds. There are actually many other players in our little game- but lets not overtax our brains, hmm?

Now there are some who think breaking the country up is the best way to go. Three new nations. Everyone’s happy. Top Gun's theme music plays. We all high five each other. Roll the credits.

But wait...shoot! It isn't that simple. Beyond the other innumerable troubles this brings, we have one hamdinger. The Kurds. Remember them?

You know the Kurds, well, since they don't get in the news much, as they aren't (to the best of the news corps recollection) Shia or Sunni, they aren't a problem and don't count. Never mind the "fights" to annex cities into the new Kurdistan (Which is not trying to make itself a new state!>) in the north. Never mind that they don't want to raise the Iraqi flag, but one they made for themselves. Never mind...oh, you know.

Many in Iraqi Kurdistan have a dream, to break off, with its oil and US support and become sovereign. To finally make official the nation state that has been denied their people for so long. Not too bad for us. Kurds, overall, are not as fervent in their religion as other groups in the Muslim faith, and we have been able to deal and negotiate with them well (granted we have hosed them when it was convenient). It would be nice if they were the face of the Middle East.

Now the trouble of it all. This would lead to the other Kurds (Yes, they don't only exist in that one place. - Shocking!), in Iran, Syria, and Turkey to get agitated (More agitated, since they are deemed terrorist in places like Turkey.) and then agitate for land of their own, which they believe is their right, to help fully build a proper Kurdistan. And, of course, flush with oil money, a liberated Iraqi Kurdistan can do such a thing. Now it should be pointed out the Kurds in the various nations Armenia to Turkey have been historically, up to this day, treated quite cruelly, populations and cities being wiped out.

But there is another side to this. That it hoses over Iran, Syria, and Turkey (Hey. I thought we liked Turkey. - Not that much. - Oh.)? No, Syria and Iran in no way want this outcome. To have to deal with a better armed Kurdish minority is something they want to avoid. So it is in there interest to help prevent the breakup of Iraq.

I bring this up, because, sadly the Republicans, and it seems also the many of the Democrats, are without a clue when it comes to Iraq. I don't know, do they not study these things, do they not care? But they should realize that these countries do have an interest in stabilizing this country. Because if it goes, they are going to face the aftermath of it. And that could widen instability, and threaten their states. If we aren't even willing to sit down with them and discuss the dangers of this possible outcome...

We are fools.

The State of the Union *Update*

Sorry. I am sure the president was going to get around to this, but...gosh...he seems busy.

Seems that in our current flourishing economy, things aren't so great for some of us. As talked about in this AMERICAblog post, "More Americans losing their homes through foreclosures.",

"A mortgage survey due on Wednesday is expected to show that more and more Americans are in danger of losing their homes. The quarterly report from the Mortgage Bankers Association is also expected to show that the same mortgage products that helped send the housing market into the stratosphere are now weighing homeowners down."

Here is a direct link to the Reuters story, here.
And more from Bonddad Blog.

It goes on to point out that October foreclosures were the highest of the year. That is not a good trend...for homeowners, or for the US of A.

But I am sure the president was getting around to this.

It is the irony of the love given this economic condition we American are enjoying now.

Cost of living keeps going up. But you have to fight years to get a minimum wage increase, fighting economists who shill and say the raise will hurt the economy...TOMMYROT!!! Wage earners all over the lower to mid range are suffering. Bankruptcy laws are now set against those with little money. Insurance and medical costs are against the average person.

But wait! The stock market is up. That's good...we are told. But what does it mean to the average person on the street? Do they have more cash in their pocket or bank account? How many of us are invested, and how much is in, and in the right investment? Hmm? Sure many people are making some money, like many people gamble; play the slots, etc, but how many are getting rich, and how many are getting enough to get a new TV...and how many are getting enough to pay for the buffet? That is the truth of it. The market is up. The companies and the big time investors rake in cash...and I'm sure that whole trickle down economics thing will kick in any decade now.

And that is where we Americans are now. Heaven forbid you have a severe medical problem, one which sucks up your savings (as the hospital bill won't be a lean one), the law isn't there to offer an out to the average person, those are reserved for the more valued personages of this land, the corporate entity. Apparently, only a corporation has a good reason to run out of money. I do exaggerate slightly, but the point is that the trend of governance has moved in the direction of screwing over the populace. I wish there was a nicer way I would want to put it. But these decisions are in our best interest. And I don't want it to seem I am partisan in this. While much of this is Republican and conservative ideological pigheadness, many Democrats have seen fine going along with many of these changes, including some people eyeing a run at the presidency.

This country has a slew of troubles to deal with in the age. Allowing the lower 80 percent of the nation to slip into poverty and insolvency is not a way forward. It is not something to get to after the BIG things are fixed. It is something that needs to be dealt with now. It is the greatest threat to this country.

I am sure the president is going to get around to this any day now.

Where the Great Bear is heading.

Here are a couple of interesting analsis of the state and future of Russia.

No, it is not good news.

Who Lost Russia?
A longer historical view.

Losing Russia.
A more current events view.

Not too comforting.

Getting to know..eeew!

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has an article on a good friend to all, Glenn Beck

It goes into his charming way of suggesting concentration camps are the way to go, if you don't go his way. Talk about an awkward pick up line.