Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Global Warming Eats Island

Global warming is now starting to eat islands in the Indian Ocean, giving us a new technique for resolving territory disputes. Meanwhile, the deniers continue to deny. I guess if it doesn't happen where they are standing, it isn't real, being so fond of the "were you there" line of evidence as they tend to be. Or maybe they just don't care because its happening to, you know, them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tea Party Census Lunacy

An email came my way via the Tea Party crowd on the census, and since I haven't done a dissection recently, I thought I'd shine some light in the darkness on a few choice comments:

In the body of the letter it states;

Your response is important. results from the 2010 Census will be used to help community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share. I urge you to re-read the above paragraph.

Please note where it states, "help community get its fair share of
government funds for highways, schools, health facilities,
and many other programs you and your neighbors need."

Yes, this is known as "promoting the general welfare". It's mentioned in a little document known as the preamble to the Constitution, perhaps you should read it sometime.

Is this or is this not, what Stimulus was for, but we have
yet to see?

Ah, so if you don't see something it doesn't exist? Sort of like "no one was there when life began"? Would you even know it if you saw it? When was the last time you saw something outside your home state anyway? Or are you miseducated enough to think government activity is only legitimate if it helps you personally, or promotes agendas you support? What does the word "democracy" mean to you?

What have we been staunchly protesting? We have
been protesting out of control Govt. spending! Remember the
Corn husker Kickback? The Louisiana Purchase? Who decides
what is our "fair" share? SEIU? ACORN? Obama? Congress?

Um, congress, you know, that group elected by the people to represent and serve the people? Did you sleep through government class in high school? Or did your home school agenda skip that part?

We are all individual Americans and it is up to us, to
decide, as individuals, rather we continue to fall in line
and do as we are told, by this intrusive govt.

If filling out a piece of paper, so that government representatives know who it is they are representing, qualifies as "intrusive government" to you, I suggest you get out more. Most everyone east of the Atlantic, or south of the Rio Grande, would laugh at you.

I will be filling out the 2010 Census, but my response will
be limited to only informing them of how many people reside
in my home. If a 2010 Census worker shows up at my door, I
will have the United States Constitution in hand.

And they will rightly conclude that you have taken leave of your senses. Try reading that wonderful document instead of waving it at public servants in ignorance.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Boring Era?

Here's an interesting article on technological progress in recent years, and how we may overstate just how fast we are progressing.

My alternate Title:

Why Scientists Have Outperformed Politicians (and how those with power have better learned to hang onto it)

I would argue that the internet is every bit as transformative as the telephone and electricity, although that like most of our high tech gadgets were born in the 80's, and all they've done since is get smaller, faster and cheaper.

I would also argue that his criticisms have the implicit assumption that there is always somewhere to improve to, and thus could amount to seeing our rapid progress since the scientific revolution as some sort of fault. Maybe the bicycle really is the physically optimal structure from human propelled locomotion. Something has to be. And so it may be with nation-states, although it seems likely there is a more optimal structure for societies with over 400 million citizens in them than the one we use, since it was devised in a society with 1/100 that population. The big question is whether there is a transitional form if you will, from where we are to there. There may not be, at least not one without a lot of spilt blood.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hitchens on The 10 Commandments

Watch Christopher Hitchens improve the 10 Commandments". Commenter Jame Sweet nails the value Hitchens has for the atheists' cause, and why the "not scholarly enough" criticism doesn't fly for him:

If you want someone to go on Fox News for sixty seconds and defend the atheist position ... Hitchens is your man. I think it is exactly because of his willingness to fiercely pursue an argument with a weak or poorly-understood foundation that he is able to acquit himself so well in the fast-paced fact-lite world of cable news and other forms of mainstream media. He makes his point fast, furious, and forcefully, with no apologies, no equivocation, and no caveats. He tends to be difficult to take out of context, because each statement (when he's on these types of show) is fully self-contained. There's no nuanced case-building, just raw talking points delivered with passion and fury.

Exactly. Nuanced, detailed, and scholarly-correct arguments mean little in today's socio-political context. One need only examine the Global Warming e-mail scandal to see that. We certainly need the scholarly defense in our arsenal, and atheists have no shortage of that. But we also need the Hitchens of the world to parse it down into bite sized chunks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nastiest Funniest Political Joke at Palin's Expense

What's the difference between Sarah Palin's mouth and her vagina?

Only 20% of what comes out of her vagina is retarded.

Irony Galore in Mississippi Lesbian Prom Incident

In the great prom lesbian incident, we get a nominee for greatest ironic statement ever:

Southside Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he's seen the South portrayed as "backwards" on Web sites discussing the issue, "but a lot more people here have biblically based values."

Right, you're not backward, you just live by a 2,000 year old rule book. And we wonder why reason doesn't work with these people.