Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Giuliani's wealth

Giuliani is a wealthy man, he has an embarrassment of rich problems and skeletons in his closet.

Crooks and Liars looks at some of the newer ones.

Giuliani is the first thrice-married serial adulterer to ever even run for president, a fact that most reporters have ignored entirely. When the Village Voice reported a few months ago that Giuliani kept his emergency command center in 7 World Trade Center, in part so he could maintain a convenient love nest for his extra-marital affairs, the media, once again, yawned.


And how about this.

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

And then there are the issues with his business, as covered by the Village Voice.

So with all of this, how long can the magic in the words nine eleven last for him?

And with Romney stumbling, it seems to put Huckabee is place to hope, unless McCain can muscle himself out to the front again

Huckabee is scary. He is a conservative through and through. He may smile all the time, but he isn't friendly to gays, to reproductive rights, to science, and so many other things. It is a smile that hangs on a harshly conservative frame. If he stays up front about what he is, at least it might be an interesting debate about where people want the country to go...sorry, I was dreaming for a moment. The attack ads will come, and the media will play up whatever story seems fun and easy to push. Matthews does love to laugh during his show, and he does love mocking the Democratic candidate.

They're back, baby!

That's right! Just, like Hanukkah Zombie, the great cartoon Futurama has returned from the grave.

Out this week is Bender's Big Score. The movie will later this year be broken out into 4 episodes on Cartoon Network.

It is a fun adventure, taking fans across the Futurama universe and propelling the crew of Planet Express further into the lunacy. From Nixon's head to Kwanzabot, everyone's back.

Plus the DVD has a video commentary on the YouTube commercial the crew behind Futurama made for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, with Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, and Al Gore. Also a full episode of the award winning Hypnotoad. And a great and fun Math lecture on the math of the series, given to the crew of the series. And did I mention another great commentary for this show.

The first of four new movies. We can only hope this will be followed by more movies, or perhaps more seasons.

Homeopathy, ha!

Dr. Novella has a look at homeopathy. He took part on a panel discussion, and wrote a report at the end of October. Also he has come back to argue and explain the issue further.

My Day with the Homeopaths - Part I

Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion titled, A Debate: Homeopathy - Quackery Or A Key To The Future of Medicine? hosted by the University of Connecticut Medical Center. You might think that the title is a bit of a false dichotomy, but in this case it is accurate, for the two sides of this debate occupied far ends of the belief spectrum with a wide gulf between us. Although I did not hear anything new from the homeopathy side, it was a very useful experience to hear both how they are formulating their claims and rationalizations these days, and the response and questions from the audience (which, by show of hands, was comprised at least half by practicing homeopaths).


My Day with the Homeopaths - Part II

As I discussed on Friday, last week I was part of a panel discussion on homeopathy hosted by UCONN. It was an interesting experience, as I knew it would be. In part I of my report from the conference I talked about the plausibility arguments against homeopathy and Dr. Rustom Roy’s unconvincing response. Today I will complete my report, discussing the clinical evidence.


Homeopathy, Anecdotal Evidence, and Plausibility

Reader “Pragmatic” left the following comment on my recent homeopathy entry and I wanted to respond to it because it is very typical of what I hear from homeopaths to defend their “craft”. A decent response would be long enough for a blog entry in itself, so that’s what I did.


Sloppy Thinking about Homeopathy from The Guardian

Jeanette Winterson recently wrote a piece for The Guardian titled In Defense of Homeopathy. It’s always fascinating to read or hear people defending nonsense - in doing so they have no choice but to use bad evidence and bad logic. Homeopathy has no scientific plausibility and the clinical evidence shows that homeopathy does not work for any specific indication. So homeopathy’s defenders have a real task on their hands - thankfully they are armed with numerous logical fallacies and every manner of sloppy thinking, so they are up to the task.


Condi? Have you met Sir Humphrey Appleby?

The new story about Secretary Rice is funny, except it is a bit disturbing.

Okay, I'll admit it. I often get my news from reading the crawl on the t.v. while I'm working out. But, I'm not the Secretary of State during major international crises, including a war I helped start. But, in fact, your Secretary of State also gets news about major world developments from the t.v. while she's working out. And, bad news does not interfere with her exercise regimen.

Just in case anyone still wonders why U.S. foreign policy is such a disaster, this passage in Maureen Dowd's column is illustrative:
In 2006, when Israel invaded Lebanon and many civilians died, including children, Condi and W. drew Arab and U.N. ire for not forcing Ehud Olmert to broker a cease-fire faster.

That same year, in another instance of spectacular willful ignorance, she was blindsided by the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections.

As she described it to Bumiller, she went upstairs at 5 a.m. the morning after the Palestinian elections in 2006 to the gym in her Watergate apartment to exercise on her elliptical machine. She saw the news crawl reporting the Hamas victory.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s not right,’ ” she said. She kept exercising for awhile but finally got off the elliptical trainer and called the State Department. “I said, ‘What happened in the Palestinian elections?’ and they said, ‘Oh, Hamas won.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness! Hamas won?’ ”

When she couldn’t reach the State Department official on the ground in the Palestinian territories, she did what any loyal Bushie would do: She got back on the elliptical.

“I thought, might as well finish exercising,” Rice told Bumiller. “It’s going to be a really long day.” It was one of the few times she was prescient on the Middle East.
This is like something out of comedy. It is almost exactly like the old brilliant and classic British comedy series, Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister. It poked fun at incompetent, corrupt, and uncertain politicians and the entrenched and self-serving Civil Service. Quite fun.

In one episode we saw this very idea played out, but they were making an exaggerated joke!

In it, a major crisis is breaking out somewhere in the world, the main character, Jim Hacker, tries to find and talk with the Foreign Minister (the equivalent of Secretary of State) to find out what is really happening. But is shocked to learn he is clueless as his TV is broken and he can't watch the news to learn what is happening. Shocked, Hacker asks to be informed if he learns something, and the FM counters and ask that Hacker tell him as he has a TV tuned to the news.

It's supposed to be a punchline!

How come this administration is working so hard to live up to so many old punchlines? If they ever try to make a serious movie about this administration, it will be impossible. It will be the Wizard of Oz of political pictures (see Imperial Life in the Emerald City). Historically, it will be hard to believe it is real...but it is and we have to survive it.


For those of us who like looking at polls, surveys, and just watching electoral horse races, I think it is of value to look at a recent story on Daily Kos.

Zogby "interactive" polls are junk

What we are looking at are online and open polls. These are the opposite of sound research and surveying. It is like looking at an open poll on your favorite website or blog, or done on CNN's site and taking them as saying ANYTHING of value.
How a poll that is essentially a web poll can be considered credible is beyond me. But you don't have to take my word for it. Look at how poorly the Zogby interactive poll performed in 2006.

What is annoying is this.

Seriously, Zogby polls suck. Yet according to Google News right now, the "Hillary loses against all Republicans in the general" poll has been cited by over 200 media, while the far more respectable Gallup effort which shows that Hillary in fact beats them all has been far less reported.


The media has its agenda, which right now is the "Hillary is fading" narrative. The hard core supporters of the other Democratic primary candidates have their agenda -- to raise bullshit "electability" arguments against Hillary.

It is a sad thing, but that is the lazy media for you. The falling front runner is a GREAT story, and it seems to literally writes itself. And those that want Clinton out will keep bringing it up.

So the lesson. When you see a survey, consider taking time to look at how sound it is, or at least see if it has been considered by someone and critiqued. It is too easy to just go with the flow and harp on whatever poll promotes the line you want.

Tools for science teachers...good tools for teachers.

PZ Myer points to new tools to "provide direct linkage between the worlds of scientific research and the K-16 classroom".

He points to the inaugural issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach. It's something for teachers to read, other than the garbage the cdesign proponentsists put out.

Cheery story, cheery TV

From Feministing:

A woman in Spain, Svetlana Orlova, was killed by her by her ex-boyfriend after she rejected his marriage proposal on a television talk show.

He says the problems in their relationship were over money. She pointed out there was a bit the abuse.

Days later, Navarro stabbed her to death. The television show is denying any responsibility for her death (shocking), though some are calling for the show to be canceled. How about about they just not potentially put women in danger by enabling abusers to get access to them? Seems simple, no? But that wouldn't be good television, I guess.
This also might be something to think about if you watch those "Who's the daddy" shows, or other titillating shows put out.

How often are producers throwing lit matches at open powder kegs?

And how often are people sitting back and watching, for their own amusement?

Romney mess

TPMtv looks at the Mitt Romney mess. They do their classic job of organizing the facts and getting facts out in front and away from the mess.

And to make the point that the question of Muslims in the is a serious and looming question Talking Points Memo looks at the ranking Muslim in the current administration.

Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American and Muslim, has been a senior member of
President Bush's foreign policy team from the start. He has been successively, US Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-05), US Ambassador to Iraq (2005-07) and now
US Ambassador to the United Nations (2007-).

He's often discussed as a potential Secretary of State should a Republican win the presidency in 2008.


So it is not SO hypothetical, it is a question of what biases will be taken into the next administration.

And there is that sweet sight of hypocrisy...though I have noticed that conservatives are often blind to that in their leaders.

To the Egg Mobile!

Feministing points to a funny little comic panel mocking the proposed Colorado law to give human eggs constitutional rights.

You'll never hurt another Microscopic-American ever again!

The stem of stem cell research

The eminent PZ Myer takes us through the new breakthroughs in stem cell research, and the complexities involved.

Stem cell breakthrough

What does it take to turn a stem cell into a cure?

Myths on Autism

I will admit that I have oblivious to the fervor over vaccination and autism. That is until, I heard Robert Kennedy crying over the issue. It was later I heard about the actual science, and reality.

Dr. Novella on Neurologica goes in to it.

The Battle Continues Over Vaccines and Autism

I and some other medical science bloggers have spent much time addressing the claims of antivaccinationists and those who attempt to link vaccines and autism. This is because they are engaged in nothing less than an all out campaign to eliminate vaccines. They seem to be driven by ideology and fear, their tools are misinformation, lies, and logical fallacies, and they have been tireless in waging war against vaccines. On their side are dubious and discredited scientists, misguided celebrities, naive or scaremongering politicians, and families who range from sincere but misinformed to ideological true believers. This antivaccination movement overlaps considerably with those who are anti-science or anti-scientific medicine (promoting instead some form of “alternative” medicine). They also enjoy much support from anti-government conspiracy theorists.


And also another attempted link.

Wireless Technology and Autism

A recent press release reporting on an alleged association between the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from wireless devices and autism has sparked a round of credulous news reporting, mainly in computer and technology magazines and websites.


If your in Minneapolis on Friday...

PZ Myer is noting that this Friday night is chance to listen to the classic tripe (Darwin = Hitler, etc.)
Remember, the crappy talk by John West blaming Darwin for Hitler is at 7 on 30 November at the UM campus — come prepared to be critical. The fun part is that we're meeting between 5:30 and 6:45 in the Campus Club, on the fourth floor of the Coffman Union. Then some really good news: Mark Borrello, UM's expert in the history of science, is going to speak briefly after West's drivel. West isn't going to get away with anything, at least on Friday.

At least he stopped by for the free pens...

Crooks and Liars has the video from Olbermann's show on how the president got really involved with the Middle East Peace Summit. He came over, gave a quick flubbed speech, flubbed a photo op, and then headed for the door...I guess there was a game on.

And here I thought this was all about creating some sort of positive legacy for himself. Man can't even be bothered to do that for himself.

Now, really! Twice? Twice, so many people thought, "Yeah, he'd make an okay prez." Really?

The article notes he made a cameo at the conference. Not surprising. He's making cameos his whole presidency. He's the cameo president, just guest starring his way through.

Mitt, you gave us irony, you gave us hypocrisy...

Mitt "Don't Pick on us Mormons" Romney seems to be uncomfortable with the idea of Muslims in his cabinet...and government.

While he has tried to deny the statements on his part, Talking Points Memo's Election Central has dug up corroboration that he did and has been hostile to the idea of Islam in his House.

Olbermann hit on this issue in his Worst Person selection tonight. The video is on One Good Move. So he feels that the fact there are so few Muslims in the US is a reason to not bring them in, as opposed to the small number of Mormons? Should we even bring up the fact Atheists make up a far larger group then either the two...does that make them more eligible now? Didn't think so.

But the best comes in his newer statement that he would think they, Muslims, could have a the lower levels of the administration.

Glad that doesn't sound condescending.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Muhammad the Bear is apparently a double for the Prophet

Apparenently in the Sudan they have little tolerance for toy's names, or more aptly too much time on their hands.

From the BBC:

A British schoolteacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam's Prophet, after she allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.


Ms Gibbons, who joined the school in August, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in her teddy bear and asked the class to pick names for it, he said.

"They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad," Mr Boulos said, adding that she then had the children vote on a name.

Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad as their favourite name.

Mr Boulos said each child was then allowed to take the bear home at weekends and told to write a diary about what they did with it.

He said the children's entries were collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover and a message which read, "My name is Muhammad."


charges were being prepared "under article 125 of the criminal law" which covers insults against faith and religion.


So naming a teddy bear the same name a family could name their child is an insult to Islam? To have a book about said toy with said toy's name is an insult to Islam?

I would again stress that with all of Sudan's problems, is this for the best, but I think this type of law and attitude most likely plays into many Sudanese issues.

DI and it's long way.

PZ Myer has an interesting look at the recent acquiistion of conservative film critic Michael Medved by Team Discovery Institute.'s an interesting indicator of the Discovery Institute's future direction. Science is a dead-end for them, but appealing to the worst aspects of right-wing culture is a growth industry. It also lines up well with the direction taken in the Expelled movie: no honest content, but much rabid huffing and puffing. I will be looking forward to Medved's review of that movie, although I suspect I could write it right now. With my eyes closed. In crayon. While drunk.

Foisting ones religion on those in need. -- It's not just for pharmacist anymore.

Feministing takes note of a Catholic family physician who refuses to believe in contraception.

So glad to see those years in medical school were not in vain. So glad that denial of basic medical services is spreading. I'm sure it's for the best...
(on camera): Is it right, do you think, to deny a woman who has been raped emergency contraception, when time is so limited to actually treat that?
ROSS: You Know, our goal is to provide excellent medical care for all of the patients that we encounter.
KAYE: But does that sit OK with you?
ROSS: That sits OK with me.
So nice. There for rape victims...with moral support. Apparently he went to a school where the M in M.D. is for that twisted morality of fundamentalism.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This is getting, it is just sick.

What does it really say about societal attitudes when a business is more willing to shell out money for a sick pet then for a sick partner?

What does that say?

Palm Beach Community College is not a major college, or a major business. But it just says up for pets and vote down partner benefits.

Biblical Logic

PZ Meyer shows up some of that classic bible reasoning.

According to God's Word, thorns came after Adam's sin,
about six thousand years ago, not millions of years ago.
Since we have discovered thorns in the fossil record,
along with dinosaurs and other plants and animals,
they all must have lived at the same time as humans,
after Adam's sin.

That about says it all doesn't it? Nothing more to say.

Expelled, still no intelligence allowed

The approach of Ben Stein's Expelled continues. And as it does get closer, it is easier to see, for being empty, silly, and...biblical. Really. I have to thank Stein for his work. The DI try hard to claim they are a serious organization (then hire a conservative movie critic as an expert) and secular one. Then Stein comes around and makes the point, it is about old Beardy Face.

PZ Myer looks at it and how silly a man Stein has become. And we are talking about a man who's beeen both a supporter of Nixon AND a game show host.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things to be skeptical about...

Here is a good video of Michael Shermer debunking the ridiculousness that is James Van Praagh. If you don't know of him, or are blocking the memory, he's the psychic that is the basis of the TV show Ghost Whisperer...riddle that out.

Also the Aussie series Chaser's War on Everything, while going after and mocking politicians and pop culture, also like to go after con artists like John Edwards.

Here is a link on BadPsychics.

2nd Annual Carl Sagan blog-a-thon is coming next month

The 2nd Sagan blog-a-thon is coming on December 20th.

Start thinking about what you are gonna blog about.

Almost Turkey Day, so let TPM give you an outlet for the bad taste.

Talking Points Memo, heading into Thanksgiving, is readying for the Holiday Muck-O-Rama. Who are the worst criminals of the year?

And they also remind us of all the muck Giuliani has on him, since 9/11.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doctor Who and The Children in Need

In England now they are doing the annual Children in Need fundraising. For this event they get comedians and other creative sorts to do acts and put things together to get people to watch and also donate. One of the big things in the last few years has been the Doctor Who offerings. They have been 5 to 10 minute segments that bridge the end of the previous season and the upcoming Christmas Specials. This year, Voyage of the Damned is what the Brits will be enjoying on Christmas Day from the good Doctor.

For those who aren't in England, or receiving the BBC signal, here is the special from last week. It involves the brief return of Peter Davison, in fine form. Enjoy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Skeptic's Circle #73

A little late, but tis the season of the Skeptic's Circle.

Holford Watch is currently hosting the 73rd Skeptic's Circle.

Archived Skeptic's Circles here.

Obama and Clinton

The tit for tat going on right now is really not impressing me. It smacks of grabbing at straw hoping for a pitchfork. Right now their is still some hey to make of stories...sorry, a story, that Clinton has "explosive information" on Obama. The Obama campaign is stomping mad, but it has become clear that this story, from Bob "the model journalist" Novak, that it is a single source, and now that that source got the info second hand. But if it gets votes...

But it isn't surprising. Obama's campaign is trying to make use of parts of the Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta book on Hillary Clinton. It makes claims that the Clintons have secretly plotted to both be president. The source is an unpopular one among democrats, and the story smacks of conspiracy theories.

This stuff does not seem like the basis for a sound presidential run. It would be better to get back to a message about what of substance Barrack can bring to the executive branch. The two have serious political disagreements, that is where the focus is needed.

Giuliani in review

Talking Points Memo has a number of thoughts on America's Mayor.

Rudy and Bernie, the Biz Years

Through most of the 90's these guys were joined at the hip. Rudy was bolstering him and ignoring warnings. He even pushed to get him to even higher heights. But there's even more that is so far being ignored in the media.
Remember, after they left city government, these heroes of 9/11 guys went
into business together. And things were going gangbusters for three long years
-- 2002, 2003 and all but a couple weeks of 2004. That's when the real money
started flowing. And it's when these two were working together possibly closer
than they ever had. International clients, lots of government contracting work.

And still the media wants to not look at these bossom buddies. We even have sex scandal aspect. Where is the media?

Giuliani style evokes concern among US critics

Rudy, people who get to know him, find him scarey.

Rudy Ready to Admit to 9/11 Heroism?

Ah, Giulianni. He just loathes to bring up 9/11...and what a hero he was on that day. What a guy.

Is Rudy trying to pull a Dole on 9/11?

For the younger among you, in pretty much every campaign he ran, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) ran heavily on his heroism and grievous wounds suffered during the Italy campaign in World War II. And there was nothing to be ashamed of in his doing so. The 21 year old Dole had his body shattered by German machine gun fire in northern Italy just before the end of the war. He spent something like a year in Army hospitals recovering. And remained permanently disabled -- most visibly in his paralyzed and withered right arm.

The thing is that in pretty every campaign when he discussed this part of his life it was presented as the first time he'd chosen to discuss it. In other words, as though he'd never been ready or willing to discuss it until this campaign, whichever campaign it was. And the press would fall for it each time.

Now comes word of the latest from Camp Rudy. It seems like that while Rudy's supporters have been pushing his 9/11 heroism, Rudy himself has been unwilling to focus on it. This from the (Rudy-affiliated) New York Post in today's story about the 9/11 flyers Rudy is sending out in Iowa and New Hampshire ...

Rudy Giuliani is trumpeting his leadership in the wake of 9/11 in campaign mailings to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In one piece, Giuliani is hailed as "America's Mayor" who displayed
"Strength through Leadership."

While Giuliani's supporters have long boasted about his performance after the attacks, he himself had not, until now, mentioned it as prominently.

"After the worst attacks on US soil, Rudy Giuliani went to work rebuilding New York City and faith in America," reads the mailing, which features a photo of the former mayor set over the city skyline.
So it seems like Rudy has finally overcome his issues and resistance to discussing his 9/11 heroism.

I'm sorry, no choice but to review Rudy's 9/11ism ...

The Dream Called Fred

TPMtv has a run down on that Republican dream, Fred Thompson, and what has actually come to be.

Michael Shermer on Good and Evil

Here is an interview with Michael Shermer on his book looking at where the human sense of Good and Evil originates, and how we approach morality.

The Immigration Game

Crooks and Liars:

John Amato and I have had a lot of conversations about illegal immigration
lately. Unlike Rahm Emanuel, who–most frighteningly–thinks Dems must move to the right of Republicans on this issue, I really think it’s a third rail for
progressives, because they get sucked into playing defense on what boils down to
a lot of reactionary Republican Fear of Brown People. The cold hard truth
is that it’s an issue now because the Republicans need a wedge issue. David Sirota:

As our paychecks stagnate, our personal debt climbs and our health care premiums skyrocket, We the People are ticked off. Unfortunately for those in Congress, polls show that America is specifically angry at the big business interests that write big campaign checks.

So now comes the con - the dishonest argument over illegal immigration trying to divert our ire away from the corporate profiteers, outsourcers, wage cutters and foreclosers that buy influence - and protection - in Washington.

Republicans like Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) are demanding the government cut off public services for undocumented workers, build a barrier at the Mexican border and force employers to verify employees’ immigration status. Democrats like Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) are urging their allies to either embrace a punitive message aimed at illegal immigrants, or avoid the immigration issue altogether. And nobody asks the taboo question: What is illegal immigration actually about?

The answer is exploitation. Employers looking to maximize profits want an economically desperate, politically disenfranchised population that will accept ever worse pay and working conditions. Illegal immigrants perfectly fit the bill.

Politicians know exploitation fuels illegal immigration. But they refuse to confront it because doing so would mean challenging their financiers.

Instead we get lawmakers chest-thumping about immigration enforcement while avoiding a discussion about strengthening wage and workplace safety enforcement — proposals that address the real problem.
Case in point: Watch Rachel Maddow try to inject any semblance of sense of how to handle immigration into a discussion on Hardball from last week. At the word “comprehensive”, Tweety shuts her down, because obviously, she’s not serious…because apparently only Very. Serious. People. discuss immigration in what you have to assume is a cherry-picking manner. Pat Buchanan (and why would you pick Mr. Xenophobe Isolationist to try to debate the issue?) just yells over anything Rachel says.

And this is a problem I see when ever people talk about immigration in the media. It is either a shouting match or a chant of "Get them out!" People like Matthews don't want to debate or get into the uncomfortable complexities that are a part of the reality. If MSNBC does have an opening coming soon, they really need to try and woo Rachel Maddow over to do that show. We need some good thinkers and people willing to really debate. Someone who might deal with the realitites

Maybe reality doesn't make good TV, just look at Reality Shows.

The cost of looking too close at your faith

Reuters is looking at a story of the wear and tear that comes from spending too much time looking at and writing about religion. In the past few months 2 religion journalist have walked away from writing on the subject - and more.

Covering religion may be harmful to your faith. Two leading religion
journalists — one in Britain, one in the United States — have quit the beat in
recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous
behaviour by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.

Looking at NOVA's Judgment Day

Unsurprisingly, fundamentalist are up in arms over NOVA's recent episode.

PBS's ombudsman is looking and showing some of the reactions.

The Discovery Institute is trying to convince teachers that teaching evolution is going to lead them to court. Yeah, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and John Scopes, the outlaw set. PZ Meyer gives commentary.

There are also a whole host of other complainers, looked at by Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes. Commentary given cutting through the bull.

Friday, November 16, 2007

From Feministing

Some stories to remind you that attitudes towards women haven't shifted so much, and there is a lot of crap out there. From Feministing.

Because assaulting "chubbies" makes for a great commercial

This is a real piece of work, a gym that won't let you in and makes commercials to mock and humiliate you. And I mean women, this ad ain't about fat guys, just women.

Tucker Carlson sounds an awful lot like anti-suffragists
After Smeal remarked that we should be embarrassed that the U.S. is so far behind in terms of representation of women in politics, Carlson replied, "I'm actually not embarrassed by it at all." He continued, and here's the doozy, "I don't know why that's embarrassing. You could make the counter case that most women are so sensible, they don't want to get involved in something as stupid as politics. ...They've got real things to do." You know, like cook his dinner.

What's hilarious is that this sentiment is actually very similar to the anti-suffragist arguments from back in the day: that women shouldn't want to get involved in politics--they're too good for it! There's the famous quote, for example, from Rep. Thomas Girling who said that "women shouldn't be dragged into the dirty pool of politics."

Of course, we can look to Ann Coulters comments that women should be denied voting rights as they tend to vote "wrong". Way to make sure your daughter will be proud of you Ann.

Why do I find it so hard to respect these people?

Sexual autonomy ruins relationships
Forget working out whatever issues are making you not want to have sex in the first place. Better that you just shut up and put out as to not piss off your hubby. After all, what's more romantic than thinking of sex as a duty? So hot....

The downside of 'vajayjay'
Hardy har har. Feminists don't like men--there's a new one. But I do love that Smerconish takes such offense to the idea that women would think they had a "proprietary interest" in their own vaginas. The nerve!

What defense of rape will they come up with next?
According to this defense lawyer, it may not be rape, because she was SLEEPWALKING! How do these people sleep at night?

Women having sex = "mental health crisis"
So long as there are people who want to think about what dirty, dirty whores today's girls are, we're going to continue to see misleading, stupid articles like this one, penned by Townhall columnist Kathleen Parker.

The Military: A feminist's dream vacation
Amidst the sexual harassment, the rape, the murder, and the the homelessness, feminism, out of all things, has resulted in the demoralization of the military.

According to this gem, sexual harassment charges are used as a "tool of some women to promote their own agendas," women are also apparently getting pregnant left and right (if that were true, that'd change if they had access to EC) so they can become reckless single mothers, or because their primary purpose of joining the military and potentially risking their lives in Iraq is to find a hubby. That one is my favorite.

More on the writers strike.

Here is a story from Ron Moore, of the new Battlestar Galactica fame (and Trek).

“I had a situation last year on Battlestar Galactica where we were asked by Universal to do webisodes [Note: Moore is referring to The Resistance webisodes which ran before Season 3 premiered], which at that point were very new and ‘Oooh, webisodes! What does that mean?’ It was all very new stuff. And it was very eye opening, because the studio’s position was ‘Oh, we’re not going to pay anybody to do this. You have to do this, because you work on the show. And we’re not going to pay you to write it. We’re not going to pay the director, and we’re not going to pay the actors.’ At which point we said ‘No thanks, we won’t do it.’”

“We got in this long, protracted thing and eventually they agreed to pay everybody involved. But then, as we got deeper into it, they said ‘But we’re not going to put any credits on it. You’re not going to be credited for this work. And we can use it later, in any fashion that we want.’ At which point I said ‘Well, then we’re done and I’m not going to deliver the webisodes to you.’ And they came and they took them out of the editing room anyway — which they have every right to do. They own the material — But it was that experience that really showed me that that’s what this is all about. If there’s not an agreement with the studios about the internet, that specifically says ‘This is covered material, you have to pay us a formula - whatever that formula turns out to be - for use of the material and how it’s all done,’ the studios will simply rape and pillage.”
And from Atrios:

On my CNBC teevee screen:


4,434 Hollywood guild writers worked full-time last year.

Average salary: $204,000

Many earned $1 million or more

Certainly $204,000 isn't chump change (no idea how close it is to the median which is more informative), but it's completely irrelevant to the question of whether the studios should be able to take their work and put it on the internet for free.

But more to the point, the majority of guild members don't work full time.
Thanks for backing management CNBC. Big surprise.

What's more that is just a bit of mathematical cheating. $204,000 salary? Some make more that a million? Hmm. So...those famous people that write scripts, or have deals to sell much do they generally make? Wanna bet it is in the millions...Many make more than a million. Many is the key word there, as is the term average. What is the median salary? Let us take out the outliers. What would we be looking at then? What do the majority make?

Granted "many" writers do make off quite well in their business. Does it make it okay to cheat them of some of their rightfully earned cash?

That is the trouble. The execs want the money, and don't want to share. They will make billions off the online property. But they don't want to share the returns with the people who make that possible. That is the real problem. They got offers to deal and negotiate. The writers took getting more for DVD's and focused on the online aspect. No deal. It seems that the writers are expected to just capitulate and genuflect for their bosses.

The online market is messy enough for creative arts. This is a stand for the future. Who controls media and creations? Artists and creators have been screwed over for years and years, from medium to medium, this is a noble fight.

And I hope an understanding is come to soon.


For those that missed or wish to see again NOVA's Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. It is now online fior viewing at PBS's website. HERE.

I would definitely suggests you give it a viewing, if you have not yet. It is informative, interesting, and gives you a real feel for what happen in the case and what was at stake.

One Good Move has a couple of clips for review.

cdesign proponentsists indeed.

On the debate

Talking Points Memo points to some issues I had with last nights debate.

The aim behind most of Blitzer's questions was to "put Democrats on the wrong side of public opinion, even if those questions are about things like driver's licenses or "merit pay" for teachers that aren't really under federal purview. Efforts to reframe those questions by putting those topics in the larger context of immigration policy more generally or education more generally are derided as cowardly dodges. The point, after all, is to force a choice -- piss off an interest group, or say something that could be used in a GOP attack ad." My only addition to this point is that I thought Obama should have put Blitzer and his militant simpletonism in its place. Just tell him to shut up. He was terrible. But a presidential candidate should be able to stand down a moderator.
And of course there was that dumb question at the end (I found Clinton's answer funny, but still...).

Probably like a lot of people I was stunned at the amazingly lame and I'd say fairly offensive diamonds or pearls question that closed out last night's debate. I'd assumed they'd just given the last question to a complete dingbat. Seems CNN got the girl to ask that one rather than a question about Yucca Mountain.

Just to be clear, I'm not above a few cutesy or fun questions. But it's a friggin' presidential debate. And don't ask the first competitive female candidate for president her jewelry preferences.
Let's give AMERICAblog the last word on Blitzer.

Holy cow, this is actually interesting. Hillary and Obama getting into it on health care. My God, it's an actual debate. Oh, never mind - Wolf Blitzer just killed the discussion, the first time we've had a real debate in the debates. Sigh.

Hello, hello

Sorry, for being off so long...anybody? Oh...

Anyway, I have been deep in grad work so I have had too good an argument to not blog. "Blog? Have you finished that paper? Have you read that book?"

To make matters worse, when I want to it seems their is too much to say and the stream of thought I have is both long and shallow. Too much info. Pakistan, EXPELLED, PBS Dover trial doc, Halloween tomfoolery, writer's strike, and comic book stupidity.

Still, it seems a waste to not try harder and squeeze some thoughts out, so I hope I will be...doing Proper sentence.

I know people have been jonzing with the Daily Show and others off, sure Hardball and the Situation Room are subtle and cunning commentaries on the decline of modern journalism and politics...but sometimes we need a good pie in the face.

One Good Move is linking to bits that the writers out of the line are doing to bring forth their arguments. Good stuff from Daily Show (or Not the Daily Show, check out the fun cameo) and Colbert Report writers, under the United Hollywood banner.

Check it out.