Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh, god. Trump won't shut up.

Yeah. He won't shut up. And worse in not shutting up he keeps going back to this Birther beat he seems to love so much. I noted this much last time.

So after his debacle with the short-form yesterday, he has released the longer form for us. Yeah...still don't care. This is a non-issue. And only allows the crazies to come out and jump about.

I do love that the certificate issue bothers Trump so. When his businesses go belly up, he seems to barely care, before going on to the next. But on this, he's got a feeling. Based on his style and taste, I think we would all rather past on his gut and his instincts.

What can make this all the more annoying, and worse, make it a problem? Have the media jump in to join in. Now ABC is just asking questions. They are stupid questions, but...really this where you are now ABC? How sad.

Bring out your severely sick! Now, send them away!

Interesting story off the BBC website.

It is yet another story of miracle cures being sold. In Africa we can find many of these. But in this case it comes out of the hands of a retired evangelical preacher. What's for sale? An herb and water treatment that fixes what ails ya. He is so popular that people are lined up outside in the 1000's. At these umbers they are overwhelming him.

And they are coming in all sorts of states. Coming from home, from hospitals, and even some dragged out of hospital beds, they end up in this massive line (over 15 miles) to receive a cure made mostly of false hope. 

This isn't the sale of a fake hair growth formula. This isn't a miracle diet. No, this is a promise to cure whatever it takes to get you in. And the result has been death. Death while waiting for some. Death for some after getting help for some others. 

Now there is no indication that it is a poisonous brew. But like so many others selling snake oil and miracles, many come away with what they feel is their only hope. So many choose to abandon all other support that was still available. Like people who go to faith healers, and then rely on these results. Or, people who go to psychic surgeons, and assured afterward that there cancer has been yanked out. So they aren't being sold a poison. No, they are being sold on abandoning medical treatments which is the only real chance that they have.

So the preacher man wants a break now. :Stop coming, people", he decries. He needs time to work the MILES of people standing under the hot Tanzanian sun, mile after mile of people. 

Yes, promise a miracle, and then expect people who are afraid of death, that they deem looming, to not come. Sure. When you promise a cure all, nothing will stop people from seeking you out. That is the magic of advertising. Convince folks they will die without your aid, and they are hooked. Ad men, religions, and quacks all know this well.

Interesting as well, the nation in question, Tanzania, has already banned old school healers, magic users. But selling a water concoction that is unproven...go ahead, and promise the moon when peddling it. Nice, Tanzania, nice. What exactly makes him different from tribal witchdoctors? Is it not coaching things in magic? Or is it being a former man of the clothe? Are you letting him do this...out of faith? Or out of him having the right faith?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bring out your birth certificates! Bring out your birth certificates!

We all know the Birthers. Nutters.

Now would be hairy man, would be king of NYC, and would be would be wit (if not for the absence of wit), Donald Trump wants to be president of a country. Or he at least dreams of playing at it and wasting a bunch of someone else's cash. He's used to this (see his business career). He has hinted at times, now he is serious, sitting on talk show couches and even wintering in Iowa.

Part of his current plan is to attack the current president at the point of his legitimacy. His place of birth. So Trumpy wants to do magic, and play at being a Birther.

And like some others he is going the passive aggressive route. Just asking questions. Asking them in his normal pompous, know nothing manner.

Trump has long galled me, in truth. He walks and talks like an idiot. But he keeps getting money from people, and keeps making it (to some extent).

It's like the character of Boston Rob in the show Survivor. From what little I see of him, I have no idea what people keep listening and following. It defies reason.

But people like Trump get the following. He struts around in wealth, and people drool. He struts around on a truly silly reality show and people go, "Ooooooo."

So knowing this Trump has stepped part way into a run for the Republican nomination. And his plan, be the biggest Birther candidate running. Not that he is of course. He's just asking questions. And what does the president have to hide anyway? What's to hide? About his birth? Nothing. But playing his normal dull role Trump throws out already answered questions as if they remain unresolved. Granted his audience is one oblivious to this. They just want to have Obama "given the business." And he is apt to do this. He is a master of empty rhetoric. He is king of posturing. He comes out trumps in this arena.

And so Trump makes his silly attacks. He even has threatened the governor of Hawaii. Trump suggests that trying to show Obama is a Hawaiian by birth means

To try to show up, in his usual empty manor, the president Trump released his own birth certificate. But as AMERICAblog notes, it is the short-form certificate. This is the version of Obama's certificate out for people to see, and attacked for not being the long-form. Now Trump is in the same place as the president. Not that this will occur to the Birthers. Trump is rich, white, and conservative.

By the way, if you want to see a Birther rant, here's the Certificate of Live Birth.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sylvia Browne, even reaching for the wallets in the sickbed.

Among others SkepChick notes that famed medium Sylvia Browne has had a heart attack. They do joke a bit, but most do, seeing as Browne has gone a long way to prey on the bereaved, and to use tragedy to enhance her fame. So I can understand, but I just don't like to mock people in the hospital, even when as loathsome as Browne is. I am sorry she is in the hospital, but I think she's a truly terrible person.

It is odd, I am a generally  pessimistic growly grump. But I just don't think it does me or anyone else good to pick on people who fall ill, or pass. Sure you shouldn't shirk being honest on wrongs and faults. But dancing on a grave, or hospital bed...we should be better than that.

Thankfully, as people like Sylvia often do, she and her lot raced to remind us of just how low a lot they are.

As noted by ShepChick:
And her organization has found the perfect opportunity to squeeze some more pennies out of the people who don’t realize that she’s a sociopath who regularly lies to the parents of missing children and the loved ones of the deceased. Their begging newsletter...

Yes, in the wake of her illness, her group (a group she founded) raced to pressure fans and followers to bleed cash for them. They say they rely on her for money, and now need others to jump in a help. Why? She is okay and heading home? So it is really about fleecing extra cash...cause. So she had a heart attack, and everyone saw a way to cash in.

Mediums, psychics, and televangelists. It is so hard to see any real difference.

An interesting look back at scientific and political history

The Superconducting Super Collider. In the 80's and early 90's it was a big deal. Slowly constructed in Texas there was a lot of excited talk about how it would further our scientific understanding...but issues in construction, budgeting, and in political interest led it to never see completion. Much of this work was later carried on via the CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

This is an interesting blog post that takes me back in time to the days of SSC. Some participants at a physics conference took a trek to the site, photographing and remembering back to another era in US scientific efforts.

Of course, of note in the story is that when funding was cut here, it went to the International Space Station.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Defending your journalist, until you don't

Back to far more serious matters. Journalistic support. 

Do I mean defending constitutional rights, defending integrity, defending their physical safety? Oh, no.

We are talking about the HuffPo (Huffington Post).

See, it and Huffington herself, have a long friendly history with one Andrew Breitbart. You may remember him from any of many dishonest attempts to smear, discredit, and destroy the careers of liberals. You may also remember his erstwhile occasional lackey James O'Keefe. Huffington and Breitbart are actual friends, and in the early days of her HP site, he wrote on it.

Well, the years have passed, she has expanded her online empire, and he has expanded the scope of his douchiness. 

The prominence that has been announced and bestowed on Breitbart has annoyed many who see HuffPo as a liberal leaning news source.  (He was being linked and written up on the sites front page, meaning people would easily know and access his work and ideas.) To some, his die hard conservative thoughts getting promotion was galling. To many others the fact he is a dishonest shill getting this prime space and press was the issue. It was a reward to someone commonly seen as a RW villain. 

But Huffington and her staff have a right to hire, use, and promote who or whatever they want. And we have a right to bitch and moan over it. We have a right to protest it. And we have a right to not give her and her site views. It is up to you.

But that is not where this story comes to rest. Oh, no. Breitbart then chose to be Andrew Breitbart. A choice few sane people would make. At this juncture, having been given cover and support, and a nod from Huffington, that she was his defender, he now chose to rip into a favorite punching bag of the lowest common denominator of RW punditry, Mr. Van Jones. (Van Jones was in the Obama admin, before being driven out by mischaracterizations, and smears, which continue to this day. See Andrew Breitbart.)

That is when Huffington let loose and allowed the proverbial shit to hit the fan. With the nasty, as is the norm from Breitbart, comments shared with the world, mocking and deriding Van Jones, Huffington Post announced that Ariana's good friend was off the front page. He was welcome to stay, but he would be in the back with the rest of the work a day bloggers, slaving away for HuffPo.

Everything he says about everyone else, no biggie. The injury to the president, the dishonesty in his Slag off her DEARER're out of here.

That's nice.

Now if you go to the science and medical sections of HuffPo, you will find compromised work, with the likes of AntiVaxers and Chopra peddling bull to the masses. I do expect a lot more from the political end. There are fine people who work there, like Howard Fineman. But to let Breitbart get that kind of elevation is both sad and wrong. And then to yank him back only after he hurts you're friend...? ...Fuck that speaks so poorly of you.

It is akin to NPR and Juan Williams. Based on every statement, claim he made on FOX News, and how he went on seemingly as a rep of NPR, the brass at NPR had a right to dump him. Waiting until after William’s comments on Muslims were made just helped make NPR look petty.

Ariana now looks petty. HuffPo looks petty. And this follows on looking more like a joke with the endorsement given to Breitbart.

Badly done HuffPo.

The hell? I left a blog in here?

Well there has been a break since my last...oh, hell...I got distracted...then busy...


What was I talking about before...doesn't really matter, so let's just get a post in, hmm?

Kind of have to like this photo op for the president.

He is getting ready for a meet and greet. But to me it says, when you're the president of the whole damn country, and have to go, you are the front of the line.

Cue rim shot. Wacka wacka.